It was definitely an up-and-down year for Roger Bernadina in 2012, but overall, the great moments certainly outweighed the bad. While the man we now know as the “Shark” was officially booted from the Nationals’ starting lineup, Bernadina would serve as a valuable pinch hitter and defensive weapon when called upon by Davey Johnson and co. this season.
2012 Prediction (ZiPS): .240/.302/.374, 10 HR, 30 RBI, 118 games, 404 AB
2012 Actual: .291/.372/.405, 5 HR, 25 RBI, 129 games, 227 AB
As indicated by the stats above, Bernadina certainly performed well in the average categories but lacked in homeruns and RBIs. In fact, his batting average was the highest of his 5-year career by a whopping .041! The lack of extra-base hits (16) can be accounted for by the fact that Bernadina was no longer needed as an everyday starter. Bryce Harper perfectly executed his role in center field, and a combination of outfielders Michael Morse, Steve Lombardozzi, Jayson Werth, and Tyler Moore all performed well enough to earn starting jobs over the Shark. As a result, the 2012 season marked Bernadina’s lowest at-bat total since 2009, in which he only played in three total games.
Bernadina would start the majority of games in April and May for the Nationals, but would earn fewer and fewer starts as the year wore on. Nevertheless, the Shark continued to be a fan favorite throughout the season despite limited playing time. He made the most of every appearance, and even went 14-33 in August to earn a .424 batting average for that month.
Notable games this season include a 4-6, 3 RBI night in San Francisco in which the Nats won 14-2 on August 14, and a game against the Brewers on July 29 in which the Shark blasted an 8th-inning 2-run homerun to help the Nats win an 11-10 slugfest.
Bernadina is eligible for arbitration this offseason for the first time in his career, but according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, he is expected to make roughly $1.1 million in 2013. Look for the Shark to continue to come off the bench for the Nats next season and provide the spark fans never cease to appreciate from the ever-consistent outfielder we love to love.
Season Highlight: While on August 7 Roger Bernadina was a disappointing 0-2 at the plate against the Houston Astros, he’d make arguably one of the best catches of all-time to end a ballgame. Down 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th with two men aboard, Houston’s Brett Wallace thought he was bound for a walk-off triple. Take a look:
Chien Ming Wang