We started the “Week in Review” series last season, and we’ve decided to carry it into 2020.
This week was a short one for the Nationals in terms of on-field action, but there’s also plenty that’s happened surrounding the team recently that merits discussion.
The Nationals dropped two out of three games from the Yankees in their opening series of the season. The first loss (4-1) came in a five-plus inning, rain-shortened Game One. Washington rebounded to take the next game (9-2), but lost the finale (3-2) to fall back below .500 to start the year.
The MLB season opens with Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals facing Gerrit Cole and the New York Yankees on Thursday, July 23. Aside from preparing for the likes Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and company, here’s what it seems like D.C. fans should expect to see.
In case you forgot, MLB rosters were agreed to be expanded for the 2020 season.
The Player Pool
At 4 p.m. ET today, all MLB teams were required to unveil the list of 60 players who would be a part of their Spring Training roster. As is likely the case for most teams, the Nationals’ player pool looks very intriguing, including many of their top prospects – most of whom weren’t even on the 40-man roster, not to mention pushing for a roster spot – prior to the league shutdown.
The one-year anniversary of the Washington Nationals started the season 19-31 took place just over a week ago. Revisiting this topic might seem unnecessary after the improbable run the Nationals went on in last season, but there’s some interesting revisionist history developing that might need to be reconsidered. Although it may have been premature to suggest that Dave Martinez absolutely deserved to be fired (which I did), the beginning of his tenure — not even just the 19–31 start to 2019 — wasn’t exactly spectacular. Continue reading “Why the “Fire Dave Martinez” Crowd Wasn’t Crazy”→
We’ve unveiled the second-team pitchers and position players, as well as the top pitchers in recent Nationals history. So now there’s only one thing left to decide upon: the best batters of the last decade.
Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of big names here, but there are also some that may not have immediately popped into your heads, and still others who you may not have realized were as good as they were.
If you’ve been keeping up with the mini-series so far, you’ve seen a lot of the players — both pitchers and position players — who had some level of importance without being guys the fanbase necessarily rallied behind like the true superstars.
Now it’s time to dive into the superstars. The Nationals had a lot of great pitchers over the course of the decade, so ranking them isn’t necessarily easy to do. As my high school Statistics teacher from South Africa used to say, “There’s more than one way to skin a zebra.” In this case, we’ll look at the most dominant players in specific roles for the longest periods of time, with productivity in their best seasons serving as a tiebreaker. Continue reading “Washington Nationals All-Decade Pitchers of the 2010s”→
Now that the list of second-tier pitchers has been unveiled, it’s time to do the same thing for positions players. They’re certainly not the best of the bunch for Washington over the last decade, but there are a lot of very talented players that deserve to be recognized.
We’re all cooped up with not much to do. Thankfully, that also means we have time to step back and reflect on some aspects of life that we may not have otherwise. It’s also a chance to look back at the last decade in sports.
The Nationals had somewhat of a fairytale decade. They went from cellar-dwellers of the NL East and the entire major leagues — five years removed from relocating from Montreal — to perennial playoff contenders, and then capped it off with a World Series championship.
There’s a lot to reflect upon, from stars of the era to short-term contributors that you may have forgotten. With that, I’ve decided to recap the decade that was for the franchise by unveiling an All-Decade roster. However, before doing so, I thought it would only be fair to recognize some of the best players that couldn’t quite make in into my top 25. After all, the franchise’s core wasn’t entirely consistent — not even from 2012 until the end. Continue reading “Washington Nationals “Best of the Rest” Pitchers of the 2010s”→
Anthony Rendon is gone, and that leaves a gaping hole at the hot corner for the defending World Series champions. As I mentioned in mySpring Training primer, the ideal scenario was for top prospect Carter Kieboom to take over the starting job. Whether it was his job to lose or if it was simply his to compete for has come into question recently, but either way, Kieboom starting early in 2020 was undeniably the organization’s preference. If it wasn’t, they would’ve pursued a third baseman — Nolan Arenado, Kris Bryant, Josh Donaldson, Mike Moustakas, Eduardo Escobar; the list goes on — much more seriously this offseason.
As time passes, it looks increasingly likely that Kieboom starts the season in the minor leagues. There’s still a chance that he wins the third base job, but he hasn’t done himself any favors offensively — he was 1–12 (.083 average) this spring before going 2–2 off the bench yesterday — or defensively — he has two errors (and a third that could’ve gone against him) on only 13 official chances. Nonetheless, he still has a chance to improve before Opening Day — and get off the bench. For the sake of this exercise, however, I’ll assume he doesn’t crack the initial 26-man roster.