Results tagged ‘ Jayson Werth ’

Nationals Game Notes: May 21 vs. Miami Marlins

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 Washington Nationals (26-16) at Miami Marlins (21-20)

RHP Joe Ross [3-3, 2.63] | RHP Jose Fernandez [5-2, 3.21]

Saturday, May 21 l Game #43 / Road #24 l Marlins Park l Miami, F.L. l 7:15 P.M.

Television: FOX l Radio: 106.7 The Fan & Nationals Radio Network

ROLLING ALONG

The Nationals reached the approximate quarter pole of the season this week and sealed the best start in Nationals history (2005-present) through the season’s first 42 games…No previous Nationals team won as many as 26 of its first 42 games (2015 & 2012 teams went 25-17)…The 1996 Montreal Expos went 27-14.

NO FEAR OF FISH HERE

With his home run in the second inning Friday night, Nationals 1B Ryan Zimmerman upped his career home run total vs. the Marlins to 28…The gaudy home run total for Zimmerman, who has homered three times already this season vs. MIA, trails only Chase Utley (30) and Ryan Howard (39) among active players against the Marlins.

  • In his career, Zimmerman has hit .304 vs. the Marlins, with 37 doubles, six triples, 28 home runs, 88 RBI, 66 walks and 99 runs scored.

TRADING PLACES

When the Nationals opened this road trip in New York on Tuesday, they did so with a slight tweak to manager Dusty Baker’s lineup…Baker swapped two-hole hitter 3B Anthony Rendon and No. 6 hitter LF Jayson Werth in the lineup, putting Werth at No. 2 and Rendon sixth…Since that switch, Werth is 5-for-14 (.357) with two doubles and is reaching base at a .500 clip while Rendon is 8-for-14 (.571) with two doubles, four RBI and a .625 on-base percentage.

  • The Nationals have scored 20 runs in this four-game stretch with Werth scoring four, while Rendon has scored three and driven in four.

BULLETPROOF BULLPEN

Since May 9, the Nationals bullpen has posted a 0.62 ERA (2 ER/29.0 IP), 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings, a 4.00 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, 1.93).

  • Nationals relievers have also not allowed a single inherited runner to score during this run (19 IR, 0 IRS)…Since May 9, no team in MLB has inherited as many runners without allowing one to score.

SPOTLESS SHAWN 

Nationals RHP Shawn Kelley is one of only two relievers in MLB who has pitched at least 10.0 innings and is yet to allow an earned run…Kelley, who signed a three-year contract with Washington this offseason, is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 19 appearances (15.0 IP) this season…He has struck out 21 batters against just two walks (one of which was intentional) and surrendered 10 hits…SDP RHP Fernando Rodney (16 G, 16.0 IP, 10 SV) is Kelley’s only company.

Spring Training Preview: Outfielders

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SPRING TRAINING PREVIEW – OUTFIELDERS

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, concluding today with the outfielders.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

March 5 – Starting Pitchers

March 6 – Relief Pitchers

March 7 – Catchers

March 8 – Infielders

March 9 – Outfielders

MATT den DEKKER

2015 Season Totals: .253/.315/.485, 117 wRC+, 8.2% BB rate, 18.2% K rate, 0.4 fWAR

Acquired late last spring from the New York Mets’ organization, den Dekker split time between Triple-A Syracuse and Washington during the first four months of the 2015 season. The left-handed hitting outfielder turned it on late in the year, slashing .302/.368/.616 in 86 August at-bats for the Chiefs and then exceeded those numbers by hitting .320/.370/.620 in 50 at-bats with the Nationals. The 28-year-old has power and can play all three outfield positions.

BRIAN GOODWIN

2015 Season Totals: N/A

Goodwin, a fleet-footed defender, has the ability to play center field, swipe bases and hit for power from the left side of the plate. He recorded a career-high 46 RBI in 114 games for Double-A Harrisburg after returning from a left shoulder injury that plagued him during the 2014 season. Following the season, he excelled in the Venezuelan Winter League, hitting .316 (42-for-133) with eight doubles, three home runs, 18 RBI, 19 walks, five stolen bases and 21 runs scored in 35 games for Bravos de Margarita.

