2013 Roster Released

Senators Pitcher Trevor Holder

Senators Pitcher Trevor Holder

The 2013 season is right around the corner and now we know who will be in Harrisburg to begin the season as the Senators roster has been set. Eight of the Nationals top 30 prospects, according to Baseball America, are slated to begin the season in Harrisburg. They are led by number one prospect and returnee Anthony Rendon and another returnee, number three prospect Brian Goodwin.

The first opportunity for fans to see the 2013 Harrisburg Senators is Monday, April 1 at the team’s public workout. The ballpark will open at 4:45 p.m. on Monday with the workout beginning at 5:00 p.m. The workout is free of charge. Limited concessions will be available. The workout is slated to last about two hours, weather permitting.

Along with two of the top three prospects, many familiar faces dot the Senators roster with 19 players having played in Harrisburg sometime in the past couple of seasons. Fan favorite Josh Johnson returns to Harrisburg to play shortstop for the Sens.

Senators 3rd Baseman Anthony Rendon

Senators 3rd Baseman Anthony Rendon

The eight Baseball America top prospects are Anthony Rendon (1), Brian Goodwin (3), Matt Skole (4), Nathan Karns (5), Sandy Leon (15), Rick Hague (16), Destin Hood (17), and Paul Demny (28).

The starting pitchers are Brian Broderick, Caleb Clay, Paul Demny, Nathan Karns and Blake Treinen.

The bullpen arms are Aaron Barrett, Marcos Frias, Trevor Holder, Neil Holland, Ian Krol, Pat Lehman, Matt Swynenberg, and Rob Wort.

The rest of the team, by position, are catchers Sandy Leon, Jeff Howell, and Kris Watts. The infield from first to third is Matt Skole, Rick Hague, Josh Johnson, and Anthony Rendon. The outfielders are Brian Goodwin, Destin Hood, and Steven Souza, Jr. Rounding out the club are Justin Bloxom, Jose Lozada, and Sean Nicol.

Opening Night Sweepstakes

Last year's Opening Night Sweepstakes winner with pitcher Paul Demny

Last year’s Opening Night Sweepstakes winner with pitcher Paul Demny

April 4th is creeping up pretty fast and we want to give one lucky fan the ultimate Opening Night experience! We always love to hear what your favorite Senators memories are, so to enter our Opening Night Sweepstakes we want fans to tell us their favorite memory and enter some basic information. 1 random winner will be drawn on March 25th. Fans can enter through the Senators Facebook page. The winner will receive 4 tickets to Opening Night (April 4th), an autographed baseball by their favorite Senators player, the opportunity to throw out one of the first pitches on Opening Night, and a Senators hat & t-shirt prize pack!

The 2013 season is jam-packed with promotions to appeal to Senators fans of all ages. This season has 42 giveaways and 16 fireworks shows – and SO much more! We’ll have a poster series of former Senators in the big leagues, more bobbleheads than ever before, and even a mayfly umbrella! It all kicks off on Opening Night, April 4th, at 7:00 PM with a Jordan Zimmermann bobblehead giveaway for the first 1,000 fans, post-game fireworks, and the return of Thirsty Thursday – $2 Coors Light on the boardwalk! Oh! And one lucky fan is going home with the kitchen sink!

So after all of that, who doesn’t want to be here on April 4th? We want you here! And we want to give you a cool experience to go with it. And all you have to do is enter to win.

Valentine’s Day Surprise!

Rascal patiently waited to deliver Valentine's surprises!

Rascal patiently waited to deliver Valentine’s surprises!

49 short days before Opening Night, the Senators Community Relations team set out on a Valentine’s Day Adventure with Rascal. This Valentine’s Day a handful of Senators fans got a very unique surprise – Rascal showed up! Our crazy River Monster had a busy February 14th (and a few deliveries on the 13th) delivering flowers and tickets all over the Capitol Region! Our Senators Valentine’s Day package included 1 dozen red roses, 2 dugout box seat vouchers, and a video board welcome for a game of your choice in 2013; and it was all delivered by Rascal! When all was said and done, Rascal ended up surprising about 20 lucky fans at their offices and homes.  Stay tuned in 2014 – Rascal will be out there again!

