Who Surprised and Who Disappointed for Washington Nationals in 2013?
It has been an up and down year for the Washington Nationals, starting the season in a slump and finishing the year in a playoff race.
There have been some major players who have contributed to their success, and also some players who have contributed to their underachieving season. Whether the Nationals complete their unbelievable comeback or not, there are a handful of players who can be classified as disappointments or surprises in 2013.
Let's take a look at some of the players who were headed for a disappointing season, but have either turned it around in the second half or continued right on target.
Denard Span: First Half Disappointment, Second Half Surprise
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At the All-Star Break, Denard Span was topping off the list of biggest busts for the Nationals in 2013. He was hitting only .263 with a .320 OBP. After the All-Star Break, however, Span is hitting .320 with a .353 OBP.
Span could not be hotter, as he is streaking now with a 26-game hitting streak.
Span might not have been looking like the goat early on in this season, which makes his second half even more surprising for the Nationals.
Dan Haren: No. 2 Disappointment
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Although Dan Haren has improved from his 4-10 start, he has to still be looked at as a disappointment this season.
Haren has a 5.03 ERA with a 9-13 record, and has not pitched nearly as well as the Nationals expected. The Nats were hoping that Haren would at least keep them in ballgames and eat innings, but he has been a burden for the Nationals.
The good stretches of his season are not nearly enough for Haren to dig himself out of the hole he has created this season with the Nationals. A decent season from Haren potentially could have put the Nationals in the playoffs by now. Unfortunately, it has not played out that way.
Ryan Zimmerman: No. 2 Surprise
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Ryan Zimmerman was having a good season, and then he turned the power on in September.
Zimmerman has launched nine home runs already in September and has hit .295 since the All-Star Break, compared to a .270 average prior to the Break.
He is quietly putting up fantastic numbers and has become the backbone of this team again. Zimmerman has 24 home runs this season and 76 RBI. He has stolen six bases as well, his most since 2006.
Danny Espinosa: No. 1 Disappointment
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Despite Danny Espinosa's strikeout struggles and low batting average in 2011 and 2012, he was still able to smack 21 home runs in 2011 and 17 in 2012 to go along with 29 doubles and 37 doubles respectively.
This season Espinosa only hit three home runs in 44 games before landing on the disabled list. While he was out, Anthony Rendon filled in brilliantly at second base and essentially ended Espinosa's National career.
Espinosa did play in the minors this season when he returned from the DL, but he hit a pathetic .216 with two home runs in 75 games. The Nationals will probably part ways with Espinosa this offseason after he proved to be the biggest disappointment in D.C.
Jayson Werth: No. 1 Surprise
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Last season it looked as though Werth was going to be more of an average hitter rather than a power hitter. This season, Werth found his power stroke once again.
Werth has launched 23 home runs this season, his most since joining the Nationals, and has driven in 73 RBI. His current .322 average almost assures a new career-high in that department, an average that will surpass his previous high of .300 that he hit last year.
Werth is second in the NL with a .933 OPS, only trailing MVP candidate, Paul Goldschmidt.
It has certainly been a fantastic, surprising and valuable season for Werth in 2013, and he has been able to keep these numbers up all season long. He has proved to be the Nationals' most consistent hitter this whole season.