The Washington Nationals have already had one 22-year-old make headlines this season with the impressive start that Bryce Harper has had. Now, a 23-year old player will get his chance to be in the major leagues. Shortstop Wilmer Difo was called up to the big leagues and left fielder Jayson Werth is now on the disabled list because of a left wrist contusion. The DL stint is retroactive to May 16:
Earlier this morning, FOX Sports and MLB Network Ken Rosenthal was the first to tweet about Difo being promoted. He started the season at high-A Potomac and hit .320 with three home runs and 14 RBI’s to go with a .386 on-base percentage. Recently, he was at double-A Harrisburg, where he hit .308 with no homers, four RBI’s, eight doubles, and three stolen bases. Currently, he is the number seven prospect in the organization according to MLB Pipeline.
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The reason Washington did not call up another outfielder from the minor leagues for Werth is most likely because the team already has three outfielders who can fill in while the 35-year-old left fielder is out. Those players are Michael Taylor, Tyler Moore, and even Clint Robinson. Washington does need the infield depth in case Ian Desmond goes down at shortstop or someone to back up Danny Espinosa at second base, even though Dan Uggla is on the roster.
Another positive that Difo brings to the table for the Nationals is that he could be used in a pinch running situation late in the game. The Nats could use his speed when you consider that they have only stolen ten bases this year as a team. That is tied with the Orioles for the third worst in the game. He did make a good impression on the Nationals when he was with the team during Spring Training down in Viera, Florida. In 13 games, he hit .318 with no home runs and four RBI’s.
Werth suffered the wrist injury when being hit by a pitch against the San Diego Padres on Friday. While going on the disabled list is never good, it could have been a lot worse. William Ladson of MLB.com tweeted last night that Werth did not have any fractures or ligament damage on the MRI that he had Monday:
Since coming back from offseason shoulder surgery, Werth is hitting .208 with two home runs and 12 RBI’s along with a .287 slugging percentage. That being said, Werth was showing signs of improvement. He was hitting .250 in the month of May with two home runs and six RBI’s after batting just .175 in April.
Washington does have the depth in the outfield to overcome this injury, but it was clearly evident that the clubhouse missed Werth’s presence early on in the season, when they were 7-13 over their first 20 games. It remains to be seen how long Werth will be out for, but it could have been a lot worse.