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Andrew Stevenson bunts for a single during the seventh inning of the Nationals' game against the Phillies on May 4.

In today's baseball, which places a premium on home run hitters even at the leadoff spot, Andrew Stevenson may seem to be a relic.

Stevenson, selected in the second round of the Major League Baseball draft in 2015 from LSU by the Washington Nationals, is more of a throwback.

Getting on base and getting something going used to be a leadoff hitter's main job. Stevenson appears to be perfect in that realm, a left-handed batter with speed who can create offense with an infield hit or bunt and who also hits the ball well into the gaps.

But when this season began, Stevenson, who is from Lafayette, was on the Nationals, batting a respectable .250 as a player who came off the bench to pinch-hit or as a late-inning defensive replacement.

“The game is definitely trending to the home run — power arms and power bats,” Stevenson said. “But there's still a place in baseball — every team needs the guys who get on base for the home run guys. I think I can be that guy.”

Stevenson, who turned 25 on June 1, batted .348 and was a first-team All-American after his junior year before getting drafted. He has never been a power guy, though.

He quickly went through the Nationals' system to Triple-A Syracuse and made his Major League debut July 27, 2017.

Manager Randy Knorr, who became Fresno's skipper this season after the Nationals ended their affiliation with Syracuse, said going to the Nationals and coming back down is just part of Stevenson's development.

“I had to explain to him that minor league players have options (to be called up or sent down), and that's like gold to a Major League general manager or manager,” Knorr said. “They'd rather send somebody down than release a player.

“He was pretty upset the first time he was sent down, but he was OK this last time. And it's a good way to keep him getting at-bats so that he can be ready when he is called back up.”

Stevenson started having back spasms with Washington this season. He was placed on the injured list and was out two weeks. He knew that when when his back got better and he was off the IL, he'd come back to Triple-A.

“I didn't have any at-bats or face live pitching for two weeks,” he said. “It was just good to be playing baseball again.”

Even with superstar Bryce Harper having left Washington, Stevenson did not become a starter. However, he learned from last season that he had to be himself.

“I had tried to be more of a power guy, and my contact rate went way down,” he said. “So, this year, it's been about getting back to what makes me successful.”

He is hitting .295 and had gotten a hit in eight of his past 10 games. He came to Fresno on April 11 and immediately had a five-game hitting streak, going 9-for-24 (.375). He then had a six-game streak from April 27-May 2.

Since Stevenson arrived, though, Knorr has been on him.

“Sometimes he gets in these modes where he wants to put everything over the fence,” Knorr said. “But I tell him when he's going up to bat, 'Left field is open; you can hit the ball there.’ ”

Stevenson went 2 for 3 with a walk in the series opener against the Baby Cakes and finished the three-game series 4-for-11 (.364) with two runs and two RBIs.

It's a given that Stevenson will be called up this season, perhaps soon. He is on the Nationals' 40-man roster, which means he is among those in the system who gets first dibs on being promoted.

“I think there's only a handful of (traditional) leadoff guys now,” Knorr said. “But the Nationals are still a little old-school baseball organization. We have a really good analytics department, but we don't let it overshadow everything we've known in baseball.

“We want to hit behind runners at times and move runners. We bunt. We probably use analytics more for bringing guys into the system and letting us develop them into who they are and who they should be.”

The Nationals have one player option left with Stevenson. His job the next time he goes up is to make it much more difficult to not keep him.

“They are going to be out of options, and they won't be able to do it anymore,” Knorr said. “When that happens, you want to be at your best. I think Stevie is a big-leaguer right now.”