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Washington Nationals Season Predictions | 2014 Season Betting Preview

2014 MLB Team Previews – Nationals

The youth movement in Washington over the past few seasons that has added players such as Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper have helped set the stage for success for a number of years to come, but the Nationals will first have to overcome the disappointment of last season.

They came into the 2013 campaign as a prohibitive favorite to win the NL East, but ended-up finishing 10 games in back of Atlanta and out of the playoffs at 86-76 after a painfully slow start out of the gate.

Most of the pieces remain in place to get close to matching 2012’s win total of 98 games as long as Washington can quickly put last year behind and return to the dominating form that churned-out all those wins.

Sportsbook’s Odds to Win

NL East +100
National League +500
World Series +1100
Regular Season Wins 88

Key Additions/Departures

The Nationals did everything they could this past offseason to keep their current roster intact, but they did go out and acquire pitcher Doug Fister in a trade with the Detroit Tigers to add some experience to the starting rotation. They also signed Nate McLouth to add some bench depth to the outfield.

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The only major loss this offseason was pitcher Dan Haren, who is now on the Dodgers’ roster. Washington will begin the season with a new skipper at the helm after Matt Johnson was brought in to replace the departed Davey Johnson.

Projected Starting Lineup

Denard Span (CF)
Ryan Zimmerman (3B)
Bryce Harper (LF)
Jayson Werth (RF)
Adam LaRoche (1B)
Ian Desmond (SS)
Wilson Ramos (C)
Anthony Rendon (2B)

The potential is there as long as the potent trio of Zimmerman, Harper and Werth play to form in the meat of the order.


These three banged-out a combined 71 home runs last season, but Washington will need to improve upon its 656 total runs, which was ranked sixth in the NL last season.

Projected Starting Rotation

Stephen Strasburg
Jordan Zimmermann
Gio Gonzalez
Doug Fister
Ross Detwiler

The starting rotation remains the primary strength of this team with some solid depth right through the fourth spot with the addition of Fister. The Nationals also have Taylor Jordan and Tanner Roark waiting in the wings in case one of these five go down with an injury. Look for a big year from Strasburg as one of the top three favorites to win the NL Cy Young award this year.


Rafael Soriano has been penciled-in as the closer with Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen in place as the setup men. This bullpen remains fairly solid from top to bottom, but it is top-heavy with right handers.

Washington also slipped to sixth in the NL in pitching with a team ERA of 3.59, but it will not take all that much improvement to move back up near the top of this list in 2014.

2014 Washington Nationals Prediction:

The bar has been set pretty high for the Nationals, but the expectation level is not nearly as overwhelming as it was this time last year.

I look for Washington to eclipse that 90-game plateau in 2014, which should be enough to win its second NL East crown in the last three seasons.

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About Dave Schwab

David Schwab is a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. While not cheering for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles David can be found working on his blog at www.eaglesinc.com. David wants to hear from you so please comment below.