MLB 2013 Preview: Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals have unfinished business from 2012 Photo: Nationals' Bryce Harper/AP Matt Slocum

LOS ANGELES, March 20, 2013 — The Washington Nationals should be good enough to finish first again in 2013 and bring Stephen Strasburg with them to the playoffs this time. The Braves will give them a run for their money, but as long as the question mark that is a possible Gio Gonzalez 50-game suspension never comes to fruition, they will probably be fine.

Last year, Stephen Strasburg was shut down in September when he reached his innings limit after having Tommy John surgery. Strasburg has no limits this year and will be a Cy Young contender. Jordan Zimmerman and Gio Gonzalez are also very good pitchers.

SEE RELATED: Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg Poised For Huge Season

The Nationals have one of the best rotations in all of baseball. Their bullpen too is one of the best in the game with the addition of Rafael Soriano as their closer.

On offense, they added a much needed leadoff hitter in Denard Span. They had to make a choice of either keeping slugger Michael Morse or trading him and re-signing veteran Adam LaRoche. They chose the latter.

Stephen Strasburg is ready to dominate/AP Alex Brandon

Projected payroll: $111,983,929

Notable Players Out: LF Michael Morse, RHP Edwin Jackson, LHP John Lannan, LHP Sean Burnett, LHP Tom Gorzelanny, LHP Mike Gonzalez

Notable Players In: CF Denard Span, RHP Dan Haren, RHP Rafael Soriano

Prospect Watch: 3B Anthony Rendon and RHP Nathan Karns

Highlight Hitter: LF Bryce Harper (ZiPS 2013 Projections: .274/.348/.486 26 HR?89 R/70 RBI/21 SB)

Highlight Pitcher: RHP Stephen Strasburg (ZiPS 2013 Projections: 11-4, 2.69 ERA, 10.75 K/9, 137.3 IP)

Projected Lineup: C Kurt Suzuki, 1B Adam LaRoche, 2B Danny Espinosa, 3B Ryan Zimmerman, SS Ian Desmond, LF Bryce Harper, CH Denard Span, RF Jayson Werth

Projected Rotation: RHP Stephen Strasburg, LHP Gio Gonzalez, RHP Jordan Zimmerman, RHP Dan Haren, LHP Ross Detwiler

Projected Closer: RHP Rafael Soriano

Manager: Davey Johnson

Projected 2013 Finish in NL East: 1. Washington Nationals  2. Atlanta Braves  3. Philadelphia Phillies  4. New York Mets  5. Miami Marlins

Kevin J. Wells writes about Major League Baseball and punk rock music.  Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Kevin J Wells

Kevin J. Wells was born and raised in the Los Angeles area in a town called Montrose.  He currently plays guitar for and is a founding member of the Los Angeles punk rock band Emmer Effer.  He has worked in a number of different career fields including Behavioral Therapy, Commodities, Insurance, and most recently a food cart in Portland, OR. Kevin has been both a sports and entertainment columnist and editor for The Washington Times Communities since January 2013.

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