Nationals Stock Watch: Werth continues red-hot July

Nationals Stock Watch: Werth continues red-hot July
July 16, 2014, 12:00 pm
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(Joy R. Absalon/USA TODAY Sports)

We take a look at the Nationals' past week, at a glance... 

Record: 3-2
Team slash: .224/.288/.407
Team ERA: 3.76
Runs per game: 5.2


STOCK UP 

Jayson Werth, OF: .333 AVG/ 4HR/ 10 RBI

Like we mentioned last week, Werth reeaaally doesn't want July to end. In the last few weeks alone, he's accounted for half of his season home run total and thirty percent of his total RBIs. That's astounding. So where did this come from? Well, as Chase Hughes wrote a few days ago, he tends to get hot once the second half of the season starts. In his three previous years in Washington, his average has been markedly higher after the All-Star break. But even so, this year he might be taking it from one extreme to another in a hurry. He was struggling at the plate last month as much as we'd ever seen since he's been in D.C., yet just a few weeks later he's locked in like never before. Not that the Nationals mind, they'll need as many hot hitters as they can get once the break is over. 
 
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B: .969 OPS/5 RBI

The weekend series in Philadelphia highlighted exactly why Zimmerman is still a key part of this lineup and should be in there every day. He drove in the go-ahead RBI in Saturday's 5-3 extra-inning victory over the Phillies, and followed it up with a homer the next day in Sunday's 10-3 rout. He's hitting .359 this month with a .990 OPS, more consistently squaring up pitches with the good part of the bat and driving the ball to all parts of the field. It's a really positive sign that suggests the Nats may be on the verge of seeing the old Zimmerman return. His track record at the plate (when healthy) has never been in question, so there's no reason to believe he won't have a strong second half. With his absence earlier in the season and guys like Anthony Rendon and Adam LaRoche carrying the load offensively, it was easy to forget what Zimmerman meant to this ball club. But since his return he's been nothing but the consummate pro in his current role and leader. 

Ross Detwiler, RP: 3 GP/ 1-0 / 0.00 ERA

After months seeing his stock falling, Detwiler has engineered a really nice turnaround to his season. He was struggling mightily in his nebulous role in the bullpen earlier in the year, but all he's done since that 16-inning marathon victory in Milwaukee is get the job done when called upon. In fact, he's allowed just one run in his last 11.1 innings with one walk allowed in that span.  He earned his first victory of the season over the weekend in Philly and maybe, just maybe, Matt Williams will start to trust Detwiler more in key situations the rest of the way. 
 
STOCK DOWN

Bryce Harper, OF: .125 AVG/ .176 OBP/ .313 SLG 

It was somewhat expected that Harper would struggle a little bit once he returned from thumb surgery. That being said, no one expected six hits in his first 40 at-bats, with 16 strikeouts and just two extra-base knocks. That's troubling to say the least. Sure, he's had his moments where he's driving the ball here and there (sometimes right at defenders), but it's clear he's not quite himself just yet. So when will the Harper of old return? 

Jordan Zimmermann, SP: 0-1/ 10.80 ERA / 1.80 WHIP

Zimmermann suffered the double-whammy over the weekend, turning in one of his worst starts over the last month and a half as well as leaving the game early due to an arm injury. As someone who's dealt with Tommy John surgery earlier in his career, Zimmermann had many Nats fans briefly fearing the worst. But as it turns out it was a bicep strain, likely keeping him off the disabled list, though it did cost him a second straight trip to the All-Star Game. Hopefully this is just a minor setback.