Dream Bracket 2: '12, '19 Nationals to compete

May 21st, 2020

You’ve watched the Nationals play every year since 2005. But what if you could step into a baseball time machine and see how those teams would fare against some of the all-time best clubs in history?

Turns out, you can. MLB Dream Bracket 2 is underway and is simulating matchups in a 64-team bracket featuring best-of-seven series. The Nationals are represented by the 2012 and '19 squads, the latter being one of 34 World Series-winning squads in the tournament.

The simulated competition is being produced by Out of the Park Baseball 21, Major League Baseball’s most realistic strategy game (PC and Mac). The pool of competition is comprised of two all-time teams from each of the 30 Major League franchises, three Negro Leagues teams and the 1994 Montreal Expos.

Let's take a look at the pair of Nationals teams in the bracket, along with a preview of their first-round matchups.

2012 Nationals
The 2012 Nationals, managed by Davey Johnson, went a franchise-record 98-64. That season, MLB was introduced to a 19-year-old Bryce Harper, who captured the National League Rookie of the Year Award and received an All-Star selection. The Nats’ offense was powered by Harper, Adam LaRoche, Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman, each of whom hit at least 20 homers, and Jayson Werth, who batted .300. Gio Gonzalez led the Majors with 21 wins, and a young Stephen Strasburg went 15-6. This was the first time the franchise had reached the postseason since relocating to Washington, D.C., but it lost to the Cardinals in five games in the NL Division Series.

In the first round of Dream Bracket 2, the 2012 Nationals needed seven games to oust the 1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords, who won the Negro National League title that year. This team included Hall of Famers Cool Papa Bell, Oscar Charleston, Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson and Satchel Paige.

2019 Nationals
Last season, manager Dave Martinez and the Nats turned a 19-31 start into a 93-69 regular season and the first World Series championship in franchise history, as they beat the Astros in seven games in the Fall Classic. The rotation was led by Strasburg (18-6, 3.32 ERA) and Max Scherzer (11-7, 2.92). Washington's lineup had a mix of established players (Anthony Rendon and Howie Kendrick) and emerging young stars (Juan Soto and Victor Robles). Players across the roster stepped up to contribute in big moments, and "Baby Shark" became an anthem that was synonymous with their wins.

In the first round of Dream Bracket 2, the 2019 Nationals will face the 1977 Dodgers, who went 98-64 and lost to the Yankees in Game 6 of the World Series. This roster included a 28-year-old Dusty Baker, who would later go on to manage the Nats.