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With football now behind us, America’s original past time is gearing up for its 2020 season as spring training is now just over one month away. The 2019 season was a historic one in our Nation’s Capitol, as their beloved Nationals entered the summer eight games below five hundred before going on a run they won’t soon forget. In today’s profile, let’s take a brief look at the 2019 National’s, but also look ahead at the 2020 team and where they currently stand from a betting perspective.
What Happened Last Year
The 2019 Nationals began their historic run after winning the National League Wild Card game in dramatic fashion, trailing most of the game 2-1 before a clutch Juan Soto base hit in the eighth. Then, after going five intense games with the Dodgers in the National League Division Series, the Nationals swept the Cardinals in the NLCS to earn their first-ever World Series appearance against the Astros. What followed was one of the most memorable back and forth World Series in recent memory where no home team won a single game, and the National’s clinching in seven to bring DC their first-ever World Series Championship. While the 2020 roster won’t look the exact same, most notably losing Gerardo Parra who revitalized this 2019 team with the introduction of “Baby Shark”, many familiar faces are back and looking to get back to their winning ways in 2020.
These odds were taken from FanDuel Sportsbook on February 4th, 2020.
- Regular Season Wins: 88.5 (Over -116/Under -106)
- Win National League East: +250
- Win National League: +700
- Win World Series: +1500
The big winner of the National’s offseason was their ace Stephen Strasburg who locked up a seven-year $245 million deal after a stellar season that ended with a World Series MVP. Patrick Corbin also returns to likely be the #2 guy in this National’s rotation, and could easily be the ace on a ton of MLB teams as it stands now. While Max Scherzer is certainly on the back nine of his career, he still turned in his fifth consecutive sub-3.00 ERA season in 2019 but failed to make 30 starts for his first time as a National after suffering back spasms throughout the season. Like it was for much of last season, the National’s bullpen still has more questions than answers, with Sean Dolittle showing inconsistency as a closer and Tanner Rainey the main arm in relief situations with the departures of Daniel Hudson and Jeremy Hellickson.
Easily the biggest loss for this 2020 National’s team will be the departure of third baseman Anthony Rendon, who Washington had to move on from when rewarding Strasburg with the beast of a contract they did. In his place, the Nationals will likely utilize their farm system in bringing up Carter Kieboom as a daily player; a natural shortstop that they’ll ask to play third or second. Howie Kendrick, Wilmer Difo and Trea Turner will round out the infield, all three returning pieces from the last year’s team. The centerpiece of this lineup however starts and ends with 21-year-old Juan Soto, whose production will need to increase even more to make up for the loss of Rendon who led the 2019 Nationals in RBIs, OBP, Hits, and WAR.
While this team certainly has all the pieces back it needs to compete, the loss of Rendon can’t be understated. This National’s team struggled through large stretches to start the 2019 season, and Rendon’s workhorse production remained consistent as he batted .319 on the season while raking in 34 home runs. Washington still has the pitching to be dangerous if they can sneak back into the postseason, but I think their win total is a bit inflated given the loss of one of the best hitters in baseball.