Last season ended in disaster for the Washington Nationals after being anointed as the favorite to win it all. With a new skipper in Dusty Baker and a very talented roster, this team hopes to put 2015 behind them and fulfill last year’s lofty expectations which includes a trip to the 2016 World Series. It’s tough to find a more lethal one-two punch in MLB than Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. Both are gearing up for incredible seasons for Washington barring any major injuries. Gio Gonzalez had a decline last season and will need a rebound year to make up for the departure of Jordan Zimmerman who left in free agency. In the bullpen, the somewhat controversial but very effective Jonathan Papelbon will remain the closer, however the Nationals will be without the services of Drew Storen who was traded to Toronto for center fielder Ben Revere. Felipe Rivero is back as the lefty setup man along with newcomers Yusmiero Petit, Oliver Perez and Shawn Kelley. In right field, Bryce Harper is one of the best players in all of baseball racking up 42 home runs and 118 runs last season. He will be joined by Revere at center and Jayson Werth out in in left field. Daniel Murphy will man second base with Danny Espinosa getting the bulk of play at shortstop. That is until talented prospect Trea Turner is ready to be called up to the majors, most likely by midseason. Behind the plate, the Nationals are hoping Wilson Ramos can stay healthy and contribute for a full season. Ramos has been somewhat inconsistent at the plate but his defensive skills are solid.
After so much hype surrounding this team in 2015, this year Washington should be flying a bit under the radar as far as expectations. With a new talented GM and the core pieces still intact this club can be a contender in 2016. They will have a very capable Mets team to deal with in the NL East, however a Wild Card spot is certainly a legit possibility. Be sure to grab your Washington Nationals tickets and head down to the ballpark this summer and cheer this talented club on.
Washington Nationals History
The Washington Nationals are in first place in the NL East, a fact that must be a welcome shock to those who sought out Washington Nationals tickets to Nationals Park at the beginning of the 2012 MLB season schedule. This baseball team is winning with a roster comprised of young hopeful as awaiting their inclusion as one of the great stars of the here and now. That includes players like center Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. It appears they may very well get to their their names mentioned amongst the very best in the league. As a team, the Nationals remain among the worst hitting clubs in the MLB but the pitching staff, starters and bullpen, is perhaps the best.
Harper has been injured for a third of the season so far, but he has managed to hit a very respectable .294 with a very good .370 OBP and .524 slugging percentage. First baseman Adam LaRoche and shortstop Ian Desmond are the homerun hitters of the group. Beyond these three players, the Washington Nationals have very few other offensive options on which to count.
The pitching staff is the gem of the roster. Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, and Edwin Jackson have combined for 40 quality starts in 52 games. They each have an ERA between 2.45 and 3.02. Strasburg and Gonzalez are picking up 11 strikeouts per 9 innings. Zimmerman and Jackson are control pitchers who have been able to keep their WHIP low enough to keep the wins and quality starts coming.
Sean Burnett, Craig Stammen, Tyler Clippard, and Ryan Mattheus had been the setup men, but Clippard has been promoted to closer. Clippard has a 10.7 K/9 with a nice low 0.99 WHIP and 2.15 ERA after amassing 10 holds. This is a solid team that appears to be developing into a team able to take a division with its pitching alone.