Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2011 Fantasy outlooks: Washington Nationals

  •  

Listen to our latest Fantasy Baseball Podcast!

The Nationals may have finished in last place for the sixth time in seven seasons, but that didn't stop them from entering "Phase 2," as general manager Mike Rizzo put it, with the signing of Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126 million deal.

Which is great as long as Phase 2 means overpaying for second-tier players on the wrong side of 30.

As misguided as Rizzo's optimism may be, the Nationals do seem to be on the verge of improving. They'll miss Adam Dunn -- who got a paltry $56 million from the White Sox -- but with the signing of Adam LaRoche and the continued development of Ryan Zimmerman, their one perennial All-Star, they have a legitimate middle of the order. Their supporting cast leaves much to be desired, with two of their three outfield spots more or less up for grabs, but at least youngsters Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa and either of Wilson Ramos or Derek Norris have them secured up the middle for years to come.

Follow us on ...
Get the latest news and analysis from the most informed Fantasy staff in the industry by following us on Twitter and Facebook.
@cbsfantasynews
facebook.com/cbssportsfantasy

Pitching remains a problem that new acquisition Tom Gorzelanny isn't going to solve. Jordan Zimmermann and John Lannan both look like long-term pieces, but neither is an established frontliner, and Chien-Ming Wang likely won't be the same after losing two years to shoulder surgery. The bullpen should help make up for some of those deficiencies, though, with each of Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Sean Burnett and Henry Rodriguez doing their best to steal saves from each other.

Of course, the Nationals don't honestly expect to compete until Bryce Harper, the No. 1 overall pick from last year, reaches the majors, and Stephen Strasburg, the same from 2009, returns from Tommy John surgery. When both get up to speed, potentially sometime in 2012, they'll give the Nationals a franchise hitter and pitcher much like the Marlins have with Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson ... or the Cardinals with Albert Pujols and Adam Wainwright ... or the Tigers with Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera. Yes, really.

Breakout ... Jordan Zimmermann, SP

Well before Stephen Strasburg was affiliated with a major-league organization, the future of the Nationals rotation was Zimmermann, and that future appeared on the horizon when he struck out a batter per inning with a 3.18 ERA and 1.24 WHIP over the final eight starts of his rookie season. But then came Tommy John surgery and the months of recovery that follow. By the end of it all, Zimmermann was old news in Washington, which made him practically a ghost in Fantasy. All that potential didn't go anywhere, though, and considering he had the same walk rate in his return last year that he had during his rookie season, he's ready to pick up where he left off. Zimmermann has one of the highest ceilings of all the pitchers you could draft in the late rounds, and with Strasburg recovering from his own Tommy John surgery, the door is open for him to regain his ace standing -- and not just by Washington standards.

Bust ... Ian Desmond, SS

Desmond is yet another example of wishful thinking overtaking physical evidence. Everybody wants to have a high-end shortstop, so when they find one with even the slightest hint of potential, they convince themselves he can fit the bill. Desmond can't. It's not that he's a bad player. He may even be an above-average shortstop by major-league standards. But in Fantasy, where only 12 shortstops matter, he doesn't do enough to set himself apart. Yes, he offers some power and some speed, but he'd need to take a big step forward to become more than average in either category. And based on his 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio as a rookie, he's limited to baby steps. He's still working to catch up to Miguel Tejada and Juan Uribe, much less legitimate middle-rounders, so if you miss out on high-upside players like Stephen Drew and Elvis Andrus, don't reach for Desmond just because he's the next-best thing. You'd be getting a late-round shortstop for a middle-round price.

Sleeper ... Michael Morse, OF

Morse won't get a lot of attention on Draft Day, and rightfully so. He has never been a full-time starter and doesn't project as one now. But after his exile to the minors for the better part of four years, the 28-year-old finally got a second chance in the majors last year and exceeded all expectations in the process. This wasn't a case of a reserve putting up unsustainable percentages in limited exposure. Morse got everyday at-bats from about the time Josh Willingham hurt his knee Aug. 15 and was at his best then, hitting .303 with seven homers and a .930 OPS in 132 at-bats. Considering the guy never had a 100-strikeout season in the minors, you can trust he knows how to hit. The Nationals still have their doubts, favoring Roger Bernadina in left field, but neither he nor center fielder Nyjer Morgan has an especially long leash. If Morse winds up getting regular at-bats again, he'll matter in mixed leagues.

