Results tagged ‘ Danny Espinosa ’

Nationals Game Notes: June 9 at Chicago White Sox

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Washington Nationals (36-23) at Chicago White Sox (29-30)
LHP Gio Gonzalez [3-4, 3.94] | RHP Miguel Gonzalez [0-1, 3.93]
Thursday, June 9 l Game #60 / Road #34 l U.S. Cellular Field l Chicago, I.L. l 7:10 P.M. CT
Television: MASN2 l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network

BRINGING THE LUMBER
The Nationals continued their recent offensive onslaught with an 11-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night on the South Side…The victory, which featured at least one hit from every batter in the lineup, an RBI from seven of the nine, a run from eight of the nine, and home runs from 1B Ryan Zimmerman, 2B Stephen Drew, SS Danny Espinosa and LF Jayson Werth, sealed the Nationals’ 11th series win of the season, their eighth on the road.

  • Coupled with their 10-run outbursts on Tuesday at CWS & Sunday at CIN, the 2016 Nationals are now just the second team in club history (2005-present) to post 10 or more runs in three straight games (also June 26-28, 2012 at COL).
  • The Nationals had four batters with three-hit nights on Wednesday (CF Ben Revere, Werth, RF Bryce Harper, and Espinosa)…It was just the fifth time in Nationals history (2005-present) the team had four or more players with three or more hits…That many Nationals had not posted three or more knocks in the same game since five WSH players collected at least three apiece at San Francisco on Aug. 13, 2012.

INTERLEAGUE INTERLUDE
With the series win over the White Sox assured on Wednesday, the Nationals improved to 9-2 (.818) this season in Interleague play and have yet to drop a series to an American League team…Among teams that have played at least two series against the opposite league, Washington has the best record in the National League, and the second-best record in the majors behind only the Seattle Mariners (6-1, .857).

  • The Nationals went 8-12 (.400) in Interleague play in 2015, tied for the sixth-lowest winning percentage in MLB and in the National League.

ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD
The Nationals will conclude their current three-city, nine-game, 11-day trek Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field and head home to open a six-game homestand on Friday evening…Their return to the friendly confines of Nationals Park will be brief, however, as Washington will head back out on the road for another 11-day jaunt starting June 16 in San Diego.

  • At 36-23 (.610), the Nationals are tied with the Texas Rangers for the second-best record in Major League Baseball…The Chicago Cubs pace MLB (41-17, .707).
  • The Nationals have played to a 21-12 (.636) record on the road thus far this season, which is also the second-best mark in MLB, behind only the Cubs (19-9, .679).

Nationals Game Notes: June 1 vs. Philadelphia Phillies

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Washington Nationals (32-21) at Philadelphia Phillies (26-26)
RHP Max Scherzer [5-4, 4.05] | LHP Adam Morgan [1-3, 6.67]
Wednesday, June 1 l Game #54 / Road # 28 l Citizens Bank Park l Philadelphia, P.A. l 7:05 P.M.
Television: MASN2 l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network

SERIES SUCCESS
Behind strong pitching from RHP Joe Ross (7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) and four homers (OF Jayson Werth, 2B Daniel Murphy, SS Danny Espinosa and PH Stephen Drew), the Nationals won their third straight game and sealed the series victory on Tuesday night with a 5-1 defeat of the Phillies…The win pushed Washington to 7-1-1 this season in road series play thus far, the only series loss coming at the Chicago Cubs (May 5-8).

  • The Nationals’ current three-city, nine-game, 11-day trek is the longest (by days) they’ll make this season, matching the final regular-season trip of the year, to ATL, MIA & PIT.
  • The Nationals have played to a 17-10 (.630) record on the road thus far this season, tied with San Francisco for the second-best mark in the NL, behind only Chicago (17-8, .680).

INTO THE FRANCHISE ANNALS
Going 2-for-4 (with a home run and an infield single) Nationals 2B Daniel Murphy collected his 46th and 47th hits in May on Tuesday night, tying the franchise record (Nationals/Expos) for his in a single calendar month…Murphy, who had already set the Nationals record (2005-present) for hits in a month by soaring past the previous high of 40, joined OF Al Oliver (August, 1982) & OF Marquis Grissom (June, 1994) as the record holders.

