Fantasy in a Nutshell Washington Nationals
Projected Starting Lineup
C Matt Wieters—I love this offseason signing by the Nationals. Wieters underperformed in Baltimore, but he still has the power to hit 20-25 HR. He’s in the perfect lineup now to produce so once he learns his pitching staff he should be able to concentrate on his hitting and have a great second half.
1B Ryan Zimmerman—He’s no longer going to hit 25 HR and knock in 100 RBIs, but he has looked good thus far in spring training. The Nationals signed Adam Lind in the off-season to prepare for another disastrous season from Zimmerman just in case last season was the new norm.
2B Daniel Murphy—How good is Murphy? He was so good last year that I think it even surprised the most ardent of his fans. Murphy qualifies at two different positions and is a perfect player to help solidify your batting average early in your draft.
SS Trea Turner—I could argue that Turner is worth a top three pick. It’s conceivable that he hits 15 HR and steals 70-75 bases this season. Can anyone else even come close to that? I don’t think so. What I love about Turner is that he is the type of player who can win you a Fantasy title if you are willing to step up and take him early.
3B Anthony Rendon—I can easily see a great breakout year from Rendon. He’s at the right age (26), and he seems to have found confidence at the plate thus far this spring. His one flaw is his lack of speed, but I think he can increase both his power and batting average this year.
OF Bryce Harper—Care to be daring? Harper is 24, and he could get a $400 million contract this offseason if he produces. He’s been killing the ball in spring training, and I am just hoping that he doesn’t leave all his home runs down south. Harper is a true five-tool superstar and a top five pick in any format.
OF Adam Eaton—The Nationals gave up a ton to get Eaton hoping that he might just be the missing piece to get them to a World Series. Eaton is in his prime and is considered to be one of the top players in terms of creating runs. He is excellent defensively (he covers a lot of the outfield) but even more importantly to Fantasy owners he has a great power/speed blend. Sadly, Dusty Baker is thinking of hitting him sixth or seventh in the batting order which will lower his counting stats. I still like Eaton, but Dusty’s machinations make me temper my love for him a little bit.
OF Jayson Werth—I try to avoid Werth in seasonal Fantasy leagues, but I endorse him in DFS. He murders LHP and often hits second in the lineup on the nights he faces them.
Util Michael Taylor—Taylor is an ideal fourth OF in real life, but I am not sure how much he helps your Fantasy team. I think I can make an argument to roster him in an NL only league but certainly not in a mixed league format.
SP Max Scherzer—Yes I am worried about his finger, but at the same time I think that there is a buying discount to be had because of his injury. He says the injury is behind him, but I am not convinced. Players seldom tell the truth when it comes to injuries. I am also willing to pay about 95% of his value at an auction. If he is healthy, he is clearly the second best pitcher in Fantasy Baseball.
SP Stephen Strasburg—Strasburg is the kind of pitcher who can win you—or lose you—a Fantasy league. His stuff is so good that the word unhittable often applies. The biggest problem is his lack of health. He hasn’t thrown over 150 innings in the past two years, and you know the team will be extra careful with him if they are making a deep run into the playoffs. I will take a shot on Strasburg simply because his upside is so great that he is impossible to pass on.
SP Gio Gonzalez—Gio’s arrow has been pointing downward for the past two seasons, and I see nothing that will change that in 2017. While he might offer the potential for a dozen wins, I am scared by his high ERA. I might use him in DFS on the odd night or two, but nothing more.
SP Joe Ross—I am waiting on Ross to fulfill his vast potential. He suffered from shoulder problems last season, but he is the exact type of post-hype sleeper who helps Fantasy owners win leagues. He is worth taking a shot on as a SP5 in deeper leagues.
SP Tanner Roark—Roark will never be much of a strikeout guy, but he has a tremendous makeup and can usually be counted to make a quality start. His walk/K ratio is still a bit too high for my liking, but I think the skills are there for an under the radar 15 win season.
Co-Closer Koda Glover—Glover doesn’t have the trust yet of Dusty Baker, but he is the arm to watch in the closer’s battle in Washington. He has the makeup for the job, but can he handle the pressure? I am not sure, but I certainly would bid a few dollars to find out.
Co-Closer Shawn Kelley—Kelley is not the long-term answer at closer mainly because he cannot seem to ever stay healthy. I like his arm and think that he could succeed at the job but I don’t think that Nationals management feels the same way. Watch for Kelley to end up being more of an eighth inning guy while the team considers all its options at closer.