Washington Nationals – SP Gio Gonzalez
The Nationals might be the most exciting newcomers to the playoffs, sporting an incredibly young roster led by phenoms like Stephen Strasburg (age 23) and Bryce Harper (19). Strasburg has been shut down for postseason play, but Harper will be out there making headlines as a teenager starting in the MLB playoffs, coming off a brilliant season that will win him Rookie of the Year and make us wonder what he’ll accomplish throughout his career. However, for this year’s playoffs, we’ll go with the veteran 26-year-old, Gio Gonzalez, as the guy to watch. Gonzalez was the ace of the Nats’ pitching staff, going 21-8 with a 2.89 ERA. He’s slated to start the Division Series opener, and you’ll see him again in the deciding Game 5 if it gets that far (and if weather is normal).
If a starting pitcher like Gonzalez gets hot during the playoffs, it bodes very well for the team’s prospects. This team can also hit, with players like Adam LaRoche, Ryan Zimmerman and Mike Morse (not to mention Harper) all turning in great seasons at the dish. This team wasn’t expected to do this well this early, but it seems they’ve already turned into a robust World Series contender.