Mike Rizzo is back and has 3 remaining spots on the 40-man roster

Depth Chart 12 18 16

Clearly, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo and his staff have work ahead of them. We can debate who is really the back-up to Jayson Werth in leftfield, and the third starting pitcher in the rotation. Most of these spots are just numbering, and some like the bullpen and the bench still have work remaining by Mike Rizzo on future acquisitions.

If Clint Robinson is indeed the back-up to Jayson Werth, and Trea Turner the back-up to Adam Eaton, then we have more work to do.

The opening day starters appear to be set, the ordering is a debate for another day:

  1. Adam Eaton CF
  2. Trea Turner SS
  3. Daniel Murphy 2B
  4. Bryce Harper RF
  5. Anthony Rendon 3B
  6. Jayson Werth RF
  7. Ryan Zimmerman 1B
  8. Derek Norris/Jose Lobaton C
  9. Max Scherzer RHP

Starting Rotation

  1. Max Scherzer RHP
  2. Stephen Strasburg RHP
  3. Tanner Roark RHP
  4. Joe Ross RHP
  5. Gio Gonzalez LHP

The bullpen:

  1. A.J. Cole Long-man RHP
  2. Sammy Solis LHP
  3. Oliver Perez LHP
  4. Koda Glover RHP
  5. Trevor Gott RHP
  6. Blake Treinen RHP
  7. Shawn Kelley RHP

The Bench

  1. Derek Norris/Jose Lobaton C
  2. Wilmer Difo
  3. Brian Goodwin
  4. Chris Heisey
  5. .

The last spot for the bench could certainly go to Clint Robinson or Matt Skole or even a new acquisition. With Dusty Baker as the manager, Michael Taylor is always a possibility for the last bench spot. Pedro Severino and Spencer Kieboom provide depth at catcher, and the outfield will have Andrew Stevenson and Rafael Bautista as depth in the Minors even though Stevenson is not on the 40-man roster.

The closer spot is not clear at all, and could still come via a trade or acquisition or an internal promotion. Greg Holland is still available as a free agent acquisition; however, he is far from a sure thing as he returns from Tommy John surgery.

Fangraphs top 3 players projected for WAR in 2017 has the newlywed Bryce Harper as their 2nd pick in the Major Leagues:

Fangraphs 12 18 16 projection

The Nationals position players as a team is projected by Fangraphs to look like this:

fangraphs 12 18 16 Nationals

Fangraphs projects the Washington Nationals to finish 1st in the NL East with 90 wins based on their WAR projections. These projections will change throughout the off-season as the roster changes.

2017 NL East Projections 12 18 16

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