It might seem like the third time is the charm for Michael A Taylor. Handed a starting role when Adam Eaton went down with a torn ACL, MAT has nearly picked up where Mighty Mouse left off. Since getting plugged into a starting role in Center Field on April 29 through the end of Thursday’s game, Taylor is hitting .328/.369/.557. He’s getting on base and hitting for power, with four doubles, two triples and two home runs, a combination that has him hitting 41% better than league average. He has even swiped two stolen bases to zero caught stealing. Maybe it took a couple turns for Taylor to put it all together, and 2017 is where everything finally clicks?
If you’re reading this you already know that the Nationals bullpen has been bad; like really bad. Despite the the offense leading the MLB in nearly every major category, the bullpen (or lack thereof) has been the defining storyline of the Nationals 2017 season so far. I’m not going to beat a dead horse: We all know that the bullpen has been holding back what appears to be an all-time great Nationals offense and will continue to be a major issue as the season progresses. Finally, on Tuesday night, the front office took a drastic step towards fixing this problem; transitioning Erick Fedde, the organization’s top pitching prospect, out of the rotation and into a relief role.
For just about any team, losing two of its best hitters to injury is a devastating blow. While they may have their fair share of challenges ahead of them, the Low-A Hagerstown Suns are still looking to keep winning without some key contributors.
The first quarter of the 2017 season has been quite the ride; full of walk offs, bullpen atrocities, and battles for tiny resin humans. With the Washington Nationals 39 games into the season (roughly 24%), holding a record of 25-14, now is a good time to look at how the rest of the season should shape up.
The date is May 16, 2017, and over the last 15 games Trea Turner has been worth -0.3 Wins Above Replacement. If that sounds bad, that’s because it is bad. For Turner it’s not just a slump, a ding, a blip, it’s literally the worst fifteen game stretch of his entire Major League career. If you look at the linked graph, the next worst time in his career was his first fifteen games, where he was worth -0.1 WAR. Yet if you just waited two more measly games, Turner had upped his rolling average to an even zero, and from then on he has never been worth less than a replacement level player for any 15-game stretch in his entire career. That is, not until the first game of Sunday’s double header, where his rolling value (despite hitting a home run) dipped below zero for the first time since his 17th game in the bigs.
After yet another game in which the bullpen proved porous, Nats Twitter is once again abuzz with demands for a new reliever. As if there was any doubt, the team has acknowledged its greatest weakness in a significant way, announcing that top starting pitching prospect Erick Fedde will shift to relief with an eye towards contributing in the majors sooner rather than later.
But even returns to form from existing relievers and a star turn from Fedde would not be enough to rescue the sorry bunch that is the Nationals’ relief corps. It’s stupendously likely that the Nationals will move to acquire a reliever at the trade deadline. That deadline is still more than two months away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about guys who might soon be wearing the curly W.
It was the perfect storm. Beautiful weather, Mother’s Day, the second game of a doubleheader, the late opening of gates, and at the center of it all: the Trea Turner bobblehead.
Continue Reading Bobblemania: How the Trea Turner Bobblehead Almost Killed Me
The Nats avoided 2018 arbitration with Bryce Harper by settling his 2018 contract early. The timing seems weird and when asked, Mike Rizzo offered up “cost certainty” as an explanation. Knowing now what is on the books for 2018 will reduce the variables Rizzo will need to consider as he looks into trades to upgrade the roster.
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.