Tuesday, October 5, 2010, 1:30 p.m.
By Mark Zuckerman
On the collective level, the Washington Nationals made some significant strides in 2010, winning 10 more games than the previous year, though their final record of 69-93 still felt disappointing to many who believed this team was good enough win more.
The same applies to the Nationals on the individual level. Several players enjoyed breakthrough seasons and established themselves as key components to next year's club, but several others underachieved and left everyone wanting more.
Now that the season is over, it's time to hand out grades to the full roster, plus manager Jim Riggleman and general manager Mike Rizzo...
LUIS ATILANO: C-Surprise addition to rotation had moments early on but faded quickly and wound up having elbow surgery.
COLLIN BALESTER: B
Failed starter found a new home in bullpen and put himself in mix for a job next spring.
MIGUEL BATISTA: B
Did exactly what Nats needed him to do: Pitch in any situation, and usually did a decent job of it.
ROGER BERNADINA: C
After a solid first half, slumped big-time and hit only .219 with .278 OBP after All-Star break.
JOE BISENIUS: D
Hard-thrower made five September appearances, put 12 runners on base in only 4 23 innings.
SEAN BURNETT: A
Most valuable member of Nats bullpen established himself as top setup man who might be able to close.
TYLER CLIPPARD: B
Led entire Nats staff with 11 wins, nearly led staff with 112 strikeouts, but a little too inconsistent.
IAN DESMOND: B-
After an erratic first half at plate and in field, made significant strides in both areas.
ROSS DETWILER: Inc
2007 first-round pick missed most of season with hip injury, tough to evaluate his five starts.
ADAM DUNN: A-
In the end, was exactly what he's always been: a top slugger who gets on base and struggles in field.
DANNY ESPINOSA: B
Dazzled at second base and earned right to lose job next spring. Needs to be more consistent at plate.
ALBERTO GONZALEZ: C
Seldom-used infielder was fantastic defensively when called upon, but meager at plate (5 RBI in 186 AB).
WILLIE HARRIS: D
Really difficult year for super-utility guy, who never could get himself going at the plate.
LIVAN HERNANDEZ: A-
Nats couldn't have asked for much more from the veteran, who re-established himself as staff workhorse.
ADAM KENNEDY: D
Signed to be starting second baseman, wound up as backup. Did little when called upon to play.
JOHN LANNAN: B-
After terrible first half, was sent to Class AA, then returned and discovered top pitching form.
JASON MARQUIS: D-
15 million investment was terrible, had elbow surgery, then had a few fleeting moments of success.
J.D. MARTIN: C-
Right-hander was adequate replacement when other starters were out, then suffered his own back injury.
JUSTIN MAXWELL: D
Good outfielder. Good baserunner. Great person. But he just can't hit big-league pitching.
YUNESKY MAYA: Inc
Tough to legitimately evaluate right-hander after five minor-league, five major-league starts.
KEVIN MENCH: F
Journeyman was 3-for-27 with one RBI after late-season call-up that included zero contributions.
NYJER MORGAN: D
Regressed in every aspect of game from last year: Offense, defense, baserunning, character.
MICHAEL MORSE: A-
Doubted by many as an everyday player, he just kept hitting and forced his way into daily lineup.
WIL NIEVES: D-
Backup catcher didn't contribute much when called upon, then sat all of September after Ramos promoted.
SCOTT OLSEN: D
Flashed glimpses of of being quality starter but couldn't overcome shoulder pain or poor command.
JOEL PERALTA: A-
Journeyman reliever came out of nowhere to become a trusted right-hander out of bullpen.
WILSON RAMOS: B
Catcher acquired in Capps trade looks like a real keeper. Will split job with Pudge next year.
IVAN RODRIGUEZ: B-
Future Hall of Famer seemed to wear down over season but picked back up when used less in September.
DOUG SLATEN: B
Another reliable reliever in a very deep pen, established his ability to get lefties out.
CRAIG STAMMEN: C-
Erratic starter was shifted to bullpen, where he morphed into an erratic long reliever.
DREW STOREN: B
Rookie dominated as setup man before up-and-down showing as closer. May not be ready for that yet.
STEPHEN STRASBURG: A
For 2 12 months, he was the talk of baseball. Now we won't see him until late-2011 or 2012.
TYLER WALKER: C-
Veteran reliever was adquate during first half, but torn labrum ended season (and possibly career).
JOSH WILLINGHAM: B
Had an All-Star-worthy first half, then lingering knee injury hampered him and required surgery.
RYAN ZIMMERMAN: A
Set career highs in batting average, OBP and OPS while continuing to play Gold Glove defense at third.
JORDAN ZIMMERMANN: B-
Was erratic in return from Tommy John surgery, but he's healthy and will be 100 percent for 2011.
JIM RIGGLEMAN: C
A manager can only work with the players he's given, and Riggleman was given a roster with plenty of flaws. But he also stuck with struggling veterans too much and overmanaged at times when it didn't seem necessary.
MIKE RIZZO: BIn his first full season as GM, Rizzo did a masterful job overhauling the Nats' bullpen, signing draft picks and getting good returns for Matt Capps and Cristian Guzman. But he went into the season without a reliable right fielder and he may have overplayed his hand in trade and contract talks involving Adam Dunn.
Mark Zuckerman covered the Nationals for The Washington Times from 2005-09. In addition to regular work for CSNwashington.com, he also covers the team at www.natsinsider.com. Email Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.