After having typically appeared in the hallowed pages of Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections have now been released at FanGraphs for half a decade. The exercise continues this offseason. Below are the projections for the Washington Nationals. Szymborski can be found at ESPN and on Twitter at @DSzymborski.
The Nationals have developed into one of the league’s “super teams” in recent years, having compiled a roster that is rivaled by few others in terms of balance and overall strength. In 2017, for example, both the club’s hitters and pitchers finished seventh or better by WAR. That feat was accomplished by only three other clubs, all of which reached the postseason.
|Team||Batter WAR||Batter Rank||Pitcher WAR||Pitcher Rank||Average Rank|
With regard to the Nationals’ field-playing cohort, specifically, almost all the principals from the 2017 club return in 2018. Even some of the non-principals return, as well. Bryce Harper (575 PA, 4.9 zWAR) and Anthony Rendon (585, 4.5) are near-MVP types, while Trea Turner (558, 3.4) does quite well here, too. Adam Eaton (583, 3.0), meanwhile, will essentially serve as a new acquisition for Washington after having recorded just 107 plate appearances in his first year with the organization.
Ryan Zimmerman (496, 0.8) is the club’s weakest link per ZiPS, forecast for just a 102 wRC+ after producing a 138 wRC+ mark in 2017. Szymborski’s computer calls for a 38-point drop in BABIP (.335 to .297) and 60-point decline in isolated power (.269 to .209), too.