Washington Nationals: 5 Early-Season Surprise Performances

Michael Nargi@NargOnSportsSenior Analyst IApril 16, 2013

Washington Nationals: 5 Early-Season Surprise Performances

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    It might be early in the season, but there has been plenty of excitement in D.C.

    Unfortunately for the Washington Nationals, they were swept by the force that is the Atlanta Braves, but nonetheless, there have been plenty of positives and surprises early on.

    The Nationals are showing, however, that not all surprises are positive.

5. Bryce Harper's Home Run Total

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    While everyone talked about the potential of Bryce Harper, it was still yet to be seen if he could handle being the go-to guy from the beginning of the season. 

    Despite what fans thought Harper could do this season, it has to be a bit surprising to actually see him take the field and hammer the ball all over the ballpark as he has, especially while smashing five home runs in the process.

4. Wilson Ramos on the DL

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    Just when we thought Wilson Ramos was healthy and hitting better than ever, he lands on the DL once again. The injury does not appear to be serious, but nonetheless, it is still a devastating injury to a player who was really starting to look great at the plate.

    Ramos was hitting .300 with a .391 on-base percentage and two home runs before landing on the DL again.

3. Denard Span's OBP

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    Denard Span was acquired to set the table for the Nats' hard-hitting lineup this year and is doing just that as of now. In fact, he is getting on base much more than even he or the Nats could have expected.

    Span's .421 on-base percentage is helping the Nationals produce runs and take early leads. Span's nine runs is second only to Jayson Werth in the Nationals lineup.

2. Team ERA

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    The Nats were supposed to have one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball coming into the season, but through the first 13 games, they have failed to live up to these standards.

    Not only have they not been the best, but they have been one of the worst in baseball, ranking eighth worst in team ERA at 4.62. Their average against and WHIP have been awful as well, ranking seventh worst out of the thirty big leagues club with a .271 average against and 1.38 WHIP.

    The pitching of Stephen Strasburg has to improve as well as their newest stud in the rotation, Dan Haren.

1. Dan Haren's Inefficiency

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    Dan Haren is not off to the start that he would have liked to have in D.C. Through his first two starts, he has allowed nine earned runs in nine innings while hitters are hitting .413 off of him.

    Haren, who still has potential to be a fantastic starting pitcher, has to expect more out of himself. The Nationals certainly expected more when they signed him this offseason.