Washington Nationals: Our Staff’s Predictions For The 2017 Season

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Oct 13, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) prepares to pitch during the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game five of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 13, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) prepares to pitch during the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game five of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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Ricky Keeler’s Prediction

Record: 93-69 (first in NL East)

Result: Lose in NLDS to San Francisco Giants

Despite the uncertainty in the bullpen to begin the season, the Washington Nationals should have enough talent to repeat as division champions for the first time since the team to move to Washington D.C. in 2005.

More from District on Deck

While the Mets have one of the best rotations in the league (even with the Steven Matz injury), the Nats can counter that with the speed at the top of the order in Trea Turner and Adam Eaton, if he steals more bases. That can allow them to get free runs when desperately needed.

Right now, Bryce Harper looks like a player on a mission. He is laying off the pitches just off the plate and the power seems to be back. If he’s that selective this year and gets the protection around him in the order, he’s going to have a monster season.

To me, the season’s success could hinge on two players. First, in the rotation, it’s Gio Gonzalez. Everyone knows the talent Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Tanner Roark have. However, the lone left-hander had a strong spring. If Gonzalez shows any confidence on the mound this year, he can have a bounce back season as the fourth starter.

There will be uncertainty in the closer’s spot, though I think they made the right decision with Blake Treinen. Even with that lack of certainty, Mike Rizzo has done a good job of building the depth in the bullpen.

Having Koda Glover in the ‘pen to start will be exciting to watch. The X-factor in the bullpen is Enny Romero. If Romero can control his fastball, which he throws at a high velocity, that trade will look like a steal for Rizzo.

Next: Five Takeaways From Spring Training

I do have the Nats losing in the NLDS again this season this year to the Giants. San Francisco made the move of the offseason by fixing their bullpen with the signing of Mark Melancon as their closer. In the end, I think he gets his revenge on the Nats.

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