2018 Nationals: Shortstop Trea Turner Could Take Team Over the Top

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 12:40 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018 12:40 PM UTC

Our MLB handicapper Mark Lathrop takes a look at the stacked Washington Nationals roster and investigates who will have to overperform for any futures bets to have value.

We will be breaking down each division team-by-team as we approach the 2018 MLB season to identify futures value and upcoming betting trends. Today, we will take a look at the Washington Nationals out of the NL East. The Nationals flew 'over' their 90.5 win total in the futures markets in 2017 with a 97-win campaign. The market has adjusted upwards in 2018 with a win total line set at 92.5 over at Bovada.

Pitching Staff

The Nationals enjoy a stacked 1-2-3 from of the rotation with Max Scherzer (winner of past two NL Cy Young Awards), Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez. This fact makes them a dangerous matchup in the playoffs as it would be likely these would be the only starters to see the mound in a 7-game series. The bullpen of the Nationals is slightly less valued in projection models because of the dominance of their starters, but they do have a few dominant pieces in closer Sean Doolittle and setup man Ryan Madson. Both relievers are projected to put up more than 1.5 WAR and both give up dingers at a less-than-average rate.

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Left side! Strong side!

Left side! Strong side! pic.twitter.com/WPJjBdblhB

— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) February 21, 2018


The Nationals have some stars on their team, but one of the lesser-known names on the roster is the most exciting. And really, that’s on me as a West Coast baseball writer with most fans knowing the traits of shortstop Trea Turner already. Turner put up 3 WAR over just 98 games last season and is a top pick in fantasy leagues across the nation with his projection of stealing at least 50 bases in the 2018 season. The 24-year-old is also a great hitter and projected to get closer to his .342 AVG form that he put up in his 2016 MLB experience. Oh, and Bryce Harper, in his free agent year, and Anthony Rendon still play for the Nationals as well. Those two are projected to put up 10.3 WAR alone in 2018, with the possibility for more if they don’t regress to mean. The Nationals lineup should be as potent as any in the league.

Wild Cards and Betting Trends

When it comes to season win totals wagering, with the high bar set for the Nationals we will need a secondary player to come through in a big way. That player for the Nationals is no other than Tanner Roark, who is only projected to win 11 games in 2018 yet won 16 in 2016. He’s 31 and put up a 3.79 FIP in 2016, so a positive regression is not entirely out of the question. The other veteran who could put the Nationals over the top is first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who is projected to put up 0.9 WAR in 2018 after a 3.3 WAR campaign in 2017. If Zimmerman maintains the status quo, the Nationals are almost a guarantee to go over their win total mark for 2018.

Pre-Model Free Pick: Over 92.5Best Line Offered: Bovada
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