Washington Nationals: Mid-Term Report Card: Middle Infielders

rshinberg
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 06: Trea Turner #7 of the Washington Nationals hits a single in the second inning against the Kansas City Royals at Nationals Park on July 6, 2019 in Washington, DC. The Nationals are paying tribute to the Montreal Expos by wearing retro jerseys. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 06: Trea Turner #7 of the Washington Nationals hits a single in the second inning against the Kansas City Royals at Nationals Park on July 6, 2019 in Washington, DC. The Nationals are paying tribute to the Montreal Expos by wearing retro jerseys. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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During the All-Star Break, District on Deck will review and grade the play of each position group on the Washington Nationals roster.

This offseason, the Washington Nationals had the difficult task of replacing Daniel Murphy.  While they signed a free-agent to take his place, an internal solution might be the best way forward for the team after the All-Star Break.

The middle infield rotation was immediately thrown into turmoil when, during the fourth game of the season, an ill-fated fastball from Phillies starter Zach Eflin broke Trea Turner’s right index finger.  This injury kept Turner constrained to the dugout until May 17.

On the season, Turner has posted a respectable slash line of .288/.343/.491 with 17 stolen bases and seven home runs (two of which are of the walk-off variety).  Turner’s defense has dramatically improved over the years, and that hasn’t changed in 2019.  GRADE: 87%, B+

The man signed to replace Murphy was Twins second baseman and former All-Star Brian Dozier.  It has been a tale of two seasons as through May 15, Dozier posted a .601 OPS and 60 wRC+.  Since May 16, however, Dozier has posted a .931 OPS and 134 wRC+.

With 14 home runs on the year, he is eight away from eclipsing his total from the entire 2018 season.  However, this will likely be the first season since 2012 in which Dozier does not steal at least ten bases.  He only has one so far in 2019.  GRADE: 75%, C

Wilmer Difo has been a consistently below-average bat, but a constant nonetheless on the Nationals’ bench for the last few years.  However, after 134 plate appearances culminating in a .599 OPS, Difo was optioned to Triple-A Fresno in May.  GRADE: 50%, F

Next. Report Card: Corner Infielders. dark

It is worth mentioning that, while Howie Kendrick has made 18 starts at second base, he has a combined 34 starts at both first base and third base, which means we covered his season in the Corner Infielders’ Report Card.  You can view that article by clicking here, or on the box directly above this paragraph.

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