Washington Nationals: With Jayson Werth out, who should bat second?
By Ricky Keeler
With Jayson Werth on the disabled list, which player should hit second in the lineup for the Washington Nationals?
On Monday, the Washington Nationals placed Jayson Werth on the ten day disabled list, it leaves a big hole in their lineup on who should hit behind Trea Turner. As a number two hitter, Werth has an on-base percentage of .386 with five home runs and 11 RBI’s.
Since Werth has been out, Dusty Baker has used the new platoon in left field of Brian Goodwin and Ryan Raburn in the number two spot. Raburn doesn’t have much experience in that spot considering he’s only hit in that spot in 55 games in his career (Baseball Reference).
On the other hand, Goodwin did hit second in 23 games for Triple-A Syracuse and hit .235 with an on-base percentage of a .315 and eight RBI’s. While he has more recent experience in that role and has speed, Goodwin’s stats wouldn’t indicate he would be a good fit in that spot. Although, three Major League games is a small sample size.
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Right now, there is one problem Baker has in finding that hitter to hit second. That problem is the possibility of stacking up the left-handed hitters in the lineup.
If Baker were to do that, it would allow other teams to bring in their best left-handed relievers deep into the ball game. But, should that be an issue? So far this season, the Washington Nationals have hit .270 against left-handed pitching.
If you are looking for the perfect hitter to hit second, it should be a player that takes a lot of pitches and puts the ball in play, even if it’s for a productive out. If that’s the criteria we are going off of, then the right choice is Anthony Rendon.
Werth has seen 4.39 pitches per plate appearance, but Rendon’s total is actually higher (4.41) out of the sixth spot in the order. Last month, he saw the eighth most pitches in the National League and it led to him hitting .308 with six home runs, driving in 17 runs, and walking 18 times.
Back in April, I made the case for Rendon to move down in the batting order. But, he is one of only two healthy starters right now that see over four pitches per game (Bryce Harper is the other). It’s tough to make a case to move Harper up than it is to move Rendon up.
While it’s understandable why Baker doesn’t want to mess with the Harper-Ryan Zimmerman–Daniel Murphy-Rendon combo, you want to give the best chance for Turner to steal bases and create runs for this offense. Rendon might give them the best chance to do that.
But, as we have seen with Baker in the past, if it isn’t broke, he isn’t going to fix it right now. So, expect the Goodwin-Raburn platoon to hit second until he has a reason to change it. Question is, is 1-for-11 from the two hitters in the Dodgers series a big enough sample size to change it?