  • Murphy finished the month of May with his MLB-best 26th multi-hit game, bringing his totals for the month (29 games) to 47-for-113 (.416), with eight doubles, seven HR, 32 singles, 23 RBI, two walks, 17 runs scored and 14 multi-hit games.
  • The 47 hits, a career high in a single month for Murphy (40, July 2011), are also the most recorded by any National League player in any calendar month since Melky Cabrera piled up 51 hits for the San Francisco Giants in May, 2012.
  • Murphy currently leads Major League Baseball in multi-hit games (26), batting average (.397) and hits (77)…He also ranks among MLB hitters in OPS (2nd, 1.062), slugging percentage (2nd, .634), on-base percentage (3rd, .428) and doubles (T11th, 15).
  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last qualified player in his first season with a new team who possessed as high a batting average through May as Murphy was Roberto Alomar for the 1996 Baltimore Orioles (.397).
  • Having played in 51 of the Nationals’ 53 games, Murphy has at least two hits in half of the games he’s played in…He has also hit safely in 27 of his last 31 games (including 10 straight), going 50-for-121 (.413) with eight doubles, seven HR, 25 RBI and 19 runs scored.

LET’S TALK HOMERS
The Nationals’ rode a variety of home runs to the win on Tuesday night…OF Jayson Werth kicked things off with a first-inning blast…2B Daniel Murphy gave the Nationals the lead with a sixth-inning shot to right field…And in the ninth, SS Danny Espinosa crushed a two-run jack to right for some key insurance, his sixth of the season, while PH Stephen Drew immediately followed with an inside-the-parker.

  • Werth’s was his 10th home run at Citizens Bank Park as a member of the Nationals, his 62nd there in his career.
  • With nine HR through the season’s first two months, Murphy is on pace to demolish his previous career high of 14 longballs in a season (2015).
  • Espinosa and Drew produced the fifth set of back-to-back HR for the Nationals this year.
  • Drew’s pinch-hit inside-the-park home run (clocked at 17 seconds around the bases) was the second ITPHR for Washington this season, joining 1B Ryan Zimmerman (5/15 vs. MIA)…Via Elias, the Nationals are the first team with two ITPHRs in the same month since the Rockies did it in June, 2014 (both by Brandon Barnes)…It was the fourth ITPHR in Nationals history and Washington’s eighth pinch-hit home run of 2016, already matching the team record (2005-present) for PH HR in a season (2006).

Nationals Game Notes: May 31 vs. Philadelphia Phillies

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Washington Nationals (31-21) at Philadelphia Phillies (26-25)
RHP Joe Ross [4-4, 2.52] | RHP Aaron Nola [4-3, 2.86]
Tuesday, May 31 l Game #53 / Road # 27 l Citizens Bank Park l Philadelphia, P.A. l 7:05 P.M.
Television: MASN2 l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network

OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT
The Nationals opened this three-city, nine-game, 11-day road trip to Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Chicago (White Sox) on Monday night with a 4-3 victory over the Phillies…Trailing, 2-1, entering the eighth inning, the Nationals put together a three-run, two-out rally to take the lead…SS Danny Espinosa, OF Ben Revere, and OF Chris Heisey worked key walks while OF Jayson Werth (game-tying single) and 2B Daniel Murphy (go-ahead two-run single) came through with the big hits…RHP Jonathan Papelbon earned his 14th save of the season.

  • This trek is the longest (by days) the Nationals will make this season, matching the final regular-season trip of the year, to Atlanta, Miami, and Pittsburgh.
  • The Nationals have played to a 16-10 (.600) record on the road thus far this season, tied with San Francisco for the second-best mark in the NL, behind only Chicago (17-8, .680).

CLOSING IN ON THE RECORD
2B Daniel Murphy has already set and re-set the Nationals record (2005-present) for hits in a month, soaring past the previous high of 40 on Saturday night…Now, with 45 hits in May entering the month’s final day, Murphy is well within striking distance of the franchise record (Nationals/Expos) of 47 for hits in a single month…The franchise record, which has stood for more than 33 years, is held by OF Al Oliver (August, 1982) & OF Marquis Grissom (June, 1994).

  • Murphy was 3-for-4 with a double, a home run, three RBI and a run scored on Monday night, bringing his current totals for May to 45-for-109 (.413), with eight doubles, six HR, two walks, 16 runs scored and 22 RBI.
  • The 45 hits, a career high in a single month for Murphy (40, July 2011), are also the most recorded by any National League player in any calendar month since Melky Cabrera piled up 51 hits for the San Francisco Giants in May, 2012.
  • Murphy currently leads Major League Baseball in multi-hit games (25), batting average (.395) and hits (T1st, 75)…He also ranks among MLB hitters in OPS (2nd, 1.048), slugging percentage (2nd, .621), on-base percentage (3rd, .426) and doubles (T11th, 15).
  • Having played in 50 of the Nationals’ 52 games, Murphy has at least two hits in half of the games he’s played in…He has also hit safely in 26 of his last 30 games (including nine straight), going 48-for-117 (.410) with eight doubles, six HR, 24 RBI and 18 runs scored.

