For baseball fans around the world, April is certainly the time to celebrate. It gives everyone the chance to say my team is running for a World Series title. The Washington Nationals won the championship back in 2019, are they gearing up for another run?
It all starts in spring training, and the 2021 Washington Nationals have had to face some tough questions. The most intriguing include, Is Carter Kieboom ready for the starting role? What about the off-season additions? Can this team hash it out with the top of the division? These questions and more are to come.
2021 Washington Nationals: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not
The 2021 Spring Training down in Florida, has seen some hot hands. One of which being the recently acquired, Josh Bell. The power hitting first baseman is slated to be a huge plus in this Nationals lineup and that is already showing up in the early going. Bell holds an average of .367, has hit four homers, and has walked five times thus far. Great vision among power hitters is rare in baseball, Bell has the makings to be a unique talent.
Along with the hot hands, there are some who have yet to found their groove. Carter Kieboom is poised to fill the big hole at third base. The Nationals have elected to not pursue a veteran talent via free agency and instead will give more time to the young corner. While he is a fantastic prospect, Kieboom has struggled this spring hitting only .161 with 10 strikeouts.
Let’s turn the focus now to the pitching staff, featuring Max Scherzer. The 36 year old veteran has been as filthy as ever this spring allowing just two runs while racking up a team leading 14 strikeouts. This comes as great news as Scherzer had to deal with a injured plant foot earlier this spring.
One staff member that hasn’t found his stuff yet has been Patrick Corbin. The former D’Backs starter has five earned runs against him in just over eight innings of work. Adding to that, Corbin has also tallied six walks. Base on balls ultimately loses games, and Corbin should look to clean up that stat.
2021 Washington Nationals: The New Recruits
The 2021 Washington Nationals spring training has them in mid pack amongst the Grapefruit League. This has been largely thanks to the new faces in town. As previously mentioned, Josh Bell is making a strong case to earn the starting role on opening day for the Nats. The biggest move for the Nationals this off-season was signing Bell to make as a statement piece for this offense. So far so good as the spring training rolls along.
Also registered as a power hitter, veteran left fielder Kyle Schwarber has been streaky this spring. The former Cubbie has hit .200, and while hitting a pair of long balls, he also has 13 strikeouts to his name. The plate discipline is not uncommon for power hitters to ignore, however, it does show up on the stat sheet.
Joining Schwarber from Chicago is starting pitcher, Jon Lester. Looking to bounce back from last season, Lester hopes to help “bring another championship to DC.” Setting Lester back however, has been his thyroid removal earlier this spring. You can’t fault Lester for his ERA of 4.50 through just two innings on the mound just yet. The World Series pitcher is still being working in to things this spring and is hoping to get more time on the bump before the regular season.
2021 Washington Nationals: Injury Report
Stephen Strasburg is on track (calf) to make his first start and avoid the IL (Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com).
Victor Robles feels fine (back) after existing game against Astros on Friday (Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post).
Will Harris is diagnosed with a blood clot in his right arm after undergoing MRI on Friday (Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com).
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