2014 Washington Nationals
The 2014 Nationals went into the playoffs with the most momentum possible.
Jordan Zimmermann threw the first no-hitter in Nationals history in Game 162, giving them their 96th win. Zimmermann’s fellow staff mate, Tanner Roark, broke out for this team. He posted a 2.85 ERA in 198.2 IP along with a 1.09 WHIP and 131 ERA+.
However, the real star of this team is the one they call “Tony Two Bags.” Anthony Rendon broke out more substantially as he led the team in WAR at 6.6, 1.7 more wins than the second best on the team Zimmermann at 4.9.
Rendon finished fifth in the MVP voting and won the silver slugger award for third basemen. He slashed .287/.351/.473 with 21 HRs and 17 SBs. He also led the league in runs scored with 111 runs and finished with a 2.1 defensive WAR.
This Nationals team was the birth of the “grind-it-out, keep the line moving” Nationals. No player eclipsed 27 home runs, yet six players had an OPS+ above 100.
That is how this Nats team will win the competition, entering as the #3 seed. They don’t excel significantly in any area, but they are more than competent in many.
The 2014 Nationals are greater than the sum of its parts. That balanced approach will lead them to success.