State of the Nats: Harper's hip, Zim on fire

State of the Nats: Harper's hip, Zim on fire
September 9, 2013, 12:15 pm
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Bryce Harper’s hip - This week we learned Harper is dealing with an injury to his hip, an ailment serious enough to send him home to Washington from Miami for further testing. Harper has clearly been hobbled lately and it brings into question whether he should return at all this season. Exactly how long Harper has been dealing with this particular injury isn’t quite clear, but perhaps with the hopes of a wild card berth diminished, the time has come to rest those who are banged up. If Harper’s year is indeed over, he’ll finish with just 101 games played. Injuries have been a big story of his 2013 season, though he has still been able to produce with a .273 average, 19 home runs and 62 runs. His numbers overall are down from his rookie season, but he has raised his OPS by 65 points up to .882. That’s thanks to much improved patience at the plate. He walked 56 times last year and had 120 strikeouts, this year he has 57 walks already with 84 strikeouts.

Auditions for 2014 - Tanner Roark showed what he can do as a starting pitcher against the Marlins on Saturday and could get more opportunities over the last 20 games, but he isn’t the only guy auditioning for next year. Tyler Moore, Corey Brown and Jeff Kobernus are all being evaluated with a look towards 2014, as the Nats’ bench will need significant upgrades. Kobernus helped the Nats beat the Phillies on Wednesday with a stolen base and a run in the eighth inning. He provides speed and grit, especially on the basepaths. Brown has also shined so far with a homer in his first at-bat and two walks in nine plate appearances. He brings power from the left side and also has some speed. Moore has been much-improved since rejoining the Nats in August after an unfortunate start to the season. Can he still make the case for a permanent roster spot? A strong finish to the year is paramount if he expects to have a future in Washington.

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