The Washington Nationals might turn a few heads if ther were located anywhere else besided the National League East. While this team is on the upswing, find out why we think the Nationals hold little MLB betting value.

MLB Betting Lines

MLB Odds to win National League: +1550

MLB Odds to win National League East: +800

MLB Betting Odds to win World Series: +3500 

Washington NationalsStarting pitching and youthful phenom Strassburg is back in the rotation and will make his first opening day start of his career. Management went out in the free agency market and successfully landed a vastly under rated starter in Gio Gonzalez and right-hander Edwin Jackson. Jackson will fill innings in the back-end of the rotation. He had 199.2 innings pitched and recorded 148 strikeouts in 2011. 

Gonzalez was one of the best starting pitching acquisitions in the off-season in my opinion. He won 16 games on a very thin and weak Oakland A’s team that provided minimal run support for any of their starters. Both Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman are fully recovered from Tommy John surgery and will be most likely the ace and second man in the starting rotation. 

They also acquired former Philadelphia Phillies closer Brad Lidge and will use him as a setup man for closer Drew Storen. Lidge is a team-first type of player and this combination should work out well. Storen did well getting 43 saves in 48 opportunities in 2011.

The Nationals will be far better than in any season since being the Montreal Expos back in the strike-shortened year of 1994. However, they are still significantly behind the strength and depth of the Philadelphia Phillies. If everything would go right and they stay healthy with the starting rotation and can produce runs, they may be a dark horse to contend for one of two wild card positions. That being said, bettors should still be weary of adding this team to their MLB picks, as a Wild Card shot is about all they can hope for as they remain  in the middle of one of the MLB's most difficult divisions.

The Nationals are heading in the right direction and this year may be a little too early in their development to be a contender in the 2012 season, but they have the foundation firmly in place.

Offensive Production

The Nationals ranked 24th in MLB scoring 624 runs, 27th with a .242 team batting average, 25th with a .309 on-base-percentage, and 22nd with a .383 slugging-percentage. Individual team honors went to Michael Morse, who led the team with a .303 batting average, 31 home runs, 95 RBI, .360 on-base-percentage, and 158 hits.

It has been extremely rare that one player has led his team in all five major offensive categories, but Morse did it in 2011. It also reflects the lack of depth and diversity in the offensive lineup and he will need help to not only repeat his 2011 season, but for the team to make a goal of scoring 700 or more runs on the season. 

