We all know that Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper is good enough to win MVP any given year, but what about another Nats position player?
After exploding onto the scene last season and finishing second in National League Rookie of the Year voting, ESPN analyst Eduardo Perez is predicting that Trea Turner will win the NL MVP in 2017.
In 73 games last season, the NC State product posted a blistering .329 batting average, while adding 13 homers, 40 RBI and 33 stolen bases. In 2017, Turner will be even more important to the team as he moves to his natural position of shortstop, following the team trading for Adam Eaton, and trading away Danny Espinosa in the offseason.
Of course in addition to Turner, right fielder Bryce Harper is garnering MVP predictions from different baseball writers, as is usually the case for him during spring training. After winning MVP in 2015, Harper followed that performance up with a subpar season (for his standards) in 2016. Last season Harper batted .243 with 24 homers and 86 RBI. While Harper didn't have the individual season he would've liked to have last year, he certainly seems poised to bounce back to his MVP form judging by how he's swung the bat in spring training. With just a couple exhibition games left before the regular season, Harper has hit an MLB-leading eight home runs to go along with his .304 batting average.
While Harper and Turner are getting attention for the MVP award, it seems as if second baseman Daniel Murphy is sort of the forgotton man, even though he had a career year in 2016 on his way to finishing second in MVP voting to Kris Bryant.
With three-legitimate stars on offense, and a dominant starting rotation, the Nationals are certainly in a good spot to repeat as NL East champions, and maybe finally win a playoff series.
Related: Nationals name Blake Treinen their closer
When Max Scherzer was a teenager, he didn't know that one day he'd actually become a two-time Cy Young Award winner. He had no guarantee he'd make it to the majors, much less play in five consecutive MLB All-Star games.
All he knew was that he had the option to go pro as a kid or go to college, and back then, the Nationals' ace needed a contingency plan in case baseball didn't work out. Fortunately for Scherzer, it did, but he doesn't regret going to college at the University of Missouri, telling Santana Moss on CSN's "Route 89" going to school was a no-brainer.
"It was actually a really easy decision," Scherzer told Moss. "When you get drafted out of high school, you're going to be going into the minor leagues, and that can take three to five or six years — multiple years — in the minor leagues, and you're forfeiting your right to further your education."
Scherzer was drafted in the 43rd round by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2003, but he opted to play for Mizzou for three years, which turned out to be a great decision. The Arizona Diamondbacks then drafted him in 2006 in the first round as the 11th overall pick.
"A lot of times when you sign out of high school, you don't make it to the major leagues," Scherzer continued. "So I realize that your education — that's your safety net.
"You need to further your education in college, and if you do get drafted out of college, you're in a much better position to try to chase your dreams because if it doesn't work out, you still have one year left of school and that's much easier to obtain rather than try to go through four years when you're not coming out of high school."
MORE NATIONALS: Stephen Strasburg returns to the mound
SAN DIEGO -- Yangervis Solarte hit a two-run home run off Stephen Strasburg in the first inning of the right-hander's first start in almost a month and the San Diego Padres beat the Washington Nationals 3-1 Saturday night.
Strasburg (10-4) retired the first two batters he faced before allowing a single to Jose Pirela and then the homer to the switch-hitting Solarte, who drove a 96-mph fastball to right for his 13th.
Strasburg then settled down against his hometown team, retiring 10 straight batters and 13 of 14. He went six innings, allowing two runs and four hits while striking out eight and walking one.
He hadn't pitched since July 23, when he went only two innings at Arizona. He went on the disabled list with an elbow nerve impingement.
Strasburg pitched at West Hills High in suburban Santee and then at San Diego State for coach Tony Gwynn before going to the Nationals with the No. 1 pick overall in the 2009 draft.
While Strasburg pitched well, the Nationals had only three hits.
San Diego's Travis Wood (2-1) also settled down after laboring through the first inning, when he threw 35 pitches but didn't allow a run. He was unscathed until the fifth, when he allowed a one-out single to Jose Lobaton and a two-out double to Adrian Sanchez. The run was unearned because of Woods' throwing error on Strasburg's sacrifice bunt that advanced Lobaton.
Wood allowed just the unearned run on three hits in seven innings, with two strikeouts and two walks.
Brad Hand pitched the ninth for his 11th save.