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Mark Chamberlin and Scott Martin spacer
The Sharks Breakdown the NL East


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Washington Nationals

Mark's Take

Scott's Take

Lineup

1) Nyjer Morgan

2) Ian Desmond – A gamble here, but the lack of a true No. 2 hitter and a strong finish to 2010 is reason for optimism.

3) Ryan Zimmerman

4) Jayson Werth

5) Adam LaRoche

6) Danny Espinosa

7) Roger Bernadina – Really? The Nationals can’t get Bryce Harper up soon enough!

8) Wilson Ramos – I give the Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez experiment three weeks.

9) Pitcher

Lineup

1) Nyjer Morgan

2) Ian Desmond

3) Ryan Zimmerman

4) Jayson Werth

5) Adam LaRoche

6) Roger Bernadina

7) Danny Espinosa

8) Wilson Ramos

9) Pitcher

I invested in Morgan in a dynasty league last year. That was one of the worst mistakes in my years of playing fantasy ball. I have a feeling that Bernadina will be there soon, with Mike Morse taking over for Bernadina. The middle of the lineup isn’t half bad, and I truly like Espinosa’s upside.

Rotation

1) Tom Gorzelanny

2) Jordan Zimmermann

3) John Lannan

4) Livan Hernandez

5) Jason Marquis

DL - Stephen Strasburg. His elbow is the difference between them battling for third and waiting one more year.

The problem on this team right now is that Zimmermann is a year out from possibly being a front-end starter and he’s the only guy here that’s any better than a No. 4. After Strasburg returns, Harper should be ready and all they’ll be missing is another starting arm (A.J. Cole anyone?) and they’ll be in contention.

Rotation

1) Jordan Zimmermann

2) Livan Hernandez

3) Tom Gorzelanny

4) John Lannan

5) Jason Marquis

Chien-Ming Wang is an option here too, but the reports I’ve read this spring are far from favorable. Without Strasburg here, the Nationals are short a true No. 1. Zimmermann is a stud in waiting, but may need another year to get there.

Bullpen

Closer - Drew Storen

R - Tyler Clippard

L - Sean Burnett

R - Todd Coffey

L - Ross Detwiler

R - Chien-Ming Wang

R - Garrett Mock – Between him and Wang there are a couple of adequate alternatives to fill the back end of the rotation, as necessary.

Bullpen

Closer - Drew Storen

P - Tyler Clippard

P - Sean Burnett

P - Todd Coffey

P - Ross Detweiler

P - Garrett Mock

P - Doug Slaten

OK, this is where I don’t like this team. I really like Storen, and Clippard’s been relatively good-but the rest is unimpressive.

Most overrated player

Nyjer Morgan. There are better ‘steals only’ bets to make. Morgan often struggles to make it through the season.

Most underrated player

Ian Desmond. The potential for the No. 2 spot in the lineup bumps him over several other over looked players on this roster like Danny Espinosa, Wilson Ramos, Jordan Zimmermann (2012 breakout), etc.

5 Questions

1) What does the rotation have to do to keep this team in contention? More than they’re capable of. Jordan Zimmermann’s still coming off injury, Stephen Strasburg might not contribute until 2012, Tom Gorzelanny, Jason Marquis and John Lannan are back of the rotation guys, and Livan Hernandez used all of his luck in early 2010.

2) Is there a way for this team to stay competitive without strong performances from the rotation? Yes, but the question marks in the lineup must be answered favorably (and early) and the bullpen needs to exceed expectations.

3) Is Drew Storen the answer in the ninth inning? Yes, he’s ready to dominate the end of games, which will have a domino effect on the rest of the pen.

4) How much impact will the offseason acquisitions have on the club? Not enough to keep pace with the top of the division, but Jayson Werth’s signing is going to help in future years and Adam LaRoche was a necessity given the departure of Adam Dunn and no real viable alternatives available without giving up their farm system.

5) What prospects are due to breakthrough in 2011? In the future? You all know Bryce Harper, but Derek Norris, A.J. Cole and Sammy Solis will be the difference between catching up to the rest of the National League East and not quite getting over the hump.

What this team needs to win

Voodoo on Stephen Strasburg’s arm. This team could be ready to battle in 2012 though.

Most overrated player

Tough to see one. I guess I’d have to say Nyjer Morgan. There are cheaper sources of 30-plus steals that won’t dismantle your team. Of course, I’m a bit biased. He could bounce back, but I’m not buying it.

Most underrated player

Ian Desmond. Doesn’t get anywhere near as much love as he should. You could do much, much worse than him as your middle infielder.

5 Questions

1) Everyone is touting the Nationals as a team to watch for in the future, but they still haven’t grown. Are they going to take that step this year? Tough to do with the face of the franchise out for the year (likely). Still, this team has made strides in the right direction and is really putting together a nice foundation.

 

2) Nice foundation, like a minor league system? I wouldn’t call it a great system, but there’s a lot to like about their players down on the farm. A few guys will be ready to contribute by early next season. I think 2012 will be pretty bright.

 

3) Can Jordan Zimmermann carry the pitching staff? He has all of the tools to be a top-of-the-rotation starter, but it’s tough to put this much stock in him this season. He’ll be a nice sleeper pick for fantasy leagues, but not a true ace in the real world. Next year, look out.

 

4) How much will the loss of Adam Dunn impact this lineup?   Actually, I don’t think it’ll be that bad. The signings of Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche make up for it in my book and eliminate holes in the rest of the lineup. Like I said, there’s a lot to be hopeful for.

 

5) Who do you expect to step up from this offense? I truly like Danny Espinosa. He’ll be ready and available for you very late and is fully capable of going for 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases. Just keep in mind he’ll strikeout a billion times and hit .235.

What this team needs to win

Strasburg’s surgery to go well, and for them to continue to make strides. This year won’t be their year. Watch out in 2012 and 2013.

 



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