Washington Nationals 2019 Fantasy Projections – Don't Sleep on DC
When your best player suddenly packs up his locker and moves over to a divisional rival, you have to figure things can't be looking up. That is what happened to the Washington Nationals. There wasn't much speculation Bryce Harper would leave the nation's capital, but shifting over to Philadelphia is like a double-edged sword.
Not only is the heart of the National's order gone, he'll be on a team that's a prime candidate to possibly win the division. Washington still has two of the best hurlers in baseball, plus they added a third top-level pitcher, so don't feel too bad for the Nationals.
Washington Nationals 2018 Recap
Washington's 2018 season was deemed a total failure because of a failure to live up to expectations. The defending NL East champs came into the season as projected favorites again. The problem wasn't so much the failure of the Nationals, but the earlier-than-expected rise of Atlanta and Philadelphia.
Washington finished 82-80, but really didn't present much a challenge to the Braves or for the second wildcard spot. They finished 8 and 8½ games out of both of those playoff spots respectfully. They finished top-10 in both overall hitting and pitching, but just like their average record, they produced average results.
2019 Fantasy Pitchers Projections – The Best of the Washington Pitchers
When you have the best pitcher in baseball on your roster, your fantasy prospects are excellent. When you have two, maybe three of the better pitchers in the game as well, your prospects balloon. For all the sympathy reserved for the Nationals after losing Harper, they may be more formidable than some expect.
They will follow Max Scherzer with Stephen Strasburg and then top that off with Patrick Corbin. On the points during the year when manager Dave Martinez can manipulate his starters for a three-game series, that makes for tough sledding for opposing bats.
After the big three, things get a little more interesting in DC. Anibal Sanchez and Jeremy Hellickson bring up the rear in the National's five man rotation. They are huge question marks to say the least. One huge area of strength behind all five starting pitchers is a tremendous bullpen.
Three power arms, Sean Doolittle, Trevor Rosenthal and Kyle Barraclough, all have ninth inning stuff. Doolittle is one of the most coveted fantasy relievers in baseball. The other two even further support Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin as front line starters.
Max Scherzer SP – Hands down the top pitcher in fantasy baseball. A spot once reserved for the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Scherzer is so dominant he is easily viewed as the earliest pitcher off any draft board.
He posts incredible strikeout totals, and hasn't had an ERA over 3.00, or a WHIP over 1.00 for the last three seasons. Scherzer has topped 200 innings for six consecutive seasons, and is one of the few pitchers in baseball who have a decent chance at a complete game.
Stephen Strasburg SP – Once the darling of the National's organization, injuries have proven to be bumps in an otherwise excellent young career. He is not Scherzer-like, but he still produces some of the best fantasy numbers in baseball.
Since his 215 inning season in 2014, Washington has appeared prone to watching his inning total. This is clearly indicated by the two complete games he has in his whole career. Strasburg has number-one ability from the number-two spot in the rotation.
Patrick Corbin SP – Corbin comes over from Arizona after an outstanding 2018 in Phoenix. He threw over 200 innings with close to 250 strikeouts. The problem with Corbin has been an inability to add wins to his fantasy value.
Even though he is slotted at number three on the Washington staff, he is actually ranked one spot higher than Strasburg on some boards. To be quite honest, every one of the Washington top-three starters are clearly top-tier fantasy aces.
2019 Fantasy Hitter Projections – The Best Bats in DC
Gone from DC is Washington's best batter. But, don't immediately feel sorry for the Nationals as a hitting team. They added a couple key cogs to the middle of their order. So, while they will not have Bryce Harper's stellar bat in the lineup, they have a team all too capable of scoring runs.
Juan Soto is a superstar. He is a must-own player in any format. Trea Turner is the highest rated shortstop on many fantasy charts, and that speaks volumes of his potential. With third baseman Anthony Rendon, this trio makes up three very fantasy relevant hitters.
How relevant will depend on the performance of the remaining hitters in the lineup. Adam Eaton will leadoff and his ability to get on base will be critical for Washington to produce runs. Ryan Zimmerman and Brian Dozier will follow Turner, Rendon and Soto in the five and six spots in the order.
If both of these players hit at or above their potential, then the Washington offense will go from potentially above average to very imposing. Yan Gomes comes over from Cleveland to potentially add some pop at the catcher position as well.
Juan Soto OF – Not only is Soto a highly-prized player on normal fantasy lists, he is one of the top three ranked prospects for dynasty leagues. His 22 home runs and 70 RBIs during his rookie season only touch the surface of his immense potential.
His race through the minor leagues didn't show a huge relevance towards a lot of power, but his .362 batting average stamps him for potential greatness. The home run totals have improved as he has matured. It cannot be overlooked that he was only 18 years old when he played his first minor league game in 2016.
Trea Turner SS – Turner ranks ahead of names like Lindor and Machado on fantasy lists. That by itself says volumes about his potential. In his first full season, Turner came close to 20 home runs while swiping 43 bases.
It's in the stolen base department that he may improve even more. During his 2017 season he stole three more bases in 64 fewer games. Playing all 162 games in 2018, Turner has answered some question about his durability. Draft Turner with confidence and enjoy the production.
Anthony Rendon 3B – Not quite as coveted a commodity as Turner or Soto, Rendon is still a clear cut starter on a fantasy team. He has hit over 20 home runs three years running, and has improved his contact rate to hit over .300 the past two seasons.
Rendon has come close or surpassed 40 doubles in each of his full seasons, and should hover close to 100 RBIs as well. While 2018 had only a pair of stolen bases, he has shown potential to swipe an occasional base in the past.
Fantasy Rank for the Washington Nationals
Anytime you have the best pitcher in baseball your fantasy value as a team will be strong. Washington has three of the best pitchers in baseball, so they may be the top team from a fantasy perspective.
Add to that the idea of a must-own, dynasty type outfielder with the highest ranked shortstop, and you add hitter value as well. If the players already fantasy worthy on Washington prove worth their ranking, the real team may be one of 2019's biggest surprises.
The Bottom Line for the Washington Nationals
Washington may take a little time to gel as a team. They have an offense that will depend on everyone playing up to their potential, but if they do, they'll be able to score. The problem for the opposition will be that it will be next to impossible at times to score on Washington. Atlanta and Philadelphia are getting most of the attention in the NL East, but don't sleep on DC.