harper and zimmerman
It’s always fun to generate and debate lists. We’ll continue with the All-2000 to Present Nationals/Expos Lineup.
C – Wilson Ramos
1B – Adam LaRoche
2B – Jose Vidro
3B – Ryan Zimmerman
SS – Ian Desmond
RF – Vladimir Guerrero
LF – Jayson Werth
CF – Bryce Harper
SP – Max Scherzer
SP – Stephen Strasburg
SP – Gio Gonzalez
SP – Jordan Zimmermann
SP – Tanner Roark
Closer – Chad Cordero
Atlanta Braves
Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox
Chicago White Sox
Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels
Miami Marlins
Minnesota Twins
New York Mets
New York Yankees
Oakland A’s
Philadelphia Phillies
Seattle Mariners
Tampa Bay Rays
Texas Rangers
Toronto Blue Jays

The Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to face one another in the first of three games that should make Monday an interesting day for MLB fans. There is a lot to consider in the Dodgers/Nationals matchup, a lot for analysts to look at and predict.
And, obviously, anyone looking to predict a winner between these two teams has to take into account how the Dodgers and the Nationals performed when they met in the National League Division series in 2016.
The figures don’t look too good for the Nationals. Looking at Dodgers and their 35-23 numbers, and the Nationals’ 35-20, it might not seem so obvious why Washington is being perceived as the underdog.
After all, both teams seem relatively similar when it comes to their performance levels. But the Dodgers definitely appear to edge the Nationals out, but only by a bit, and only in some instances.
Pundits looking to understand the strength of the Dodgers going into the Monday game have to look at the seven games the team played on the road. Los Angeles is coming back home with a 4-3 record, which isn’t bad.
Washington, on the other hand, currently boasts a 5-1 run so far; this is as they make their way through California on a trip that will see them play nine games. Of course, neither of those figures says much unless one dissects the performance of each Dodgers and Nationals game.
“It’s the first time the Nationals and the Dodgers meet this season and Washington took Game 1 last night. Both teams have been really solid in their division, with the Nats leading in the NL East and the Dodgers in second below the Colorado Rockies in the NL West. Washington looks more solid in the sportsbook odds and they are the current favorite at -120. The Dodgers might have the home field advantage but it might not do much for them.” says David Strauss, line director at MyBookie.ag.
It is worth noting that both teams are so close when it comes to their strength that the favor the Dodgers are enjoying probably doesn’t mean that much. One also cannot ignore the fact that the Nationals have had a lot to celebrate on their road trip, having left the first two series a winners.
There is still some buzz over their 11-10 victory on Sunday against Oakland. All eyes will be on Gio Gonzalez. The first eight weeks of the season have seen the lefty deliver all manner of surprises on the mound. The Nationals can trust him to hold his own against the Dodgers, especially when one considers just how well Gonzalez has performance away from home.
Then again, the Dodgers have every reason to be confident. After all, when one looks at all the times the Dodgers have played the Nationals, Washington has rarely come out ahead. In fact, the last sixteen matchups have seen the Dodgers walk away with a 12-4 record.
Los Angeles has earned the right to get a little cocky about their chances, and the Nationals have every reason to worry. The Dodgers will, no doubt, look to Hyun-Jin Ryu to make an example out of the Dodgers.
Ryu has been performing very well in recent games. And he also seems to perform really well at home, which is good because Washington will be going to the Dodgers’ home ground for the Monday game.
The Dodgers are probably going to continue their dominant streak against the Nationals; though, a surprise upset could still shake things up.
Game Odds
Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Washington Nationals -1½+150
Los Angeles Dodgers+1½-170
7½ O+110 / U-130
Washington Nationals -120
Los Angeles Dodgers +100

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB | Tagged: Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, Washington Nationals |

Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images
The Washington Nationals have had enough of Nyjer Morgan and sent it packing. Morgan, who had 34 stolen bases in a tumultuous year with the Nats, gets new life with the Milwaukee Brewers. Morgan has 76 stolen bases in the past two years and is a career .283  hitter. He will likely take over in center field for Carlos Gomez, who also  has great speed, but is a career .246 hitter. Gomez has more trouble making contact, striking out every 4.2 at bats.  Morgan strikes out every 5.8 at bats.Rick Ankiel, who will play center field for the Nationals gets a small bump, but he’s likely on useful in N.L. Only leagues. If you’re looking for cheap steals, Nyjer Morgan could be your guy.

