Nationals Baseball: May 2024

Friday, May 31, 2024

Pitching : The Good and the Bad

If the offense didn't seem to match the brightness of the season that's because the offense isn't all that bright. It's managed to hang on because of some fast starts and timely hits but it's still 13th in the league in runs.  It's the starting pitching that's carrying this team. 

Jake Irvin 

The Good 

His walk rate has dropped precipitously from over 4 per 9 IP to almost 1.5. That's better than he ever did in the minors.  He's also seen his HR rate drop to a little under 1, more in line with his minor league stats than the 1.5 he put up last season. 

The Bad

He still doesn't strike out many (this will be a re-occurring theme) and guys are basically hitting the ball in the same manner as last year - just slightly less hard and slightly more on the ground. That puts him at the mercy of where the ball goes. IOW - luck. 


Don't put guys on base. Don't give up homers. Strike guys out.  Give me 2 of 3 and you will be successful unless you are REALLY bad at the other. Irvin is getting lucky but only a little bit and has deserved this good start. You have to wonder if he can keep up the super low walk rate but until he doesn't why not? You don't know if he has focused on it before


Mitchell Parker

The Good 

See Jake Irvin. You have a super low walk rate and a decent HR rate. The HR rate is especially nice because that is what he excelled at in the minors and it's something you could think he could keep up. He's inducing far more GBs 

The Bad

He is not striking guys out and he's not inducing a lot of soft contact. 


If you want to be wary about one of the starters Mitchell would be it. He's not just improving at one specific aspect like Irvin. He's never pitched like this before in the minors. Now, it's not like he's doing anything that screams it can't keep it up but he has the least amount of history suggesting he can and if pitching was a simple as "throw it in the zone and keep them from homering" we'd have a lot more great pitchers.

MacKenzie Gore

The Good

Completely coming into his own. The K-rate is ace level as is the HR rate. The walk rate is completely acceptable. The hard hit rate has dropped. Velocity is up. Swinging strikes is up. Outside the zone swing rate keeping going up while the contact keeps going down. Just a grab bag of goodies here.  There seems to be actually BAD luck for him a BABIP going which suggests possibly more improvement although oddly he does seem to be a guy that when guys can put in the ball in play they do it pretty well.

The Bad

He doesn't start off with strikes as often as he should and given the mere acceptable walk-rate and high K-rate he tends to throw a lot of pitches quickly. Even with 0 walks last game he was getting to 100 pitches before getting out of the 6th. For someone with a history of injury this can be a precarious thing to deal with.


I'm not sure what more can you want.  He's one step away - either efficiency or durability - from being an true ace if he keeps pitching like this.

Trevor Williams

The Good

2023 was a "bottom out" year for Williams featuring an unusually low K rate and high BB rate. Those have both shifted more back to historical norms for him. Also similarly he's inducing GBs at a rate more in line with what you'd expect from him. He's very much keeping the ball in the park and keeping the ball from being hit well. 

The Bad

He's still getting hit hard.  Nothing about his strike or chase numbers suggest massive improvement fooling hitters.


If you want my take Williams is having the make-up year from last season. He pitched poorly and everything broke as bad as it could while doing so.  Now he's pitching better and everything is breaking as good as it can.  The stats all scream he can't keep this up. That HR/FB rate (3.3%)  which is about 1/3 of what the best pitchers normally get for a year is just a flashing red light. Some regression is coming here. The question is if that puts him as still very good or just ok.  Again he's pitching well so there isn't a comeuppance to bad coming here unless something changes - which it might - his historic HR/FB rate can get kind of high. 

