Ya know? It's the half way point, so I should probably do a mid-point retrospective, right? But...I can't. I can't allow myself to overlook last night's performance by Balester coupled with another BELLY! dinger.
(Full disclosure: I umpired last night, so I didn't see the game live. I heard Charlie's wrap up on the way back so I knew the outcome. Did this make me view the game differently when I watched it this morning? I'm not sure.)
Out of all three kids that have gotten Nats debuts as a starter this year, Collin is head and shoulders above Clippard and Mock (IMO). His control was absolutely, positively, emphatically, undoubtedly phenomenal. PHE-FUCKIN-NOMENAL. His is, indeed, a super sensational diaper dandy. He didn't throw his change too often, and he doesn't have a devastating curve ball, but with the way he locates his fastball he doesn't need to. It has late movement, and just paints the corners. True, his pitch count was up there (95 in 5 innings), and he went to long counts on quite a few batters (damn close to a 60/40 ratio of strikes to balls) but the laid back kid from Huntington Beach didn't seem to panic. He would just locate another fastball right were he needed too, and either jammed the guy for a pop up, or went down and away for a ground ball. Bottom line? Color me impressed.
Now, to be realistic... the kid's gonna have a few bad games. Maybe more than a few. Scouts will see him more, and more and there will be a gameplan for him. He might be off some nights and lose his location. That could get him in a lil' bit o' hot water if he doesn't have a sharp curve or the change-up to fall back on, but I think he'll stick in the rotation the rest of the year (seriously).
Instead of looking back (where, let's face it, I would just be saying "Guzman" and "Lannan/Redding") let's say fuck it to the '08 season, and look at what we have set in stone for the Nationals of '09 and beyond, shall we?
SP: John Lannan (23), Collin Balester (turned 22 last month), Mock/Clippard (24/23). (Detweiler? (22))
C: Jesus Flores (23)
1B: Unknown. (Marrero, the #1 prospect in the orginization, is only 19. Not sure we'll see him that soon.)
SS: Goozie, once he signs the two year extension.
3B: Zim (Still just 23!)
CF: Milledge (23)
RF: Dukes (24)
I left out the bullpen, cause that's always a crap shoot, and the young guys are hard to project. (I'm lying, I'm too fucking lazy and I like all the guys so I didn't wanna play favorites since, you know, they read this blog and all.) That leaves us with an average age of 24/25 in 2009/10. It's gonna be good, folks. I suggest you put a deposit down for season tickets now.
Awesome dude of the day to Balester (of course), but with a slight tip of my braided hair to Belly (Grand Salamai), and my goatee to mi hermano (striking out Hermida with a SICK slider in the bottom of the 8th with the tying run on 2nd). Enjoy, Collin.
(Did I write enough? Jesus, I thought Tolstoy was a long read. He ain't got shit on me, that dead pacifist bastard)