Currently first in their division, the Washington Nationals have demonstrated just how special a team they are during the first half of the MLB season. Nationals manager Dusty Baker has showcased his philosophy of rotating his players and starting lineup every few games or so to keep guys fresh. Personnel depth is desirable for any team and the Nats have it.
The Nats are indeed special in 2016 because of their batting. This article will focus solely on the Nats batters. T Nationals have players ranked first and second in the National League in batting average among players who have played in at least 69 games. These players are second baseman Daniel Murphy (.348) and catcher Wilson Ramos (.343) respectively. Murphy was brought in because of his ability to make contact with the ball and generate any kind of directional hit. Whether it be a home run or a line drive single to advance the runners while Ramos, whose average is usually in the .200s, has simply had a breakout season. Murphy is also first in the National League in hits (108) and eighth in runs batted in (56).
Young stud and possible back to back MVP right fielder Bryce Harper holds an impressive on base percentage at .404, good for fourth in the NL. Harper brings another strong dynamic to this team. A batter who can be intentionally walked or hit a grand slam, the pitcher must roll the dice. Harper keeps his fans guessing when he’ll make a play or be a hero. He’s got a keen eye at the plate and smart, quick base running instincts, leading the team in stolen bases with 11.
Then there’s the durable third baseman Anthony Rendon, who leads the team in runs with 52. His batting average ranks fourth on the squad at .256.
Another big time hitter for Washington is part werewolf, part nut. I am talking about the beginning of this squad, left fielder Jayson Werth. A clutch performer, and a bit of a lumbering base runner. Werth is as steady as they come, registering solid numbers across all aspects of batting. And how can we forget his recent post-game interview in which he addressed his doubters with, “Those people can kiss my ass!”
Next up to bat is shortstop Danny Espinosa, the team’s leader in home runs (18). Though Espinosa has shown flashes of brilliance, he remains an inconsistent puzzle piece. He may hit two home runs in one game and then fail to have a good eye at reading balls and strikes at his next few at bats. Still, this shortstop can electrify the stadium when his good luck is happening.
Let’s not forget center fielder Ben Revere. His role on the team is a bit like a secret weapon or x factor. Revere can make contact with the ball in a lot of ways. He can hit a well-placed grounder, or a solid base hit in a clutch moment. Though Revere has struggled to hit the ball out of the park (he has just one home run), his speed has compensated. Revere’s 10 stolen bases are second only to Harper and his three triples are second only to Murphy. In summary, Revere is a valuable signing with a penchant for flying around the bases.
Other honorable mentions include second baseman Stephen Drew, who hit an inside the park homer earlier in the year. Also Ryan Zimmerman, the longtime first baseman and backbone of the team.
Any one of these players can shine in any game. And when everyone is on fire, the results are blowout wins for the Nationals.