Nationals Baseball: Nats : Team of Mystery

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Nats : Team of Mystery

It'll take a few more days for the MLB previews to shake out but here are some of the earlier predictions

USA Today has the Nats winning the NL East with 89 wins. (playoffs not covered)
Sports Illustrated has the Nats missing the playoffs with a mere 83 wins.
No one at CBS Sports has Washington winning the NL and making series.
Fangraphs projected 2016 standings would have the Nats in the Wild Card.

Generally the spread I've seen here matches the spread I picked up at various newspaper previews as well. Nobody hates the Nats, but generally they like the Mets better. It's hard to argue that given the respective off-seasons (pretty even) and the results of last seasons. There are as many people picking the Nats to miss the playoffs entirely as there are picking them to win the division. There are a few Wild Card showings. There's even a guy at the Boston Globe picking the Nats to win it all. Like we said previously, and I'll say again I'm sure before the season starts, this is a hard team to read. The Nats aren't bad. We know that. But are they middling, good, or great?

I think they are being underestimated by the pundits but I get why. Even if you believe, like I think most of these guys do, that the Nats have the potential to be really good, they haven't lived up to it yet. If you backed them in 2013-2014-2015 they've failed you in some way.  So they stop picking them. Fool me once, etc. etc. Instead they pick teams on the rise like the Mets or Cubs who haven't flopped yet.

I'll do my official prediction tomorrow. Gotta do more thinking about where I want to lay down the line for the Nats.


Jay said...

I think a lot depends on health and Dusty. If healthy - a big if for this team then they should hit. They should hit a lot. Also, every team Dusty has managed hits pretty well. There have been several pictures of him discussing hitting with several players - Ramos and Taylor to name a few.
I think the big jump in wins happens if Dusty still has it. MW pretty much lost this team in the playoffs against the Giants. Last year was about as bad as it can get from a manager perspective. A guy chokes the MVP in the dugout and goes back out to pitch the 9th. Wow. Anyway, Dusty has been like Davey up to this point. Has won everywhere he has been and usually a pretty big jump in wins the first year. The only thing to keep in mind is Bobby Valentine. He was toast and so no Bobby V magic at his last job. Dusty doesn't strike me as being done. I am hopeful. We'll see.
One last question - is DeGrom still way down in velocity? If so, I always heard if a pitcher's velocity is way down then he's hurt. It's just a matter of finding the injury.

Donald said...

I'm optimistic about the season, mostly because Zim, Werth and Rendon appear to be healthy at this point. If they can all stay healthy then it should be a much better hitting line up than last year. So maybe it's the new medical staff that'll end up having the biggest impact on the season? I think that Nats win 91 games and the division.

Mythra said...

I'll throw my hat in the prediction ring, with full disclosure that I have been a Nats fan since they moved here.

Nats will finish with 87-90 wins and win the NL East.
Mets will be competitive, but I'm not keen on Cespedes repeating 2015 success and suspect Wright will play less than Zim. Also suspect Harvey has a setback, because of them having him exceed limits last season for win-now.

Marlins implode before the trade deadline and Loria fire-sales everyone but Stanton, who approaches a 50 HR season.

Phillies and Braves play AAA Teams + Freeman (ATL) who each are feasted on my Nats, Mets, Marlins.

I'm going to pick the Cubs to be the team that disappoints. Too many new players and new chemistry. No doubting the talent, but I just think they miss the mark. Not horribly, but I think they make the Wild Card at best.

I think the team that might surprise is in the AL. Cleveland or the Tigers could surprise people and make it in the Playoffs.

Misc Assumptions:
Turner is up by June.
Roark looks like 2014 Roark by summer.
Giolito is a September call up, earlier if someone is injured.
Revere and Murphy add 30-40 runs to Nats' 2015 totals. Offense is Top 3 again.
Zim plays and Robinson fills in well for steady days off. Both hit around 280 with power.
Werth starts to fade. MAT starts to play more as dog days of summer wear on the aging Werth.
Werth contributes off the bench. He can still hit, and spot start, but his role changes to bench veteran from starter by the Playoffs.
BRYCE Version 2.0 returns. Gets his 100+ RBI season and 30+ IBBs.
Max pitches like an Ace. Gio improves slightly.
Stras embraces his walk year and has a great season. He's rewarded with a Playoff start. Gets at least one Dan Kolko Gatorade shower.
Ross proves he is one of the best #4 starters in baseball. Feasts on matchups with other #4s.

