When the Nationals re-signed World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg to a seven-year deal this offseason, Washington general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters that the Nationals are a pitcher-oriented organization.
Well, Rizzo's claim is certainly justified. ESPN released their list of the top 100 MLB players, and three Nationals starters (Strasburg, Max Scherzer, and Patrick Corbin) all were high up on the list.
Scherzer was ranked at the highest of the three Nationals' starters, coming in at No. 7. Since arriving in Washington, Scherzer has been arguably the best starting pitcher in baseball. He won back-to-back Cy Youngs in 2016 and 2017 and finished in the top 3 the past two years.
Strasburg was ranked No. 16 and the fifth-best starting pitcher; only Scherzer, Gerrit Cole, Jacob deGrom and Justin Verlander ranked ahead of him. Strasburg finished fifth in Cy Young voting a year ago with a career-high 18 wins. His postseason run was one of the best in the sport's history, as the Nationals ace went 6-0 with a 1.97 ERA with 45 strikeouts and just four walks in October. His efforts were rewarded with World Series MVP honors.
Corbin, who is entering his second season in Washington, was ranked the 33rd best player by ESPN. The southpaw firmly cemented himself as the Nationals third starter, tying a career-high with 14 wins in 2019. Corbin was extremely versatile for the Nationals last postseason, appearing both as a starter and out of the bullpen, most notably throwing three scoreless innings in relief in Game 7 of the World Series.
But outside of the Nationals three-headed monster, two other players sporting a 'Curly W' made the list. Rising superstar outfielder Juan Soto was ranked 11th, while shortstop Trea Turner came in at No. 60.
Soto's No. 11 ranking was up 24 spots from his spot a year ago. The left fielder just turned 21 this past October and has his whole prime ahead of him. The lefty slugged 34 home runs and notched 110 RBIs a season ago, and the Nationals are hoping for similar production in 2020, especially with the departure of Anthony Rendon.
Turner dealt with multiple injuries a season ago, appearing in just 122 regular-season games while dealing with both hand and wrist issues. Despite his ailments, the shortstop still landed on the top 100 list. Turner, who hit with just nine healthy fingers for most of the 2019 season, finished with the best OPS of his career outside of his shortened rookie season.
The Nationals five members on the list were tied with five other teams for the third-most of any squad. The Houston Astros led the way with eight players.
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