In a special offseason edition of their MLB power rankings, Sports Illustrated has slotted the Washington Nationals as the 12th best team in baseball. SI had the team placed 16th at the end of last season.
Joe Lemire wrote the piece and explains the Nationals jump as a result of clear improvement this offseason. He writes the Nats should be better based on a projected full season of Stephen Strasburg, a half a season of Bryce Harper, and a has-to-be-better-season from Jayson Werth. Lemire goes on to mention the addition of Gio Gonzalez and the potential of another wild card spot being added for the playoffs.
Lemire says the Nats will need better play at shortstop and could use an improvement in center field, but their lineup is impressive and has potential to mash.
The Nationals are ranked as the sixth best team in the National League and third in their division, behind the Phillies and Braves. In front of them at 11th is the Arizona Diamondbacks and behind them is the Toronto Blue Jays. The Miami Marlins place 14th, a jump from 21st because of their big offseason.
See the full rankings here.