If you somehow haven’t heard, the Washington Nationals’ bats are on fire, and their stellar offensive performances have pushed them to the top with the best record in the majors after the first month of baseball at 17-8. And Ryan Zimmerman is playing like the best batter in the game.
Since Opening Day on April 3, the team has won all six of their games with double digit runs — most recently Sunday’s 23-5 shredding of the New York Mets when they set a franchise scoring record — and they are 2-1 when their opponents are in two digits.
The Nationals scored 170 runs in April, their most in a month since moving to Washington in 2005. pic.twitter.com/WZcxHFZIXx— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 30, 2017
Even in the last week — despite going 4-3 in series against the Colorado Rockies on the road and the Mets at home — the Nats outscored their opponents by 31 runs. Sure, giving up 46 runs isn’t exactly a small number, but scoring 77 in seven games is pretty amazing.
So after a great opening month of the season, here’s a look at how individual players are comparing with the rest of the National League and the majors overall. It’s basically the Ryan Zimmerman Show.
Multiple Nats have a shockingly high number of runs batted in this season, and that’s setting aside Anthony Rendon’s 10 in Sunday’s blowout against the Mets.
Zimmerman leads both leagues with 29 going into Monday night's games, while Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper are tied for second with 26. That’s tied for second in the majors because Twins’ Miguel Sano leads the American League with 25 RBI. That’s pretty great for the heart of the lineup.
2. Batting average
Not surprising given his RBI numbers, but Zimmerman, again, leads both leagues with his .420 batting average, and actually, as a whole the NL is doing quite a bit better than the AL.
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner is batting .404, while Harper is at .391. Yet again, the NL’s top three leaders in this category are hitting better than those at the top of the AL — this time, the White Sox’s Avisail Gargia — who’s hitting .368 — and the Angels’ Mike Trout at .364. Not too shabby for the Nats.
3. Home runs
With his two-homer night, Ryan Zimmerman has tied Andre Dawson for 2nd most HRs in franchise history (225). pic.twitter.com/BKW4JmGPQt— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 29, 2017
Yet again, Zimmerman leads the majors in this stat too, only here he’s tied with the Brewers’ Eric Thames with 11 on the season. Harper and the Braces’ Freddie Freeman are also tied for third with 9.
Although the point of all this is to showcase how exceptionally well many of the Nats are playing, it’s worth noting that Zimmerman also leads the majors in hits (37), slugging (.886) and with an outrageously high OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging: 1.345).
So it’s not that Zimmerman and the Nats are frequently hitting grand slams to pad their stats — although those are happening every once in a while too — but they’re coming together early in the season to dominate fairly consistently.
Their next game is Tuesday with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch, kicking off a three-game, home series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.