Grading the 2018-19 Washington Nationals’ Acquisitions

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 25: Starting pitcher Patrick Corbin #46 of the Washington Nationals throws to a Miami Marlins batter in the second inning at Nationals Park on May 25, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 25: Starting pitcher Patrick Corbin #46 of the Washington Nationals throws to a Miami Marlins batter in the second inning at Nationals Park on May 25, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

YAN GOMES– Grade: D

Playing catcher in the Major Leagues is among professional sports’ toughest jobs, and anyone who dons the tools of ignorance deserves respect. That factor aside, Gomes would probably be the first to tell anyone that his 2019 campaign has been disappointing to date. Sluggish production and the plate and shockingly poor defensive play (three errors and a National League-high six passed balls) had been hallmarks of Gomes’ season so far. He has shown solid production at the plate over the last five games and one thinks that he’ll likely get his defensive issues resolved as the year progresses, so there’s hope that his end of the year grade may get him off of academic probation!

JEREMY HELLICKSON– Grade: D

The unflappable hurler was among the Nats’ most pleasant surprises in 2018, posting a 5-3 record, a 3.45 ERA and keeping the Nats in virtually all of the games he started. 2019 has not gone as well, as he’s pitching to a 6.23 ERA with an unsightly 1.718 WHIP. Hellickson is currently working his way back from injury and perhaps the time to gather himself will allow him to recapture some of his 2018 form.

BRIAN DOZIER– Grade: D-

The veteran infielder turns the double play well, is steady on balls hit to him and has top-level power when he gets his pitch to hit. He also strikes out a ton, seems to have limited range and has made a few questionable base-running decisions. As is the case with Gomes there have been some signs of life at the plate for Dozier over recent weeks, and time will tell whether his finishing kick will help erase a sluggish start.

ANIBAL SANCHEZ– Grade: D-

When the Nats’ signed Sanchez to a two year deal (with an option for a third year) this off-season, it seemed to be a case of “if you can’t beat him, sign him”. The affable veteran had posted a 10-1 record with a sparkling 2.08 ERA against the Nationals during his career, and there was hope that he would be able to do unto the Nats’ opponents what he had done unto them previously. So far, the Sanchez experiment has been a disaster. His 0-6 record, 5.10 ERA and 1.677 WHIP are among the worst for any starting pitcher in baseball, and he’s been unusually wild at times as well. Like Hellickson, Sanchez is working his way back from injury. He’s bounced back from difficult periods in his career before, and the Nationals’ hope is that he can do so again in 2019.

TREVOR ROSENTHAL– Grade: F

Rizzo and the Nationals gambled that the veteran hard-thrower would work back from injury to become the dominant late-inning reliever he was for the St. Louis Cardinals earlier his career, signing him to a seven million salary in 2019 with a vesting player option for 2020. To date, the bet has blown up in the Nats’ faces. Unable to throw the ball over the plate, Rosenthal has been hammered in his Major League appearances so far and is currently trying to work his way back to the big leagues in AA Harrisburg.