BRYCE HARPER

2015 Season Totals: .330/.460/.649, 197 wRC+, 19.0% BB rate, 20.0% K rate, 9.5 fWAR

Few players in baseball history have matched Harper’s achievements at such a young age. With a dominant display of plate discipline and power in 2015, Harper hit an incredible .330/.460/.649, led the National League in home runs (42), runs scored (118) and OPS (1.109) and also tallied 124 walks. His historic age-22 campaign earned him National League MVP honors, as he garnered all 30 first-place votes to become the youngest player ever to win the award unanimously.

BEN REVERE

2015 Season Totals: .306/.342/.377, 98 wRC+, 5.0% BB rate, 10.1% K rate, 1.9 fWAR

Revere, acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in January, brings contact and speed to the top of the Nationals’ batting order. The 5-foot-9 left-handed hitter stole 49 bases and tied Denard Span with an NL-leading 184 hits in 2014, and then matched that season’s .306 batting average with another .306 campaign in 2015. Revere is of the game’s toughest men to strike out, fanning in less than 10 percent of his plate appearances with Minnesota, Philadelphia and Toronto.

SPRING TRAINING NATIONALS

MICHAEL A. TAYLOR

2015 Season Totals: .229/.282/.358, 69 wRC+, 6.8% BB rate, 30.9% K rate, 1.0 fWAR

Pressed into action in 2015 following offseason surgeries performed on Jayson Werth and Denard Span, Taylor held his own in his first full big league season with the Nationals. The 24-year-old blasted 14 home runs, drove in 63 runs, stole 16 bases and finished ninth among all qualified Major League outfielders with a 12.4 UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating). Despite hitting just .229 on the season, Taylor came up big in the clutch, hitting .317/.397/.500 with runners in scoring position.

JAYSON WERTH

2015 Season Totals: .221/.302/.384, 87 wRC+, 10.1% BB rate, 22.2% K rate, -0.3 fWAR

Werth was just beginning to heat up at the plate before a pitch injured his left wrist on May 15, costing him 60 games during the middle of the year. The 36-year-old slugger recovered in time to put together a solid month from August 18–September 18, batting .303/.397/.598 with 10 doubles, eight homers, 20 RBI and 25 runs scored in 30 games over that span. Werth looks to return to his 2013-14 form, when he compiled a 144 OPS+ and registered 9.7 WAR according to FanGraphs.com.

 

NON-ROSTER INVITEES

TONY CAMPANA…Speedy lefty owns an 88 percent stolen base success rate in four MLB seasons.

CHRIS HEISEY…Former Reds outfielder is reunited with Nationals Manager Dusty Baker in Viera.

REED JOHNSON…Back in 2016, Johnson played in 17 games for the Nationals a season ago.

LOGAN SCHAFER…Former Milwaukee product played 49 games in center field for the Brewers in 2015.

 

Nationals reinstate outfielder Jayson Werth and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman

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By Kyle Brostowitz

The Washington Nationals returned from rehab and reinstated outfielder Jayson Werth from the 60-day disabled list and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday. To make room, the Nationals optioned outfielder Matt den Dekker to Triple-A Syracuse and outrighted infielder Emmanuel Burriss to Triple-A Syracuse.

WerthZim

Getty Images

Werth, 36, returns to the Nationals’ active roster after missing 61 games with a left wrist contusion. He appeared in 12 Minor League rehab games with Single-A Potomac (6) and Triple-A Syracuse (6), hitting .333 (12-for-36) with two doubles, one home run, eight RBI, five walks and three runs scored between the two stops.

Prior to suffering the injury on May 15 at San Diego, Werth had hit safely in 10 of his previous 14 games, going 14-for-53 (.264) with two home runs, eight RBI, seven walks, and 13 runs scored. He had appeared in 27 games prior to the injury. In five seasons with the nationals, Werth has hit .278 with 110 doubles, five triples, 68 home runs, 265 RBI, 46 stolen bases, 271 walks and 297 runs scored.

Zimmerman, 30, appeared in 56 games for the Nationals before being placed on the disabled list with plantar fasciitis in his left foot on June 11. He missed 49 games due to the injury. Zimmerman appeared in five Minor League rehab games with Double-A Harrisburg, collecting one hit in 15 at bats.

Zimmerman is Washington’s all-time leader (2005-present) in runs scored (712), hits (1370), doubles (307), home runs (189), RBI (744) and games played (1254).

