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April 2, 2016 / Nat Anacostia

Links to remember, 2015 season

“Links to remember” are links to articles that are worth re-reading months after they were written, or to video of memorable plays. A long time ago I used to post them every month or two, but now I’m down to posting them once a year. Here they are (albeit three months late)—my favorite links for the 2015 season:

The most important story of the year was the emergence of Bryce Harper as the MVP and one of the best players in the game. So a lot of articles were written about Harper. Here are a couple that were especially memorable:

  • One of the earliest things we saw in 2015 was the Harper was more disciplined and taking a lot more walks. Ben Lindbergh of Grantland recognized that he might be a different and much better hitter in 2015.
  • As Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs noted, Harper continued to adapt his hitting style as the year went along.
  • At season’s end, Sullivan reflected on the historical significance of Harper’s breakout season.

After Harper, the 2015 season will sadly be remembered for the failures of its bullpen and the ill-fated trade for Jonathan Papelbon:

  • As usual, the brilliant Joe Posnanski of NBC Sports nailed it early, identifying the Papelbon trade as the “worst trade of the season.”
  • After repeated bullpen failures against the Mets, David Schoenfield of ESPN sees bullpen chokes in big games as a legacy of this generation’s Nationals.
  • Lots of articles were written about the Papelbon-Harper choking incident. As usual, Grant Brisbee of SB Nation is brilliant in explaining the unwritten rule that Harper may have broken.
  • Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports observes that the incident went back to Harper’s comments a week earlier about Papelbon throwing at Machado and says that Harper showed some real courage by speaking up about a teammate’s dangerous actions.
  • Posnanski sums it up: “… the Nationals are not a family, nothing close. They are a failed experiment, and soon Washington will be broken apart and another team with different players will be built in its place.”

Finally, a couple of analyses of what went wrong for the Nationals:

  • In early August, just after the Nats gave up first place to the Mets (for good, as it turned out), Brisbee gave a pretty good summary of what was going right for the Mets and wrong for the Nats.
  • A month later, Sullivan provided a statistical post mortem on the Nats’ season.

I like to end these with links to videos of some of the year’s most memorable plays:

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