TNW Mailbag 2/19 edition

By Editorial Staff
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I decided to try something new on TNW and actually let everyone who wanted to send in some questions whether it by via email, direct messages on twitter (for those that follow me) as well as general conversation with other Nats fans.

So without any further ado its time to see what was in the TNW Mailbag

"Should Morgan be starting after his disastrous 2010 season? – Marcus in D.C."

No doubt about it between the suspension and his poor hitting (.253 avg and a .319 obp) 2010 was a season to forget for Nyjer but the Nats are hoping that it was just an off year. He is a .283 lifetime hitter with a career on base percentage of .344 both of which are significantly higher than his 2010 numbers.

The best things Morgan has going for him is that he is good defensively and the Nationals have no proven lead off hitter to take his place in the order. So for now he is a starter but he definitely has a lot to prove this season. To be honest whether he turns it around or not his days as a starter for Washington could be numbered with Bryce Harper more than likely going to be on a fast track to the majors and Werth already at right field a move to center for Harper could happen in the near future.

Plus if not Harper at cf there is a guy named Eury Perez in the Nats minor league system that I expect to eventually become a nice center fielder as well as lead off hitter in the major leagues.

"Did the Nationals do enough in the off season to improve the pitching rotation? – Eric of Alexandria, Virginia"

As far as acquiring starting pitchers go it was a pretty disappointing off season in my opinion. After constantly hearing the Nationals name tied to just about every good available pitcher out there they ended up getting Tom Gorzelanny via a trade.

Nothing against Gorzelanny but he was not what I was hoping for this off season. At best he will probably be a mid to back of the rotation starter for the Nationals or could possibly be a long relief pitcher out of the bullpen.

For me the biggest improvement in the Nationals rotation should come from the players having had some time to heal and rehab their injuries. Jason Marquis missed a lot of time due to injuries last season, Chien-Ming Wang missed all of last season due to injuries, Jordan Zimmermann did not pitch in his first game until August 26th and Ross Detwiler did not pitch in his first game until July 25th. All four are healthy and could contribute nicely to the Nationals rotation this season. Especially Jordan Zimmermann who I am real high on as a player.

"Any chance the Nats could get Albert Pujols?- Janice in Florida"

I’ve read several articles tying the Nationals to Pujols saying they could be in the market for him but I’m not going to get my hopes up.

The Nationals did show some aggressiveness in the off season with the signing of Werth but I don’t know if Lerner is ready to spend the type of money it would take to get Pujols.

An addition of Pujols though would definitely be a welcomed one and would bring even more respectability to the Nationals lineup. Like I said though I’m not getting my hopes up but that wont stop me from imagining how a lineup that includes  Zimmerman, Werth, Pujols and Harper would look.

"Do the Nationals have enough talent right now to be a .500 or better team?- Jamaal in Bladensburg, Maryland"

I do think the Nationals will improve upon their 69 win total from last season but I still don’t know if .500 is a fair expectation to put on them.

Exactly how good the Nationals will be this season will depend on the unproven guys like Desmond, Espinosa, Ramos and Bernadina as well as the health of their starting pitchers.

I’m real big on the potential that both Espinosa and Desmond possess not only as hitters for their position but as fielders as well. If they show some progress this season and live up to their potential the Nationals could have the makings of one of the better infields in all of baseball.

Bernadina has a cannon for an arm in the outfield and batted well in the first half of last season with .282 avg and a .345 obp. If he can show that he is closer to the player we saw in the first half instead of what we saw in the second half (.219 avg and a .278 obp) than he could really help the Nats out this season.

Rodriguez will start the season at catcher but as the season progresses we should start to see more of Ramos at catcher. Ramos is considered to be one of the top prospects in all of baseball at catcher so this could be the season he shows why. Personally I’m more of a Derek Norris guy but that is another discussion for a different day.

Starting pitching was a weak spot for them last season with Marquis being hurt, Detwiler coming off an injury, Zimmermann coming off an injury and Wang having sat out the entire season. This season with Strasburg out for at least most of the year the Nats are going to really need the guys they do have to stay healthy and play up to the level their potential says they should.

My prediction for the Nats is 75 wins with an outside shot of 81

If you wish to be included in future versions of TNW Mailbag whether it is about the Washington Nationals or a team or player in the Nats minor league system email any questions you have to

scott_stewart81@yahoo.com

you can also follow me at

http://twitter.com/#!/scottstewart81

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