Welcome back to the latest in a series, in which we review the previous week in Nationals baseball and power rank the players and events 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 chance to see adorable letters written by small baseball fans in hopes of persuading their favorite teams’ general managers to do their bidding is one of the best things about the advent of social media. (Though, it was not as cute when a kid asked the Giants to sign Mark Melancon. Never forget.) It’s a modern day Dear Abigail, but with more desperation.
Saturday afternoon, little Natalie spoke for all Nats fans when her mom posted a picture of a letter she sent to Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, asking him to pull out all the stops to sign Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth. She even slipped him a 20 (plus one) to make it happen.
Bryce Harper home runs tend to send shockwaves that could probably be comically illustrated by waking hibernating bears, kickstarting fields of flowers to bloom, and even getting MASN analyst Ray Knight to awaken from his social media slumber.
At about 2:30 p.m. Saturday, your phone might have been buzzing off the table with notifications of Bryce Harper and the Nationals agreeing on a $21.65 million deal to avoid arbitration for next season. It’s the largest deal for an arbitration-eligible player in MLB history because Harper and big numbers go hand in hand.
Big numbers like two walk-off homers against the Phillies in the last month. Harper sent his bomb out on a 0-1 pitch, straight out to centerfield to land atop of his big pile of money like the cherry on top it was.
With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to the truth, by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one, but truly two.
—Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Friday night, DC held a second election and John Wall emphatically earned the presidency, at least according to most tweets from 11 to 12 that night. Despite putting up a mere three points in the first half, Wall never wavered and sunk the three-point shot that would secure a Washington Wizards victory and a Game 7 with only seconds left in the 4th quarter.
Mike Rizzo might have a new strategy when marketing to potential free agents. “Have you been treated poorly by your current, team? Well, you might want to consider joining the Washington Nationals!” This week, Matt Wieters walked off his former club. Through the first three games of the contrived “MASN Cup,” which carries about as much weight as the Mystics Attendance Banners, Wieters has put together a sparkling .385/.429/.462 slash-line. He is carrying on what has become a fine Washington Nationals Tradition: beating your former club in fun and torturous ways.
The 2017 season has not been a good year for Blake Treinen. Handed the closer reigns to start the year, Treinen struggled right out of the gates en route to an 8.10 ERA on the season and a demotion to middle relief. The results for Treinen have been disappointing, to say the least. Most disappointing because he was dominant in 2016, with a 2.28 ERA. So, what has gone wrong this season?
Even though it’s only a little over a month into the season, baseball analysts love trying to predict who is going to have an MVP-caliber season or who might win the MVP in the fall. And yes, I occasionally take part in these activities. Usually, I’d take a look at all of the best players in the National League and try to pick four or five who have the best shot at riding their good seasons to the end and at bringing home some hardware. Last year, I had some pretty good predictions. (In my top five, I had Daniel Murphy, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Nolan Arenado, and Corey Seager, who all finished in the top five in MVP voting.) But this year I can’t even pick through the Nats. With so many players currently having torrid seasons, I’m going to look at potential MVP candidates on the Nationals instead of looking at potential MVP candidates in the National League.
It was a week like any other week. Max Scherzer took another no-hitter into the sixth inning, the Nationals played sub-par games against the Orioles, the Washington Capitals were eliminated in the second round… But from beyond the DL, Adam Eaton led the charge to break up the monotony that led to off-field highlights of the week.