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Monday, February 18, 2013

MLB 2013 Team Preview: Washington Nationals

Wild on Sports
MLB 2013 Team Preview: Washington Nationals
By Wild on Sports Baseball Analyst Aaron Dorman


Washington Nationals
2012 Record:
98-64, lost NLDS
2012 was the Nationals’ very loud coming out party, as they established themselves as the best team in the National League, despite losing in the first round of the playoffs.

NOTABLE ADDITIONS: Denard Span, Rafael Soriano, Dan Haren
NOTABLE LOSSES: Mike Morse, Tom Gorzelanny

Keys to Success: How healthy is Dan Haren? Can he last a full season? Will Gio Gonzalez be suspended for 50 games? The Nationals’ pitching depth is very shallow, so they might need to sign or trade for a veteran as a contingency. Nobody wants to see Zach Duke or Ross Ohlendorf start regularly for them except Braves and Phillies fans. Bryce Harper is already a star; will he become one of the best players in the league this year? What kind of year can they expect from Jayson Werth, who has been either unhealthy or unproductive in his first two years with Washington.

Prospect Watch:
Prospect KeyTBD= Work in Progress
X= Posses the Tool
XX= Excels at Tool
 
BRIAN GOODWIN, OF
Power
Speed
Hitting
Plate Discipline
Defense
Arm
x
x
x
x
x
x
The Nationals scouting staff looks very smart for signing Goodwin for above-slot money in the 2011 draft, as he produced like a first round pick in his debut season. His overall .280/.384/.469 slash line in 100 games is a composite of his .324/.438/.542 explosion in low-A Hagerstown and then .223/.306/.373 when rushed to AA-Harrisburg. Goodwin is just 22 and will probably repeat the AA level this year. Overall he hit 14 HR and stole 18 bases, and his 61 BB in just 452 PA is very impressive. He offers five-tool potential.
ANTHONY RENDON, 2B/3B:
Power
Speed
Hitting
Plate Discipline
Defense
Arm
x
 
x
x
x
x
Rendon, 23, was supposed to be a quick-moving, all-star caliber talent, but his first season was a bit disappointing as he was hurt most of the year. In limited playing time, Rendon still hit .233/.363/.489 with 6 HR in 133 at-bats, showing off power and his batting eye. Those numbers are all somewhat meaningless as he split time with four different minor league teams, the most coming at the end of the year in 21 games with AA-Harrisburg. If healthy, he is expected to hit for average as well. Rendon should stick at third base-he played all 32 games there-but there were rumors he might be tried at second to give him more positional flexibility. There is a very slight possibility he shows up in the majors this year, although he’s blocked at the positions he’d play, unless Washington makes a surprising trade.
2012 Top Draft Pick: Lucas Giolito, rhp

Sleeper MLB Contributor: NATHAN KARNS could be moved quickly, as he is already 25 years old. He did well last year in the low minors and if he shows enough at AA, could establish himself as the first call-up when injury strikes.

2013 Outlook and Projection:The Nationals are the best team in the league. Some of this is luck, as they struck gold in the draft-their string of bad seasons was perfectly timed so that they landed two historically talent players in a row in Stephen Strasbourg and Bryce Harper, both of whom are already stars. Either one could be an MVP and/or Cy Young this year. As of right now, their farm system is very thin, but a lot of that is because their best prospects have turned into solid performers at the big league level. The Nationals have been spending money on veterans and trading prospects, but their tremendous core is still composed of home-grown stars, the oldest of whom, Ryan Zimmerman, is still in his prime. Young Nats also constitute a very formidable bench, with players like Tyler Moore who could start for lesser teams. As such, their roster offers multiple paths to another 95+ win season: they could be a strong-pitching team that leans heavily on home runs, they could be a top-heavy team whose superstars carry the rest of the roster, or they could be an all-around solid squad like last year. The only thing that is unlikely is a season that ends in before October.
STRONG CONTENDERS
 

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