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The best and worst Players' Weekend nicknames on the Nationals and around MLB

The best and worst Players' Weekend nicknames on the Nationals and around MLB

Players' Weekend returns for its third edition on Aug. 23-25, and players from around the league will once again be given the chance to slap a nickname on the back of their jerseys as a way to have some fun and connect with fans.

When it comes to selecting their nicknames, some hit home runs, while others swung and missed.

Here's a list of some of the best nicknames from the Washington National and from around the league:

HOME RUNS:

Sean Doolittle - "OBI-SEAN"

The list of nicknames was not short of Star Wars references, but this is one of the best. During the Nationals' Star Wars Day earlier this season, the team combined Doolittle and Obi-Wan Kenobi into one bobble head: Obi-Sean Kenobi. The closer's name on Twitter now reads "Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle".

Erick Fedde - "FEDDECCINI"

This one just makes me hungry. Who doesn't love a hearty Italian dish? I support all food related nicknames.

Max Scherzer - "BROWN EYE"

Why not "Blue Eye"? Because that was the ace pitcher's nickname in 2018. Scherzer switched it to "Brown Eye" this year to reflect his heterochromia, meaning he has different colored eyes.

Juan Soto - "SOTO PACHECO"

In Spanish naming customs the paternal family name comes first followed by the maternal family name. Although most fans know the outfielder by his paternal family name, Pacheco is Juan's maternal one. I like that he's representing that.

Ryan Zimmerman - "ZIM"

Simple but classy. I would expect nothing less from the trusty Nationals veteran infielder.

Shane Bieber (Cleveland Indians) - "NOT JUSTIN"

This is might be a sensitive subject for one of the hottest pitchers in the league right now. Shane must have taken jokes about his name ever since his singing counterpart burst onto the scene 10 years ago. Even worse, a Topps Stadium Club card accidently named him "Justin" in the descriptive paragraph. It's good to see that he's having fun with it. 

George Springer (Houston Astros) - "HORHAY"

A clever and fun interpretation by the 2017 World Series MVP. Obviously, this is the pronunciation of "Jorge", his name in Spanish. Most people would not have thought of this.

Joey Gallo (Texas Rangers) - "PICO DE GALLO"

Again, yum. Where are the chips? I'm here for the food nicknames.

J.A. Happ (New York Yankees) - "JDOT ADOT"

Simple yet creative from the pitcher. Technically this is his name anyway, right?

Eric Thames (Milwaukee Brewers) - "PHONE HOME"

For those of you who didn't pick up on it, his initials are "E.T." Maybe he's hoping the nickname will allow him to hit some moon shots out of the park on Players' Weekend. Either way, it's a solid movie reference.

Luis Ortiz (Baltimore Orioles) - "BABY BARTOLO"

Obviously, it's in reference to pitcher Bartolo Colon, who has been a fan favorite for the last two decades. If you look at the two side by side, you can actually see the resemblance. I'm not sure if anyone thought of it before Ortiz chose this nickname, but I'm will not be able to look at him the same from now on.

SWING AND MISS:

Gerardo Parra - "EL YOLO"

With all due respect, "Yolo" is so 2010, right? To be fair, Parra submitted this nickname before his 'Baby Shark' walk-up song stuck. Maybe he should change it so something more related to that. How about, "Papa Shark"?

Javy Guerrera - "JAVY"

I'm sure most people know him by his first name, but I was hoping for a little bit more creativity. He gets more points than the players who are just keeping their usual last name on the back of their jerseys.

Hunter Pence (Texas Rangers) - "¯_(ツ)_/¯"

Bold choice. I'd expect nothing less from a quirky guy like Pence. I hate to sound like the fun police, but this is not a nickname. How do you say this, "shrug"? Not to mention the amount of the trouble the folks at the jersey factory are going to have printing this. Don't get me started on the players that are using emojis.

