Nationals

Quick Links

Nats Stock Watch: During tough week, Strasburg stands out

usatsi_8755926.jpg

Nats Stock Watch: During tough week, Strasburg stands out

Each week this season, we’ll take the temperature of the Nationals roster to see whose stock is rising or falling.  

Record: 2-4

Team slash: .239/.332/.410

Team ERA: 5.76

Runs per game:  5.16


STOCK UP 

Stephen Strasburg, SP: 2 GS/ 1-1/ 1.38 ERA 

The Nats rotation's had a pretty tough time of late, struggling so often that the title of "most reliable starter" has changed seemingly every other week. But right now that throne belongs to Strasburg, who's been pretty steady both times he's come off the disabled list this season. In his last six starts he's 4-1 with a 1.26 ERA, 43 strikeouts and just six walks. So uh, perhaps it was too soon to bury him, yeah? It pretty much goes without saying that if the Nats are to turn this around and catch the Mets in the standings, they'll need Strasburg to continue to look like vintage Strasburg the rest of the way.

Ian Desmond, SS: .348 AVG/ .988 OPS/ 5 RBI 

Make it two weeks in a row that Desmond has made it here, so perhaps we're finally one step closer to saying he's out of his season-long rut (for real this time). He's having his best offensive month of the year by a landslide, hitting .313 in August with four home runs, 13 RBI and a .934 OPS. The key is that he's seeing the ball much better; he's only struck out 14 times this month compared to the 33 times he whiffed in both May and June. Like many Nats hitters this year, he's not going to finish the season with gaudy numbers. But does that even matter anymore? All that matters is putting together five good weeks of baseball, and Desmond is showing signs that he could do just that. 

STOCK DOWN 

Max Scherzer, SP:  0-1/ 3.0 IP/ 18.00 ERA  

Remember when Scherzer was dominant in June and seemed like a shoe-in for the NL Cy Young? Yeah, that seems like eons ago now. Much like the team as a whole, his season has unraveled quickly. His August ERA has ballooned to 7.80, which seems unfathomable given how impressive he was during the first half of the season. For a big stretch of 2015, he was the guy the club could count on to be the stopper. Now what? 

Anthony Rendon, 2B: .071 AVG/.143 OPS/ 6 K 

It's been nearly an entire season, and fans are still waiting for Rendon to resemble the guy that finished fifth in NL MVP voting in 2014. Instead, for whatever reason, he's looked like a shell of himself. Sure, he's had to fight through two different DL stints this year, but he's had enough at-bats that we're well past the point of "shaking off the rust". It seems Matt Williams has reached the same conclusion, giving Rendon a few days off in Colorado to insert Danny Espinosa in the lineup to try to generate a spark. 

Wilson Ramos, C: .450 OPS/ 0 XBH 

The irony of Ramos' struggles this season is that they have nothing to do with health, which has usually been the case with him. Now, it's just about being plain ineffective. Prior to 2015, fans were clamoring to see what his numbers would look like over a full season. But four-and-a-half months into the season? Not so much. He's homerless in August and has a .454 OPS (!) since July. Ouch.

Quick Links

Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Quick Links

Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

usatsi_9977852.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, the next step in our long journey to Opening Day is the spring training games themselves. Not every game is televised, so get ready to follow along with your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll still be exciting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Bryce Harper homered again, or if Max Scherzer is perfect through 4 innings (spoiler: both of these will happen).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing contracts in the next few weeks. The Nats are always willing to make a big splash, and even beyond the available free agents, have been linked to impact players like J.T. Realmuto in trade rumors.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the roster has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be happening while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for their seasons, so bookmark this page to check on the Nationals spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Nationals 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Braves at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Feb. 26 - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 1 (SS) - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Tigers at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Monday, Mar. 5 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 6 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Nationals at Tigers, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 13 (SS) - Mets at Nationals, 7:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 (SS) - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Mar. 17 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (ESPN2) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Nationals at Mets, 6:10 pm
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 - Nationals at Marlins, 7:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 27 (at Nationals Park) - Twins at Nationals, 4:05 pm