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February 21, 2014

Fantasy Team Preview

Washington Nationals

by Craig Goldstein


It should surprise no one that the Nationals, despite a disappointing 2013 season, are absolutely loaded when it comes to the fantasy front. Six of their eight starters are worth owning, even in shallow leagues, and the same goes for four-fifths of their rotation. The team in general lacks speed, with Denard Span as an option, but Ian Desmond is the guy to own for that category. They’ve got power in spades, and if Anthony Rendon wins out, they should be near the top in team batting average as well.

Their rotation is quite possibly the best in baseball, boasting impact and depth in reality to go with strikeouts and control in fantasy. While the season was a letdown for many in the DC area, the nucleus of the team remains (for the most part) both immensely talented, and on the good part of the aging curve.

Projected Lineup

1. CF Denard Span
2. 3B Ryan Zimmerman
3. LF Bryce Harper
4. RF Jayson Werth
5. 1B Adam LaRoche
6. SS Ian Desmond
7. C Wilson Ramos
8. 2B Anthony Rendon
9. Pitcher

Harper. Harper Harper Harper Harper. Sorry‑got struck with a bit of mutated Hodorism there. I’m not sure Bryce is getting enough credit, be it in real life or in fantasy circles. It’s not that Harper doesn’t get attention‑he does, in spades—but he just submitted an age-20 season in which he produced at 37 percent above the league average, good for a .311 TAv. That’s an astonishing figure and we all rightly assume there’s plenty more in the tank. He hit for a better average, walked more (significantly), struck out less, and hit for more power than in his previous season, and yet he didn’t take the step we all thought he could. I guess what I’m saying is… watch out in 2014.

As for the rest of the lineup, Span should be better than he was last year, showing signs of coming out of his funk late last season. Werth had an incredible campaign and while the skills are still fresh, his health is a concern and he’s already in his mid-30s. Zimmerman tends to get harsh treatment thanks to the decline of his once superlative defensive skills, but he’s still able to bring it with the bat. He might be looking at a transition to first base starting in 2015, but he should retain his 3B eligibility for at least the 2014-15 seasons. Ramos and Rendon are really nice upside plays, health permitting while LaRoche is likely to bounce back yet still earn scorn and derision.

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Related Content:  Washington Nationals,  Fantasy

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Avo... (02/21)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: ... (02/18)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Team Preview: ... (02/25)
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Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (02/21)

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