#ZIM
Nationals 1B Ryan Zimmerman continued his May revival with his first triple in more than a calendar year (April 15, 2015) on Monday night in Philadelphia…Zimmerman, who hit the first inside-the-park home run of his career on May 15 and posted his first four-hit game since 2014 on May 28, is enjoying the season’s second month…Since May 1, Zimmerman is hitting .262 with a .319 on-base percentage and a .553 slugging percentage…He’s hit seven doubles to go with his seven home runs and one triple, walked eight times, driven in 17 runs, scored 15, and stolen one base…Seven of those 17 RBI have given the Nationals the lead.

  • Zimmerman posted the 11th four-hit game of his career on Saturday night, clubbing two home runs, adding two singles and matching a career high with the 4-for-4 evening…He also picked up the 16th multi-homer game of his career (2nd of the season)…It was his first four-hit game since July 5, 2014 vs. the Chicago Cubs.
  • Zimmerman now has seven home runs in May after clubbing just one in April.

Nationals Game Notes: May 20 vs. Miami Marlins

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Washington Nationals (25-16) at Miami Marlins (21-19)
RHP Tanner Roark [2-3, 3.10] | LHP Justin Nicolino [2-1, 3.75]
Friday, May 20 l Game #42 / Road #23 l Marlins Park l Miami, F.L. l 7:10 P.M.
Television: MASN l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network

NO NATIONALS LIKE THESE
The Nationals reached the approximate quarter pole of the season this week in New York, taking two of three from the Mets and sealing the best start in Nationals history (2005-present) through the season’s first 41 games…No previous Nationals team won as many as 25 of its first 41 games (2015 & 2012 teams went 24-17)…The 1996 Montreal Expos went 27-14.

  • The Nationals continue this six-game road swing Friday night in Miami…Washington has played to a 13-9 record on the road in 2016.

BREAK OUT THE BATS
The Nationals had their longest inning of the season on Thursday night, sending 11 batters to the plate in the top of the third vs. the Mets…The 11 batters produced seven runs, which, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, was the most the franchise (Nationals/Expos) had scored in an inning against the Mets since July 26, 2004 at Montreal, and the highest-scoring inning that any Nationals or Expos team had ever produced in New York.

  • Four Nationals (CF Ben Revere, 2B Daniel Murphy, 3B Anthony Rendon, and SS Danny Espinosa) produced multi-hit games as Washington tallied 11 hits one night after registereing 11 walks and 11 strikeouts (Weds. vs. NYM).
  • With the win, RHP Stephen Strasburg improved to 7-0 on the season…Washington has won each of Strasburg’s last 13 starts, a franchise record (Nationals/Expos), besting the 12 straight earned when Jordan Zimmermann started from Aug. 2, 2015-April 8, 2015.

HAVE YOU MET MR. MURPHY?
Nationals 2B Daniel Murphy is leading the Major Leagues with 20 multi-hit games this season…Having played in 40 of the Nationals’ 41 games, Murphy has at least two hits in half the games he’s played in…He has also hit safely in 17 of his last 20 games, going 33-for-78 (.423) with seven doubles, four homers, 18 RBI and 14 runs scored in that stretch.

  • Murphy leads Major League Baseball in batting average (.397), multi-hit games (20), hits (60), OPS (1st, 1.065)…He also ranks among MLB hitters in slugging percentage (3rd, .636), doubles (T5th, 14), and on-base percentage (6th, .429).
  • On the season, Murphy has hit safely in 34 of his 40 games played.

BULLETPROOF BULLPEN
Since May 9, the Nationals bullpen has posted a 0.68 ERA (2 ER/26.2 IP), 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings, a 3.88 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and has surrendered just three extra base hits (3 doubles)…That is far-and-away the best bullpen ERA in MLB in that stretch (2nd: NYM, 2.05).

  • Nationals relievers have also not allowed a single inherited runner to score during this run (17 IR, 0 IRS)…Since May 9, no team in MLB has inherited as many runners without allowing one to score.

