In 6 days, all the Nationals diehards will be preparing to head to Nationals Park on Opening Day. Until then, we're going to predict the 25 man roster. With one catch. We're going to do it one day at a time. This way, we can provide more in depth thoughts on who we think is going to make the roster, why we think so, and what to expect from them in 2011. On the morning of Opening Day, we'll post the real 25-man compared with what we predicted.
Today's edition is 13-year veteran and 2nd generation MLBer, Jerry Hairston.
Why? Off the bat the first draw for a player like Hairston is his veteran presence in the clubhouse. Next up is his versatility, over his career he has seen time at every single position except for pitcher and catcher. It has already been announced by Riggleman that the switch-hitting Hairston will be the starting Center Fielder against left-handed pitchers; as Bernadina, Morgan, and Ankiel are all left-handed. His leadership, attitude, and versatility has earned him a spot on this team.
What should you expect? Quality leadership and above-average defense in the field. This is, once again, a defensive-minded ballclub under Mike Rizzo, and Hairston fills that role to a T. He has posted a very high UZR in every position except for 1B and 3B, where I think we are covered with Adam LaRoche and Gold Glover, Ryan Zimmerman.
At the plate is another story, he will not light the world on fire by any stretch of the imagination. A career .257 hitter, Hairston has hit below that each of the past two seasons but is just three years removed from a .326 campaign in 2008. Look for something around a .260 average and .330 OBP.