Washington Nationals: Five To Watch Against Spiraling Phillies

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May 6, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) runs towards home after hitting a three run home run against Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Vince Velasquez (28) during the sixth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
May 6, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) runs towards home after hitting a three run home run against Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Vince Velasquez (28) during the sixth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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Aaron Altherr

Aaron Altherr was forced to take on an everyday role after Howie Kendrick suffered an oblique injury, and he has taken full advantage of his opportunity. The young outfielder is hitting .433 in May, and is yet to go hitless. He also has five multi-hit games in just eight games played. These are both extremely impressive stats, but what’s even more impressive is the fact that he currently has hit a three-run homer in three consecutive games.

After hitting just .197 last year, the 26-year-old outfielder is enjoying quite the breakout season. He is also a great defensive outfielder. According to FanGraphs, he has posted a .943 revised zone rating (RZR) so far in 2017. To put that in context, .940 and above is considered excellent. If he is able to sustain that over the course of the entire season, he should finish in the top ten for RZR.

Finally, Altherr possesses above average speed. His speed allows him to cover lots of ground in the outfield and steal a few bases. In 2016, he went 7-for-9 on attempted stolen bases, and he is 3-for-4 so far this season. While he’s no Trea Turner, he is capable of adding some value with his legs.

With Kendrick nearing a return, the Phillies will have a decision to make as to who sits. Kendrick was arguably their biggest off-season acquisition and is a great veteran presence, so it’s difficult to envision him getting benched. Another one of their off-season acquisitions, Michael Saunders, may find himself on the bench if he does not quickly improve. He has gotten off to a sub-par start, batting just .236. Despite the fact that he is coming off of an all-star season in Toronto, he could soon find himself riding the bench.

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