The Washington Nationals were the pick to represent the National League in the World Series at this time last year, but they never got going as they finished with a 86-76 record. The club went 32-16 in their last 48 games and had a chance at an NL Wild Card spot, but fell four games short to the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds.
All-star outfielder Bryce Harper crashed into the Turner Field wall at the end of April and did the same later in the season at Dodger Stadium, and dealt with nagging injuries for the entire season. Harper has continued to improve his defensive play and if he remains healthy he could spark the Nationals’ offense.
Two major additions for the Nationals are first-time manager Matt Williams and starter Doug Fister. Williams previously served as the first and third-base coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Fister was acquired from the Detroit Tigers for left-handed pitchers Ian Krol and Robbie Ray and utility player Steve Lombardozzi. An underrated addition to the club is Nate McLouth, whose basestealing off the bench and power could serve the Nationals outfield well. Harper has played every outfield position and has been moved around quiet bit, so McLouth should be able to come in and let Harper find his spot.
Nationals @ Cubs June 26-27-28
Cubs @ Nationals July 4-5-6