This is one of the more tricky competitions to predict, as it’s still unclear how many relievers the Washington Nationals will carry. But with only a few locks to make the Opening Day bullpen, there’s plenty up for grabs regardless.
Sean Doolittle, Trevor Rosenthal, Kyle Barraclough, and Matt Grace seem like the four pitchers who need not worry about losing their job. That will leave three or four relief roles to claim, though the bullpen could look very familiar to last time.
Justin Miller was a revelation when he first came up, though looked fatigued towards the end of the year. He should be back barring a collapse this spring. So should Koda Glover who the team is incredibly high on and was solid when he finally got back healthy last season.
The next man up is likely to be Wander Suero who 3.59 ERA and struck out almost a batter per inning last year. He’s also shown the ability to go multiple innings, which will be a valuable asset. But he does have two options remaining on his contract, so could be expendable if he struggles.
That could be the bullpen for Opening Day set, but last year, top open the season at least, the Nats carried an eight-man bullpen. That would leave the door open for several names such as Vidal Nuno, James Bourque, and Tanner Rainey, but Sammy Solis may be best positioned to win that final job.
Solis caused stress among management, reporters and fans alike with some sketchy showings last season. But this may have come down to overuse early in the season, which manager Dave Martinez even owned up to. That should give the lefty the inside track after the skipper trusted him early on, but any red flags will open the door for others to step in.
Prediction: Koda Glover, Justin Miller, Wander Suero, and Sammy Solis