General Memorial Day sense 

The Nats are getting nearly everything they could be getting from these 4.  There are some things to keep watching and some things not to expect to keep up.  I'd be pretty surprised if Parker and Williams are holding the same stats come the All-Star break. But unless they completely collapse, an unlikely scenario, the Nats can still rely on them for decent innings if not great ones.  In the meantime Jake Irvin is starting to solidify himself as a mid-rotation starter and Gore is setting himself up for ace status.  This is pretty much the best case scenario for the Nats going into the season in a general sense. (I'd say pretty much bc best would include Gray rounding into a #2 type as well). There's likely some comeuppance coming and since the offense doesn't hold the same "likely to get better" status a slight dip in performance but if you are looking toward the future a drop off in 2024 win rate shouldn't bother you more than these performances on the mound by Gore, Irvin, and maybe Parker excite you

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Offense : The Good and the Bad

CJ Abrams

The Good

Abrams has matured into a more powerful hitter, without increasing his swinging strike percentage. He's still an aggressive hitter, but he's hitting the ball hard more and pulling it more and that's allowing for more home runs. He has no homers to the opposite field or and only 3 on the border of "straight away" 

The Bad

Abrams season has been the tale of two months. April being a near MVP level situation and May being near send him back to AAA. Most concerning in May would be the drop in walks from 11 to 1. Abrams doesn't have to be super patient but to maximize his base-running you need him on base. His SB have also decreased accordingly 7 for 9 vs 1 for 3. 


We take the months together and the general sense is Abrams is the same-ish hitter as before but with more power. The season will show the level of that (and of his base) and if that puts him above average or near All-Star. Note his defense is shaky so hope for a better bat.

Jesse Winker

The Good

Healthy, Jesse is putting up power numbers that make him worth playing. Not quite his best Reds days but far removed from the past couple of years that almost put him out of baseball. He is revving up his power while not sacrificing his eye. His walk rate remains high. He's really doing damage to RHP, OPSing a very solid .839 for the year so far

The Bad

While other things shift back to "stats when healthy" his K-rate also remains high. This suggests the power is coming from trying more as opposed to a reversion to his peak. He really can't hit lefties OPSing a dismal .570 so far. 


His May has also been much worse than a solid April but the combination of the two months feels right. A healthy Winker has proven to be a good offensive player which is ok if he can DH. He doesn't bring anything else to the table. While ok everyday, to optimize the guy though he should be only facing righties in a platoon. Nearly every team would take that guy.

Joey Meneses

The Good

 Joey's walk rate and Krate have been very stable. He's not having new issues with plate discipline.

The Bad

 Joey doesn't do anything particularly good though so stability in stats isn't necessarily a good thing.


We all understand that first season was a fluke but  what's the difference between last year and this one? The answer is really not much, which suggests last year was a bit of a lucky year and this year so far a bit unlucky. The underlying conclusion though is Joey is a below average bat with little power.

Luis Garcia Jr

The Good

The third guy we mention hitting for more power, albeit only slightly. Better to say instead of generally hitting the ball harder, he's gotten better at getting that one good swing in an AB. He's cut down on his GBs (every year since he came into the league in fact) and he's hitting to all fields.

The Bad

His K-Rate is back up accordingly.  He also has major troubles with LHP this year. It doesn't track as much as with Winker but it's something to note.


This feels like the evolution of the 2022 Garcia more than the weird stats that showed up last year. He's an ok average, no patience, hitter with some pop.  The batting profile I like a lot more becoming more a LD to all fields guy and it's a turn that has slowly happened all career. Last year is looking like a hiccup. He's looking like a player who could start for the rest of his time here.

Eddie Rosario 

The Good

He's walking a bit more than you'd expect and his power is still there.  Honestly he's getting some terrible luck with batted balls. He's not simply pulling the ball.

The Bad

He's swinging harder and hitting harder but in a general swing for the fences set. He's not squaring up the ball as much getting more topped grounders and lazy flies.  The swings are harder but not necessarily faster that's what accounts for the opposite field hitting more than an approach change.


His overall average should improve but he is a hitter on his last go around in the majors. He might be able to make it work the rest of the year with some luck

General Memorial Day sense for these Nats

Abrams could still be a star and Garcia could be a solid every day player. But those are probably top end results for this season. Abrams is likely to be the solid (but fun!) every day player with Garcia being the guy you are fine putting in there who's just better than average. Winker should be platooning but the question is what is best for trade value? Probably getting him a chance to show he can hit lefties, even a little. So don't expect a true platoon.  Rosario and Meneses are both likely within a couple years of being out of the league. If you forced me to choose I'd keep Rosario despite the bad results. He offers more overall and probably matches up Joey at the plate once luck is factored in.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

tuesday quickie - got that steal, getting another?

