Nationals

Quick Links

Injury Updates: Storen, Wang, Tracy & Morse

727764.png

Injury Updates: Storen, Wang, Tracy & Morse

Davey updates on Storen
Drew Storen threw a perfect inning in his first relief appearance with the Potomac Nationals on Thursday but, according to Nats manager Davey Johnson, he may have been a little too perfect. Storen threw only eight pitches, less than the team expected when they set forth a plan of four minor league outings.

Storen is expected to pitch again Saturday night in his second game recovering from bone chips in his elbow and Johnson hopes they can see more from the Nats reliever.

We have him scheduled for four outings, but I want him to throw more than eight pitches and get a good workout. If not I told him and Steve McCatty that rather than him go and throw in the bullpen Id rather him see game situations, he said.

If the outing became short he could possibly go back tomorrow and do a couple of back-to backs. Its all about arm endurance and how it bounces back.

Johnson spoke of building a foundation from when Storen comes up because as a possible closer they cant truly replicate MLB game pressure and crowds. Johnson said Storen is scheduled to pitch again on July 11 and that moving forward it will have a lot to do with how many pitches he throws.

The Nats manager said he has the luxury of bringing back Storen slowly because of the teams pitching depth.

Its not going to be imperative for back-to-backs with the type of bullpen I have, he said.

Its all about arm endurance and how it bounces back. First time he comes up here and pitches I wouldnt back-to-back him. Maybe I wouldnt close him.

Storen is still expected to return shortly after the team gets back from the All-Star break.

Wang throws bullpen on Saturday

Chien-Ming Wang was seen throwing in the bullpen early Saturday afternoon with pitching coach Steve McCatty as he continues his road back from a right hip strain. Wang is currently on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 3.

Hes still throwing to keep his arm going, but mostly he is just relaxing and getting his trainer Vicky working him out in the exercise room, Davey Johnson said.

Johnson joked about Wangs hip exercises, saying he himself has participated.

In fact I have copied some of the exercises, there are some pretty good ones, he said. I have never heard of them before. You stretch your hips and loosen them up and its better than having someone stretch you or massage you. I hate to say Im glad he got hurt but I have had two back operations and I can use those exercises.

Wang has appeared in seven games this season for the Nationals and started four. He is 2-3 on the year with a 7.61 ERA in 23.2 innings pitched.

Johnson said Wang will go back to Taiwan for the All-Star break and return after in hopes of starting a rehab assignment when the team continues play.

At the break he is going to go home like everybody else and hes going to come back and hopefully start pitching again, he said.

Tracy has setback

Bench player Chad Tracy made a rehab appearance with the Potomac Nationals Friday night as he works his way back from surgery to repair a tear in his right groin. He went 0-for-4 as the teams designated hitter and, according to Davey Johnson, felt some pain when running to first.

I think he hit three ground balls to the second baseman and had some discomfort coming out of the box, Johnson said. He is going to be off today and come in here and rest because its in the same area as that surgery.

Johnson is hopeful a day off will correct the problem and said he could see the setback coming.

I was expecting it, it was a pretty major injury. When you come back there is scar tissue and the body tends to over-heal, he probably broke a little of that. Hopefully a day off, it is just some adhesions breaking loose, hopefully hell be fine. Well know more after today.

Morse dealing with minor knee injury

Nationals right fielder Michael Morse looked a little sluggish in Friday nights game the Rockies when tracking down singles hit his way. On Saturday Davey Johnson was asked whether anything was hindering his ability in the field.

I dont think the shoulder is a problem, I am more worried about the hammy right about the knee. Its caused him some problems, but I didnt see him getting much treatment today so hopefully he is pretty much by it, he said.

I still think he is not quite where he was last year with the bat and he is trying to work his way there.

Morse is batting .283 with four home runs and 16 RBI in 31 games since returning from a right lat strain he suffered in spring training.

Quick Links

Bryce Harper will compete in Home Run Derby, but only on one condition

bryce-harper-usat.jpg
USA Today Sports

Bryce Harper will compete in Home Run Derby, but only on one condition

It’s happening.

When the 2018 All-Star Weekend comes to Washington, D.C. in the middle of July, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper will compete in the 2018 Home Run Derby, but only on one condition: He has to be a member of the 2018 National League All-Star Team.

