At least at the moment, Washington is likely moving on from the Bryce Harper era. He has been a consistent performer, and the face of the Nationals since they have moved over from Montreal. Washington was in a good spot to move on with Juan Soto developing so quickly, and already proven to be the next big thing in baseball. They also have a top prospect named Victor Robles, who is scheduled to be a promising outfielder. With the Nationals already having Trea Turner, Adam Eaton, and Anthony Rendon, they are looking to be in good shape moving forward. Of course, whenever you are taking out an all-star bat who can get on-base with ease it may be looked at as a lost, but the Nationals are in contention within their division, and some quality signings in the offseason and farm system management, they have asserted themselves as one of the more underrated teams in the National League.
Juan Soto is just 20 years old, and after tearing up the minor leagues, he played 116 games in 2018, hitting 22 home runs and batting .292. He had over 140 combined runs and RBI, and the most positive stat was his 16% walk rate and 20% strikeout rate. We have seen so many players come up and struggle to get on base, and strikeout a ton. Soto already has strong plate vision, and that is going to help him as pitchers start to adjust to his weaknesses, which are not many. You are going to see this question asked quite a few times given he is a young player. On the positive side, Soto has high expectations, but everything we saw pointed to him just getting started and building off last season. As mentioned his plate vision is going to help him avoid a longer adjustment period that others might slump in when coming up through the majors the first few seasons.
There were a lot of possible landing spots for Patrick Corbin, and Washington was somewhat of a surprise. They already have Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, but adding a third quality starter was a big move for the Nationals and staying competitive. They struggled last season, and Atlanta took advantage of it winning the division. Heading into this season, Washington still looks like the team to beat, but the NL East has really filled out into a quality division outside of the Marlins. Corbin had a career year in 2017, boasting a 3.15 ERA, and career high 30.8% strikeout rate. His high usage slider was one of the best in baseball, and it certainly showed. He should continue to rely heavily on it, and hitters stood very little chance against him. He will also move to a division that struggled against left-handed pitching in 2018, which would be an advantage for Corbin.