Nationals Baseball: So What Do I Think?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

So What Do I Think?

Updated Predictions :  6 out of 11 picking the Nats to win it all. A perfect 12 for 12 in NL East Pennants

OK enough pussyfooting around.  The season is just around the corner and unless the team falls into a cult and loses half its players to missions in Asia, the team is set.  It's time for a season prediction.

94-68, NL East Champions

Offensively the Nats are ripe for a regression. I wouldn't be surprised if Desmond and LaRoche both took steps back, if the bench played more like we'd expect them to, if Werth couldn't repeat the average of last year and his power is still gone, if Span hits more like 2011 and 2010 Span than 2012 Span, if the injury bug again hits this team. With all that you might think the Nats would be in line for a big step back, but there's something standing in the way of that. Bryce Harper. I can't see him getting worse. He could get better. A lot better. Best in the majors better. All these little things might hurt but the ascension of Bryce will cover most of that. Add in chances for better production from 2B and C, and you get a team that might take a small scooch back, but it's not going to fall back below average.

Pitching wise they should remain on top. The unreliability of relief pitching is still ever present but the Nats have done what they needed to. They've filled the back of that corps with great arms. The starting pitching might also fall back.  Haren has looked bad. Detwiler and ZNN both could pitch a little worse. But I'm still betting on Haren to be at least ok, and when I say a little worse, I mean a little. No ticking time bombs here. Gio was legitimitely great last year and Strasburg could be even better.  This is a squad that's going to be tops in the NL.  Maybe not #1, but right up there.

They were a mid 90s win team last year, who managed to have a couple wins go their way.  I stripped out that luck and added that tiny regression and settled at 94.  At 94 wins, I just don't see anyone passing them in the NL East. They have to win those games vs their competition and frankly, I don't see the Braves or Phillies as being better than the Nationals. 

What happens in the playoffs?  Playoff prediction is a fools game, especially at this point.  Who's injured? Who's tired? Who's come up from the minors? There's way too much about October 1 we don't know now to make any reliable prediction. I think the Nats will have the best team in the NL, for what that's worth. They also will have a top of the rotation that can battle with anyone. So NL East title, home field advantage, just like last year. This year though will carry the expectations of much better results.


cass said...

My predictions:
100 wins, NL East Champions, National League Champions, World Series Champions.

All Stars: Strasburg, Gonzalez, Harper, Zimmerman

NL MVP: Bryce Harper
NL Cy Young: Stephen Strasburg

Gold glove: Zimmerman, LaRoche
Silver slugger: Harper, Strasburg

These are predictions, not certainties. The playoffs are, of course, a crapshoot. But I like the Nats' dice the best.

It'll be like last year, except Strasburg will be a little better in terms of runs allowed, Haren will be the same as EJax or perhaps a bit worse, and Bryce Harper will have a monster year, like Mike Trout's 2011.

Bryce Harper is going to become the undisputed face of the franchise this year. He will be the biggest star in baseball. He'll be OPSing over 1000 with good fielding and good baserunning. 40/30 is not out of reach, with a lot of walks and doubles.

cass said...

Correction: Like Mike Trout's 2012!

If Bryce Harper puts up a year like Mike Trout's 2011, I don't think the Nats win the division.

I also think the second-best team in the NL might be the Braves. This is going to be a very stressful year for Nats fans. There's a lot of variance in their starting pitching, though, so it could get easy if their starters disappoint.

Donald said...

Might be a bit boring but I'm going with 98 - 64 and 1st place in the NL East, just like last year. The team is a bit better but the schedule is a bit tougher due to the flight of the Astros.

Zimmerman11 said...

My prediction... Nationals take first in the CONCACAF qualifying round and take the World Cup in 2014 :) Suck on that, Brazil!

Oh, I meant the US National Team... my bad.

Nats squeak out a NL East Division title... I'll go with 92 Wins. It's gonna be a bloodbath in this division.

Chinatown Express said...

98 wins, NL East Champions, then the playoffs.

All Stars: Strasburg, Zimmermann, Harper, Desmond. Zimmerman and Gio make serious cases, but don't get the nod.

NL Cy Young: Strasburg

I see regression from LaRoche. Desmond holds steady as one of the five best SSs in baseball, Span looks like 2012 Span. Harper, Zimmerman, Werth, and Strasburg all benefit from full years. Haren's a bust and the Nats have real problems with the #5 starter, finally making a mid-season trade. Espinosa improves, but not enough to stop the Rendon talk. The bullpen isn't quite as good as last year, but the bench is better.

Bonus prediction: The Braves are the second-best team in the NL, make it into the wildcard, and get knocked out of the play-in game on a questionable infield fly call. Riots in Atlanta.

Booyah Suckah! said...

Alright, I'll play. But to avoid jinxing the team, I'll say 80-82, good for third in the division. Braves have a good year, but the surprise New York Metropolitans take the division behind the arm of an RA Dickey-shaped dust cloud still present on the mound (and which happens to still be the best pitcher on the Mets staff). Braves fall in the wild card game, Mets beat the Reds and the Giants to lose to the Angels in the WS.

