KURT SUZUKI– Grade: C+
Comedian Rodney Dangerfield once famously quipped that the only way he was ever able to look thin as if he hung around fat people. Comparing Suzuki’s offensive production to that of the Nats’ catchers from 2017 through 2018 may make the popular backstop appear like Johnny Bench to some fans, but he has provided average production (.261 average, five homers, 17 runs batted in) while also adding veteran leadership.
MATT ADAMS– Grade: C+
Like the Chicago Bears famously were to the late Dennis Green and the Arizona Cardinals following a 2006 game, Matt Adams has been what we thought he was when he was linked to a free agent contract in late 2018. The popular “Big City” gives the Nats solid power and production off of the bench, but may be somewhat overextended as a full-time player now that he’s forced to hold down the fort at first until Ryan Zimmerman returns from injuries.
KYLE BARRACLOUGH– Grade: C-
Barraclough has had some impressive moments but like virtually everyone who has pitched out of the Nats’ bullpen so far in 2019, he’s had some rough ones as well. At his best, he’s shown swing and miss stuff that has allowed him to fan 23 batters in 19/1 innings pitched. At his worst, he’s shown a proclivity for surrendering the long ball (11.2 HR/9) and less than impressive control (10 walks allowed).
TONY SIPP– Grade: D+
Veteran lefty Sipp was signed to provide help against some of the left-handed power bats the Nats would be facing on a regular basis in the National League East. So far, the plan has not worked as expected. Sipp has permitted left-handers to hit .321 in 28 at-bats in 2019, a far cry above the .224 average lefties have hit against him in his Major League career. On the positive side, at least through Saturday’s game, Sipp has not permitted a home run so far this year.