Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
2015 Draft Prep Guide
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2013 Fantasy outlooks: Washington Nationals

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
  •  

Fans in the nation's capital are feeling a sentiment they haven't experienced in a while -- being spoiled.

The Nationals and Redskins both clinched playoff berths during the 2012 season, which is the first time that's happened in the same season.

2013 Fantasy Outlooks
A.L. East N.L. East
Orioles Braves
Red Sox Marlins
Yankees Mets
Rays Phillies
Blue Jays Nationals
A.L. Central N.L. Central
White Sox Cubs
Indians Reds
Tigers Brewers
Royals Pirates
Twins Cardinals
A.L. West N.L. West
Astros Diamondbacks
Angels Rockies
Athletics Dodgers
Mariners Padres
Rangers Giants

For the Nationals, it was the second time in franchise history (formerly the Montreal Expos) -- and first time since they moved to Washington, D.C. -- that they made the playoffs. The Nationals also took the NL East crown for just the second time in franchise history before losing to St. Louis in five games in the NLDS.

Nationals' fans and baseball pundits everywhere will forever be playing out the "what if" scenario had general manager Mike Rizzo chosen not to shutdown ace hurler Stephen Strasburg after throwing 159 1/3 innings to protect his arm following Tommy John surgery in 2010.

Washington's offense shouldn't be discredited for its 2012 surge. The Nationals ranked 10th in runs per game (4.51), eighth in homers (194), sixth in slugging percentage (.428) and eighth in OPS (.750). But last season's breakout from middle-of-the-pack team in 2011 to World Series contender was because of the development of the pitching staff.

According to Baseball Reference, the Nationals had the youngest average age of pitchers -- including relievers -- in the majors at 27. The youthful pitching staff tied for second in ERA (3.34), tied for fourth in saves (51), tied for second in hits per nine innings (7.9), third in runs per game allowed (3.67), second in WHIP (1.22) and sixth in strikeouts per nine innings (8.1).

2013 projected lineup
Player Name Position
1. Denard Span CF
2. Bryce Harper LF
3. Ryan Zimmerman 3B
4. Adam LaRoche 1B
5. Jayson Werth RF
6. Ian Desmond SS
7. Danny Espinosa 2B
8. Kurt Suzuki C
Bench Wilson Ramos C
Bench Tyler Moore INF/OF
Bench Stephen Lombardozzi INF/OF

The Nationals were set to return a very good core of pitchers in 2013, which included Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Gio Gonzalez -- who finished third in the NL Cy Young race after winning a major-league best 21 games -- but that didn't stop Rizzo from bolstering the pitching staff in the offseason.

Rizzo brought back Dan Haren to the Senior Circuit, who finished fifth in the NL Cy Young race in 2009, and shockingly signed closer Rafael Soriano in January, despite having Storen and Clippard under contract. While Soriano is technically the closer and recommended target for Fantasy owners on Draft Day, manager Davey Johnson has said he will use his relievers in the ninth inning the way he feels best suits the team.

The Nationals parted ways with slugger Michael Morse, who had a .296 average, .345 on-base percentage, .516 slugging percentage and .861 OPS since the start of the 2010 season, but added center fielder Denard Span, who is expected to be a stabilizing presence atop the lineup.

The culture in Washington is developing into a winning one, which not only has Nationals' fans excited about the team's outlook, but Fantasy owners too, who will be picking over the Nationals' roster this spring looking to add integral pieces in their own quest for a championship.

Breakout ... Bryce Harper, outfield

Harper was supposed to be baseball's next great phenom, but the Angels' Mike Trout stole Harper's thunder in 2012. While Trout posted insane numbers and made highlight reel plays seemingly every day, Harper's accomplishments were nothing to scoff at. He took home NL rookie of the year honors while hitting .270 with a .340 on-base percentage, .477 slugging percentage and .817 OPS. Harper was particularly productive down the stretch, posting a .327/.384/.660/1.045 line in his final 44 games, which was accompanied by 26 extra-base hits (12 homers), 27 RBI and 37 runs. If you lose out on drafting Trout in the first round, Harper will turn into a nice consolation prize to be drafted in the rounds to follow.

