How’s that for alliteration? The Nationals finished the season going 13-16, after September 1. Nothing spectacular, but that .448 winning percentage certainly beats their .364 for the whole season. Of course, their second half winning percentage of .440 trounced the .229 in the first half. Just goes to show you how bad that April and May really was. Anyway, you’d expect some players, therefore, to have done well in that post-August timeframe. And certainly some of the vets did play pretty well. But the youngsters are playing for a spot on the team next year, and auditioning to be part of a rebuilding process. Let’s take a look at some guys who impressed:
By now, everyone knows what this Desmond did, but it’s not a bad idea to recap. He showed incredible range at short, looked a little more flustered at second, lost in the outfield, and still had some trouble on the “easy” plays. But with his arm and his range, he may be hard not to play at short. What was surprising was how well he hit. After struggling at the plate for much of the last few years, he put together a great offensive season in the minors, earning his promotion. He hit a homer in his first game, and while having some ups and downs, finished with 4 HRs and a line of .280/.318/.561. The fact that he hit with such power shows he can handle major league pitching, and he’ll need to develop a little more patience. But he looks like he could be a solid regular if not more in the near future.
Detwiler is a former first rounder and will just turn 24 next spring. The 6’5″ lefty looked great in September, and has an impressive 1.92 ERA after being called up. He still has some work to do, as he pitched 23 2/3 while walking 11 and only striking out 10, but he showed promise nonetheless. He worked himself out of trouble on several occasions, and lowered his ERA for the season from 6.40 on Sept 1 to 5.00. He looks like a different pitcher mentally than the one that was playing in the early part of the year, and may already be penciled in as part of the starting 5.