2017 Washington Nationals MLB Season Betting Prediction

Posted by Kenny Bell on Friday,March 24, 2017 10:14, EDT in

The Washington Nationals thought they had perhaps the best team in franchise history last year. They won the NL East Division for the third time in the past five seasons. But in each of those division-winning seasons, the Nationals have been eliminated in the NLDS. Is this the year the franchise makes its first World Series appearance? The talent is certainly there. Let’s check the latest MLB betting prediction for the Nationals this season.

2017 Washington Nationals MLB Season Betting Prediction

Key Losses: RHP Matt Belisle, LHP Sean Burnett, IF Danny Espinosa, RHP Lucas Giolito, RHP Mat Latos, RHP Reynaldo Lopez, RHP Mark Melancon, RHP Yusmeiro Petit, C Wilson Ramos, OF Ben Revere, LHP Marc Rzepczynski

Key Additions: RHP Austin Adams, RHP Matt Albers, CF Adam Eaton, RHP Jeremy Guthrie, INF/OF Adam Lind, RHP Kyle McGowin, RHP Joe Nathan, C Derek Norris, LHP Enny Romero, RHP Jacob Turner​, RHP Vance Worley

2017 Win Total Prediction: 91.5

Odds To Win NL East: -200

That the Nats won 95 games and their division despite a horrible season from 2015 NL MVP Bryce Harper should scare the rest of the National League because is Harper returns to his 2015 form this year, the Nats probably will be in the Fall Classic.

In 2015, Harper became the youngest unanimous MVP ever after a season in which he hit .330 with 42 home runs and led the majors in on-base and slugging percentage. But in 2016, the former first overall pick, struggled to replicate his historic MVP campaign. In 147 games, he hit .243 with 24 homers and an .814 OPS that was nearly 300 points lower than a year earlier. During the second half of the season, when he missed five games in August with a shoulder injury, he hit just .226 with a .709 OPS.

Meanwhile, second baseman Daniel Murphy was an NL MVP candidate in 2016 and things might have been different in the NLDS vs. the Dodgers had Murphy been fully healthy. Murphy finished second in the NL MVP voting while batting .347 with a league-best .985 OPS to go with 25 homers and 104 RBIs. He hit a ridiculous .355 with men in scoring position.

Late-season callup Trea Turner showed he will be a superstar. In 73 games, Turner accumulated 3.3 fWAR. He got on base at .370 clip and hit for power, finishing with a .567 slugging mark. That’s 13 home runs, 14 doubles and eight triples. He also stole 33 bases. Turner played center field at a good-enough level, despite having only played center field for about a week in Triple-A. He will move to shortstop this season, his natural position. Turner would be the Rookie of the Year favorite but played in too many games in 2016 to qualify.

Washington’s big offseason move was a trade for White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton. He is coming off a career year with the White Sox. The 28-year- old batted .284 with a .362 on-base percentage and a .428 slugging percentage to go with 14 home runs and a league-leading nine triples. He was also the best outfielder in the AL, with 22 fielding runs above average. It did cost the Nationals a haul in prospects, including pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. The latter was a solid contributor to the big-league club last year.

Few teams can match Washington’s rotation, led by reigning NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Tanner Roark. Scherzer became just the sixth pitcher in baseball history to win the award in both leagues. Scherzer led the majors last year with 284 strikeouts, including tying an MLB record for a nine-inning game with 20 strikeouts against the Tigers on May 11. He averaged 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings and posted the best strikeout-to- walk ratio in the NL at 5.07. Scherzer has been slowed this spring by a finger injury but should be fine. He won’t start Opening Day, however.

Strasburg is nearly as nasty as Scherzer but it’s always about health with him. He was put on the DL Sept. 7 last year and didn’t pitch again. He usually lands on the DL a couple times per season. The Nats probably beat the Dodgers with a healthy Strasburg. He was 15-4 with a 3.60 ERA and named an All-Star for the second time, following a first half in which he went 12-0 with a 2.62 ERA. Roark was actually Washington’s second-best starter in 2016, going 16-10 with a 2.83 ERA in 33 starts, returning to the rotation after spending a year working out of the bullpen. Gio Gonzalez is a very solid No. 4 in the rotation.

If there’s one worry here, it’s lack of a closer after losing Mark Melancon in free agency. Nationals manager Dusty Baker is hoping Koda Glover is ready for the closer role. Baker has been praising Glover’s stuff dating back to last season, and the opportunity is apparently now there for the taking. It’s still possible the Nats trade for a closer before or during the season.

Expert MLB Prediction

Washington will repeat as the NL East champion and will top those 91.5 wins. However, unless the bullpen is improved the Nats won’t beat out the Cubs or Dodgers for the pennant.