Monday, April 5, 2010

My Nats Predictions for 2010

1. Pleasant surprises will include Brian Bruney, Matt Capps, Garrett Mock, Ivan Rodriguez, Alberto Gonzalez and Adam Dunn. I blindly believe in Mock and Gonzalez to rebound from their poor 2009 seasons (and poor overall numbers in general), but just have a feeling there. I think that Bruney, Capps and Rodriguez were all criticized for their weaknesses to the point where we don't expect rebounds or improvement. And call me crazy but I think that Adam Dunn might actually be okay at 1B (not great, maybe not average, but at least tolerable).

2. Minor disappointments will include Tyler Clippard, Jason Marquis, Ian Desmond, Adam Kennedy and Nyjer Morgan. None of these guys are going to fall off the face of the earth, but Clippard, Desmond and Morgan all played a little over their heads last year while Marquis and Kennedy are really just average players at best who are being counted on to produce at an above-average rate.

3. Major disappointments will include Sean Burnett, Craig Stammen and Mike Morse. It's not that these guys are bad players, but rather that the expectations are set so much higher they should be. Burnett was very lucky last year, Stammen had a Matt Chico-esque 2009 and Morse is being played out to be a potential starting utility guy rather than a pretty good bench bat with OBP issues. Be realistic in your expectations and you won't be disappointed in these guys. Be unrealistic and your soul will be crushed.

4. The following players will be Nationals in 2011 (semi-surprisingly): Jason Bergmann, Matt Capps, Wil Nieves, Alberto Gonzalez and Adam Dunn. I think Capps and Bergmann will be good enough to stick around. The best way for me to describe it for me is that they'll be more valuable to the Nats than to anyone else, and for that reason they'll stick around. Bergmann always seems to be on the roster borderline, but I think he'll finally stabilize his K rate above 7 with his BB rate around 3 and put up a career year (which for him would be about a 4.00 ERA). I think Nieves will stick around with the Nats for quite a while, just because he's in with the management and respected in the organization and fanbase. Gonzalez will be good enough to stick around as a utility man for another few years. I think that the Nats will choose between signing Dunn and Willingham to an extension and will choose Dunn. While I think they should trade both and get as many young players as possible, I think that Dunn will be a better option in the years to come.

5. The following players will NOT be Nationals in 2011 (semi-surprisingly): Sean Burnett, Cristian Guzman, Adam Kennedy, Willie Harris and Josh Willingham. I think the Nats will move Kennedy, Harris and Willingham at the trade deadline. Burnett and Guzman are a little trickier because I think the Nats will want to outright release either at some point this year but might not actually do it. Unless Burnett makes strides this year, I think he'll implode and end up being a pretty early cut (like Steven Shell was last year). Guzman makes enough money that the Nats will keep him around and try to move him for an equally
ugly contract.

6. The player most likely to bounce back well from his injury is Chien-Ming Wang because he relied on technique in the first place rather than power. He doesn't necessarily have to come back at 100% because throwing the ball hard wasn't his calling card in the first place.

7. The player least likely to bounce back well from his injury is Jesus Flores. I love Flores, but like the saying goes, when it rains it pours. Our young backstop can't seem to catch a break, and I wouldn't be surprised to see that continue if he rushes back.

8. 2010 will be a depressing year for us because we have false optimism. There is no viable major league RF option in the organization right now, the bullpen is better but still bad and the rotation is no guarantee to be that great. If guys like Willingham, Dunn, Kennedy and Guzman are traded and guys like Maxwell, Desmond, Whitesell and the gang can't step into their roles, the Nats could implode seriously.

9. 2011 will be an exciting year for us because things will finally start to fall in place. Theoretically, our rotation will be Strasburg-Zimmermann-Lannan-Marquis-Wang/Detwiler/Stammen/Mock/Martin/Olsen/Balester/Martis. We'll have guys like Storen and Rafael Martin coming up to help out the pen. Maybe Flores will be healthy or maybe Norris will be ready to contribute. Guys like Chris Marrero and Denny Espinosa could make the jump to the majors. Who knows what exactly will happen, but that's the year where we can really start to get excited about our young guys.
Be sure to check out other predictions from FJB, Ben Goessling, Mark Zuckerman, Jeff Bergin of Nationals Daily Newsand Nats News Network!

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