clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Washington Nationals news & notes: Luis García wants to walk more + more…

Washington’s second baseman took the advice he received from the Nationals late last season to heart…

MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals Workouts Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Walking on Walking:

Washington Nationals’ second baseman Luis García’s Chase% in 2022 was down a bit, to 37.0% from 40.8% Chase% in 2021 according to Baseball Savant, and Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez talked late in the season about the young infielder being a little more discerning when it comes to picking the pitches he can not only get to, but do damage on as he continues to develop as a big leaguer. It’s a significant distinction.

“He’s gotten better,” Martinez explained.

MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals Workouts Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

“Sometimes he reverts back to chasing. But he has gotten better, so you know as long as he gets the ball in the strike zone, and he stays on the fastball, he’s done really well. And that’s something that we talked to him about today already. Just hey, just continue to stay on the fastball, elevate the ball, because he’s a much better high ball hitter than he is low ball, and limit your chases, when you do that, you get the ball in the zone, you hit the ball hard.”

“His big thing is not to chase. We got to get him in the zone,” Martinez added.

“He’s still young, he’s a young hitter, and we’re trying to get him to understand what kind of hitter he can be.”

With a more discerning approach at the plate, García might also walk more, after posting 3.6, 4.5, and 2.9% BB%s in 40, 70, and 93 games played, respectively, in his first three seasons in the majors 2020-22).

It’s something the young infielder has in fact considered.

“I definitely would like it to be higher,” García said of his walk rate, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman early this spring. “I’ve worked all offseason and tried to create a better focus, create my strike zone better. Just need to keep working and have better patience. I definitely hope that with consistency, I can make that number grow.”

“I’m glad he said that,” his manager said when informed of García’s comments.

MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals Workouts Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

“I want him to be aggressive in the strike zone, obviously, right? Get the ball in the zone,” Martinez continued.

“He’s really good when he gets the ball in the zone. And that’s the biggest key for him. But if the ball’s out of the zone, he needs to be able to take some. We have so many young players that have really good bat-to-ball skills, and that’s where the weak contact comes from. We talk a lot about getting the ball in the zone, a ball that you can hit hard especially early in the count, when the count is in your favor, and be ready for those pitches, and yeah, take your walks. If they’re going to walk you, take it and get on base for your teammate.”

They don’t want to take away his natural aggressiveness though, as Martinez said.

“‘We love when you swing,’” he said of the message they reinforce with García, “‘… but swing at strikes.’”