With a 97-65 record, the Washington Nationals won the NL East in 2017, making the playoffs once again. Once again though, it was an NLDS exit for them, as the Chicago Cubs eliminated them. The team didn\’t need too much, but there was some work to do. Let\’s take a look at what they did this offseason.
Notable additions: 1B Matt Adams, C Miguel Montero, RHP Joaquin Benoit, RHP Jeremy Hellickson.
Notable subtractions: LF Jayson Werth, 1B Adam Lind, RHP Matt Albers, RHP Edwin Jackson, LHP Oliver Perez, RHP Joe Blanton, C Jose Lobaton, OF Chris Heisey.
What they did well: Nothing.
What they did bad: Nothing, once again. They didn\’t do anything.
Sneaky sleeper: With Joe Ross out, A.J. Cole will secure the 5th rotation spot. Now 26, Cole had a decent 3.81 ERA in 11 appearances, eight starts in 2017. That\’s pretty decent for a spot starter.
Incoming outbreak: The backup infielder, Wilmer Difo stole 10 bases and hit .271 in 365 Plate Appearances. Plus, he\’s only 25. If someone goes down, then Difo to the rescue!
Unsuspected slump: Since 2013, Matt Wieters hasn\’t been too good. In his first season in D.C., Wieters only hit 10 homers, and had a weak .225 batting average. With the addition of Montero, Wieters now has a better backup, which can\’t be good for his job.
Blue-chip Bopper: Since I don\’t like Bryce Harper, let\’s talk about Trea Turner instead. Turner. At just 24, Turner stole 46 bases last season, and could break 50 this year. He also hit .284. His 11 homers is nothing to write home about, but Turner is still very good.
Astounding ace: Baseball\’s best healthy pitcher, Max Scherzer won another Cy Young in 2017, with a 2.51 ERA in 200.2 innings, with 268 strikeouts. The man with a blue and green eye could capture a third Cy Young this season.
Here\’s their projected lineup.
SS Trea Turner (R)
2B Daniel Murphy (L) (currently on 10 day DL)
RF Bryce Harper (L)
3B Anthony Rendon (R)
1B Ryan Zimmerman (R)
CF Adam Eaton (L)
LF Michael Taylor (R)
C Matt Wieters (S)
Here\’s their projected rotation.
RHP Max Scherzer
RHP Stephen Strasburg
LHP Gio Gonzalez
RHP Tanner Roark
RHP A.J. Cole
Brandon Kintzler (R) is their closer, with Sean Doolittle (L), Ryan Madson (R), Trevor Gott (R), Matt Grace (L), Shawn Kelley (R) and Enny Romero (L) in the bullpen (Sammy Solis, L, is currently on roster, but will probably be replaced when Murphy returns).
C Miguel Montero (L), INF Wilmer Difo (S), OF Brian Goodwin (L) and OF/2B Howie Kendrick (R) are on the bench.
Finally, for my prediction, I think the Nationals, a really good team, will make the playoffs in 2018.