Today, we preview the final of our four area MLB teams.
The Washington Nationals are coming off one of their best seasons in franchise history, which included a division title and a 95 win regular season. After being bounced by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, the Nats are looking to get closer to a World Series title this season.
Washington is primed and ready for another run, and will be led by a deep starting rotation. At the top, the two-headed monster of SPs Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg leave many hitters wishing for a day off. Lefty Gio Gonzalez breaks up the right-handers in the rotation, followed by youngster Joe Ross and Tanner Roark to round out a strong starting five.
As of now, the Nationals have a question mark at the back end of their bullpen. After losing P Mark Melancon to free agency, the team only made minor additions to fortify their pitching at the end of games. As of now, it appears P Shawn Kelley or non-roster invitee Joe Nathan have the inside track to the job.
The Nationals lost C Wilson Ramos to free agency, but acquired C Derek Norris as a solid replacement. The team’s big splash this off season came in a trade for OF Adam Eaton, who will likely bat lead off and patrol center field for the Nats. 2B Daniel Murphy returns after a huge first season in Washington, and SS Trea Turner returns to his natural position after playing the outfield last season. It will be interesting to see how the Nationals handle their infield corners, using some combination of Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Lind and Clint Robinson at first while deploying Anthony Rendon at third base most days.
Flanking Eaton in the outfield will be veterans Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper. Werth is looking to prove he can be a productive player in his elder years, while Harper is looking to return to his MVP-caliber form of 2015. If Harper can rebound, the Nationals have one of the best hitters in baseball, and makes them one of the elite teams in today’s game.
The Nationals are in “win now” mode, and have shown the willingness to trade prospects for big league pieces. Look for the trend to continue this summer, especially if the team struggles to close out games.
Overall, the expectation is for the Nationals to be one of the best teams in all of baseball, with a shot at a possible World Series title.
Our question is, how do you think the Washington Nationals’ season will turn out?