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Nationals Roundup: Juan Soto exits game vs. Mets early after rolling ankle

Nationals Roundup: Juan Soto exits game vs. Mets early after rolling ankle

The Nationals got the victory Sunday over the Mets. 

Check out the latest news and notes.

Player Notes:

OF Juan Soto left Sunday's game after rolling his right ankle, but fortunately, X-rays came back negative and he was able to avoid any significant injury. Dave Martinez says the Nats' star is considered day-to-day.

RP Sean Doolittle got the save Sunday after coming on to start the ninth tasked with getting the job done up 7-4 on the scoreboard. Doolittle's performance resulted in his 26th save of the season.


OF Juan Soto: Ankle sprain, day-to-day

SP Max Scherzer: Back, Sidelined, may be back in mid-August

1B Ryan Zimmerman: Foot, 10-Day IL, out indefinitely

1B Howie Kendrick: Hamstring, 10-Day IL, may be back in mid-August

RP Roenis Elias: Hamstring, 10-Day IL, may be back in mid-August

SP Austin Voth: Shoulder, 10-Day IL, may be back in September

RP Jonny Venters: Shoulder, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely

SP Jeremy Hellickson: Shoulder, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely

RP Koda Glover: Elbow, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely

RP Austen Williams: Shoulder, 10-Day IL, out indefinitely

Coming Up:

Monday, 8/12: Reds @ Nationals, 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park

Tuesday 8/13: Reds @ Nationals, 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park

via Rotoworld


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The Big Twenty: The beginning of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper

The Big Twenty: The beginning of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper

For the next two weeks, NBC Sports Washington will be rolling out the 20 biggest stories in DMV sports in the past 20 years. Here is No. 13.


No draft pick in professional sports offers true guarantees and the Major League Baseball draft may be the biggest guessing game of them all. 

There are 40 rounds, over 1,200 players selected and even the best organizations may only find a few big leaguers each year. Per Baseball America, only 17.6 percent of players who were drafted and signed (900-plus each year) even make it to the majors.

While No. 1 pick phenoms in the NBA, NFL and NHL have at least decent success rates, baseball is a much different story. For instance, the first overall picks in MLB drafts from 2013 through 2019 have a combined 3.7 wins above replacement (WAR), according to Baseball Reference.

Sure, that includes recent selections who simply aren't yet big-league ready. But the first overall picks in 2013 (Mark Appel), 2014 (Brady Aiken) and 2016 (Mickey Moniak) haven't even reached the majors. Appel is now retired, Aiken has never pitched above Single-A and Moniak hasn't graduated from Double-A.

So, just because you get the first overall pick in baseball doesn't mean you are ensured a superstar. Yet somehow the Washington Nationals landed two of them in back-to-back years. In 2009, they got pitcher Stephen Strasburg. The following year he made his first start - and the Nationals drafted outfielder Bryce Harper.

Both were phenoms and prototypes for their position who were as can't-miss as baseball draft picks can be and the clear-cut No. 1 prospects the years they came out. And despite the uneven track record of No. 1 picks, they both panned out in Washington, becoming multi-time All-Stars and franchise players. 

Harper won NL Rookie of the Year in 2012, made six All-Star teams and won the 2015 MVP award during his time with the Nationals.

He also became one of the most marketable players in the sport.

Strasburg overcame a particularly troubled history for starting pitchers taken first overall. At the time he was drafted, no pitcher picked No. 1 had won a Cy Young award.

Since joining the Nats, Strasburg has made three All-Star teams and most notably was the 2019 World Series MVP. He was an indispensable part of their championship run.

 From 2002 through 2006, the first overall pick produced next to nothing. There is Justin Upton from the 2005 draft, a four-time All-Star. But then there's Bryan Bullington (2002, -0.2 WAR), Delmon Young (2003, 2.4 WAR), Matt Bush (2004, 2.6 WAR) and Luke Hochevar (2006, 3.5 WAR). That makes four busts in five years.

Really, the Harper and Strasburg picks couldn't have worked out much better for the Nationals. One guy won a league MVP and the other a World Series MVP. That's not a bad haul for back-to-back drafts.

But keep in mind that when they were picked, neither Harper or Strasburg was a certainty.
They each took their rookie contract negotiations down to the deadline. Both battled injuries early in their Nationals careers. And both were lightning rods for criticism as they came into their own as MLB players.

Ultimately, they developed into superstars and transcendent players, the best-case scenario for any No. 1 overall pick, much less two taken in consecutive drafts by the same team.

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Report: Astros focused on Dusty Baker in search for AJ Hinch's replacement

Report: Astros focused on Dusty Baker in search for AJ Hinch's replacement

The scandal-ridden Houston Astros are focusing on Dusty Baker to help guide their ball club as manager for the 2020 season, Jeff Passan of ESPN reported Tuesday.

Commissioner Rob Manfred handed down one-year suspensions of Astros manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow on Jan. 13 for their ineptitude in the team’s electronic sign-stealing scheme that coincided with their 2017 championship season. Houston owner Jim Crane met with the media later that day and announced that he was going a step beyond that and firing both of them.

Now, the Astros are reportedly looking to the three-time Manager of the Year Baker to help guide the team through a 2020 campaign that’s certain to bring a level of scrutiny the organization has never seen before.

USA TODAY had reported that the Astros were set to hire Baker, though Ken Rosenthal reports the two sides remain in discussions and no deal has been completed yet. 

A 70-year-old former skipper of the Nationals, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants, Baker ranks 15th all-time with 1,863 career wins but has never won a World Series as a manager. He most recently coached in Washington, guiding the Nationals to back-to-back NL East titles in 2016 and 2017 but failing to advance past the NLDS each time. Former Nationals reliever Koda Glover chimed in on Twitter to voice his support for his former skipper.

Baker is regarded as a well-liked manager who can keep a positive clubhouse culture even amid challenging circumstances. He managed the clashing personalities of Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent in San Francisco and handled the added media attention the Nationals received while employing the services of Bryce Harper.

Houston's reported interest in Baker adds yet another connection between the co-inhabitants of the FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches, the Astros and Nationals.

The teams also faced off in last year’s World Series, with the Nationals overcoming a 3-2 deficit to win the title in seven games. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman spoke with reporters Tuesday about the Astros' scandal, saying, "I think it’s completely wrong when you start messing with the integrity of the game in any aspect. It’s the greatest sin that you can do.”

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