On a Washington D.C. baseball radio show Monday morning, new Washington Nationals skipper Matt Williams dropped some hints regarding his plan for the Nationals’ most electric player, Bryce Harper.
All Williams essentially said was that he plans on batting Harper in the middle of the lineup, more specifically anywhere in the 3-4-5 hole. He also said that he wants Bryce to be a player that runs when he gets on base so putting him in front of power hitters like Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth may not be ideal.
What is very encouraging about Williams’ comments is that he plans to use Bryce Harper the best way that he can be used, with plenty of opportunity to use his athleticism. Williams also noted on the show that he wants to put him in a position where he feels comfortable and free while playing the game.
Allowing Bryce Harper to use his athleticism and make things happen will only produce great things for the Nationals. If Williams wants to make Washington a more aggressive club on the base paths, then letting the young stallion run wild will help. He can get from first to third on singles into right and is always a threat to score once he gets in scoring position.
Without putting too much thought into the rest of the lineup at this time, letting Harper bat fifth might be the best course of action. He’ll get on base and the batters behind him can then move him around. At the front end of the lineup, runs could be an easy thing to come by as well as base runners.
However, once you near the second half of the lineup, base runners could be hard to come by. Having Harper in your back pocket for the second half makes your lineup dangerous from top to bottom. With bats like Wilson Ramos waiting at the end of the lineup, multi-run homers can always be a threat with Harper batting late in the lineup.
Matt Williams hasn’t been the manager for very long and he’s only made a handful of decisions, but his words have certainly been music to my ears. If he can translate what he tells the media to the playing field in the spring, Washington should be a team to watch in 2014.