The Washington Nationals Lineup: What Should it Be?

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Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki celebrates his three-run homer with Matt Adams (15) and Asdrubal Cabrera during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds at Nationals Park, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

With the DH for the 2020 season, there is definitely a lot to consider for possible lineups. The importance of each and every game has been cranked up by the decrease of games, meaning a hot start is key. Throwing away games isn’t an option for any team that wants to make the postseason. The lineups are key for each game, as optimizing your team to have the best chances to win will be how you get into the playoffs. With that being said, which lineup should the Washington Nationals rock for the 2020 season?

Washington Nationals VS Righties

By using splits against righties, you can build how the 9 should look like, but order matters a TON for a lineup. I need a leadoff guy who can get on base a lot and my second and third hitters need to be sluggers who can get on. With that top 3 in mind, here’s what I would want the lineup to be:

1Adam Eaton RF
2Juan Soto LF
3Eric Thames 1B
4Howie Kendrick DH
5Trea Turner SS
6Asdrubal Cabrera 2B
7Carter Kieboom 3B
8Victor Robles CF
9Yan Gomes C

Trea Turner has been the consensus leadoff man for the Nationals, but he doesn’t get on base as much as Adam Eaton. Trea Turner also hits way more extra base hits, so I’d rather him hit with runners on, than with runners off. I have Soto second because he can mash and get on base, and your best hitter usually goes second in the lineup nowadays as they can get on base or hit an extra base hit to get the lead-off man in. The rest of the lineup is constructed by putting your worse hitters towards the end. Kieboom could move up, but he has to hit in the MLB well before he does.

How About Against Lefties?

The changes won’t be massive but there still will be some notable ones. With your best hitter (Juan Soto) performing worse (but still pretty good) you need to make sure your other bats are optimized for the left handers.

1Trea Turner SS
2Adam Eaton RF
3Juan Soto LF
4Howie Kendrick 1B
5Starlin Castro 2B
6Kurt Suzuki DH
7Carter Kieboom 3B
8Victor Robles CF
9Yan Gomes C

Key changes were benching Eric Thames and Asdrubal Cabrera for Starlin Castro and Kurt Suzuki. The reasons were that Castro slugged .530 against lefties in 2019, and Suzuki last year had slugged .582 against lefties. The changes to their lineup spots were due to Trea Turner in 2019 slugging .444 against lefties compared to his .512 against righties, but having a higher OBP. I figured having your 1 and 2 both with .360 OBPs and Soto with his .371 OBP against lefties would help the lineup a ton. This is because Kendrick slugged over .600 against lefties last year, and then the previously mentioned Castro and Suzuki are after Kendrick.

The lineups are fully optimized for the best possible match-ups, and they could really work well. The Washington Nationals have a lineup that when mixed and matched properly, could get them back to the playoffs.

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