2013 rotation/bullpen
Player Name Throws
1. Stephen Strasburg RHP
2. Gio Gonzalez LHP
3. Jordan Zimmermann RHP
4. Dan Haren RHP
5. Ross Detwiler LHP
ALT Yunesky Maya RHP
Bullpen Breakdown
1. Rafael Soriano RHP
2. Drew Storen RHP
3. Tyler Clippard RHP
4. Henry Rodriguez RHP
5. Zach Duke LHP

Bust ... Gio Gonzalez, starting pitcher

The Nationals gave up a ton of high-end prospects in December 2011 to acquire Gonzalez from the A's, and the left-handed hurler didn't disappoint in his first year with Washington. He is coming off a career campaign, and it's going to be tough for Gonzalez to meet the lofty expectations he set forth last season. Granted, Gonzalez's numbers weren't too far off from what he accomplished the previous two seasons in Oakland, but Gonzalez benefited last season from low home run and hit rates, which we feel will rise in 2013. Fantasy owners should refrain from viewing Gonzalez as your ace hurler and draft him more as your second-best pitcher.

Injury-Risk Sleeper ... Dan Haren, starting pitcher

Haren had an off year last season, finishing with a losing record for the first time since his rookie year in 2003 and had his ERA jump more than a point. The biggest reason for Haren's quick demise was his balky back, which will remain a cause for concern heading into 2013. Another concern for Fantasy owners is Haren's drop in velocity. According to TexasLeaguers.com, Haren's fastball velocity ranged from 84-88 mph last season after ranging from 85-90 in 2011. Still, there's value here for Fantasy owners at the right price. In case you missed it, Haren finished last season with a 4-3 record, 2.81 ERA and 41 strikeouts in his final eight starts. If Haren's healthy and pitches like he did down the stretch in 2012, this season could be a bounce-back year.

Prospects Report

The Nationals are set at third base for years to come after signing Ryan Zimmerman to a long-term deal, but Washington still has great organizational depth at third base, led by prospects Anthony Rendon and Matt Skole. Rendon, who was the sixth overall pick in the 2011 draft, and Skole, who belted 27 homers last season, will likely have to learn new positions if they want to make it to the majors with the Nationals. But worse comes to worse the Nationals have some pretty good trade chips ... A.J. Cole's head must be spinning trying to figure out what the Nationals think of him. Cole was dealt to Oakland as part of the Gio Gonzalez trade in December 2011, but he's now back with Washington as part of the three-team trade that sent Michael Morse to Seattle and is once again considered one of Washington's top pitching prospects ... The Nationals obviously don't need rotation help, so Cole will get time to develop, but two other names to keep tabs on in long-term keeper leagues are Nathan Karns and Sammy Solis, who both could star in the rotation at Double-A Harrisburg this season. Solis is a name you might have heard of because of his prospect pedigree (second-round pick in 2010), but Karns is the underdog story here. A 12th-round pick in 2009, Karns missed the 2010 season after suffering a torn labrum in his shoulder, which is usually a devastating injury for a pitcher. But since making his pro debut in 2011, Karns is 14-6 with a 2.21 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. Fantasy owners will also love Karns' strikeout rate of 10.9 batters per nine innings ... Outfielder Brian Goodwin, who was a 2011 supplemental first-round pick, is considered a five-tool player, but he had some struggles at Double-A last season, so it might be a few years until he makes a Fantasy impact.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Michael Hurcomb at @cbshurc . You can also send us an e- mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Nationals' Anthony Rendon not in Double-A lineup Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3:49 pm ET) Nationals infielder Anthony Rendon is not in the starting lineup for Double-A Harrisburg Tuesday, the Washington Post reports.

Rendon is working his way back from a knee injury, but he was scratched Monday after feeling fatigued. He is expected to be used at both second base and third base when he returns to the lineup.


Red Sox's Shane Victorino likely to stay on DL longer than 15 days
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:45 pm ET) Red Sox manager John Farrell isn't certain outfielder Shane Victorino (hamstring) will be able to come off the disabled list when eligible on May 8 against the Blue Jays, per The Boston Herald.

Victorino was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday, with the move retroactive to April 23.


