When talking about the future of the Washington Nationals, there are names always brought up. Zimmerman, Strasburg, and Bryce, of course. Zimmermann and Desmond sure. Espinosa has been a hot new commodity (taking the place of Detwiler or Marrero or Norris as "THE" minor league guy). Recently another name has been brought up over and over again as a key part of the Nationals future, Roger Bernadina. Not that I'm against the guy, but I'm not sure I see where this is coming from. Let's take a look shall we?
Bryce Harper - Age 17 (18 in Oct) - #1 draft pick and one of the most heralded power bat prospects of the past few decades.
Steven Strasburg - Age 22 (23 next June) - #1 draft pick and one of the most heralded arms to come out of the draft in at least a decade
Danny Espinosa - Age 23 (24 in April) - solid middle infield prospect
Jordan Zimmermann - Age 24 (25 in May) - Mid to Top of the rotation starter with great stuff and good control that has translated so far into the majors (9.1 k/9, 2.8 BB/9)
Ian Desmond - Age 24 (25 in Sept) - rookie shortstop prospect who has given the Nats a season of average play in year one.
Ryan Zimmerman - Age 25 (26 in September) - All-Star caliber player in his 5th season.
Roger Bernadina - Age 26 (27 next June) - solid outfileder that has given the Nats 3/4 a seaons of average play in year one.
It's not exactly that Roger Bernadina doesn't belong but he's the oldest AND the least heralded of the bunch. To me he's a throw-in, not a build around. An "oh yeah - that guy too" player not someone you make a point to mention, that is unless you feel the need to pump up your team's prospects.
"But Harper" you say, "he's doing really well recently and when he takes over CF he'll be worth evern more". "But you guys" I say, "prove it". I'm not hitching my wagon to a 26 year old rookie who's fancy stats remind me a lot of Jeff Francoeur (26 - 27 in January).
Franceour - 6.5 BB%, 18.8 K%, 13.3 LD%, 41.2 GB%, 45.5 FB%, 9.9 HR/FB
Bernadina - 6.9 BB%, 22.1 K%, 13.9 LD%, 46.6 GB%, 39.5 FB%, 10.6 HR/FB
Yeah you can note that Bernadina is probably a bit faster and might have a tiny bit more power (though I doubt it) but the big difference between the two this year is this stat :
Franceour - .259 BABIP
Bernadina - .321 BABIP
Maybe it is a product of the speed/more ground balls, I'll give you that. Problem is Bernadina is hitting his peak. By 2012 he won't be as fast, so if he's not turning more flyballs into homers, he's not going to beat out enough ground balls to keep up his usefulness.
Of course maybe I'm wrong, maybe Bernadina will turn some sort of corner and start hitting near .300, or be able to pop out 20-25 homers a year. He'll certainly get next year to try and it'll be right in his peak. If I were a betting man, however, I wouldn't be putting money down on Bernadina starting for the Nats in 2013, or at least playing with the ability that should have him starting.