This week's edition of Former Nats Greats is going to focus on another outstanding player for our Inaugural campaign of 2005. With a perfect name to pronounce and a penchant for punchouts, this player has earned enshrinement in Capitol Baseball's Hall of Former Nats Greats.
The lucky winner is...
Welcome aboard and congratulations are most certainly in order.
Cepicky came to the Nats via the Montreal Expos days, as he was drafted by the club in the 4th round of the 1999 Draft. He played sparingly after his major league debut in 2002, making it into just 69 games in 3 years prior to moving to the district. And it took until early July for him to make his first appearance in the Nation's Capital.
Matt Cepicky made his National's debut on, how fitting, the 4th of July against the New York Metropolitans. He came into the game in the bottom of the 7th as a pinch hitter for the ever-so-reliable Luis "Gas Can" Ayala, where he proceeded to ground out to the Jose Reyes. 0-1.
Frank Robinson apparently liked what he saw and gave Cepicky the start in Left Field the next day, replacing the future Cubbie, Marlon Byrd. Hitting in the 6 hole, Cepicky grounded out, grounded out, and popped out. Helping the Nats win a 3-2 decision over those pesky Mets.
Things would get better for our hero, as he got a hit in his next start (July 7) and then followed that with his best performance in a Nationals' uniform; 2 for 4 with a double and 3 RBIs in an 8-7 win over the Phightins. However, the honeymoon was not to last and Matt Cepicky got just 3 more hits in his last 5 games with the team.
His numbers for that 2005 year are as follows:
11 Games. 25 AB. .240 AVG. .629 OPS. 6 H. 3 2B. 1 BB. 8 K. 3 RBI. 1.4 UZR. 0.1 WAR.
What really strikes me about those statistics is that he had 8 strikeouts in 25 at bats. That's a 32% Strikeout Ratio. Really rough (though much better than Justin Maxwell's 41.3% from this past year). One of the most impressive things about these numbers is that he was able to put up a positive WAR despite a severe lack of offensive production, I guess that 1.4 UZR really helped to bump that number up.
So there you have it. Former Nats Great #8. The Great and Timeless Matt Cepicky. Thank you for having a fun-to-pronounce name that we can still talk about 6 years later.
Please post your favorite Matt Cepicky memory in the Comments section!