2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Ranking the Fantasy assets for the Washington Nationals

Though bounced from the first round of the playoffs for the fourth time in six years, the Nationals remain as star-studded as ever, with six of their players projected to go in the first four rounds of Fantasy drafts.

But is the window closing? True, their top two Fantasy assets, Bryce Harper and Trea Turner, are only entering their primes, but Harper will be a free agent next offseason and is expected to price himself out of the Nationals' reach. Meanwhile, 33-year-old Max Scherzer had a couple health scares last year, which is enough for me to rank him last of an elite foursome that also includes Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber and Chris Sale. Injuries are becoming more commonplace on the right side of the infield as well, where Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy appear to be playing on borrowed time.

Given that 2018 may be Harper's last hurrah in D.C., the Nationals have had a suspiciously quiet offseason, in part because they already have so many dollars invested in right now and in part because they're hoping new manager Dave Martinez, a Joe Maddon disciple, will know how to better employ the roster come the postseason.

Nationals in Scott's top 300
PlayerRoto RankH2H RankRoto Pos RankH2H Pos Rank
#5 #5 #2 #2
#9 #11 #1 #1
#18 #18 #4 #4
#32 #32 #6 #6
#37 #34 #9 #9
#38 #41 #4 #4
#105 #123 #8 #8
#115 #121 #17 #16
#128 #130 #32 #30
#154 #138 #43 #43
#219 #168 #57 #54
#262 NR #19 #19

Players in Scott's Top 100 Prospects

Nationals prospects
7 Victor Robles
Robles' best tool is his defense, which drops him a little in Fantasy-specific rankings, but he controls the zone, runs well and should provide at least average power. Jose Ramirez is a high mark to beat, but Robles profiles similarly.
Scott's 2018 Fantasy impact: midseason hopeful
39 Juan Soto
A broken ankle, a broken wrist and a strained hamstring kept Soto off the field most of the year, but when he was on it, boy did he hit. His approach belies his youth, and he has the bat speed to develop big-time power, putting him up there with Luis Robert on the path to becoming "the next Eloy Jimenez."
Scott's 2018 Fantasy impact: don't count on it
96 Erick Fedde
In the pantheon of bad ideas, Fedde as the answer to the Nationals' bullpen woes (it was a thing!) ranks up there, and his short-lived introduction to that role may have cost him developmentally. His strikeout rate dipped, but it's his ground-ball tendencies that will carry him regardless, perhaps as soon as the Nationals' next opening.
Scott's 2018 Fantasy impact: fighting this spring

Things to Know

  • Should the Nationals need an infusion of youth, they do have Victor Robles, who they've so carefully guarded in trade talks, ready to go at Triple-A. He actually got his feet wet late last year, albeit mostly as a pinch hitter and defensive replacement. Unless you think Michael Taylor's .363 BABIP is something he can build on, Robles is simply biding his time now.
  • Daniel Murphy is working his way back from microfracture surgery on his right knee and may not be ready for the start of 2018. It's one of those cutting-it-close situations that shouldn't inspire great trepidation on Draft Day but may cause him to slip beyond Round 5, tipping the risk/reward scale back in his favor.
  • Sean Doolittle won't be a high-priority target for many on Draft Day, but he piled up 21 saves in less than half a season for the Nationals, who are again poised to give him ample opportunities. He broke out in a big way for the Athletics in 2014 only to be sidetracked by injuries the next couple years, but his strikeout-to-walk ratio remains something special.
  • Erick Fedde isn't a runaway for the fifth starter job this spring, but considering his primary competition is A.J. Cole, Edwin Jackson and Tommy Milone, he's the only one you should give a second thought to -- and even then, just in NL-only leagues.

Lineup & Rotation

Batting order    
                
1 Adam Eaton LF
2 Trea Turner SS
3 Bryce Harper RF
4 Anthony Rendon 3B
5 Daniel Murphy 2B
6 Ryan Zimmerman 1B
7 Michael Taylor CF
8 Matt Wieters C
Pitchers                             
SP Max Scherzer
SP Stephen Strasburg
SP Gio Gonzalez
SP Tanner Roark
SP Erick Fedde
CL Sean Doolittle
RP Ryan Madson
RP Brandon Kintzler
Senior Fantasy Writer

Raised in Atlanta by a board game-loving family during the dawn of the '90s Braves dynasty, Scott White was easy prey for the Fantasy Sports, in particular Fantasy Baseball, and has devoted his adulthood... Full Bio

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