Thursday, April 5, 2012

Nationals Opening Day with Expectations

With Opening Day just hours away, the Washington Nationals will start a season with high expectations for once. Here are a few of the reasons why there are high hopes in DC for this season:

  • The Nat’s finished last season just one game below .500, their best record since 2005, going 14-4 to finish the year.
  • Phenom pitcher Stephan Strasburg returns for a full season after recovering from Tommy John surgery.
  • Over the winter break, DC traded four of its top prospects (from Baseball America’s #1 farm system) for All Star pitcher Gio Gonzalez. The 26-year-old has won 15+ games the past two seasons and is slotted as the #2 pitcher.
  • 2010 1st overall draft pick Bryce Harper will start in the minors, but might be brought up in the summer to fill in the centerfield slot. The 19-year-old slugger could provide a boost to the lineup, especially if they are in a playoff hunt.
  • Davey Johnson returns for a full season as the manager of a club in need of an experienced leader. The World Series winning skipper has won over 1,100 games with a .564 winning percentage.
  • $126 Million Dollar outfielder Jayson Werth has nowhere to go but up this season, after only batting .232 with 20 homeruns last year.
  • Lastly, MLB changed the playoff rules this year, allowing for an extra wild card team. Therefore, the Nationals can make the playoffs even in the stacked NL East.

All these factors create optimism in DC and have been noticed around the league. Experts from ESPN made predictions for the upcoming season, and 15 of the 49 picked the Nat’s to make the playoffs. Some even have them making the World Series. This is all just talk for now, but it is encouraging to have optimism for a team that has not had a winning record since being in Montreal.

1 comment:

  1. 90 Wins in '12. NL East in '13. NATS, son, NATS!!!