This week, Adrian Sanchez has helped the Washington Nationals score runs by playing some small ball
With some key players out of the lineup for the Washington Nationals, they have had to rely on the bench to pick up the production. One of the players that have been a big surprise is infielder Adrian Sanchez. While some might disagree with Sanchez hitting second on some occasion, he has had some good at-bats that won’t show up on the box score.
August has been a short month for Sanchez, but he is 8-for-11 with three doubles and a RBI. His great week started in a pinch-hit role against the Cubs on Sunday when he had a single against Jon Lester in the seventh that got him chased from the game. Without that hit, who knows if the Nats complete the comeback?
That success carried over into this week’s series against the Marlins. In three of the four games, Dusty Baker decided to hit him second and it paid off in different ways. For example, when Brian Goodwin would leadoff with a double, Sanchez would get a bunt down to move him over to third.
In those situations, Sanchez moving the runner over eventually led to a run being scored by Bryce Harper without needing a hit. Since Trea Turner is out, the Nats can’t rely on speed to manufacture runs, but they need to play some small ball. That is where Sanchez can make his best contribution to the lineup.
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During his time with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs, Sanchez hit second in 20 games and had some good numbers. He had a slash line of .297/.361/.432 with a home run, nine RBI’s, and three stolen bases.
Baker has taken criticism for using Sanchez and Wilmer Difo in the number two spot instead of Anthony Rendon or Bryce Harper. However, its Sanchez and Difo that can help the Nats utilize the speed game and manufacture runs on nights where the ball isn’t flying out of the ballpark. That skill can help in those close games in October.
In this new era of baseball, bunting isn’t as embraced by the fans. However, when you watch games, some hitters have a tough time even getting a bunt down. Outside of the starting pitchers, Difo and Sanchez are two of the best bunters on the roster.
When Turner comes back, Sanchez’s playing time will be less and less. For now, he is a good player to have on the roster when Daniel Murphy is injured or Rendon needs a night off.
Sanchez is getting his chance to shine and its been fun to watch him do the little things right because the little things can lead to wins in the long run. For the Washington Nationals, he fits a skill set they need right now.