30 Teams in 30 Days: Washington Nationals Preview

Washington Nationals Preview!

 

The 30/30 Club

Club 8: Washington Nationals

Dominate the National League East?  Check.  Get past the Divisional Series round?  Eh, not so much.  Sound familiar?  This is the pattern that the Washington Nationals have followed for three of the past four seasons.  The Nationals have yet to get over the hump and get into the LCS and World Series even though they seem to have the horses to do it every year.  Will 2018 be any different, or will the same story unfold as the Bryce Harper Saga gets closer to reality.

Past reports:

BaltimoreChicago ALHoustonAtlantaChicago NLArizona
BostonClevelandLos AngelesMiamiCincinnatiColorado
New York ALDetroitOaklandNew York NLMilwaukeeLos Angeles
Tampa BayKansas CitySeattlePhiladelphiaPittsburghSan Diego
TorontoMinnesotaTexasWashingtonSt. LouisSan Francisco

 

2017 Record: 97-65, lost to the Chicago Cubs in the NL Divisional Series

Acquisitions: C Miguel Montero (minors – ST invite), RP Joaquin Benoit (free agent)

Departures: 1B Adam Lind (free agent), C Jose Lobaton (free agent), SS Stephen Drew (free agent), RP Matt Albers (free agent), RP Joe Blanton (free agent), RP Oliver Perez (free agent), OF Jayson Werth (free agent)

Projected Lineup:

LF Adam Eaton

SS Trea Turner

RF Bryce Harper

3B Anthony Rendon

2B Daniel Murphy

1B Ryan Zimmerman

C Matt Wieters

CF Michael Taylor

Projected Rotation:

SP Max Scherzer

SP Stephen Strasburg

SP Gio Gonzalez

SP Tanner Roark

SP AJ Cole

Position Battles:

Once again in 2018, the Washington Nationals are one of the deepest teams in baseball.  Veteran Jayson Werth left via free agency but gets replaced by Adam Eaton who missed most of the 2017 season after an injury.  Eaton’s absence allowed beleaguered prospect Michael Taylor to finally get some playing time.  That playing time won’t last very long though, as the Nationals have top prospect Victor Robles waiting in the wings.

Outlook:

Can this Nationals team finally get over their Divisional Series demons and get to their first World Series?  Will the Nationals pony up and pay Bryce Harper before he hits free agency at the end of the year?  Other than that, the Nationals have very few questions going into the 2018 season.  Top to bottom the Nationals have one of the deepest lineups in baseball, with perennial MVP candidate Bryce Harper and All-Stars Daniel Murphy, Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon.  SS Trea Turner may be the next to join the All-Star team if he can stay healthy for the full 162 game season.  Ryan Zimmerman had a resurgence in 2017 and looks to continue that in 2018 as he looks for his long-awaited World Series title.  Max Scherzer is a no-hitter waiting to happen, while Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez form a solid 2/3 that is arguably the best in baseball.  After being much maligned early in the 2017 season, the Nationals went out and traded for a bullpen at last year’s trading deadline and looks to have solidified the only hole they had.  The Nationals should run away with the National League East again this year – now the only question is can they get past the Cubs and Dodgers and finally get to the World Series that has so eluded them?

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