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Nationals' Trea Turner wins NL Rookie of the Month award again

Nationals' Trea Turner wins NL Rookie of the Month award again

Trea Turner's amazing 2016 season has earned him another accolade, as the Nats center fielder was named NL Rookie of the Month for September-October, the second consecutive month he's won the award.

Turner was fantastic in August, but even better in the season's final month. He hit .339/.380/.612 with eight homers, 18 RBI, 15 steals and a .991 OPS. Since the All-Star break, Turner led the majors in triples (8) and ranked second among all NL batters in total bases (33) and hits (102).

Turner closed the season with a .342 average through 73 games, the best for any rookie (min. 290 AB) since Ichiro Suzuki hit .350 in 2001. Turner is the first rookie ever to hit at least 13 homers, steal at least 33 bases and bat .340 or better in 73 games or less.

[RELATED: Nats' Trea Turner on his speed, how he got it & how he likes to use it]

Manager Dusty Baker said Turner was a major factor in the Nats winning the NL East this season.

"When Trea came, Trea gave us another weapon, another element. I mean, here’s a young man batting leadoff that drove in 40 runs and hit 13 home runs and stole 30 bases in half a season. He had a tremendous, tremendous impact on our lineup and it had a lot to do with us winning," Baker said.

Turner could finish near the top of NL Rookie of the Year voting for the 2016 season, but it's a crowded group. Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager appears to be the favorite with others like Aledmys Diaz of the Cardinals, Kenta Maeda of the Dodgers, Trevor Story of the Rockies and Steven Matz of the Mets also having strong rookie campaigns.

[RELATED: Nationals ready for Dodgers and the MLB playoffs]

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Nationals hunt for ways to maintain Gerardo Parra’s mojo without him

Nationals hunt for ways to maintain Gerardo Parra’s mojo without him

As much as technology has been the enemy in baseball in recent weeks, the Nationals hope it becomes an aid to keep last year’s vibe cooking.

Aníbal Sánchez tested it out at Winterfest, the 2020 group’s first large assembling, in order to import Gerardo Parra’s beaming bubbliness. There he was on FaceTime, giggling, smiling and with a sore but colorful forearm.

He won’t be in West Palm Beach at the team’s spring training facility. He won’t be on the 25-man roster. He won’t be on the field at Nationals Park this year -- probably. Throwing out the first pitch is something he’s interested in. But logistics are not on his side.

Parra is off to Japan after an immediate offer from the Yomiuri Giants following the World Series. He circled back with Mike Rizzo first because he wanted to return. His conversation with Rizzo convinced him to take the offer in Japan -- more playing time, more money, more marketing -- though he still hopes to return to the major leagues before he is done with baseball.

“I love playing everyday,” Parra told NBC Sports Washington. “That’s more important for me.”

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW ON THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST:

So, a void exists among the team’s ministers of fun. Parra’s scooter is parked somewhere else, its horn finally silent and wheels stopped. His body is across the globe, which makes the Nationals wonder how his aura can persist in the clubhouse. If you can’t explain it, and can’t intentionally manufacture it, how do you bottle it? Such is the complication of chemistry.

“I talked to Aníbal: please don’t lose the emotion, don’t lose the good feelings we have right now in the clubhouse because that’s good for me,” Parra said. “I think that’s more important to me. We worked a lot to do that. Don’t lose that. That’s the only thing I want to say to my teammates because that’s good when you come into the clubhouse and feel everybody happy and feel like a family.

“I put alerts in my phone because when those guys win I want to wake up or be ready and happy in that moment. I want to be there, too. The FaceTime. I want to be there. I’ll be ready for that.”

Strapped to his left forearm no matter his location is a forever reminder of 2020. Parra’s tattoo commemorating the World Series win and his accompanying “Baby Shark” cultural pop took 11 hours to sink into his skin. The effort is replete with the World Series trophy and smiley face wearing his preferred tinted glasses. His former teammates sent the image around to each other. The idea was hatched once the Nationals made the playoffs: Parra declared then he would receive the tattoo if they won the World Series.

“A whole forearm tat,” Max Scherzer said. “That’s pretty aggressive.”

“That’s aggressive,” Trea Turner said.

“It looks really cool,” Sean Doolittle said.

The tattoo’s existence reminds of Parra’s all-in approach. He wasn’t cheery half the time, or only when things were going well. His ecstatic-to-be-here vibe was close to perpetual. A slump at the plate temporarily dented it. A conversation with Davey Martinez brought it back to life. Now, it’s gone.

“I think it’s important we brought so many of those [other] guys back because I think our biggest strength last year might have been the chemistry in the clubhouse,” Doolittle said. “Last year was so special because everything in the clubhouse came together so organically. It wasn’t like Parra chose “Baby Shark” because he thought the fans would latch on to it and it would become a thing. He was just doing his own thing because he wanted to change his luck.”

Doolittle’s reference of a nearly full roster repeat came up when others addressed the topic of Parra’s absence. Sánchez referenced it. Scherzer referenced it. On and on.

“The core of this team’s still back,” Scherzer said. “And we can all look each other in the eyes and know when it counts, we can all count on each other and we’re a bunch of winners. I think [the chemistry] is just going to breed itself. We’re going to face a tremendous amount of challenges this year coming into it, but it’s going to be what it takes in the clubhouse to respond to it. And that’s what we play the game for. It’s going to be a challenge and we’re up for it.”

Even Parra agrees. He will be watching from Japan while 14 hours in the future, and talking on Sánchez’s phone, and continuing to counter modern concepts in baseball. Math despised the Nationals for much of last season. Yet, they won the World Series and attribute much of the outcome to chemistry, an unpalatable concept to a computer.

“I don’t think the guys will lose that,” Parra said. “Because other guys on that team love winning. When you have a guy play baseball to win, the guy he can’t lose that. I promise you these guys to the playoffs again too because these guys have a great heart.”

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Gerardo Parra wants to throw out the first pitch on Nationals Opening Day

Gerardo Parra wants to throw out the first pitch on Nationals Opening Day

April 2nd, 2020 is a big day for Nationals fans everywhere.

It's the home opener against the Mets, players will get their World Series rings and the fans will be able to watch the Nats hang the first championship banner in franchise history.

How could a day like that get any better? Maybe if Gerardo Parra, better known as "Baby Shark," threw out the first pitch. Luckily enough, Parra is most definitely down. 

"I want to throw the first pitch," Parra said in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Washington. "I'm working, but it's not in my hands. I want to talk to the Japan team, but like I say, I don't want to say no because you never know."

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Right after the World Series ended, Parra said he received an offer from the Yomiuri Giants in Japan. He ultimately signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with a $3 million vesting option for 2021. His options to come back and play in the MLB were slim. 

Parra galvanized an entire locker room and fan base during the Nationals' improbable run to a World Series title. He added a level of weird to the team that hadn't been present before, so much so that there are actual videos of Stephen Strasburg dancing with Parra in the clubhouse. 

He only spent a short time in DC, but Parra quickly became a Nationals legend among the fans. Hopefully, we'll be able to see him throw the first pitch before he embarks on a career overseas. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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