NAME

GP

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

SB

BA

OBP

SLG

Sean Burnett

69

1

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1.000

1.000

1.000

Craig Stammen

7

2

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.500

.500

.500

Michael Morse

146

522

73

158

36

0

31

95

36

126

2

.303

.360

.550

Ryan Zimmerman

101

395

52

114

21

2

12

49

41

73

3

.289

.355

.443

Jerry Hairston Jr.†

75

213

25

57

11

1

4

24

22

30

2

.268

.342

.385

Wilson Ramos

113

389

48

104

22

1

15

52

38

76

0

.267

.334

.445

Ian Desmond

154

584

65

148

27

5

8

49

35

139

25

.253

.298

.358

Laynce Nix

124

324

38

81

15

1

16

44

23

82

2

.250

.299

.451

Chris Marrero

31

109

6

27

5

0

0

10

4

27

0

.248

.274

.294

Roger Bernadina

91

309

40

75

12

2

7

27

22

63

17

.243

.301

.362

Rick Ankiel

122

380

46

91

20

0

9

37

29

96

10

.239

.296

.363

Danny Espinosa

158

573

72

135

29

5

21

66

57

166

17

.236

.323

.414

Jayson Werth

150

561

69

130

26

1

20

58

74

160

19

.232

.330

.389

Alex Cora

91

156

12

35

6

1

0

6

12

23

2

.224

.287

.276

Ivan Rodriguez

44

124

14

27

7

0

2

19

10

28

0

.218

.281

.323

Livan Hernandez

31

46

3

10

1

0

0

7

0

2

0

.217

.217

.239

Jesus Flores

30

86

5

18

6

0

1

2

5

27

0

.209

.253

.314

Jordan Zimmermann

29

43

1

9

1

0

0

3

2

12

0

.209

.244

.233

Brian Bixler

79

83

9

17

1

2

0

2

7

19

4

.205

.267

.265

Jonny Gomes†

43

93

11

19

4

1

3

12

10

31

2

.204

.299

.366

Stephen Lombardozzi

13

31

3

6

1

0

0

1

1

4

0

.194

.219

.226

Jason Marquis†

25

42

3

8

1

0

0

3

0

13

0

.190

.190

.214

Adam LaRoche

43

151

15

26

4

0

3

15

25

37

1

.172

.288

.258

Tommy Milone

5

6

1

1

0

0

1

3

0

1

0

.167

.167

.667

Matt Stairs

56

65

4

10

1

0

0

2

9

23

0

.154

.257

.169

Tom Gorzelanny

30

28

2

3

0

0

0

1

2

13

0

.107

.167

.107

Ross Detwiler

15

19

0

2

0

0

0

1

0

3

0

.105

.105

.105

John Lannan

33

57

3

5

0

0

1

5

3

24

0

.088

.133

.140

Chien-Ming Wang

11

19

0

1

0

0

0

1

1

10

0

.053

.100

.053

Yunesky Maya

10

8

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

5

0

.000

.000

.000

Stephen Strasburg

5

6

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

0

.000

.000

.000

Collin Balester

23

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.000

.000

.000

Brad Peacock

3

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

.000

.000

.000

Corey Brown

3

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

.000

.000

.000

Tyler Clippard

72

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.000

.000

.000

Henry Rodriguez

59

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

.000

.000

.000

Cole Kimball

12

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

.000

.500

.000

Chad Gaudin

10

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.000

.000

.000

Todd Coffey

69

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.000

.000

.000

Doug Slaten

31

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.000

.000

.000

Ryan Mattheus

35

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.000

.000

.000

Atahualpa Severino

6

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.000

.000

.000

Drew Storen

73

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.000

.000

.000

Brian Broderick

11

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.000

.000

.000

Totals

161

5441

624

1319

257

22

154

594

470

1323

106

.242

.309

.383

Opponents

161

5485

643

1403

258

23

129

605

477

1049

76

.256

.319

.382

Defense

The Nationals ranked 13th in MLB turning an average of 0.89 double plays per game and were 17th in MLB averaging 0.65 errors per game. The Nationals have the best young receiver in the National League in Wilson Ramos. He finished last season with a solid .267 batting average with 15 homeruns in his first season in the Big Show. I fully expect he will improve substantially on those numbers and will be even better game caller for this pitching staff.

The Pitching Staff 

NAME

GP

GS

W

L

SV

QS

HLD

IP

H

ER

HR

BB

SO

K/9

P/GS

WHIP

ERA

Brad Peacock

3

2

2

0

0

0

0

12.0

7

1

0

6

4

3.00

81.5

1.08

0.75

Craig Stammen

7

0

1

1

0

0

1

10.1

3

1

0

4

12

10.45

0.0

0.68

0.87

Stephen Strasburg

5

5

1

1

0

2

0

24.0

15

4

0

2

24

9.00

65.6

0.71

1.50

Tyler Clippard

72

0

3

0

0

0

38

88.1

48

18

11

26

104

10.60

0.0

0.84

1.83

Cole Kimball

12

0

1

0

0

0

0

14.0

8

3

0

11

11

7.07

0.0

1.36

1.93

Drew Storen

73

0

6

3

43

0

3

75.1

57

23

8

20

74

8.84

0.0

1.02

2.75

Ryan Mattheus

35

0

2

2

0

0

8

32.0

26

10

1

15

12

3.38

0.0

1.28

2.81

Ross Detwiler

15

10

4

5

0

5

1

66.0

63

22

7

20

41

5.59

81.5

1.26

3.00

Jordan Zimmermann

26

26

8

11

0

16

0

161.1

154

57

12

31

124

6.92

94.7

1.15

3.18

Henry Rodriguez

59

0

3

3

2

0

10

65.2

54

26

1

45

70

9.59

0.0

1.51

3.56

Todd Coffey

69

0

5

1

0

0

10

59.2

55

24

4

20

46

6.94

0.0

1.26

3.62

John Lannan

33

33

10

13

0

16

0

184.2

194

76

15

76

106

5.17

89.0

1.46

3.70

Tommy Milone

5

5

1

0

0

1

0

26.0

28

11

2

4

15

5.19

82.2

1.23

3.81

Sean Burnett

69

0

5

5

4

0

15

56.2

54

24

6

21

33

5.24

0.0

1.32

3.81

Atahualpa Severino

6

0

1

0

0

0

1

4.2

5

2

1

1

7

13.50

0.0

1.29

3.86

Jason Marquis†

20

20

8

5

0

13

0

120.2

132

53

8

39

71

5.30

92.2

1.42

3.95

Tom Gorzelanny

30

15

4

6

0

6

4

105.0

102

47

15

33

95

8.14

90.2

1.29

4.03

Chien-Ming Wang

11

11

4

3

0

4

0

62.1

67

28

8

13

25

3.61

81.5

1.28

4.04

Doug Slaten

31

0

0

2

0

0

3

16.1

26

8

3

9

13

7.16

0.0

2.14

4.41

Livan Hernandez

29

29

8

13

0

15

0

175.1

199

87

16

46

99

5.08

92.7

1.40

4.47

Collin Balester

23

0

1

4

0

0

2

35.2

38

18

7

14

34

8.58

0.0

1.46

4.54

Yunesky Maya

10

5

1

1

0

1

0

32.2

40

19

3

10

15

4.13

81.4

1.53

5.23

Chad Gaudin

10

0

1

1

0

0

2

8.1

12

6

1

8

10

10.80

0.0

2.40

6.48

Brian Broderick

11

0

0

1

0

0

0

12.1

16

9

0

3

4

2.92

0.0

1.54

6.57

Totals

161

161

80

81

49

79

98

1449.1

1403

577

129

477

1049

6.51

88.9

1.30

3.58 

When the leader on any MLB team has just 10 wins, they are not contenders in any of the playoff races. John Lannon led the team with 10 wins in 2011. The expectations are that Strasburg will challenge the 20 game win mark this season. Jordan Zimmerman led the team with a 3.18 ERA and 124 strikeouts. Closer Drew Storen had an excellent season converting 43 of 48 save opportunities, and Tyler Clippard led the team with 38 hold situations. 

Contenders

The Nationals are contenders in the NL East if their starting pitching can reach 50 or more wins and the bullpen remains healthy for the most part. The Nationals were a solid 12-5 for 71% winners playing with one day of rest and were 23-15 as a home dog in 2011.