According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post Jayson Werth will bat second in the Washington Nationals lineup to begin the season.
“He mentioned second a few times himself,” Riggleman said. “In a perfect world, it probably sets our club up best. I was a little reluctant to do that. I talked to [General Manager] Mike Rizzo about it. Mike and his staff, they put a lot of numbers together. Werth really wants to do that. Mike wants to do it. I’ve thought about it a lot.”
Ryan Zimmerman will hit third, Riggleman said, with first baseman Adam LaRoche batting cleanup and Michael Morse hitting fifth. Shortstop Ian Desmond will be the likely leadoff hitter.”
With the demise of Nyjer Morgan as a viable everyday option in centerfield, the Nationals have found themselves with a lineup that has no prototypical top of the order batters. As a result, Jim Riggleman and Mike Rizzo are getting creative to try and create a lineup that features mostly natural middle-to-back-of-the-order batters.
Despite being one of the team’s top power hitters, Werth batting second does make sense for the club. While Werth is only a career .272 hitter, he boasts a team best career .367 on base percentage and 12.3 walk percentage, which makes him the Nats’ most patient hitter. Unlike the Nats former on base champion Adam Dunn, Werth will also provide some solid speed in the number two spot the order. While he isn’t a significant base stealing threat, he has averaged 17.7 steals over the past three seasons, and is generally good going from first to third as he is a tremendous athlete.
For the Nats, having runners on base in front of Ryan Zimmerman can only be a good thing. Like most batters, Zimmerman hit far better with runners on base last season. In 237 at bats in 2010 with the bases empty he hit .284/.353/.491, but in 236 at bats with runners on he hit .335/.438/.534. The Nationals simply have to get runners on base in front of him to capitalize on his ability to drive in runs. Anytime you can make your best player better, while at the same time putting runners on base in crucial situations, you're making the right move.