Were you one of the lucky fans? Tell us about your experience!

Getting to Know…Sean Nicol

Over the course of the off-season we will re-run some of our program content that you might have missed, some with post-season additions. Today, you’ll meet Senators INF Sean Nicol.

During his time with the Harrisburg Senators Sean Nicol has used his versatility to both provide opportunities for himself while also helping out the ballclub. In fact it has been Nicol’s versatility that has helped make him a valued member of the Washington Nationals organization since being taken in the 16th round in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft. Nicol has logged time at six different minor league levels in the Nationals organization and this season, with Harrisburg, has seen time at five different positions defensively. Despite the shifting around in Harrisburg’s lineup defensively, Nicol has committed just five errors and has taken part in turning twenty double plays.

Senators INF Sean Nicol

Senators INF Sean Nicol

In a season where Harrisburg has had nearly 60 different players wear a Senators uniform, Nicol has become a fixture in the lineup since being promoted from Potomac in April. As of Sunday, Nicol has appeared in 63 games with Harrisburg, which mark a career high for games with a single team in one season.

Away from baseball, Nicol enjoys going to the movies and playing video games.

 2012 Highlights

  • Hit two-run home run on August 11th that helped the Senators overcome a four-run deficit to beat Binghamton 5-4.
  • Recorded his 2nd three-hit game of the season on August 12th against Binghamton
  • Has played 2B, 3B, SS, LF, and CF this season and as of August 12th has a fielding percentage of .970.

 Three things to know about Sean Nicol

  • Began college career at Portland where he was a college teammate of Nationals farmhand Austin Bibens-Dirkx and transferred to San Diego where he was teammate with Zach Walters.
  • In 2008 was a member of a team that won the NBS Summer Baseball World Series.
  • If he wasn’t a baseball player he would be playing tennis or golf.

Favorite Spots in Metro Bank Park

Over the course of the off-season we will re-run some of our program content that you might have missed, some with post-season additions. Today, we’ll share some favorite spots in the ballpark, courtesy of Senators fans, coaches, and staff. 

Whether it’s your first time at Metro Bank Park or you’ve been a season-ticket holder since 1987, everyone has a favorite spot in the ballpark. Players, coaches, fans, and staff can usually point to one place that they love above all others.

Maybe it’s down in the first-base field boxes so you can converse with the Senators as they head out to the outfield grass for their pre-game stretch.

Maybe it’s watching the kids bounce and play their way around the Faulkner Honda Kids Zone.

Maybe it’s the location you were sitting in when Milton Bradley launched “The Slam” to bring the Senators their fourth straight Eastern League title.

Maybe it’s out on the barstools and boardwalk with hundreds of your closest friends during a Thirsty Thursday.

Wherever it is, we know it’s a place that you hold near and dear to your heart as the Senators continue to make memories happen here.

Here are some others’ favorite spots at Metro Bank Park…

Senators Manager Matt LeCroy.

Senators Manager Matt LeCroy.

Matt LeCroy, Senators’ Manager

“I like to go out to the cage for batting practice and watch the guys work and see them get ready for a ball game. I like to be out on the field and watch them and see who’s ready to play the ballgame. It’s actually a big tool as a manager to see who’s doing the work and who isn’t. I love being outside and watching the guys hit, hearing the balls and the music, and just getting ready to compete.”

