Washington Nationals Hitters: 2015 Team Preview

Oct 6, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper (34) celebrates with shortstop Ian Desmond (20) after scoring a run during the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants in game three of the 2014 NLDS baseball playoff game at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

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The Nationals will clearly be one of the prohibitive World Series favorites with their loaded roster from top to bottom.  Along with being a great team, their batting lineup is loaded with great fantasy options.

Anthony Rendon was one of the best fantasy players in 2014 and he offers production in all categories.  However, Tanner’s projections indicate that Rendon will decline across the board in 2015, and I am just not buying that.  His 17 steals may have been a bit fluky because Rendon only had eight steals combined in 2012 and 2013 in all professional levels.  I strongly believe that Anthony Rendon will surpass what projection systems believe because they sometimes lag with breakout performances.

Jayson Werth is a reliable option with his high batting average and on-base percentage along with a chance to go 20-10.  If Werth can stay healthy, then he should be able to score at least 80 runs and 80 RBI’s.  I rank him around Matt Holliday because they are both outfielders who are around 35 and still produce at a consistent high level.

Bryce Harper is very tough to figure out for redraft leagues.  Harper is still only 22 years old and was the youngest player in the Majors in 2014, despite the fact that he was in his third MLB season.  He hit 22 homers at only 19 years old back in 2012, but that is still his career high as injuries wrecked his last two seasons.  I think that Bryce Harper will make the next step in 2015, but he is not worth the risk because of his high ADP in non-keepers.

The meat of the order goes all the way to Ian Desmond, but Desmond could be the first player on the Nationals drafted in your fantasy league this season.  Ian Desmond is the best or second-best fantasy SS depending on how much of a gambler you are with Troy Tulowitzki.  Desmond is coming off of three straight 20-20 seasons and he will make a very smart second-round pick for your team.

Tanner Bell of Smart Fantasy Baseball has created all of the projections seen in this post.  You can read about how he develops his projections here.  His projections are invaluable to this site.  You can also visit his site at www.smartfantasybaseball.com.