One year after sky-high expectations filtered through Viera, Fla., the Washington Nationals will arrive back this month better suited to achieve greatness and capture a championship.
After a disappointing 86-76 campaign last season, the Nationals are a year older, more mature, stronger in the rotation and led by a new manager. That combination could be good enough to ensure a postseason berth and deep run through October.
In 2011, the Nationals had potential. In 2012, they had swagger, talent and drive. In 2013, they underachieved, seemingly in a haze from the minute the exhibition season started. This year, the talent on the roster, leadership in the dugout and prescient moves by a smart, aggressive front office are poised to deliver on big expectations.
Of course, doubt will exist until this franchise wins its first postseason series since moving to Washington.
As the team trickles into Space Coast Stadium, here's a spring training preview for the 2014 Washington Nationals.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted. All contract figures courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts. Arbitration numbers and projections courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors. Roster projections courtesy of MLB Depth Charts.