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In Spanish, the word Espinosa means thorny. A rose is thorny. Danny Espinosa is much like a rose. He can be a thing or beauty for his fantasy owners, or he can be downright painful.
Espinosa hit .214 in his brief taste with the Nationals last year, picking up 22 hits in 103 at bats. Of those 22 hits, half of them went for extra bases (four doubles, a triple, six home runs) to give him a solid .723 OPS. He also struck out thirty times. That’s a strikeout every 3.4 at bats. He also was caught stealing in both of his attempts. It seems his cup of coffee was more about the thorn than the rose.
He has potential though. The California native hit .303 in his three years at Long Beach State and was selected in the third round with the 87th overall pick by the Nationals. He displayed a nice power/speed combo for Single-A+ Potomoc with 18 HRs and 29 SBs in 2009. His jump to Double-A Harrisburg was smooth as he hit 18 HRs again with 20 SBs. Espinosa then had 28 hits in 95 at bats for Triple-A Syracuse, before getting the call to the bigs.
Espinosa should have no trouble beginning the season as the Nationals’ starting second basemen. He should form a double-play combo with Ian Desmond for many years to come. He’s not a player to consider as a starting fantasy second baseman, but he could provide bench depth or be used in the middle infielder slot in deeper leagues. His average draft position, according to Mock Draft Central, is 331. Odds are he’ll go undrafted in your league. That’s fine. Just keep an eye on him. If he starts off hot, he could be a sneaky power source.

Also check out:

(Photo: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)


Stephen Strasburg was surrounded by more hype than any player in baseball history. To say he lived up to the hype would be a lie. He actually looked underrated today toying with the Pirates. Granted it wasn’t the Phillies or Yankees, but he struck out 14 of the 24 batters he faced.


Strasburg gave up 2 runs on 4 hits in 7 innings to win his major league debut. His only mistake was a two-run homer run yielded to Delwyn Young. Strasmus is a holiday that will be celebrated for years to come in DC.


With Stephen Strasburg set to make his anticipated debut tomorrow, I figured I’d throw a fun question out there. Who will finish the season with more wins…Matt Cain or Stephen Strasburg?


Cain has a four win lead, but has notoriously eluded wins despite having solid peripherals. He averaged just 10.5 wins from 2006-2009 despite also averaging 174.8 strikeouts, a 3.60 ERA, and a 1.27 WHIP. On the year Cain is 4-4 with a 2.36 and a 1.00 WHIP.


Meanwhile Strasburg, who has two winnable games this week against Pittsburgh and Cleveland, has been untouchable at every level. He was 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 12 Ks in 9 spring innings. He was 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP, and 27 Ks in 22 innings for Double-A Harrisburg and 4-1 with a 1.08 ERA, a 0.75 WHIP, and 38 Ks in 33-1/3 innings for Triple-A Syracuse.


Images courtesy of Icon SMI

Carlos Santana missed some time with a minor knee injury, but he’s back at it.  Through 15 games for Triple-A Columbus Santana is 17 for 51 (.333) with 10 runs, 4 doubles, 5 HRs, 16 RBIs, 2 SBs, and 11 walks. His on-base percentage is .452, his slugging percentage is .706, and his OPS is 1.157.

With Lou Marson hitting .088 (3 for 34) and Mike Redmond (soon to be 39) better suited for a back-up role (and mentor), Santana could get his call before long.

Aroldis Chapman continues to impress for Triple-A Louisville. Through three starts he’s 1-1 with a 0.60 ERA and 18 Ks in 15 innings. It’s not all rose for Chapman though. He also has 10 walks so far. He’ll have to work out his control issues before the Reds call upon him.

Stephen Strasburg does not share that problem. In 12-1/3 innings for Double-A Harrisburg he has surrendered just 3 Walks in 12-1/3 innings. He’s racked up 17 Ks already to go with his 2-0 record, 0.73 ERA, and 0.811 WHIP. I expect Strasburg will test the Triple-A waters before the Nationals give him the call. They do not want to rush their prized prospect. Plus, his clock doesn’t start.

Carlos Santana is killing it for Triple-A Columbus. In four games Santana is 7 for 16 (.438) with 6 runs, 2 doubles, 4 HRs, 8 RBIs, and 2 walks. His on-base percentage is .500, his slugging percentage 1.313, and his OPS a ridiculous 1.813. He has 21 total bases in four games. If he continues to rake like this, he’ll be getting a call sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile Aroldis Chapman was impressive in his debut for Triple-A Louisville. He went 4-2/3 innings allowing one run while striking out nine. In spring training Chapman was 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA. He had 15 Ks in 10-2/3 innings.

Chapman isn’t the only pitcher on the fast track. Stephen Strasburg shined this spring for the Nationals going 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA. He had 12 Ks in 9 Innings. In his debut for Double-A Harrisburg Strasburg allowed one earned run (plus 3 unearned) in five innings to pick up the victory. He struck out 8 while walking 2.

It’s just a matter of time before these three get their call.

Image courtesy of Icon SMI

It’s easy to overlook Guzman. After all, he could play shortstop for the Nationals this year, or if they feel Ian Desmond is ready, he could play second base. Besides, he’s never scored 90 runs in a season, has little to no power, and is a far cry from the player that had 53 SBs in 2000 & 2001 for the Twins.

