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Washington Nationals 2013 Fantasy Baseball Preview/Q&A With

It's that time of year. Q&A's and season previews and I like to talk to everyone I can to see what people are thinking about the nation's capital's Nats. The Washington Nationals are going to try to defend their NL East crown and the team is going into the season with a "World Series or Bust!" motto that's sure to make the rest of the league angry.

Rob Carr

Asked by 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen if it was going to be Bryce Harper in left and Jayson Werth in right around Denard Span in center in the Washington Nationals' outfield this season, Nats' GM Mike Rizzo replied that it was likely since eventually moving the 20-year-old Harper to a corner was part of the plan from the start when the Nats moved him out from behind the plate upon drafting him no.1 overall in 2010. Will we see Harper in left on Opening Day? "It's a possibility," Rizzo said, "and maybe even probable because you've got an extremely talented and experienced Jayson Werth in right field."

"First of all," the Nationals' general manager explained, "We have three outfielders that are all center field-capable guys and it's going to be a fun, fun outfield to watch play, because you've got three defensive stalwarts out there with range, throwing arms and guys who have great routes and angles to the ball. [Harper's] arm, really, is conducive to right field, but I think in the short term Jayson's going to probably play right field because he's very experienced there and more comfortable there, and Harp needs to learn how to play both left field and right field. Because we forget, this guy was a catcher two and a half years ago and we took him out [from] behind the plate, we threw him in the outfield, he played all three positions and you look up and in Los Angeles, California and the guy's playing center field against the Dodgers, so..."

Another LA-based young superstar and Harper are likely to be compared throughout their respective MLB careers. A recent Q&A with started with a question about what we can expect from Harper in his 20-year-old season after seeing what a 20-year-old Mike Trout did for the Angels in 2012: Mike Trout pretty much captured the imagination of the baseball world last year as a rookie and it made a solid season by that one 19 year old kid, Bryce Harper, go a tad unappreciated even with the accolades. Considering the numbers last year were very productive for his age – 22/18 with a .270 average – what should fantasy owners expect from Bryce in 2013? It’s kind of hard to argue that with Harper winning the NL ROY award and receiving the near-constant media attention that he did, that he was even a "tad unappreciated" this past season. Most folks tend to argue that he was over-exposed if anything. I’m sure Harper will go through adjustments again this season as he and the league react to one another and see more of one another. He had a really rough stretch in the second half last season, but turned it on late, putting up .288/.349/.553 line over the last two months of the season. Down the stretch in September/October he had a .330/.400/.643 line. It’s hard to imagine him sustaining that sort of production over a full season, though that’s pretty close to what Trout put up this year (.326/.399/.564). Bill James is projecting a .272/.347/.476 line for Harper in 2013. Something tells me you won’t go wrong with Harper on your fantasy team. He’ll also be playing left most likely, which will be a little less demanding physically. It will be interesting to see if that’s to his benefit offensively.

• Read the rest of the Q&A HERE <-- this is a link.