The Mariners are a team that rely on good pitching. When they don't get it (see Kirby on Friday), they lose. That's the break the Nats got. Then they won a close game and won the series.Solid work.  Now they are facing a Braves team that might be on a psychological break, having lost their best player Ronald Acuna for the year. The funny thing is they'd been doing just fine with Acuna underperforming - the line-up is deep. But losing a guy like him when you have championship hopes and you are looking up at the biggest divisional gap in baseball can rattle you. Take advantage. 

The big other news was the Robles DFA.  The team and him have never quite seen eye to eye for some reason. He had four years as basically as starter and provided great defense early on but couldn't keep up the hitting enough.  Eventually the glove work slowed down but miraculously he started extremely hot last year before getting hurt. Is this a problem of motivation or talent? If another team picks up Robles, and they should because that questions is out there, then we'll find out. He's still only JUST 27 (birthday was last week) so there's no reason he should be much worse as a fielder. Fix that and a team has maybe at least got a late D replacement. 

Probably the biggest negative of Robles' time with the Nats was the fact that his promise pushed them to move on from MAT. A top fielding that no one really thought would hit enough to become a star despite A++ CF defense.  Turns out the Nats were mostly right but he did hit enough to make him a positive player and have his overall value lap Robles' since Robles' rookie year.

In other news we hit Memorial Day weekend so it's time to take what we see seriously for everyone who's been up since the beginning of the year. The good :  Winker, Williams, Gore, Jake Irvin, and the top 4 bullpen guys.  The bad : Meneses, Corbin.  There are a few more baddies at the plate likely to come but they haven't played enough yet. That's why this lop-sided result hasn't shown in the record. BUT if those aren't real...

Friday, May 24, 2024

Standing now

Part way through the stretch of death and they are playing as I expected. 4-10 through it so far (yes, 2-9 recently but you can't parse out the bad anymore than you can the good. We want to look at the entire stretch here) Take that rate amongst the rest of the stretch and you have them ending at 27-41 one game off my guess of exiting the stretch 28-40. 

In the specific death march Phillies through Guardians, we were hoping for no sweeps and maybe a series steal. They did get swept by the Phillies and didn't manage to steal a winnable series at home against a currently scuffling Minnesota. So not a good start. But three more series with the same goals (1) Don't get swept (2) steal a series if you get a chance. 

The good news for the stretch is the Mets and the Tigers, who were noted as being on the back end have really looked bad recently. The Mets matched the Nats 2-8 run in the last 10 and the Tigers have lost their last 5 getting outscored 41 to 14 in the process. So maybe the stretch of death ends with the second Atlanta series with a Mets breather before it. If that's the case there's more of a chance of a little pre-ASB burst to get back to spitting distance of .500. 

The Mets games loom huge here. They have fewer than 40 games between now and the ASB and 10 of them are against the Mets. The Mets are a team that doesn't do anything good, but doesn't do anything bad.  In baseball though that doesn't add up to average. You need to do something good to win games. They stay in games, but lose. The Nats HAD been a good pitching team that didn't score. You saw that kept them close to .500.  That pitching has been missing for a while. 

Anyway give me James Wood. I'm guessing Jun 14th. That actually coincides with the end of my original stretch here right after the away series with Detroit so that's good. It all lines up.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Where's James Wood?

I'm not going to put up James Wood's numbers here because you have probably already seen them and honestly the actual numbers don't matter. After a brief cold spell Wood got hot again and he's basically doing everything at the highest possible level in AAA right now. There is no good production-related reason to keep him in the minors. 

So why is he in the minors? 

Is it service time manipulation? Not directly.  That usually ends in April when you've kept a player from getting his full year of service time, getting the team another. 

