Matt Williams Faith in Nate McLouth Appears to be Paying Off
The Nationals were not very active in this past offseason free agency market however one of their more subtle moves was the signing of former Orioles outfielder Nate McLouth to a three year contract to become the Nationals fourth outfielder. McLouth was just coming off a season where he posted a solid .258 average to go along with 12 homeruns and 30 stolen bases to be one of the more versatile players the Orioles had on their team.
The Nationals signed McLouth to be that fourth outfielder knowing in recent years both Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper have had injury problems. Well it seemed the singing paid off when Bryce Harper was placed on the disabled list not even a month into the seasons and was expected to miss a significant amount of time.
McLouth was then expected to full take over the role as the everyday left fielder but had still not adjusted to playing in the National League as he had a dreadful batting average of just .097 at the time of the injury. Even though he was inserted into the starting lineup McLouth continued to struggle even though he was getting plate appearances every day and by May 11 his averaged dropped even lower than it was before to .078 which caused many fans and journalist to question not only the signing of McLouth but Matt Williams insistence to keep him in the lineup and on the roster as well. Well it seems Matt Williams backing his player has started to payoff and the Nationals may have finally got the player they signed in the offseason.
Since May 12, McLouth is batting .333 for the Nationals which came to a peak in last night’s game that saw him go 4-4 and walk one time to reach base a total of five times. Not only has McLouth started to get on base with more regularity he has started stealing bases like he did with the Orioles last year. Before his turn around on May 11 he had zero steals on the season but since then McLouth has swiped four bases in just 14 games including one in his monster game last night.
With Nate McLouth finally getting back to the player he was last year that batted above average, played excellent defense and wreaked havoc on the base paths it takes more pressure off of not just himself but also the injured Bryce Harper and all this recent success must be credited to manager Matt Williams for backing his player like a good manager should and it seems to be really paying off.