Washington Nationals Fantasy Outlook
Projected Lineup Pos. Projected Rotation
1 Nyjer Morgan CF 1 Livan Hernandez RH
2 Ian Desmond SS 2 Jordan Zimmermann RH
3 Ryan Zimmerman 3B 3 John Lannan LH
4 Jayson Werth RF 4 Jason Marquis RH
5 Adam LaRoche 1B 5 Tom Gorzelanny LH
6 Danny Espinosa 2B Alt Chien-Ming Wang RH
7 Ivan Rodriguez C
Bullpen Breakdown
8 Roger Bernadina LF CL Drew Storen RH
Top bench options SU Tyler Clippard RH
R Michael Morse OF RP Sean Burnett LH
R Jerry Hairston UTL RP Henry Rodriguez RH
R Jesus Flores C RP Todd Coffey RH
Rookies/Prospects Age Pos. 2010 high Destination
1 Bryce Harper 18 OF DNP -- unsigned Class A
Much-hyped hitting prospect no mystery to Fantasy owners. Talented enough to reach majors as teenager.
2 Danny Espinosa 23 2B Majors Majors
Projected starter made splash last year. Might not hit for average, but clearly a power-speed threat.
3 Derek Norris 22 C Class A Double-A
Rare combination of power and patience for catcher. Year or two behind Ramos, but has higher ceiling.
4 Wilson Ramos 23 C Majors Triple-A
Defensive gem could start now, but Flores might force him to minors. Offense still a work in progress.
5 Yunesky Maya 29 SP Majors Triple-A
Nats gave Cuban defector $7.4 million, but didn't get big return last year. Probably needs fine-tuning.
Best of the rest: Chris Marrero, 1B; Sammy Solis, SP; A.J. Cole, SP; Cole Kimball, RP; Eury Perez, OF; Brad Peacock, SP; Stephen Lombardozzi, 2B; Tyler Moore, 1B; Destin Hood, OF; Josh Smoker, RP; William Rhinehart, 1B; and Stephen King, SS.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com . Be sure to put Team outlooks in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Anthony Ranaudo picks up win, posts quality start in MLB debut
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:12 pm ET) Red Sox pitcher Anthony Ranaudo put together a quality start in his major-league debut Friday night against the Yankees.

Ranaudo permitted a solo home run to Carlos Beltran in the fourth and a run-scoring single to Beltran again in the sixth. He permitted two runs on four hits and four walks while striking out two over six innings of work for his first career victory. Of his 91 pitches, 53 were strikes.

It remains to be seen if Ranaudo will remain in the rotation moving forward.

Chris Capuano takes step back in loss to Red Sox
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:08 pm ET) Yankees pitcher Chris Capuano took a step backward Friday night against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, dropping to 1-2 on the year. The left-hander yielded four runs on eight hits and no walks while striking out five over 6 1/3 innings of a 4-3 defeat.

Capuano has allowed a total of two earned runs over his first two starts (12 1/3 innings) with the Yankees. He owns a 4.50 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP over 44 innings of work. His next start will come at home Wednesday against Detroit.

Zach Britton makes quick work of Mariners
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:02 pm ET) Orioles closer Zach Britton made quick work of the Mariners Friday night for the save. He needed only eight pitches to retire the side in order to close out a 2-1 victory. The right-hander has converted 22 of 25 save attempts, with a 1.62 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP over 55 2/3 innings of relief.

Wei-Yin Chen fans eight in win over Mariners
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:00 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Wei-Yin Chen struck out eight and picked up the win Friday night at home against the Mariners. The left-hander permitted one run on five hits and one walk over 7 1/3 innings of a 2-1 victory.

Over his last two starts covering 15 1/3 innings, Chen has allowed only one earned run. He owns a 3.76 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP over 21 starts (124 1/3 innings). His next start will come Wednesday in Toronto.

Khris Davis leaves Friday's game with calf injury
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:56 pm ET) Brewers outfielder Khris Davis exited Friday's game against the Cardinals with left calf tightness, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Davis left the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. He finished 0 for 4 with three strikeouts and is hitting .251 over 371 at-bats this season. His status remains uncertain for Saturday's game in St. Louis.


Roenis Elias pegged with tough-luck loss
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:50 pm ET) Mariners pitcher Roenis Elias fell one out shy of a quality start and was hit with a tough-luck loss Friday night against the Orioles in Baltimore, dropping to 8-9 on the year. The left-hander permitted two runs -- one earned -- on seven hits and one walk while striking out seven over 5 2/3 innings of a 2-1 defeat.

Elias has allowed one earned run in each of his last three starts. He owns a 4.19 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP over 22 starts (129 innings). His next start will come Thursday at home against the White Sox.

Doug Fister posts quality start in losing effort
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:30 pm ET) Nationals pitcher Doug Fister posted a quality start in a losing effort Friday at home against the Phillies, dropping to 10-3 on the year. The right-hander permitted two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five over seven innings of a 2-1 defeat.

Fister has allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his last four starts. He owns a 2.68 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP over 15 starts (97 1/3 innings). He will make his next start Wednesday at home against the Mets.

Jonathan Papelbon Ks two for the save Friday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:25 pm ET) Phillies pitcher Jonathan Papelbon struck out two and worked his way past a pair of hits in a scoreless ninth inning for the save Friday night against the Nationals. Papelbon has converted 26 of 29 save attempts, with a 1.75 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP over 46 1/3 innings of relief.

Roberto Hernandez cruises past Nationals
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:23 pm ET) Phillies pitcher Roberto Hernandez put together a dominant outing Friday night against the Nationals, improving to 6-8 on the year. The right-hander yielded only one unearned run on five hits and one walk while striking out three over eight innings of a 2-1 victory.

Over his last four starts covering 28 2/3 innings, Hernandez has allowed six earned runs. He owns a 3.87 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP over 121 innings of work. His next start will come Thursday at home against Houston.

Joe Nathan closes out Rockies
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:19 pm ET) Tigers reliever Joe Nathan struck out one and worked his way past a hit and a walk in a scoreless ninth inning to close out a 4-2 victory over the Rockies on Friday. He has converted 22 saves in 27 attempts, with a 5.45 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP in 39 2/3 innings of relief.

 
 
 
Rankings