Sunday, February 10, 2019

MLB SHOWDOWN 2018 SET -- Washington Nationals

As a fan of the Nationals, the 2018 Washington Nationals had an epic dud of a season, falling well short of the lofty pre-season expectations I had for them. The Nationals were nearly unanimous preseason favorites in the NL East, and looked to finally get over their postseason hump with a new manager.  Their 2017 team was loaded and when my friends and I "played" the 2018 season out with 2017 cards, the Nationals won the NL rather easily.  Unfortunately, the wheels to the wagon fell off.  Their 2018 Showdown team definitely demonstrates that they deserved the hype, and honestly may have a better Showdown squad than 2018 Atlanta (which is frustrating for any Nats fans out there).  I was living in DC for about a month last summer, and it was truly baffling to everyone in the area why the team wasn't performing (outside of the obvious mismanagement by first timer Matt Williams). Let's take a look at their cards, and use them as hope for 2019!

Here's our (rant filled) podcast about the 2018 Nats!

Lineup: The ONLY team in the set with four On-Base 10 hitters, the Nationals have a lethal lineup on paper! Eaton is a stellar player with good, solid contact hitting and decent speed.  He's followed by the sensational Trea Turner, who's back with blazing speed and a slightly higher on-base.  Turner will be a sneaky guy to go above his points value in a draft.  The most prized free agent still on the market hits third, and despite a "down" year that had everyone freaking out nationally and on DC sports talk in June due to his low batting average, Harper still put together a 520 point card in 2018! Dude is an absolute stud and is worth a $300 million deal. Two more on-base 10s are hitting 4th and 5th, including ROY runner up Juan Soto (who could take another step forward this season) and steady 3B Anthony Rendon.  Then they've got a lethal OB 7 in Zimmerman hitting sixth, and Matt Wieters has a low on-base but at least a solid arm at catcher.  They dealt Murphy and ended up with the poor hitting Difo at the 8th spot, but at least they get more defense and speed out of their 2B now!  Overall, a really solid lineup that belongs on a playoff team rather than being released at this stage!

Bench: Mark Reynolds is a fun and potent card, with tons of pop to use against low control RPs! After him is Michael Taylor, a player that Bob will surely target with his A(23) speed and plus defense.  Severino is unlikely to be drafted.

Rotation: Washington's pitching staff is led, per usual, by an ace-level Max Scherzer card.  Very similar to the 00 Randy Johnson card, Mizzou-grad "Mad Max" should be an early round draft pick in any draft! Following the perennial Cy Young contender are three Tier 4 starters, all of whom are solid pitchers who may find their way onto rosters in deep drafts.  The most compelling is Strasburg, both for name recognition and his slightly higher control. Overall, the rotation was a disappointment (especially after having three Tier 2 starters in 2017) and the Nats worked quick to bolster it in the offseason by adding Patrick Corbin -- who'll be a Nat in our "Pennant Run" later in the spring! 

Bullpen:  A clear weakness of this team, despite having the best closer in the set! Doolittle is an unbelievable talent, putting together an awesome 2018 season and earning a Billy Wagner 00-like card! After him, the only other really useable pitcher is Matt Grace, who's got a solid card but low control. From there on -- just a whole lotta struggle cards! Clearly this was a major area of weakness that contributed to the Nats lackluster season in 2018.


  1. Snagged Soto in my dynasty and loved having him, glad to see his card come out. Agreed that Harper got absolutely destroyed for his early season but ended the season as a solid player. As a Yankees fan I'd rather deal with his play than Machado's over a 7 year deal I think. Mad Max is NASTY...I always favor higher control though so this one tears at me

  2. "Those defense numbers seem really harsh"
    *checks Bref and fangraphs*
    ... 'nvm'

    Also, it seems like they have an awful bullpen year-in-year out and they can't seem to ever fix it :/

    1. hahaha i love when showdown keeps my fandom in check.

  3. I like having a pitcher with a higher control in late innings, so the 8 IP doesn't do much for me. Sick card though. Good fallback if I don't get DeGrom in my league.