The Washington Nationals have yet to replace the production of Matt Adams and the offense has suffered in a big way. Just how valuable is Adams to the Nats?
Without Matt Adams, the offense is yielding awful results for the Washington Nationals. With seven shutouts in June, the team is getting desperate for production. The issue got exacerbated when the team’s one source of consistent hitting fractured his finger.
Since June 16, the Nationals have scored the 16th most runs in the MLB. The team’s wRC+ is also 16th. If excluding the 17-run thrashing of the Phillies on June 29, those numbers drop to 25th and 24th respectively.
In the two-plus weeks without him, the Nationals rank merely average with a .250 batting average with RISP. This is an area in which he excels. His .357 BA with RISP is the 17th best mark in the MLB.
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It’s clear that the Nationals miss Matt Adams in the heart of their lineup. Just his presence makes an enormous difference. When he starts, the Nats are 26-12. That is a .684 win rate and, if extrapolated over a full season, equates to a 111 win season.
In the 38 games Adams started, he accumulated a 156 wRC+ and a .405 wOBA. To put those numbers into context, Freddie Freeman (arguably the favorite for National League MVP) has posted a .401 wOBA and 154 wRC+.
If Adams were in the American League, he’d likely garner All-Star votes at first base. The possible starter, Jose Abreu, has posted a .334 wOBA and 114 wRC+ while playing significantly below average defense.
One other way to discern a player’s value is to look at their replacements. After Adams’ injury, Murphy and Mark Reynolds have split time at first base. Both have posted downright putrid numbers that are best kept locked away in the depths of the Fangraphs.com splits page.
After all, that’s why “Wins Above Replacement” is so important. Adams’ 1.2 WAR is fifth among Nationals hitters despite batting 100 to 200 fewer times than the leaders.
Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports reported Friday night that Adams took BP with the team. This is the first time he has done so since his injury. It is great news for the team, especially because the schedule lightens up.
If Adams can play before the All-Star break, he’ll get an opportunity to feast on weak pitching. After the July 4 holiday, the Nats face the Miami Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates, and New York Mets. Each of those teams ranks in the bottom ten in ERA allowed to left-handed hitters.
Assuming no catastrophes, the Washington Nationals will have their optimal batting order healthy when Matt Adams returns. The stars are aligning for the offense to return to form. If it happens, a cosmic explosion is imminent.