Washington Nationals: Ranking The Past Opening Day Lineups

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May 24, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; General view of Nationals park during the game between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park. The Washington Nationals won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
May 24, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; General view of Nationals park during the game between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park. The Washington Nationals won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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2006 – 11.8

Frank Robinson was in his third season managing the Expos/Nationals in 2006 when the team went 71-91, a ten win decrease from the team’s inaugural season in Washington D.C. You wonder if the team hadn’t traded for Alfonso Soriano before the ’06 season, would this team have the worst Opening Day lineup in franchise history?

Soriano was acquired from the Texas Rangers and the left fielder had 46 home runs, 95 RBI’s, and stole 41 bases. His 6.1 WAR was the fourth highest in the National League in 2006 (Baseball Reference).

The other standout on this team was first baseman Nick Johnson (5.0 WAR). Johnson hit .290 with 23 home runs, 77 RBI’s, and had a .428 on-base percentage (fourth in the NL). After Soriano, Johnson, and Ryan Zimmerman (2.9), there weren’t many positives.

In total, the Nats had four players that year with a negative WAR, which is the most in any Opening Day lineup in the team’s history. It was a mixture of veterans and a rookie in center fielder Brandon Watson. The veterans with a negative WAR were second baseman Jose Vidro, shortstop Royce Clayton, and right fielder Jose Guillen.

On the mound was Livan Hernandez, making his second Opening Day start (0.1 WAR). Hernandez went 9-8 with a 5.34 ERA in 24 starts before being dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks in August. Hernandez and Clayton would both be traded before the end of the season.

Hernandez did pitch well at Shea Stadium that Opening Day as he gave up three runs over six innings, but David Wright’s solo home run in the sixth was enough to give Tom Glavine and the New York Mets a 3-2 win.

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