For this blog I will be discussing how the Nationals look when they are healthy so I will still be talking about Willingham at left and Bernadina at right....
This is just going on what they have on the team now and the prospects they have in waiting so of course could change with an off season trade or signing. Baseball is not my main sport so I might end up leaving out a major prospect or something but from what I know of here is my take position by position
Catcher- Ivan Rodriguez
With Ivan turning 39 in November and the acquisition of one of the top prospects at catcher in Wilson Ramos its safe to say Ivan's days as a full time catcher are numbered. Luckily for the Nats though they have some young talent in waiting who could fill the catcher spot for some years to come.
Wilson Ramos a strong armed catcher who is a good defender with the potential to have a pretty nice bat for a catcher. Seeing as how he is only 23 and the Nats dont have a current long term starter as their main catcher either he or Norris could be on the team full time as early as next season.
Derek Norris has displayed some power as a hitter and has a strong arm on defense. He is still only 21 years old so he will only become better. With the Nats having traded for Ramos though it makes his road to the majors a little tougher. It will be interesting to see what happens between Ramos and Norris as time goes on.
Jesus Flores was the starting catcher prior to being placed on the disabled list in 2009 with a stress fracture in his shoulder. Personally long term I see either a move to first eventually or him being traded.
First Baseman- Adam Dunn
Rumor has it that a 3 year extension for around 40 million is still possible and I hope the Nats break down and sign him to it. He is one of the most consistant power hitters in the game having hit at or around 40 homers in each of the last 6 seasons. This season is no different he has 31 homers with 40 games left.
Chris Marrero at the age of 22 still has a ways to go before he reaches the potential that made the Nats draft him 15th overall in 2006. Im a fan of the kid and feel he still has a lot of upside to him and will develop in to a nice power hitter. His fielding is his main point of concern but it is something he has been working on.
Jesus Flores is someone that I think could use a change of positions. His recovery from shoulder surgery has been a slow one and I think a less physically demanding position would be best for him.
other possible future long term- Justin Bloxom at this point is a better defensive option than Marrero but I think Marrero has the better upside when it comes to hitting
Second Baseman- Adam Kennedy
Kennedy has a one year deal with a club option at 2 million for the 2011 season. Even if the Nats bring him back he definitely does not fit in to the long term plans. Prior to Guzman being traded Kennedy was being used as just a platoon player with Guzman at second base.
Danny Espinosa should be the likely candidate to take over at second base. Originally a prospect at shortstop he was moved to second base for the first time on August 16th which could be a sign for his and the Nats future. He has shown some power and speed having put up 22 homers and 24 steals in 113 games this year between AA and AAA ball. He is a smooth fielder who should become a good glove at either short or second base.
Either Espinosa or Desmond will be here with the other at short
other possible future long term- Stephen Lombardozzi has not shown me anything yet to where I see much power in his future but he does get on base and has alright speed numbers.
Shortstop- Ian Desmond
Turning only 25 next month Desmond could fit in to the Nats plans for both the short and the long term. His numbers on the season may not appear to be too impressive but a lot of that has to do with them experimenting with his spot in the batting order. He has found a home now batting 2nd in the order putting up a stat line of a .326 avg, .368 obp and a .528 slg while batting 2nd. Desmond combines speed with a little bit of pop and has a nice bat as far as shortstops go. His fielding is still a work in progress but he has the range and potential to become a good fielder he just has to work on a few things.
Desmond should be at short next season unless he moves to second and Espinosa takes over at shortstop.
other possible future long term- Rick Hague a good fielder with a nice swing. Has the potential to be a nice shortstop down the road
Third Baseman- Ryan Zimmerman
Zimmerman is a lock for the third base spot. He is still young and is one of the premier players at his position. He will only be 26 come next month and is a 30 to 35 home run guy who will bat around .300 with gold glove calibur defense. He is already signed through the 2013 season and is a guy the Nats will try to keep in the lineup for a long time
So Zimmerman is a lock nobody will take his spot as long as he is on the team.
Leftfielder- Josh Willingham
Willingham who happens to be out for the rest of the season is under a 1 year contract with a team option for 2011. Im expecting the Nationals to bring him back for at least the 2011 season but after that? Well who knows what will happen. If the Nationals manage to sign Dunn to an extension
Roger Bernadina could end up playing any of the outfield spots for the Nats. Where he ends up at will ultimately be determined on whether they bring back Willingham, how fast they call up Harper and whether or not they are content with Nyjer at center which some are starting to feel they might not be.
Michael Burgess will only be 22 in October so there is still time for him to develop. He has been playing rightfield in the minors but with Harper probably going to end up in rightfield Burgess might end up making the switch to leftfield. He has good upside when it comes to power but still a work in progress overall
other possible future long term- Destin Hood is young and talented but still pretty raw. He needs to be developed a little while longer. He turned down a football scholarship to play as a wide receiver for Alabama so we know the athleticism is there he just has a lot to learn still.
Centerfielder- Nyjer Morgan
Nyjer is a speedy player and can cover a lot of ground in the outfield but after a significant drop in hitting as a Nat from last year to this year his future is becoming a little unclear.
Roger Bernadina of all the outfielders on the Nats team right now I think he is the guy they would be most comfortable with filling in at any spot in the outfield.
Eury Perez not much power as of yet but this 20 year old has put up speed numbers that are pretty hard to ignore 50 steals this season in A ball and only caught 9 times. Needs some work at the plate as far as plate discipline and all goes but having followed his play in Hagerstown this season he is a guy Im keeping an eye on.
Rightfielder- Roger Bernadina
Bernadina is currently at left due to Willingham being on the DL however though right is where he started most of his games at. There is no doubt in my mind that Bernadina will be a full time starter for the Nats it is just a question as to at which spot.He has the speed and the arm to be ok at any of the outfield positions so I think where he ends up will be based on what happens with other players. More than likely he will eventually move to either left or center full time because if Harper lives up to expectation he will be called up to play at right after a season or two
Bryce Harper played catcher in college but is expected to make a switch to the outfield. He has a cannon for an arm and is considered to be maybe one of the greatest hitting prospects of all time. There is no way the Nats will waste that much potential by placing him at catcher which is a position players can wear out at faster and cant start as many games as outfielders do. If he even comes somewhart close to reaching the expectations people have placed on him than he will definitely called up after a season or two of minor league experience.
Michael Burgess he has good power potential but still needs some work at the plate. Plus he might make the switch to leftfield now that the Nats have Bryce Harper signed
other possible future long term- Destin Hood as I already said about him as leftfielder the natural ability is there now it is about whether or not it can be developed.
The Nationals currently sit below 500 but are in my opinion a team headed in the right direction. Between some of the bats already in the pros and some in the minors currently the Nats could very well be a playoff contender ine 2 to 4 seasons.
Will talk about the pitching in a later blog