It took exactly a dozen games into the Spring Training schedule for the January 8th line-up to debut. Why January 8th you may ask? That was the date when Mike Rizzo traded for Ben Revere as the speedy lead-off man that his manager Dusty Baker had coveted to complete his vision for this 2016 team.
This was the Nats starting line-up on Sunday:
- Ben Revere CF
- Jayson Werth LF
- Bryce Harper RF
- Ryan Zimmerman DH
- Daniel Murphy 2B
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Clint Robinson 1B
- Wilson Ramos C
- Danny Espinosa SS
Max Scherzer RHP
The line-up before was only missing Ryan Zimmerman who was the designated hitter on Sunday, thus making this January 8th line-up, a reality.
Here is how the Sunday game got started, Revere – Single, Werth – Single, Harper – Double, Zimmerman – Single, Murphy – Out, Rendon – Single, Robinson – Out, Ramos – Single, Espinosa – Out. That is how the first 9 batters did in their 1st at-bats. This was all accomplished against a very good pitcher as Michael Wacha was hit hard and often.
With this line-up, the bench seems to also be close to set as Dusty seems to have tipped his hand that Michael A. Taylor will be his 4th outfielder or as Dusty likened him to the 6th man in basketball while also saying he expects him to get a lot of playing time.
The bench almost certainly will include these 4 players:
- Jose Lobaton
- Clint Robinson
- Stephen Drew
- Michael A. Taylor
That leaves one spot remaining that will probably come down to either Matt den Dekker or Tyler Moore or a long-shot from the non-roster invitees. There is always a chance Rizzo could pull off a trade to free up a spot.
The starting line-up will include these 3 players:
- Max Scherzer
- Stephen Strasburg
- Gio Gonzalez
The last 3 remaining spots will be taken by 2 pitchers out of Tanner Roark, Joe Ross, and Bronson Arroyo.
The bullpen will have 5 spots sewn up:
- Jonathan Papelbon RHP
- Felipe Rivero LHP
- Oliver Perez LHP
- Shawn Kelley RHP
- Yusmeiro Petit RHP
The 2 spots that will remain could come from Sean Burnett LHP, Trevor Gott RHP, Blake Treinen RHP, and Rafael Martin RHP.
That leaves 5 spots on the 25-man roster that are still up for grabs if there are no trades and no other surprises. A surprise could certainly come from a shocking move based on these remaining 20 days before Opening Day.
What would happen if Danny Espinosa does not pull out of this offensive funk he is in? What happens if another player steps up and impresses Mike Rizzo and Dusty Baker?
Here is the latest FanGraphs projections:
FanGraphs has added notes about each player when you hover over the pen and paper icon. Worth a read.