The Nationals are imperfect, of course, just like most teams. Their bullpen, which has helped with their demise in previous postseasons, is weaker. Werth and Zimmerman are in the lineup to start the year, and it¡¯s not like Derek Norris or Wieters are coming off excellent offensive seasons. There could be a soft spot at the bottom of the order.
The Nationals are replacing Danny Espinosa and Ben Revere with a full season of Trea Turner and Adam Eaton. They¡¯re replacing 2016 Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg with the upgraded 2017 versions. They¡¯ll have the flexibility to make tough decisions that flummoxed them last year. And, sure, they¡¯ll have depth behind the plate, which is the almost-exciting news that got me thinking about their roster in the first place.
George Johnson Game Jersey Expectations were high for the Nationals before the 2015 season, and everything fell apart. Expectations are modest this year, perhaps as modest as I¡¯ve ever seen for a team coming off 95 wins, but they shouldn¡¯t be. It¡¯s not the Cubs alone on an island.
And then, poof. App State was App State again.
Glenn Gronkowski Game Jersey The Mountaineers have won 27 of 32. They’ve done it by being themselves, and looking at what they return this fall ¡ª quarterback Taylor Lamb, running back Jalin Moore, leading receiver Shaedon Meadors, two all-conference offensive linemen, six defensive starers (including their TFLs leader and best ball defenders) ¡ª there’s no reason to think much will change.
App State has questionable depth in certain areas (offensive line, nose tackle, linebacker), which means a targeted run of injuries could be costly. But barring an extended appearance by the injury bug, this should again be at least a top-70 team. And we¡¯ve already gotten to the point where ¡°top 70¡± feels underwhelming.
Power conference 5-seeds should be happy there isn’t a 68-team college football tournament. The Mountaineers would take them down.