Welcome back to the latest in a series, in which we review the previous week in Nationals baseball and power rank the players according to their performance. This is an extremely unscientific exercise; at no point should it ever be confused with actual baseball analysis. Don’t worry, I will do my best to make sure that is obvious. Without further ado: your Washington Nationals, ranked according to power.
Howdy folks, I will be taking over for Dan this week as he has adult things to do. Fortunately, I have no such obligations. Unfortunately, you are all stuck with me.
- Steven Strasburg: I really struggled to decide whom to place atop these rankings. On one hand, Stephen Strasburg (especially his curveball) looked as good in mowing down San Diego as he did on that famous June afternoon in 2010. His brilliance would normally be deserving of the top stop, except Max Scherzer threw nearly as well while getting five more outs than Stras did. Or, in other words, five outs that the bullpen did not have to get. Still, Strasburg threw the best game we have seen from him in a very long time. All of his pitches on the night were A+s, leaving the Padres utterly baffled for two hours.
- Max Scherzer: Ho hum, just your run-of-the-mill outing from Max. Double digit Ks, no-hit caliber stuff, and pitching through the eighth. He surrendered only three hits (including a home run, which is not all that surprising) in a fantastic bounce back from a mediocre outing last week in Atlanta. If it had been anyone besides Scherzer who threw this game, it probably would have been number one this week: that’s how normal this kind of outing has become. We are all spoiled.
- The New Closer: Koda Glover relieved Scherzer with loaded bases and two outs in the ninth and promptly struck out Hunter Renfroe with a 96mph slider to end the game. He followed it up on Saturday with a clean 9th inning and equally nasty stuff, cementing himself into the closer role until further notice. Glover’s stuff is electric, and if he can continue to pick his spots like he did on the weekend, the Nationals closer issue will be a thing of the past. If only he could also take over the 7th and 8th inning roles as well…
- The Rest of the Rotation: As a result of the excellence on Friday and Saturday, the rotation’s work across the week as a whole will be overlooked. Joe Ross’ rough Sunday against the Padres notwithstanding, the bottom three allowed only 4 runs Tuesday through Thursday. Tanner Roark looked especially good in Wednesday’s outing, much more like his 2016 self.
- Trea Turner Rounding into Form: In six games, Trea Turner went hitless only once, struck out only twice, and raised his average twelve points. The one thing still missing from his game is power, with only seven extra base hits all year. His leadoff homer on Friday is a good sign for him.
- Fans in the Third Deck: Bryce Harper did Bryce Harper things again. He broke out of a mini slump with a pair of homers this week, the latter of which seemed uninterested in ever landing.
— MLB (@MLB) May 27, 2017
Even with somewhat less success over the last few weeks, he is seeing the ball, taking good swings, and getting on base consistently. Harper continues to be an MVP leader.
- Criminally Underrated Anthony Rendon: Anthony Rendon quietly had three multi-hit games this week, including his second multi-homer game of the season. Hot starts from others in the lineup covered for his ice cold early April, but in May, Rendon has hit .295 with more walks than strikeouts and a 1.068 OPS. He is an elite middle-of-the-order bat most anywhere else, and he is hitting sixth most nights. He’ll never get the recognition that the other stars in Washington do (which is exactly how he wants it), but he’s as important as anyone in the lineup.
- Pace of Play Enthusiasts: The Nationals played four games in under three hours this week, including three in under two and a half. Elite pitching performances and homer-heavy scoring allowed for that, and no one is complaining.
Honorable Mentions: Michael A. Taylor boosting his trade value, the groundcrew’s work to prevent a rain delay on Tuesday, the bullpen not giving up a run in five of six games, Wilmer Difo’s walkup music.
Dishonorable Mentions: Ryan Zimmerman trying to throw a baseball within five feet of a base, bad takes about Dusty Baker going to his son’s graduation, Joe Ross not receiving double-digit run support.Tags: Anthony Rendon, Bryce Harper, Joe Ross, Koda Glover, Max Scherzer, Nationals, Nats, Stephen Strasburg, Tanner Roark, Trea Turner, Washington Nationals