Kevin Newman (Pittsburgh Pirates) - "NEWMS"

This is pretty similar to his real name AND it's harder to say. That defeats the whole purpose of a nickname.

Adalberto Mondesi (Kansas City Royals) - "ACE"

Isn't a nickname supposed to describe you? I'm sure Mondesi thinks a lot of himself, but over his four years in the big leagues he has a sub-.250 batting average and just 24 home runs. Come on man.

OTHER WASHINGTON NATIONALS NICKNAMES:

Matt Adams: "BIG CITY"
Brian Dozier: "LO CONNER"
Yan Gomes: "GOMER"
Matt Grace: "GRACEY"
Daniel Hudson: "HUDDY"
Howie Kendrick: "TRUCK"
Tanner Rainey: "RAINMAN"
Anthony Rendon: "ANT"
Victor Robles: "VIC"
Fernando Rodney: "LA FLECHA"
Joe Ross: "JR"
Adrian Sanchez: "SANCHY"
Anibal Sanchez: "ALEJO"
Stephen Strasburg: "STRAS"
Andrew Stevenson: "STEVO"
Hunter Strickland: "SOUTHERN THUNDER"
Wander Suero: "THE ANIMAL"
Kurt Suzuki: "ZUK"
Trea Turner: "T³"

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Evaluating the state of 2019 MLB awards races: Two weeks left

Evaluating the state of 2019 MLB awards races: Two weeks left

With September more than halfway through, the postseason is mere weeks away in Major League Baseball, and teams have fewer than a dozen games left in the season. With stars like Christian Yelich and Mike Trout hitting the shelf, there may not be too much shuffling ahead.

Let's take a look around baseball to see who should be favored in each of the major races in both leagues.

AL MVP

1. Mike Trout, Angels
2. Alex Bregman, Astros
3. Mookie Betts, Red Sox

Mike Trout is now out for the rest of the season, which stinks to see as a baseball fan. That said, the AL MVP award should probably still be his.

I'd be more worried about Trout (8.3 WAR) losing his grip on this award if his lead in WAR wasn't so substantial. That said, Bregman (7.6 WAR) is doing an admirable job closing the gap, and it wouldn't surprise me to see him grab a few votes.

But the only real change here is Trout's third career MVP likely moving from unanimous, to merely overwhelming. 

NL MVP

1. Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
2. Christian Yelich, Brewers
3. Anthony Rendon, Nationals

With Trout's unfortunate injury, Cody Bellinger now leads baseball in WAR this season, according to Baseball-Reference. His lead was already substantial over Christian Yelich and the rest of the NL field, but Yelich's injury should just about lock this up for Bellinger (if it wasn't certain already).

There's little change in this update, as Rendon continues to enjoy a dominant contract year as well. In any other year, he may have been a better candidate, but Bellinger's coming out part has been historic. 

It is definitely possible a strong finish pushes Rendon past Yelich into second, however.

AL Cy Young

1. Justin Verlander, Astros
2. Gerrit Cole, Astros
3. Charlie Morton, Rays

Is there such a thing as a combined teammate Triple Crown? No, but perhaps there should be for Verlander and Cole. The two aces are, by far, the best pitchers in the American League this season. Each is top-two, in some order, in wins, strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP.

That said, given Verlander's standing ahead of Cole in the rotation and his lead in most categories besides strikeouts, it's hard to envision Cole overtaking the elder statesman. It may very well be Verlander's last chance to win a Cy Young, given his age, though anything he does at this point in his career is thoroughly unsurprising.

NL Cy Young

1. Jacob deGrom, Mets
2. Max Scherzer, Nationals
3. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers

It may not feel like the same level of historic race between deGrom and Scherzer as we saw in 2018, but it is still shaping up to be a photo finish. Ryu's ERA has come back to Earth, but he does still lead the NL in the category. Even so, this feels like another two-man race.

deGrom leads in ERA, though the Nationals' rotation includes numbers two through four in WAR. The Nats' rotation is also the first to see three pitchers each top 222 strikeouts in a season, an impressive feat.