Spring Training Preview: Infielders

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SPRING TRAINING PREVIEW – INFIELDERS

This spring, 63 players — each member of the Nationals’ 40-man roster, plus 23 additional non-roster invitees — will vie for the 25 spots on Dusty Baker’s Opening Day ball club. Over the course of this week, we are introducing these players in their position groups, continuing today with the infielders.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

March 5 – Starting Pitchers

March 6 – Relief Pitchers

March 7 – Catchers

March 8 – Infielders

March 9 – Outfielders

CHRIS BOSTICK

2015 Season Totals: N/A

A speedy, versatile defender, Bostick was added to Washington’s 40-man roster following the 2015 season. After being acquired from the Texas Rangers along with right-handed pitcher Abel de Los Santos on December 11, 2014, Bostick led Nationals Minor Leaguers with a career-high 31 stolen bases while hitting .258 with 22 doubles, eight triples, 12 home runs, 58 RBI, 31 walks and 57 runs scored between High-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg.

WILMER DIFO

2015 Season Totals: .182/.182/.182, -9 wRC+, 0.0% BB rate, 18.2% K rate, -0.1 fWAR

Difo, a switch-hitting middle infielder with speed, enters 2016 rated as the No. 6 prospect in Washington’s system, per Baseball America. He was recalled from Double-A Harrisburg on May 19, making his MLB debut and notching his first MLB hit that night vs. the New York Yankees. Difo hit .286 with 39 extra-base hits, 30 stolen bases and 61 runs scored in 106 games between Single-A Potomac and Harrisburg.

STEPHEN DREW

2015 Season Totals: .201/.271/.381, 76 wRC+, 8.6% BB rate, 16.6% K rate, 0.2 fWAR

A veteran left-handed bat with the ability to play shortstop, second base and third base, Drew signed a one-year deal with Washington on January 6, 2016. He clubbed 17 home runs in his first full season with the New York Yankees in 2015, tied for third among MLB second basemen. It was his largest power output since 2008, when he hit 21 home runs with Arizona. Drew appeared in 123 games (94 starts) at second base, 15 games (10 starts) at shortstop and four games (one start) at third base.

DANNY ESPINOSA

2015 Season Totals: .240/.311/.409, 94 wRC+, 8.0% BB rate, 25.7% K rate, 2.3 fWAR

One of Major League Baseball’s best and most versatile infielders, Espinosa will likely see an increased role at shortstop in 2016. A season ago, he clubbed 13 home runs, his most since 2012, and slugged .409, his highest figure since 2011. If qualified, he would have ranked first in UZR/150 (18.4) and third in defensive runs saved among MLB second basemen (10). He earned starts at second base (74), third base (9), shortstop (5), first base (5) and left field (2) during the 2015 season.

TYLER MOORE

2015 Season Totals: .203/.250/.364, 61 wRC+, 5.5% BB rate, 22.5% K rate, -0.9 fWAR

A power hitter who adds defensive versatility to Washington’s roster, Moore saw action at first base (39 games/23 starts), left field (20 games/13 starts), and right field (one game) and as a pitcher (one game/0.2 IP). He posted career highs in games played (97), at bats (187) and doubles (12) in 2015 while ranking second on the club with five hits as a pinch hitter. He became the second Nationals position player to pitch in a game, and the first at Nationals Park, August 5 vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks.

DANIEL MURPHY

2015 Season Totals: .281/.322/.449, 110 wRC+, 5.8% BB rate, 7.1% K rate, 2.5 fWAR

A 2015 postseason hero with the New York Mets, Murphy signed a three-year deal with the Nationals on January 6, 2016. He garnered NLCS MVP honors after clubbing four home runs during New York’s four-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs, also becoming the first player in MLB history to hit a home run in six consecutive postseason games. He hit a career-high 14 home runs in 2015, adding 38 doubles and 73 RBI. He proved to be the toughest batter to strike out in MLB, fanning once every 14.2 plate appearances.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

ANTHONY RENDON

2015 Season Totals: .264/.344/.363, 97 wRC+, 10.1% BB rate, 19.7% K rate, 0.9 fWAR

A versatile infielder and one of the top young hitters in Major League Baseball, Rendon looks to bounce back from an injury-plagued 2015 campaign. After suffering a sprained MCL in his left knee in Spring Training, Rendon made his 2015 debut on June 14 before returning to the DL on June 25 with a left quad strain. His best stretch of the season came from August 22–September 17, when he hit .356 (37-for-104) with four doubles, four home runs, 16 runs batted in, 12 walks and 25 runs scored.

CLINT ROBINSON

2015 Season Totals: .272/.358/.424, 115 wRC+, 10.5% BB rate, 14.8% K rate, 0.4 fWAR

Robinson joined the Nationals on a Minor League deal with an invite to 2015 Spring Training, and would end up making his first Opening Day roster. In his first full MLB season, Robinson ranked among NL rookies in on-base percentage (3rd, .358), walks (3rd, 37) and slugging percentage (10th, .424). Robinson finished strong, hitting .284 with three homers, nine RBI and 10 walks in 27 September games. On May 12 at Arizona (1.0 IP, H, SO), Robinson became the first-ever Nationals position player to pitch in a game.

