Fantasy Draft today. No column about it (Let's face it. the old adage is true - nothing is more interesting than talking about your fantasy team, nothing is more boring than hearing someone else talk about theirs) but I will note some Nats related things. I took 2nd place in my NL-only league* last year with two Nationals on the team for any length. The two? Detwiler and Lombo (No, we don't give points for BA, HR, GRIT, RBI and HEART. Davey just kept playing him) Stras, ZNN, Ramos, Desmond, Bryce, Werth and Span are all off the table. We'll see if I end up with someone.
I predict Roark, because he is not (or at least should not be) the future and thus the Nats need to showcase him now, in case they want to deal him later. Pitching well in AAA won't do anything for that. Pitching well in the pen wouldn't either. (Jordan will go down to AAA)
I would like Jordan, for the mild reasons I noted earlier.
Zimmerman11 kind of got to the robot heart of the matter in noting lineups don't really matter. There are ways of optimizing them (like your 3rd hitter actually shouldn't be one of your best because he's going to get a lot more 2-out, no-one on ABs than any other position, simply because he has that possibility staring at him every time a game starts) but it's working on the edges. If the team has a lineup the manager is happy with, the team is happy with... well I'm not going to complain too much. Luck matters more. But you know, if you think a game might matter, for division titles or for playoff position, it's at least worth looking into. A win or two (which is about all you'll get moving from a standard lineup to an optimal one) might be worth it.
Since your probably interested - using Fangraph projections (and bumping Ian up because they really undersell him). You get an optimal lineup of
Werth, Bryce, Rendon, Desmond, Zimm, Ramos, LaRoche, P, Span.
Yes - P then Span. The reason is the lost ABs batting someone 9th instead of 8th is worth the trade-off for getting that hitter up in front of your lead-off guy when the line-up goes around again and again. But I don't expect anyone to do the above (at least not for a few more years).
Really, when I look at the Nats lineup it just comes down to what I said yesterday. Span might be the worst hitter on the team. There might be some platooning possible, but career numbers suggest that's more of a seasonal fluke than an actual skill. Given that you don't want him to get many at bats. Last year here are the ABs by lineup position for the Nats
742, 722, 706, 688, 671, 660, 640, 618, 600
by batting Span 1st instead of 8th you give him 124 more ABs. By batting say... Bryce 5th instead of 1st you give him 70 fewer ABs. Yes, Bryce gets fewer ABs with runners on and not a negligible amount fewer, like 100 or so. BUT Span gets more ABs with runners on and more importantly everyone else behind Bryce would get more ABs with runners on because Bryce would get on base more often than Span. That's something that can be missed when thinking about this. It's a total sum thing.
70 more ABs for a very good hitter plus 120 fewer ABs for a bad one plus more ABs with men on for hitters 2-5 and Span gets you more runs than 100 fewer ABs for Bryce with men on loses.
But I realize the reality of the situation and I know full optimization is not an option so twist my arm and I'd go...
Werth, Bryce, Zimm, Desmond, Ramos, LaRoche, Rendon, Span, P
It's tempting to say switch Werth and Ian, but Ian really doesn't get on base much.
*2 league specific, auction, keeper fantasy leagues. 10 teams a piece.