July 12, 2017

(52–36, first in NL East): In SI's baseball preview in April, a scout said the following about Ryan Zimmerman: "He's just not the same." And that's true—just not for the reason the scout thought. Zimmerman's re-emergence as a bona fide star (.330/.373/.596 with 19 home runs) has added another big bat to a lineup that has the top three leaders in batting average in the NL (Murphy, .342; Zimmerman, .330; Harper, .325). Add in two starters in the top three in ERA (Scherzer, 2.10; Gonzalez, 2.86) and you have a legitimate contender. SI picked the Nats to finish third in the NL, behind the Dodgers and Cubs. The Dodgers might be in a class of their own, but it's safe to say the Nats have overachieved. —Jeremy Fuchs

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