25+1 players, 26 questions

It’s opening day, and the Nats look very good. We’ll see if we feel that way in a month, in August… in October. The way we think about them in November, when it’s all over, will have alot to do with which way just a few questions are answered. So for each player on the 25 man roster (plus Fister, who’s on the DL) I came up with a question that I’m truly curious about knowing the answer. Answering each individual one won’t make or break the season, but when we look at it at the end, answering this should give us a pretty good idea how the season went.

  1. Strasburg DeliveryStephen Strasburg – Most of his numbers were great last year, but will be able he step up to pitch that extra inning or two per start which would make him a true Ace?
  2. Gio Gonzalez – Which Gio shows up this year, the very good model that was here in 2013, or the Cy Young contender from 2012?
  3. Jordan Zimmermann – Can he keep up what he’s done over the last 2 or 3 seasons, beating expectations and what his peripherals suggest?
  4. Doug Fister – Will he be healthy enough to make this rotation the best in the league?
  5. Tanner Roark – He might not be 1.51 ERA good, but he might be better than just a #5 pitcher. Was last season a fluke, or is he better than most think ? And is whatever he delivers enough to keep him in the 5th starter role?
  6. Taylor Jordan – Can he put it together to be groundball-inducing starter that any team would love to have somewhere in the rotation?
  7. Ross Detwiler – How will the move to the bullpen affect his game? Is he going to be a dominant reliever?
  8. Aaron Barrett – Who is he? I kid, I kid – the real question: How will those incredible peripherals from 2012-2013, over 3 levels of minor leagues (12.5 K/9 and 4.9 K/BB) translate in his first season in the Major Leagues?
  9. Jerry Blevins – Will he be effective enough against righties that Matt Williams can use him with confidence in those situations?
  10. Craig Stammen – Two great seasons in the bullpen make me wonder if maybe he’s a guy to be trusted late in the game? And if he shows he is, is his ultimate destiny with this team or somewhere else?
  11. Drew Storen – Is the revamped pitching motion going to keep him as the dominant guy we saw at the end of last season, or will he revert to the unusable pitcher from the first half?
  12. Tyler Clippard – Can he continue to be so good, with such deception on the changeup, despite amassing the 296 appearances over the last four seasons?
  13. Rafael Soriano – Will his faded fastball allow him to pitch well enough to keep his role as a closer?
  14. Wilson Ramos – He can hit, but is he going to stay healthy enough to have the kind of breakout year his numbers suggest?
  15. Jose Lobaton – He’s 29, and he’s only hit well in the majors last year – what are we really gonna see out of his bat?
  16. Adam LaRoche – Will he be as useless against left-handed pitchers as he was last year, or will he recover enough to avoid a platoon?
  17. Anthony Rendon – After an impressive, but not dominant, 23 year old rookie season, how much improvement will we see?
  18. Ian Desmond – Can he keep hitting like a top 5 SS in MLB?
  19. Ryan Zimmerman – How bout them throws?
  20. Kevin Frandsen – Will he hit lefties enough to keep Zimmerman at third when LaRoche sits?
  21. Danny Espinosa – Will he hit at all, and how will he do it coming off the bench?
  22. Scott Hairston – Is he done as a hitter or does he still have something to give against left handed pitching?
  23. Nate McLouth – I really don’t have a question for him. But I’ll come up with something… How about: When he inevitably plays for an extended period, how will he hit as a full timer?
  24. Denard Span – He he gonna hit like he did in August and September last year, or more like the disappointing first 2/3 of the season?
  25. Jayson Werth – He can’t repeat last year, can he?
  26. Bryce Harper – Is this the year where he becomes a truly dominant hitter?

I have a feeling on each one of these – but I’m truly curious about how these questions will end up being answered.

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