 Kevin Kulp, Senators’ Team President

“My favorite spot in the ballpark is sitting in the Ollie’s Cheap Seats at about 10 AM for about maybe five minutes all by myself.  The ballpark is quiet and maybe the only thing going on in is groundskeeper Brandon Forsburg mowing the grass.  It’s so quiet and peaceful and I can’t help but think how lucky I am to go to a ballpark to work every day. “

Dave Kramer, longtime season-ticket holder

“My favorite spot is located directly behind the Senators on-deck circle in Seat 10 of Row 3 in Section 111.  I can hear the guidance given to batters by the manager and coaches, and suggest to Matt LeCroy when a bunt is in order!  I can feel the players take their warm-up swings and adjust their gloves, belts, and jewelry, and suggest a little contact instead of a swing for the fences!  I can sense the intent of the manager and pitching coach before trips to the mound and offer to “get the hook!”  I can make eye contact after a home run or a lousy at-bat, and almost share in the celebration of a big inning.  And I can always give the home plate umpire a piece of my mind and know that he hears everything I say.  A chat with players or coaches before the game and a handshake or fist bump after the game is over make this location the best spot in the ballpark. “

Metro Bank Park, as seen from the top of the scoreboard

Metro Bank Park, as seen from the top of the scoreboard

 Ashley Grotte, Senators’ Director of Digital and New Media

“I have a couple of favorite spots. There’s a spot above and to the right of the Metro Bank sign on the scoreboard that gives a chilling and unique view of the ballpark. I also like to sit in Terry Byrom’s radio booth and listen to him broadcast while I tweet and work. And lastly, right behind home plate during the National Anthem because you have the best view of the lines and the players and it’s even better when you have a Field of Dreams team out there.”

 Randy Whitaker, Senators’ General Manager

“My favorite spot in the park is what I call the ‘cigar terrace’ at the 3B end of the suite level.  It has a great view of nearly the entire ballpark, including down into the Faulkner Kids Zone.  I stop there to catch my breath after running up the stairs.  I tend to linger to take it all in.  No better view when all that green grass is wrapped by a full ballpark!”

Pitching Coach Paul Menhart works with pitchers pre-game

Pitching Coach Paul Menhart works with pitchers pre-game

 Paul Menhart, Senators’ pitching coach

“I really, really enjoy being out on the field with the pitchers during their sideline sessions. That’s where all the discussions take place about the things I want them working on whether it’s their pitches, their pickoffs, or any kind of arm issues. That’s where I find out all of my information for that night. That’s the most precious time for me and that’s the most precious time for those guys. We throw with a purpose every time we pick up a ball. We catch with a purpose and we throw bullpens with a purpose. That’s our only work time. We’re not like hitters that can go to the cage and hit for hours. That’s my most special, precious time.”

Bob Hauer, Senators’ on-field host

“My favorite part of the ballpark is actually a single seat in right-center at the end of the ribbon board. I call it my Mayor’s Seat. I go up there and sit and I think I own the place. Nobody sits near me, I just go up there and sit and stare down at the field and it’s just me and baseball. As far as I know, the people are cheering for me (they’re not). It’s just sitting out there as one single seat right above the M&M sign on the wall. It’s the best seat in the house.”

What’s your favorite spot in Metro Bank Park? Let us know in the comments!

Draft Day Memories

Over the course of the off-season we will re-run some of our program content that you might have missed, some with post-season additions. Today, we’ll share some draft day memories with you.

On June 4th, the Houston Astros selected shortstop Carlos Correa with the first overall pick in this year’s amateur baseball draft.

For many high school and college players the draft is a day they will never forget if they are fortunate enough to hear their name called. We asked a few of the Senators to remember what their draft day was like and what it meant to them.

Zach Walters (9th round – 2010)

I was packing up my stuff in college and driving home because we (University of San Diego) had just lost in the regional to ASU but I did not know I got drafted until five hours later. I turned on my phone and it just blew up with messages and voice mails. When I actually found out it was when I got home and my parents told me. I think that was actually better than hearing it on the radio. My dad was the first person to tell me and I think he was more excited than I was.

Danny Rosenbaum (22nd round – 2009)

It was a little disappointing but I couldn’t have asked for anything else then to get a chance to play. All my life I told people I would sign for a can of soup. It was probably one of the best days of my life. Getting a chance to be in the big leagues and continue my journey.

