Nationals Baseball: Media Roundup!

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Media Roundup!

Usually I put this out before the season starts but I didn't get a chance to. As the Nats continue to play subpar competition through... well October? Now's as good a time as any to get it out

NL East Champ : 29 of 29
NLDS winner : n/a
NLCS winner : 10
WS Champ : 1

NL East Champ : 6 of 6
NLDS winner : 5
NLCS winner : 2
WS Champ :0

NL East Champ : 5 of 5
NLDS winner : n/a
NLCS winner : 3
WS Champ : 2

NL East Champ : 7 of 7
NLDS winner : 5
NLCS winner : 3
WS Champ :0

NL East Champ : 8 of 8
NLDS winner : 4
NLCS winner : 2
WS Champ : 1

NL East Champ : 55 of 55
NLDS winner : 14 of 21
NLCS winner : 20 of 55
WS Champ : 4 of 55

Also MLB did a poll and only released the winner - the Nats take the NL East and split repping the NL in the World Series with the Dodgers.

On the NL East 55 of 55 is impossible to beat but you can see why it's so. The Nats are on paper 10+ games better than their next competitor. The won the NL East by 20 games last year. 20! You can work out ways that they don't win the NL East but you have to work it out. If you don't predict injury (and I don't see how you can in doing something like this) you have to pick the Nats unless you are trying to be contrarian.

While we don't see the full NLDS winning picks, we do see it for about half the picks and a full 2/3rds are saying the Nats do it this year. On one hand you can say that's a lot for a team that has now failed four times to pull that off. On the other hand...  well that is a lot considering the above and the fact that the odds for winning an NLDS is probably 55% for the best of teams. What seems like an oddly strong belief in the Nats carries on for NLCS picks with more than a third of the pundits putting the Nats in the World Series. But despite 20 putting the Nats in the series only 4 of them have the Nats winning. What I think this says is that most pundits don't really believe in the Nats, they just don't want to be left behind as a doubter when the Nats finally break through their DS walls.

If the Nats were any other team we'd probably see about 8-10 putting them in the World Series, and 15+ having them win the NLDS. But because the Nats have lost so much it creates an odd perversion where you get more credit if you pick the Nats to win some series. At least now, let's see if these high percentages stick around when these guys are making picks at playoff time when people will more remember what they do.


Ole PBN said...

I think the reason why many of the pundits have the Nats winning the DS or even advancing to WS is because they are, on paper, probably the best team in the MLB. It's a foregone conclusion they'll make the postseason, everyone knows this. Whomever they are matched up against in the NLDS, they will be the better team. No one has a problem putting their name on that prediction. But to what you pointed out, Harper, about very few picking the Nats to win it all, is because they don't have "it" (whatever you think "it" means, ie.e Will they be the hottest team heading into October? Do they have prior postseason success? Does being good on paper matter? And is the team they'd be facing in the WS worthy of the spot (yes). These things matter and haven't worked in the favor of the Nats to date. At least that is what the experts are putting their money on. It's kind of like predicting a #15 vs. #2 game in March Madness. You gonna be contrarian and pick the #15? No. But does that mean you think the #2 will go on to win it all? Not necessarily.

Either way, I'm fine with it and don't particularly care what the pundits think. Back in 2012 it was nice to see the Nats atop the stupid Power Rankings because it offered validation we had not seen before. Now they have it, but haven't done anything with it. Time to flip that script.

G Cracka X said...

@Ole PBN I respectfully disagree with the 'on paper, probably the best team in the MLB' statement. Per FG projected standings, the Nats are tied for 5th.

Robot said...

Barring serious injuries to multiple players, winning the East is a given. I'm hoping this is the year for a playoff series win. Let's not forget how epic the 2012 Game 5 meltdown was, how mismanaged 2014 was, and bizarre AND mismanaged 2017 Game 5 was.

I know, That's baseball, to borrow am expression from some guy who somehow used to be connected to this team in some way. But I feel like the baseball gods have to smile on us eventually.

Bjd1207 said...

