The MLB season opens with Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals facing Gerrit Cole and the New York Yankees on Thursday, July 23. Aside from preparing for the likes Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and company, here’s what it seems like D.C. fans should expect to see.
In case you forgot, MLB rosters were agreed to be expanded for the 2020 season.
The Player Pool
At 4 p.m. ET today, all MLB teams were required to unveil the list of 60 players who would be a part of their Spring Training roster. As is likely the case for most teams, the Nationals’ player pool looks very intriguing, including many of their top prospects – most of whom weren’t even on the 40-man roster, not to mention pushing for a roster spot – prior to the league shutdown.
The state of the NBA is anything but normal right now. Even the postseason structure is muddier than usual, but the Washington Wizards are – in a way – part of it. They’re one of 22 soon-to-be “bubble teams” that will participate in the shortened restart of the regular season, and they’ll have a chance to compete for a top eight seed in the Eastern Conference. One player who won’t be participating in that battle, however, is sharp-shooter Davis Bertans.
On the surface, that’s bad news for the Wizards because it hurts their playoff chances. After all, he’s the team’s No. 2 scorer and only true threat aside from Bradley Beal that opposing defenses feel much of a need to respect.
On the other hand, what has the mantra been for the Wizards all season? Perhaps this is an opportunity to step back and remember the bigger picture.
The one-year anniversary of the Washington Nationals started the season 19-31 took place just over a week ago. Revisiting this topic might seem unnecessary after the improbable run the Nationals went on in last season, but there’s some interesting revisionist history developing that might need to be reconsidered. Although it may have been premature to suggest that Dave Martinez absolutely deserved to be fired (which I did), the beginning of his tenure — not even just the 19–31 start to 2019 — wasn’t exactly spectacular. Continue reading “Why the “Fire Dave Martinez” Crowd Wasn’t Crazy”→
Not long ago, Greg Stroman was one of the anchors of the Virginia Tech football program, serving a starring role as a kick/punt returner while also developing into a high-quality (and eventually NFL-draftable) cornerback. Now his legacy has a chance to live on through his brother Jalen.
Greg and Jalen aren’t substantially different players, but Jalen may not play quite the same role(s) Greg did at Tech. On top of that, Jalen also bucked a significant trend in Prince William County football, and it has a chance to become something the Hokies revisit with some degree of regularity. Continue reading “Jalen Stroman’s Impact on the Hokies and NoVA Football”→
Any sports program, regardless of the sport or level of competition, wants to be successful. But how is success truly defined? For some of the elite franchises, the only reasonable expectation is a championship within their league, but that only applies to a very exclusive group. For struggling programs, it might only be to win half of their games.
Where does Virginia Tech football fall on that spectrum? That’s a bit of a loaded question, and varying segments of the fanbase will offer very different responses. Some people will say there’s no reason why Tech can’t be a top 10–15 team in the country on at least a semi-regular basis, while others will (without admitting it) settle for simply not being a middling team within the fairly weak ACC Coastal, especially if that still means they’re better than the school from Charlottesville. Continue reading “State of Virginia Tech Football and the Justin Fuente Disconnect”→
We’ve unveiled the second-team pitchers and position players, as well as the top pitchers in recent Nationals history. So now there’s only one thing left to decide upon: the best batters of the last decade.
Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of big names here, but there are also some that may not have immediately popped into your heads, and still others who you may not have realized were as good as they were.
If you’ve been keeping up with the mini-series so far, you’ve seen a lot of the players — both pitchers and position players — who had some level of importance without being guys the fanbase necessarily rallied behind like the true superstars.
Now it’s time to dive into the superstars. The Nationals had a lot of great pitchers over the course of the decade, so ranking them isn’t necessarily easy to do. As my high school Statistics teacher from South Africa used to say, “There’s more than one way to skin a zebra.” In this case, we’ll look at the most dominant players in specific roles for the longest periods of time, with productivity in their best seasons serving as a tiebreaker. Continue reading “Washington Nationals All-Decade Pitchers of the 2010s”→
Now that the list of second-tier pitchers has been unveiled, it’s time to do the same thing for positions players. They’re certainly not the best of the bunch for Washington over the last decade, but there are a lot of very talented players that deserve to be recognized.
We’re all cooped up with not much to do. Thankfully, that also means we have time to step back and reflect on some aspects of life that we may not have otherwise. It’s also a chance to look back at the last decade in sports.
The Nationals had somewhat of a fairytale decade. They went from cellar-dwellers of the NL East and the entire major leagues — five years removed from relocating from Montreal — to perennial playoff contenders, and then capped it off with a World Series championship.
There’s a lot to reflect upon, from stars of the era to short-term contributors that you may have forgotten. With that, I’ve decided to recap the decade that was for the franchise by unveiling an All-Decade roster. However, before doing so, I thought it would only be fair to recognize some of the best players that couldn’t quite make in into my top 25. After all, the franchise’s core wasn’t entirely consistent — not even from 2012 until the end. Continue reading “Washington Nationals “Best of the Rest” Pitchers of the 2010s”→