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With Middle Infielders Like These…

The trio of Adam Dunn, Ryan Zimmerman, and Josh Willingham are three of the best offensive players by their position in the Majors; ranked by wOBA (a statistic which includes and assigns an appropriate weight to nearly all of the offensive contributions a player can make) Dunn is the 8th best first basemen, Zimmerman the 4th best third baseman, and Willingham the 3rd best outfielder. (But, hey, who said that being the 3rd best outfielder in the Majors means you should be an All-Star?

Knowing how good those three guys are, you would expect the Nationals to have a pretty decent offense, right? I mean, at least middle-of-the-pack? Yet, the Nationals are tied for 20th in the Majors for wOBA and are 23rd in runs scored.

Maybe you would conclude that the rest of the Nationals’ players are not all that great. You would be right. And, aside from Nyjer Morgan, the least great of the not-so-great Nationals are the middle infielders.

Cristian Guzman went on a tear earlier this season, hitting well above .300. Now that he’s back to about where you’d expect him to be, we can get a better idea of how good he really is. Of second baseman with 190 or more PA, Guzman is 22nd out of 32 in terms of wOBA. His back-up, Adam Kennedy, is 25th. So at least the Nationals are playing the better guy.

Then there’s Ian Desmond. Though he is not playing well, he is still 20th out of 33 eligible shortstops in terms of wOBA (Compare that to the rankings of Guzman and Kennedy). Also, Desmond is 24 and his career wOBA of .320 is still higher than the career wOBAs of both Guzman and Kennedy.

There are rumors circulating that the Nationals could be moving Guzman and Kennedy both of whom are either at the end of or past their primes. With seemingly little help in the minors, the Nationals must do whatever they can to get a second baseman who’s good enough to play everyday. If they could get rid of both Guzman and Kennedy in the process, all the better.

If that can’t be done, maybe they could try Mike Morse. He played shortstop very early in his career and he’s on a tear ( .383 wOBA, career .345 wOBA). At the very least, get Guzman and Kennedy (and Morgan) out of the lead-off spots. The three big bats need some help.

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