Washington Nationals: Youngsters benefit from disappointing season

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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 02: Jefry Rodriguez #68 of the Washington Nationals pitches in the third inning during a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park on September 2, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 02: Jefry Rodriguez #68 of the Washington Nationals pitches in the third inning during a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park on September 2, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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While the Washington Nationals season has been a disappointment, it has allowed the major prospects to have valuable playing time with the team.

This Washington Nationals 2018 season started with high hopes for a deep postseason run. While the team hasn’t lived up to these expectations, there are some positives to take away from the otherwise disappointing season.

With the Nationals essentially out of playoff contention, players such as Jefry Rodriguez, Erick Fedde, Wilmer Difo, and Victor Robles have gotten opportunities that they may not have had if the Nats had been in the hunt.

This is valuable for a Nationals squad that has lost some key pieces and could lose more this offseason. With Fedde and Rodriguez flashing potential, the Nationals could depend on one or both to be part of the starting rotation next season.

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Jefry Rodriguez had a great month of August in which he posted a 1.69 ERA in three starts. Through eight starts and two relief appearances, Rodriguez has posted a 5.33 ERA with 36 strikeouts over 49 IP.

Erick Fedde showed his great potential in his last start against the Phillies-striking out nine over 5.2 scoreless innings. In the eight games that Fedde has started, he has posted a 5.12 ERA with 35 strikeouts over 38.2 IP.

The Nats have also been able to evaluate Wilmer Difo as a long-term starter at second base after the departure of Daniel Murphy. The keystone spot is open for next season, and it has been good to see what Difo can do.

The Nationals may choose to add someone in free agency to fill the second base spot, but Difo has shown that he could be a decent fill-in at the position. His versatility to play multiple positions is valuable and will probably buy him a spot on the big-league roster even if he isn’t the starting second baseman.

The end of the season has also allowed for some valuable starts for number one prospect Victor Robles. He’s gotten to play in multiple games this month and has shown some of the great potential he possesses.

Robles has great potential as a center fielder for the Nats with both the bat and the glove. He showed his defensive prowess in a recent game with the Cubs. On a ball hit toward the gap in left center, Robles hustled to the ball and threw out Anthony Rizzo at second.

Robles could be a key contributor for next year’s Nationals team. He hit .276 with 19 stolen bases in 52 minor league games, so time in the big leagues is really all Robles needs before the Nationals can plug him into the lineup.

Next. Finding a Catcher for 2019. dark

2018 has been a disappointing season for the Washington Nationals, but some players have really benefited from the extra playing time they have received. If these players can draw on their experience from this year and help the Nationals win games in the future, then this season was not a complete loss.

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