Nationals recall INF Wilmer Difo, place Jayson Werth on 15-day DL

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by Amanda Comak

The Washington Nationals recalled infielder Wilmer Difo from Double-A Harrisburg on Tuesday and placed outfielder Jayson Werth on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 16, with a left wrist contusion.

Difo, 23, is coming off a breakout 2014 season in which he was named the South Atlantic League’s Most Valuable Player. Hitting .315 with Single-A Hagerstown, Difo led 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).

Added to the Nationals’ 40-man roster this past offseason, Difo hit .318 with one double, one triple, four RBI and one walk in his first Major League Spring Training (13 games) and has had a strong start to the year.

Recently promoted to Double-A Harrisburg, Difo is hitting .308 (16-for-52) with eight doubles, one triple, four RBI, one walk and three stolen bases in his first exposure to the Eastern League. In 19 games with Single-A Potomac to open the 2015 season, Difo hit .320 with a .386 on-base percentage and a .533 slugging percentage. He clubbed seven doubles and three home runs, walked eight times, stole four bases and drove in 14 runs.

Following the 2014 season, Difo was named the No. 7 prospect in the Nationals’ organization and cited by Baseball America as the “Best Defensive Infielder” in Washington’s system.

A product of the Nationals’ revamped scouting efforts in the Dominican Republic, the switch-hitting middle-infielder hit .324 with a .370 on-base percentage and .568 slugging percentage as a right-hander in 2014, and .311 with a .357 OBP and .436 SLG as a left-hander in 2014.

His tremendous season helped him earn the Bob Boone Award, which is granted annually to the Nationals Minor Leaguer who demonstrates the professionalism, leadership, loyalty, passion, selflessness, durability, determination and work ethic required to play the game the ‘Washington Nationals way.’

Werth, 35, hits the DL for the second time this season after he missed the season’s first nine games as he completed his recovery from offseason AC joint surgery. In 27 games since his return, Werth is 21-for-101 (.208) with two doubles, two home runs, 12 RBI, 12 walks, and 17 runs scored. In the 11 games before taking a pitch off his left wrist, Werth hit .275 (11-for-40) with a .375 on-base percentage.

Daily Wrap: First full squad workout, Escobar at second base & more

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by Kyle Brostowitz

Today was the day of the first full-squad workout for the 2015 Washington Nationals. Instead of rain, which was forecast throughout the Space Coast, there was excitement in the air. From bunt plays, to infield work to outfield drills to batting practice, this was the first day all 60 players in Major League camp got to work together, with their collective eyes on a single goal.

Manager Matt Williams addressed the entire group, (players, coaches, training staff, medical staff, clubhouse staff and front office staff) Thursday morning prior to the workout. He delivered a powerful message about “staying with the process” and let them know that “everything we do here has a purpose.” From there, it was time to go to work.

News of the Day:

Yunel Escobar took the field Thursday morning and instead of going to shortstop, where he’s played the majority of his career, Escobar went right to second base. This spring, the 32-year-old native of La Habana, Cuba will be given a crash course in the fundamentals of playing the position.

Escobar manned second base during the team bunt defense drills before taking full infield work with the rest of the team’s infielders, and batting practice. Following organized workouts, Escobar worked with Williams, shortstop Ian Desmond, and Defensive Coordinator/Advance Coach Mark Weidemaier, who is fluent in Spanish, on basic fundamentals of playing the position.

“What I saw is a guy who certainly has skill and that can play anywhere on the diamond if he wanted to,” Williams said. “Beyond that, what I saw was a guy who came in and asked for some extra work after practice. That’s the most important thing to me. It tells me he will take pride in playing second base and takes pride in his game in general. He wants to work at it. We made an agreement that, barring being sore or going through the ‘Spring Training soreness’ that he would like to do that on an everyday basis. That is a really good sign…If he wants to take grounders at 5 a.m., we’ll be here.”

Images of the Day:

 

Social Media of the Day:

Mr. @denardspan is #focused. #Nats #SpringTraining

A photo posted by @nationals on

 

Quote of the Day:

Depends on the guy. Depends on the manager. I’ve played for some guys who could set the tone and some who couldn’t it just depends on the guy. I would say our guy can set the tone,” – Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth on Matt Williams’ first address to the team.