Though Harper is having a down year, only hitting .213 thus far, he leads the NL in home runs with 19.

In the June 18 update of All-Star game voting, Harper sat second among all outfielders with just north of 1,000,000 votes.

That means he’s not only going to make the All-Star team, but he’ll likely start in the outfield.

Harper, a five-time All-Star, competed in the Home Run Derby once before. He was the runner-up to Yoenis Cespedes in 2013, losing by just one long ball, 9-8.

The 2018 Home Run Derby will take place on July 16 at Nationals Park.

MORE NATS NEWS:

Quick Links

It's time to start paying attention to Trea Turner's sneaky-great season

It's time to start paying attention to Trea Turner's sneaky-great season

Remember when the Nationals put Trea Turner in centerfield so they could keep Danny Espinosa at shortstop?

Two years later it's Turner who leads all N.L. shortstops in fWAR, as you surely know if you follow the Nationals on literally any social media platform. 

So while Juan Soto and Bryce Harper continue to dominate all of The Takes, it's Turner who's been the Nats' best position player this season. 

We'll start with some basics: 

Did you know that Trea Turner leads all N.L. shortstops in fWAR? He's currently sitting at 2.4 WAR, above the likes of Brandon Crawford, Addison Russell, and Trevor Story, to name a few. (We'll ignore the fact that the top six shortstops in the A.L. all have a better fWAR.) He's a top-10 shortstop in baseball during one of the strongest eras in the position's history.

Even after a dreadfully slow start, Turner's still on pace to have the best season of his career. He posted a WAR of 2.9 last year and -- barring injury -- will realistically eclipse that by the All-Star game. 

At the plate, two stats jump off the page in regards to explaining Turner's stellar season. 

First, Turner is drawing a *bunch* of walks. His current BB% clip (10.6 percent) would be far and away the best of his career and up four percentage points from last year. It's a factor that helps explain - partially, at least - why his on-base percentage has risen and his BABIP has dropped. More walks mean fewer swings, fewer swings mean less contact, less contact means lower BABIP, etc. It's not the whole picture, but it's a big part of it. 

Secondly, Turner is making impressive contact on pitches out of the strike zone. FanGraphs calculates out-of-zone contact using a statistic titled O-Contact, which is a blessing considering some of the titles they choose to give their other stats. 

The average O-Contact across MLB in 2018 is 64.7 percent. Trea Turner's career O-Contact is 62.4 percent (although realistically it's closer to the high-50's - a small-sample-size from his abbreviated first season mucks up the number a bit). 

This season, Turner's posted an O-Contact of 69.3 percent. Not only is that 10 percentage points higher than his O-Contact from last season, but a top-50 clip in all of baseball. He's one spot ahead of Mike Trout!  Put both of these together with some encouraging Statcast numbers (rise in HardHit%, already matched his total 'barrels' from last season) and you can see why Turner's been thriving at the plate. 

Defensively, he's improved across the board as well. His UZR and DRS - considered the two most reliable fielding statistics, if such a thing exists - are both up from last year. He has the 10th-best UZR of all major league shortstops and ranks 1st in DRS. 

Last season, he finished 17th in both UZR and DRS (of all shortstops with at least 800 innings; Turner didn't log enough innings to be considered a qualified fielder). He ended the season with both numbers in the negative. 

You may be skeptical of defensive stats, which is fine. But if nothing else, the fact that Turner is turning literal negative stats into positive ones is encouraging. 

Lastly, Turner continues to be an elite baserunner. At this point in his career, his speed is arguably his best tool:

You'll note that purple dot allllllllllll the way on the right. That's Turner! Now, let's take a look at how his speed compares across all positions:

Essentially, Turner is faster than like, 98 percent of baseball. In fact, by Sprint Speed, he's the 6th-fastest player in the game. He also ranks 2nd across all of baseball in FanGraphs "Baserunning" measurements, only behind fellow teammate and mindbogglingly good baserunner Michael A. Taylor. 

So, Trea Turner an elite baserunner (maybe the best if you combine his raw speed with his baserunning stats), a top-5 shortstop in the field, and an All-Star at the plate. 

Juan Soto's been great and Bryce Harper is still extremely talented, but this year, Trea Turner has been the Nationals' best player. 

MORE NATS COVERAGE: