We present to you lots of stats at the halfway point in the season even though mathematically we are 9 games past the halfway point in the Washington Nationals season; however, baseball traditionalists use the All-Star break as their line of demarcation between the first and 2nd halves.
First let us look at where the team is and the Nationals are #1 in team pitching in the entire MLB!
Team offense is determined by runs scored, and the Nationals have some work to improve in this area:
FanGraphs uses a combined offensive and defensive WAR together so you can see the full player, and this should give you a good look at who your team MVPs are (Hint: They are all in San Diego right now at the All-Star festivities):
Here is your defensive stats broken out separately and by defensive position, and you might be surprised by the results:
Here is your pitching stats WAR (again the Top 2 are in San Diego but further proof that Tanner Roark should have been with them):
Here are your high leverage top performers, and we had no way of deleting the small sample sizes out. Many might be surprised that Wilson Ramos was the team’s best when you need a hit, and Harper when you need a HR or to get on base. Bryce has a .507 OBP in High Leverage spots.
On RISP, again it’s fairly clear who you want up in a key spot:
The Nats do not rate as poorly as you might think on RISP as a whole although being at #16 also is not great:
Here are your mop-up player specialists. These are the players who have excelled when the team is ahead or behind by 5 or more runs (basically out of Grand Slam range). This is traditionally known as the players who pad their stats when games are out of reach:
Our favorite quote of the first half comes from Tanner Roark:
“You can’t show anything out there — be stone-faced,” Roark said. “Once the other dugout sees that it looks like you’re getting in your own head, they smell blood in the water, and they want to attack.”
Roark was not on the 2012 team, and anyone who remembers the aftermath of Game 5, the Cardinals used those words “we smelled blood in the water”.
Dusty Baker gets an A grading as the end results count, and the Nationals are in 1st Place. His report card says he does need improvement to remember that his long-man can be used in the 4th inning of a game without double-switching.
Mike Rizzo gets an A+ for getting Daniel Murphy on this team. Rizzo has much work in front of him now to get this team ready for the final push in the remaining 72 games and beyond.
The MVP for the first half is clearly Daniel Murphy with a pick ’em from for 2nd place.
Most improved goes to Wilson Ramos.
Honorable mention goes to Danny Espinosa as he stepped up his game for 5 weeks when the Nats needed it.
Top pitcher is Stephen Strasburg.
Top reliever goes to Jonathan Papelbon as the results are the results and while he isn’t elite, the stats show he is improving.
The Wolfpack bench has been a pleasant surprise as a group.
There is a lot more baseball to be played and the most important thing is how you finish! Finish strong boys!