Nationals Chatter: Rendon spotlight, Williams’ lineup, autographed Harper gear

Spring is in the air. Everywhere I look around.

Just ignore that chance of snow in the forecast.

You may have missed what some other media outlets are saying about the Nationals.

Don’t worry, I have you covered.

* Infielders Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinosa are competing to win the starting job at second base. CBS St Louis’ Rich Arleo is taking the time to profile one young player from each of the 30 major league clubs. Arleo’s pick for the Nats is Rendon. Arleo believes the second base job is Rendon’s to lose and that competition from Espinosa will only help Rendon’s performance this spring. As of right now, the position is still up for grabs.

* USA TODAY’s Steve Gardner started breaking down how new manager Matt Williams will construct his lineup. Williams is still trying to figure out who will lead off for the Nats in less than three weeks. According to Gardner, shortstop Ian Desmond would be a smart pick for second in the lineup. Who knew that second was the most important spot in the lineup? Apparently, Sabermetricians. Interested in other lineup possibilities? Click here.

* With the season 19 days away, why not look at another Nationals preview. Bill Baer of is picking the Nats to finish first in the NL East. Baer believes the additions of Doug Fister and Jerry Blevins significantly improve the Nats. Baer also expects the Nats to have at least 90 wins.

* Nats fans are hoping third baseman Ryan Zimmerman’s bounce-back second half of the 2013 season will carry over to 2014. Former Nats GM and current ESPN Insider Jim Bowden says Zimmerman tops the list of players that scouts are raving about. According to Bowden, Zimmerman is looking “great at third ... and his arm strength has returned.” Bowden believes Zimmerman could have numbers similar to his ‘09 season.

* It has been reported throughout spring training that Nats ace Stephen Strasburg has introduced a slider to his repertoire. has GIFs of Strasburg’s slider, courtesy of Sunday’s MASN broadcast. Want to see Strasburg’s new pitch? Click here.

* Finally, Bryce Harper has a new project. Don’t worry, he’ll still be the Nats’ starting left fielder, but he has a new business venture: eye black. Here’s more on Harper’s eye black, appropriately titled “WarriorBlack.” Also, if you visit the WarriorBlack Web site, you could enter to win a WarriorBlack T-shirt or hat autographed by Harper.

That’s a wrap of this week’s Nationals Chatter. Don’t forget to come back to daily for the latest on the Nationals.

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