Daily Wrap: The Full Squad arrives, Bryce Harper talks title & much more

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by Amanda Comak

All that’s left now is for Matt Williams to hold his first team meeting of the year and for the full Washington Nationals squad to take the field Thursday morning. Baseball will truly begin tomorrow as the Nationals will hold their first full-squad workout, provided the weather here on the Space Coast Cooperates.

The Nationals’ position players took their physicals today and came out of them well. It was great to see Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, Wilmer Difo and Yunel Escobar make their first appearances at camp this spring. And there’s so much more fun to come in the days ahead.

First, to the daily wrap…

News of the Day: Full-Squad is ready to go

The Nationals’ pitchers and catchers had a light workout Wednesday morning, with the pitchers getting the day off from bullpen sessions.

Williams met the media for his daily briefing with some good news: no issues with the position players’ physicals and the Nationals’ full-squad will be ready to go on Thursday morning. The only issue now will be whether or not the weather will cooperate with storms in the forecast.

No matter, the 2015 Nationals will be together for the first time. That’ll make it a pretty sunny day, regardless.

A few injury updates the manager shared: “We’re ready to go tomorrow,” Williams said. “Of course, Jayson (Werth, who is coming off surgery to the AC joint in his right shoulder) is limited in that regard because he’s post-surgery, so we’ll watch him. With regard to Nate (McLouth) he’s on a throwing program, so we’ll monitor that, too, but everybody is good to go.”

Images of the Day

 

Social Media of the Day

 

Quote of the Day: 

“I absolutely love this organization. I love the city that I play for. And I’m not done here. Like I said five years ago when I first signed here, I’m going to bring back a title to D.C., no matter what. I’m getting chills thinking about it. I absolutely want to do that for this organization, this town. I don’t care how long it takes me, I’m going to stick and do what I need to do to help this organization win.” — Bryce Harper 

Spring Training Preview, Part V: Outfielders

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by Amanda Comak

Pitchers and catchers will report to the Washington Nationals’ Spring Training facility in Viera, Fla., in just nine days, so as our review of the Nationals’ 40-man roster hits the home stretch, we reach the outfield.

With the exception of swapping corner assignments, the Nationals’ outfield unit is once again one of the most stable in the Major Leagues. Jayson Werth, Denard Span and Bryce Harper will all return as the Nationals’ starting unit, with Nate McLouth, Michael A. Taylor and Brian Goodwin rounding out the 40-man outfield talent. And that doesn’t even include Ryan Zimmerman, Kevin Frandsen, Tyler Moore, and Jeff Kobernus, infielders on the Nationals’ 40-man who also have outfield experience.

We’ve already previewed the Nationals’ catchersrelievers, starting pitchers and infielders; now let’s review the 2015 outfielders.

*Note, 2014 totals reflect only Major League stats.

Bryce Harper

Division Series - Washington Nationals v San Francisco Giants - Game Four2014 Season Totals: .273/.344/.423, 115 wRC+, 9.6% BB rate, 26.3% K rate, 1.3 fWAR in 395 PA.
2015 Steamer Proj.: .278/.363/.489, 137 wRC+, 11.4% BB rate, 20.4% K rate, 4.3 fWAR in 597 PA.

If the 2014 Postseason was any indication, Bryce Harper could be on the verge of posting a career season. Returning from a thumb injury on June 30, Harper hit .268 with a .342 on-base percentage and a .424 slugging percentage in his final 78 games of the season, clubbing 12 home runs. In the Postseason, though, Harper was one of the Nationals’ best at the plate, slugging .882 in the four-game series (smacking three home runs, one double and driving in four runs). Putting injuries behind him, Harper is expected to move to right field on a primary basis this season, giving the Nationals the added use of his strong throwing arm in a new spot.

Denard Span

2014 Season Totals: .302/.355/.416, 117 wRC+, 7.5% BB rate, 9.7% K rate, 3.8 fWAR in 668 PA.
2015 Steamer Proj.: .282/.338/.387, 104 wRC+, 7.5% BB rate, 11.1% K rate, 2.8 fWAR in 637 PA.

