The Washington Nationals entered the postseason last year as favorites to play deep into October and popular picks to win the World Series at the end of the month. Of course, the team failed to live up to those expectations and suffered an early October exit at the hands of the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS.
Despite the Nationals’ early exit, there were still plenty of reasons to be excited about the team entering the offseason. The Nationals had one of the most complete rosters in the game and arguably the best starting rotation in all of baseball. Even if the Nationals had stood pat and done nothing all offseason, the team likely would’ve entered the 2015 season as World Series favorites.
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But “likely” wasn’t enough for general manager Mike Rizzo and the Nationals. The team solidified its standing as the team to beat in 2015 by making a few key acquisitions this offseason, namely Max Scherzer, Yunel Escobar and Casey Janssen.
With Scherzer, the Nationals made their rotation – which was already one of the best in baseball – arguably one of the best in the history of the game. By acquiring Escobar, the Nationals filled a hole at second base that was left when Asdrubal Cabrera departed via free agency. And by acquiring Janssen, the team filled the hole left when Tyler Clippard was sent to Oakland in the Escobar trade.
Thanks to all of these moves, along with the loaded roster the team already had, the Nationals will enter the 2015 season as hands-down favorites to win the NL East and popular picks to win the World Series. But as Nationals fans know all too well, being the best team on paper before the season starts doesn’t mean anything. That said, there’s no denying the monumental expectations and the potential that the 2015 Nationals will have.
And while nearly everyone in the baseball world already agrees that the Nationals are one of the most promising teams entering the 2015 season, popular sports betting sites have also put Washington on top.
Last week, the Atlantis sports book projected the Nationals would win 93 games – the highest win total in baseball, followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were projected to win 93. Popular online sportsbook Bovada also has the Nationals on top, though they projected them to tie with the Dodgers with 92½ wins
Of course, if having the best team on paper means nothing, then having the best team on a betting website means absolutely nothing. Nevertheless, the fact that the Nationals are projected at or near the top in most sports betting sites is another testament to just how good the team looks heading into Spring Training. Only time will tell if those projections will hold true.