After six weeks of preparation, the Washington Nationals will play their first game of the regular season on Monday afternoon. Spring training is officially in the books after their final tune-up against the New York Yankees on Friday afternoon.
After a long, grueling spring which welcomed new faces such as new starting center fielder Denard Span, the Nationals will be able to reflect on their successes and failures of the spring in hopes to come together for a championship run.
Let's take a look at the spring training stats of all of the Nationals starters in their lineup spots as projected by CBSSports.com.
Denard Span finished the spring with a less-than-average .222 batting average but proved that he is a valuable leadoff man by adding nine walks to his totals, bringing his on-base percentage to .347.
He was able to swipe three bags and collected 14 hits, three of which were doubles.
There should be no concern for Span heading into the beginning of the season as he was still being patient and getting on base.
Jayson Werth had an interesting spring while he continues to regain strength in his wrist. Despite a .309 average which consisted of 17 hits, he only recorded one extra-base hit, which was a home run.
It appears as though Werth might be a valuable piece of the Nats by just getting on base this season ahead of Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman.
Bryce Harper collected 32 hits this spring on his way to a ridiculous .478 average and .716 slugging percentage.
He lead the team in hits, stolen bases with six, and tied for the lead in doubles and triples.
Harper is poised to have a tremendous year this season in D.C. and having Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche behind him will certainly help.
Despite Harper's emergence in D.C., Zimmerman might always be one of the most beloved Nats.
This spring, he kept solid numbers as he hopes to replicate a second half of last season that would put him into MVP talks if he could maintain it over an entire season.
Zimmerman finished spring with a .298 average and .579 slugging percentage while launching four home runs and four doubles. Zimmerman was not waiting for pitches to hit this spring, after not receiving any walks.
Zimmerman will be ready for a great season in the cleanup spot and has only taken steps forward in his progression this spring with no setbacks from his shoulder surgery.
Adam LaRoche is coming off a fantastic season in D.C. after hitting 33 home runs and driving in 100 runs in 2012.
His spring could have been a bit better, but he was able to exit spring with no major issues. He only hit .200 with four home runs and a concerning 15 strikeouts in 55 at-bats.
LaRoche certainly has a tendency to strike out a bit, but he needs to try to cut down on this in 2013; otherwise, he will leave many RBI opportunities on the basepaths.
Ian Desmond can establish himself as one of the best shortstops in baseball with another great offensive season in 2013. His spring was average, as he hit .269 with two home runs and seven RBI.
Desmond should continue to grow into one of the elite players in baseball this year.
Danny Espinosa was second to Harper in hits this spring with 26, five of which were doubles and two home runs. Unfortunately, he was also second on the team in strikeouts with 18, but this has become expected with Espinosa.
A great offensive talent who struggles with strikeouts, but he still should continue to improve this season and his spring showed no signs of regression to dispute this.
Amanda Comak of The Washington Times reports that Wilson Ramos will get the starting nod on Opening Day on Monday while Kurt Suzuki will catch Gio Gonzalez in Game 2. The two will then alternate after that.
Ramos still needs to be eased into this season after missing most of last season with a torn ACL.
Ramos also finished spring training healthy and on a positive note, with a .333 average and .528 slugging percentage in 36 at-bats. Not bad for the No. 8 hitter in the lineup.
Although Suzuki is not starting on Monday, he will still be playing quite often. He finished the spring with a .263 average and .421 slugging percentage in 38 at-bats. Both players only struck out four times this spring.
They should make up a great tandem behind the plate, whether they continue to split time deep into the season or one gains a majority. It certainly is a luxury for the Nationals going into the new season.