26-year old switch-hitting starting 2B Danny Espinosa is having big time issues with the bat so far this year. He has played in 39 games for the Nationals so far this year and he is 23 of 141 (.163 avg, .487 OPS) with 10 runs scored, 3 homers, 12 RBIs and 1 stolen base. Espinosa has whiffed 40 times while only walking 4 times so far this year, as he is swinging at everything. The Nationals usually aren’t worried about the whiffs, but that’s when he’s giving them power and speed….which he hasn’t so far this year. Espinosa has played in 385 games in his first four years in the majors and he is 327 of 1,411 (.232 avg, .703 OPS) with 180 runs scored, 47 homers, 149 RBIs and 38 stolen bases. If 24-year old switch-hitting Steve Lombardozzi was playing better this year, Espinosa would likely be sitting on the bench. Lombardozzi has played in 37 games for the Nationals so far this year and he is 20 for 91 (.220 avg, .530 OPS) with 7 runs scored, 0 homers and 6 RBIs.
With starting RF Jayson Werth injured, Bryce Harper has moved from LF to RF to replace him defensively. 26-year old righty swinging Tyler Moore and 28-year old lefty swinging Roger Bernadina are platooning in LF right now and neither of them are hitting a lick. Moore has played in 28 games for the Nationals so far this year and he is 8 for 66 (.121 avg, .384 OPS) with 4 runs scored, 1 homer and 8 RBIs. He has walked only 3 times while whiffing 27 times so far this year. Bernadina has played in 32 games for the Nationals so far this year and he is 7 for 61 (.115 avg, .342 OPS) with 5 runs scored, 0 homers, 1 RBI and 1 stolen base. He has walked only 4 times while whiffing 22 times so far this year. If Moore and Bernadina don’t start hitting soon, the Nationals are going to have to look at calling up someone to play or make a deal for an outfielder.
The Nationals have placed 29-year old righty reliever Ryan Mattheus on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 20th, due to a fractured right hand. Mattheus has pitched in 14 games (0 starts) for the Nationals so far this year and he is 0-0 with a 4.96 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. He has now pitched in 115 games (0 starts) in his first three years with the Nationals and he is 7-5 with a 3.14 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. Mattheus is a solid reliever for the Nationals, but they should be o.k. without him until he’s ready to return to action due to the quality depth that they have in the pen.
UPDATE: (5/24/2013) - Ryan Mattheus will miss the next 4-6 weeks.
The Nationals have acquired 28-year old lefty swinging catcher Brian Jeroloman from the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations. He played in 11 games in AAA-ball for the Pirates this year and he is 4 for 18 (.222 avg, .759 OPS) with 6 runs scored, 0 homers and 2 RBIs. Jeroloman has played in 570 games in his first 8 years in the minors and he is 427 of 1,780 (.240 avg, .707 OPS) with 215 runs scored, 26 homers, 204 RBIs and 7 stolen bases. Jeroloman has not played in the majors yet and he was picked up to be an insurance policy in AAA-ball in case another catcher goes down to injury for the Nationals.
I know, righty starting pitcher Pedro Martinez never pitched for the Washington Nationals, but he is all over the team’s record books. He only pitched four years with the Expos, but he was a standout. His best season came back in 1997 when he won the N.L. Cy Young Award. Martinez pitched in 31 games (all starts) for the Expos in 1997 and he was 17-8 with a 1.90 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. He gave up 158 hits and 67 walks while whiffing 305 batters in 241 1/3 innings for the Expos in 1997 and that is impressive. Martinez was #16 in the N.L. MVP voting in 1997 and he was a N.L. All-Star. Martinez pitched in 118 games (117 starts) in his four years with the Expos and he was 55-33 with 1 save, a 3.06 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. Martinez is still tied for 10th in Expos/Nationals’ history with his 55 wins. He is also tied for #4 in ERA (3.06), he’s #1 in WHIP (1.09), #4 in strikeouts (843) and he is tied for 4th in shutouts (8) in Expos/Nationals’ history. Martinez made it to 2 All-Star games in his four years with the Expos.