Miami Marlins v Washington NationalsComing off a career year in many offensive categories, including 31 stolen bases, Denard Span returns to the top of the Nationals’ lineup as a consistent presence and one of the best leadoff men in the league. After securing the Nationals’ single-season record for hits (184) and leading the league in that category, the Nationals are looking for another solid season out of their slick-fielding outfielder. Span did spend the offseason rehabbing a core muscle injury but is working to be ready to go at full speed by the start of Spring Training. Entering his third season in Washington, Span’s comfort level with his surroundings, working with his fellow outfielders, as well as hitting coach Rick Schu should all bode well for the final year of his existing contract.

Jayson Werth

2014 Season Totals: .292/.394/.455, 141 wRC+, 13.2% BB rate, 18.0% K rate, 4.8 fWAR in 629 PA.
2015 Steamer Proj.: .285/.374/.454, 134 wRC+, 11.8 % BB rate, 18.6% K rate, 2.8 fWAR in 536 PA.

Division Series - San Francisco Giants v Washington Nationals - Game OneConsistency has come to be Jayson Werth’s hallmark in a Nationals’ uniform, and as he enters his fifth season in the District, the expectation that he will remain a stalwart in the Nationals’ lineup remains. While Werth will be working to come back from arthroscopic surgery on the AC joint in his right shoulder, his averages from the previous three years are telling: .303 BA, .394 OBP, .479 SLG, and his projections reflect another strong season. Moving to left field should allow him to rest his legs a little more throughout the season, and hopefully keep him fresh deep into October.

Nate McLouth

2014 Season Totals: .173/.280/.237, 50 wRC+, 9.9% BB rate, 21.6% K rate, -0.6 fWAR in 162 PA.
2015 Steamer Proj.: .238/.312/.354, 88 wRC+, 8.7% BB rate, 17.6% K rate, 0.0 fWAR in 164 PA.

Nate McLouth’s first season in the District was derailed by a torn labrum in his right shoulder, but while the surgery to repair the injury ended his 2014 season prematurely, the Nationals are hopeful he will bounce back well in 2015. The left-handed hitting outfielder gives the Nationals good depth as he can play all three outfield positions, and his bat off the bench should be a nice weapon for Nationals manager Matt Williams.

Michael A. Taylor

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals - Game Two2014 Season Totals: .205/.279/.359, 80 wRC+, 7.0% BB rate, 39.5% K rate, 0.1 fWAR in 43 PA.
2015 Steamer Proj.: .226/.286/.354, 79 wRC+, 7.2% BB rate, 28.1% K rate, -0.3 fWAR in 368 PA.

Michael A. Taylor’s breakout season saw him post eye-popping numbers in Double-A Harrisburg (.313 BA, .336 OBP, .539 SLG, 17 2B, 22 HR, 34 SB), earn a midseason promotion to Triple-A Syracuse and the Major Leagues shortly thereafter with a debut that featured his first hit, as well as home run, at Citi Field. The offseason trade of Steven Souza Jr. pushed Taylor up on the Nationals’ depth chart. Taylor is considered one of the most athletic talents in all of Washington’s system, projecting as good insurance for the Nationals, particularly in center field, where he has the potential to develop into a plus defender.

Brian Goodwin

2014 Season Totals: N/A
2015 Steamer Proj.: .225/.301/.331, 82 wRC+, 9.2% BB rate, 25.2% K rate, 0.0 fWAR in 1 PA.

A first-round selection by the Nationals (No. 34 overall) in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Goodwin had a solid year at Double-A Harrisburg, made good progress in a late-season promotion to Triple-A and performed very well in the Arizona Fall League in 2014 (.296/.333/.444). That was enough to earn him a spot on the Nationals’ 40-man roster for the first time. The promising young outfielder figures to give the Nationals another good depth option as he projects mostly as a center fielder but can play left and right field as well.

From the Desk of Mark D. Lerner: A look back, and forward

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Hello everyone,

Well, the month we’ve been staring at on the calendar all winter has finally arrived! It’s February, and that means our guys will be filing into our Spring Training complex in Viera soon and pitchers and catchers officially report in just two weeks.

— It has been great to watch Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo and his staff work this offseason to put together our team for 2015. We were confident in all of the talent we had returning, but once again we feel like we’re in a great position entering Spring Training with the additions Mike has made.

Washington Nationals Introduce Max Scherzer— The most significant addition we made this offseason, of course, was signing 2013 American League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer. What an exciting day it was here at the ballpark on January 21st as we introduced Max to D.C. We couldn’t be more ecstatic to have installed him in a rotation that – quite honestly – is just filled with aces. Moreover, we are enamored with Max’s entire package: the player he is and the immense talent he possesses is obvious, but the person he is in the clubhouse and in the community is a large part of what made him a fit for us, too. He is a very special player and person.

