The Nationals Underdog Story
Finally! The Washington Nationals have won in the postseason. Even more surprising, they won the NL pennant. After losing Bryce harper to the Phillies, the city of Washington was not expected to see playoff baseball at Nationals Park. They were even twelve games under .500 on May 23rd. Here is why they made it to the World Series.
Mike Rizzo/ Dave Martinez
The Nationals are a well run team. Mike Rizzo has built a deep and talented roster and that is here to contend for a long time. He wants to win. He has been fantastic for Washington baseball. Easily, one of the games best executives.
Dave Martinez appears to he a genius. The use of his starting pitchers in the bullpen has worked. He is an intelligent baseball mind. Despite losing his franchise player, Martinez led the Nationals to eleven more wins than they had in 2018. He is a NL Manager of the Year candidate. These playoffs have shown that he deserves it.
The Nationals as a whole are just a great offensive team.
Anthony Rendon is an MVP candidate at third base. Rendon led the National League with 126 runs batted in while hitting .319 and crushing 34 home runs. Rendon is one of the best players in the game. This postseason that is being noticed. He has been a big part of the Nationals postseason success.
Twenty year old Juan Soto had a higher Wins Above Replacement than Harper in 2019. Soto also had a higher batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS and only hit one less home run. Soto drove in 110 runs at age twenty. That is insane. He outproduced Harper in 2019. Soto hit a game winning three run double in the eighth inning of the 2019 National League Wild Card game. In the eyes of many, Juan Soto is already more of a Washington hero than Bryce Harper ever was.
At just 22, Victor Robles will likely only get better for the Nationals. Robles was an average hitter in his first full major league season but was still a major contributor for the Nationals.
He had the same Wins Above replacement as Harper this year due to his speed and terrific defense in the outfield.
Trea Turner is an electric lead off man. Hitting close to .300 and stealing 35 bases in 2019. Turner really set the tone for Washington's lineup. They are a team who make a lot of contact and this resulted in having the second highest batting average and on base percentage in the National League. They were also very aggressive on the bases. Turner and Robles led the way with thirty five and twenty eight thefts, respectively.
Howie Kendrick has been a hitting machine for the Nationals. In the past three years, Kendrick's .325 batting average is the highest in baseball. He truly is one of the most underrated players of this generation.
Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg Anibal Sanchez and Patrick Corbin make up the Washington rotation. They have been strong all year. Their rotation is one of the best in baseball. The first three starters o the series, Sanchez and Scherzer and Strasburg did not allow an earned run in the first three games of the NLCS. In the four games against the Cardinals, Washington starters struck out 40 hitters in 26.2 innings with a 1.35 Earned Run Average.That is incredible. Pure domination.
The once World Series long shots now have a serious chance of winning it all in 2019. They are waiting on the winner of the Astros - Yankees series. That may be awhile. No matter who they play we are in for a great fall classic.