1. Sean Burnett - I think that this is hard to argue against. There's a real argument to be made that Burnett was the best pitcher for the Nationals. Period. (Besides SS, of course.) Now look at him in terms of improvement over the course of the season. Compared to the first half, his strikeout to walk ratio shot up, batting average, on base %, and slugging % against all plummeted after the All-Star Break.
2. Michael Morse - After months of coming off of the bench and still managing to hit close to .400, the new Michael Morse proved that he could still hit on a full-time basis. Although he struggled at first with the every day role, he came into it well as the season progressed. He finished the season with 293 plate appearances, a .289 batting average, a .352 OBP, and 15 homers. While his fielding and range are less than stellar, he's certainly not bad. And a lot can be learned in the field in the spring if he has in fact earned the right fielder's, or maybe first baseman's, starting job.
3. Ian Desmond - As much as I destroyed Desi before the All Star Break for his terrible fielding and his low average, I have admitted on a few occasions already that I was wrong. Let me do so again. I was w-r-o-n-g wrong. Let's just go over these stats between first and second half quickly for Ian.
- Batting average: 1st half - .255; 2nd half - .283
- On base percentage: 1st half - .297; 2nd half - .320 (although that still needs improvement)
- Errors: 1st half - 21; 2nd half - 13.
And finally, I think an Honorable Mention is due: Matt Capps - The Capper is where he belongs now, in the playoffs for the first time in his career with the Minnesota Twins. Capps was the Nats lone All-Star representative (although Zimmerman was screwed, don't even get me started), and he was certainly the Nationals most consistent player, earning 26 saves in 30 opportunities. He's done the same in Minnesota, earning 16 saves in 18 opportunities. I hope Jon Rauch (another former Nat) can get himself healthy to set up Capps in the playoffs. They'll be hard to beat in the playoffs.
So that ends this summary of 2010. Stay tuned for another post featuring the most disappointing players of 2010 in the near future.