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News from Nats Town – Strasburg’s Pace and More Cuts

The Nationals made several more cuts friday, re-assigning catcher Devin Ivany and first baseman Josh Whitesell to minor-league camp this morning. Mark Zuckerman wrote:

“Neither move comes as a shock. Ivany, 27, has never played above Class AA but has been a mainstay in camp the last several years as an extra catcher. Whitesell, also 27, rejoined the organization this winter after being let go by the Diamondbacks and is probably slated to play first base at Class AAA Syracuse this season.”

I have to disagree with Zuckerman here. While Ivey has never played above AA, Whitesell is a what I like to call a quadruple-A player. In 190 AAA games he has batted .274/.390.471 with 40 homers and 130 RBI. Those are numbers that more than deserve a shot a the big leagues. Whitesell has been a victim of several unfortunate circumstances. Injuries made his college career long, and right when he was ready to make an impact in Washington the first time around he got waived to Arizona. There he got stuck behind an aging Tony Clark. A look at his 2008 in AAA shows he more than deserved a full-time shot in Arizona last year.

2008 AAA: .328/.425/.568, 26 HR, 110 RBI

In Zuckerman’s defense Whitesell was awful last year in his 108 , posting a .194/.346/.287 line. But Whitesell posted a high on base percentage with a terrible batting average, and his BABIP was only .256, so he was the victim of some bad luck. Whitsell also batted .300 with a .447 OBP in his second stint with the Diamondbacks in 2009.

The already great Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post pointed out yesterday that at his current pace, Stephen Strasburg will be on schedule to pitch in the Nationals final exhibition game at Nationals park vs. the Red Sox. Coincidence?

Sheinin pointed out to me today that if you extrapolate Strasburg’s schedule so he pitches every fifth day, he would need to pitch April 3 – the day the Nationals host the Red Sox at Nationals Park in an end-of-spring exhibition. Pitching him that game would draw an outstanding gate – a weekend day game and Strasburg pitching in his major league city for the first time against a marquee opponent. It would also keep Strasburg on pace to throw April 8 in the season opener for Class A Potomac.”

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