Monday, April 5, 2010

The Nationals Will Reach .500 If...

Listeners to yesterday's podcast can hear NFA Brian, NI Mark, and I discuss this topic as well. But here's my list of the most likely events that, together, would produce winning baseball in Washington this year:
  • Zimmerman, Dunn, and Willingham are all as good as last season and miss no significant time to injury.
  • A healthy Adam Kennedy gives the team solid defense to go along with a 350 OBP and .410 SLG--enough for 2+ WAR.
  • Guzman plays adequate defense all over the infield, pinch hits like a champ, and gets his 500+ AB at 2007 rates of production.
  • Willie Harris gives the Nationals excellent range and good OBP that made him a saber darling in LF a couple years back. Willy Taveras doesn't play at all. If necessary go outside the organization to acquire someone like Ryan Church instead.
  • Ian Desmond plays at near all-star level, with above-average defense and, a .350+ OBP and a .450+ SLG.
  • Nyjer Morgan regresses a little, but not too much.
  • Strasburg pitches 120 innings with an ERA under 3.80.
  • Lannan and Marquis repeat the performances from last season.
  • One other guy from among Livan, Mock, Olsen, Martin, Thompson, Wang, Stammen, and Detwiler emerges as a top-100 starter this year.
  • The bullpen performs overall like a run-of-the-mill below average bullpen, not a nightly train wreck.
If all those things happen, I figure the Nationals actually would get to around 84-85 win. Shoot, they could be the wild card. And taken in isolation, all these things could happen. And that's why we love opening day!


cass said...

"The bullpen performs overall like a run-of-the-mill below average bullpen, not a nightly train wreck."

- That one seems the most unlikely, nigh impossible.

As for the Willy Taveras idea... I keep hope I'm going to wake up from that bad dream. Could we get Manny Acta back?

Steven said...

Nah, it's not so hard. It just takes luck. Bullpens are weird. Relievers are random. Look around the league and there are guys taht pop up out of nowhere and pitch great for 70 innings all the time. Then they vanish.

Steven said...

Case in point: Washington Nationals 2006. Case in point #2: Washington Nationals 2007. Those teams never had dominant, established guys. I guess you could say Cordero, but an awful lot of their quality innings came from guys like Saul Rivera, Jon Rauch, Gary Majewski, Jesus Colome, Mike Stanton--none of those guys really had a resume any better than the group we're going with now.

Positively Half St. said...

The beauty of a lucky bullpen is that some sucker takes one of the guys off your hands in July or August for a singe-A pitcher with some promise.

I would be utterly thrilled if the Nats reached 82 wins this year. I don't even dare think about the wild-card. I mean really- I am not even feeling good about today's game.

Steven said...

Hey, remember, I predicted 68 wins, and really I'd take the under on that if I had to bet. I was just having fun with a little rose-colored happy talk.

Deacon Drake said...

Injuries seem to follow this organization around... I think the jinx is on Dunn this year. Everybody has been talking about his durability.

hleeo3 said...

I will say I feel a lot more comfortable with the bullpen this year then last season's bullpen. IMO Walker and Bautista are the only real holes and I doubt they will be around by the all-star break.

Will said...

The words of Mike Rizzo pretty accurately capture my feelings toward Miguel Batista: "I'm tired of watching him pitch."

I wouldn't mind if I never saw him throw another ball for the Nationals again.

You can't teach an old dog new tricks, especially one that's 39 and has control issues.

Anonymous said...

11-1. I love opening day!

Anonymous said...

They win the division, according to a 1 in 100 simulation that ESPN ran if Nyjer Morgan hits .323 and Capps (+ Storen?) save 37 games.

It does look like Morgan plus pitching + defense are the key to the Nats improving. So far, the first looks possible however the last 2 seem remote.