When: 7:05 EST
The Starters: Arroyo (0-0, 5.68) vs. Zimmermann (0-1, 1.29)
The Line: Nats -150, Reds +130, O/U 7.5 Runs, Nats -1.5
Profile: Mark DeRosa is a 37 year old veteran third baseman who brings 14 years of big league experience to a Nationals squad full of young inexperienced talent. DeRosa was most recently with the Giants where he won a ring in 2010, so he also adds a proven winner to the roster. Before his time with San Francisco he played for the Braves, Rangers, Cubs, Indians and Cardinals. He spent four years in his career as a full time starter but in his advanced age has been relegated to a back up role at this point on his career. The Nats brought him on board to fill the role of super utility man, as he’s seen playing time at six of the seven positions in the field (all but CF) over the course of his career. At this point DeRosa wont provide much offensively, batting just .235 with just one HR and 22 RBIs in 179 ABs over the last two seasons. Defensively DeRosa isn’t great anymore either. He’s reliable when he can get to the ball but being 37 and never having good speed even in his youth, his range is awful. For those reasons I like Bernadina and Lombardozzi better as the utility men, but I still like the DeRosa signing for what he brings in terms of leadership.
Profile: Rogearvin (Roger) Bernadina is a young, athletic outfielder from baseball haven Curacao. He is a great athlete, standing at 6’2″ 200 and possessing blazing speed on the bases. Bernadina has played his whole big league career with Nats but has had trouble securing a long term spot on the 25 man roster. The last two seasons Roger has spent some time at triple A Syracuse but has got a significant amount of at bats with Nats (723). So far in his career he has a .242 Avg., 18 HR, 32 2B, 76 RBIs and 38 SB in 803 at bats. Those are respectable numbers and at first glance that balance of speed and power is impressive but he has his drawbacks. Bernadina has a few holes in his swing that have caused him to strike out a lot, (over 1 in every 5 at bats) and hit for a low average. With that said he is a great fielder, routinely pulling off ridiculous plays with his extreme range and solid arm. The problem for Bernadina right now is he’s seen mostly as a lead off hitter due to his speed, but he strikes out too much and doesn’t get on base enough to fill that role. The amount of playing time he gets this year is basically going to depend two factors: whether or not Bryce Harper breaks camp with the big league club, and the health of the starting outfielders. I like Roger to make the team this year as the number four outfielder behind Mike Morse (LF), Jayson Werth (CF), Harper (RF) and serve as Davey Johnson’s primary pinch runner. With Bernadina turning 28 by mid season, it’s time for him to prove he’s more than just a great athlete.
With Spring training now in full swing and the National’s season opener just a month away, it’s time to get familiar with the 25 guys we’ll be seeing a the most of this year. The Nats made a splash this off season by trading 2 top prospects (and 2 bums) for a top 10 lefty in Gio Gonzalez, but other than adding him to the rotation they didn’t tweak much else. My projected Opening Day roster has only five players that didn’t wear the red, white, and blue last year (Harper, Gonzalez, Jackson, Lidge and Derosa). However just because there wasen’t much change doesn’t mean there isn’t much reason for excitement. By my count, the Opening Day 25 contains 10 players with three full seasons of experience or less, almost all of which have shown promise at the big league level (Desmond, Espinosa, Ramos, Strasburg, Zimmermann, Detwiler, and Storen). And let’s not forget baseball’s version of Lebron James, Bryce Harper, who I have playing right field from day 1 in 2012.
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