It's possible they are trying to avoid Super 2 status, which team control doesn't change but you get into arbitration quicker. The number - which used to be closer to the service time manipulation date, has been drifting lower as teams try all they can to be cheap (sorry, sorry ownership fans GET VALUE) and would likely sit somewhere between 110 and 120 for guys brought up this year. So if you want to be safe you are aiming for under 110 days.  That would be around June 12th if I'm counting right. However I'm not entirely sure that this is the reason. 

I think this is the reason, well at least the first part

"The top two finishers in Rookie of the Year voting in each league are automatically awarded a full year of service, regardless of how much they actually accrued that year. Teams will receive extra draft picks as compensation for promoting young players to their Opening Day roster who later finish in the top 3 in the Rookie of the Year voting"

Can James Wood finish in the Top 2 in ROY voting right now?  Probably not but it's not quite impossible yet.  The best bets are all pitchers Imanaga, Yamamoto, and Skenes. And Imanaga and Yamamoto are well ahead in value BUT pitchers are pitchers and injuries and load management will come into play. On the offensive side there's only one bat that Wood couldn't pass with a furious start and that's the previously unheralded Joey Ortiz.  Give this all a few more weeks (hey maybe mid June!) and Wood'll be too far behind to possibly catch up.

Now they know he's good enough to win ROY and would like that compensation but would they hold him long enough to make that happen? I can't see how. These are the "September call-ups" because you only need 45 days of active time to lose the rookie designation. Can they keep Wood down until late August?  God, I hope not.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Quick Guessing Game

Tell me what right now you think the Nats record will be at the end of this year and at the end of next year. 


2024 : 72-90

2025 : 75-87

Monday, May 20, 2024

Monday quickie - Trash weekend

The Nats got swept by the Phillies and the team slipped 5 games under .500 and 2.5 games out of the last place playoff spot.  One of the good things about the NL being a 4ish team league is that the Nats can challenge for that last spot, or at least pretend to, for a while. The bad news means when the Nats do slip they find themselves where they are now. Only 2.5 games out but with 5 teams between them and the current playoff holder Padres.  If the stretch of death continues like we thought it might they'll be too far back to even pretend come July and we'll be back to watching the kids only.   

Speaking of kids James Wood is indeed back hitting and looks ready (.353 / .457 / .564). We're all waiting on that.  Anything else of note?

From guys we've talked about : 

  • Drew Millas is hitting ok and with Ruiz struggling mightily I suppose we could see him.
  • Nothing to write home about yet but Dylan Crews steadily looks better. 
  • Jeremy De La Rosa had a good start to his A-ball season (he's only played a couple weeks). Christian Vaquero has not (but he's still 19 so whatever)
  • Andry Lara pitched well enough to get promoted to AA (1 start there so far) 

From guys we haven't : 

  • Old college draft bat Gavin Dugas (LSU IF) is showing he at least needs to be in A-ball. 
  • Bubba Hall, an older righty reliever is being dominant in A-ball and should move up to High A. Same notes for Jack Sinclair but insert AA and AAA. 
  • Marquis Grissom Jr, an immediate converted starter into righty reliever in High A, remains interesting if wild
  • Uhhhh that's it.

If this doesn't seem like much to you... you aren't wrong. James Wood is an unqualified success. Crews is coming along, maybe a bit slower than his offensive draft mates but really only a bit. Langford did make the majors but didn't set the world on fire and got hurt. Of the other 9 drafted in the Top 15 only Jacob Wilson (A's SS) is having a season so far that gets you excited. So don't be down on Crews. He's doing what he needs to in the broad "don't make me have to be a superstar" sense. But the arms (Cavalli and Henry) remain hurt and the bats like House, Morales, Green, Lile, and Hassell are either just being in the minors or disappointing. 

The Nats have done this before though. They've proved that getting one superstar ever couple years can sustain an organization. Wood looks like the first one. But unlike Strasburg into Bryce, into Rendon, into Turner, into Soto you do find yourself asking where's #2, #3, #4 and #5? Things change but right now the next set doesn't look like they are here.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

First real disappointment of the season?

