Each week this season, we’ll take the temperature of the Nationals roster to see whose stock is rising or falling.
Team slash: .230/.307/.320
Team ERA: 4.94
Runs per game: 2.83
Jordan Zimmermann, SP: 1-0/ 8.0 IP/ 0.00 ERA
During a week in which most of the starters had off-nights or were injured, Zimmermann's performance Tuesday afternoon start against the Blue Jays was the rotation's bright spot -- and it wasn't even close. He didn't allow a run over eight innings, helping out a struggling bullpen (more on that later) while handing Toronto its first shut out of the season. The outing also continued a hot streak for Zimmerman, who is starting to resemble his old self lately; in his last four outings, he's allowed just three earned runs combined over 28 innings. As a result, his ERA has now dropped to 2.88 while he's run his record to 5-2.
Bryce Harper, RF: .313 AVG/ 1.063 OPS
Interestingly enough, this has been the week where Harper's cooled off a bit, and yet he still lead the team in average and OPS over the last seven days. Indeed, everyone's favorite selfie-taking, beef-creating right fielder keeps chugging along, continuing to stake his claim as the best player in the NL this season. The 22-year-old who was voted the sport's most overrated player before the year started now leads the league in home runs (18), walks (45), slugging (.718) and OPS (1.188). Hard to overrate that, yeah?
Yunel Escobar, 3B: .304 AVG/ .385 OBP
Of all the moves the Nats made over the winter, perhaps the most underrated to this point was the team's acquisition of Escobar. Through two months, he might be the team's most consistent hitter (besides you-know-who, of course). He hasn't provided big-time power, but he's a steadying presence in a lineup that's been without key pieces for stretches. In fact, it's not Harper who leads the team in hits -- it's Escobar. And to think, he wasn't even slated to be the everyday third baseman before the season started.
Blake Treinen, RP: 3 GP/ 15.43 ERA/ 2.57 WHIP
For the majority of May, the bullpen looked like it had finally turned the corner. But after an ugly series in Cincinnati and a poor showing Tuesday night against the Blue Jays, perhaps the journey to get to Drew Storen in the ninth could be a struggle all year. To be fair to Treinen, the Nats were already trailing in two of his three appearances this past week, albeit by small margins. But he was unable to keep those deficits manageable, leading to a 5-2 loss in Cincy and a 7-3 defeat at home against Toronto.
Casey Janssen, RP: 3 GP/ 12.00 ERA/ 2.33 WHIP
Janssen's return from injury gave the Nats hope that perhaps the back end of the bullpen would be stabilized. And though it's too soon to say whether or not he'll do that, his weekend outing against the struggling Reds can't be encouraging. Clinging to a 5-4 eighth inning lead, the 33-year-old righty couldn't make it stand up, as he was shelled for four earned runs and was charged with a loss. Even with Janssen back in the fold, it seems Matt Williams hasn't been able to rely on someone to handle the eighth inning with consistency. Whether he goes with Janssen, Treinen or someone else, so far none of the options have been able to fill the void created by Tyler Clippard's departure.