Nationals

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Nats Stock Watch: As usual, Harper leading the way

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Nats Stock Watch: As usual, Harper leading the way

Each week this season, we’ll take the temperature of the Nationals roster to see whose stock is rising or falling.  

Record: 3-3

Team slash: .182/.270/.304

Team ERA: 2.64

Runs per game: 3

STOCK UP  

Bryce Harper, RF: .381 AVG/ 8 BB/ 1.218 OPS  

It's been quite an eventful week for the Nationals' superstar outfielder. He led the team in average and OPS (like he does most weeks), but as is usually the case with him, he did it in style. The 22-year-old broke out his patriotic bat on Independence Day and, naturally, hit a two-run home run in his very first at-bat that sent the sold out Nats Park crowd into a frenzy. A day later, it was announced that he would start in the All-Star Game as he (unsurprisingly) led the NL in fan voting. Harper's ascent to becoming one of the top faces in the sport has been fascinating to follow over the years, and now that he's just begun to realize his potential, you wonder if -- assuming good health -- we're beginning to see the start of an unforgettable career. 

Drew Storen, RP: 2 GP/ 0.00 ERA  

Speaking of the All-Star Game, Storen has a legitimate gripe about not being selected to go to Cincinnati next week. He's been about as good as any closer in the NL, so you really have to comb through the statistics to try and find discrepancies between he and the relievers who got selected by Bruce Bochy. The only thing you could think of is his ERA, which currently sits at 1.97. And as Mark Zuckerman pointed out earlier this week, Storen allowed a three-run homer in a blowout win over the Rays several weeks ago, ballooning his ERA from 1.11 to 2.16 at the time. If that wound up being the difference between getting an All-Star nod and staying home, then Storen probably has a good reason to be a little upset. 

STOCK DOWN 

Max Scherzer, SP: 0-2/ 4.85 ERA  

This is not a typo. And no, we can't believe it either. But Scherzer has proved he is indeed human over his last two starts, suffering a tough luck walk-off loss in Atlanta and following that up with an uncharacteristically bad outing Tuesday in a loss to the Reds. Of course, one bad week doesn't take away from the type of season the 30-year-old ace is having thus far for the Nats. But the numbers are the numbers, and over the last seven days he's had the highest ERA of any of the starters.

Ian Desmond, SS: .095 AVG/ .190 SLG/ 8 K 

The Nats have to hope that Desmond isn't reverting back to what he was during his prolonged slump. But at this point, it's hard to merely call it a "slump" and probably more appropriate to say that it's simply a down season thus far for the three-time Silver Slugger winner. Of the Nats with at least 110 at-bats, Desmond has the lowest average (.214), on-base percentage (.254), slugging percentage (.341) and leads the team in strikeouts with 97. That's about as alarming as it gets for a player who is hoping to cash in on a big contact next offseason.  

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.