Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
by David Wilson | Guest Writer |
There’s no denying Prince Fielder can hit. He posted a .981 OPS and batted a career high .299 last year. There’s also no denying that Prince Fielder can’t really field. Last season he had a -0.7 defensive WAR and -5.1 UZR.
The obvious reason to believe the Nationals passed up on one of the best hitters in the game is the presence of Adam LaRoche. Laroche is entering a contract season, as is Michael Morse, who is coming off a breakout season. Where would Fielder play if Washington trusts LaRoche?
In a way this leads right into my point; the National League’s lack of the designated hitter cost the Nats one of the game’s best power hitters.
Here’s how the 2011 Rule 5 Draft went down:
Stats for 2011 season; former teams in parentheses
1. Houston Astros draft RHP Rhiner Cruz (NYM)
At Double-A Binghamton: 3-2, 7 SV, 36 G, 59.1 IP, 7.74 K/9, 5.92 BB/9, 4.40 ERA, 4.58 FIP
“Cruz has a big fastball, throws regularly in the mid-90s, but his control and his offspeed stuff are both well below average right now. I don’t think he has a great chance to stick.” – Ben Badler,
2. Minnesota Twins draft RHP Terry Doyle (CWS)
At Double-A Birmingham: 7-5, 15 GS, 100.0 IP, 6.57 K/9, 1.98 BB/9, 3.24 ERA, 3.56 FIP
“Doyle is a righthander with guile who lacks a plus pitch but knows how to set up hitters. He helped his chances of being picked with an excellent Arizona Fall League performance. He certainly understands the geometry of pitching, consistently getting outs with his command and a cut fastball. Doyle’s 88-92 fastball did pick up as the season progressed and he touched 93-94 mph in Arizona. Doyle confuses hitters who don’t know him, as he often pitches backward, using breaking pitches to set up his fastball. He throws four pitches for strikes, including a biting slider and a high-70s change up.” – J.J. Cooper,
Taiwanese sinkerballer Chien-Ming Wang will stay in our nation’s capitol for at least another season, signing a one-year, $4 million dollar deal with the Washington Nationals. SI.com contributor Will Carroll, aka “The Injury Expert,” told me to keep in mind that ”$4 million isn’t just a pure salary number. It’s the cost of certainty — knowing they have him, knowing what they have medically, and not having to hope they make the right signing, even if they save a bit of money.”