Previewing the Washington Nationals Bench Heading into 2016


The Washington Nationals ranked seventh worst in all of baseball in pinch-hitting OPS last season. How is their bench shaping up heading into 2016?

As the calendar year comes to an end, I will be taking a look at where each of the components of the 25-man roster stand entering 2016. Next up: the bench, which saw plenty of action last season amidst injuries to some of the starters.

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Left field/First base

Tyler Moore (28, bats right/throws right) owed $900,000 in 2016

2015 Stats: .203/.250/.364 with 38 hits, 6 home runs, 0 triples, 12 doubles, 27 RBIs, 14 runs scored, 0 stolen bases (0 attempts), 11 walks, and 45 strikeouts in 97 games.

After somehow managing to stay on the Nationals’ payroll throughout the entirety of the 2015 season despite being out of options and out of a major role, Tyler Moore will enter the new year questioning his place on the team once again. With the next guy on this list essentially a cheaper, left-handed version of himself, Moore may not be a factor in Washington’s long-term plans. While the upside is there for him to perform given every day at bats, there simply is no spot for him in the lineup.

Left field/First base

Clint Robinson (30, L/L) owed approximately $500,000

2015 Stats: .272/.358/.424 with 84 hits, 10 home runs, 1 triple, 15 doubles, 34 RBIs, 44 runs scored, 0 stolen bases (0 attempts), 37 walks, and 52 strikeouts in 126 games.

Arguably the biggest breakout rookie on the roster last season, Clint Robinson kickstarted his first full major league season at the bright young age of 30. Filling in for the oft-injured veterans Ryan Zimmerman at first base and Jayson Werth in left, Robinson adapted quickly, playing outfield for the first time in his career and providing protection for Bryce Harper in the lineup. With five more years of control left in his contract, Clint very well could be an anchor for this bench for years to come.


Matt den Dekker (28, L/L) owed approximately $500,000

2015 Stats: .253/.315/.485 with 25 hits, 5 home runs, 1 triple, 6 doubles, 12 RBIs, 12 runs scored, 0 stolen bases (1 attempt), 9 walks, and 20 strikeouts in 55 games.

After a strong September showing that saw Matt den Dekker hit 7 extra base hits in 39 at bats to close out the season, the 28-year old outfielder acquired from the New York Mets prior to the 2015 season should be seeing an increased utility role heading into the new year. While Michael Taylor still blocks his path to playing every day, his role as the fourth outfielder will bode well for seeing game action.

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Middle Infield

Wilmer Difo (23, S/R) owed approximately $500,000

2015 Stats: .286/.325/.412 with 124 hits, 5 home runs, 6 triples, 28 doubles, 53 RBIs, 61 runs scored, 30 stolen bases (32 attempts), 20 walks, and 92 strikeouts in 106 games between High-A Potomac and AA Harrisburg.

The young, speedy prospect from the Dominican Republic got his first taste of the majors in 2015, appearing in 15 games for the Nats. Although the recent addition of Daniel Murphy may make him a perfect candidate to be traded before the offseason wraps up, he projects as the backup second baseman the way the roster looks right now. If the Nats find it more beneficial to keep Difo in the minors to start the season, 22-year old Chris Bostick could crack the Opening Day roster with an impressive spring.

Next: District Daily: Murphy Signing Could Be Steal For Nats


Jose Lobaton (31, S/R) owed $1,387,500

2015 Stats: .199/.279/.294 with 27 hits, 3 home runs, 0 triples, 4 doubles, 20 RBIs, 11 runs scored, 0 stolen bases (0 attempts), 15 walks, and 40 strikeouts in 44 games.

2015 was not a pretty season for the Nats’ backup catcher, who sat through starter Wilson Ramos’ struggles at the plate without consistent playing time. While Jose Lobaton did develop into Stephen Strasburg’s favorite catcher to pitch to (with some of Stras’s best performances coming with Lobaton behind the plate), he was unable to put much together on the offensive side of the ball. Yet, he remains a solid defensive catcher with noteworthy framing abilities and should be the Nats’ go-to catcher should the injury bug return to bite Ramos once again.