I had received a couple of phone calls asking what kind of money I wanted, but we were just listening to it in my parents’ house in the living room on the computer and my eyes lit up and I gave my parents a big hug.

Senators Outfielder Jimmy VanOstrand

Senators Outfielder Jimmy VanOstrand

Jimmy Van Ostrand (29th round – 2003; 8th round – 2006)

My two draft days were completely different experiences.

The first time I was at junior college (Allan Hancock College) and I really had no idea that I was going to get drafted. I hadn’t given it any thought. I was actually working for my pitching coach over at his ranch and his son, who was a pitcher for Fresno State, came running out of the house and his dad thought that he was all excited to say that he got drafted but he came out and told me that Pittsburgh took me in the 29th round. I really had no idea what it meant or anything. Obviously, that was really cool. I had a good season that year, but I hadn’t really had any scholarship offers out of high school. That was the first time that I thought there’s a chance that maybe I can make it to a higher level than I’ve been thinking about before.

When I actually signed with Houston, that draft day was a lot different. Because now I knew I was going to get drafted and it was just a matter of where and by who. I was told I would be drafted somewhere between the fifth and eighth round by a few teams. I waited through the first few rounds and then by the fifth and sixth rounds no one had called my name, so I went outside and started shooting hoops trying to get my mind off of it. I came back inside and they were somewhere in the eighth round and I got a call from the scout with Houston and he said, “Hey we’re going to take you with our next pick.” Sure enough my name popped up on the computer.

I was just by myself at my house just hanging out trying to get my mind off of it because I remember being extremely nervous, extremely anxious. But then when it happened it was just that huge relief and excitement and it was a great day.

Paul Menhart (8th round – 1990)

Senators Pitching Coach Paul Menhart

Senators Pitching Coach Paul Menhart

The night before the draft a handful of teams called and asked what I’d sign for. The Yankees, the Orioles, but I always had this feeling that it would be the Blue Jays the way Toronto scout Duane Larson always talked to me after games. He seemed to be at every game I started.

The Blue Jays called and said we’re getting ready to pick you here in the eighth round, so I said let’s do this. They asked what I would sign for and I didn’t even give them a dollar amount. I said whatever is fair, I’m good to go. You’re not going to have a problem signing me.

But Duane lived in North Carolina and I lived in Connecticut, so another scout, Teddy Lekas, came and signed me. He came to the house and said, “Look, I don’t know anything about you except what they told me. I’ve never seen you throw. I’ve got X amount of dollars here to offer you. What do you think?” I said, “Where do I sign?” I was a junior in college and I was ready to go. He was like “Whoa, whoa, whoa. I mean we can talk. You can try to get some more money.” I asked my parents if they had a problem with it and they told me it was my life and I could do whatever I wanted. So, I said, “You know what, throw some school in there too because I’ve got a year left.” And he was like, “Alright. This is the quickest signing I’ve ever done in my life.” I signed it and shook his hand. Done.

Kris Watts (16th round – 2006)

Our school was still in session, I went to Santa Clara and we were on the quarters system, so I was still in school when the draft went down. We were over at a buddy’s house and of course we had the draft on online listening to them talk about it. I was actually surprised to go on the first day and hear my name called. All of the guys were screaming that it was awesome and it was definitely exciting. I called my folks to let my family know. That was probably the most memorable thing hearing my name come up.

Getting to Know…Trevor Holder

Over the course of the off-season we will re-run some of our program content that you might have missed, some with post-season additions. Today, we’ll be helping you get to know Senators pitcher Trevor Holder. 

Holder finished 2012 with a 4-3 record and a 3.78 ERA for Harrisburg.

Holder finished 2012 with a 4-3 record and a 3.78 ERA for Harrisburg.

