The starting rotation is very solid. Number one starter Max Scherzer (R, 20-7 W/L, 2.96 ERA) can mow down batters and the number two guy, Stephen Strasburg (R, 15-4 W/L, 3.60 ERA), is extremely reliable. Tanner Roark (R, 16-10 W/L, 2.83 ERA) is about as good as a three starter gets. At four and five respectively, Gio Gonzalez (L, 11-11 W/L, 4.57 ERA) and Joe Ross (R, 7-5 W/L, 3.43 ERA) offer stability.
The Nationals could not land an elite closer during the off-season. Watch spring training to see who might get the spot. One candidate is Shawn Kelley (R, 3-2 W/L, 2.64 ERA, 7 SV), but he’s far from ideal. Sammy Solis (L, 2-4 W/L, 2.41 ERA) does a fine job of keeping the ball in the park. Blake Treinen (R, 4-1 W/L, 2.28 ERA) and Koda Glover (R, 2-0 W/L, 5.03 ERA) are two guys who could provide relief in the mid to late innings.
Hitting and Fielding
Former Cub Adam Eaton (.284 BA, 14 HR, 59 RBI) will lead off for the Nats. Eaton is a fine contact hitter and at $38 million over five years a bargain. Bryce Harper (.243 BA, 24 HR, 86 RBI), who is solid in right, had an off-year at the plate in 2016. It’s hoped that he can bounce back. In left, Jayson Werth (.244 BA, 21 HR, 69 RBI) plays out the final year of his seven-year deal.
Coaching and Management
When GM Mike Rizzo makes a trade, it’s a good one for the Nats. He’s one of the best. His knock for 2017 has been his inability to secure the one or two arms the team needs to be super dominant. This is his ninth year as Washington GM. Dusty Baker came in last season as manager Matt Williams departed. That was a good change as Baker’s relaxed, player-friendly style proved to be much more effective than Williams’ intense, micromanagement mode.
2017 Washington Nationals Preview Final Word
Our 2017 Washington Nationals preview predicts that the Nats, as long as they stay healthy, will take the NL East again. But after that who knows that will happen? If they can snag or find a real closer and get one more starter on the roster, the team will be positioned nicely. We like them to win the NL East.