Somehow, the Washington Nationals have put themselves back into playoff consideration. As of August 1, they are in 2nd place in the National League East, and are tied for the lead in the NL wild card race.
The Nats made their first playoff appearance in 2012, and only four players from that roster are still with the team. Notably, Jayson Werth has retired and Bryce Harper plays for the Philadelphia Phillies. For context, Juan Soto was 12 years old during that playoff push. Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner had not yet joined the team, and Max Scherzer was still in Detroit. Drew Storen was anchoring a bullpen that included Tyler Clippard and Ryan Mattheus. In typical Nats fashion, no one from the bullpen has stayed around for the last seven years.
Ahh yes, the Strasburg Shutdown era. 2012 was his first season back after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and he was kept on a strict innings limit. In an attempt to prevent further injury, the Nats ended Strasburg’s season in September and he sat out the playoffs. In his shortened season, he was 15-6 in 28 starts. This season, he is leading the team in wins with 14, and has 168 strikeouts. On July 3, Strasburg struck out 14 batters in 7 ⅓ innings. He is drawing less attention, especially with Scherzer leading the rotation, but Strasburg has remained an ace for this team.
Suzuki joined the Nats in August 2012 in a trade with the Oakland Athletics. He was teammates with Gio Gonzalez in Oakland, and the two reunited in D.C. Suzuki almost always caught Gonzalez and the two would use signs that only they knew from the A’s. Suzuki was a strong veteran presence to help the young Wilson Ramos prepare to eventually take on the starting role in the years to come. He only stayed in DC for about a year before he was traded back to the A’s in August 2013. In November 2018, Suzuki rejoined the Nats on a two year contract. He has played in 62 games and has 11 home runs with a .258 batting average.
Ryan Zimmerman is the longest tenured player on the roster. He made his MLB debut in 2005 at third base. After injuries and the emergence of Rendon, Zimmerman moved to first base. He has missed a significant portion of this season with plantar fasciitis, but his brief return before once again succumbing to foot pain, coincided with the Nats offensive resurgence and has helped put them back in the playoff conversation. In 2012, he played in 145 games and hit .282 with 25 home runs. This season, Zimmerman has played in 33 games, and despite only hitting .246, he recorded his 1,000th MLB RBI on July 5 at home.
Porter served as the Nats third base coach from 2010-2012. After spending some time with the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros, he is back in D.C. Porter has stepped away from the coaches box, and is now working with Dan Kolko to host the Nats pre and post game show, NatsXtra on MASN.