Washington Nationals: Opening Day 2017 Roster Projection

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Feb 16, 2017; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; Washington Nationals teammates warm up during spring training workouts at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 16, 2017; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; Washington Nationals teammates warm up during spring training workouts at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals
Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports /

C Matt Wieters

With the Washington Nationals signing Wieters to a two-year, $21 million deal (opt-out after this season), he will be the Opening Day catcher once the deal is official. Dusty Baker now has more lineup flexibility with the 30-year-old (turning 31 in May) being a switch-hitting catcher.

Wieters is a much better hitter from the left side than the right side. Last season, when he was the starting catcher with the Baltimore Orioles, 14 of his 17 home runs came as a left-handed batter against a right-handed pitcher.

Now two years removed from his Tommy John surgery, his arm should be a lot better in terms of throwing out baserunners. The only issue for him defensively is pitch framing, but that shouldn’t hurt him in D.C. with the talented rotation he will have the chance to catch.

The best aspect of Wieters is definitely his power. If you take away the two years that he missed because of injuries, he has hit at least 17 home runs in four of the last six seasons. Last season, his 17 home runs were fifth in the American League among catchers in a year in which he made the American League All-Star team.

Yes, Wieters had a low on-base percentage, but getting on base at a high rate is not what the Washington Nationals paid to do. If he can hit 15+ home runs and help out pitchers like Joe Ross, he will be more than worth the $10.5 million that the organization is going to pay him this year.

 Now, let’s take a look at who will be on the bench.

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