Meanwhile in DC, Zimmerman is sued by a woman who got beaned by a patented Zim 5-3 knuckleball. Strasburg shuts himself down just to screw with everyone, and Bryce gets crushed to death in a neon weightlifting accident. Baseball malaise returns to DC.

cass said...

Booyah: Funniest prediction I've read this year. Your entire last paragraph was magnificent.

Ollie said...


101 wins (over optimistic but it's still Spring Training---the realist in me says closer to 95 exactly for Harper's reasoning)

NL East Champs, NL Champs, Lose World Series in Six (Build on experience to win next year)

All Stars: Strasburg, Harper, Zimmerman, Gonzalez, Espinosa

Strasburg finishes top 3 in Cy Young voting; team is too loaded for any one player to stand out as a major MVP candidate.

Bold prediction: Espinosa has the kind of breakout season Desmond did last year. Improves average slightly, hits 20+ HRs, decreases K rate and sees a .20-35 point spike in OBP while maintaining league-best defense. Makes up for some regression from Desmond and LaRoche.

blovy8 said...

92 wins, 2 games better than the Braves. Nip and tuck most of the way with the Mets being better than people think. Some different guys get injured, probably it's Gio's turn to miss time, they hobble along with castoff bums as fifth starters in June rather than make a deal. Probably pick up an old Dodger castoff from waivers who didn't want to be their ninth starter. DJ doesn't believe Espy this time and actually sticks him on the DL to heal. Haren, Soriano, and Span start off poorly but eventually adjust. LaRoche hits about .200 with one wind-aided homer in April, but Harper hits .400 so the Nats are able to hang around as Detwiler and Strasburg dominate provided no one has to hold a 6 to 8-run lead. There will be few of those, however. They'll fall behind by as much as 6 games and be eviscerated by the "national" media for their arrogance once again in not going for it fully in 2012, but the team will turn it on in August and September to make up the ground and stick it up their asses. Which will only mean that the columnists will take credit for the stretch run because they "challenged" them.

They win the series against the Angels in 7 after Frank Robinson comes out of the stands to knock Mike Scioscia out with a rally monkey after he has the umpire examine the gloves of four consecutive Nationals relievers. Holding the trophy after the game, Davey smirks and says, "Well, you know Robbie's kind of a cantankerous guy, and maybe the game was just getting too long for him." Former Angels bench coach Joe Maddon is not available for comment.

BlueLoneWolf said...

Current prediction: 94 wins, 68 losses.

NL East champions, Win Division series against the Dodgers, go 4-3 against the Giants in the NLCS, and win 4-3 in the World Series against the Detroit Tigers.

Other projections:

NL East Champ: Nats
NL Central Champ: Reds
NL West Champ: Giants
Wild Cards: Braves, Dodgers

AL East Champ: Rays
AL Central Champ: Detroit
AL West Champ: Angels
Wild Cards: Rangers, Jays

Nats All-Stars: Harper, Gonzalez, Strasburg, Desmond

Nats Awards:
Gold Glove: Harper, LaRoche, Desmond
Silver Slugger: Desmond, Strasburg (Harper's held down by mashers like Braun and CarGo)

NL MVP: Bryce Harper
AL MVP: Prince Fielder

NL Cy Young: Matt Cain
AL Cy Young: Matt Harrison (...Though it'll probably be Verlander, possibly Scherzer if the latter can keep it together.)

NL Rookie of the Year: Travis d'Arnaud
AL Rookie of the Year: Will Myers (Yes, I think the Rays will call him up, they need the stick...)

Of course, this means nothing and will go straight to heck in a handbasket with injuries, bad luck, and trades.

BlueLoneWolf said...

Breaking news:

Johan Santana's down with a torn shoulder again.

Mets are REALLY screwed.

Booyah Suckah! said...

Thanks, cass. I try to keep my teams humble.

Anonymous said...

So last year around now I got jumped on by the soulless automaton for projecting a .5 runs per game increase and a similar runs against decrease. Won't be near that this year, but it's not getting worse. This is, by a large margin apparently not recognized by the ignorant masses the best team in the NL. The starting pitching alone is ridiculously better than any other team's. The offense is the equal of any team's and this year's trifecta will be Wilson Ramos reminding people of why he was a top 5 prospect at the hardest position in the game, the Z-man knocking Wright back to the #2 spot both offensively and defensively and Bryce Harper....well, just taking that ridiculous swing to the next level.

So last year my prediction was to be playing some meaningful games in September and possibly play for the wild card. This year, my prediction is:
104 wins and that's home field
Division Title
NL Pennant
Four games to one over the AL champion....Angels?
Y'all been too influenced by the intellectual sedateness (if that's a word) of this blog. This is easily, excitedly, can't wait to watch them play, the best team in baseball in 2013!

Time to play the games.

Chaos...bring back Hondo to fungo the first pitch out of Nat's park!

Zimmerman11 said...

There is some dissent...

BlueLoneWolf said...

Congrats to Ex-Nats Rick Ankiel and Bo Porter for the 'Stros opening up the season with a win. Oh, and excuse my idiocy in predicting Matt Harrison's Cy Young (premature bail, AWAY!)

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