Philadelphia, PA - The Nationals don't need controversial promotions to garner attention right now. They're doing it all on the field.
They sit atop the National League East largely due to a hot May offensive performance and league-leading pitching. After averaging just 3.4 runs in April, they picked it up to 4.2 runs per game. The Nats have hit 28 home runs in their last 18 games. Nationals pitchers lead MLB in strikeouts with 365, with Gio Gonzalez leading the majors in K's with 69. Their 2.62 team ERA is the lowest in MLB.
In the mix and contributing is starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg, outfielder Bryce Harper, and infielder/outfielder Tyler Moore. All three, though at different levels of their professional careers, have given Nationals fans a glimpse of the kind of team building from the farm.
Strasburg's 2.21 ERA is 2nd on the team (Gonzalez leads at 1.98), returning fully to form after Tommy John surgery. He's also 2nd in the National League in strikeouts. Harper has been what we thought he was - a fierce competitor, fired up with energy, quick on the bases, good in the field, and productive at the plate since his call-up from Triple-A Syracuse. He's hitting .264 with 2 home runs and 9 RBI in 10 games. His ability to withstand the excruciating media attention and keep a level head after Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels inexplicably hit Harper and bragged about it has also been impressive. It was what he projected in the minors and had to have pleased the Nats PTB. And while Tyler Moore hasn't been able to play every day, he's stepping up to the challenge of playing the outfield and embracing whatever time he has up with the big club. When he was called up from Syracuse he was hitting .286 with 7 home runs, 20 runs knocked in, and 10 walks.
Tyler Moore spoke with me for Bus Leagues Baseball, as did Davey Johnson, about this opportunity. Please read the full story there.