Washington Nationals Season Preview

Story posted April 1, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by James Morrison

The Washington Nationals followed up their 2019 World Series Championship with an underwhelming season which did not include the playoffs.

The Nationals will return manager Dave Martinez in hopes that he can lead them back to a World Series.

Washington will have two solid options behind the plate in Yan Gomes and newcomer Alex Avila. Gomes will be the starter with Avila backing him up. They will not blow anyone away or become stars, but they can manage a pitching staff well and provide solid hitting from the back end of the lineup.

In the infield, the right side will be manned by a combination of former Pirates in Josh Bell and Josh Harrison. On the left Trea Turner holds down shortstop while Starlin Castro takes over third base as Carter Kieboom becomes a major disappointment and does not make the roster. The Nationals are betting on Turner and Bell to deliver in a big way this season.

In the outfield there will be future Hall of Famer Juan Soto, Victor Robles and Kyle Schwarber. This is an ideal combination for the outfield as there is a star in Soto, speed and great defense in Robles and a power hitter in Schwarber.

On the bench there will be Mr. National himself Ryan Zimmerman who has notably played third base in past years, but whether he does that this year remains to be seen. Jordy Mercer will serve as a backup for the middle infield and Hernan Perez can play corner infield and corner outfield. Andrew Stevenson can play every outfield position and can start if he is needed to.

The strongest part of this roster is the starting pitching staff. Max Scherzer will pitch opening day in the final year of his contract. Patrick Corbin is the number two starter and features a solid sinker and a wipeout slider.

The number three starter will be Stephen Strasburg, who when healthy, can be an ace for the Nationals. Jon Lester was brought over from the Cubs and is past his prime but is still a serviceable back end of the rotation starter. Joe Ross will round out the rotation after opting out of last season.

The closer position will go to free agent addition Brad Hand. Hand is not what he once was but he can still pitch very well. Daniel Hudson has been a solid option in the bullpen ever since the Nationals acquired him and will likely lock down the eighth inning. Tanner Rainey had a career year last season posting a 42.7 strikeout percentage (yes, you read that correctly) and will likely get looks in the later innings.

The long relievers of this team will be Erick Fedde and Austin Voth as they both had opportunities to join the rotation this season and could fill in with an injury. The mid relievers or gadget players on the roster will be Wander Suero and Kyle Finnegan. Suero relies primarily on his cutter while Finnegan is more of a fastball type pitcher.

The National League East is very crowded this year as every team is more improved than they were last year.

Prediction: 86-76, NL Wild Card game victory

Hopefully soon the presidents can be running their race around the park with fans this season.

 

James Morrison is a freshman majoring in communications. To contact him, email pjmorrison921@gmail.com.