Washington Nationals Team Awards at the First Quarter Mark
Most Encouraging Player
In 2015, Nats catchers ranked 25th in all of baseball with a .223 batting average out of the catcher position. Wilson Ramos finally had an injury-free season, but he struggled to put up the numbers that the Nationals believed he was capable of when they traded for him in 2010. This year, however, Ramos has gotten off to a stellar start offensively, and is finally looking like the premiere offensive catcher he has always been touted to be.
Ramos is currently hitting .336/.381/.533 with six home runs and 24 RBIs. He has the highest batting average among catchers with at least 75 plate appearances while drawing ten walks as opposed to only 16 strikeouts. Ramos has also thrown out 33% (four-for-twelve) of baserunners trying to steal.
The Buffalo received three votes to take the category, but three other Nationals each earned a vote as well. Gonzalez got one for his aforementioned fast start to the season. Gio has been an above average pitcher over the past three years, but has been unable to regain his 2012 form. His early success is an encouraging sign of his return to ace-status.
Tanner Roark (3-4, 2.71) may not be the first name that jumps out at you when taking stock of the Nationals repertoire of arms, but the Illinois-native has been quietly dependable so far this season. Despite the fact that he’s the team’s “No. 5 starter,” Roark has a sub-3 ERA and the third most strikeouts on the staff.
Rounding out the list is key bullpen arm Shawn Kelley (1.50 ERA, 0.89 WHIP), who was signed over the offseason as major component in Mike Rizzo’s bullpen makeover. So far Kelley has earned every bit of his contract, leading the team with a 12.0 K/9.
Next: Most Disappointing Player