Spring is (almost) in the air. That tease of warm weather we had last week was cruel and unusual punishment, Mother Nature. It got me in the mood to go to a baseball game, but instead we’re dealing with frigid temperatures. How many more days until opening day?
With the Nationals officially in the second week of spring training, several national outlets made a trip to Viera. Read all the latest stories on the Nats below.
* USA TODAY’s Paul White stopped by Nationals camp a few days ago and gave an inside look at the team. White says all eyes will be on new manager Matt Williams. In his story, White has a quote that really resonated with me from pitcher Stephen Strasburg on Williams’ first speech to the team. Strasburg said, “The intensity was there. It got me fired up.” Can you imagine being that fired up for the first day of camp? White goes into detail breaking down the Nats’ roster including the addition of Doug Fister to the rotation.
* The Washington Post’s Thomas Boswell wrote one of his latest columns on Fister. Boswell believes Fister is as good as the Rays’ David Price, the Phillies’ Cole Hamels or the Dodgers’ Zach Greinke. Many baseball decisions are now made based on sabermetrics, particularity the popular WAR (Wins Above Replacement) statistic. The addition of Fister to the Nats rotation now gives the team with four starters within the top 20 in WAR in the major leagues. It’s a fascinating read, espeically if you like statistics. My brain hurts a little, however, after reading it.
* The Nationals aren’t the only team looking for a new spring training facility. In fact, they may team up with the Houston Astros in hopes of both teams finding a new facility. WPTV in Flordia says the two teams are looking at John Prince Park in Lake Worth, Fla., as a potential site for a new facility. For more information and a video report, click here.
* There’s no denying that this year’s Nationals roster is beyond stacked. On paper, the team could very easily win the World Series. Stop me if you’ve heard that one before. But RantSports.com lists the five reasons why the Nats will win the world series. Williams, Bryce Harper and Fister all make the list, which you can find right here.
* This wouldn’t be an edition of Nationals Chatter unless I gave you more fantasy tips, would it? Nope. The Sporting News is the latest outlet to put out its edition of Nationals fantasy baseball preview. Catcher Wilson Ramos is listed as the offensive sleeper pick, while Tyler Cippard is the pitching sleeper pick. The preview also breaks down the Nationals’ injury report, as well as prospects to watch. This is probably the most in-depth fantasy preview I’ve seen thus far.
* Finally, the ESPN “Baseball Tonight” Tour bus stopped by Nationals camp last week. Williams sat down with Tim Kurkjian for an exclusive interview, while Harper spoke with Karl Ravech. I liked Harper’s fashion choice as he sported a t-shirt that read “PED Free.” No wonder people were calling him “The Natural.”
That’s a wrap of this week’s Nationals Chatter. Don’t forget to come back to MASNsports.com daily, especially with Grapefruit League games getting under way on Friday.