Washington Nationals: Staff predictions for 2018

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 07: Bryce Harper /
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Blake Finney, Podcast Director

In a year that the Washington Nationals are expected to cruise home in the National League East, I suspect that they’ll be pushed a lot closer than is expected.

Although I’d still fancy them to win the division, the New York Mets and, to the surprise of some, the Philadelphia Phillies will make it close. Both teams are expecting to challenge for one of the NL wildcard spots.

A 93-69 season seems like a good bet for Davey Martinez’s team to win the NL East.

But once again, the Nats sights will be set on ridding themselves of their playoff series demons. And a rematch with the Chicago Cubs seems likely once again.

Spurred on by Bryce Harper’s determination to win a Championship in his potential DC encore, I have the Nationals making it all the way to the World Series. Before losing to the Houston Astros.

Speaking of Harper, he’s considered one favorite for the NL MVP award. The usual suspects such as Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt will be thereabouts as well. But in his contract year, and with a fully healthy season, the Nats right-fielder will take home the honor for the second time

Going bolder with some predictions, I think Adam Eaton will lead the Nationals in batting average. We saw a glimpse of what he was capable of last April and this season we get the full Mighty Mouse experience as he eclipses the .320 mark.

My other bold prediction is that we see the Nats bat the pitcher eighth than ninth this season. Martinez, a pupil of Joe Maddon, experimented with this a little in spring training. And with Michael A. Taylor being a perfect fit for the role, I think it’ll carry over for most the 2018 season.