- The Washington Times - Friday, October 7, 2016

One of the labels attached to Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker is that he prefers veterans over young players. Baker has disputed this notion, noting he was once a young player thrust into key circumstances, so why wouldn’t he play young players as a manager? Toward the end of the regular season when discussing options for the National League Division Series, Baker went so far as to state that he’s “not afraid to run those young guys out there.”

He will have his chance starting Friday night in Game 1 of the NLDS versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. Washington has several young players in key spots: Rookie Pedro Severino will be the starting catcher. They opted for rookie pitcher Reynaldo Lopez as the long man in the bullpen instead of vastly experienced but lately ineffective Yusmeiro Petit (1.021 OPS against in the second half of the season). Rookie Trea Turner, deservedly so, will be atop the lineup and in center field. Rookie infielder Wilmer Difo is also on the roster.

The biggest surprise may be Michael A. Taylor. He is the best defensive option and the second-fastest player on the team behind Turner. But, he had a poor season at the plate in the major and minor leagues. His inclusion means veteran Ben Revere is off the roster in this round.

Here’s a look at the full group:

Catchers
Jose Lobaton (S)
Pedro Severino (R)

Infielders
Ryan Zimmerman (R)
Daniel Murphy (L)
Danny Espinosa (S)
Anthony Rendon (R)
Wilmer Difo (S)
Stephen Drew (L)
Clint Robinson (L)

Outfielders
Bryce Harper (L)
Chris Heisey (R)
Michael A. Taylor (R)
Trea Turner (R)
Jayson Werth (R)

Starting pitchers
Max Scherzer (R)
Tanner Roark (R)
Gio Gonzalez (L)
Joe Ross (R)

Bullpen
Shawn Kelley (R)
Reynaldo Lopez (R)
Mark Melancon (R)
Blake Treinen (R)
Oliver Perez (L)
Marc Rzepczynski (L)
Sammy Solis (L)

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