Nationals

Quick Links

Ranking Nationals rookie seasons over the years

harper_9-28.png

Ranking Nationals rookie seasons over the years

On Monday night Bryce Harper became the first Nationals player since the team moved to Washington to win the N.L. Rookie of the Year award. He was, however, not the first player in club history to have a good rookie year. The Nationals have built a winning team on young talent and have seen several players have success right from the start.

Here are the best rookie seasons since the Nationals moved to Washington in 2005:

1. Ryan Zimmerman - 2006 

157 G - .287/.351/.471 – 20 HR – 110 RBI – 84 R – 47 2B

Zimmerman finished second to Hanley Ramirez in N.L. Rookie of the Year voting in 2006, but with the numbers he posted could have won it almost any other year. After being picked fourth overall in the 2005 draft, Zimmerman needed less than a calendar year to establish himself as a franchise cornerstone. He is still a major part of the Nationals’ operation and signed his second contract extension with the team in 2012.

2. Bryce Harper – 2012

139 G - .270/.340/.477 – 22 HR – 59 RBI – 98 R – 18 SB

Harper became the first Nationals player to win the N.L. Rookie of the Year award on Monday after a tremendous first season. The number one overall pick in 2010 was called up on April 28 and provided a quick spark to a Washington team dealing with major injuries at the time. He and the Nationals won 98 games and their first N.L. East division title. To think he did all of it at just 19 years old suggests he could some day, perhaps very soon, be an MVP candidate.

3. Stephen Strasburg – 2010

12 G - 5-3 – 2.91 ERA – 1.074 WHIP - 92 SO – 68.0 IP

Taken with the number one overall pick in 2009, Strasburg was an instant sensation. He struck out 14 batters in his major league debut and showed immediately he was one of the best young pitchers in baseball. His rookie year was cut short by a torn ligament in his elbow that required Tommy John surgery, but it was a season baseball fans will remember for a long time. 

4. Wilson Ramos – 2011

113 G - .267/.334/.445 – 15 HR – 52 RBI – 48 R – 38 BB

Ramos came over to the Nationals in a trade with the Minnesota Twins. He had played a total of 22 games across 2010 and 2011 before breaking out as the starter for the Nats in 2011. He ended up fourth in N.L. Rookie of the Year voting after exceeding expectations at the plate and playing solid defense. Since his rookie year, Ramos has had a string of unfortunate events with getting kidnapped in Venezuela and tearing his ACL last May. The 25 year old should be back in 2013 and ready to regain his role as the full time starter.

5. Danny Espinosa – 2011 

158 G - .236/.323/.414 – 21 HR – 66 RBI – 72 R – 17 SB

Espinosa placed sixth in N.L. Rookie of the Year voting in 2011 after leading the Nationals in games played with 158. He also finished second on the team with 21 homers and 72 runs. Espinosa’s emergence gave the Nationals another piece in building towards being a playoff team. Though he struggled with his batting average and strikeouts in 2012, he is one of the most talented young second baseman in the majors.

6. Ian Desmond – 2010 

154 G - .269/.308/.392 – 10 HR – 65 RBI – 59 R – 17 SB

In his first full season, Desmond affirmed the talent and potential that had made him a top prospect in the organization. He struggled at times with his batting average and errors in the field, but overall put in a very good season. Desmond flashed the power, speed, and defense that made him an All-Star in 2012. Now that he has raised his batting average and cut down his errors, the sky is the limit for the young shortstop.

Quick Links

Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

usatsi_10342243.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

On Thursday night, a Washington, D.C. pro sports team did something Washington, D.C. pro sports teams are very good at doing: fall short of making a league or championship game.

The Nationals' disastrous fifth inning against the Cubs in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series was the beginning of the end, not to mention yet another in a long line of disappointing playoff results for Washington, D.C. sports teams.

You see, Washington, D.C. is the only city with at least three major pro sports teams to not have a single one make a conference or league championship game since 2000.

To make matters worse, Washington, D.C. sports teams have now lost 16 consecutive playoff games in which a win would've advanced the team to the conference or league championship. 

Think about that for a second. Four teams. Zero conference championship appearances since 1998. 

Here's the list.

Washington, D.C. sports fans are not greedy. We can't be. We've had some very good teams recently, with the type of talent, coaching and intangibles needed to win a championship. 

TRY THIS: 20 THINGS DC SPORTS FANS SHOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT. YES, HAPPY.

The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team won a world championship was in 1992 when the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI.  The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team even made a conference championship game was in 1998, when the Capitals advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, defeating the Sabres to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Washington, D.C. isn't allowed to have nice sports things.

Sure, we have great players and great teams, but when the playoffs roll around, all the nice things go away. We aren't privy to plucky upstarts who run the table and we aren't privy to dominant teams that make long postseason runs.

Washington, D.C. will have its day, eventually. Sure it may only be a conference championship appearance, but for us, that's fine. We don't expect world championships. We just want something to get invested in.

Early playoff exits are rarely worth the investment.

Quick Links

With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

"This is the year."

That's the motto for almost every D.C. sports fan when their team is headed for the postseason.

The Nats led a weak NL East the entire season and clinched a spot to play October baseball early into September.

RELATED: COUNTLESS ERRORS DOOM NATIONALS IN SEASON-ENDING LOSS

The team overcame the obstacle of being plagued with injuries and with pitchers like Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer having a strong bullpen to back them up, the stars were aligning for the team to go all the way.

But now with players like Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy having contracts up for grabs in 2019, Nationals reporter Chelsea Janes says 2017 was really the last chance for the team to win a stress-free title.

"I think those questions you've raised like Bryce [Harper's] contract, [Daniel} Murphy may be leaving, you know Rizzo's contract's up after next year, I think those are the things they didn't have to deal with this year that made this such a free chance," Janes said on the Sports Junkies Friday.

"It was a free chance to just feel good and do it now and not have everyone say this is your absolute last chance, and next year it's their absolute last chance for a little while, I think."

"I mean they're not going to be awful in '19, but they're going to be different and I think they've sort of wasted their free pass here and there's legitimate and kind of unrelenting pressure on them next year to make it happen."

It's hard to make sense of what a team will look like one day after a devastating series loss. One thing that is fairly certain is that time is ticking for the Nats to make it happen with arguably the most talented group of players they've ever had.