Washington Nationals Roster
- NL East
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Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer threw 65 pitches to live hitters on the first day of summer camp on Friday. Scherzer was battling through an injury to his right side back in March, but it looks as though he's past that and ready for the start of the regular season later this month. The 35-year-old right-hander continues to be an elite fantasy starter when he's on the mound, but injuries have started to creep into the conversation, as he missed some starts in 2019 while dealing with the injury bug. There's a lot more risk involved with Mad Max, especially at his age, but he remains a high-end SP1 worth taking a chance on in the early rounds.
Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez said that catcher Welington Castillo has opted out of playing in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Castillo will join teammates Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross in opting out this year. The 33-year-old was on a minor league deal that he signed in January and was unlikely to make much, if any, fantasy impact as the third catcher on the depth chart behind Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki. Castillo hit a disappointing .209/.267/.417 with 12 home runs and 41 RBI in 72 games in his second season and final season with the White Sox in 2019.
Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross have decided not to play in 2020. Zimmerman, 35, had written recently that he was considering this course of action, but has also made a point of saying he may play in 2021 and is not retiring. This news changes little for either player from a fantasy perspective, as neither Zimmerman nor Ross promised to offer much this year already, but obviously any teams they were on can drop them now.
Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman is still debating whether to play this season. Among several other issues, he cited the risk the novel coronavirus would pose to his mother, who has multiple sclerosis, and a three-week-old child. From a fantasy perspective, Zimmerman was already a fringe player due to his age, an 89 wRC+ last year and a crowded Nationals roster -- the universal designated hitter and a shorter season that would presumably be easier on his body wouldn't compensate. If you're drafting right now at nearly any depth, it's best to avoid him.
The Washington Nationals used second baseman Howie Kendrick as their designated hitter last year in the World Series against the Astros. Kendrick is back for his 15th season, and while he's expected to be a backup infielder, he's now the top candidate to serve as their DH with National League adopting the rule for the shortened 60-game season. The veteran hit .344/.395/.572 with 17 home runs and 62 RBI in 370 plate appearances last regular season. If Washington goes with rotating DHs, first baseman Eric Thames and Ryan Zimmerman could also fill the role. Switch-hitting infielder Asdrubal Cabrera could also be used at DH if Carter Kieboom starts at third base. Kendrick should benefit the most from the new rule, and he's certainly worth a late-round investment with an opportunity at more of an everyday role in 2020.