TREA TURNER

2015 Season Totals: .225/.295/.325, 72 wRC+, 9.1% BB rate, 27.3% K rate, 0.1 fWAR

The No. 2 prospect in Washington’s system per Baseball America, Turner was acquired from the San Diego Padres on June 14 to complete an offseason trade between the teams. He had his contract selected from Triple-A Syracuse on August 21 and made his Major League debut that night vs. the Milwaukee Brewers, entering the game as a defensive replacement. In 116 Minor League games in 2015, Turner hit .322 with 24 doubles, seven triples, eight homers, 54 RBI, 29 stolen bases and 68 runs scored.

RYAN ZIMMERMANSPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

2015 Season Totals: .249/.308/.465, 107 wRC+, 8.5% BB rate, 20.3% K rate, 0.6 fWAR

A former Gold Glove third baseman, Zimmerman made the transition across the diamond to first base in an injury-shortened 2015 campaign. He hit .249 with 25 doubles, 16 home runs, 73 RBI, 33 walks and 43 runs scored in 95 games, including .311/.372/.652 after returning from plantar fasciitis in his left foot on July 28. He clubbed his 200th career home run during an 11-game span from August 23–September 2, in which he collected 23 RBI — the most over 11 games in franchise history (Nationals/Expos).

 

 

NON-ROSTER INVITEES

JASON MARTINSON2010 fifth-round pick enters his first training camp on the Major League side.

BRENDAN RYANDefensive wizard and veteran of nine big league seasons competing for a utility role.

SCOTT SIZEMOREVirginia Beach native and VCU alum got off to a fast start in Grapefruit League play.

MATT SKOLENationals 2012 Minor League Player of the Year hit 20 homers in the Minors in 2015.

 

From the Desk of Mark D. Lerner: Back in the swing of spring

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Good afternoon!

I am writing to you from my office at Space Coast Stadium on another picturesque day in Viera. Sorry, I know you’re all facing some pretty tough weather back in D.C. We just wrapped up Day 4 of our Pitchers and Catchers workouts and the full squad is just about complete. The position players will all report by this evening, get their physicals tomorrow, and on Thursday we’ll get them all out on the field together for the first time.

B-OHaovIAAAcQm5 (1)

Danny Espinosa’s mustache is something.

— Spring Training is one of my favorite times of year. It’s always so great to see everyone after the long winter. I truly enjoy hearing what our players did in the offseason, how their families have grown – some got married, or had children – or any of the interesting things they did in the time they were away. It’s a little like the first day of school. But way more fun.

I ran into Ryan Zimmerman in the hall outside the clubhouse just this morning. He looks great and is truly enjoying preparing to be our first baseman.

It’s also always fun to see who has worked hard all winter to grow their hair out – Anthony Rendon and Ian Desmond are leading this category right now – or who has been experimenting with a new facial hair look. You’ve all seen Danny Espinosa, right? Yosemite Sam, as we call him — just one of the names they’ve come up with in the clubhouse.

— We’ve now seen the pitchers all go through two rounds of bullpen sessions. And all that’s done for me is solidify how excited I am to see these guys compete this season. To stand in the bullpen and watch Max Scherzer throwing next to Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez throwing next to Doug Fister and Jordan Zimmermann, Drew Storen side-by-side with Matt Thornton – I could go on all day. It’s tantalizing to watch, and to think about what is to come.

2015-WNBC-Heath-Bell-03

It was great to see Heath Bell taking a little family time after a workout this weekend. (Photo by Paul Kim)

It’s also been great to see guys like Dan Uggla and Heath Bell in camp. That these players, with such accomplished resumes, are here in our camp as Non-Roster Invites speaks to our depth. Both players have arrived in tremendous shape – Heath Bell told me he’s lost 40 pounds and participated in two triathlons this winter – and I look forward to seeing what they will do during the Grapefruit League season. You never know how much of an impact their veteran presence can have on a club. We’re happy to welcome them to our team.

— I know I’m not the only one enjoying these workouts. It’s been wonderful to see so many of our fans lining the fences and taking the front-row-seat offered to them at Spring Training. The turnout has been fantastic and there really aren’t many better pro sporting experiences. The access for fans during Spring Training

Photo by Donald Miralle

Photo by Donald Miralle

workouts is really unparalleled. There’s no better opportunity to see these guys up-close-and-personal, and no better opportunity to get that autograph you’ve been seeking. Our guys have been signing each day after the workout. Nothing like the smile on a young fan’s face after they’ve received a prized autograph. There’s still plenty of time to plan a quick trip down here!

