Why they’re here: When I did the first-of-the-month power rankings, I said I still believed in the Nationals, but couldn’t keep a team three games under .500 in the top 10. Well, the Nationals are 11-2 this month and I have no problem moving them into the top five, especially after that four-game road sweep in Arizona against a very good Diamondbacks squad. Just so you know, Max Scherzer is going to win his fourth Cy Young award this season.
Why they’re here: Baseball loves its round-number stats, right? How about this one: Josh Hader has 50 strikeouts in 25 innings out of the Brewers’ bullpen. Kid has been crazy good in the bullpen, which has been important with closer Corey Knebel spending time on the DL.
Why they’re here: This roster has playoff talent, with more help on the way — check out what Alex Reyes is doing on his rehab assignment and what slugger Tyler O’Neil is doing at Triple-A — but the injuries are starting to pile up. Ace Carlos Martinez is out, as is veteran catcher Yadier Molina and relievers Tylor Lyons and Dominic Leone. Their returns will be measured in weeks, not days.
Bart burst onto the college baseball scene during his freshman season in 2016, when the 6-3, 225 pounder batted .299 with 31 RBIs, while starting 42 games behind the plate. He was named to the ACC All-Freshman team that year, as well as a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American honoree.
Bart backed up those honors with an outstanding summer in the Cape Cod League, batting .309 with a pair of home runs and 21 runs driven in for the Wareham Gatemen. As a sophomore in 2017, Bart was again very good at the plate, batting .296 for the season, but seriously upped his power output by launching 13 home runs and driving in 43 runs in 44 games played.
He was named to the All-ACC Second Team, ABCA/Rawlings All-Region Second Team, a Johnny Bench Award Semifinalist, and was invited to Team USA’s College National Team Training Camp. However, this season Bart has taken his game to another level, as the junior is currently batting an ACC-leading .368, with 16 long balls, 38 RBI and a .651 slugging percentage heading into the postseason.