The Washington Nationals have been the feel good story of the 2012 MLB season. At the beginning of the year the Nats team had a lot of question marks. How would Stephen Strasburg look after missing an entire season following Tommy John surgery? How would Bryce Harper handle major league pitching? Would interim manager Davey Johnson relate to younger players? Would Ryan Zimmerman have a bounce back year? At the end of the season all those questions have been answered. The Washington Nationals have the best record in baseball and are headed to the post season. Can they win it all?
If experience counts for anything they don't have a shot. The Nats are one of the younger teams in the league and only two players have any post season experience. If momentum and confidence counts for anything they could run the table. Bryce Harper is a phenom that seems to excel when the lights get bright. If the situation doesn't overwhelm him we could see some big things in the playoffs. In addition, Gio Gonzalez is putting up Cy Young numbers (20-8, 2.84 ERA, 201 strikeouts). If his arm doesn't get tired and he continues to dominate hitters the Nats will be hard to beat.
The biggest story involving the Nats improbable season is Stephen Strasburg. The organization decided to shut him down for the season to avoid any long term issues with his arm. The decision was controversial and may cost the Nationals a chance to win a world series, but it was for his own good. The last thing he needs is to end up like Kerry Wood or Mark Prior. If Strasburg was pitching I'd give the Nats a 50/50 chance to play for a title, but without him I'd say it's more like 20%. Anything can happen though. Remember the Cards last year?