Washington Nationals: Players of Week Seven

Washington Nationals v San Francisco Giants
Washington Nationals v San Francisco Giants / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

A series win in the Bay followed by an odd rain delay made for an interesting week for the Nationals

Washington concluded their road trip in San Francisco to begin the week. No. 20 prospect Jake Irvin threw 6.1 innings, allowing just four hits while striking out five. The 26-year-old former fourth-round pick from the University of Oklahoma has been a pleasant surprise for the Nationals this season. His start on Sunday versus the Mets was not as successful, as he was tagged for six runs in 4.2 innings. The box score didn't tell all for Irvin, as reliever Mason Thompson allowed all three inherited runners to score. Despite hitting a wall in the fifth, Jake walked just one while striking out six, a possible bright spot in his roughest start in the major leagues.

The third game of the San Fransisco series was an 11-6 win by the Nats, led by unlikely stars Illdemaro Vargas, Riley Adams, and Stone Garrett. Adams hit a towering three-run shot, Vargas had three hits and three RBI, and Garrett had two hits and two RBI.

MacKenzie Gore toed the slab on Friday night versus the Mets and had a solid start, throwing four innings without allowing a run and striking out three. The lefty could not find the strike zone. Gore threw 96 pitches in the start, far too many over four innings. Pitch location and accuracy are the next steps in MacKenzie's development. Carl Edwards Jr. was credited with the loss after allowing both a hit and walk in the sixth inning.

Records aside, it was a positive week for the development of a few Nats players. CJ Abrams continues to be clutch with a go-ahead homer on Sunday afternoon versus New York.

Luis Garcia has improved his plate discipline and pitch selection, collecting three hits in game two on Sunday afternoon. Lane Thomas hit a three-run homer on Monday in addition to four hits on the week. Who was the most impactful player in the lineup this week?

Hitter of the Week

Joey Meneses

Joey is back, folks. It took a while for the 31-year-old to find his stride at the plate, but his season average is up to .285, and has 18 RBI. The veteran of the Nationals lineup had eight hits and four RBI in six games played. Consistency is vital for Meneses, as many hits come to the right side when he's swinging the bat well. To begin the season, Joey favored the left side with many rollovers.

Last season, Meneses' walk-off home run versus Oakland was hit to right field. His biggest hit at the professional level was to the right side. Joey is beginning to find the success he had in 2022. Meneses is the District on Deck Hitter of Week Seven.

Pitcher of the Week

Josiah Gray

It's been said, but I'll say it again; Josiah Gray for the 2023 All-Star Game. On Wednesday in San Fransisco, Gray didn't have his sharpest repetiore and got through seven innings while allowing just two earned runs. Gray(3-5, 2.96 ERA) walked four while striking out three and didn't allow a home run. In 45.2 innings pitched, Josiah has allowed just five home runs. Gray's ERA would be 2.21 without the first start versus Atlanta, where he gave up three homers. Adding the cutter to Gray's pitching arsenal has given hitters an extra pitch to think about. He's still throwing fastballs half the time, but they are not all four-seams.

As it stands, Josiah Gray is the ace of the Nationals pitching staff. His improvement in all aspects of pitching has been impressive. The reduction of hard contact by opposing batters is what's allowing him to have success. The rate that Gray allowed home runs in 2022 was unsustainable for any pitcher. The campaign for Josiah to make the All-Star team should start now if it hasn't already. He's this week's District on Deck Pitcher of the Week.