Probably not. Starting 2-6 and having Gray go down to injury was a low point.  But since then, 40 days ago, the Nats have been playing good ball against bad teams. They did lose a series to Oakland, but beat the Giants, Houston, swept Miami, and beat Toronto. All this setting up the Nats as firmly a middle of the pack team. 

But now they lose a series to the White Sox, scoring 0 runs in their last 19 innings of baseball (and 10 in their last 5 games). Philly, Minnesota, Seattle, Atlanta, Cleveland.  There are no breaks here. These are all teams better than the Nats. 5-10 is the simple goal. Lose ground, watch .500 drift away, but don't spiral out of control. 

Why is the offense so bad recently? It actually hasn't been good all season and had been getting runs above expectation. Now it's scoring to it's level.

 After his fast start Jesse Winker has put up a .136 / .245 / .235 line in the past month. Keibert Ruiz has regressed to the point where you wonder if another team would have better luck. CJ Abrams has cooled down alot .208 /.235 / .250 in the past 2 weeks. As has YOUR boy (because he's not mine) Nick Senzel .156 / .325 / .188.  Jacob Young and Alex Call (fools!) started to look like decent replacements in hand for the hurt (and bad this year) Lane Thomas and Joey Gallo. Both are now OPSing around .500  (that's very bad). Only the maligned Eddie Rosario is hitting right now though Luis Garcia is doing ok and if the next week holds like the last few will be the best regular offensive player on the team. 

Without Abrams looking like a star and the weirdly great offense of Winker and Senzel the team just doesn't have the bats to score runs. The pitching will have to carry the team. They have looked like they might be able to but only the Mariners lack a potent line-up. The Phillies (2nd), Twins (10th), Braves (6th) and Guardians (8th) all are well above average. If the pitching staff gets through this still looking good, that's really something. They did hold back the Orioles (though they have had a much quieter May).

 Ok let's go! Don't get swept. Maybe steal a series and go 6-9

Monday, May 13, 2024

Monday quickie - A break in the action

The stretch from Hell started about as it should have.  2-3 was the most likely record but they had real shots at making in 3-2 which would have been impressive. Of course it's baseball and we don't count the "could haves". Every game is it's own little thing and it's only in the aggregate of what has happened in total that we get a true picture.

Now comes the only "should win" series between now and June. The Nats travel to Chicago to play the woeful White Sox. But hold on! The White Sox had recently won 4 in a row before losing yesterday. You can't take anything for granted in baseball. Tonight we get Trevor Williams, fresh off easily his best game of the year. Why couldn't he had done this last year when the Nats could have dealt him and his extra year of control for something good? Oh well.  Tomorrow we get the Erick Fedde match up vs Mitchell Parker who was perfectly fine against the Orioles. Then Patrick Corbin off a solid performance. 

None of these guys is throwing deep into games. The Nats only have two starts of 7 innings, and only 12 of at least 6 innings. That's only 30% of their games and ranks tied for 25th in baseball. Normally that would be a big flashing red warning sign of things to come BUT the Nats have had only one start of 3 innings or less (tied with 4 other teams for the best).  The combination means the Nats bullpen has pitched a reasonable amount of innings so far. 

Of course that's overall. Specific to the Nats individual relivers it does get a little dicey.  30 pitchers have been in at least 19 games, should be about 1 a team. The Nats have 3 (Law, Floro, and Harvey) and they among the teams who have played the fewest games this year. So that might be something to keep an eye on.

Thursday, May 09, 2024

Things you can do. Things you can't do.

Things you can do :

Say Nick Senzel is a player with some pedigree and talent so perhaps he can be a useful major leaguer. Let's see how his current limited run holds up for another month and look at it closely then. 

