Washington Nationals: Three Positives for Nats with May Underway
By Tim James
New Nats Catchers are Performing
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo remade the team’s catching corps this past off-season, and the remodeling effort has gone well so far.
Veteran backstops Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki have given the Nationals above-average production on offense while playing solid defense and seeming to mesh well with the team’s pitching staff.
In 2017 and 2018, few Major League teams had worse offensive production from their catchers than did the Nationals.
Washington’s men behind the plate posted the second-worst OPS in the National League in 2018 at .624 and the league’s third-worst at .594 in 2017. So far this season, Gomes and Suzuki have combined for a .771 OPS that puts them at the sixth best in the Senior Circuit.
In a lineup that has, especially recently, featured players who are struggling terribly, Gomes and Suzuki have given the Nationals profession at-bats, with occasional power, over the first 32 games of the year.
Last night, Suzuki that hit the most critical home run of the season thus far, tying the game at 8-8 in the top of the eighth, in an eventual Nats win.
They are also both athletic enough to not clog up things on the basepaths, and they’ve been relatively effective (32% caught stealing rate v.s. a league rate of 30%) in throwing out opponents trying to steal.