Jordan Zimmermann’s pitching gets an A; other starters for the Nats have been flops. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

It’s report card time for the Washington Nationals.

I love our hometown team. But the Nats have been a big disappointment so far this year, with a 48-47 record. (That’s 48 wins and 47 losses.) So with this report card, I feel like a teacher who has to give low grades to a favorite student.

Remember, I’m a tough grader. There are no easy A’s in Mr. Bowen’s class. I give a player a C if he is an average major league starter. Let’s get started.

Starting pitching:

Stephen Strasburg B

Gio Gonzalez B+

Jordan Zimmermann A

Dan Haren F

Ross Detwiler D+

The top three starters have been very good. Zimmermann is a true all-star, with a 12-4 record. The problem is that the fourth and fifth starters have a combined record of 6-17. That stinks. They will have to improve during the second part of the season, or the Nats will be sitting home watching the playoffs instead of playing.


Kurt Suzuki D+

Adam LaRoche C

Anthony Rendon B-

Ian Desmond B

Ryan Zimmerman B-

Rendon has been an improvement at second base over the disastrous Danny Espinosa (F). The rest of the infield has been solid but unspectacular. Unlike last season, their grades are generally lower this year because of defense. No team in the National League has made more errors than the Nats, who have 67.

And everybody has to start hitting more. Only three teams — the Miami Marlins, Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros — have scored fewer runs than Washington.


Bryce Harper B-

Denard Span D

Jayson Werth C+

Harper and Werth’s grades would be higher if they had not missed so many games. Just as in school, attendance is important in sports. You can’t help your team while you’re sitting on the sidelines. Span’s job is to get on base and score runs. He has not been doing his job.

Relief pitching :

Rafael Soriano B

Tyler Clippard B

Drew Storen D

The Nats bullpen has been shaky at times. It seems as though manager Davey Johnson (C-) doesn’t trust anyone now except Soriano and Clippard. I don’t blame him.

The Nats keep saying they are a talented team. They remind me of kids who claim they are so smart but keep getting C’s and D’s.

The time has come for the Nats to stop saying they are talented. The time has come for the Nats to prove it.

Fred Bowen writes the sports opinion column for KidsPost. He is the author of 19 sports books for kids, including nine baseball books.