MLB: Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals

Stat Preview: Washington Nationals, April 16-18

The Mets enter their series against division leading fourth place Washington having won nine of their last ten games. The Nationals are two games under .500 despite benefiting from strong early performances from some inexperienced players. Because not much has changed since the last Nationals stats preview, this version focuses on three of those young players and the sustainability of their early success.

Wilmer Difo: The 26-year-old infielder has now played parts of four seasons in the majors, but last year was the first time he accrued more than 70 plate appearances. Daniel Murphy’s injury has opened up some playing time in the first few weeks of the season, though, and Difo has made the most of his opportunities. In 33 plate appearances, he has a .298 True Average, a 15% walk rate and positive marks in the field. On the downside, he has a 30% strikeout rate and a .444 BABIP. That walk rate is nearly twice his career average, and higher than each of his full seasons in the minors, so that rate may not last. The underlying stats suggest a regression, but the defense has been good enough throughout his career that he will likely continue to be a solid reserve. Sustainability Likelihood: Low

Pedro Severino: Severino had played in a combined 35 games in the majors before this season, but with the National’s struggles at catcher the last few years, Severino is splitting time with ieters behind the plate. Like Difo, he has a 15% walk rate, a high BABIP (.400), and a strong True Average (.309), but unlike Difo, his strikeout rate is only 18%. Severino hasn’t showed much offensive potential in the majors or minors, though, so his fast start may not last long either. Sustainability Likelihood: Low

Brian Goodwin: Goodwin is the oldest of these three at 27, but he may be the most likely to continue his early season pace. The outfielder is also running a high K% (32%), strong True Average (.295) and high BABIP (.385), but he has demonstrated more power than the other two (career .481 SLG%), has some speed (Difo does too, but Severino does not), and has had some offensive success throughout the minors. Sustainability Likelihood: Medium

Quick Hits

The Good: Gio Gonzalez has a 75% ground ball rate on balls in play on his changeup thus far.

The Bad: This is not so much bad as it is a product of small sample sizes, but Sammy Solís’ fastball has been fouled off on more than half of the swings taken on it (63%).

The Ugly: Bryce Harper has had another blistering start with the bat, but he has a -2.2 Fielding Runs Above Average. (As a defensive stat, though, any normal warnings about small sample sizes are amplified).

Mets’ Early Check-In

In case you were wondering, Zack Wheeler’s velocity was not up from his 2017 numbers in his first start (95.2 last week, 95.4 in 2017), but regardless, the strong outing was encouraging.

Photo credit: Brad Mills – USA Today Sports

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