G Cracka X said...

The team has looked very good in Spring. But will it translate? No telling. Health, as mentioned by previous posters, is the biggest thing. The Nats look like they have good depth everywhere except for Starting Pitching. Who is the next man up if a SP gets hurt?

Mythra said...

@G Cracka: This guy named Giolito. Rumor is that he's pretty good.

SM said...

Hmmm. . . You're going to do your official prediction on April Fools Day?

coelacanth said...

Nice Brock Landers reference.

DezoPenguin said...

@SM Seems logical enough. At least Harper's admitting that preseason predictions are at least 50% joke!

Since Harper's a Yankee fan, it seems appropriate that he blogs about the Nats, given that Washington is kind of the NL Yankees: if everybody's health holds up, they could be really, really good, but the whole team is speckled with question marks about who will break down and when, though the Yanks have more "can old guy keep playing well?" questions (ARod, Gardner, Tex) and we have more "can relatively young guy play to his potential?" questions (Taylor, Ross, Roark). Plus the Yankees have more competition, whereas we're basically playing the Mets for the division title and the odd teams out in the Cubs/Pirates/Cardinals and Dodgers/Giants races for the WC.

Ric said...

@Jay: DeGrom's velocity was never "way down." Anyways, it is back to where it was last season. Everybody seems to forget that a pitcher works up to his velocity in ST. It was natural to be down at the beginning.

@Mythra: If your miscellaneous predictions are correct, then your prediction of "87-90 wins" is extreme lowballing. You've got us a top 3 offense again, and frankly top 3 pitching. Contenders for MVP and Cy Young. That translates to 95+ wins. (I think your right with 87-90 wins, but your miscellaneous predictions are, taken as a whole, wildly optimistic.)

Mythra said...

@Ric: Yeah, I was being optimistic, but also think it is certainly 50/50 that any of those come true, on average. For every thing that goes well for the Nats, there will be a Ramos to DL or broken wrist for Werth. I fully anticipate more of those Misc predictions to be misses than hits. I'm clearly drinking Red Kool Aid and excited for Opening Day. If this year is a repeat of 2015, I'd point to those predictions that were missed as good places to look for the cause.

Maybe with my 87-90 prediction I'm like all those pundits. Hedging bets against underperformance.

Old Man River said...

Harper - if you have Taylor in CF and Revere on the bench, who would you have leading off? Werth? Just curious...

Seems to me that Taylor has a better upside and could have turned a corner this spring, but the lineup as a whole works more soundly with someone like Revere at the top. I guess with all cards on the table, with defense being the deciding factor, one would have to give it to Taylor then.

Donald said...

Old man River - I think in a perfect world, Trea Turner would lead off followed by Rendon, Harper, Zimmerman, Murphy, Werth, Taylor, Ramos. But I agree that as long as Turner is in Syracuse, it makes sense for Revere to lead off. I think Taylor will get his at bats.

Bjd1207 said...

Damn, Donald stole my prediction but I'll stick with it anyway. 91 wins and the division.

Great year from bryce, good years from zimm, rendon, and revere (27!) but not from werth (injury), espinosa, or ramos. Serviceable for most else. Pitching wise Scherzer and Stras are great, Ross is Good, Gio is decent, and Roark is just below decent.

Man the predictions so far are all brutally specific, this oughta be fun.

Nattydread said...

Fangraphs ( makes a good point. Much of the season hangs on Anthony Rendon. If he steps up and plays any where near where he was two years ago, this will be a formidable offensive unit.

I offer no prediction except to agree with Fangraphs. If the stalwarts stay healthy and Rendon and Bryce deliver, the Nats will easily take the division. And set themselves up to continue into October.

Ric said...

@Mythra: " I fully anticipate more of those Misc predictions to be misses than hits. I'm clearly drinking Red Kool Aid and excited for Opening Day."

If you expect them to be misses, then they aren't really predictions (by definition).

(I trust you take this as good-natured teasing; I know tenor gets lost in online comments sometimes.)

Opening Day!