To kick off the top 10 our first projected division winner the Washington Nationals.
Projected Record: 90-72 1st in the NL East (NL East Champs)
Potential Lineup: CF Revere #TBD, 2B Murphy #20, LF Werth #28, RF Harper #34, 3B Rendon #6, 1B Zimmerman #11 C Ramos #40, SS Espinosa #8, Pitcher
Potential Rotation: 1.Scherzer #31, 2.Strasburg #37, 3.Gonzalez #47, 4.Rorak #57, 5.Ross #41
Potential Bullpen: CL Papelbon #58, 8th Kelly #27, 7th Gott #26, Mid Relief: Perez #46, Treinen #64, Rivero #73, Pettit #TBD
Potential Bench: C Lobaton #59, IF/OF Moore #12, OF Taylor #3, IF Drew #TBD, IF/OF Robinson #25
After forming a starting rotation that knocked Tanner Roark a 15 game winner in 2014, into a reliever to begin 2015 the Nats had sky high hopes and were everyone’s World Series favorites. However due to injury and clubhouse issues the Nats completely failed to live up to the hype winning just 83 games and missing the postseason completely. The Nationals will look to turn the tide in 2016 as the team made some upgrades this offseason to try to put themselves back atop the NL East. With Ian Desmond no longer in town the Nats needed a middle infield bat. They found just that in last year’s Mets postseason hero Daniel Murphy who hit 7 home runs in the postseason including a streak of 6 straight games with a home run at one point helping the Mets reach the world series where they would lose to the Kansas City Royals. Murphy will fill the Nats second base gap and add pop to a lineup that ranked 10th in runs scored in 2015. The Nats also added an Outfield bat and glove in Ben Revere to go along with an already talented outfield with 2015 NL MVP Bryce Harper, and Jayson Werth. The additions of Murphy and Revere should help the Nats offense improve in 2015. As for the starting rotation the Nationals did not make any moves to replace Jordan Zimmermann who left the team for Detroit Via Free Agency. The Nats will rely on Max Scherzer who was outstanding in his first year in the nation’s capital pitching to 2.79 ERA, with 276 strikeouts, and tossing two no hitters to lead a rotation that consists of very talented arms yet also injury prone arms. Those being arms being Stephen Strasburg, and Gio Gonzalez. If Strasburg and Gonzalez can be constant and stay healthy the Nats rotation has the potential to deadly in 2016. If they do not however the Nats rotation may struggle. As for the bullpen after making a trade for Jonathan Papelbon at last year’s trade deadline the Nats thought their bullpen would greatly improve. This move backfired however as Drew Storen who was doing a great job as the team’s closer struggled in the 8th inning role and as a result is no longer with the club as he was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Nationals added a lot of pieces to try to improve a bullpen that struggled to close out games in the second half of the season. Adding Shawn Kelly, Trevor Gott, and Yursmanino Petit to rebulid a Nats bullpen that was great for the first half of 2015 but awful in the second half. With all the changes the Nationals roster seems to be improved looking ahead to 2016, and in a wide open NL East the Nats could find themselves back on top of the division in 2016.