It's week two along our journey to 44 player reviews covering each and every player that graced NatsTown's presence this past season. We will continue to tweak the process based on your comments, so keep those going.
Alex Cora - 35 this past season, but today is his 36th birthday!
How he became a Nat: Signed a minor league contract with the Nats in January.
The Raw Numbers:
Positions played: 4, all of the infield positions at least 5 times
Pinch Hits: 6
The key stat: dWAR 0.3. Put all these stats together and you can see the Nats got more than they needed from Alex Cora in the beginning of the season. With Zim out of the lineup and a first base situation that became nebulous for a while, Cora stepped in a ate up some big innings in the field, at all the infield positions, with no precipitous defensive drop off.
Best Game: Without a doubt May 11th, a 7-3 come-from-behind victory over Atlanta. Cora tied the game in the ninth with a bases loaded single off of vaunted rookie closer Craig Kimbrel, stayed in to play third and eventually scored in the 11th on an Ian Desmond double. He was 2 for 2 with a run and 2 RBI.
Worst Game: We are going to combine two games here, May 13 and 14. Over the course of those two games, one start and one as a defensive replacement, he went 0-5 as the Nats lost an extra inning heart-breaker and were on the losing end of a 1-0 gem from Anibal Sanchez. These are the moments veterans get paid for, and he didn’t show up.
Capball Grade: B-. Very Nixian season for Cora, as he carried the Nats at third with Zim out and was more valuable than we are likely ever to know for Desi and Espi’s development. He basically disappeared the second half of the season, especially once Steven Lombardozzi joined the team and took up the mantle of back-up infielder. He is a veteran’s veteran and has hopefully imparted wisdom to better Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa and Steven Lombardozzi.Future with the Nats: Bleak. I think Mike Rizzo had an eye on getting Cora into the organization as a manager following this season, but Cora has stated publicly he plans to be on the field as a player next year and beyond. It’s the same situation as Laynce Nix; good guy, helps the team, but the Nats are simply moving in a different direction.