New York Mets News

New York Mets biggest competition for a playoff spot this season

By Joseph Romano
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 05: Ball and gloves of the New York Mets sit in the dugout before a game against the Washington Nationals at Digital Domain Park on March 5, 2012 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The Nationals defeated the Mets 3-1. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 05: Ball and gloves of the New York Mets sit in the dugout before a game against the Washington Nationals at Digital Domain Park on March 5, 2012 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The Nationals defeated the Mets 3-1. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images) /
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WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 25: Starting pitcher Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals throws a first inning pitch against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on September 25, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Washington Nationals

Lineup

  1. Adam Eaton RF
  2. Trea Turner SS
  3. Anthony Rendon 3B
  4. Juan Soto LF
  5. Ryan Zimmermann 1B
  6. Brian Dozier 2B
  7. Victor Robles CF
  8. Yan Gomes C

Rotation

  1. Max Scherzer
  2. Stephen Strasburg
  3. Patrick Corbin
  4. Anibal Sanchez
  5. Jeremy Hellickson

An even more fearsome team poses a greater threat to the Mets’ season. That threat lies in the nation’s capital with the Nationals. They possess both a great lineup and a terror-inducing rotation, which can easily match up with that of the Mets.

The loss of Bryce Harper will be felt, however, a vacancy creates an opportunity and the candidates to fill it are more than able. Juan Soto and Adam Eaton were the other components of that outfield last season with Bryce Harper. Yet, this season their role is bound to expand and the prospective role of Victor Robles will add another element of athleticism to the mix.

This offseason was fruitful in many ways, including adding an impactful starting pitcher along with the value signings of Brian Dozier, Yan Gomes, and Kurt Suzuki. Patrick Corbin is obviously the offseason prize for the Nats.

The left-hander is a top of the rotation arm who, after a prolonged recovery from Tommy John surgery, demonstrated his true worth last season. Corbin mixes five pitches well – a slider, sinker, four-seam fastball, curveball, and change-up. The slider and sinker are his principle pitches and he uses change-up sparingly.

Anibal Sanchez and Jeremy Hellickson will round out a rotation with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg at the top. The bullpen lacks depth but has a strong core of Kyle Barraclough, Trevor Rosenthal, and Sean Doolittle. Tony Sipp, a recent addition, adds another left-handed arm to the mix.

There are no real weak points to the Nationals lineup because a productive player fills out each position. They have some of the best speed in the league with Adam Eaton, Trea Turner, and Victor Robles and power in Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmermann, and Juan Soto. They even have a bench rife with quality major league players, such as Howie Kendrick, Matt Adams, and Kurt Suzuki.

An important question to be asked of Dave Martinez‘s club is why they should reach the postseason after the departure of Bryce Harper. Well, a potential answer is that Harper’s departure balances the lineup well. Also, it allowed for money to be spent on the relative vacancies at catcher and second base as well as greatly improving the rotation.

There is no guarantee that the Nats will succeed, but evidence points to this being a strong possibility. Thus the Mets must make the most of their hed to head matchups, especially those in the first weeks of the season.

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