Each week this season, we’ll take the temperature of the Nationals roster to see which player's stock is rising or falling.
Team slash: .276/.322/.500
Team ERA: 6.07
Runs per game: 6.4
Wilson Ramos, C: .529 AVG, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1.556 OPS
So perhaps LASIK eye surgery was all that was standing between Ramos and becoming the best hitting catcher in the NL, huh? Well, that probably isn't the only reason for his breakout campaign, but it's certainly one of a few factors.
Whether or not you want to pin Ramos' success all on the offseason procedure, what's absolutely true is that he's seeing the ball better and, as a result, showing more patience at the plate. Per Fangraphs, his swing-and-miss percentage is at a career-low 8.2, and he's on pace to draw a career-high for walks in a season. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that his power stroke is as good as it's ever been; just 58 games into the season, he's only five doubles and eight home runs away from matching his 2015 total in those categories.
Anthony Rendon, 3B: .389 AVG, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1.310 OPS
Has Tony Two-Bags finally returned? There certainly seems like enough evidence to suggest so. It's taken a little over a full season, but Rendon is starting to resemble the guy who won the Silver Silver Award and finished fifth in NL MVP voting in 2014. Since May 9, he's been as good as anyone in the Nats lineup not named Daniel Murphy, producing a slash line of .337/.435/.576 with eight doubles, four home runs and 15 RBI.
So how much of Rendon's renaissance has to do with Dusty Baker's decision to drop him from second to sixth in the lineup? It's hard to say exactly, but what's certain is that the 26-year-old third baseman has been getting more opportunities to hit with men on base than he was near the top of the order. And more often than not, he's been cashing in, posting a .306 average with 11 RBI in the six-hole.
Bryce Harper, RF: .313 AVG, 3 RBI
Sure, this is a bit of a modest hot streak for Harper, who hasn't been able to replicate anything like his monster April. But he does have hits in seven of his last 10 games, including a 3-RBI effort in Tuesday's 10-5 win over the White Sox. Luckily for him and the Nats, that offense has started to get things going even as the reigning NL MVP continues to regain his long ball swing. That said, imagine what this lineup could be if he goes on another one of his patented home run barrages sometime soon.
Felipe Rivero, RP: 0-1, 1.0 IP, 5 ER
Oh, how quickly things can change for relievers. Last week, Rivero's stock was rising after a string of scoreless outings, and now he's listed here after a tough weekend in Cincinnati. To be fair, he's already been called from the bullpen a team-high 29 times, and could be experiencing the effects of possible overuse this early in the season.
In back-to-back appearances against the Reds, the 24-year-old left hander yielded a total of five runs on three hits in just an inning of work, ballooning his season ERA to 5.19. Ouch. With Rivero's up-and-down season along with Jonathan Papelbon's penchant for making things a little too interesting in the ninth inning, it's fair to wonder if the Nats will look to add bullpen help come the trade deadline.