Contrary to popular belief, the Washington Nationals have not been crowned 2015 World Series champions just yet, and there are a number of players on the roster who must perform up to or beyond their potential for the team to reach its lofty goals. 

In 2014, the Nationals’ Achilles’ heel was a lack of offense when they needed it most.

Washington’s pitching staff mowed down opponents all season, earning the best ERA in baseball. And the addition of Max Scherzer without the subtraction of any starters from a year ago should equal continued dominance from the mound. 

With the disclaimer that Washington only played one postseason series, the team had the second-lowest batting average of the 10-team playoff field. That could be Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants‘ fault, but the Nats’ .253 regular-season average wasn’t all that impressive either. 

The sheer depth of Washington’s starting rotation—including Tanner Roark’s ability to step in if someone in the rotation suffers an injury—disqualifies any one starter from a spot on this list.

Instead, the criteria for inclusion are the consequences of a lackluster season from a particular player and the high stakes behind a transition into a new role.

If someone like closer Drew Storen or newly minted first baseman Ryan Zimmerman fall apart or sees extended time on the disabled list in 2015, the Nationals will face some scary on-the-fly decisions during the season.

That said, here are the five most important individual players on a 2015 Washington team that will be viewed as an abject failure without a deep postseason run.



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