Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 MLB Preview #27: Washington Nationals

Greetings... let's hit the suddenly-trendy Nats....


C - Wilson Ramos
1B - Adam LaRoche
2B - Danny Espinosa
SS - Ian Desmond
3B - Ryan Zimmerman
LF - Michael Morse
CF - Roger Bernadina/Rick Ankiel
RF - Jayson Werth

Really interesting lineup here. The Nats are getting more and more buzz, but it's really centered around the starting rotation and Bryce Harper, neither of which reflects here. Zimmerman is the stud in this lineup but with yet another season of injuries (395 ABs, 101 games), his above-average production is certainly curbed a bit. Morse was last year's breakout guy with 31 homers and a .910 OPS, but he's currently injured and may miss the season opener, coupled with the "one year wonder" tag and that's a concern. Outside of that? Eesh. Werth is violently overpaid and was pretty awful last year (hitting .232 with barely .700 OPS), Desmond's OPS still hasn't climbed into decency, LaRoche is league average at best, and there isn't much else. If they make headway, it won't be because of this lineup most likely.

Starting Rotation

1 - Stephen Strasburg
2 - Jordan Zimmerman
3 - Gio Gonzalez
4 - Edwin Jackson
5 - John Lannan

Here's the highlight of the squad. Strasburg is a guy that everyone knows about, but his numbers are so staggering that they're worth mentioning again. 4 earned runs in 24 innings at the end of last year with a strikeout per inning, and he's still got the elite-elite-elite stuff that landed him the biggest draft contract in history. Pencil him in for ridiculous numbers. Zimmerman broke-out last year with an ERA of 3.18 and a WHIP of 1.15, and I expect that to continue even more this year now that he's off the 160 innings limit. Gonzalez throw 202 innings of 3.12 ERA ball in Oakland last year, and while he goes from the AL to the NL, the ballpark change probably doesn't help him and the advanced metrics don't say he's quite as good as his numbers state. Jackson is nothing special, but they got him for cheap, he'll eat innings, and if you keep expectations down, he'll fine. Lannan is the wild-card but he posted a sub-4.00 ERA in 33 starts last year, and if that's your 5th starter, you are just fine.


Drew Storen is a beast at closer. Tyler Clippard is a beast in the set-up role. Outside of that, I do like Sean Burnett, but the periphery guys are uninspiring. Either way, you can't screw it up with Storen and Clippard in the 7th through 9th.


83-79, 4th in NL East

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