Things you can't do : 


Not that anyone was doing that BUT there was some "SEE! DAVEY IS A GOOD MANAGER!" which... I mean do we have to go over 2018, 2020, 2021, and 2022 again? It's possible he's a good playoff manager. Even if I think the 2019 was far more luck (Counsel making a bad choice with Hader, coming about 3 feet from losing to the Dodgers or the Astros) I'll concdede that it's possible. Now, IT WOULD BE HARD TO KNOW BECAUSE HE NEVER LED A STAR LADEN TEAM TO THE PLAYOFFS AGAIN, but again possible he has that knack. But he's been secretly good and I don't know, sandbagging nearly every other season in his career so the Nats would lose more for fun and profit, I guess. No. That's being oblivious

You can say managers don't matter. You can say Davey might be learning and maybe is improving from terrible. But you can't look at .500 ball in less than 40 games in a down NL season and say he's good. I'm drawing lines here.

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

Look i don't know

The Nats probably aren't a playoff team but it seems clear that they are better than we thought (for currently some clearly insane reasons - we'll come back to that) and the NL is 5 teams deep but take 6 into the playoffs. So go ahead and dream for now, especially after beating the Orioles. Thanks for that by the way.  Keep doing that. Some how beat them after this series too. 

CJ Abrams being a star is surprising but an optimist might have believed in it.  He is young, looked good to end last year, and was a top prospect. 

Luis Garcia Jr being a star is surprising and no one would have believed in it. He IS young, but spent last year getting dragged to the minors, and was never that highly thought of. Is it real? I don't know.  His BABIP of .390 is unsustainable and he isn't hitting the ball any better but he IS hitting the ball harder than ever. So some of this is real and the highest HR rate of his career is probably real too.

Jesse Winker having a great bounce back is surprising but that optimist from before could have convinced himself of it. Winker had good years in Cincy and in 2021 put up a .305 / .394 / .555 line with 24 homers in only 110 games. If it was about injury and not age or skill then maybe he could do something like that again. 

Nick Senzel having a great bounce back is surprising and again no one would have responsibly thought it possible. Is it real? I don't know. In 5 years at Cincy he never put up a year close to having positive results at the plate. Yes, it's probably small sample size and the real Nick is probably more the guy that has struck out 10 times in his last 23 ABs because he's just swinging for the fences now. But he is accomplishing his goal of pulling the ball harder and in the air so maybe he can be the Gallo that Gallo isn't? 

MacKenzie Gore rounding into a #2 type is not really surprising, but a nice development. He's keeping the ball down avoiding hard hit balls in the air, that's fewer homers. But he's also making sure it's in the strike zone keeping his K-rate up and BB-rate down. Hits are coming but let them. Teams can only single and double their way to so many runs in a game where you get out 70% of the time. 

Trevor Williams becoming an ace is shocking.  Is it real? I want to say I don't know but everything is screaming NO. Ok he is getting a bunch more ground balls, but he did that in the past and the results weren't like this. Batters aren't hitting him softer, in fact the opposite compared to last year. This is all predicated on a weirdly low BABIP and an insane no homer rate for someone letting guys hit pretty normally in terms of flyballs and how hard they hit it.  But baseball is weird sometimes I guess.

I don't know

Friday, May 03, 2024

Last weekend before THE TEST

The Nats are a .500-ish team but as I've noted they've managed that in part by luck and part by schedule. The former is up to the baseball gods but the latter shifts like sand and there is a sandstorm coming. After facing the sort of in trouble Blue Jays the Nats have the following schedule 

  • Orioles - Great!
  • Red Sox - Surprisingly good!
  • White Sox - probably the worst team in baseball, them or the Rockies
  • Phillies - good
  • Twins - good
  • Mariners - good
  • Braves - great
  • Guardians - great
  • Mets - good
  • Braves - great
  • Tigers - maybe good, we'll see when the Nats get there


That's a LOOOONG stretch of playing teams that are good. 34 games to be precise.  If how they have played holds they'll enter that stretch maybe at 17-17 and exit like 28-40. 

The rest of the season sets up as mildly favorable but only very mildly so. Part of that is because the NL East is pretty good and they've only played two series against teams, one being a Marlins series. Part of that is because in this stretch the two bad teams they do face are AL teams they only play once, leaving only two more for the last ~100 games. And part of it is it being mildly favorable assumes the D-backs don't get out of their funk being probably the unluckiest team by record this year. So it's not like if they stumble here they are likely to rocket back out.

