After his first press conference as a manager of the Washington Nationals, it’s been made quite clear that Matt Williams is bringing a new mentality to the D.C.
During Friday’s press conference, Williams laid out his plan for the media on how he was going to take the Nationals to the next level. He touched on two of their biggest needs — base running and defense — and had some inspiring things to say about base running.
In 2013, the Nationals didn’t do either of those two things well. Washington was tied for seventh-worst in the MLB in team errors with 107, and their .982 fielding percentage ranked them fourth-worst. On the bases, the Nationals were in the bottom half of the league with 115 stolen base attempts.
With a team on-base percentage of .313, 12th-best in the MLB in 2013, the Nationals were able to get men on base. The problem they ran into was getting those men around the bases. They relied on stringing hits together, something they often couldn’t do, and therefor, left many men and runs stranded on the bags.
Williams wants to change that. He told reporters that he wants to get more aggressive on the base paths. He plans to let guys go after second base when standing on first. He wants to hit-and-run more and wants guys to get from first to third on a hit. For Williams, his base running mentality is all about aggression and manufacturing runs.
It’s no secret that Williams was a hard-nosed, all-out player back in the day. Don’t be surprised if he brings that kind of mentality to Washington. The Nationals need a manager like that. They are a young team that should fair well with an aggressive mentality and a chip on their shoulder. They came up well short of expectations in 2013 and many people question how “for-real” this team really is.
Bringing in a manager with a new attitude that also has something he wants to prove is great, because it means he and the team have something in common and are reaching for a common goal. Keep tabs on the attitude in Washington come 2014. With the way Williams has started his tenure, the Nationals could be walking around with their chests puffed out a little bit further.