In his fourth professional season, Trevor Holder experienced his first go around at the Double-A level. However, Holder’s story in baseball begins long before the Washington Nationals took him in the 3rd round of the 2009 Draft. He played for four seasons at the University of Georgia, where the right-hander enjoyed one of the most decorated careers in the history of the Bulldog baseball program. Holder left Georgia with 22 career wins over his time in Athens, which ranks tied for fourth all-time. Trevor’s junior campaign in 2008 saw the Birmingham, Alabama native lead the Bulldogs in victories as he helped Georgia reach the College World Series and the National Championship Game before falling to Florida.

 Holder has tasted success during his professional career as well. The 2010 season saw the then 23 year-old Holder named to the South Atlantic All-Star team while playing with Hagerstown. Later that season, Holder was promoted to Potomac where he helped the P-Nats capture the Carolina League Championship.

 Holder recalls the dog pile at UGA’s Foley Field when the Bulldogs clinched a berth in the 2009 College World Series by beating North Carolina State as one of his finest memories.

2012 Highlights

  • Earned first Double-A victory on July 21st by throwing seven scoreless innings against Richmond to help the Senators snap a seven game losing streak.
  • Threw 6 1/3 innings in relief against Trenton on July 26th to earn the winning decision in a 7-4 Senators victory over the Eastern Division leading Thunder.
  • Fired seven innings, allowed one run, and struck out eight against Carolina on July 7th while with Potomac in his final start before being promoted to Harrisburg.

 Family

  • Mother: Angie
  • Father: Allen
  • Brother: Stewart, 21

  Three things to know about Trevor Holder

  • If Trevor weren’t a baseball player he would want to use his degree and try to find a job in the field of risk management.
  • Away from baseball Trevor enjoys golfing, hunting, and watching football.
  • Threw 8 2/3 innings in game one win of the 2008 NCAA Super Regional against North Carolina State. The win propelled Georgia to Omaha for the College World Series where they lost to Florida in the National Championship.

Hot Stove 2013

2012 EL Homerun Derby Champion Chris Rahl will be a guest at the 2013 Hot Stove Dinner.

2012 EL Homerun Derby Champion Chris Rahl will be a guest at the 2013 Hot Stove Dinner.

It’s Hot Stove time again! Our 3rd Annual Hot Stove Dinner will be on Saturday, January 26th at the Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey. The evening will kick off with a cocktail hour at 6:00PM, followed by dinner at 7:00PM, and the keynote speakers. There will be a silent auction throughout the evening and a raffle will take place at the end of the night. The proceeds from both will benefit the RBI program. 

Former Senators Manager Dave Trembley, will be the night’s featured guest. Trembley led the Senators to the 1987 Eastern League Championship. Trembley spent 20 years managing at the minor league level before becoming the manager of the Baltimore Orioles in June, 2007. He spent parts of the next 4 seasons at the helm of the Orioles. Trembley will join the Houston Astros as a member of their coaching staff, in a yet to be named position, for the 2013 season.Current Senators Manager Matt LeCroy will also be at the dinner. 2011 was LeCroy’s first year managing the Senators; he had previously managed the Hagerstown Suns and Potomac Nationals. LeCroy made his major league debut in 2000 for the Minnesota Twins where he played through the 2005 season.

Other notable guests include former Senators starting pitcher Neil Weber, who played for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998, and Senators outfielder Chris Rahl, who was a 2012 Eastern League All-Star and Home Run Derby Champion.

The RBI program, started in 1989, is now in over 200 cities worldwide, and has provided over 100,000 boys and girls the opportunity to play baseball and softball. Through 2009, MLB clubs have drafted over 170 RBI participants. The program is designed to increase participation and interest in baseball while encouraging academic participation and achievement. The program also promotes greater inclusion of minorities into the game and teaches the value of teamwork.

The dinner is $70 per person, or $650 for a table of ten. You can purchase tickets online here or by calling Emily Winslow at 231-4444 ext. 109. No tickets will be sold the day of the event. The deadline to purchase a ticket for this wonderful event is Wednesday, January 23rd.

