Small Signs of Life

The start of the season has seen some good starting pitching and some offensive funktitude from the Nats. While Jayson Werth isn’t yet doing much to impress on offense – 1 HR this weekend made you think he might start to wake up, until Sunday’s 0 for 5 – there are a few bats that may be coming to life. A couple of guys had a very poor first few games, and that’s obscuring what they’ve done since the first week of the season.

Adam LaRoche is a notorious slow starter. This year he’s hitting .227/.338/.379, which seems appropriate for him in April. His career OPS is .774 in the first half, .889 in the second. And his career OPS in March/April is .703, compared with .870 in July, .952 in August, and .858 in September. So none of this poor start is all that surprisingly. But if you take out the first 5 games (in which he hit .158/.238/.158) and just look at everything after, he’s hitting  .255/.375/.468. That’s 13 out of the 18 games played, not a particularly large sample. But if he were to do basically this for the rest of the way, and his slow start is only 5 games, I think people would be thrilled with his production, even if his August doesn’t end up in the .950 OPS range.

Speaking of recoveries and small sample sizes, you may know that Mike Morse hit his first homer of the season on Sunday. And you probably knew that he stunk early this season, but you may not have realized that he only stunk for the first 7 games, after which he was hitting .100/.208/.100. He’s since brought his OPS up to .645 from that low, not entirely impressive, but come on, that’s more than double. This is on the back of his last 11 games – since that .308 OPS low, he’s hit .353/.378/.471 not altogether bad for a hot streak. And those first few hits were singles, with more XBHs recently, so power is coming. This often happens with hitters coming out of bad starts – first the singles fall in, then they start hitting with power. I have a feeling this is gonna be a good week for Mr Morse.

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