Washington Nationals: 5 potential 2018 x-factors

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Koda Glover

As things currently stand, the Nats have arguably the best bullpen in team history. Although Koda Glover is a big question mark, he could play a major role.

He burst onto the scene just a year after being drafted, and has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his time in the big leagues. However, like Strasburg, injuries have held him back.

Hip issues plagued him in 2016 and the beginning of 2017, then back and shoulder injuries ended his 2017 season in July. If he is healthy, Glover is dominant. Unfortunately, that has proven to be a big if thus far.

With Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, and Brandon Kintzler locking things down in the late innings, Glover does not need to fill a late-inning role. He could, however, be a dominant middle reliever.

A quartet of Glover, Kintzler, Madson, and Doolittle would be among the best in the league, and any lead after five innings would likely be safe. Or, the Nats could create two “separate” bullpens.

Considering Glover, Doolittle, Madson, and Shawn Kelley have all proven to be exceptionally injury-prone throughout their careers, they could use extra days off. If the Nats wanted to, they could form a couple different bullpen committees, which could protect these relievers’ health.

For instance, Kelley, Glover, and Doolittle could serve as “Bullpen A”, while Sammy Solis, Kintzler, and Madson form “Bullpen B”. This is unorthodox, but with a forward-thinking manager, such as Dave Martinez, it is plausible.

Glover is a tremendous talent, and could potentially play an enormous role in the ‘pen. The Nats must do whatever it takes to keep him healthy and productive.