Gio Gonzalez had a roller coaster of a 2016 season, and it ended with his worst stats ever as a National. He ended with a 4.57 ERA, by far his worst during his tenure in DC. As a result, Gio found himself on the trade block during the offseason as the Nationals searched for upgrades in the bullpen and at catcher. In the end, Gonzalez stayed put in DC and he will try and turn things around in 2017 as he takes the mound for the first time this season.
Coming off of a disappointing 2015 spent shuttling between the bullpen and the starting rotation, it felt like Tanner Roark was the forgotten man in the Nationals’ 2016 rotation. All Roark went on to do was post the sixth-lowest ERA in baseball among qualified starting pitchers. Not bad for a guy who throws in the low 90s and was never a top prospect.
Opening Day is here, and the Nationals will hand the ball to Stephen Strasburg to kick off the 2017 season. After a series of starts and stops in his career, Strasburg is hoping 2017 is the year it all comes together.
After a solid career as an Oriole, Matt Wieters made the (usually not so) quick drive 95 to DC and will be donning the curly W in 2017. Wieters has some big shoes to fill as he steps in to take the place of Wilson Ramos. While Wieters is a consistent ball player, he won’t be able to replicate Ramos’ success.
Ryan Zimmerman was one of the worst everyday players in baseball in 2016. As a proud owner of a vintage Zimmerman “Natinals”-era shirsey, it pains me to admit that. But it was true. Yet 2016 is over and the 2017 season is right around the corner. Is there any hope that Zimmerman can turn things around?
Trea Turner might have been the most exciting story coming out of the 2016 season. Sure, Max Scherzer won a Cy Young award, but he’s expected to be one of the best pitchers in baseball year in and year out. The Nationals did make the playoffs, but by coming up short in the NLDS yet again, it’s not something many fans are celebrating. Turner, though, made a huge impact on the field in only 73 games in 2016 and incited a wave of enthusiasm for his upcoming 2017 season. But MLB history is full of one-year wonders, so is Turner destined for greatness in 2017 or has the bar been set too high?
While most players go through slumps and hot streaks during the season, Daniel Murphy just plain hit in 2016. He hit for average. He hit for power. He set the table. He was clutch. Though he was the Nats’ backup plan at second base before the 2016 season, he ended up being in the conversation for the National League MVP at its conclusion.
If Liam Neeson were a baseball player, he would be Jayson Werth. “What I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.” Sure, that might be Neeson talking to the criminals who have just kidnapped his daughter in Taken. But read that again and tell me that’s not what goes through Werth’s mind as he steps into the batter’s box? In Taken, Neeson’s character is a former spy, though on the surface he appears too old to still be on the top of his game. Throughout the movie, Neeson proves that though he may not impressive all facets of the spy game, he is smart enough to know what he still excels at and uses that to his advantage. Again, tell me that’s not Werth?
The Nationals’ biggest splash in the offseason was their trade for the underrated Adam Eaton. If that is somehow news to you, first: glad you could join us out from under your rock, and second: The Nats Blog has you covered with a full breakdown of the the details of the trade itself. As Opening Day creeps closer and closer, though, the focus shifts from the specifics of the trade to how the Nationals new outfielder will perform on the field.
March Madness is right around the corner, so you’ve probably seen the blind resume game once or twice by now. You know, the one where ESPN hides the team names and puts up a collection of stats that makes you think, “hm, maybe Northwest East State really does deserve to make the tournament over Villanova!” In the spirit of March Madness, let’s play a little baseball blind resume game.