Although FP won’t be successful in making Daniel “Hits” Murphy happen, give him credit for trying because the sentiment stands. Murphy has been the best and most consistent hitter on the Nationals this far in the 2016 season. In fact, he’s been one of the best and most consistent hitters in all of baseball. He’s tied for the seventh-highest WAR in the majors according to FanGraphs. His .394 batting average is the highest in the league by over 30 points. Only 13 players in the MLB have struck out a lower rate than Murphy. He’s carried the offensive load for the Nationals for most of the season even though no one predicted such big things out of the former Met.
The Nationals have been busy this last month: sweeping the Cardinals for the first time since 2007, making history with a 20-strikeout complete game, and winning a series against division rival New York Mets. All this, and the Nationals still found time to check out the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and force Dan Kolko to wear pink sunglasses.
Thanks to an intradivision rivalry and a shared Tommy John history, Matt Harvey and Stephen Strasburg will be forever linked. Since Matt Harvey fancies himself as the Dark Knight, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice dictates that Stephen Strasburg is Superman. Which, sidebar, is that a good thing? I never saw it so I don’t even know it was it really a rivalry. I’m assuming Batman and Superman just end up as buddies at the end so they can make their Justice League sequel(s)? Is that why it sucked? Should really have done my research before writing this piece, huh? Anyways, back on the field, it was Superman/Strasburg who took round two of the 2016 Harvey v. Strasburg matchup Tuesday night.
Continue Reading Harvey Struggles Against Nats Again
As their bats have struggled to warm up in the early going, the Nationals have been buoyed by their pitching. A team ERA of 2.88, the second best in baseball behind the Cubs, has lifted the Nats to first place in the NL East (though that lead sits at just a half game after Monday’s loss to the Mets).
In a surprising show of equity, both the relievers and starters rank second in ERA. But it is the relief corps that has stolen the show recently. Since May 9th, the bullpen has ceded just two runs in 36 1/3 innings, good for a 0.50 ERA. And after four scoreless in relief of Gio Gonzalez tonight, it has not allowed a run in the past eight games, an impressive 23 1/3-inning streak that is approaching the equivalent of three consecutive shutouts. During that span, the relievers have allowed 16 hits and walked seven while striking out 26.
Obviously, such a feat is a collective effort, but let’s look at each of the individual pitchers and see what their contribution to the whole has been. Below, I’ll list each of the seven pitchers and their May statline.
Continue Reading Nats’ Bullpen Leads the Way
#PitchersWhoRake are really popular around The Nats Blog. Who doesn’t love it when a Nationals’ pitcher comes through with a base knock? So far in 2016, Nats’ pitchers have been raking their way to the fifth best offensive output from pitchers in the National League, prior to Max Scherzer’s 0-2 with a walk day in the win versus the Marlins on Sunday.
Continue Reading #PitchersWhoRake, Nats Edition
When thinking about major leaguers, we consider a high BABIP an indicator of unsustainable performance. A guy running a .400 BABIP is sure to come back to earth (except maybe Daniel Murphy), and most everyone should be around .300.
It would follow logically that the same should be true for the minor leagues. Even if you want to argue that minor league defenses or pitchers would contribute to higher minor league BABIPs, a surprisingly relevant Baseball Prospectus article (from 2005!) shows that while BABIP is significantly higher in the very low minors, the effect is nearly gone at the highest levels of the minors: BABIP is .322 at AAA compared to .309 in the majors.
So what do we make of Trea Turner? You’ve surely heard of his offensive exploits in the minors: He’s a career .322/.385/.458 hitter in almost two full minor league seasons, with a .321/.386/.474 line at AAA Syracuse this year. With a bat like that, no wonder many want him to replace Danny Espinosa as the Nats’ starting shortstop.
Continue Reading What Does Trea Turner’s BABIP Tell Us?
Dusty Baker is a genius. Move Ryan Zimmerman out of the clean-up spot and slot Jayson Werth in the two hole and the Nats are a powerhouse again! All is well in the District…
Continue Reading Looking at a New Batting Order for the Nats
Wednesday was a great day for Reynaldo Lopez, as the Washington Nationals’ prized pitching prospect delivered his best start to date at Double-A Harrisburg. Picking up the win against Erie (Detroit Tigers), the right-hander allowed just one run over six innings, while striking nine and walking just one.
Continue Reading Federal Reserve: Lopez Making Progress at Double-A
On a night where Max Scherzer went 6 1/3 innings, struck out 10 batters and allowed only three hits, the Nationals still lost to the Mets 2-0 as two of those three hits allowed were home runs. It’s the continuation of a disturbing trend for the ace, who has now allowed 13 home runs through the first month and a half of the 2016 season after allowing 27 on the whole of 2015. What gives?
Continue Reading Diagnosing Scherzer’s Gopheritis