I think Jayson Werth said it best. After he listened from the front row of the press conference to why Max decided the Nationals were the team for him, he told the Washington Post: “It was a very proud moment for me. The team that I believed in and decided to play for, and all the reasons of why I wanted to come here, were all about winning. Here we are a few years later, we have attracted the No. 1 free-agent pitcher, one of the nastiest pitchers in all of baseball, and we’ve attracted this guy in probably the biggest year of the franchise, especially in my contract, and it made me smile. As soon as he said that, it hit home. It was so relevant to me. I’ve been through that. But not in the same context. It was a proud moment. I was proud to be a Nat.”

I think we all were.

— On the other side of the excitement we all have for our new additions, like Max, there were a few fond farewells we bid this offseason, too. It will be strange to see our players lineup on Opening Day without Tyler Clippard and Adam LaRoche among them. I am thrilled that both players will continue their careers in great situations – Tyler as a key reliever for the Oakland Athletics, and Adam playing first base and DH-ing for the Chicago White Sox – and I am so thankful for all that both players did for our team, our fanbase, and our community. When we discuss the ideal type of players that we’d like to shape our team Tyler and Adam check all the boxes. They, and their families, were wonderful contributors to our organization and they won’t soon be forgotten.

And we will no doubt miss the contributions of Drake LaRoche as well! A constant, smiling presence in our clubhouse, Drake was a great reminder to us all, every day, what it is about this game that we love. He’s a wonderful young man, and I’m certain we’ll be seeing his name on draft boards in the next few years!

TenDaysTeddy_Bobble1— I hope you all are looking forward to our 10th Anniversary season as much as I am. I am not exaggerating when I tell you we have some absolutely wonderful things in store as we celebrate a full decade of history here in D.C.

I’m sure you’ve all been keeping an eye on our 10 Days of Teddy initiative going on right now, with everyone’s favorite Racing President, Teddy, helping to unveil some of the fantastic 10-Year promotional items we’ll be giving away at the ballpark this year – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg on our plans. Stay tuned throughout the season as we look back, and revel in all that has transpired since baseball returned to our city.

— It was wonderful to see so many of you at NatsFest, which was held on December 13th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. NatsFest is hands down one of my favorite days of the offseason, getting to see and interact with so many of our great fans, as well as getting a chance to see the whole team together in the offseason. The excitement for baseball in this town is evident, and it’s especially nice to see on a cold winter day. This year’s event was no different, and as it seems every year, it topped everything that had come before it. Can’t wait to see what next year’s event will have in store for our fans!

IMG_2255

IMG_2135— Starting with the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, which was just a spectacular event from start to finish and a wonderful showcase of our ballpark (and the Caps won, 3-2!), 2015 has already been such an exciting year for the organization.

That continued on Wednesday as we were honored to have new Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred visit our Partnership Summit at the ballpark and tour our Youth Baseball Academy. Youth baseball and softball is one of theinitiatives the new commissioner is most passionate about, and we are thrilled to be at the forefront of bringing the game to disadvantaged youths in D.C. We’re very proud of the Youth Baseball Academy, and look forward to all it can do for our community going forward.

It is, of course, a big change for baseball to have its first new commissioner in 22 years, but I look forward to what the commissioner will bring to the game as we all Commissioner of Major League Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. visits the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academywork toward keeping America’s pastime thriving.

— Well, it is certainly about that time. Soon my wife, Judy, and I will begin the trek down to Florida for what is one of our favorite times of the year: Spring Training. And it does appear that our favorite time of year may be taking place in a new location in a few short years. We are very happy with all the progress that has been made toward finding a new Spring Training site in Palm Beach County, along with the Houston Astros, and are hopeful we will be able to keep the longstanding tradition of Spring Training baseball on Florida’s east coast alive and well for many years to come. I look forward to showing fans what the facility will look like. Hint… It’s awesome!

I can’t wait to see what 2014 NL Manager of the Year Matt Williams has in store for his second camp. If the first was any indication, I know it will be a well-run, no-nonsense Spring and our players will be more than ready when Opening Day rolls around.

