2021 Washington Nationals Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
The Washington Nationals have won the NL East three times in the last seven years. And in each of those years, they failed to make it out of the National League Divisional series. So how did they counter that? Well, in 2019, the Nationals finished second in the NL East, and garnered a wild-card spot. They proceeded to beat the Brewers, Dodgers, Cardinals and Astros on route to the franchises’ first World Series title. To say the Nationals suffered from a World Series hangover would be an understatement.
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The Nationals finished last season with a record or 26-34, which was good enough for fourth in the NL East. To say they need to have a bounce-back season would be an understatement for a team that possesses as much talent as they do up and down the roster.
The Nationals kick off the regular season on April 1 with a six-game homestand that sees the Mets coming to town for three followed by the Braves. From there, the Nationals head west for three games with the Dodgers then to St. Louis for a three-game set with the Cardinals. The Nationals currently sit at +4000 to win the World Series, +2500 to win the NL Pennant and +625 to win the NL East. Their season win total sits at 84.5.
Nationals 2021 Projected Lineup
In hopes of bolstering the lineup top to bottom, the Nationals acquired Josh Bell from the Pirates and Kyle Schwarber from the Cubs. Those two additions will be vital to the Nationals’ cause to get back into relevancy and push for a playoff spot this season.
As of writing this, the projected lineup looks like this:
- Trea Turner
- Juan Soto
- Josh Bell
- Kyle Schwarber
- Starlin Castro
- Yan Gomes
- Victor Robles
- Carter Kieboom
- Pitchers Spot
Once upon a time, not to long ago, this was Bryce Harper’s team and there was no questioning it. Since he’s left, the team is desperately looking for someone to step up into that alpha role and lead the team by example. The top four guys in this batting order are all major candidates to do that as they possess speed, power and just high baseball IQ in general.
Trea Turner is the table setter as he’s got speed to burn and a solid OBP. He managed to knock out 12 home runs and steal 12 bases in last year’s shortened season. However, the prior season he hit 19 and stole 35 with an average of just under .300. If he can get on base, guys like Soto, Bell and Schwarber can feast. In the last full season (2019), the trio hit 34, 37 and 38 homeruns, respectively. The projections for this season have them hitting 39, 28, 32, but it wouldn’t shock me to see them exceed those numbers.
Behind them, and deeper down the lineup, guys like Castro and Gomes are going to be relied upon to protect the hitters in front of them by swinging the bat well. If they turn into an automatic out for the opposition, pitchers will likely tread lightly around the three and four hitters in hopes of getting out of the inning with Castro and Gomes. Robles and Kieboom will be relied upon to flip the lineup over as often as possible and start possible big innings.
Nationals 2021 Projected Rotation and Closer
On paper, the Nationals’ rotation looks as deep and as fearsome as ever with the likes of Strasburg, Scherzer, Lester, and Corbin doing the heavy lifting. However, the biggest concern I have is the injury bug that seems to plague this pitching staff on a consistent basis.
Strasburg was one of the best pitchers in the game until injuries screwed up his entire career. He started just two games last year and posted a 10.52 ERA. The year prior, Strasburg was solid, starting 33 games and posting a record of 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA. That Nationals are going to need another year like that if they want to contend.
His teammate and fellow ace-pitcher, Scherzer, won back-to-back NL Cy Young awards in 2016 and 2017. Scherzer has electric stuff and he’s looking for a bounce-back season after last year’s campaign where he went just 5-4 with a 3.74 ERA. That was the first time his era was above 3.00 since the 2014 season.
Behind those two, Corbin and Lester are in desperate need of bounce-back seasons, while Joe Ross remains a question mark.
The bullpen, which was once a strong point, is very weak this year considering the roster. Brad Hand will be given the closing duties as he saved 16 games for Cleveland last year while posting a 2.16 ERA. The middle inning guys and set-up men are still a work in progress.
Nationals 2021 Season Prediction
FanGraphs projects the Nationals to finish with a record of 82-80, which would not be good enough for a playoff spot. I don’t believe the Nationals can be as bad as they were last season. And if you look at the lineup, they have the potential to put up a ton of runs. If the rotation can stay healthy and the bullpen limits the amount of blown games for around five or six, then the Nationals might have something cooking up in D.C. I’d take the over.
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