Top 10 of 2013

Baseball America has released their annual  top 10 prospect rankings for the 2013 season, and 5 of the top 10 Nationals prospects donned a Senators uniform in 2012. It is possible that the other 5 will call City Island home in 2013. The 5 who played for Harrisburg last season are below.

#1. Anthony Rendon – INF

Rendon was drafted in the first round (6th overall) in the 2011 Draft out of Rice University.

Rendon was drafted in the first round (6th overall) in the 2011 Draft out of Rice University.

Rendon was drafted in the first round (6th overall) in the 2011 draft by the Nationals out of Rice University. Prior to being drafted, he received the Dick Howser Award, which is given annually to the nations best college baseball player. Rendon made his debut in Harrisburg in the middle of August after spending the early part of the season injured and then moving between the lower levels. Rendon played in 21 games for the Senators, compiling a .162 average with 3 homeruns. Rendon closed up 2012 in the Arizona Fall League.

#3. Brian Goowin – OF

Drafted in the first round (34th overall) in the 2011 draft by the Nationals out of Miami Dade South Community College, Goodwin, who missed a month at the beginning of the season due to injury, skipped High-A Potomac on his way to Harrisburg in mid-July. Goodwin hit .223 in 42 games for the Senators with 5 homeruns and 8 doubles. Like Rendon, Goodwin finished off his 2012 year in the Arizona Fall League.

#6. Christian Garcia – RHP

Garcia, who was not ranked as one of the top 30 Nationals prospects in 2011, pitched in only 18 games for the Senators in 2012 before being promoted to triple-A Syracuse in early June. Having recovered from 2 Tommy John surgeries Garcia anchored the back of the bullpen for the Senators, posting a 1.35 ERA, striking out 28 while walking only 6. Garcia made his MLB debut with the Nationals as a September call-up and earned himself a spot on their post-season roster.

#7. Eury Perez – OF

Perez, like Garcia, was a September call-up for the Nationals. Perez has made a steady climb through the system, joining the Senators in the beginning of 2012 after spending 2010 in Hagerstown and 2011 in Potomac. Providing a punch at the top of the order, he had a .325 on-base percentage with 26 stolen bases (he swiped 51 total in 2012). He was a 2012 Western Division All-Star.

#10. Zach Walters – INF

Walters joined the Senators in mid-June after a promotion from High-A Potomac. In 43 games with the Senators, Walters, a switch-hitter, had a .293 average with 6 homeruns and 11 doubles. He earned a promotion to Triple-A Syracuse in early August. Baseball America also credits Walters with having the best infield arm in the Nationals system.

The Art of the Lineup

Over the course of the off-season we will re-run some of our program content that you might have missed, some with post-season additions. Today, we’ll talk about the art of creating the lineup. 

Delivering the lineup with Manager Matt LeCroy

Delivering the lineup with Manager Matt LeCroy

Minutes before the first pitch, public address announcer Chris Andree gets on the microphone and touts the Senators’ starting lineup for the game. What seems like a mere formality to many was really the product of hard work and preparation by Senators’ manager Matt LeCroy and his staff. But how tough can it really be jotting down the best nine players each and every night? LeCroy tries to shed some light on the process, “People don’t understand how much goes into making a lineup out.”

In actuality, creating a successful lineup is very much like solving a complex jigsaw puzzle. Place one piece, or player, in the wrong spot and you’re doomed from the start. Despite all of the pieces looking like they fit a certain way, finding the right solution requires the perfect marriage of logic and creativity. Many times the success or failure of the lineup also depends on the players that are left out of the original answer, because the game isn’t decided when the managers exchange lineup cards at home plate.

Solving the Puzzle

As any first-grader will tell you, the first step in solving a jigsaw puzzle is finding all of the border pieces. In this case that means slotting in all of the players that LeCroy has orders to start on a daily basis in usually the same spot in the batting order. LeCroy points at a player like Eury Perez, “We’re training him to be a leadoff hitter, so he’s going to stay in that 1-hole even if he hasn’t been on base in his last 200 at-bats.”