Until next time,
Mark

Highlights from Max Scherzer’s introductory press conference

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by Mike Feigen

The Washington Nationals agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Max Scherzer on a seven-year contract on Wednesday, followed by an introductory press conference at Nationals Park.

The event featured Scherzer, President of Baseball Operations & General Manager Mike Rizzo, 2014 NL Manager of the Year Matt Williams and Scherzer’s agent, Scott Boras. In addition, several members of the Lerner family, Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth and Scherzer’s wife, Erica, attended the press conference.

If you missed any of the press conference, we’re here to fill you in:

Opening statement by President of Baseball Operations & General Manager Mike Rizzo:

Well, it’s a big day here at Nats Park. It is my extreme pleasure to introduce to the Washington D.C. community one of the finest right-handed pitchers in all of baseball and a fine gentleman in his own right, Max Scherzer.

These opportunities don’t come up every day with players of this caliber and with an ownership group with the willingness to put themselves out there and acquire us a player of this ilk. It is my extreme pleasure to welcome Erica and Max to the Washington, D.C. family and to the Washington Nationals family. We couldn’t be happier to have Max in the fold.

Scherzer, on why he signed with the Nationals:

MS: It’s pretty easy. And it’s one (reason): winning. I think this team is capable of winning, and winning a lot. So when you look at the at the near term and long term, this is an organization you want to be a part of.

(Mike Rizzo) has been an architect here, creating a team that has been there at the bottom and has now created a team that is poised to be at the top. That’s something, as a player looking from afar, that I was able to see. Obviously, when the Nationals started knocking on your door, this is a team you want to be a part of. You start having conversations with the Lerner family and understand their commitment to excellence and their commitment to winning — that lines up great with what I want to do. I want to win and that’s why I’m here.

Rizzo, on why he wanted to improve an already strong rotation:

MR: I would say that whenever you can acquire a player of Max Scherzer’s ability level, character, and toughness on the mound, those opportunities are few and far between. We saw a player that we were extremely interested in. He fits all the criteria that we’re looking for in a Washington Nationals type of player. He’s good between the lines, he’s a tough guy, he gets after it, he takes the ball, he attacks hitters. In the clubhouse (he’s a) magnificent teammate. In the community, (he) does nothing but impress everybody he touches. He’s a guy who you can’t ask for more from. He’s the type of guy we’re looking for and he’s the guy we went after very aggressively — and we strengthened a strength. Who wouldn’t want Max Scherzer on their club?

Rizzo, on why Max is “the Nationals’ type of guy”:

MR: He’s everybody’s kind of guy. He’s got great ability, he’s got great work ethic, he’s a great teammate and he gets after it. He’s a winner. We like to think that we attract that type of player, and we certainly landed one in Max.

Scherzer, on when he knew the Nationals would be a good fit?

MS: For me, once January came around there were more teams in contact, and there were different opportunities that (arose). However, throughout the contact, when the Nationals started knocking on the door, that was the conversation I had with Scott; this is definitely a destination I want to play in. This is a team that can win now and can win in the future. That’s something that when you’re signing up for seven years that you want to be a part of. Winning cures everything, and this is definitely a type of organization I want to be a part of. I wanted to continue these type of negotiations with the Washington Nationals because I believe in the Lerner family and what they’re committed to.

Rizzo, on when he started pursuing Max:

MR: Well, ’06, he was on my radar, that’s when I started loving him. We have a grand plan coming into each offseason and there (are) different routes to get to where you want to be — we have different options and opportunities. The plan was laid at the beginning of the offseason and came to fruition in the last three, four weeks or so.

Scherzer, on his initial reaction to the contract offer:

MS: It was jaw dropping. You just can’t even fathom it sometimes. You work so hard to put yourself in this position. For me, it’s all about winning. I don’t play this game for money, but yet at the same time when you have an offer like that it just makes you go, “Wow.” I’m very fortunate to be in this position, that they wanted to commit that type of dollar amount to me.

Scherzer, on whether he called people up to tell them about the deal:

MS: (Scott Boras) told me, “You can’t tell anybody.”  So I had to keep it to myself and just tell my wife. It was a wild moment, so I was very happy.

Williams, on his starting rotation from a manager’s perspective:

MW: To put any of those names down every fifth day is a privilege for anybody. What it does is it just allows us to have a better chance of winning. As Max said, he wants to win, we desperately want to win, Jayson is with us today, he wants to win desperately. We’re glad to have (Max), we’re anxious to get to Spring Training and we know he is.

