Washington Nationals’ Outfield Set for Opening Day
Bryce Harper, Denard Span and Jayson Werth will command the three outfield positions this year. This may come as a surprise to anyone who follows the team religiously considering the Nationals have never had just three starting outfielders since the franchise moved from Montreal to Washington. The team has experimented with multiple platoons over the years, but 2013 is different. The Nationals are the National League East division winners and are confident in the ability of their players.
Harper played center field very well last year, but with the acquisition of Span this past offseason, he will move to left. Meanwhile, Werth will continue playing in right field where he has spent a majority of his career.
It has taken some time for Span to get used to playing with his new teammates. However, the three players have become good friends on and off the field, which has helped them perform better on game day.
“If somebody throws a nasty pitch, (Werth will) look at me and make a face like, ‘That was nasty,’ ” Span told the Washington Times. “He just keeps it fun out there. Fun and loose.”
For new outfielders, it can be difficult at first because everyone has to figure out how much ground can be covered. No one wants to overlap their teammates or line up too far towards one side when it is completely unnecessary. The fact that Werth is trying to make it fun for Span and Harper certainly helps in the learning process.
There is no question that this is one of the more talented trios of outfielders in the National League, if not all of baseball. Werth and Span have historically played good defense at their respective positions, while Harper played perfectly in left field in the short time he lined up there last season. Also, the three men bring something different to the plate, which benefits the team greatly.
It will be interesting to see how much production the Nationals get out of their outfielders, especially if all three players can stay healthy for a majority of the season.