With the mid-point of the season approaching, now seems like a good time to check in on my pre-season predictions.
Nick Johnson, Ryan Zimmerman, Lastings Milledge, Jason Bergmann, and Austin Kearns will be better in 2009 than they were in 2008.
Well... I got the first two right. If you factor in Bergmann's 0.97 ERA at Syracuse I think you'd actually have to say he's been better, but this isn't what I had in mind. Who knows what Milledge would be doing right now if he'd stayed in DC and stayed healthy. As for Kearns, who knew he could be worse?
Cristian Guzman, John Lannan, Joe Beimel, Joel Hanrahan, Anderson Hernandez, Ronnie Belliard, and Scott Olsen will be worse.
One could make a case for Lannan being improved, but his strikeout rate and groundball rate are both down. So are his walks, but he really isn't improved at all. The rest of these guys I way, way too right about.
Ryan Zimmerman will finally take the next step forward, finishing the season with a slash line over .280 / .350 / .480. But he will not make the all-star team.
He's currently at .296 / .369 / .486. The all-star game was seeming like a lock a few weeks ago, but it's not hard to imagine Dunn getting it and the NL team taking David Wright, Chipper Jones, Mark Reynolds, or even Pablo Sandoval ahead of Zimm.
Josh Bard will get more than one-third of the starts at catcher.
If I remember right I was going to predict that he'd get more starts than any other catcher on the team, figuring he'd pass Wil Nieves and that there was a decent chance that Flores would either need to be sent down or get hurt. But I wimped out. Seems like I should have had the nerve to go with my first instinct.
Nationals Park will emerge as a very slight hitters park as measured by park factor.
Sample size is still too small to be conclusive, but so far I've been wrong here. I thought the left-handed power of Dunn would expose the short-porch in right, but I didn't account for the fact that Dunn's homers go about 900 feet.
The Nationals will draw fewer than two million fans.
This was a cheapy. They're at 871,373, which puts them on pace for 1.85 million.
Jason Bergmann will have a better ERA than any of the Nationals' top five starters by games started.
Can I say I meant at Syracuse?
Mike Rizzo will find room for Alberto Gonzalez on the 25-man roster by the end of May at the latest.
Cristian Guzman, Wily Mo Pena, Dmitri Young, and Ron Belliard will be former Nationals by the end of the season.
Pena's gone, and it's not hard to imagine Belliard getting released soon. Young I suppose will hang on at this point. I've been hoping for a Guzman trade for more than a year, but his contract and declining range mean we're probably stuck with him.
Austin Kearns will have a solid bounce-back season and find himself a starting job with another team by opening day 2010.
Adam Dunn's streak of 40-HR seasons will end.
Did I say this?
Jordan Zimmermann's ERA will be below the 2008 starting pitcher NL average of 4.40.
For a rookie, this is a bigger achievement than it may seem. He's currently at 4.65, but I still like his chances to make it.
Despite recent additions, the bullpen will be in the bottom third in the NL by ERA.
I can't say I expected this.
Nationals starting pitchers will throw the fewest innings of any team in the NL.
At 5.6 innings per start, we're actually a bit ahead of last-place San Diego, who's at 5.5, and three other teams are tied with us at 5.6.
Scott Olsen will not finish the year in the Nationals rotation.
The next month will tell the tale.
The Nationals' top five starting pitchers by IP as a starter will include at least one pitcher not currently with the organization.
I figured they'd have to go to the scrap heap when Cabrera and Olsen flamed out, but due to the success of the young arms, it's looking like this won't be necessary.
Strasburg will be the pick, and he will sign.
I've jinxed it, clearly.
Aaron Crow will get the $4.4 million he wanted last year.
Not gonna happen.
Shawn Hill will finish the season with more win shares than the Nationals' fifth starter.
Hardball Times doesn't update Win Shares mid-season, but looking at a similar stat, wins above replacement, he's currently at +0.1. Cabrera finished at -0.3, and Olsen's at 0.0. Remember, WAR and WS are counting stats--getting beat by an injured player in this category is no different than getting beat in HR or RBI.
Nick Johnson will get 500 at bats and finish the season with an OPS+ over 140.
I was a little overzealous here. His OPS+ is currently 125, and 140 would require quite a second half. Still, it's hard to believe so many fans were ready to kick him to the curb six months ago.
Mike Rizzo will lose the "acting" and be named the new Nationals GM.
Manny Acta will get another year.
Looks more likely now than it did two weeks ago.
NL playoff teams: Mets, Dodgers, Cubs, D'Backs.
I could still be right on three of four.
AL playoff teams: Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Angels.
Tigers make me look smart. Angels are right there. I could get all these right.
The Dodgers will beat the Yankees in the Series.
The Nationals record will be 74-88, their fourth last place finish in five years.
They'd have to go 53-37 the rest of the way to make this mark.