— Another part of Spring Training I really enjoy is that it’s a great time for me to catch up on all the movies I’ve missed. I enjoyed watching Aaron Barrett and Jerry Blevins battle it out on Twitter over their Oscars predictions earlier this week, and I got a chance to see American Sniper myself last night. Bradley Cooper was tremendous. I highly recommend it.

I also want to give a shoutout to our great staff at our complex here at Space Coast Stadium. They do a tremendous job, and we’re very lucky to have such wonderful people working for us and working to make the experience for everyone here so positive.

— We are thrilled that we’ll be welcoming ESPN’s SportsCenter here on Sunday morning, and really looking forward to them broadcasting LIVE from our camp all day. I know how eager our fans back in D.C. are to see these guys and for us to get back up north, so hopefully this will help make a cold Sunday morning that much warmer! Be sure to tune in!

Photo by Donald Miralle

Photo by Donald Miralle

— I want to personally congratulate our manager, Matt Williams, on having his option picked up for the 2016 season. Matt has done a tremendous job thus far and we are honored to have him guiding our players. The pride he takes in playing the game the right way and in helping our players reach their full potential is outstanding. I am really looking forward to watching him as he continues to lead.

Well, that’s about all for now. Don’t forget that single-game tickets are already on sale. While I’m already looking forward to the Grapefruit League opener on March 5, Opening Day will be here before we know it!

Until next time,
Mark

Pitchers and Catchers Report

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by Amanda Comak

The first “official” day of the spring arrived on Thursday morning as the Washington Nationals pitchers and catchers reported to Viera, Fla. for Spring Training.

 

While it is certainly an official date, reporting is actually not as formal as it sounds. Pitchers and catchers just need to alert a team official that they have made it to the area by Thursday. Friday they’ll take their physicals, and the first workout for pitchers and catchers will begin bright and early on Saturday morning. That’s when the real action will get going.

Nonetheless, there were a lot of hugs, high-fives and smiles today as returning Nationals reunited with their teammates and new Nationals got acquainted with their surroundings.

#Repost from @mlb.
・・・
We missed baseball hugs. #BaseballBegins

A photo posted by @nationals on

 

There were a few surprises, too. Like Danny Espinosa’s magnificent mustache.

And there was already plenty to talk about.

Spring Training Preview, Part IV: Infielders

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by Kyle Brostowitz

Entering Spring Training, Washington’s 2015 40-man infield unit is a careful mixture of stability (Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon), transition (Ryan Zimmerman), quality depth (Danny Espinosa, Kevin Frandsen and Tyler Moore) and newcomers (Yunel Escobar and Wilmer Difo). The 2014 unit boasted two Silver Sluggers while leading Major League Baseball with 91 home runs. The combination of power, speed and defensive versatility allows this unit to be one of the most reliable in Major League Baseball.

We’ve already previewed the Nationals’ catchers, relievers and starting pitchers; now, in alphabetical order, let’s review the 2015 infielders.

*Note, 2014 totals reflect only Major League stats.

IAN DESMOND

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals2014 Season Totals: .255/.313/.431, 108 wRC+, 7.1% BB rate, 28.2% K rate, 4.1 fWAR in 648 PA.
2015 Steamer Projection: .258/.313/.416, 104 wRC+, 6.8% BB rate, 24.9% K rate, 2.9 fWAR in 619 PA.

The longest tenured member of the organization, Desmond is the unquestioned leader of this unit. He earned his third consecutive Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award in 2014 and was one of just three big leaguers to earn a Silver Slugger in 2012, 2013 and 2014, joining Andrew McCutchen (NL, outfielder), and Mike Trout (AL, outfielder) on this short list. Since the award’s inception in 1980, Desmond is the first National League shortstop to win back-to-back-to-back honors since Barry Larkin (HOF 2012) won five straight from 1988-1992.

Desmond was one of five “20/20” players in Major League Baseball in 2014 and his 24 home run/24 stolen base effort was his third straight dating to 2012.  He is as dependable as they come, appearing in at least 154 games in four of his five complete big league seasons.

WILMER DIFO

2014 Season Totals: N/A
2015 Steamer Proj.: .219/.252/.300, 53 wRC+, 3.8% BB rate, 14.3% K rate, 0.0 fWAR in 1 PA.

A speedy, switch-hitting middle infielder, Difo is a product of Washington’s revamped scouting efforts in the Dominican Republic. He was signed on June 3, 2010 and progressed steadily through the Nationals’ chain before exploding onto the scene in 2014, earning him recognition and inclusion on Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospect List for the Nationals (No. 7). He was added to Washington’s 40-man roster following the 2014 season.

