The Nationals have, for the most part, a veteran everyday lineup. And, for the most part, veterans don't have breakout seasons, especially after the age of 30.
So with that as a backdrop, the likely candidates to have a breakout 2014 season would be outfielder Bryce Harper, infielder Anthony Rendon or catcher Wilson Ramos. It would be hard to argue against Harper, who appears destined for greatness. And Rendon, another former first-round draft pick, would also be a safe pick during his first full season in the major leagues.
But I am going to go out on a limb and pick Ramos for three main reasons. For one, manager Matt Williams is not going to ride his starting lineup the way former skipper Davey Johnson did. Johnson rode his veterans too hard last year, perhaps because it was Johnson's last chance to win a World Series ring. Ramos started 24 games in a row at one point, which is just crazy in this day and age.
Williams was asked during spring training if he planned to play Ramos 24 games in a row. "No," he said curtly, with a smile on his face as he sat at his desk at Gulf Coast Stadium in Viera, Fla.
Reason No. 2: Ramos should be healthy this year, after he played in 78 games last year while hitting .272 with 16 home runs and 59 RBIs in 287 at bats. Ramos battled hamstring problems last year.
Reason No. 3: The Nationals went out and traded with Tampa Bay for catcher Jose Labaton, a proven big league catcher who can spell Ramos as needed.