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Injury Updates: Werth, Storen, & Desmond

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Injury Updates: Werth, Storen, & Desmond

Davey Johnson updated the media on several injuries during his pregame session on Tuesday afternoon before the Nationals game against the Mets. Most notable is an update on Jayson Werth who Johnson believes could be cleared for baseball stuff on Wednesday. Werth will meet with doctors and his manager expects good news, he says he thinks the chances of him re-injuring the broken bone in his wrist are slim.

Unless some catastrophe happens, thats not gonna happen, Johnson said. He is probably two or three weeks away.

Johnson said the team will know tomorrow if Werths plan of returning the first week of August is still in effect.

Ian Desmond was out of the lineup again on Tuesday as he continues to rest from a strain to his left oblique. After having the muscle tighten up over the All-Star break, Desmond is still hurting and gave Johnson a recent update.

I just talked to him and he said, I think this is something I think is going to be lingering all year long. Its not going to get better until the offseason, he said.

Johnson said that the injury is perhaps more troublesome for Desmond because of his style of play, he is active as a baserunner and keeps a wide range as a shortstop. Davey said Desmond has been using anti-inflammatories, hot-packs, and wears what he called science fiction tape. They will err on the cautious side moving forward and Johnson may have to dissapoint Desmond some days by leaving him out when he thinks he can go.

Drew Storen is with the Potomac Nationals ready to make his sixth minor league rehab appearance as he works his way back from elbow surgery. The young closer has struggled with a 9.53 ERA, but Johnson says the velocity is good, his command is more the issue.

His arm strength is fine, his command might be off because maybe he is trying to overthrow. His release points are inconsistent, he said.

Our pitching staff is in really good shape so theres no need in rushing somebody, but hes real close.

Johnson revealed on Tuesday that catcher Jhonatan Solano is also dealing with an oblique issue. The Nats manager said nearly half of his team has felt pain in their oblique at some point, but singled out the backstop and said he hurt it a few days prior during batting practice.

The oblique is the injury of 2012, everyone seems to have it. I didnt know those things were contagious, but Solanos got it, he said.

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

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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.

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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. 

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