2009 MLB Preview: #29 Washington Nationals

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Offseason Movement: Perhaps the Nats’ biggest addition was 1B/OF Adam Dunn, who will add some pop to the lineup, as well as a fair amount of strikeouts. Washington also acquired OF Josh Willingham and LHP Scott Olsen in a trade with the Marlins and signed free agents Daniel Cabrera, Alex Cintron and Javier Valentin. In the deal to land Willingham and Olsen, the Nationals agreed to send 2B Emilio Bonifaci, INF Jake Smolinski and RHP P.J. Dean to Florida.

Top Prospect: Jordan Zimmerman, RHP
Zimmermann is a serious Rookie of the Year candidate and is turning in a fantastic spring. As of this writing, he has allowed only six hits, two walks and has struck out 16 batters over 12 1/3 scoreless innings. He seems to be over shadowed on a national level, but that’s mostly because the Nationals have yet to officially hand him a spot in the starting rotation. But that should change soon and as long as he doesn’t let the bright lights of the Big Leagues eat him alive, the 22-year old could be a future star.

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2009 Fantasy Baseball Preview: Third Basemen

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Here is everything you need to know about the depth at the third base position these days: On CBS Sports’ cheat sheet for the top players at each position, they list 41 starting pitchers, 25 relief pitchers, 67 outfielders, 25 first basemen, 25 second basemen, 25 shortstops, 30 catchers…and 15 third basemen. Fif, teen. But wait, it actually gets worse: of those 15 third basemen, two are full-time first basemen (Kevin Youkilis, Miguel Cabrera) one is a full-time catcher (Russell Martin), and one played nearly 100 games at DH (Aubrey Huff). In other words, just over a third of all the teams in Major League Baseball have a third baseman worth drafting. And they include Ryan Zimmerman and Edwin Encarnacion as two of those 11 players, meaning even that number is padded.

What this means for you, gentle reader, is that assuming Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez and Albert Pujols are no longer on the board, you are a stone cold fool if you don’t draft either David Wright or Alex Rodriguez at your earliest opportunity, and you could even be excused for drafting Wright or A-Rod ahead of the other three. (Don’t let this whole ‘steroids pariah’ hoopla scare you; A-Rod’s gonna put up crazy numbers this year.) Almost overnight, third base has become a fantasy wasteland, so you’d be wise to snag a stud third baseman if you can, especially now that Ryan Braun has lost his 3B eligibility and Troy Glaus decided to go under the knife at the 11th hour. But even when the big names are off the board, don’t panic; there are some players that can keep your fantasy team from having a smoking hole in the ground where third base used to be.


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