MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Better lineup balance should help Nats in '16

Better lineup balance should help Nats in '16

WASHINGTON -- In 2015, the Nationals' starting lineup was dominated by right-handed hitters. General manager Mike Rizzo put an offseason focus on building a more balanced lineup, so he added two left-handed hitters in second baseman Daniel Murphy and center fielder Ben Revere.

Rizzo also remade the bullpen, adding four relievers -- Trevor Gott, Oliver Perez, Yusmeiro Petit, Shawn Kelley -- to the 40-man roster after the relief unit struggled in 2015 as the Nationals fell shy of earning a spot in the postseason.

While the team looks much improved from last year, the Nationals hope they can stay injury free. Last year, 17 players went on the disabled list -- most of them for lengthy periods. After the season ended, the Nationals transformed their medical and training staff, with the club turning its focus toward injury prevention, using modern analytics to drive a proactive rather than a reactive approach.

Here's a look at the Nationals' projected lineup for the 2016 season.

2015 record
83-79, second in the National League East

Projected batting order
1. CF Revere:
.306 BA, .342 OBP, .377 SLG, 2 HR, 45 RBI in 2015
2. 3B Anthony Rendon:
.264 BA, .344 OBP, .363 SLG, 5 HR, 25 RBI in 2015
3. RF Bryce Harper:
.330 BA, .460 OBP, .649 SLG, 42 HR, 99 RBI in 2015
4. 1B Ryan Zimmerman:
.249 BA, .308 OBP, .465 SLG, 16 HR, 73 RBI in 2015
5. LF Jayson Werth:
.221 BA, .302 OBP, .384 SLG, 12 HR, 42 RBI in 2015
6. 2B Murphy:
.281 BA, .322 OBP, .449 SLG, 14 HR, 73 RBI in 2015
7. SS Danny Espinosa:
.240 BA, .311 OBP, .409 SLG, 13 HR, 37 RBI in 2015
8. C Wilson Ramos:
.229 BA, .258 OBP, .358 SLG, 15 HR, 68 RBI in 2015

Projected rotation
1. Max Scherzer:  14-12, 2.79 ERA in 2015
2. Stephen Strasburg:  11-7, 3.46 ERA in 2015
3. Gio Gonzalez:  11-8, 3.79 ERA in 2015
4. Tanner Roark:  4-7, 4.38 ERA in 2015
5. Joe Ross:  5-5, 3.64 ERA in 2015

Projected bullpen
Closer: Jonathan Papelbon:  24/26 saves, 2.13 ERA in 2015
RH setup man: Kelley: 2.45 ERA in 2015
LH setup man: Felipe Rivero:  2.79 ERA in 2015

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.