Washington Nationals: Mid-Season Report Card
Team: Washington Nationals
Record: 48-47 (6 GB)
Biggest Surprise of 1st Half:
The Nationals offence ranks next to last in most of the major offensive categories, a huge surprise when you have a lineup with the likes of Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond. The team offence is second last in the National League in runs and OBP, third last in hits, batting average and .OPS and 6th last in home runs.
Biggest Disappointment of 1st Half:
Nationals opening day second baseman Danny Espinosa was demoted in early June after getting off to a terrible start. Espinosa sported .158 batting average after 44 games and was sent packing to Triple-A. Surprisingly Espinosa hasn’t fared much better in the minors batting .212 in 32 games with Syracuse. A far cry from the 38 homers he combed for over the past two major league seasons.
At the beginning of the season one would have had to figure that Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasburg would have a good grasp on the MVP honours, however at the mid-point of the season Ian Desmond has raised his game. Desmond leads the team in homers, stolen bases and hits while playing shortstop. Desmond is a nice compliments to the other offensive weapons in the Nationals lineup. Pitcher Jordan Zimmerman would be a close second for his first half performance.
Prospect Ready To Make An Impact:
Nationals rookie Anthony Rendon made his major league debut and never missed a beat. Rendon has spent the majority of his time at second base batting .301 with 4 homers and an .812 OPS in his rookie campaign. Rendon will be a fixture in the major leagues for years to come and a face of the future for the Nats.
Contender or Pretender:
The Nationals are a contender but will need to play more consistent baseball in the second half to close the gap on the Atlanta Braves. The Nationals have the experience and NAT-titude to be a force if they can make it into the playoffs.
Overall Team Analysis:
The Nationals have one of the best pitching staffs in the majors so if their bats ever live up to their expectations the Nationals could go on a nice run. Harper needs to have a healthy second half and lead this team with franchise player type numbers. Nationals have the talent and should be in the conversation comer October.