There won’t be many teams that have the expectations that the Washington Nationals will have on them this coming season. Even after winning 96 games in 2014 and taking the National League East by 17 games, the team made a big addition to their pitching staff with Max Scherzer. Here are the three biggest questions for the team heading into the spring.
1. How will this team ever lose with their rotation? It is going to be very hard to beat Stephen Strasburg, Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister on a consistent basis. All five pitchers could end up winning over 15 games with Strasburg and Scherzer looking like 20-game winners. It is a rotation that people haven’t seen put together since the Braves in the early 1990s.
2. Will Ryan Zimmerman adjust to first base quickly? He played some left field last season after moving off of third base to allow Anthony Rendon to take over there. It should be a smooth transition and a place where Zimmerman won’t have to worry about throwing the ball as much which was his main flaw. If his offense can return to form, he could be one of four or five Nationals who hit over 20 home runs in 2015.
3. How dangerous is the bullpen? Like the starting rotation, the bullpen is scary good as well. Tanner Roark, who won 15 games last season in the rotation, is looking like a possible short reliever. There is also Matt Thornton and Drew Storen, who shut down hitters with regularity in 2014. If the Nationals can have the lead after seven innings, it’s going to be very difficult for opposing teams to make a late game rally.
This Nationals team has a chance to make history in 2015. A season with 105-110 wins is very possible even with an improved NL East around them. The starters are simply dominant and the lineup with Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, Rendon, Zimmerman and Ian Desmond will put plenty of runs on the board. If Washington isn’t in the World Series in October, it will be a disappointment since this team shouldn’t lose three games out of a seven-game series this year.