Tigers' Rajai Davis out of the lineup Tuesday, Nick Castellanos back
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:45 pm ET) Tigers outfielder Rajai Davis is out of the lineup again Tuesday against the Twins with a groin injury while Nick Castellanos returns to third base, the team announced. Davis missed Monday's game with the injury and will be replaced by Anthony Gose. He is hitting .341 with four RBI in 41 at-bats this season.

Castellanos got the day off Monday after playing eight straight at third. He is hitting .227 with two home runs in 66 at-bats this season. The Tigers are currently the favorites (-135) against the Twins.


Yankees' McCann is 8 for 15 in career against Rays' Odorizzi
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:41 pm ET) Yankees catcher Brian McCann has been on a nice run offensively since April 18. He is batting .313 (10 for 32) with a .500 slugging percentage, .853 OPS, one double, one triple, one home runs, five RBI and six runs in his last eight games.

McCann might be able to keep his hot streak going Tuesday with Jake Odorizzi on the hill for the Rays. McCann is batting .615 (8 for 13) with one double, one triple, two home runs and six RBI in his career against the right-hander. 

McCann had two singles and a two-RBI triple against Odorizzi during a 9-0 win at Tampa Bay on April 18.


Nationals' Yunel Escobar out of lineup Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3:35 pm ET) Nationals third baseman Yunel Escobar is out of the lineup as expected for Tuesday's matchup with the Braves.

Escobar suffered a hand injury on a hard slide by Atlanta shortstop Andrelton Simmons Monday and is dealing with multiple cuts on his hand. Danny Espinosa is getting the start at third base Tuesday, with Dan Uggla manning second base.

The Nationals are underdogs (+100) against the Braves Tuesday.


Yankees' Alex Rodriguez out of the lineup Tuesday against Tampa
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:31 pm ET) Yankees third baseman and designated hitter Alex Rodriguez is out of the starting lineup Tuesday against the Rays, with Garrett Jones taking over the DH role, the team announced.

Rodriguez had played the last four games in a row with just two games off in the first 20 to start the season. He is hitting .254 with five home runs in 63 at-bats this season. Jones is hitting .217 with a triple in 23 at-bats this season.


Nationals' Jose Lobaton draws start for A.J. Cole's debut
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3:29 pm ET) Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton is starting behind the plate for the major-league debut of pitcher A.J. Cole Tuesday.

It's the fifth start of the season for Lobaton, who is just 1 for 13 with two walks and nine strikeouts. His presence behind the plate will send Wilson Ramos to the bench after four straight starts.

The Nationals are underdogs (+100) against the Braves Tuesday.


Cubs' Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler swap lineup spots Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3:23 pm ET) Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo has been moved up to the No. 2 spot in the batting order for Tuesday's matchup with the Pirates, while Jorge Soler has been bumped down one spot and is batting third.

It's the third time in a row that manager Joe Maddon has used this configuration against a lefty, with Rizzo batting behind Soler in the team's last eight matchups with a righty. The lefty first baseman actually performed better against lefties last season, hitting .300/.421/.507 with eight home runs in 140 at-bats, and the trend has carried over this April.

The Cubs are favorites (-117) against the Pirates Tuesday.


Astros pitcher Brett Oberholtzer expected to begin rehab Thursday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:21 pm ET) Astros pitcher Brett Oberholtzer is expected to make his first rehab start Thursday for Triple-A Fresno, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Oberholtzer, who is currently on the 15-day DL with a blister on his throwing hand, has thrown three innings in an extended spring training session as well as batting practice. This is considered the last step for Oberholtzer to clear before he can rejoin the team. Oberholtzer posted a 5-13 record with a 4.39 ERA in 143 2/3 innings pitched.


Cardinals outfielder Jason Heyward to return to the lineup Tuesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:15 pm ET) Cardinals outfielder Jason Heyward is expected to be back in the starting lineup Tuesday after being held out of Monday's game, manager Mike Matheny said per MLB Network Radio.

Matheny wanted to protect Heyward a bit and give him some extra rest as a precaution. Heyward suffered a minor hamstring injury in Sunday's game and was forced to exit with the injury. He is hitting .205 with two home runs in 73 at-bats this season.


 
 
 
Rankings