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 unserious 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.
The Nationals have slipped into a strange midseason lull. It’s not quite the infamous dog days of summer: that time after the trade deadline but before the playoff sprint, when the sun is taxing and the at-bats are a slog and the disabled list is overstuffed. We have not yet reached the midsummer classic, when the sport is buzzing with first-half awards and second-half predictions.
Scoreboard watching provides little stimulation, as the team has extended a commanding division lead and will coast into the playoffs. Analyzing the depth chart in anticipation of October matchups is also a futile exercise, as prospects and trade pickups will certainly replace players on the roster’s margins.
Yet, even for the diehard and emotionally invested fan, some enjoyment comes from the sport’s inherent lack of urgency. In a season that lasts 162 games, breaking balls will be hung, fly balls will be dropped, box scores will be glossed over, and losses to division foes will be shrugged off. The laziness of a backup catcher grounding out in the 8th inning of a June day game is reflected in the diet of the attendant fan.
Watching baseball is about praying for playoff heroics, but also about an ice cold Budweiser, a mid-inning chat on the mound, obliged half-hearted boos of a pickoff throw, and watching your team lose upwards of seventy times. Without the urgency of football’s Game Of The Century Of The Week, or basketball’s back and forth pace, or hockey’s relentless chaos, summer baseball slips away like a night on the beach watching waves lap against the sand.
Even as the sprawl of the season ticks away, we find moments of brilliance to savor. Here, then, are a few moments from this past week that I relished, ranked according to power.
Max Scherzer vs Yoenis Cespedes, 8th inning, Friday night.
A classic high-leverage matchup of power vs power, as Scherzer threw the kitchen sink at Cespedes: fastball, curveball, changeup, and slider, as well as stalking, snarling, grunting, and muttering. Max eclipsed his high pitch count of the season to end the collision with a swinging strikeout.
Watching Trea Turner nightly is a nightly joy, from his explosive baserunning to his gap-to-gap power to his slick shortstop hole jump throws. If other elements are encouraging you to skip a game, such as the combustible bullpen or an unfavorable pitching matchup, remember Mr. Turner and that speed don’t slump. I feel like Nats fans owe AJ Preller a gift basket or an Edible Arrangement or something, anyone wanna go halfsies with me?
The Continued Development of Enny Romero
This was an adult save. This save has a career, not a job, and knows things about tax rates. This save makes small talk about refinancing mortgages during work lunches.
Bryce Harper’s lasers
Whether Bryce is throwing baseballs to the home plate area, or using a big stick to abruptly remove them from the home plate area, he does it with incredible velocity. The jaw-dropping plays have become routine from Bryce, and I would encourage you to stop and smell the incredibly fast-moving roses.
Other baseball-adjacent things.
Cold beer. Post-game fireworks. Early evening summer breeze rustling the green grass. All that poetic, Americana shit. You know. Whatever it is around this sport that also makes you love this sport even more. Soak that stuff in this summer, because everything in between the white lines is an eventual collision course of the 25 guys from Washington and your emotional stability in October.
On that note, one of those baseball-adjacent things you might enjoy about watching the Nationals play baseball is literally and lustily watching the Nationals play baseball. On that note, I present good friend and guest blogger Gloria Kenyon, with her own power-rankings of the best butts on the Nationals team. Take it away, Gloria.
Although the heyday of the best Nats butts passed with the free agencies of Michael Morse and Jordan Zimmermann, there is still quality ass on our outfield grass. What we have below is a totally subjective, yet objectifying, list of the best butts showcased in Nats Park.
10. Gio Gonzalez – Room for improvement, but a nice place to rest the eyes every few days. Especially now that you know it’s possible it might come with a W.
9. Koda Glover – If there’s only one thing you can count on our bullpen to deliver, it’s a good view from right field.
8. Ryan Zimmerman – The Face is also not bad in the rear end department. There are days when it’s moving toward Dad Butt, but just like Dad Bod, there’s something for everyone out there.
7. Max Scherzer – Once you get past those eyes and the angry faces during self-talk, you see that all that stalking around the mound has really done wonders for this guy’s glutes.
6. Adam Lind – What he lacks in ability to grow appropriate or good facial hair (also important to the author), he makes up for on the back end.
5. José Lobatón – This is just a good argument for why we should all do more squats.
4. Bryce Harper – Sure, we want him to always be in the top spot, but he’s up against some tough competition from his teammates.
3. Daniel Murphy – Murph’s butt rose to fame last fall, but didn’t quite rise to the top spot on this list.
2. Tanner Roark – You could make a solid case for why Tanner should hold the top spot on this list, but I have biases.
1. Jayson Werth – We just passed the one year anniversary of the post-game “Kiss my ass” interview and I have to say, it’s a mighty fine ass, sir.Tags: Adam Lind, Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Enny Romero, Gio Gonzalez, Jayson Werth, Jose Lobaton, Koda Glover, Max Scherzer, Nationals, Nats, Power Rankings, Ryan Zimmerman, Tanner Roark, Trea Turner, Washington Nationals