Washington Nationals: A season of firsts

The Washington Nationals have already been hit with a slew of injuries this season, but as pitching coach Steve McCatty said, “nobody feels sorry for you”. These injuries have resulted in multiple call ups from the minor leagues, including players such as Zach Walters, Sandy Leon, Steven Souza Jr., and Tyler Moore.

So far this year Aaron Barrett, Steven Souza Jr., and Blake Treinen have made there MLB debuts. Barrett and Treinen have since been sent back down to the minor leagues due to a need for fresh arms in the bullpen. Souza picked up his first big league base hit during the series in Miami, and also earned a walk in a pinch hitting appearance against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night. He could head back to the Syracuse Sky Chiefs on Saturday when Denard Span returns from the 7 day concussion DL on Saturday.

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Zach Walters

On opening day, Aaron Barrett received his first career win in the Nationals extra inning win against the New York Mets. He is a strike out pitcher, and possesses an overpowering fastball that one minor league coach described as a “bowling ball”. Though Barrett is now in AAA Syracuse, he will probably return to the Nationals’ bullpen within the next month.

Both Sandy Leon and Zach Walters picked up their first major league home runs in Miami. Leon, a light hitting catcher, was called up after the injury to starting catcher Wilson Ramos while Walters joined the Nationals after Ryan Zimmerman was injured in Atlanta. Walters also pulled a second home run down the left field line on Wednesday to give the Nationals the lead, making him the first player in Nationals history to hit home runs in two pinch hitting appearances in a row.

The multitude of injuries to the ball club has to be demoralizing for a team that is expected to contend for a division title. However, the young call ups have made a positive impact on the team and have proved the importance of depth within an organization. Hopefully the Nationals can stay healthy for the rest of the season and the team Manager Matt Williams thought he would have will have a chance to make a run at the playoffs.