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.
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.
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
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