From that point, LeCroy has to just fill in the empty spaces to finalize his lineup and complete the puzzle. He has to take into account who’s hot and who’s not, routine days off, and the best matchups against the opposing pitcher. LeCroy used Tim Pahuta as an example to illustrate the last point, “If I see a lefthanded pitcher against us who has a lot of strikeouts, he obviously has a pitch that goes away from a hitter. I may give Timmy a day off in that instance.”

Surprisingly though, LeCroy and everyone else in the minor leagues doesn’t have access to the binders of detailed statistics like we’re used to seeing Major League managers consult for every decision. “In the big leagues, you get a stat pack of what each guy has done off each pitcher for their whole career. Here, you don’t get that. That would help knowing if a guy has had really good success against a certain pitcher.”

Chris Rahl during the 2012 season. Photo Credit: Will Bentzel/Harrisburg Senators

Chris Rahl during the 2012 season.
Photo Credit: Will Bentzel/Harrisburg Senators

The Senators’ skipper also likes to cater towards his players’ strengths and keep them in their comfort zone, “I try to slot people into where their role is. You try to stay within their element because you don’t want to surprise them.” Traditionally, managers like speed at the top of the order and LeCroy is no different. He loves writing Perez and Jeff Kobernus in the first two spots of his lineup night after night because he knows the problems they can cause on the basepaths. “You put pressure on people like crazy and it affects what pitchers do. It makes people uneasy and you can take advantage of it.”

 From a Jigsaw Puzzle to a Chess Match

Watch a Major League game and you’ll see the managers in the friendly confines of their dugout consult their bench coach before they make a move that could win or lose the ball game. But in the minor leagues, managers don’t have that luxury. Usually they are out in the third base coach’s box when every move needs to be made and it can be a challenge to get the right players into the game as pinch-hitters or pinch-runners. “It’s hard coaching third if something comes up. You are over there trying to do hand signals to the bench.” But LeCroy praised the coaches on his staff, Eric Fox and Paul Menhart, for the preparation they do before the game making his life easier, “We’ll talk about who I like in certain situations and we’ll go over gameplans.”

Substitutions and game theory gets even more complex if the Senators are playing another team affiliated with the National League because there is no designated hitter and pitchers have to bat for themselves. It’s a situation that changes series to series and ultimately provides a whole new set of challenges within the chess match between opposing managers during the game.

LeCroy points out an obvious but often overlooked fact, “If you got pitchers that can handle a bat, they’ve got a better chance of staying in the ballgame. The biggest thing is trust that they can put a bunt down and trust their ability to take a pitch if the guy throwing is struggling. That makes a big difference, because I’m not concerned that I have to use a pinch-hitter. I feel comfortable having that strong mix of bench players for the end of the ballgame.”

Perhaps the biggest factor though when playing by National League rules is the flexibility and makeup of the bench players. Guys that can play multiple positions increase their value in National League games. On this roster, it’s clear who benefits the most, “That’s where a guy like Jose Lozada is so valuable because he can go anywhere you need him to go.”

But besides Lozada’s willingness and ability to play every position, it’s the flexibility of others to switch positions and save LeCroy from making moves that will leave his options limited late in the game that make a huge difference. Having guys like Manny Mayorson, Sean Nicol, and Jimmy Van Ostrand, who in their careers have played significant time at multiple positions, lets LeCroy adapt and adjust much easier. “It puts you in a good situation where there are guys you can trust to put out there on the field that won’t hurt you on defense and will help you win.”

Ultimately, the outcome of the game is dependent on the performance of the players and not the batting order or where someone is playing defensively. But the manager has to put his players in the best situation for them to excel and the first step in that is a lineup that incorporates all of these factors. It’s a delicate balance but when done properly the art of the lineup can be a beautiful thing.

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