Dave Martinez aims to eliminate last year's 'horrid' baserunning

Josh Luckenbaugh
March 05, 2019 - 9:12 am

Dave Martinez tells it like it is: The Nationals' baserunning in 2018 was terrible.

"Our baserunning last year was horrid, it really was," Washington's second-year manager told The Sports Junkies Tuesday. "And we need to be a better base-running team."

"I'm not talking about base stealing, because we were pretty good at that, I'm just talking about all around baserunning (and) decision-making."

Specifically, Martinez saw issues at the beginning of his players' base-running execution.

"When you're running the bases, your first three steps (are) critical," said Martinez. "When you go up there in the batter's box, you're engaged to hit. It's the same thing with baserunning. So as soon as you hit the ball, you become a base runner, and that's our emphasis."

"When you come out of that box, it's gonna be, hey, let's get after it. I'm a baserunner now. And we're always gonna think in twos: don't try to get to first base, make a good turn. Put pressure on the defense, those kind of things."

"And so far this spring training, we've done really well on advancing to the next base, putting the pressure on the defense, and I like what I see."

Martinez sees shortstop Trea Turner, who he wants to lead-off for the Nats and attempt 75-80 steals this season, as an important tone-setter on the base paths. 

"I told him, 'Hey, you're getting on base now. So every time you're on base, you're a threat,'" Martinez told the Junkies. "'If you get thrown out 15 times but you have 85 attempts, you're stealing 70 bases.' So I want him to understand that: when he goes on there, he's always on go."

"I look at Trea, and when he goes, we go. It really does. And he's an exciting player, and he understands what he wants to do. And he came in with a whole different attitude about what it means for him to get on base. Not just for him, but for the ballclub."

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