The Ninja Nationals
In 2011, the Nationals finished in third place in the NL East with an 80-81 record, only playing in 161 games because of a game that never was made up since it had no effect on the playoffs. Over the winter, teams in the NL East have made moves to strengthen themselves, such as the Marlins completely upgrading their team with the signings of Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell, and the Phillies adding Jonathan Papelbon to shore up the back end of their bullpen. However, you cannot discount the moves that the Nationals have made to keep pace with the rest of their division. Between trading for Gio Gonzalez and currently being the frontrunner for Prince Fielder, the Nationals are showing that they are not afraid of their talented rivals and that they plan to pack a punch in 2012. Coupled with the return of Stephen Strasburg and the arrivals of top prospects such as Bryce Harper and Stephen Lambardozzi, the Nationals with be fielding a strong team in 2012, and it would be wise for the other teams in the division to watch out for this team on the rise, before they sneak up and grab the NL East crown right out from under their fingers.