Before the Nationals get the new season underway, let's look back for a moment at the 2013 spring training that was. Though spring stats don't really count, sometimes they can give clues as to how a player will begin the regular season. We'll see if the past month produced any trends that will continue over the next few weeks.
Here are the five best spring trainings by Nats players this year and the five worst:
Bryce Harper, OF
2013 Spring Stats: .478/.500/.716 – 3 HR, 15 RBI, 11 R
What more can you say about Harper’s spring? The kid was so good, so hard to get out, that many now think he is an N.L. MVP favorite (Mark predicted that to me last September, I might add). And hits in nine straight at-bats? Just ridiculous.
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
2013 Spring Stats: .298/.293/.579 – 4 HR, 9 RBI, 9 R
Davey Johnson said on Friday he thought the most gratifying part of this year’s spring training was Ryan Zimmerman’s health. Zimm looked shaky on one throw against the Yankees, but was a force at the plate and scored both of the team’s runs. He could be gearing up for a career year.
Anthony Rendon, IF
2013 Spring Stats: .375/.412/.875 – 4 HR, 11 RBI 7 R
If he weren’t on the league’s deepest roster, Rendon would have played himself into the majors, if not a starting position. He showed the ability to hit contact that made him a top draft pick and flashed power and defensive skills that could make him a special player some day. We’ll see when he gets his chance.
Gio Gonzalez, SP
2013 Spring Stats: 3-0, 1.50 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 18.0 IP
Gonzalez wasn’t affected whatsoever by the linking of him to the performance enhancing drug scandal involving Biogenesis. All he did was continue what he did last season, dominate lineups. Gonzalez finished second in N.L. Cy Young voting last season and looks poised to be at the top of the list once again.
Tyler Clippard, RP
2013 Spring Stats: 0.00 ERA, 2 H, 16 SO, 10.0 IP
Clippard could have been just average and would have stood out from his bullpen counterparts as the unit as a whole had a rough spring. But he wasn’t just good, he was great. Through ten innings he didn’t allow a run and showed that the problems he had towards the end of last season are officially in the past.
Christian Garcia, RP
2013 Spring Stats: N/A
Garcia tops this list because of injury. The right-hander entered this spring looking for a position in the bullpen and perhaps even convert to a starter. But now he will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list with a partially torn in his right forearm.
Dan Haren, SP
2013 Spring Stats: 0-4, 6.39 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 7 HR
Haren is a veteran and says his poor spring shouldn’t be a concern, but the Nationals don’t really have a quality insurance policy. Haren’s progress over the season’s first month will undoubtedly be one of the team’s biggest storylines.
Jordan Zimmermann, SP
2013 Spring Stats: 5.28 ERA, 17 ER, 1.48 WHIP, 29.0 IP
Zimmermann isn’t worried and at this point the Nationals shouldn’t be either. He was fantastic last season and is healthy, no reason to hit the panic button just yet.
Steve Lombardozzi, IF
2013 Spring Stats: .182/.191/.227 – 9 SO, 12 H, 26 G
Lombardozzi appeared in a lot of spring training games and never quite found his groove. Maybe he just plays better when give sporadic at-bats in a utility role. Probably not, he’ll be fine.
Denard Span, CF
2013 Spring Stats: .222/.347/.270 – 11 SO, 14 H, 23 G
Span was one of the team’s biggest offseason acquisitions and will have to hit better than .222 when the games start to count. On the bright side, he was impressive in the field and already shows he can help the team improve in that department.