The Nationals are a tricky team to read. If their players play as they have in the past, they have a legitimate shot at winning the division. After all, they did win the World Series just two years ago. With a rotation featuring Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin, and Stephen Strasburg, their starting pitching should be very good. But will it be? They are all getting older and coming off of bad years or in Strasburg’s case, an injury. It’s hard to rely on them to be what they were.
To offset that, the Nationals will need their lineup and bullpen to exceed expectations. I’m not sure if that will happen. In their lineup, they do have some really good pieces. I think Juan Soto is the best pure hitter in the game, and the scary part is that he is only 22 years old and will haunt the Mets for years to come.
They also have Trea Turner at the top of their lineup to torment the Mets on the base paths, and Josh Bell to hopefully have a bounce-back year in the middle of their lineup.
Their bullpen is improved as well, as they stole Brad Hand from the Mets in free agency this offseason. The Nationals should be pretty good but are they good enough to win this division? I don’t think so.
They would need Jon Lester to regain his old Red Sox form, Josh Bell to be an all-star, and their three-headed monster in the rotation to be healthy and perform. Too much has to go perfectly for this team to be a playoff team in this division. I think they’ll be good, not great.