Washington Nationals: A Month Later, Questions Still Persist

Steven RuizContributor IIMay 3, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 02:  Jayson Werth #28 of the Washington Nationals catches a fly ball during the game against the San Francisco Giants at Nationals Park on May 2, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Back in spring training, the Washington Nationals were a team full of question marks and after a month of regular season games, the Nats are still looking for answers.

The Nationals still do not have the faintest idea whether or not Mike Morse is the answer in left, and all evidence points to that answer being no.

Every time it looks as if Morse is ready to bust out, he goes on another slump. The only problem is the Nats do not have another option on their roster, so they’re stuck with Morse for now.

The same could be said for centerfield. Rick Ankiel, as well as he has played defensively, is just not getting it done with the bat. Why Jim Riggleman continues to let him hit second is beyond me. The second man in the order should be a good contact guy or should, at the very least, have some speed.  

Ankiel satisfies neither of those requirements.

Why not move him down to sixth in the order, where he is hitting .259/.355/.370 as opposed to the .211/.286/.263 he is hitting in the second spot? That way, you can move a hot Ian Desmond to second, where he is best suited both conceptually and statistically.

Speaking of Desmond, we still have yet to figure whether or not he is the long-term answer at short. I am a big fan of Desmond’s, but these silly errors have to stop.

Hopefully, not having the impending birth of his first child hanging over his head will help him relax on and off the field.

The most troubling unanswered question has to be Jayson Werth’s worth. So far, he has not played up to the level of his contract or his career averages; however, what he, along with the other veterans Mike Rizzo added in the offseason, has added to the club in mentality alone is making up for his struggles at the dish.

On the field, he has been good but not great; he has made too many errors going back on balls, but that may just be the product of getting acclimated to a ballpark.

What hasn’t been struggling is the Nationals’ pitching staff. But the question still remains: Can they keep this up? Conventional wisdom says no, but this is a pitching staff that defies convention.

While I do not believe they will continue at the rate they are currently on, I believe that we can expect them to continue to be good. And if they do continue at this pace and the Nats heat up at the plate, we could be in for an exciting summer.

The one question that everyone was asking in March and has yet to be answered now that we are in May is, are the Nationals any good?

Honestly, I have no idea where they’ll be going into September. They could be anywhere from a fringe wild card contender to a fringe first-pick-in-the-draft contender. They’re 13-13 right now, but that could easily be 17-9 or 9-17.

At this point, the team remains an enigma. But one question has been answered: Are the Nationals going to be interesting in 2011?

The answer is yes.