Difo was named the South Atlantic League’s Most Valuable Player after leading the league with 176 hits while ranking second in total bases (263), second in stolen bases (49), fourth in RBI (90) and fourth in runs scored (91). His 90 RBI were the most among Nationals farmhands, while his .315 average was good for second. He was the recipient of the Bob Boone Award, which is granted annually to the Nationals Minor Leaguer who best demonstrates the professionalism, leadership, loyalty, passion, selflessness, durability, determination and work ethic required to play the game the “Washington Nationals Way.”

YUNEL ESCOBAR

2014 Season Totals: .258/.324/.340, 95 wRC+, 8.1% BB rate, 11.3% K rate, 0.2 fWAR in 529 PA.
2015 Steamer Proj.: .271/.333/.367, 98 wRC+, 8.1% BB rate, 11.8% K rate, 2.1 fWAR in 522 PA.

Escobar, a slick-fielding middle infielder (2013 AL Gold Glove Finalist) is a veteran of eight Major League seasons. He was acquired from Oakland in exchange for right-handed reliever Tyler Clippard on January 14, 2015. Escobar appeared in 137 games for the Rays in 2014, his fewest since 2011, due to right shoulder soreness that sent him to the 15-Day disabled list (June 30–July 11) and a left-knee sprain in mid-September that ended his season prematurely.

Escobar is expected to bounce back from those injuries and return to form in 2015 to provide stability to the Nationals infield. He will transition to second base while also providing depth at shortstop, when needed. When he takes the field for Washington in 2015, he will become the third Cuban-born player to play in the big leagues for the Nationals, joining pitchers Livan Hernandez and Yunesky Maya.

DANNY ESPINOSA

New York Mets v Washington Nationals2014 Season Totals: .219/.283/.351, 75 wRC+, 4.9% BB rate, 33.5% K rate, 0.6 fWAR in 364 PA.
2015 Steamer Proj.: .218/.278/.348, 74 wRC+, 6.0% BB rate, 30.1% K rate, 0.2 fWAR in 181 PA.

Espinosa bounced back from a wrist injury that plagued his 2013 season. He started off strong in the month of April, hitting .291 (23-for-79) with five doubles, one triple, and three home runs in 25 games. He also hit left-handers hard in 2014, batting .301 (31-for-103) with eight doubles, three home runs and 10 RBI, posting an .859 OPS from the right side of the plate. Espinosa’s versatility and elite defensive ability at shortstop and second base allow him to be used in a variety of roles by manager Matt Williams.

KEVIN FRANDSEN

2014 Season Totals: .259/.299/.309, 72 wRC+, 2.5% BB rate, 11.0% K rate, -0.6 fWAR in 236 PA.
2015 Steamer Proj.: .270/.309/.357, 86 wRC+, 3.6% BB rate, 10.8% K rate, 0.0 fWAR in 173 PA.

Frandsen returns for his second season with the Nationals. He brings a strong bench bat and defensive versatility to Washington’s roster. Frandsen is a career .255 (38-for-149) pinch hitter, and his 25 pinch hits the last two years rank second in MLB behind only Reed Johnson (27).

In his first season in Washington, Frandsen led the Nationals with 11 pinch hits (T-10th in NL) and started 42 games at four positions (6 at 1B, 9 at 2B, 12 at 3B, 15 in LF). He hit .303 (23-for-76) vs. left-handed pitching and .298 (14-for-47) with runners in scoring position.

JEFF KOBERNUS

2014 Season Totals: .000/.250/.000, 4 wRC+, 12.5% BB rate, 12.5% K rate in 8 PA.
2015 Steamer Proj.: .250/.302/.332, 77 wRC+, 6.1% BB rate, 18.3% K rate in 1 PA.

Kobernus began the 2014 season with Triple-A Syracuse, playing in two contests before sustaining a broken left hand suffered when he was hit by a pitch on April 7. He was placed on the 60-Day DL on April 12 and after several rehab assignments, was recalled on June 25 and reported to Triple-A Syracuse, where he would hit .269 with 13 doubles, one triple, two home runs, 22 RBI, 22 walks, 14 stolen bases and 27 runs scored in the final 56 games of the season.

He joined Washington when rosters expanded in September and appeared in four games for the Nationals.

TYLER MOORE

2014 Season Totals: .231/.300/.385, 94 wRC+, 7.0% BB rate, 29.0% K rate, 0.3 fWAR in 100 PA.
2015 Steamer Proj.: .244/.305/.426, 104 wRC+, 7.5% BB rate, 25.2% K rate, 0.2 fWAR in 99 PA.

