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Bryce Harper, moved to center field out of necessity, posted

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As the Washington Nationals’ 2018 season comes to its quiet conclusion, one of the more puzzling aspects of this year’s team is that they never seemed to be that bad. At times, they seemed stuck in the mud of mediocrity, unable to extricate themselves for more than a couple days at a time. But that they never rose to greatness did not mean they plummeted into total ineptitude. As of Thursday morning, they owned a run differential of 94. Among teams still in contention, the Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals all outscored opponents less.

Canada Goose Jackets So how, then, did these Nationals end up so far from a playoff spot that they could sell off pieces by late August? And how disappointing is this team, historically? Canada Goose Jackets

canada goose black friday sale To begin with the latter question, their playoff whiff is not unprecedented. canada goose black friday sale

canada goose The last team to miss the playoffs with a run differential of 80 or more is the 2014 Seattle Mariners. Before that season, teams with run differentials of 90 or more failed to make canada goose clothing uk the playoffs in 11 of 12 seasons. The league introduced a second wild card team in canada goose outlet michigan 2012. canada goose

canada goose store But the miss is puzzling because, at least on an individual level, the Nationals didn’t grossly underperform. Though injuries undoubtedly perforated this team’s potential, particularly in the first half, the combined performance of its roster will not be far canada goose outlet from what it was in 2017. As of Thursday morning, the Nationals have accumulated 23.7 offensive Wins Above Replacement, according to FanGraphs. In 2017, they accumulated 25.3 WAR. canada goose store

Canada Goose online As of Thursday, the Nationals pitching staff had accumulated 15.7 pitching Wins Above Replacement. The 2017 staff accumulated 20.8 WAR. The mediocrity of the rotation outside Max Scherzer certainly contributed to the difference, canada goose outlet winnipeg and the gap is substantial. But when one combines offensive and pitching WAR into one inexact, but contextually useful overall mark, these Nationals earned far fewer canada goose uk wins per Win canada goose outlet woodbury Above Replacement on its canada goose premium outlet roster than last season’s group. Canada Goose online

Wins per WAR is not canada goose outlet vip a statistic used by brilliant baseball minds, but canada goose coats uk it serves a purpose here. If one considers WAR a measure of talent, and wins a measure of how one uses that talent, one could argue that the more wins a team accumulates per Wins Above Replacement on its roster, the more efficiently it has turned talent into wins. When compared with teams since 2000, the Nationals’ Wins per WAR ratio is nowhere near the lowest of the last two decades. Even with the talent this team showcased this year, many teams have done less with more.

buy canada goose jacket cheap Then what explains the Nationals’ mediocrity? Their manager continues to reference “the little things,” and a few canada goose jacket outlet sale of canada goose outlet online reviews his veteran players have canada goose outlet ottawa suggested the same. Their offense has been in the league’s upper third. canada goose outlet vancouver Even their pitching, disappointing by the franchise’s standards, was not debilitating. Perhaps the difference lies on the bases and in the field, both places where the Nationals have made more mistakes than they should have this season both places where they conceded enough runs to make a difference in the 24 one run games they lost. Had they won even half of those, they would have won the National League East by four games. https://www.winterdownparkas.com buy canada goose jacket cheap

Canada Goose Parka FanGraphs’ base running metric (BsR) rates the Nationals seventh in the majors in baserunning, a notion disputed canada goose outlet las vegas by even a brief application of the canada goose outlet in montreal eye test. But canada goose outlet los angeles Baseball Prospectus’ base running runs statistic (BRR) trusted by those in the industry who spend time thinking about these things rates the Nationals as the worst in the National League, having scored 11 runs fewer than what would be expected based on “the number and quality of the base running opportunities with which the player is presented.” Canada Goose Parka

canada goose coats Prospectus’ statistics indicate the Nationals have advanced on fewer balls in the air than one would expect given the situations presented and scored nine fewer runs than canada goose outlet buffalo they should have based on their chances to advance on ground balls this season. Many of those statistics are improved by Trea Turner’s performance on the bases, as he leads the majors with 43 steals. In 2016 and 2017, the Nationals ranked in the top three in baseball in terms of runs added on the bases above expectancy. canada goose coats

Manager Dave Martinez has navigated a very different roster than Dusty Baker the previous two seasons. He had a teenager learning on the job in left field, Adam Eaton coming off knee surgery in right field, Daniel Murphy hobbled at second base and Anthony Rendon working through a broken toe at third.

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cheap Canada Goose Only in recent weeks did the Nationals start their speed heavy overhaul, one that makes them more reliant on Wilmer Difo, Juan Soto, Victor Robles and others who might be more able to shape those statistics in a positive direction though they also contribute more mistakes than veterans. cheap Canada Goose

Martinez has said many times this week that he plans to change canada goose outlet uk fake the way the Nationals approach spring training next year more fundamentals, drilling in those little things. But even in his first spring training as a manager, Martinez instituted several drills and exercises meant to instill the importance of defense. So adamant was he about giving opponents no more than 27 outs that he spent a day of spring training forcing his starting defense and backups to each work through a perfect 27 outs with no mistakes. When they erred, they had to begin again.

canada goose clearance sale Even so, the Nationals defense has not been good this season. Part of that is personnel. Bryce Harper, moved to center field out of necessity, posted the fifth lowest Ultimate Zone Rating among major league center fielders who played at least 50 innings there. Murphy ranked fourth worst among second baseman in that category. Eaton played through his rehabilitation. Soto, again, learned as he went along. canada goose clearance sale

buy canada goose jacket That the Nationals suffered defensively is no surprise. They are 23rd in the majors at UZR ( 15.4). The Los Angeles Angels lead the majors with a 16.5 UZR. The Nationals rated 13th in the canada goose jacket outlet uk majors in UZR in canada goose outlet in new york 2017, with 6.3. Those in the industry debate the importance of statistics like these, but another is particularly telling. The Nationals are 25th in the majors in defensive runs saved the number of runs their defense prevented compared to what an canada goose outlet paypal average defense would save given the chances afforded it. There is a negative number: 57 runs. buy canada goose jacket

canada goose deals Much like those runs the Nationals gave away on the bases, even if those statistics don’t translate perfectly to actual runs, a run here or there in any of those games might have changed their outcome. And a game here and there in any of those first few months of the season might have changed everything canada goose deals.

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