Washington Nationals: Howie Kendrick Reminding Nats of his Value
The Washington Nationals lost Howie Kendrick for most of the 2018 season. One year later, he is showing his value to his team.
The Washington Nationals have seven wins this season. Howie Kendrick was a significant factor in two of them.
The most important game was on Saturday against the Pirates. After Adam Eaton tied the game with a home run, Kendrick clobbered the very next pitch thrown by Richard Rodriguez and sent it over the visitor’s bullpen in left field. His home run turned out to be the difference as the Nats held on to win by just one run.
Coming back from his Achilles tear on May 19, 2018, Kendrick is making an impact right away.
“Last year, I was so bummed when it happened,” Kendrick said in an interview with Dan Kolko of MASN Sports. “To be able to put in all the work definitely makes it worth it to get back here with the guys, and to be able to celebrate with the team, I think that’s what it’s all about.”
Kendrick is no stranger to celebrating big moments, even with the Nats. On August 13, 2017, Kendrick hit a walk-off grand slam in extra innings to propel the Nats over the San Francisco Giants.
Kendrick isn’t the most flashy National, and due to his injury, some may even forget he’s on the team. However, one fact is indisputable: He is incredibly valuable to the Nationals.
Believe it or not, Kendrick has the third highest WAR on the team so far in 2019.
Anthony Rendon has a 1.2 WAR, and Max Scherzer has a 1.0 WAR. Kendrick checks in at 0.6 WAR which is two tenths higher than the trio tied for fourth place: Trea Turner, Sean Doolittle, and Stephen Strasburg.
The remarkable thing is that Kendrick is so productive despite having only 20 plate appearances. His efficiency is off the charts.
Even when isolating for just offensive production by Fangraphs.com’s “offensive runs above replacement” metric, Kendrick is second on the team behind Rendon.
Because of this, Kendrick deserves more playing time, even more so because Brian Dozier is tied for last on the team in WAR (-0.4) with Justin Miller.
Kendrick is 35 years old and coming off of an Achilles tear, so it would not be wise to trot him out every single day and run him into the ground.
However, he is producing. He deserves more playing time. He received a spot start in place of Dozier on Saturday, and he boosted the Nats to victory. Going forward, he should get a few more spot starts each week until Dozier’s production returns to form.