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Roger Bernadina A Sleeper?

Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina was definitely not on fantasy radars entering the season, but at this point he merits mixed league consideration.  Bernadina is hitting .291-5-23-15-6 in 158 at-bats and has been playing regularly.  Over a 550 at-bat season his work projects at .291-17-80-52-21.  The entire line reeks of small sample size, but you have to figure he'll pick up his runs scored pace.

ZiPS is not yet on board, predicting just a .259/.319/.367 line the rest of the way.  Strong work in 245 plate appearances between Triple A and the bigs so far has not been enough to change the projection model's mind.  Baseball Prospectus says Bernadina would have to play at his 90th percentile projection to slug .442.

Scouting-wise, Bernadina ranked just 22nd among Nationals prospects before the season.  They said he has "plus-plus speed and average raw power."  So it appears that his 20-steal speed is for real, but his 15-20 home run power is in question.  For what it's worth Bernadina slugged .434 in May and sits at .507 in June, with five home runs, seven doubles, and two triples within those 167 PAs.

Bottom line: grab Bernadina as a speed source who won't kill you in the other categories, and hope his mild power breakout holds up.


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