5. The Nationals will win 100 games, but come up short once again in the playoffs.
This 2015 Nationals roster is highly reminiscent of the 2011 Phillies team that won 102 games led by a pitching staff that included Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt. How did things turn out for that team? Well, they were knocked out in the NLDS by the Cardinals, due largely in part to the fact that their offense struggled to push runs across the plate.
I believe this is the exact fate that will befall the 2015 Washington Nationals. Last year, the Nationals hit only .253 as a team. Granted that ranked them fifth in the pitching dominated National League. The Nationals are relying on several aging players, Ryan Zimmerman, Werth, and Span to stay healthy the entire year. Should those three struggle with injuries, there are not a ton of reinforcements to be found on the bench. Michael Taylor, who I mentioned earlier, may be able to slide into the lineup seamlessly, but with less than half a season at Triple-A under his belt, he will certainly have growing pains. Rendon will be back, and his return will serve as a massive shot in the arm for the Nationals.
Overall, my gut is telling me that this is a Nationals lineup that will strikeout too much and struggle to get a timely hit when the chips are down in October. The past two postseason trips for the Nationals have seen a first round exit. The Nationals did not really address the real reason they have not succeeded in the playoffs in the past by signing Max Scherzer. This year, I think they do reach the NLCS, but come up short once again, thanks to an offense that goes belly-up against the best pitching staffs.