Scherzer is still leading that charge for the Nationals and is thus their pick. He doesn't have as many strikeouts as deGrom, but his K/9 is more than a full strikeout higher. This is going to be a fun final two weeks.

AL Rookie of the Year

1. Yordan Alvarez, Astros
2. John Means, Orioles
3. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays

As much of a lock to take home hardware this awards season as any Astro, Alvarez has blown away the competition in the AL since his debut. His arrival may have come been belated, but his impact (26 home runs, 1.090 OPS) is undeniable. This is an all-time great rookie season that just happens to have been cut short in April and May.

Means and Guerrero Jr. deserve mention still. Means ranks ahead of Guerrero thanks to a 2:1 ratio in WAR, but there's a distant gap between Alvarez and these two.

NL Rookie of the Year

1. Pete Alonso, Mets
2. Mike Soroka, Braves
3. Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres

Alonso leads Major League Baseball with 49 home runs, and will likely finish with more than 50. This is one of the most impressive rookie seasons at the plate in baseball history and is the single biggest lock of any award in 2019. It would have been fascinating to see a true race between Tatis and Alonso, but the chase for 50 has been pretty incredible as well.

AL Manager of the Year

1. Rocco Baldelli, Twins
2. Aaron Boone, Yankees
3. Bob Melvin, Athletics

I can't bring myself to move off Baldelli, just for how much better the Twins' record is compared the expectations entering the season. Having said that, if the Yankees finish the season with the best record in baseball, it wouldn't surprise anyone to see Boone win this award, considering the ridiculous injuries they've suffered in 2019.

Melvin is a new addition, but it's a tight race between the A's manager and the Rays' Kevin Cash. The winner will likely come from whichever team makes the AL Wild Card Game.

NL Manager of the Year

1. Davey Martinez, Nationals
2. Dave Roberts, Dodgers
3. Bruce Bochy, Giants

The Nationals have to make the postseason for Martinez to win this award. There's no way around it. But if they do make it, and I still project them to play in October, then he instantly becomes one of the favorites.

This is one of the trickiest awards to project, even with just two weeks left in the regular season. There's a compelling case to be made for Martinez, but there's also plenty of positives to say about Roberts, Bochy, Brian Snitker in Atlanta, Tony Lovullo in Arizona and Mike Shildt in St. Louis.

For now, we'll stick with Martinez, but this award isn't just a coin-flip; it's a dice roll.

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Nationals Roundup: Nats gear up for Marlins test amidst NL Wild Card Race

Nationals Roundup: Nats gear up for Marlins test amidst NL Wild Card Race

The Washington Nationals will enter their Friday game at the Miami Marlins with eyes on results from the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers as the NL Wild Card race heats up. 

Here are the latest news and updates: 

Player Notes:

Starting pitcher Max Scherzer's five earned runs was the most he has been charged with in 20 starts as Washington fell to the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-1, in the final game of their three-game series.

First baseman Matt Adams likely won't start again for the rest of the regular season, but there's a chance he can come off the bench next week. He sprained his AC joint in his shoulder last week and participated in batting practice for the first time on Wednesday. 

Injuries

C Spencer Kieboom, elbow, 60-Day-IL, 2020

C Kurt Suzuki, elbow, sidelined, day-to-day

RP Joe Ross, arm, sidelined, day-to-day

RP Roenias Elias, arm, sidelined, day-to-day

RP Austen Williams, arm, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely

1B Matt Adams, shoulder, sidelined, day-to-day

RP John Venters, shoulder, 60-Day IL, 2020

RP Koda Glover, elbow, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely

Coming Up: 

Friday, Sept. 20: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. at Marlins Park

Saturday, Sept. 21: Nats at Marlins, 6:10 p.m. at Marlins Park

Sunday, Sept. 22: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m. at Marlins Park

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