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6 Nationals

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CONTENDERS

SCOUT'S TAKE

KEY QUESTION

Who will they be post-Bryce Harper? They have two impact kids, Juan Soto and Víctor Robles, who could be the stars. When I saw Soto last year I told people that he's going to be better than Harper. We hear a lot about Vlad Guerrero Jr., but Soto's only four months older and has already made an impact.

UNDERRATED

Anthony Rendon has got a quiet approach, a great gap-to-gap damage guy. He's adjusted to playing third—another guy to step up with Harper gone. He'll be a free agent, and someone asked him about Scott Boras as his agent, and he said, 'Well, Boras works for me.' I love that. He wants to stay in Washington.

OVERRATED

Stephen Strasburg shows unhittable stuff some days and then you wonder if you're it's the same guy the next start. You always hoped a little bit of Max Scherzer would have rubbed off on him, but leopards don't change their spots.

LAST LICKS

Sitting next to Joe Maddon for 10 years doesn't make you smart. Dave Martinez got outmanaged a lot.... Trevor Rosenthal is throwing 99, a big addition to the bullpen.... Pitching gives them the edge over Philly, but the window's closing.

THE PAYOFF PITCH

EVEN AFTER losing Bryce Harper, the Nationals are still playoff contenders in the NL East, thanks to their front-line pitching talent, especially a star-laden rotation bolstered by free-agent pickup Patrick Corbin. Replacing Harper in the outfield, an undeniably daunting task, will be rookie Víctor Robles. Robles, who missed three months last season with a hyperextended left elbow, has already hit .277/.337/.506 in two brief stretches in the majors. At ages 20 and 21, he had a .373 OBP in the upper levels of the minors, with 25 steals in just 77 games. Robles is a top 10 prospect with the complete set of leadoff skills: speed, the ability to hit for average and good plate discipline. He also happens to be a plus defensive outfielder, a boon for a Washington team that, partly due to injuries, did a poor job of turning fly balls into outs last season.

OVER UNDER

89.5

Losing Bryce Harper hurts, but adding Patrick Corbin helps. Despite better health and full seasons from Juan Soto and Víctor Robles, the Nats will fall short of the postseason.

LINEUP

RF Adam Eaton

.301/.394 OBP/.411 SLG

SS Trea Turner

.271/19 HR/43 SB

3B Anthony Rendon

.308/24 HR/92 RBI

LF Juan Soto

.292/22 HR/.405 OBP

1B Ryan Zimmerman

.264/.337 OBP/.486 SLG

2B Brian Dozier

.215/21 HR/12 SB

C Yan Gomes

.266/.313 OBP/.449 SLG

CF Víctor Robles

.288/.348 OBP/.525 SLG

BENCH

C Kurt Suzuki

.271/.332 OBP/.444 SLG

1B/OF Matt Adams

.239/21 HR/.477 SLG

FANTASY BREAKOUT

Patrick Corbin's slider just keeps getting better. With plenty of run support in D.C., he'll be an elite pitcher.

ROTATION

RH Max Scherzer

18 W/2.53 ERA/.911 WHP

LH Patrick Corbin

11 W/3.15 ERA/1.05 WHP

RH Stephen Strasburg

10 W/3.74 ERA/10.8 K9

RH Aníbal Sánchez

7 W/2.83 ERA/1.08 WHP

BULLPEN

CL Sean Doolittle

25 SV/1.60 ERA/12 K9

RH Trevor Rosenthal

3.40 ERA/1.20 WHP/14.3 K9*

RH Kyle Barraclough

4.20 ERA/1.33 WHP/9.7 K9

MANAGER

Dave Martinez

*Stats from 2017