Can the Washington Nationals make it to the World Series?
Built on a core of young superstars and productive veterans, the Washington Nationals will likely be competing for a world championship in 2014. While there are a few shortcomings on the roster, the overall batting and pitching ranks are among the league’s best so buy Washington Nationals tickets today and watch them win the East.
What are the Nationals’ strengths?
The overall success of the Nationals will be directly related to the production they get from their starting rotation. Led by former #1 overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg, the rotation also includes former and current All-Stars Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister. Anyone of those players has the statistical success and swing-and-miss pitches to be considered for a Cy Young Award and they will all be with the team through the 2015 season. Even fifth-starter Tanner Roark has produced at well-above league average rate, maintaining an ERA below 3.00 in his first full season as a starter.
The offense is led by productive players at every position. Former first round draft picks Bryce Harper (LF) and Anthony Rendon (2B/3B) continue to give hope for future success in the organization. The face of the Nationals for the last decade has been third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who since moving to Washington from Montreal leads the franchise in home runs and RBIs. The team is full of power with right-fielder Jayson Werth, shortstop Ian Desmond, and first baseman Adam LaRoche all on pace to hit twenty to thirty home runs. Lead-off hitter and center fielder Denard Span is the perfect table setter for the offensive guns in the line-up.
Do the Nationals have room for improvement?
Like all contending teams, the Washington Nationals do have some weaknesses and areas that General Manager Mike Rizzo may look to address during the season or in the hot stove league. Depth has been a concern this year. With injuries and significant disable list stints for Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, and catcher Wilson Ramos, manager Matt Williams had to give extended playing time to bench players like Nate McLouth and Danny Espinosa who are most productive as part-time players. Likewise the pitching staff has seen injuries to Gonzalez and Fister. Not having any veteran presence in long-relief or in the minors, the team had to make-do with rookies.
Their team also has some concerns with its infield defense. While LaRoche and Rendon are often praised for their defense, shortstop Desmond has typically been among the league leaders in errors and third baseman Zimmerman has suffered from a chronic shoulder injury that has resulted in erratic throws at times.
Overall, the Washington Nationals should keep in contention for a World Series trip over the next few years. Currently in a tight race with the Atlanta Braves in the National League East, their strong starting pitching and above-average offense should prevail in either a division championship or a wild card entry into the post-season.