Good Monday Morning Washington Nationals Fans,
Here are the latest headlines and Analysis around the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball for Monday, October 11, 2021
The Reshaping of the Nationals’ Coaching Staff
Yesterday afternoon Jesse Doughtery reported some changes in the Washington Nationals MLB coaching staff. According to Doughtery and a person familiar with the changes, Bob Henly and Randy Knorr will not be on the Nationals coaching staff in 2022, however, they will remain with the Nationals organization in player development roles. Doughtery also reported that bench coach Tim Bogar, hitting coach Kevin Long, pitching coach Jim Hickey, bullpen coach Henry Blanco and assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler “have been extended opportunities to return in their current positions.”
What does this mean? Both Henly and Knorr have coordinated offensive baserunning and have been with the Nationals since 2005, arriving with the team from Montreal. Over the past years, Henly and Knorr have been in a variety of roles with the organization in both the majors and the minor league system. Many have criticized Knorr for his aggressiveness at third base and maybe by sending him down to the minor leagues, Knorr can help improve player development and fill up a couple of open managerial positions in the Minors due to the Nationals firing four minor league coaches back in mid-September
The big question mark surrounding the coaching staff for the upcoming season is what is going to happen with hitting coach Kevin Long.
Long’s one-year contract that he signed last year has expired and it is believed that it is unlike that Long signs with the Nationals for another one-year deal. Long and Soto have grown very close in recent years, with Soto asking Long to pitch to him during the 2021 MLB Home Run Derby, and recently Long and Soto flew out to Los Angeles to attend the Nationals League wild-card game to root on former Washington Nationals Pitcher Max Scherzer and Shortstop Trea Turner.
Related Nats Report Article: Perspective: Is Dave Martinez the right manager to lead the Nationals Rebuild?
On the heels of what can only describe as possibly one of the best seasons for Juan Soto in a Washington Nationals uniform, over the weekend, Juan Soto was named as one of the seven finalists for the 2021 NL Hank Aaron Award. The Hank Aaron Award is given annually to the most offensive player in each league, Soto joins the likes of Brave’s Freddie Freeman, Philadelphia Philly’s Bryce Harper, San Diego Padres Fernado Tatis Jr, St. Louis Cardinals Paul Goldschmidt, Cincinnati Red’s Nick Castellanos, and San Franciso Giant’s Brandon Crawford.
Soto, led the majors by a .465 base percentage as he paced the Nationals in hits (157), home runs (29), trips (145), runs (111), and RBI (95). He was All-Star for the first time this season and participated in the Home Run Derby. With a .999 OPS finishing second in the NL, Soto is also expected to be among the finalists for the NL MVP. You can vote for Juan Soto here.
Related Nats Report Article: Perspective: Juan Soto Should Be A Washington Nationals For Life
A Closer Look at Nationals Veteran Shortstop: Alcides Escobar
With Alcides Escobar signing a new one-year deal to return to DC for the 2022 season, it is important to review the impact that he had in his 75 games played with the club in 2021. With all of the young talent in the in-field for the future so far, it will be important to have veterans in the clubhouse who can help lead the future crop of young guys.
The one-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner from 2015 surpassed all of his batting stats from that great season in 2021. Discounting his first and second years, Escobar had a career-high in batting average, OBP, SLG%, and OPS. Now extrapolating that over the course of 162 games could produce different numbers, but Escobar showed a consistent ability to get on base and produce for Washington this past season.
Escobar also played shortstop for 503.1 innings for Washington, which is his primary position in the field. Over that time he had a fielding position of .969 which happened to be the lowest of his career at the shortstop position. But for a player who will begin the next season at 35 years old, it isn’t expected for him to stay at the top of his game. He needs to be serviceable and that is exactly what the numbers show of Escobar. When moved over to 2B Escobar had a fielding percentage of 1.000 in his 134.1 innings, showing that it isn’t all average fielding with him.
Related Nats Report Article: Nationals Lock up Veteran Shortstop: Alcides Escobar; A Closer Look
MLB 2021 Playoff Picture
Today there will be four games to watch starting at 1:00 pm EDT. Here is today’s schedule and matchups:
- NLDS Game 3: Brewers at Braves, 1:00 p.m. ET, TBS
- ALDS Game 4: Astros at White Sox, 3:30 p.m. ET, FS1
- ALDS Game 4: Rays at Red Sox, 7:00 p.m. ET, FS1
- NLDS Game 3: Giants at Dodgers, 9:30 p.m. ET, TBS