Welcome to the 2020 Razzball Team Previews! (Our “2020” comes with more Jay and less Barbara Walters!) (That joke is probably older than you!) Sorry for all the parentheses and exclamation points, I just get so excited when I think about Barbara Walters, and don’t even get me started on Hugh Downs… Regardless, here, you’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season, Razz-style. So while you’re stretching your lats and relearning calculus to get that upper hand on your fantasy peers, why not also check out what the World Champion Nationals have in store for you and your fantasy team?
Final Record: 93-69 (2nd)
Runs Scored: 873 (2nd)
Runs Against: 724 (5th)
SB: 116 (1st)
ERA: 4.27 (8th)
Saves: 40 (9th)
Strikeouts: 1,511 (4th)
Strengths – I could go a few directions here, but I think the most obvious answer is the rotation. Any staff that’s anchored by Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin is going to be a strength. There are some obvious question marks with Aníbal Sánchez‘s age and growing control issues, and Joe Ross, who had an increase in velocity late last season, but remains a injury-risk. As an added note, Sean Doolittle, Will Harris and Wander Suero will look to help Daniel Hudson make this bullpen a strength, but it’s not a sure bet.
Weaknesses – Offense was the omnipresent strength of this team last year, but 2020 offers a new challenge for a team that had already brunted the departure of Bryce Harper. In reality, you’d think a team that just won the World Series wouldn’t have a ton of holes to fill, but if there’s a guy who can pinpoint which holes to fill, probably don’t ask me. (That’s what she said.) With the loss of Anthony Rendon, the lineup will have an adjustment period with Eric Thames and Starlin Castro trying to pick up the slack as best they can, but when Howie Kendrick is the best option to platoon with Thames, there could be some issues. True, Juan Soto and his gaudy emergence can make up some of these issues, but until Carter Kieboom arrives, you’re looking at a lineup that will have a hard time repeating last season’s team totals, especially at the infield positions not manned by Turner.
|OF||Michael A. Taylor||35||.236||4||16||15||5||.296||.390||.686|
The Sleeper – Difficult to say with so many platoons, I mean, if I could, I would probably not mind having a Erúbal Thamrera on my team, but I also recognize that this combination is not possible without dark wizardry. So I’d most likely focus on Joe Ross. As mentioned, there is an injury-risk here, but it’s manageable based on the price of buying. And while he’s not the safest bet to produce either, he will get the opportunity to do so. With both Ross and Austin Voth out of options and the Nationals inclination to keep both, clearly the former is better suited for the bullpen and Spring Training should bear that out.The Pick – If it isn’t Juan Soto, or Max Scherzer, or Stephen Strasburg, or even Patrick Corbin, I wouldn’t blame you for not knowing who to grab next. The next best thing by default is probably Victor Robles. The K% is always worrisome, but he’s shown amazing physical attributes, bringing speed, a potentially strong hit tool, all with power and a chance to anchor the top of the lineup.
The Prospect – Carter Kieboom is the obvious answer here, and I guess if I want to dig a little deeper, clearly Luis Garcia deserves a mention (even though he’s the third best SS in this organization), but I just can’t help shake the feeling that Raudy Read has a better path to help your team this season. While all of his projections seem average at best, the hit tool remains intriguing (especially against lefties) despite a 2018 PED suspension, and teams always value catchers who can provide depth, fresh knees, and not be an automatic out every at-bat. True, the value may be middling, but that’s only because this system is.
Outlook – What’s there to say about a team that just won a championship? You’d have to say, yeah, they can’t be as good as last year, but do they have to be? The offense might be a little worse, the pitching might be a little better. And while they may not win another ring this year, an incredible feat for any team in any sport, I’m confident that another post-season run is in the cards, and there are plenty of fantasy assets that can help your team as well.
Jay is a longtime Razzball everything who consumes an egregious amount of Makers Mark as a vehicle to gain wisdom and augment his natural glow. Living in the D.C. area, he also likes spending time visiting the local parks and feeding lettuce to any turtles he encounters, including Mitch McConnell. You can follow him @jaywrong, or read his rarely (like never) updated blog Desultory Thoughts of a Longfellow.