2008 Washington Nationals Baseball Preview

The Washington Nationals (73- 89) open a new ballpark this season. They’ve also added some new but troubled payers. The team won’t be contending, but they have a chance to perform better than they did last season.

The bullpen is one of the best in the league, while the rotation is one of the weakest. That’s not good news for a team that was ranked 10th in ERA. Starter John Patterson (1- 5, 7.47 ERA, 15 SO) throws a fastball that runs and sinks along with some tough breaking stuff. He lacks consistency and has health concerns. Shawn Hill (4- 5, 3.42 ERA, 65 SO) has talent but needs to stay healthy. The rest of the rotation is extremely doubtful. If there’s a game to save, the Nationals have the pen to save it. Right-handed closer Chad Cordero (3- 3, 3.36 ERA, 37 SV, 62 SO, .260 BAA) keeps hitters guessing and off balance with his aggressive style. The highly durable John Rauch (8- 4, 3.61 ERA, 71 SO, .230 BAA) led the majors with 88 appearances, while Saul Rivera (4- 6, 3.68 ERA, 64 SO, .255 BAA) led MLB in relief innings.

The Nationals finished 13th or lower in every major offensive area except stolen bases. They were 11th in that category. First baseman Nick Johnson didn’t play last season. If he’s healthy, he can be a contributor. His first two seasons, he had a .290 BA. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (.266 BA, 24 HR, 91 RBI) is the foundation of the batting order. Dimitri Young (.320 BA, 13 HR, 74 RBI) was the NL Comeback Player of the Year.

Defensively, the team was tied for 12th in fielding percentage and placed ninth in DPs. Catcher Paul Lo Duca (.272 BA, 9 HR, 54 RBI) calls a good game but isn’t as skilled as he could be as a receiver. In the outfield, Lastings Milledge (.272 BA, 7 HR, 29 RBI) has a good arm and speed.

GM Jim Bowden brought in a bunch of players looking to redeem their careers, including Milledge and Lo Duca. That could make for the feel good story of the season or a disaster akin to the sinking of the Titanic. Manager Manny Acta did a fine job last year and got more wins than he should have out of a wobbly squad.

Read more on the Nationals other NL East division opponents, New York Mets, Florida Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves.

For more info on the Nationals check out the MLB official page for Washington.


2008 MLB Preview

As usual we cover and break down all 30 of the major league baseball clubs. To read about a particular team simply click on the link of the division of where the team resides. The division pages will also give a quick thumbnail on each team and are order of finish. At anytime you can return to the main baseball preview page.

08 MLB Team Previews

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