2016 Outlook: Harper needed 218 games between 2013-14 to amass 33 home runs, 112 runs, and 90 RBI. In 2015, he needed just 152 games to eclipse all three marks: 42 homers, 118 runs, and 99 RBI. What an indictment on the rest of his team that he had only 99 RBI, too! What does he do for an encore after leading baseball in both OBP and SLG? It's not crazy to suggest a repeat, but a more tempered approach says he will simply be in contention. The key to his fantasy season could be the arrival of Davey Lopes -- noted base-stealing guru -- as Washington's first base coach. Harper swiped 18 bags in his rookie season, but has just 19 in the three years since, with injuries no doubt playing a major role in 2013-14. If the Nationals commit to running more after ranking just 27th in total SB last year, Harper is likely to benefit. Even a return to double digits would be huge, but setting a new career high isn't out of the question if the 23-year-old superstar stays healthy and plays another 150-plus games.
2016 Outlook: It's rare that leaving a team that led the league in runs scored the previous season benefits a leadoff hitter, but that's exactly the case for Revere. Most of the Blue Jays' lineup is in scoring position when they step in the batter's box, mitigating the need for Revere to run. Now back in the Senior Circuit as a member of the Nationals, the veteran speedster will be asked to replace the spark Denard Span gave them at the top of the order. Revere sports one of the best contact rates in the league, taking full advantage of his speed by hitting mostly groundballs and line drives. The Nationals let Span run, so there's no doubt Revere will have the green light more often than not. If the meat of the order can stay healthy, Revere has a chance to set a career high in runs for the second straight year.
2016 Outlook: Werth hasn't played 150 games since 2011, playing in just 88 last year as he was felled by shoulder and back woes. Prior to the 2015 campaign, despite battling injuries for the previous three seasons, Werth maintained a steady skill set. However, last summer things took a turn for the worse as his contact rate dropped along with a precipitous decline in hard contact, resulting in a BABIP nearly .100 points lower than his mark from the previous three seasons. Because Werth was so consistent from 2011 through 2014, it's fair to blame injuries for much of last year's skid. Still, Werth will be 37 a few weeks into the season so a full bounce back is optimistic. If healthy, Werth will play and be an asset for power and run production. Just beware of a falling batting average and limited, if any, swipes.
2016 Outlook: We only got eight days into the new year before Dusty Baker's penchant for veterans over youngsters played out in Washington's centerfield, as the team traded for Ben Revere, effectively sending Taylor to the bench as a fourth outfielder. In fairness to Baker, it's not like Taylor is a proven commodity, and this is a competing team, so they can't exactly to play someone with a career .640 OPS in centerfield every day. The fantasy community might've taken the news even harder than Taylor, because in spite of that meager OPS, our eyes are drawn to the 14 HR and 16 SB he put up in 511 plate appearances. He was one of just 16 players to reach or exceed both of those thresholds. Of course his OPS was 102 points lower than anyone else's, too. It's a raw but exciting profile. The playing time blockage relegates him to a reserve play for now.
2016 Outlook: Den Dekker spent 2015 bouncing back and forth between Triple-A Syracuse and Washington, getting recalled three times throughout the season. He was moderately successful with the Nationals, slashing .253/.315/.485 with five home runs and 12 RBI in 55 games. A lot of his production can be attributed to a mid-September hot streak that saw him hit .367/.424/.700 over his last 14 games. He also proved to have a solid approach at the plate, walking in 8.2 percent of his appearances. Den Dekker's primary competition for the fourth outfield spot is 24-year-old speedster Michael Taylor, who is currently listed as the backup at all three outfield positions. Den Dekker has hit dramatically better against right-handed pitching, meaning he could see more at-bats in some form of a platoon system, but his fantasy upside is still limited.
2016 Outlook: After toiling in the minors since 2005, with only a couple cups of Major League coffee yielding 14 plate appearances on his ledger, an onslaught of injuries finally gave him the chance to show what he can do. After impressing early on as the Nationals' primary pinch-hitter, Robinson took over for Ryan Zimmerman after the first baseman was felled by plantar fasciitis and oblique woes. Robinson comported himself just fine, hitting 0.272 with 10 homers. Zimmerman is purportedly healthy heading into the 2016 campaign but after suffering through a pair of injury-riddled seasons, it's highly unlikely he'll make It through the summer unscathed. Robinson will again begin the season as the first bat off the bench and is a good bet for more time as an injury fill-in.