Washington Nationals

Manager: Matt Williams
Stadium: Nationals Park
2008 Record: 59-102 (5th in NL East)
Team Page | Roster | Schedule

LINEUP

'08: Batting | Runs (14th in NL)
PLAYER B POS
Cristian Guzman B SS
Lastings Milledge R CF
Ryan Zimmerman R 3B
Adam Dunn L LF
Elijah Dukes R RF
Nick Johnson L 1B
Jesus Flores R C
Anderson Hernandez B 2B
OFF THE BENCH
Ronnie Belliard R INF
Willie Harris L OF

PITCHING

'08: Pitching | ERA (14th in NL)
ROTATION T POS
John Lannan L SP1
Scott Olsen L SP2
Daniel Cabrera R SP3
Jordan Zimmermann R SP4
Collin Balester R SP5
BULLPEN
Joe Beimel L Setup
Saul Rivera R Setup
Joel Hanrahan R Closer
 
Back in 1969, some seats in the upper deck at the old RFK Stadium were painted white to mark the longest homers by Frank Howard, the greatest power hitter in the history of the Washington Senators. "All the other seats," Howard used to say, "are for my strikeouts." Enter Adam Dunn, a 21st-century Hondo in both build and hitting style. The 6-6, 275-pound Dunn has blasted at least 40 homers in five straight seasons -- and averaged more than 177 K's along the way. That's one reason it took so long for the free agent to find a job and why he ended up getting just a two-year deal. (His subpar defense and $10 million-a-year price tag were also factors.) But Dunn's acquisition certainly fills a need for the Nationals, whose leading home run hitters last season -- Lastings Milledge and Ryan Zimmerman -- each had just 14. The Nats, after losing 102 games in 2008, won't be very good in '09, but at least they'll be more fun to watch as Dunn takes aim at the upper deck in Nationals Park. The team can only hope that those seats won't be empty at the time.
-- Tim Kurkjian

ESPN The Magazine's Nationals preview Insider

PROSPECTS

HITTER TO WATCH:

Nobody. Justin Maxwell is the only semi-prospect position player close to the majors, but the Nationals already have a surfeit of outfield suspects.

PITCHER TO WATCH:

Fifth starter Jordan Zimmermann is a four-pitch right-hander with good command and feel for pitching who saw his velocity tick upward a bit in spring training.
-- Keith Law, Scouts Inc.

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SPORTSNATION

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Featured Comment

They've at least got Dunn, which they needed.


REDS101439

National League fan previews

FANTASY

SLEEPER

Elijah Dukes put up very interesting fantasy stats in barely half a season last year, but as he enters his third season, there are signs of maturity in his ability and his demeanor. Dukes could be a 20/20 guy if he plays enough, and we're thinking he'll emerge in this pivotal campaign.

BUST

Cristian Guzman, the team's lone All-Star in 2008, is a fine player who has resurrected his career, but presuming he hits .316 again is a bit optimistic. Guzman isn't a great fantasy option otherwise, with little power and speed, so assuming some batting average regression, he's not draftable in standard 10-team leagues.
-- Eric Karabell

INJURY TO WATCH

After missing more than a full year with a slow-to-heal leg injury, Nick Johnson made an emotional comeback in 2008, only to exit in June with a wrist injury. Johnson underwent surgery to address a ligament injury in his right (non-throwing) wrist and spent the remainder of the offseason rehabbing and retooling his swing under the watchful eye of Nationals hitting coach Rick Eckstein. Johnson has shown that his swing is healthy this spring; if his body can hold up its end of the bargain in 2009, the Nationals could be in for a treat.
-- Stephania Bell

MORE

30 Questions: What is the ceiling for Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes?

PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS

  • Jayson Stark

    Stark
    No. 29 overall
    (5th in
    NL East)

  • Tim Kurkjian

    Kurkjian
    No. 29 overall
    (5th in
    NL East)

  • Buster Olney

    Olney
    No. 27 overall
    (5th in
    NL East)

  • Rob Neyer

    Neyer
    No. 26 overall
    (4th in
    NL East)

  • Jim Caple

    Caple
    No. 28 overall
    (5th in
    NL East)