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MLB Betting – Washington Nationals 2020 Season Preview

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:
Mar/25/2020


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Losing the talents of Bryce Harper didn’t hinder the Washington Nationals last season as they went on to claim the first World Series in franchise history. In order to become the first repeat champion since the Yankees won their third straight title in 2000, the Nats will have to overcome the loss of another star in Anthony Rendon. They did re-sign World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg to anchor a strong rotation and they have a talented but aging roster that likely has another run left in them.

2020 Washington Nationals At A Glance

Washington Nationals World Series Odds +1505
Washington Nationals NL Pennant Odds +737
Washington Nationals NL East Odds +246

2020 Washington Nationals Overview

Just how improbable was Washington’s run to the title? Following a loss to the Mets on May 23, the Nats were 19-31 ahead of only the Marlins in the NL. They proceeded to win 74 of their last 112 games, including their final eight contests, to claim the first wild card with a record of 93-69. It just shows that it’s not how you start rather how you finish.

A winning record and playoff appearance weren’t totally unexpected. After all the Nats are one of the most successful franchises with eight straight winning seasons, five of those resulting in playoff appearances with more than 90 victories. They weren’t going to let Harper’s departure put a damper on their 2019 campaign.

The NL East is probably the toughest division in baseball. The Nats made the group look good last year winning the title as a wild card. The top of the rotation is one of the best in baseball and they have a plan for life after Rendon, just like they did after Harper. Solid pitching and an above average lineup will keep the Nats in the division and wild card hunt.

Pitching

The Nats couldn’t afford both Rendon and Strasburg so they opted for the latter. It’s always a good thing to have an ace in the rotation. You could say the Nats have a few, and that’s even better. Strasburg led the NL with career-highs of 18 wins and 209 innings pitched last season to finish fifth in Cy Young voting.

Strasburg had a breakout campaign in 2019, but Max Scherzer did what he’s been doing for nearly his entire career. Scherzer earned the third-most Cy Young votes going 11-7 with a 2.92 ERA. He may be getting long in the tooth but Mad Max can still bring it. He fanned 243 batters in 172.1 innings with a 1.03 WHIP.

Signing Patrick Corbin was a shrewd move by management. In his first season the lefty went 14-7 with a 3.35 ERA. Veteran Anibal Sanchez was 11-8 with a 3.85 ERA over 30 starts. The quartet combined for 123 starts, 54 wins and a 3.33 ERA. The Nats will need similar production from them in order to have a chance at repeating.

In a perfect world the Nats would like to limit the number of innings from their starters. Scherzer and Sanchez are in their mid-30s and Strasburg has a history of injuries. They didn’t have that luxury last season with the pen sporting a 5.68 ERA, the highest of any team to reach the postseason. Sean Doolittle is the closer but his numbers have climbed in recent years. The team has options with Daniel Hudson and Will Harris on the backend and should be stronger in 2020.

Hitting

The departure of Harper prior to last season allowed Juan Soto to come into his own. And what a force he turned out to be. In his second big league season Soto hit .282 with 34 homers and 110 RBIs, offsetting Harper’s numbers. Now the club needs someone to fill the shoes of Rendon, who took his 34 homers and 124 RBIs to Anaheim. Eric Thames has a chance as one of a few newcomers. He hit 72 home runs over his last three seasons in Milwaukee.

Victor Robles played in 155 games last season and he has the potential to improve on his .255 average and 17 home runs. The Nats will need more production from their 22-year-old stud to reach their 2019 average of 5.4 runs per game. Not only did Rendon produce at the plate, he played impeccable defense. Who takes over at third?

Former first-round pick Carter Kieboom will get a chance. He had good power numbers at Triple-A but that didn’t translate in a brief stint with the big club last year. Trea Turner hit .298 with 19 homers and will be surrounded by 30-somethings on the infield.

2020 Washington Nationals Season Pick

The loss of another gifted player will hurt the offense. The Nats do have the personnel to make up for it and possess one of the best rotations in the Majors. An improved bullpen will relieve plenty of stress from the starters and the offense still has some pop. A better start to a shortened season is necessary, but the Nats have the pieces to compete for a division title and at the very least a wild card.

Access live betting lines from your mobile device at BookMaker sportsbook! Real-time spreads, totals, props and money line are all available so start betting with BookMaker today.

- Phil Simon, Gambling911.com

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