The Washington Nationals bench looks the strongest it has been in a long time coming into the 2019 season. What can Wilmer Difo provide off the bench?
For many years the Washington Nationals bench was one of the weakest points of their team. That is not the case coming into 2019. Washington resigned left-hander slugger Matt Adams to anchor the bench, and Kurt Suzuki is a solid backup catcher.
While Adams and Kendrick are the big names off the bench, 26-year-old Wimer Difo will play a vital role in Washington’s success in 2019. Last year in 2018 Difo got the most at-bats he has in his Major League career, with 408 and hit just .230 with seven home runs and an impressive 42 runs batted in.
Difo was forced into the lineup last season more than the Nationals probably expected with the Daniel Murphy injury, and eventually, him being traded to the Chicago Cubs. Despite his low batting average and poor on-base percentage, Difo did show some signs of being able to be serviceable if forced into a starting role.
The Nationals have better infield depth this season with young star Carter Kieboom and Adrian Sanchez in the minors, but if starters Trea Turner or Brian Dozier go down with injuries, Difo will be forced to carry some of the load.
Not being relied upon as much will likely help Difo produce better stats in the 2019 season, and his experience from playing so much in 2018 will only make him improve as well.
When looking at the Nationals roster, Difo is not a guy that many people would think will play an important role in 2019, but if you take a look at teams that have made it deep in the postseason the past few years their benches have played huge roles.
Currently, the Washington Nationals have an above average bench group, but if Wilmer Difo can improve upon his 2018 season and produce more as he did in 2017, they could be one of the best units in the league.