Washington Nationals: Top five storylines heading into the second half

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 09: Bryce Harper
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 09: Bryce Harper /
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2. How will injured players return and will the Nats be able to avoid more injuries?

The Nats have been extremely unlucky when it comes to injuries this year. Trea Turner, Jayson Werth, Michael Taylor, Adam Eaton, Koda Glover, and Shawn Kelley are all currently on the disabled list and someone new is getting injured seemingly everyday. Joe Ross is also dealing with triceps tenderness, as mentioned earlier.

Despite all these injuries, the Nats have remained among the best teams in the league, which can be attributed to their great bench and organizational depth. Players such as Brian Goodwin, Michael Taylor, Wilmer Difo, and Stephen Drew have done an outstanding job while filling in for injured starters and have earned additional playing time when starters return.

Although the Nats have handled the myriad injuries well, they probably cannot afford to lose another impact player. The players listed above have filled in admirably, but there is not much depth left if anyone else gets injured.

The starting pitchers should be an area of concern for the Nats. Scherzer, Strasburg, Gonzalez, and Roark are all in the top ten for pitches thrown among NL pitchers. Their heavy workload is a bit concerning, especially considering Dusty Baker‘s history.

It’s not guaranteed that Baker is responsible, but he is widely blamed for Kerry Wood and Mark Prior‘s arm injuries. If the Nats starters continue to routinely throw well over 100 pitches, they could become dangerously susceptible to injuries. The best starting options in the minor leagues are Erick Fedde, Edwin Jackson, and A.J. Cole so the Nats can’t really afford to lose a starter.

It will be interesting to see how the Nats currently on the DL return and if the Nats will be able to avoid any more major injuries in the second half.