We've determined the Nats are better than the Marlins. That was good. Now we dig in and determine if the Nats really are better than last year. A good start would be beating up on the Blue Jays while they can

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

One month in - what should your focus be on?

The Nats did not get out of the month with Davey's first winning April. But 14-15 is a pleasant surprise. Of course it is early and a mere 13-16 probably fits with most projections, if not that 12-17 certainly does so small sample size caveats hold. 

We (we being me and most people) often say Memorial Day weekend is the time when you look at things and can think "oh this might be real". It's a full third of the season in and gives plenty of time for the hot or cold week-10days-two weeks to balance out. That being said this first month is the information we have and sets us up for what to try to follow in the next 30 days to see if it is real or not. 

Note guys like Ruiz, Senzel, Ildemaro Vargas, Mitchell Parker, Jacob Barnes have the equivalent of 2+ weeks of play and so even by Memorial Day it'd be fair to still have lingering questions. We'll leave them off this list.  

1) CJ Abrams superstar?  The guy is on pace for a season hitting .295 approaching 40/40. If that's not a fluke the Nats have gotten a huge lift into being contenders again. His average is consistent and the speed is undeniable so what we're really watching is the homers (only 1 in past 9 games) is he THAT guy or is he a 20-25 homer type that had his best month? Either way he's still great*

2) Can Jesse Winker stay healthy? Winker has been good in the past but has been unable to ever stay healthy, which can account for various terrible outcomes all over the place. It's clear the guy has talent but also clear the first injury might derail his whole season. I guess staying healthy until May doesn't guarantee anything but it'd be nice to get as much "good Winker" as the Nats can. Especially since Gallo looks like a huge swing and miss. Joke Intended. 47.3% K-rate!

3) Is the Joey Meneses Era over? Joey burst onto the scene two years ago, but given a full-time position last year basically broke even, which wouldn't normally be enough given he brings nothing else to a team but his bat but the Nats were very bad. His BABIP doesn't suggest bad luck and while he should have A homer or two, if he's hitting mostly not hard balls on the ground, which he is, well this is the end of Meneses the major leaguer.

4) MacKenzie Gore #1 Starter? K-rate is up, BB-rate is down, HR-rate is down. It seems like the sacrifice to that is a few more hits but guess what? That's the least important thing unless you are giving up 15 line drive singles a game. He's getting a bit lucky with those homers but otherwise pitched to this stat line. It's bordering on a #1. Much like Abrams if he hits on this the Nats have a huge lift in their plan giving them an arm to build around. 

5) How good (or not good) is Trevor Williams? I mean he wasn't terrible during his career, he just couldn't make it work as a starter before this month. The stats say he can't keep this up. He is inducing more ground balls and walking fewer (good!), but his homer rate and BABIP rate all are saying he's getting lucky. Assuming they all swing back well it could leave him as average with moderate swings or terrible with strong ones. Williams has provided a nice steady presence in the rotation around which you can evaluate guys like Irvin and Parker. If he can at least stay average that can continue but if he busts that's more strain on the pen. 

6) Is the pen really good? Harvey continues to show the makings of a star reliever, even if he has yet to get the results, but guys like Law and Floro, have done well focusing mostly on keeping the ball in the park. With Finnegan, probably the 4th or 5th best pitcher, in the save spot like a modern-day Todd Jones that leaves the better pitchers available to face the best hitters in the toughest situations. If one more guy can come around the pen could really be something special I think.  Rainey unfortunately looks broken but I liked the bet on Matt Barnes. I'd say go the the minors but Rochester's pen is complete trash. Go to AA? A lot of guys there look interesting.  They need to start pushing them into AAA. But that's off-topic.  For May I guess it's watching Law and Floro to see if they hold and Matt Barnes to see if he can step up

*at the plate - he's secretly a really bad SS! But shhhh.