Pain. As we reach the quarter point of the season, the Nationals have hit their first real rough patch, losing four of six to teams that are a combined 12 games under .500. The Pirates, who have the second-worst offense in MLB, scored 20 runs over the three-game series. The Braves were one of the most power deficient offenses in the league—especially so without Nat-killer extraordinaire Freddie Freeman. Atlanta hit six home runs in their two victories before Strasburg dealt them the Ace of Spades and shut them down over 7.2 IP. For all the good the Nationals have, there are some cracks in the foundation. For the starting pitching, the bullpen, lineup, and bench, we will look at the areas of concern, and how significant they are.
Tag Archives: Daniel Murphy
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.
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.
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.
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.
There was some big news in the world of baseball nerds this week. While you were probably distracted by this series in Colorado, with scores looking more like football games than baseball games, MLB released a whole bunch of fun new Statcast based tools via Baseball Savant. Statcast, as you have likely heard by now, is the new radar based tracking system installed in every MLB stadium.
This system tracks all the movements on the baseball field, from positioning of defenders to launch angle of batted balls to the rotation of a thrown ball. If you have heard terms like “catch probability” or “exit velocity,” you have Statcast to thank. It’s a new system that has lots of potential to teach us new and exciting things about the game. For now, though, it’s mostly a cool new tool to play with. With that in mind, what do these new tools have to tell us about the Nationals?
Now that the Nationals are healthy and Trea Turner is back and cycling around the bases, Dusty Baker is burdened with the best of problems: how does he build his lineup? Earlier this week, Court Swift discussed his optimal lineup with everyone healthy, but here we’re going to look at the options I think Dusty will be seriously considering for the long-term. Normally I would say that with a team this talented and deep, they can go the route of playing matchups and the hot hand. But Dusty is far too traditional for that, so my thinking is that within the next week or so he’s going to really decide on a lineup to stick with (until the next injury changes everything). I see three likely options.
Court Swift has already written about the importance of the head-to-head matchup against the Mets this year. I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment, considering all the facts before us. I want to go further, however, and contend that all things being equal, the single biggest factor in determining the division race this year will be Daniel Murphy.
Debate over who should lead off for the Nationals began as soon as Mike Rizzo dealt three top pitchers (they may leave our farm system, but never our hearts) for Adam Eaton. Eaton’s calling card was his ability to lead off and play great outfield defense – two things Trea Turner did for the 2016 version of the Nats. But Eaton took Turner’s centerfield spot, so Turner took Danny Espinosa‘s shortstop job, and Danny was sent home to California to grow his beard. Turner managed to keep his leadoff job coming out of spring training, but not coming off the DL as Dusty Baker used the return of Turner to switch a few things up. I wouldn’t stop there — I’d go a step further. Here would be my lineup:
Welcome to the first 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.