Each week this season, we’ll take the temperature of the Nationals roster to see whose stock is rising or falling.
Team slash: .269/.372/.437
Team ERA: 3.11
Runs per game: 6.6
Bryce Harper, RF: .450 AVG/ 2 HR/ 1.356 OPS
The discussion about who should be NL MVP is just about over; the only thing left now is to attempt to put Harper's season into its proper historical context. His slash line of .342/.471/.672 -- to go along with 41 home runs and 95 RBI -- is so impressive that the only other players that have accomplished all those feats in one season are guys named Bonds, Ruth and Gehrig, among other Hall of Famers. Without question, the hallmark of the 22-year-old's breakout campaign has been his consistently patient approach at the plate, something that was typified Tuesday night when he set the Nationals' single-season record for walks with 118. Throughout all of 2015, he rarely expanded his strike zone, instead forcing opposing pitchers to hit their spot. Not only that, but he's shown that he's more than content poking a single into the opposite field instead of trying to hit one over the fence. It's that type of maturity that'll earn him hardware at the end of this season and will drive pitchers crazy as his career goes on.
Stephen Strasburg, SP: 1-0/ 7.0 IP/ 10 K
It took a while (as in, an entire half of a season), but we can say that Strasburg has finally found himself once again. Since the All-Star break, he's been the most consistent pitcher in the rotation, owning a 5-2 record and a 2.45 ERA. His command has been impeccable during this stretch; he's walked just six batters while recording 72 strikeouts. That's about as dominant as it gets. For as unlikely as it seemed back in May, this season might end with Strasburg having put together the best all-around season of anyone on the starting staff.
Blake Treinen, RP: 3 GP/ 2.2 IP/ 0 ER
Since he took a loss against the Mets on September 7, Treinen has found a way to rebound quite nicely. He hasn't allowed a hit in his last six appearances and looks much more like the guy the Nats envisioned he would be when they put him in more high leverage spots earlier in the season. However, he still has to show that he can consistently handle late-inning situations next season if he wants to become a candidate for the setup role in 2016.
Tanner Roark, SP: 0-1/ 5.0 IP/ 6 ER
It just hasn't been Roark's year. A season removed from being one of the most invaluable members of the pitching staff, he hasn't been able to replicate 2014's success in any of the roles he's filled. It's an especially unfortunate development because with Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister about to become free agents this winter, there's a chance that Roark could fill an opening in next year's rotation.