The Nationals acquired Nate McLouth from free agency earlier today. He was signed to become the Nationals fourth outfielder and best bench option against right-handed pitchers. He hit .272 against righties last season, while .209 against lefties. He can also be an insurance option in case of an injury to one of the current three Nationals outfielders. Here is an in depth look at Nate McLouth.
McLouth isn’t the type of player you wouldn’t call “elite” but he sure gets the job done. He has come into his own, in his time in Baltimore averaging a .333 on base percentage. You can’t complain about that. Especially since the Nats are getting him to come off the bench and be a spark plug.
Another possibility for McLouth is coming off the bench to steal some bases. He stole 30 last season for the most in his career. He had a 6.1 BsR which was good for 13th best in the Majors, the next Nat on that list was Ian Desmond at 3.3. He brings an aggressive tendency to the Nationals which Matt Williams loves. This gives Williams the ability to be aggressive with his bench along with his starters – a deadly combination.
His offensive abilities really shined last season in Baltimore. He was a more patient hitter, drawing the third most walks in his career. When swinging at pitches in the strike zone he makes contact 92% of the time. That might make you think he swings a lot. Well, not really. He only swung at 21.8% of pitches outside the strike zone. While he swings and misses at 4.9% of pitches. He is very patient and could put together a great at bat late in a game to get a base runner on. That is when the base running really comes into play.
He doesn’t bring home run power off the bench but he does bring extra base hits. He totaled up 47 of them last season as a leadoff hitter for the Orioles. Denard Span had 43 for the Nats last season. McLouth is a great player to grab even if the money was a little bit high for a bench option at $10.75 million over two years. Rizzo went out and got the player he wanted to bolster the bench and was willing to spend the money to do it.