MLB NL East — 05 March 2011

The Nationals enter 2011 with a surprisingly intriguing roster. Several key additions coupled with the progression of their young talent has left them with a balanced roster that could surprise some in the NL East. They probably overpaid for Jayson Werth, but he will be a valuable asset for them in the middle of their lineup along with Ryan Zimmerman and the underrated Adam LaRoche. The Nats also have plenty of speed with Roger Bernadina, Nyjer Morgan, and Ian Desmond all capable of swiping bags.

The return of Jordan Zimmerman should help boost a serviceable rotation led by Livan Hernandez and Jason Marquis. The Nats made some nice moves and should be at least competitive in 2011, but their real success probably lies a year or two away with the arrival of top prospect Bryce Harper and the return of Stephen Strasburg from Tommy John surgery.

Key Additions: Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche

Key Losses: Adam Dunn, Willie Harris, Josh Willingham

Lineup:

C: Ivan Rodriguez

1B: Adam LaRoche

2B: Danny Espinosa

3B: Ryan Zimmerman

SS: Ian Desmond

LF: Roger Bernadina

CF: Nyjer Morgan

RF: Jayson Werth

Rotation:

1: Livan Hernandez

2: Tom Gorzelanny

3: Jason Marquis

4: Jordan Zimmerman

5. John Lannan

CL: Drew Storen

Critical Players to Success:

Jayson Werth: The Nationals gave Werth a huge contract in the offseason to be a force in the middle of their lineup. It will be interesting to see if Werth can perform with the pressure of being the leader of the team riding on his back.

Jason Marquis: Marquis had an extremely disappointing 2010 after being named an All-Star in 2009. The Nationals lack reliable depth in their rotation and would benefit greatly from a bounce back year from him.

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