Originally posted on The Nats Blog  |  Last updated 7/23/12

On August 12, the Discovery Channel will begin its highly anticipated, 25th annual “Shark Week”, highlighting some of the craziest shark related stories in history. However, for some special “shark” fans in Washington, this two-week wait has become nonexistent, with the Nationals’ own “shark”, Roger Bernadina, headlining his own show this July.

In the past 22 days of this month, Bernadina has turned his mediocre season into his best yet.  After batting a measly .241 with a .325 OBP in 124 plate appearance during the first three months of the season, he has since batted an insane .482 with 14 hits in 29 at-bats.  He has also doubled his number of stolen bases while only getting caught once.  This has moved his season totals to a very respectable .292 average, .372 OBP, 11 steals, and 17 runs batted in along with zero errors, but these stats hide some very important facts.  The two biggest being, the amount of success Roger has had coming off the bench and hitting with runners in scoring position.

With the likes of the early season bench MVP Chad Tracy along with veterans Mark DeRosa and Xavier Nady occupying the majority of this July on the disabled list, the Nationals were in need of some quality help from the bench.  Bernadina has provided that help along with a spark to help the Nationals continue their first place ways.  Coming off the bench, Bernadina has batted .387 with a .500 OBP while being very dangerous on the base paths with five steals in six attempts. Although these stats seem incredible, his stats with runners in scoring position are even better.

With runners in scoring position, The Shark has been absolutely absurd.  In 35 at bats he has batted .400 with 14 hits, five of them being doubles, driving in 10 runs.  To make it even more implausible, he’s at his best with runners in scoring position and two outs.  In these situations, he has hit an inexplicable .632 with 12 hits in 19 at bats along with an OBP over .700, making him by far one of the best clutch hitters in the MLB this season.

It’s hard to believe now, but before the season even began, Bernadina’s chances at the major leagues this year were pretty slim.  With new veterans being signed, the re-signing of Rick Ankiel, and the future prospects developing quickly, including Bryce Harper, the competition was intense.  Luck was on Bernadina’s side though, and although he started the season with less than impressive stats, he has been able to stay with the team because of numerous injuries.  Now, with everyone returning, instead of being cut like Ankiel, The Shark is still on the hunt.

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