Washington Nationals Reaction: Nats Getting it Done with the Glove
Defense Wins Championships
Coming into the season, if you were to ask around who the best defensive teams in baseball were, you’d be likely to hear names like the Royals, Dodgers, or Orioles. Yet here we are, 54 games into the regular season, and the Nationals have four less errors than anyone else in the league.
That’s right, Washington is doing everything right behind their pitchers, and it’s paying dividends in the standings. Last season, the Nats finished the year with an Ultimate Zone Rating (a statistic that measures the number of runs a player or team saved or lost based on their work defensively) of -15, which ranked 21st in the majors. This year, they’ve posted a UZR of 7.4, good for seventh highest in the league.
According to Fangraphs, Bryce Harper is leading the way for Washington with a UZR of 6.8. His speed in the outfield coupled with the league’s fear of his arm makes for a formidable right fielder.
Putting the numbers aside, this team is just solid all the way around the diamond. Harper and Wilson Ramos were Gold Glove candidates in 2015, Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinosa continue to make highlight reel plays on the left side of the infield, and the fastest man on the team in Ben Revere is roaming center field.
Most importantly, this is a team that gets the routine plays done every single time. They don’t give away extra bases and keep runs off the scoreboard as a result. With a pitching staff that leads the league in strikeouts, opposing hitters don’t put the ball in play much anyway. They say defense wins championships, and if the first two months are any indication, the Nats are headed in the right direction.
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