The Nationals have placed 25-year old righty swinging catcher Wilson Ramos on the 15-day disabled list due to a strained left hamstring. Ramos has played in 14 games for the Nationals so far this year and he is 12 for 48 (.250 avg, .745 OPS) with 4 runs scored, 2 homers and 6 RBIs. With Ramos on the mend, 29-year old righty swinging Kurt Suzuki will be the full-time starter. He has played in 27 games for the Nationals so far this year and he is 20 for 81 (.247 avg, .733 OPS) with 6 runs scored, 2 homers, 9 RBIs and 1 stolen base. The Nationals have called 27-year old righty swinging catcher Johnatan Solano to serve as Suzuki’s backup until Ramos is ready to return to action. Solano played in 3 games for the Nationals earlier this year and he was 1 for 6 (.167 avg, .333 OPS). Solano has now played in 15 games in his first two years with the Nationals and he is 12 for 41 (.293 avg, .838 OPS) with 6 runs scored, 2 homers, 6 RBIs and 1 stolen base. The Nationals are in good hands behind the plate until Ramos is ready to return to action.
33-year old righty closer Rafael Soriano is off to a fast start in 2013. He has pitched in 17 games (0 starts) for the Nationals so far this year and he is 0-1 with 12 saves, a 2.12 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. He has given up 13 hits and 3 walks while whiffing 14 batters in his first 17 innings this year, which is pretty impressive. Soriano has now pitched in 470 games (8 starts) in his first 12 years in the majors and he is 15-25 with 144 saves, a 2.76 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. Soriano has been nails for the Nationals this year and I look for that to continue.
22-year old lefty swinging outfielder Brian Goodwin came into this season as the Nationals’ #3 prospect according to Baseball America. Goodwin has played in 34 games in AA-ball so far this year and he is 35 for 137 (.255 avg, .754 OPS) with 24 runs scored, 2 homers, 5 RBIs and 6 stolen bases. Goodwin has now played in 134 games in his first two years in the minors and he is 142 of 519 (.274 avg, .827 OPS) with 88 runs scored, 16 homers, 57 RBIs and 24 stolen bases. The Nationals will likely take things slowly with Goodwin.
The Nationals have placed 33-year old righty swinging outfielder Jayson Werth on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 3rd due to a strained right hamstring. Werth has played in 27 games so far this year for the Nationals and he is 26 for 100 (.260 avg, .708 OPS) with 17 runs scored, 4 homers, 10 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. The Nationals have recalled 22-year old righty swinging outfielder Eury Perez to replace Werth on the active roster. Perez has played in 23 games in AAA-ball so far this year for the Nationals and he is 37 for 107 (.346 avg, .791 OPS) with 17 runs scored, 1 homer, 6 RBIs and 7 stolen bases. Perez has now played in 559 games in his first seven years in the minors and he is 634 of 2,058 (.308 avg, .739 OPS) with 348 runs scored, 12 homers, 213 RBIs and 226 stolen bases. Perez got his first taste of the majors with the Nationals last year when he appeared in 13 games in which he was 1 for 5 (.200 avg, .400 OPS) with 3 runs scored. Perez came into this season as the Nationals’ #7 overall prospect according to Baseball America. The Nationals hope that Werth heals up soon.
The Nationals aren’t hitting that well as a team this year, but that hasn’t been rubbing off on 20-year old lefty swinging outfielder Bryce Harper. Harper has played in 32 games for the Nationals so far this year and he is 35 for 112 (.313 avg, 1.047 OPS) with 21 runs scored, 10 homers, 20 RBIs and 1 stolen base. He leads the Nationals in runs scored, homers and RBIs so far this year….and by a wide margin. He has also walked 16 times while whiffing 21 times so far this year, so he has shown a pretty decent eye at the plate so far in 2013. Harper has now played in 171 games in his first two years with the Nationals and he is 179 for 645 (.278 avg, .857 OPS) with 119 runs scored, 32 homers, 79 RBIs and 19 stolen bases. Harper is just scratching the surface of his potential.