The Nationals realized their current roster wasn’t good enough to take their team to the next level, so they made one of the biggest trades of the Winter. They sent some good prospects to the White Sox for outfielder Adam Eaton. A trade that brings them talent and a player who is under team control until 2020.
The Nationals were unable to retain closer Mark Melancon this offseason. Will have issues closing games in 2017?
Here is the 2017 MLB season preview for the Washington Nationals.
2016 Win/Loss Record: 95-67
Key Additions: OF Adam Eaton, C Matt Wieters, C Derek Norris, RP Enny Romero, 1B Adam Lind, RP Joe Nathan, RP Matt Albers, SS Emmanuel Burriss, RP Tim Collins, RP Neal Cotts, 2B Grant Green, OF Brandon Snyder & Vance Worley
Key Losses: RP Mark Melancon, 2B Danny Espinosa, C Wilson Ramos, RP Matt Belisle, RP Yusmeiro Petit, RP Marc Rzepczynski, OF Ben Revere, SP Reynaldo Lopez & SP Sean Burnett
Interleague Schedule: AL West
Projected Starters: Matt Wieters, Ryan Zimmerman, Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Jayson Werth, Adam Eaton & Bryce Harper
Projected Starting Rotation: Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark & Joe Ross
Closer: Blake Treinen
Fantasy Sleeper: SP Joe Ross – Ross had success early last season, but then was mostly shutdown with shoulder inflammation. He’s currently the Nationals fifth starter and since he’s on a good team, you could get double-digit wins out of him. He also has decent control, so you shouldn’t have to deal with a crazy WHIP.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: SP Erick Fedde – If the Nationals suffer a few injuries to their starting rotation, Fedde could be ready by midseason. He was selected 18th overall in the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft out of UNLV. He’s 24 years old, so the Nationals aren’t going to take their time pushing him through Double and Triple-A.
Team Analysis: That Nationals are one of the best teams in the Majors. They have a great lineup and the top of their starting rotation is top-notch. Washington did something many other top teams should do that think they are close to winning a World Series, trade their top prospects for current stars.
Washington traded a pile of prospects to the Chicago White Sox for outfielder Adam Eaton. He will man center field and it should help keep Bryce Harper healthier. Eaton can cover a lot of ground and will stop the thoughts the Nationals would occasionally had of putting Bryce Harper in center.
I think the Nationals still need one more top-of-the-rotation starter and possibly a closer. Scherzer and Strasburg are a nice 1-2 combo in the postseason, but I’m not sure Gio Gonzalez fits the bill as a reliable #3 postseason starter. Also, Shawn Kelley and Blake Treinen are battling to win the closer’s job. We will see if either can handle the job, but they could be in the market for a veteran closer at the trade deadline.
The Nationals should win the NL East and will be a formidable opponent for the Cubs and Dodgers in the playoffs.
2017 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 91.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2017 Projected Win/Loss Record: 93-69 (1st in AL East)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.