2016 Outlook: Had Murphy gone on his power binge a little later in the playoffs and had it propelled the Mets to the title, the message would be not to pay for a well-publicized hot streak. There's still some residual optimism and the National League Championship Series hero can carry some of it over to 2016, but now it's a little easier to remind everyone that Citi Field boosts left-handed power while Nationals Park depresses it. Thus, on paper, Murphy's home run output should actually drop in his new digs. Murphy changed his approach last summer leading to a second-half featuring nine homers. If the change subsists, a total in the high teens is plausible. Perhaps a result of some nagging leg injuries, Murphy barely ran last season. That could change under Dusty Baker as the Nationals skipper is on record as saying he'd like the club to be aggressive on the basepaths.
2016 Outlook: Rendon checks many of the boxes that seasoned owners look for when pinpointing bounce-back candidates. He was a borderline first-round pick in drafts last year and didn't come remotely close to returning that value. Injuries limited his playing time and sapped his production when he was on the field. However, at just 25 years old, all of the skills that made him a top-20 pick last year remain, and this year he should enter camp fully healthy. Rendon should hit in front of Bryce Harper in the two hole all year, which offers hope that he can return to scoring 100-plus runs like he did in 2014. He also qualifies at second base and third base in most formats, which provides lineup flexibility. His power and speed contributions are difficult to project, as 2014 represents his lone full MLB season, but evaluators have thrown plus grades on his hit tool since back when he was the sixth pick out of Rice in 2011, so he should at least offer a solid batting average.
2016 Outlook: Due to the league's (since changed) rules prohibiting drafted players from being traded in their first year under contact, Turner did not join the Nats' organization until mid-June, seven months after being dealt. After hitting well over .300 in consecutive stops at three different minor league levels, he received a rude welcome to the majors in 44 plate appearances. His 27.3 percent strikeout rate was the highest he'd posted at any level, while his batting average (.225), OBP (.295) and slugging percentage (.325) were his worst numbers in those categories. Last season's admittedly small -- and therefore potentially misleading -- sample size notwithstanding, Turner could see a return to numbers much closer to his solid minor league metrics with a full season of playing time in 2016. Ian Desmond's departure in the offseason put Turner one step closer to the top shortstop job, with veteran Danny Espinosa slated to head into training camp as the starter. While expecting him to wrest that spot in the exhibition season might be a bit ambitious, the talented Turner could conceivably accomplish the feat at some point during the first half.
2016 Outlook: Espinosa was a starter in his first two full big league seasons, playing 158 and 160 games. But poor defense and a horrible contact rate have rendered him to a bench role the past three campaigns. Espinosa enters 2016 as a placeholder, keeping shortstop warm until top prospect Trea Turner usurps the position, which could be sooner than later. It's a shame Espinosa fans so much, as he was teasing 20/20 upside as a starter. To be fair, in 2015 Espinosa cut down significantly on his whiffs, though he still fanned at a clip well above league average. While he hasn't run much lately, he's an efficient 14-for-17 in steals since 2013 which bodes well as new manager Dusty Baker has expressed the desire to be more aggressive on the base paths.
2016 Outlook: The 17 home runs were nice, but came at the cost of a rather awful .201 batting average. Drew did the unusual thing of hitting more homers while drastically reducing his strikeout rate from 25 percent down to 17 percent last season, which was his first sub-20-percent strikeout rate season since 2010. The issue is the batting average, as Drew is rather pull happy and hits into the shifting defense more often than not. He had three multi-homer games last year, each of which came at Yankee Stadium. He moves to Washington where manager Dusty Baker loves his vets, so Drew may get more playing time than he deserves, and that won't be a good thing for his batting average.