Monday, August 20, 2012

The 5 best Nationals hitters of all time

It pains me to see the that the Nationals DFA'ed Cesar Izturis over the weekend to activate Ian Desmond from the DL. While Desmond has put together a solid 2012 season, Izturis was much better, putting himself in position to be one of the top 5 Nats hitters of all time. Since Izturis will likely be called up again in September if he clears waivers, his spot on the list isn't cemented, but here is the list through Sunday, 8/19/2012.

1) Travis Hughes: 1.000/1.000/1.000 (1 plate appearance for the 2006 Nats)
On August 20, 2006, the Nationals lost to the Phillies 12-10. If it wasn't for Travis Hughes, the game would have had a much further margin of defeat. The big righty trudged in from the bullpen in the fourth inning with the Nationals already down 10-1. He shut the door in the 4th and pitched a perfect bottom of the 5th as well in the last apperance of his Major League career. The truly amazing thing happened in the top half of the 5th, though, as Hughes hit a first pitch Randy Wolf fastball into RF to move Bernie Castro to 2B; Castro eventually scored on a Felipe Lopez walk, narrowing the Phillies' lead to 10-2 and Hughes left the big leagues as a career 1.000 hitter.

2) Rick Short: .400/.471/.933 (17 plate appearances for the 2005 Nats)
The 32 year old rookie who flirted with .400 in AAA was a fan favorite during the Nationals' first season in DC. He made his short (heh, get it?) ML stint worth it, homering twice and scoring four runs in 17 plate appearances.

3) Cesar Izturis: .500/.500/.750 (5 plate appearances for the 2012-present? Nats)
#Cesar4MVP! While we hardly knew Cesar, he went 2/4 with a double and four runs in his short stint with the Nationals. If Izturis makes it back up in September, he could make it past Short for #2 best Nationals hitter of all time or even drop off the list if he goes into an 0-1 slump.

4) Sean Burnett: .500/.750/.500 (5 plate appearances for the 2009-present Nats)
I've heard many throw out the idea of using Stephen Strasburg as a pinch hitter down the stretch once he is shut down, but the Nats already have a ringer with his cap tilted to the side in the bullpen. Burnett struck out in his only batting apperance for the Nats during the 2009-10 seasons, but has gone 1/1 with a run and two walks in the 2011-12 seasons. Burnett, who went 0/23 hitting in 2004, his rookie season in Pittsburgh, is clearly in the prime of his career with the bat and with a double could easily take Izturis or Short's spots as the #2 or 3 Nationals hitters of all time.

5) Beltran Perez: .500/.571/.500 (7 plate appearances for the 2006 Nats)
Wil Nieves is the token "WHOOOOOO?!?" player of the Nats of the past, but Beltran Perez was a name that made me think for a second. The Dominican righty went 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 21 innings for the 2006 Nats, but his real value came with the bat: Perez smacked three singles in six at bats and even threw in a walk to boost his OBP to .571. While Beltran has been out of affiliated baseball since allowing 50 runs in 59 innings for Harrisburg in 2008, he's still only 30 years old and could be an excellent addition for a team looking for a Livan Hernandez type pitcher (one who can throw the ball in the general direction of home plate as well as hold his own from the batters box).

Honorable Mention:
Drew Storen: .500/.500/.500
Alex Escobar: .356/.394/.575
Daryle Ward: .308/.390/.567
Jhonatan Solano: .314/.351/.571
Alfonso Soriano: .277/.351/.560

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