Davey Martinez is relentlessly optimistic. In case you have watched the Washington Nationals’ supervisor intently over his 4 seasons on the bench with the Nats that’s not information.
It hasn’t been simple for anybody within the nation’s capital within the two years for the reason that membership received the primary World Series by a D.C.-based ballclub since 1924 in 2019, however even after a disappointing 65-97, fifth place end in 2021, in a season which noticed the workforce commerce off their expiring contracts (and a year-plus of Trea Turner) in a deadline sell-off, the skipper discovered a technique to stress the positives of what he noticed over the ultimate months.
“I noticed some good issues over the past couple months,” Martinez mentioned after the common season finale.
“A few of our younger gamers performed effectively, and I’m trying ahead to 2022 and Spring Coaching and the long run for this group.”
Earlier than that, Martinez knew, there have been a number of lengthy months forward of him and for everybody within the Nationals’ entrance workplace.
“It’s going to be an extended winter — we’re going to sit down again and reassess,” he added, “… however we’re going to get higher, and we’re going to get higher quickly.
“So I’m excited concerning the future, particularly with a few of our younger children.”
It was simple, after all, to seek out positives in what a kind of younger children, Juan Soto, was in a position to accomplish as a 22-year-old (who turned 23 in October) in his personal fourth season with the Nationals.
Nationals’ Juan Soto in line with new hitting coach Darnell Coles:
“He’s the epitome of what an important main league hitter is.” https://t.co/aJJ3lFRM3x
— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) January 24, 2022
“Only one, he’s so younger,” Martinez mentioned, “and to do the issues he’s been doing, he’s — as you’ll be able to see — a few of the names that pop up subsequent to his, it’s unimaginable, it truly is. So, I can’t wait to observe him proceed to do what he does and watch him develop, I imply, he’s actually among the best younger gamers within the sport if not the most effective younger participant within the sport, so it’s been loads of enjoyable to be right here with him and I count on us to be collectively for a very long time.”
Just some examples of the names that pop up subsequent to Soto’s?
Because the Nationals famous of their Season in Evaluate, Soto, “… was the one certified participant in Main League Baseball with extra walks than strikeouts,” in 2021, and his, “… .465 on-base proportion led Main League Baseball and was the best in a full season since 2008 ([Hall of Famer] Chipper Jones, .470),” whereas, “… his 145 walks had been probably the most in a full season since Barry Bonds set the Main League document for walks in a season with 232 in 2004, and the second-most by any participant previous to his twenty third birthday behind HOF Ted Williams (147 in 1941).”
So yeah, that’s some fairly heady firm, however the workforce Soto performed on down the stretch and the one he’ll be a part of in 2022 will look so much completely different than the Nationals’ golf equipment over his first three and a half years within the majors.
The roster that completed out the season, post-trade deadline, was considerably youthful and fewer skilled, with quite a lot of the gamers who had been acquired on the deadline getting alternatives to check themselves and present what they may do on the main league degree within the final two months.
“We made some adjustments, as everyone knows, and we undoubtedly acquired youthful, and we acquired some actually, actually good items, and I’m trying ahead to the long run, I actually am with these guys,” Martinez informed reporters in his season-ending Zoom name after Recreation 162.
“You noticed Josiah [Gray], the previous few outings what he can do, Keibert [Ruiz], what he can do, Riley Adams, who did effectively for us, and is rising, loads of guys. Mason Thompson, who, he’s had his struggles, however in moments he confirmed indicators he could be actually good within the bullpen for us.
“I’m actually excited. These are simply a part of the fellows — we nonetheless acquired some guys within the minor leagues that we acquired in trades, that I actually assume have a future right here within the large leagues with us as effectively, so like I mentioned, I talked to the boys earlier than the sport, I informed them we’ve acquired loads of work to do that winter, to be prepared in Spring Coaching, they acquired to be prepared bodily as if it was Opening Day, after which we are able to get proper into the baseball abilities and stuff proper from the gate. However I’m excited.”
Including the expertise they acquired on the deadline to the gamers who stayed put and tried to profit from their alternatives, and mixing these abilities with all of the prospects within the group from earlier offers and drafts is the plan for what GM Mike Rizzo and Co. hope shall be a fast reboot reasonably than a full-on rebuild.
“The gamers that we acquired as we speak on the commerce deadline, and the final couple of drafts and commerce deadline acquisitions we had, would be the core of this subsequent championship-caliber membership, and that’s our objective,” Rizzo defined within the speedy aftermath of the sell-off final July.
“So, our objective is to construct one of many nice organizations in baseball. We’ve been that for the final 10-12 years, we plan to proceed to be that, and our course of is tried and true and we count on nothing however excellence.”
“And our objective is all the time to do that,” Rizzo continued, flashing his 2019 ring, “… to win a World Collection, win a hoop. I wore it as we speak to remind myself that’s the objective.”
Picture by Patrick McDermott/Getty Pictures
Martinez is worked up concerning the gamers that shall be again and shall be supplemented by any new additions, and all of the gamers the workforce added by signings, trades, and the draft the previous few years.
“We acquired Josh Bell, Juan Soto,” Martinez mentioned. “We acquired a few of our younger guys, Luis [García], Carter [Kieboom] who was up right here and acquired loads of enjoying time, we acquired Lane Thomas, who’s one other man we acquired in a commerce who did very good. So like I mentioned, I’m going to go dwelling this winter and do what I all the time do, and attempt to loosen up a bit of bit, however proceed to consider these guys and attempt to see how we are able to make them higher coming into subsequent yr.
“So for these guys, all I can say is that they performed laborious, they actually did, and we had been in each sport until the final couple innings, so I’m pleased with the best way they went out and performed the sport, and we’re going to get higher, and we’re going to get higher actually fast.”
Requested to sum up his expertise in 2021 in a single phrase, Martinez struggled.
“Oh, gosh, there’s so many, oh man, um, I can’t simply consider one phrase. Like I mentioned, there’s been some hardships, however there’s been some actual development amongst our younger guys, and I noticed some veteran guys that we’ve got who actually took some younger guys beneath their wings and actually helped them, so I can’t simply consider one phrase proper now, I actually can’t.
“I’ll go dwelling and I’ll get again to you on that one. It’s been, like I mentioned, we had some hardships, however I noticed some good issues, and I’m very pleased with the boys, I actually am.”