Discover more from The Nats Report
⚾️⚾️ The Morning Briefing: Nationals head to Baltimore for a two game set
Here are the latest headlines and analyses around the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball for today, September 26.
Good Morning Washington Nationals Fan,
Here are the latest headlines and analyses around the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball for today, September 26, 2023. I am Haden Raymer, let’s dive into this series preview.
Upgrade your subscription to get our new weekly round-up of the biggest Washington Nationals stories over the past week, minor league game notes, and more MLB headlines.
Leading today’s Morning Briefing: Nationals take on Orioles in a two-game series
Tonight, the penultimate series of the 2023 season begins. Have I been waiting to use penultimate all year? Yes.
It’s a bittersweet moment, as baseball begins to come to a close for the year, but these Nationals have surpassed expectations. The team was expected to be among the worst in the league and was projected to lose over 100 games this year. Instead, they are on the brink of winning number 70. They have already won 14 more games than they did last year, all without Juan Soto by the way, and have seen massive leaps from multiple players.
CJ Abrams and Lane Thomas have led that charge. Abrams has stolen 43 bases, tripled his walk rate, hit the ball for more power, and improved defensively all before he turns 23. Thomas, who showed he could play in the big leagues last season, took a massive step forward by becoming the sixth National to have a 20-20 season and is currently tied for the league lead in outfield assists. He’s not going to be the face of the next great Nationals team, but he will be a key cog in it.
One player who gets a lot of hate but took a massive step forward this season is Josiah Gray. Yes, his walk rate and strikeout rates have trended in the wrong direction, but the real problem with Gray in 2022 was the home runs. This year he dramatically reduced his home run rate, and he’s been better. His ERA has dropped by over a run and his Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) has gone from a 5.86 to a 4.97. He’s also posting the highest groundball percentage of his career. The results? Well, FanGraphs graded him out as being worth -0.7 fWAR last season. So far this year he has accumulated 1.6 fWAR. A 2.3 WAR difference is a pretty significant jump, and a reminder, he didn’t start pitching consistently until 2018. Gray still has plenty of room to grow.
And Gray will get the ball for the Nationals tonight. He will take on RHP Kyle Bradish (11-7, 3.01 ERA) who is having a breakout season himself. It won’t get any easier tomorrow, with Patrick Corbin taking on RHP Grayson Rodriguez (6-4, 4.49 ERA), who has a 2.66 ERA in the second half.
The game starts at 6:35 p.m. tonight and will be televised on MASN2 (and MASN if you’d rather listen to the O’s broadcast).
In the Clubhouse is on Substack
That’s right, our podcast hosted by Jeremy Lapidus and myself is on the Substack website now. New episodes come out twice a week while we break down the latest happening with the Nationals. Check it out.
Featured Stories of the Day
Postseason Watch via MLB.com
If you haven’t already, please consider supporting this publication with a paid subscription so you don’t miss a thing: