The Washington Nationals rose from the ashes of the Montreal Expos. Founded in 1969, the Expos were a beloved but often beleaguered franchise that introduced some elite talent to baseball but struggled to make an impact in the upper echelons of the Majors. They made the playoffs just once, with an NL East division win in 1981 but they lost the NLCS 3-2 after holding a 2-1 lead.
The Montreal team were excellent in 1994, with a 74-40 record, before the strike set in and the season ended. By 2004 they were a 95-loss club and left town, moving from Canada down to Washington and beginning a rebuilding phase that would see them claim an NL East title in 2012, ’14, ’16, & ’17. With all that regular season success the Nationals had hoped to be a World Series contender but they failed to get out of the divisional series. They are still one of seven franchises without a World Series title. Can you change that?
*All stats correct at time of writing
MLB The Show 19 doesn’t provide a single team OVR to compare ball clubs like other sports games. Instead, you get a team ranking that gives you a placement within the Majors, while there are sub-rankings for various aspects of the game. This is very useful for seeing exactly where a team lies within the hierarchy of the league, but it makes it hard to see exactly what the difference is between one team and another.
The Nationals start Franchise Mode with a ranking of 4th overall. Their ranking is powered by their supreme speed (2nd), contact (5th), and pitching (6th). Their power only sits 15th, right in the middle of the Majors, while their defense is 20th.
The Nationals team budget is a very healthy $199.5 million, putting them fourth in the National League. That means they might not be able to throw money at free agents and guarantee their arrival, but they can re-sign key players on the roster and invest to fill any holes that appear. Which players on the current roster should you be looking to build around?
Max Scherzer, Starting Pitcher (97 OVR)
Contract: 3 years/$90 million
Pitches: 4-Seam Fastball, Slider, Changeup, Cutter, Curveball
Best Stats: Break (99), K/9 (95), Stamina (94), H/9 (93), Clutch (88), Arm Strength (88), Control (84), Velocity (78)
Max Scherzer was a first-round pick for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006. He got his MLB debut with them in 2008 and played his first full year in the rotation in 2009, making 30 starts with a 4.12 ERA, 170.1 innings pitched, and 174 strikeouts. Scherzer was part of a three-team trade that sent him to Detroit, where he established himself as a leading pitcher in the league. In 2013 Scherzer had his first 200+ inning season, finishing the year with 21 wins, a 2.90 ERA, 240 strikeouts and his first All-Star appearance and the AL Cy Young award. In 2015 he signed a massive free agent contract with the Nationals and proceeded to dominate the National League. In 2016 & ’17 Scherzer claimed the NL Cy Young award, with a ridiculous 2.52 ERA, 429 innings pitched, and 568 strikeouts over those seasons.
In The Show 19 Scherzer is a dominant starter. He has elite break (99) and stamina (94) as well as strength in the clutch (88). He has superb control (84) and enough velocity (78) to get his fastballs over for strikes. Scherzer’s 5-pitch repertoire gives him plenty of strikeout pitches, with his slider and curveball playing particularly well with 2 strikes.
Anthony Rendon, Third Base (92 OVR)
Contract: 1 year/$18.8 million
Secondary Position: 1B, 2B
Hitter Tendency: Whole Field
Best Stats: Clutch (96), Contact vs R (86), Contact vs L (83), Durability (83), Discipline (82), Vision (81), Fielding (76), Reaction (74)
Anthony Rendon was a first-round pick for the Nationals in 2011. He got his MLB debut in 2013, playing 98 games with 7 homers, a .265 average and shaky defense. With time though Rendon has become a quality third baseman. Across the 2017 & ’18 seasons Rendon had a .305 average with 49 combined homers, 85 doubles and very solid defense. He has developed into an all-round player for the Nationals and is their most reliable bat right now.
In The Show 19 Rendon is excellent in the clutch (96) and has very good contact skill (86/83). He has good durability (83) and the discipline (82) and vision (81) at the plate to pick his spots to swing. Rendon is solid in the field (76) and has some power against lefties too (73).
Stephen Strasburg, Starting Pitcher (92 OVR)
Pitches: 4-Seam Fastball, Changeup, Curveball, Slider, 2-Seam Fastball
Best Stats: Break (91), Stamina (88), K/9 (83), Velocity (81), H/9 (79), Clutch (78), Arm Strength (73)
Stephen Strasburg was the first-overall pick of the 2009 draft for the Nationals and got his MLB debut in 2010, making 12 starts with a 2.91 ERA and 68 innings pitched but suffered a torn UCL and had to undergo Tommy John surgery. He returned with a handful of starts in 2011 but made his fill return in 2012, making 28 starts with a 3.16 ERA. Strasburg has developed into an extremely reliable starter. He isn’t quite an elite ace, but with a career 3.15 ERA, 1.088 WHIP, and 10.6 K/9 Strasburg has become a very good #2 that in combination with Max Scherzer gives the Nationals a brilliant top of the rotation.
In The Show 19 Strasburg has superb break (91) and stamina (88), along with good velocity (81). This combination means he can pick up a lot of strikeouts (83) and go deep into games. He is slightly susceptible to home runs (66) but with 5 quality pitches and both the slider and curveball in his arsenal Strasburg can shut down a lineup with regularity.
Washington Nationals MLB Roster
In The Show 19 there can be some small fluctuation in OVR from save to save, however the underlying stats of individual players are always the same. We will start our look at the Nationals MLB roster with their position players and then move onto the pitchers.
|Player||OVR||Age||Position||Bat Hand||Best Contact||Best Power||Fielding||Speed|
|Anthony Rendon||92||28||3B||R||86 (R)||73 (L)||76||53|
|Trea Turner||90||25||SS||R||81 (R)||58 (R)||68||97|
|Juan Soto||88||20||LF||L||82 (R)||75 (L)||53||51|
|Brian Dozier||84||31||2B||R||70 (L)||74 (R)||60||45|
|Ryan Zimmerman||81||34||1B||R||80 (L)||81 (L)||65||45|
|Kurt Suzuki||80||35||C||R||73 (L)||68 (L)||50||26|
|Adam Eaton||78||30||CF||L||83 (R)||47 (R)||70||56|
|Matt Adams||77||30||1B||L||65 (R)||81 (R)||70||31|
|Michael Taylor||76||28||CF||R||61 (L)||57 (L)||76||79|
|Howie Kendrick||75||35||2B||R||79 (R)||47 (R)||58||37|
|Yan Gomes||74||31||C||R||63 (L)||64 (L)||72||47|
|Wilmer Difo||72||26||2B||S||63 (R)||44 (L)||67||73|
|Victor Robles||66||21||CF||R||57 (L)||36 (L)||67||84|
The Nationals MLB roster is made up of 13 position players and 12 pitchers. That is your 8-man lineup with a 5-man bench, a 5-man rotation and a 7-man bullpen including your closer.
the Nationals offense is powered by Anthony Rendon (clutch 96, contact R 86), Trea Turner (speed 97, contact R 81), and Juan Soto (discipline 99, contact R 82). This trio bring high contact, speed, and power to the lineup. They are supported by Brian Dozier (power R 74, power L 73), Ryan Zimmerman (power L 81, contact L 80), and Adam Eaton (contact R 83, clutch 82). Role players like Matt Adams (power R 81, contact R 65) and Yan Gomes (power L 64, contact L 63) are also useful at the plate.
In the field Michael Taylor (fielding 76) and Anthony Rendon (fielding 76) are your most reliable gloves but Yan Gomes (fielding 72), Adam Eaton (fielding 70), and Matt Adams (fielding 70) are also good.
The starting rotation is anchored by the excellent Max Scherzer (break 99, stamina 94) and Stephen Strasburg (break 91, stamina 88). The #3 spot is taken by lefty Patrick Corbin (break 90, stamina 86), who is a very nice mid-rotation pitcher, while Jeremy Hellickson (break 81, stamina 80) and Joe Ross (break 82, velocity 81) take the last two spots.
Washington’s bullpen can be rather shaky. Sean Doolittle (break 83, control 71) is the closer with Kyle Barraclough (break 85, velocity 75) as the top setup man. Behind those two things get a little rough. Wander Suero (velocity 77, HR/9 73) and Matt Grace (break 84, HR/9 77) are the next best arms but neither are strikeout kings that will blow away hitters. Koda Glover (velocity 94, K/9 73) brings the heat but lacks control while Justin Miller (velocity 83, break 82) is solid and Anibal Sanchez (break 84, control 72) is an ok long man.
MLB The Show 19 gives you 4 lineups to set for your MLB club. These are against a right-handed starter with and without the DH and against a left-handed starter with and without the DH. The Nationals are in the National League which means the lineups you will use the most are without the DH.
The preset lineups against righties without the DH put SS Trea Turner at the top of the order with CF Adam Eaton and 3B Anthony Rendon also getting first inning at-bats. LF Juan Soto is at #4 followed by 1B Matt Adams, 2B Brian Dozier, C Kurt Suzuki, RF Howie Kendrick and finally the pitcher spot. With the DH Ryan Zimmerman comes into the #6 spot, while against lefties Zimmerman plays 1B at #5 and Michael Taylor hits #8 in RF.
These preset lineups are pretty good but they can always be improved on.
The biggest change to the RHP without the DH lineup is to put Howie Kendrick at his more natural second base position and bring Michael Taylor’s defensive prowess into the field. We have dropped Adam Eaton to #4, promoting Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto with their superior power. Kendrick will hit #6 with Taylor at #8. With the DH Ryan Zimmerman still comes into the lineup at #6.
Against lefties Trea Turner still leads off but Zimmerman’s excellent ability against lefties puts him in the field at first and #2 in the lineup. Soto hits #3 followed by Rendon and Eaton, while Brian Dozier plays second and hits #6 followed by Kurt Suzuki and Taylor. With the DH Howie Kendrick comes back into the lineup at #8.
The farm system in MLB The Show 19 can be a frustration. The fluctuations in OVR are also found in potential, which isn’t a problem in the Majors but for young players it can really affect how they develop. There is also a lack of some real life prospects in the game so you can’t just pull up a list of the best prospects and go get them in the game. However, there are still some impressive and useful prospects in the Minors that can help the Nationals.
Ethan Denny, Closing Pitcher (71 OVR)
Pitches: 4-Seam Fastball, Changeup, Slider, 2-Seam Fastball
Best Stats: Velocity (79), HR/9 (76), Arm Strength (76), Clutch (71), BB/9 (66)
With the Nationals bullpen in need of some bullpen help sooner rather than later Ethan Denny is likely to be your first Minor League call-up. He has solid velocity (79) already, and reasonable control (55) for a reliever. He is already good in the clutch (71), and while his break (51) is poor it will improve with time.
William Ki, Starting Pitcher (68 OVR)
Pitches: 2-Seam Fastball, Splitter, Curveball
Best Stats: Velocity (78), Arm Strength (71), Stamina (70), Control (68), BB/9 (65), Break (65)
William Ki is a long-term prospect. The Nationals rotation has a strong 1-3, but there is space to improve the final two spots and eventually Ki might be the guy to do it. At just 18 he has good velocity (78) and stamina (70). His break (65) is solid for now and he has nice control (68) for such a young player. The South Korean lefty could well develop into a reliable back of the rotation pitcher by your second season in Franchise Mode.
Justin Flores, Center Field (68 OVR)
Secondary Position: LF, RF
Hitter Tendency: Whole Field
Best Stats: Speed (96), Stealing (93), Contact vs R (74), Arm Strength (73), Discipline (66)
The Nationals don’t have much hitting depth in their farm system, but Justin Flores is the best of them. He has MLB-ready contact against righties (74) and elite speed (96) and stealing ability (93) as well as good arm strength (73). Flores has no power whatsoever but he has ok discipline (66) and vision (63) to help him produce at the plate.
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