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Nats stats at the All-Star break

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Nats stats at the All-Star break

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.

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Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

Nationals sign former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters

The Washington Nationals have signed former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters to a one-year deal with a player option for a second year, according to multiple reports. 

Wieters spent the first eight years in the Majors with the Baltimore Orioles, being named to the AL All-Star team four times and winning two gold glove awards. Last season the switch-hitting catcher posted a .243 average with 17 homers and 66 RBI.  

The Nationals have been in the market for catchers all offseason after Wilson Ramos left for Tampa Bay in free agency. The team traded for former Padres catcher Derek Norris, whose role is now in question. The Nationals still have Jose Lobaton on the roster as a strong defensive backup catcher who has a proven rapport with many of the pitchers in the Nationals rotation. Wieters had been linked to the Nationals all offseason because of the team's need a the position and because of the Nationals close relationship with Wieters' agent Scott Boras. 

The only significant time that Wieters has missed due to injury in his career came in 2014-15 when he had Tommy John surgury. Prior to that surgury, however, Wieters had played in at least 130 games for four straight seasons and became a large part of the Orioles' identity. 

The 30-year-old backstop will give the Nationals lineup more depth and power. Wieters had three consecutive 20-homer seasons from 2011-13 and since 2009 when his career began, he ranks fifth among catchers in all of baseball in home runs with 117. 

Related: Nationals 2017 promotional schedule includes snow globes and fedoras

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Nationals 2017 promotional giveaways include snow globes and fedoras

Nationals 2017 promotional giveaways include snow globes and fedoras

The Washington Nationals recently released the dates of their promotional days and giveaways this season, and there are some real gems in this schedule.

Among the standard bobblehead giveaways — Daniel Murphy on April 14, Trea Turner on May 12 and Tanner Roark on June 9 — and the highly recommended Pups in the Park days — April 29, May 13, June 10, June 25, September 7 and September 30 — pick the right game and you could get a snow globe, an American flag shirt or even a fedora. Seriously.

On May 24’s game against the Mariners, the first 25,000 fans will get a Max Scherzer snow globe, which has the potential to be the coolest knickknack in your house. Or on June 14 against the Braves — oddly not closer to the Fourth of July — Budweiser is behind the first 15,000 21-and-up fans getting an American flag tank top.

But truly the most unique item on this list is the Nationals-themed fedora, which will go to the first 25,000 fans at the Brewers’ July 26 matchup. How the Nats landed on this promotional item remains a mystery, but if you like hats beyond a traditional baseball cap, this is the game to attend.

Other cool or oddball promotions include the Nats Magic 8-Ball game April 3, the Chewbacca Koozie day May 27, Bryce Harper action figure day August 29 and Oktoberfest beer stein day Sept. 29.

Here's the complete list of the team's promotional days and giveaways

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