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Out-Of-Character Season: National League East - Surprising Washington Nationals

"Baseball's a funny game: robotically consistent in some cases, random and adventitious in others. Sometimes, a player comes out of nowhere — or, at least, seemingly nowhere — and has a season no one could have anticipated. These are the stories of those players." - From SB Nation's Baseball Nation


Can you think of a player in the Washington Nationals' short history in the nation's capital who had an out-of-character season, "... like Brady Anderson's 1996 or Javy Lopez's 2003?" That was the question we were asked for the latest collaborative post amongst the SB Nation's NL East authors. I had a hard time with this... went more with "unexpected" because I couldn't think of anyone with a stand-out season similar to either of those player's respective anomolous campaigns, but admittedly we're limited with seven seasons from which to choose since I didn't want to reach back into the Montreal past of the franchise and didn't actually witness any of the Senators' players doing something out of the ordinary... Anyway, here's my response and HERE's a link to the full post with examples from the Mets, Phillies, Braves and Fish which I'll link to below as well...

"The Washington Nationals played their first game in 2005 so there isn't a long franchise history to sort through, and to go back into the Expos years tends to anger fans from the nation's capital who have no connection to the franchise that relocated from Montreal, Quebec, Canada following the 2004 season. In the Nats' short time in Washington, D.C. there are a few seasons that stand out as out-of-character for one reason or another, however. Dmitri Young was released by the Detroit Tigers during a .250/.293/.407 2006 campaign filled with on- and off-field issues which derailed the career of the hard-hitting 32-year-old first baseman.

"Given an opportunity by Nats' GM Jim Bowden, Young bounced back with a .320/.378/.491 line, 38 doubles, and 13 home runs in 2007, a season in which he was an All-Star, had career highs in doubles, AVG, OBP and BABIP (.356), won MLB's Comeback Player of the Year Award, and earned himself a two-year/$10 million extension. Young would lose the starting job at first to Nick Johnson the next spring and have his season end early after just 50 games when issues with diabetes forced him from the lineup. A torn quadriceps in 2008 ended an attempt at another comeback and he never returned to the majors again. Young could always hit, but just when it looked like his career might end prematurely he had one more solid season in D.C. in 2006.

"Nyjer Morgan impressed in 157 games over three seasons following his major league debut in 2007, but for a 49-game stretch following a trade from Pittsburgh in 2009, Morgan made Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo look like a genius. Though he came from the Pirates' organization with a .286/.351/.376 line over three seasons in the majors, Morgan reached another level for a stretch upon relocating to the NL East, with a .351/.396/.435 line over 212 plate appearances with the Nationals before a broken wrist ended his 2009 campaign in late August. Morgan would play a career-high 136 games and make a career-high 577 plate appearances in 2010, but he put up a .253/.319/.314 line and played his way out of Washington before the 2011 season started.

"Perhaps the most out-of-character season of all from a National, however, came this past year from a player who finally settled in to what is probably the right role for him after several years and several opportunities to lay claim to a starting spot in Washington's outfield. Roger Bernadina entered the 2012 season with a .242/.304/.364 line over 254 games and 889 plate appearances in four seasons in the majors with the Nationals.

"With Michael Morse and Jayson Werth missing significant time last year, Bernadina played an important role in the Nats' outfield thoughout the season, filling in where necessary and often entering the game late as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement. In 129 games and 261 plate appearances in 2012, the 28-year-old outfielder signed by the Montreal Expos as an amateur free agent out of Curacao in 2001 had a .291/.372/.405 line. In the last two months of the year, Bernadina, affectionately known as "The Shark," had a .308/.384/.431 line as the Nationals locked down the NL East. At times, he also played amazing defense in what ended up being a breakout season which all-but-guaranteed he'll be a fourth outfielder behind Bryce Harper, Denard Span, and Jayson Werth in 2013..."

• Read the Full Post at SB Nation's Baseball Nation...