Nationals Baseball: Offense : The Good and the Bad

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.


Anonymous said...

I don’t totally get the knocks on Abrams’ defense, though I realize he grades poorly on UZR. Is it that he doesn’t get to as much around him as expected? Seen him make some highlight reel plays this year but obviously those don’t tell the whole story.

SMS said...

That all sounds about right to me, Harper.

Though I do think if Rosario can have a June that's league average or better, you'd find a taker for the "missed ST, needed a while to get going" narrative.

I actually have him kind of in the same boat as Winker in terms of "if they play alright for the next 6 weeks or so, we'll be able to get an FV40 or two for them." And that's not a bad outcome when it comes to signings like these.

Matt said...

I mean, playing SS + pretty good hitting + craptacular D = they let your carcass keep playing into your early 40s to rack up the counting stats and you get a nearly unanimous HoF election. So, not a bad best case for Abrams, right?

Anonymous said...

He looked lost tonight with 4Ks and the error.

Nattydread said...

Is it 8-12 on the run now? .400. With Williams up. Not too shabby --- pitching looking good, hitters recovering from the 12 game skid. Let's steal this series from Atlanta.

Steven Grossman said...

For a season that began with the Nats expected to finish last (again) in the NL East.....we should feel good that we are 3.5 games ahead of the Mets for third place. Hopefully, we are in a sweet spot in the rebuild while other teams (with bigger budgets and more established stars) are floundering.

I know that praising Rizzo is a surefire way to draw flak, but I think he is doing a great job. We are showing solid progress.

It is too soon to know--but we shouldn't forget--that the Soto trade could turn out to be one of the most successful trades in baseball history. So far, we have two solid ML'ers with star potential and three young minor leaguers who have high ceilings and might be stars. Five for five (Voit) is extraordinarily unlikely---but that its even a possibility two years post-trade is itself a feat.

Steven Grossman said...

....meant to say Voit doesn't count.

Donald said...

@Steve Grossman — I agree about the Soto trade, and on the off chance they were to sign him next year as a free agent, it would feel even better. Basically loaning him out during the rebuild for an extraordinary haul.

Anonymous said...

3 of 4 in Atlanta and looked good doing it. Not bad at all.

G Cracka X said...

I definitely think they are going to finish this gauntlet better than 28-40.

In other news, here's the FG report on the Nat's farm:

This sentence may excite you:

"Admittedly a less stable hitter than a lot of the other elite prospects in baseball, Wood’s ceiling is on another planet."

Now if he can just get healthy...

G Cracka X said...

And this:

"The issues with fastballs around his hands are a little bit of a concern, so let’s see if Crews can remedy those now that he’s being challenged for the first time in his baseball life. We think he can, and that he’ll be an impact player and franchise cornerstone."

Harper said...

Matt - I see what you did there but as a Yankees fan this let's me go off

Jeter didn't always stink at D. He went through cycles. He was ok as a youth letting instincts and athleticism carry him but he didn't have enough athleticism for that to work long term and when he hit the 2nd half of his 20s he saw a quick drop. This is where the "What's this guy playing SS for" talk got started and never went away and it made sense. He was truly awful for a few years. He would then actually work on his D and be ok for a couple more years before age got to him and again he dropped. Then some smart positioning helped him again get to passable but that could only do so much and he finished his career a drag at the position.

Abrams is on pace for a year that would around 5th or 6th worst in Jeter's career. This is as a 23 yo. He could get better - Jeter's first year would be very similar to this one from Abrams. But Abrams hasn't yet shown any inclination to. Abrams has yet to prove he's anything but a drag.

As for batting Jeter wasn't just "pretty good" he's in the Top 5 hitting SS of all time. A-Rod and Honus Wagner are in a class by themselves and Arky Vaughn is likely better but then it's Jeter and a gap between him and long-term guys like Larkin or higher ceiling shorter career guys like Nomar or Hanley Ramirez. We're excited for the year Abrams could put up if he continues doing what he's doing. I'm not sure it would make the top 15 years for Jeter at the plate. He gets sold short because he didn't homer much but the guy was hitting like .315 with decent patience and doubles power for 17 seasons. There was no real "carcass" playing for Jeter. He hit really well until he was 38. Got hurt and barely played at age 39. Tried a full season at 40 and didn't have it and quit.

This is all to say the "Jeter wasn't that good" takes that served as the response to "JETA IS THE BEST!" media coverage were probably actually further from the truth than the hyperbole. The guy is an all-time great offensive baseball player that probably shouldn't have been playing SS, especially when a clearly better one was brought onto the team, but held his own at the spot for like 75% of his career.

Matt said...

Harper -- we don't disagree all that much. Jeter was very good and if we could put peak Jeter on the Nats today I'd be strongly in favor.
Definitely a HoF but more of an intermediate circle HoF than an inner circle HoF. (So yeah JETER THA BEST gets my goat).

Anyway, my point (maybe too hidden in the ribbing) is that even faking it as SS is really valuable and we tend to underrate that. Jeter was a great hitter *for a SS* which is to say a pretty good hitter overall (I don't do grade inflation). We should all be so lucky as for Abrams to end up that good (and OK he needs to work on the D too).

A perhaps less incendiary example is Desmond. A different set of fielding issues but issues nonetheless with hitting which was good for a SS but nothing remarkable at oh let's see 1B (wtf Rockies?) added up to a fairly valuable player even if one who tested the fans' patience.

Tl;dr you're too down on Abrams the package he has can add up to a lot of value. (And yeah he could age off SS early destroying a lot of his value but given that the Nats don't seem to extend anyone that is very likely another team's problem).

PS Ripken also a better hitter than Jeter you don't get to remove him from the list for having the grace to move off SS once he got too old for the position.