2010 Washington Nationals Baseball Preview
The last time the Washington Nationals (59-103) were the Montreal Expos, which was 2005, they won 81 games and finished nine games out of first. Since that time, their best season saw them win 73 games and finish 16 games away from the leader of the pack. In the last two seasons, they have won 59 games each time.
Free agent Jason Marquis (15-13, 4.04 ERA, 115 SO) is on deck as the number one starter. He is a middle-of-the-rotation veteran. He has a diminishing fastball and an inconsistent slider. Lefty John Lannan (9-13, 3.88 ERA, 89 SO) and righty Garrett Mock (3-10, 5.62 ERA, 72 SO) are the two and three guys. Lannan is a smart, cagey pitcher with a decent fastball and effective slider and Mock, a converted reliever, is a solid groundball pitcher.
Scott Olsen (2-4, 6.03 ERA, 42 SO), who underwent season-ending surgery last season, struggles to toss consistent pitches. Closer Matt Capps (4-8, 5.80 ERA, 27 SV, 10 SO), who came over as a free agent from the Pirates, is a solid addition. He offers a sound fastball that’s backed up by curve and slider. He’s got the right personality for a closer. Lefty Sean Burnett (2-3, 3.12 ERA, 1 SV, 43 SO) came over from Pittsburgh midseason and worked well in middle relief. He does a good job of keeping hitters off-balance. Right-handed setup man Brian Bruney (5-0, 3.92 ERA, 36 SO) is best when used for one inning. He can be wild. When in control, his fast sinking 96-mph fastball is very effective.
Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (.292 BA, 33 HR, 106 RBI) and first baseman Adam Dunn (.267 BA, 38 HR, 105 RBI) both have power to spare. Zimmerman is a first-time fastball hitter who is a true franchise player. At third, he is a top of the line defender. Dunn is a total power hitter. Left fielder Josh Willingham (.260 BA, 24 HR, 61 RBI) is a strong man who suffers from inconsistency at the plate.
Catcher Jesus Flores (.301 BA, 4 HR, 15 RBI), who had a shortened season due to a labrum injury, is a decent hitter but a subpar receiver. Christian Guzman (.284 BA, 6 HR, 52 RBI) is an effective switch-hitter who sprays liners all over the field.
Mike Rizzo took over as GM last season after a monetary scandal led to the resignation of Jim Bowden. When with Arizona, Rizzo earned a fine reputation as a cagey scout of new talent. Already, he’s made some solid decisions regarding the organization. Manager Jim Riggleman took over midseason after Manny Acta was fired. He proved that he could make solid decisions on a sinking boat. He’s back for his first full season.
It takes time, money and know-how to develop a ball club. They do have cash and know-how. They still need time. Time to draft good players, time to create an organization that’s running on all cylinders and time to develop their talent. A major victory will be winning 70 games in 2010. Don’t hold your breath.
For more info on the Nationals check out the MLB official page for Washington.