To give you an idea of the type of competitor Max is, (back in) 2007, he was a young Double-A pitcher and I was his manager. Every Minor Leaguer has a pitch count; his was 100. He was at 97 pitches and I went out to the mound and told him he’s got three pitches to get this last guy out and he was done. He reared back and went 97, 98, 99 (mph) to strike him out. So that’s the kind of guy you see up here. He hasn’t changed since then and he won’t change now. He’s a bulldog and we’re going to be happy to give him the ball every fifth (day).

Scherzer, on wanting the rest of the rotation stay intact beyond this season, including Doug Fister and Jordan Zimmermann:

MS: For me personally, of course you want to see guys like that. You always want good players on your team. When you speak of Fister and Zimmermann, those are highly talented pitchers. Of course you want to see them on your ballclub, but at the end of the day, Mike’s the architect here. He understands what pitchers he has coming on the way and what’s best for the team, so that’s where he’s going to make this type of decision.

Rizzo, on having the flexibility to add Scherzer without moving other pieces:

MR: With the acquisition of Max, ownership has allowed us to do our business in the best way you can, as far as the baseball side goes. They’ve given us all the ammunition that we need to put together a quality team. Nothing has changed with regard to any other player on the roster. We make good baseball decisions based on baseball evaluations and money does not come into play. We love the team that we have right now, we feel that it’s a really good, capable ballclub and we’re looking to better ourselves each and every day.

Scherzer, on talking to other Nationals players before he signed:

MS: After I signed, Fister reached out to me and sent me a couple of text messages. I was happy to rejoin him. He’s a really good pitcher — there (are) a lot of things you can learn from him. I was also working out with Matt Thornton as well … I was picking his brain the previous week, asking about the clubhouse, how are the different things throughout the year. I feel really comfortable about joining this clubhouse.

Rizzo, on what he remembered about Scherzer before the 2006 draft:

MR: I saw Max twice as an amateur, and the first time he didn’t fare that well, but loved the competitiveness, loved the way he attacked hitters and loved the demeanor on the mound. He was pouring fastballs into these right-handed hitters. His stuff was there, it was pretty evident that he had power stuff. But what really affected me in a positive light was I saw a guy that was struggling a little bit but made no excuses and just got after it. The second time when I went back to see him it was a 180 (degree change). It was a very easy game to scout and he was an extremely easy player to take at the No. 11 pick in the draft that year.

Rizzo, on having little concern about Scherzer’s age and duration of contract:

MR: He’s a durable pitcher. If I’m not mistaken, he’s never been on the Disabled List in the past five years. He takes the ball whenever he’s given it — he’s a horse. He’s got the makeup and character to take things deep into games, if asked to. For a 30-year-old pitcher, he’s thrown very (few) innings and pitches for a pitcher that’s had the success he’s had at the age that he’s at. I feel like we’ve got a young 30-year-old arm with a lot of mileage left on the tires and a guy that’s going to take us into competitive games for a very long time … he can really hit, too, by the way.

Jayson Werth named National League Player of the Month for July

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by Amanda Comak

After a second consecutive torrid month of July, Washington Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth was named the National League Player of the Month on Monday by Major League Baseball. Major League Baseball made the announcement this afternoon.

Werth hit .337 (28-for-83) in July with 11 doubles, six home runs, 24 RBI, 17 runs scored and 14 walks to earn the second monthly citation of his 13-year Major League career.

Coincidentally, Werth earned the first Player of the Month award of his career in July of 2013 (.367 average, seven home runs, 22 RBI).

This July, the 35-year-old Werth led the National League in doubles, RBI, extra-base hits (17) and game-winning RBI (6). Werth also ranked among the National League’s best in slugging percentage (second, .687), on-base percentage (third, .446) and batting average (fifth).

With his Player of the Month honors in 2013, Werth became the first Nationals position player to be named NL Player of the Month since the club’s DC arrival in 2005. He remains the only position player to have earned the award.

Pitchers Chad Cordero (June, 2005), Stephen Strasburg (April, 2012), Gio Gonzalez (May, 2012) and Jordan Zimmermann (July, 2012) have all nabbed National League Pitcher of the Month honors in years past.

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