At 49-34, the Washington Nationals are on pace for 96 wins and an N.L. East division title. A lot can change in the months after the All-Star break, but for now the Nats look poised to qualify for the postseason for the first time since moving to Washington, D.C. in 2005. They have found a way to win games, but how much have they improved statistically? Here is a look at where the Nats rank stat-by-stat in the majors and in the National League.
OffenseR 348 (MLB: 20, NL: 9)HR 90 (MLB: 12, NL: 5)RBI 332 (MLB: 19, NL: 9)
BB 253 (MLB: 22, NL: 12)BA - .251 (MLB: 18, NL: 8)OBP - .314 (MLB: 21, NL: 11)SLG - .414 (MLB: 13, NL: 6)OPS - .728 (MLB: 15, NL: 7)SO 686 (MLB: 24, NL: 12)SB 59 (MLB: 12, NL: 6)
The Nationals rank in the middle of the league in most offensive categories, but nearly every statistic is markedly improved from 2011. Batting average for instance is up from .242 to .251, good for a nine-place leap from the end of last season. Even strikeouts have been cut down as the Nationals finished last season with the most strikeouts in the majors with 1,323.
Washington can still use improvement in almost every offensive category, but a healthier lineup should pay dividends in the second half. The Nats were without Ryan Zimmerman for 14 games, Michael Morse for 50, and Bryce Harper wasnt called up until the end of April. They should get Jayson Werth back at some point as well, he had the teams best on-base percentage at .372 when he went down with a broken wrist.
PitchingERA 3.20 (MLB: 1, NL: 1)HR 62 (MLB: 1, NL: 1)SO 693 (MLB: 5, NL: 3)BB 259 (MLB: 15, NL: 9)BAA - .231 (MLB: 1, NL: 1)WHIP 1.20 (MLB: 1, NL: 1)SV 28 (MLB: T4, NL: 4)CG 1 (MLB T20, NL: T10)
The additions of Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson, added with the presence of Stephen Strasburg for the entire first half, have given the Nationals the best young rotation in the majors. Career years from some of their bullpen guys including Craig Stammen (1.74 ERA) and Sean Burnett (1.99 ERA) have helped combine for the best overall earned run average in the game.
Nats pitchers throw hard and they get opponents out at an impressive rate. The team gives up the least amount home runs and holds the best WHIP and batting average against in all of baseball. With all these stellar numbers, it would be hard for the team to improve in the second half. This will be especially hard with the likely shut-down of Strasburg in the seasons final months.
FieldingSB 50 (MLB: 9, NL: 6)SB - .806 (MLB: 2, NL: 2)E 49 (MLB: 10, NL: 4)FPCT - .984 (MLB: 11, NL: 5)
The Nationals are above average in errors and fielding percentage and both categories are improvements of several league ranks from last season. They have struggled, however, in keeping opponents from stealing bases. Last year the team allowed the third-fewest stolen bases with 76 in all of 2011. This is probably due to the Wilson Ramos being injured as the defensive catcher allowed just 48 in 108 games played last season.