For once, I’d like to talk about some of the good this offense is doing. Ok, so maybe I’m an optimist and I tend to talk about that anyway, but let’s be honest, this season I have been pretty quiet on my praise for the hitters. But there are a couple of things works noting.
Danny Espinosa has been unable to maintain a healthy batting average. But he walks so much (this isn’t a surprise if you look at what he did in the minors) and hits with enough power that is ALMOST doesn’t matter. I say almost because if he was hitting just .250, as opposed to .217, he’d be the rookie of the year favorite. Back to what he IS doing though. His .217/.311/.461 comes with 10 HR, enough for best among NL rookies… but 5 home runs. His OPS ranks 3rd for rookies, but that low average is killing him. It helps to keep his OBP too low, that .311 mark ranks him 3rd from the bottom, at #9 among those with at least 50 PAs.
I’ve written about this recently, but I’ll say it again. The slump that Mike Morse was in during all of April is gone. He isn’t just hitting well recently, his season numbers are up to .301/.329/.504. That is off of a streak where he hit HRs in 4 straight games, and in 5 of 7. It makes up for his April in a big way. His OPS now ranks 15th among all NL outfielders with at least 125 PAs. Top 15 makes you a starter, considering each team has three, which brings us to the another outfielder.
What can you say about Laynce Nix? His incredible early summer has continued, and his .303/.333/.576 puts his OPS 7th among those same group of outfielder in the NL. The lefty still is almost exclusively hitting against righties – which makes the RH Morse’s full time duty and his ability this year to smash righties (5 of his 7 homers came against them) even more impressive. But we’re talking about Nix right now. It’s important to remember he is doing this only against RHP and that’s ok, the majority of starters are just that, but it does highlight his limitations. Even with those limitations, 400 PAs of 850+ OPS is a great deal for that Nats.
I’m trying to give complements so I don’t have too much more to say. Wilson Ramos has been slumping but he may still be the leading RoY candidate, so that’s good. Werth is an average hitter right now, ranks 20th in OPS among the 40 qualified NL outfielders – it’s not so bad except their paying him to be much better. Desmond has taken a few walks recently, which is good, but he doesn’t look right, even if he hit .220 with a .280 OBP you’d really expect more power out of him. He might be more hurt than he’s letting on – which means improvement may be a longshot unless he gets real time off. That’s just total speculation, though.
North of the Border
On another note, I’m up in Toronto for work this week, and I may have a chance to go to the game tonight. I’ve never been to the stadium, and I am excited to check it out. Also kinda cool – phenom Kyle Drabek is scheduled to go against non-phemon Josh Tomlin… Tomlin is 26, has a 6-2 record and a 2.74 ERA. Should be fun!