That doesn’t mean that Guzman doesn’t hold any fantasy value this year. After a horrific debut with the Nationals in 2005 that saw him bat just .219, Guzman has been solid for Washington hitting .305 with 182 runs, 17 HRs, 121 RBIs, and 12 SBs in 1284 ABs. 

While those aren’t great numbers, they aren’t bad bench numbers. If he gains 2B eligibility, his value is even greater. At 32 (in March) he isn’t going to wow you with a breakout year, but he is a reliable source to bolster your average late in the draft. 

Prediction:  .305, 70 runs, 7 HRs, 55 RBIs, 5 SBs

Past profiles:
Arizona Diamondbacks:  Brandon Webb
Atlanta Braves:  Yunel Escobar
Baltimore Orioles:  Adam Jones
Boston Red Sox:  Clay Buchholz
Chicago Cubs:  Geovany Soto
Chicago White Sox:  Jake Peavy
Cincinnati Reds:  Joey Votto
Cleveland Indians:  Grady Sizemore
Colorado Rockies:  Ubaldo Jimenez
Detroit Tigers:  Miguel Cabrera
Florida Marlins:  Cameron Maybin
Houston Astros:  Lance Berkman
Kansas City Royals:  Billy Butler
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim:  Howie Kendrick
Los Angeles Dodgers:  James Loney
Milwaukee Brewers:  Corey Hart
Minnesota Twins:  Joe Nathan
New York Mets:  Jason Bay
New York Yankees:  Robinson Cano
Oakland A’s:  Kevin Kouzmanoff
Philadelphia Phillies:  Jimmy Rollins
Pittsburgh Pirates:  Octavio Dotel
San Diego Padres:  Everth Cabrera
San Francisco Giants:  Barry Zito
Seattle Mariners:  Franklin Gutierrez
St. Louis Cardinals:  Colby Rasmus
Tampa Bay Rays:  David Price
Texas Rangers:  Chris Davis
Toronto Blue Jays:  Brett Wallace

Now an early look at the NL East.

1.  Will Tommy Hanson lead the Braves in Wins?
There is a decent chance he does. Jair Jurrjens pitched about as well as you can imagine last year and only managed to win 14 games. Tim Hudson always has question marks. Derek Lowe hasn’t won 16 games since 2006. That leave Hanson who won 11 in 21 starts. He stumbled a bit in July (1-2, 3.94 ERA), but rebounded nicely to finish the year off.

2.  Can Billy Wagner hold up?
He sure looked good for Boston last year. He had good velocity. He’s getting up there in age, but I believe the lefty could put together a 30 save season.

3.  Will Ricky Nolasco bounce back?
Nolasco was high on everyone’s list going into last year after his 15-8, 3.52 ERA, 1.10 WHIP in 2008. Sure, his ERA bloated to 5.06, but his WHIP was a very respectable 1.25. What’s more is he had a better strikout ratio (9.49 K/9 compared to 7.88). Plus, he was 11-4 with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP from June through the end of the year. Hopefully his first half struggles and overall numbers let him slide in your drafts making him a great value in 2010.

4.  Will Leo Nunez hold on to the Closer gig?
It’s his job to lose, but do note that he blew seven of his 33 save opportunites (21 percent). He was even worse in December with three blown saves in 11 chances with a 6.10 ERA.

5.  Is Citi Field cursed?
I can’t recall a team going through as many injuries at the Mets did last year. Reyes, Wright (see where he ranks among 2010 Third Basemen), Johan, Beltran, the list goes on and on. Seriously though, I think the offense will be fine. Jason Bay adds his big bat to an already impressive lineup (when healthy). The trouble is their pitching. I don’t see them having enough starting pitching to compete with Atlanta or Philadelphia.

6. Will Cole Hamels return to form?
I can’t think of a more important question for the Phillies. I think the role of Superman in the postseason may have got to his head a bit. He received a lot of negative attention when he said he couldn’t wait until the season was over. I didn’t take it as him quitting rather the year took a toll on him. I think he’ll work hard to get back to the level he and his fantasy owners have grown accustomed to. Despite his struggles, he did manage to produce a decent ERA (4.32) and a solid WHIP (1.29). He doesn’t have the pressure of being the ace of the staff anymore either.

7.  Will Jayson Werth continue to be a fantasy beast?
After a solid 2008 season, Werth’s numbers exploded last year as he scored 98 runs, hit 36 HRs, and had 99 RBIs. He matched his 2008 SB total with 20. He’ll turn 31 early in the year, and I see no reason he can’t continue to produce at a high level, especially in that lineup.

8.  Should you draft Stephen Strasburg?
Only in deep keeper leagues. He means too much to the future of the Nationals for them to rush him along. If you’re in a league with three or four keepers, he won’t be worth hanging onto just yet. Be patient with him, like the Nationals will be.

9.  Will Nyjer Morgan continue to produce?
I don’t see why not. He was solid for Pittsburgh before being dealt to Washington, where he was even better. He hit .351 with 35 runs and 24 SBs in 49 games with the Nationals.


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