@G Cracka X & @Ole PBN - Yea fangraphs currently has them in a dead heat with Dodgers and Cubs, and everyone projected above them is AL

Harper said...

Nats best - They are up there regardless but I think the better point is it's not a 2 v 15 thing here. It's like a 2 v 4 seed. You can't be that blase about picking that 2 then and that's what they are doing.

I agree the pundits don't think the Nats have "it" but then why pick them at all? I do think a number of these are serious picks but I think it's a little inflated

Robot - While 2014 was mismanaged they weren't winning that series. Bats looked dead from G1 and stayed dead.

Anonymous said...

I think they are picked by some because of the talent on paper is hard to ignore. And the fact that they'll make the postseason means they have a chance. But experts will pick another team ahead of them in the playoffs because they Nats haven't inspired a lot of confidence when the calendar flips to October. I guess that would make them one of the worst "best" teams in baseball? Haha

Robot said...

Harper - Very true, but the Giants bats were also dead. All three Nats losses were by one run. They deserved to lose for how badly they played, but every game was winnable. And none of that changes the fact that Matt Williams was terrible

Anonymous said...

Well, dinger or not, AJ Cole clearly is not the 5th starter solution.

Josh Higham said...

So, does 10 ER over 3.2 count as a Guthrie or nah?

KW said...

Very, very close to "a Guthrie." It was nearly as painful to watch. I've been anti-Cole as the 5th starter, but even I was surprised at how bad he was. If they DFA him now, coming off that performance, there's a good chance he'll clear waivers.

Anonymous said...

Let's see what the boys do when the Mets roll into town this weekend. They are off to a pretty decent start as well, and that rotation looks pretty darn good so far.

Ole PBN said...

I think the only thing that makes this not a "Guthrie" was that we didn't expect Jeremy to do that last year. I sort of expected this. The surprise isn't really the 10 runs, but the fact that he went 3.2 innings. That's, like, a lot of innings, A.J. wooooooow...

Fries said...

Cole's only job is to be an innings eater. If he allows 6 runs in every single one of his starts, but he goes 6 innings every time, I'd be happy. But yesterday definitely did not cut it.

Maybe it's time to consider a 4 man rotation or a bullpen only 5th game...

JE34 said...

We had WAMW when Dusty arrived... I wonder if we will have a measurable WADB metric if Davey Martinez continues to make good decisions.

Kinda funny how Tanner Roark gets more yeoman duty. His job is to pitch deep into games because the bullpen is sure to be busy on the next day.

Kubla said...


I feel like an innings eater is a 4.40-4.90 ERA guy who can maybe get something like 5 K/9. That's not Cole. Cole is crud who got shelled in AAA and still has a job because he's only 26 and there just aren't that many people on planet who know how to make a baseball go 90+ MPH in the general direction of home plate. The most disappointing thing about Cole is he ruled out the standard Nats attempted reclamation projects. Those also end up costing a bunch of games, but at least they answer the burning question "Hey, what is Chien-ming Wang up to these days?"

The Nats averaged >91 wins over the last five seasons, even with Joe Schmoes taking 1/5 of the starts. I haven't dug in to find their record of just the 1-4 guys - certainly not the expected W-L when removing bullpen meltdowns and the 0-1 losses when then offense didn't do anything - but the wins total over that 80% of the games should be enough to offset that the team is likely to be <.500 on the rest.

They'll be fine with Cole or whomever, but it rules out cool things like long winning streaks, setting the total wins record, lowest rotation ERA ever, etc. That is, unless a real rotation guy goes down with an injury early and the Schmoes end up starting 50+ games. If that's the case, I hope Rizzo goes beyond his standard incremental deadline changes and pulls off a splashy trade that nets us a premium guy from a team that's unexpectedly struggling.

Or I'm wrong. Nats lose literally all those games to end up with 78 wins, and we have to see the Phillies win out and contribute to the "BEST SPORTS CITY EVER" narrative that's going around. Bryce walks. The Nats become the Mariners.