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Revere looks forward to playing for Baker, with Harper, at Nats Park


Revere looks forward to playing for Baker, with Harper, at Nats Park

Ben Revere doesn't need much filling-in when it comes to the Nationals, having played against them consistently the last three seasons during his time with the Philadelphia Phillies. He knows the team, their players and even the ballpark very well.

And with that knowledge of what he's getting into as the newest member of the organization, Revere is looking forward to several things. For one, the opportunity to play with Bryce Harper is a significant positive.

"He's a great guy. Of course, he's the MVP. I've been watching him for a long time. He's definitely one of the top guys," Revere said. "I know when I get over there I'll be like 'I'm just trying to get you a lot of RBIs so you can win back-to-back MVPs.'"

Revere will now share an outfield and a lineup with Harper and veteran Jayson Werth. He hopes to help them, as well as the others set to hit behind him, score more runs in 2016.

"[Harper] and Werth, they are both great hitters. They can hit the ball each and every way out of the park. They will make my job easier. All I need to do is get in scoring position and mainly just get on base. If it's a basehit, walk or error, it doesn't matter. Just get on and get in scoring position. Let those guys go to work. You get a ball in the gap and nine out of 10 times I'm going to score. Them and [Ryan] Zimmerman and some of those guys, it's just whatever I gotta do to help them get their RBIs, that's all I'm going to do."

Revere has admired the Nationals' organization from afar and appreciates what they do beyond their play on the field.

"I know we have a lot of great guys in here. I have faced them all. The starting rotation, of course some the hitters. The Nationals, they do a great job as an organization to prepare their guys who come up to the big leagues and The Show. No matter if it's a position player or a pitcher. If they call somebody up, they're ready to roll and help this ballclub try to clinch the division and get back to the playoffs," he said.

Revere also looks forward to playing for Dusty Baker, whose managerial style that emphasizes speed could suit Revere well.

"You've got Dusty Baker. I know about him a lot from the majority of my life watching baseball. I played against him when he was coaching for the Reds. It's a blessing to be able to have this opportunity," he said.

Between his new teammates and new manager, Revere likes plenty of things about his new franchise. He even likes their stadium, Nationals Park, of which he has played the fourth-most games in of any stadium in his career.

"I know going to that ballpark, it was one of my favorites to play at. It's beautiful, the scenery and everything. The crowd, they pack that place out, especially on the weekends. It's rocking from the first pitch to the last," he said.

[RELATED: Nats like versatility of new CF Ben Revere]

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

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.