What Are Our Staff’s Predictions For The 2016 Washington Nationals?
While I think the New York Mets are the team to beat in the NL East, the Nationals definitely have the talent to win one of the two Wild Cards. In my original predictions, I had the Nats playing Arizona in the Wild Card game, but the A.J. Pollock injury leaves the Arizona prediction up in the air.
As for the Nats, the one aspect of spring training that stood out the most to me was the team’s aggressiveness on the bases. During this exhibition season, the Nats stole 30 bases (fourth in baseball) and were only caught five times. Remember last season the Nats had the second lowest stolen base total in the game. By being more aggressive on the bases with Ben Revere, Michael Taylor, and eventually Trea Turner, Washington can play small ball to score a key run in addition to the long ball.
I do think that Bryce Harper will win his second consecutive MVP because when you look at this lineup, they have a good balance of contact and power. Plus, if Ryan Zimmerman can stay healthy, he is going to get good pitches to hit behind Harper. In addition, this lineup is going to greatly benefit if Anthony Rendon can stay healthy after having a near MVP season in 2014.
In regard to the starting pitching, the Nationals need a big year from Stephen Strasburg and I think he can win 16+ games, which would be a career high. Last season, everyone saw what a healthy Strasburg is capable of doing in the second half and I expect him to carry this rotation along with Scherzer. However, I can’t pick the Nats to win the NL East because I don’t trust Gio Gonzalez as the number three starter.
If the Nationals can get consistent production from their bullpen, which was a weakness down the stretch a year ago, I expect Baker to have a big impact on this team and for Washington to make the playoffs. However, they will not make it past the NLDS.
Record: 89-73, 2nd in NL East, Wild Card winner
Next up is our co-editor, Pablo Roa, who has more on the depth of the Nats roster:
Next: Pablo's Prediction