Moore was set to begin the 2014 season with Triple-A Syracuse, but was recalled to Washington on April 6 when outfielder Scott Hairston was placed on the 15-Day disabled list. Moore enjoyed three stints with the Nationals, appearing in 42 games. While with Syracuse he hit .265 with 21 doubles, 10 home runs, 44 RBI and 45 runs scored in 84 games. It marked the fourth time in the last five seasons Moore hit at least 10 home runs at the Minor League level.

ANTHONY RENDON

San Francisco Giants v Washington Nationals2014 Season Totals: .287/.351/.473, 130 wRC+, 8.5% BB rate, 15.2% K rate, 6.6 fWAR in 683 PA.
2015 Steamer Proj.: .279/.350/.454, 125 wRC+, 9.0% BB rate, 15.6% K rate, 5.0 fWAR in 643 PA.

In his first full big league season, Rendon posted MVP-level numbers, finishing fifth in the NL MVP voting en route to his first National League Silver Slugger Award. He ranked fourth in MLB (2nd in NL) in Wins Above Replacement (6.6), according to Fangraphs.com, and his 111 runs paced the National League (3rd in MLB). He also ranked among National League leaders in hits (T-5th, 176), total bases (3rd, 290), doubles (T-4th, 39), extra base hits (T-5th, 66) and times on base (10th, 239).

Although he appeared in 28 games at second base in 2014, Rendon has solidified himself as one of the top third baseman in the game and will man the hot corner for Matt Williams in 2015.

RYAN ZIMMERMAN

2014 Season Totals: .280/.342/.449, 120 wRC+, 9.2% BB rate, 15.4% K rate, 1.2 fWAR in 240 PA.
2015 Steamer Proj.: .275/.344/.449, 122 wRC+, 9.2% BB rate, 18.5% K rate, 3.4 fWAR in 570 PA.

Houston Astros v Washington NationalsZimmerman’s 2014 season was marred by two extensive disabled list stints that limited him to just 61 games. He fractured his right thumb sliding head first back into second base on April 13 at Atlanta. He returned June 3 and, upon his return, selflessly shifted to left field to allow Matt Williams flexibility when filling out the lineup card. He suffered a strained right hamstring on June 23 in Colorado sprinting to first base to beat out a ground ball. He rejoined the Nationals active roster on September 20 and started four games, all in left field. Zimmerman played defensively in left field (30 games), at third base (23) and first base (1). He did not commit an error in left field while connecting on two outfield assists.

Zimmerman will again transition to a new position in 2015, making the full-time move across the diamond to first base. Zimmerman’s elite hands and instincts hope to prove valuable in making the transition as smooth as possible.

Signature Moments: Supporting Roles — May 12

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During the marathon of a 162-game baseball season, there are thrilling moments that highlight the successes of every club, from the front runner to the cellar dweller. The 2014 Washington Nationals are no exception, as they have sparked excitement throughout The District while returning to postseason play for the second time in three years.

Over the course of the regular season, though there were so many great moments, nine “Signature Moments” stood out above the rest — including a Monday evening in May that followed a sweep at the hands of the Oakland Athletics.

Trailing the Arizona Diamondbacks by a run entering the top of the ninth inning — and missing Bryce Harper, Adam LaRoche, Wilson Ramos and Ryan Zimmerman to injuries — the Nationals powered their way to an improbable win to stay above the .500 mark on the season.

Check out our second Signature Moment of the 2014 season:

SUPPORTING ROLES | 5.12

 

Danny Espinosa and Kevin Frandsen played the heroes in a comeback victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Nationals Game Notes — May 19 vs. Cincinnati Reds

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Game #44: Washington Nationals (23-20) vs. Cincinnati Reds (19-23) | 7:05 p.m. | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Ups: RHP Stephen Strasburg (3-3, 3.48 ERA) vs. RHP Mike Leake (2-3, 3.09 ERA)
Both Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg (No. 1 overall, San Diego State) and Cincinnati Reds’ right-hander Mike Leake (No. 8 overall, Arizona State) were Top 10 picks in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM, also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: The game will be televised on MASN
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

The Washington Nationals have received more home runs from their middle infielders (15) than any other team in the Major Leagues. The Colorado Rockies rank second with 14.

Here’s the breakdown:

Second basemen: 7
Danny Espinosa: 6, Anthony Rendon: 1
Shortstops: 8
Ian Desmond: 7, Zach Walters: 1

Here are tonight’s game notes, courtesy of the Washington Nationals PR department. Enjoy!

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