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Nationals Stock Watch: Roark continues to impress

Apr 30, 2014, 2:01 PM EST

Record: 4-2
Team slash: .277/.335/.398
Team ERA: 2.73
Runs per game: 5.16


Adam LaRoche, 1B: .360 AVG/.429 OBP/.560 SLG/6 RBI 

With the way the Nationals’ lineup has been bit by the injury bug this season, where would the offense be without LaRoche? The veteran first baseman has been a rock through April, leading the team in average, home runs, on-base percentage and RBIs. He kept it going with another solid week, starting it off with a walk-off single against the Angels last Wednesday and capped it with the late-inning, go-ahead RBI in Tuesday night’s 4-3 victory against the Astros. With key parts of the lineup missing, he’ll have to continue to carry the load offensively.

Jayson Werth, RF: .393 AVG/.414 OBP/.571 SLG/4 RBI

Another veteran who may have to chip in more offensively while Bryce Harper is out is Werth, who is top three in most of the major offensive categories for the Nationals. He turned in a solid week that was highlighted by him setting the table for the ninth inning rally against the Angels, which helped kickstart a stetch where the team went 4-2. He, like LaRoche, is one of the more patient hitters in the Nats’ lineup, which will be needed more than ever now that the offense will be without key pieces over the next few months.

Tanner Roark, SP: 1-0/9.0 IP/0.00 ERA/0.44 WHIP 

Have yourself a month, Tanner Roark. In five April starts, he has gone 2-0 with a 2.76 ERA and nearly a three-to-one strikeout/walk ratio. He delivered his most impressive start of the season over the weekend, pitching a complete game shutout Saturday against the Padres. Roark’s “stuff” isn’t considered elite, but he still finds a way pound the strike zone, change speeds and get hitters out as consistently (if not more so) as any starter on the team right now. There’s no way to know if Roark can keep this going, but all he’s done since he was called up last season is pitch well, so there’s no reason to doubt him yet.

Jose Lobaton, C: .318 AVG/.581 SLG/1 HR/4 RBI

With Wilson Ramos out of the lineup for a while, the Nationals still have to get something offensively from the catcher spot. That’s where Lobaton comes in, who had solid numbers with the Rays last season in a reserve role, which was the primary reason why Washington traded for him in the first place. Lobaton had his best week of the season at the plate, slugging .581 and helping to chip in to an offense still trying to find some consistency.


Bryce Harper: Thumb injury (Out until July)

Quite simply, it’s been a disastrous first month of the season for Harper. He started out of the gate slowly, then got benched for not hustling down the first base line, and now suffers a thumb injury that will keep him out until at least July. For all the talk before the season about how 2014 could be a breakout year for the Nationals’ young phenom, it has instead turned into a referendum on his style of play thus far in his career. He plays hard, but is he playing recklessly? Is there anything Matt Williams and the Nationals do to help him? Harper’s raw talent is unquestioned, but after having this setback early in his second full season in the bigs, perhaps there are those who are wondering if he will be healthy enough to reach his potential.

Ross Detwiler: 3.0 IP/ 0-1/9.00 ERA/3.00 WHIP

During a week in which his name was being tossed around as a possible replacement in the starting rotation for Taylor Jordan, Detwiler wasn’t able to make his case as he struggled in a couple relief outings. His worst outing of the season came Sunday, when he was charged with a loss as he allowed three runs in just an inning and a third of work. With the rotation in flux as Doug Fister is still rehabbing, Detwiler has to prove to his manager that he could be a reliable option as a spot starter in the case of an injury or if Jordan continues to struggle.

  1. unterp - Apr 30, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    Roark has the it factor…

  2. chaz11963 - Apr 30, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    Good report, Mark. Unfortunately, I think Desi is approaching making the Stock Down list as well.

    • David Proctor - Apr 30, 2014 at 2:30 PM

      Desi had a few really good games that kept him off it. Now, if we were talking about the whole month…he’s definitely on it.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 30, 2014 at 5:01 PM

      It’s not Mark’s post, it’s Chase’s.

      • natsfan1a - Apr 30, 2014 at 6:57 PM

        According to the byline, it’s Daniel’s.

  3. natsguy - Apr 30, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    Roark’s “stuff” is just plain nasty and consistently nasty.

    • adcwonk - Apr 30, 2014 at 2:35 PM

      proving once again that you only need two out of the big three: location, movement, speed.

      • natsguy - Apr 30, 2014 at 2:54 PM

        Velocity being the least important and movement the most important.

      • Eric - Apr 30, 2014 at 2:55 PM

        Hrm…I’d have to give the nod to location. If you can’t locate, the movement is almost meaningless, because you don’t know where it will end up.

      • Doc - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:33 PM

        Actually Eric is more in line with most pitching coaches who put location at the top of the list ( See Greg Maddux on how to paint the black).

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 30, 2014 at 5:18 PM

        I’d go with location, too, if I could only have one, but the whole point of the idea is one needs two out of three in MLB.

        And keep in mind it’s not either-or; those three skills are all measured in degrees.

  4. David Proctor - Apr 30, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    The Phillies are skipping both Roberto Hernandez and Kyle Kendrick in their rotation due to off days and rainouts. So we get Lee/Burnett/Hamels. Not gonna be easy in Philly

  5. coop202 - Apr 30, 2014 at 2:59 PM

    Interesting to see Robbie Ray making his MLB debut before Fister plays for the Nats…

    Still not second guessing the trade, but apparently he’s lighting it up in AAA with a 1.59 ERA and 21-5 K-BB

    • adcwonk - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:58 PM

      Good article.

      And a great comment by somebody: “Baseball is a game of patience in an ADHD world.”

    • Eric - Apr 30, 2014 at 4:10 PM

      Thanks for sharing, good stuff. I have to admit, I really like the potential for the baseball media engine to move decisively on to other things for a solid 2 months.

      If I wish anything for him beyond a complete, complications-free recovery, it’s that he’s able to quietly slip back onto the field and that the first real noise we hear about him is “Harper picks up right where he left off at the plate.” The media will never let that happen, but it would be nice.

      • Section 222 - Apr 30, 2014 at 5:33 PM

        Dream on!

      • NatsNut - Apr 30, 2014 at 10:30 PM

        There’s nothing quiet about Harper.

    • Doc - Apr 30, 2014 at 4:36 PM

      Great article, and so well-written.

      Thanks for the link, DP!

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 30, 2014 at 5:04 PM

      Good article…a nice read. Thanks for the link, David.

  6. jd - Apr 30, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    Very good article and excellent perspective.

  7. unkyd59 - Apr 30, 2014 at 7:01 PM

    Great analysis, Chase! And it’s worth noting that Rendon continues to hover around .300, showing us professional AB after AB, doing a terrific Molitor impression… We’re in danger of taking him for granted! Is it too early to think about buying out his arb years, and the next 3-4 after that? I’d be tempted to try to lock him up for the next 7-8 years….





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