Nationals 2011 Predictions:

March 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

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Mark Zuckerman from Nats Insider offered his 2011 predictions for the Nationals and I thought I should do the same. I will use Mark's categories as well as add a few of my own. Here we go:

Who will represent the Nationals in the All-Star game:

3B Ryan Zimmerman- Unless he has a major slump to start the year I'd expect this to happen

wildcard selection: SS Ian Desmond- Desmond didn't have the greatest rookie year, but I expect his defense to vastly improve and hitting at the top of the order he could be scoring a lot of runs, which could make voters/Bouchy take notice.

What will the Nationals home attendance be?

2,030,568- Last year the Nats had 1,800,000+, and I realize that was including the "Strasburg effect", which sold out a few extra games, but I still expect attendance to improve. While Season ticket packages are down, the Nats are offer more mini-plans this season, so my guess is those will become more popular. I also do believe the Nationals will not only have a better record, but be vastly more competitive this season, which should help bring people out to the ballpark. It's a bit of a bold prediction but I could see it happening.

When will Stephen Strasburg make his next start for the Washington Nationals?

September 5th vs. LA Dodgers- Part of me thinks they could shut him down till 2012, but if it checks out I think they will look for him to make 3-4 starts (preferably at home). If they start him on Monday Sept. 5th they could start him later in the week as well against the Astros. Since it is Labor day they could wait till Tuesday to boost attendance, either way I see it right about there when they have Strasburg start again.

Where will Bryce Harper finish this season?

Harrisburg- I know a lot of people think they will be promoting him earlier, but I don't see him coming up to Washington until early 2012.

How many errors will Ian Desmond have this season?

14- I think we are going to see a vast improvement from Desmond for a number of reasons. He is a year older, and has been working on his defense. He will have a better 1B there to snag some of his more errant throws, and with the Nats being better in general maybe he won't feel the need to rush so many throws.

How many RBI's will Jayson Werth have?

95- While Werth hitting in the 2 hole will limit some of his opportunities I still see him being a major run producer.

Who will lead the pitching staff in wins?

John Lannan-14: Lannan I think has the best shot of being consistent throughout the year. Zimmermann is a better pitcher but he could get shut down later in the year. While Hernandez or Marquis could potentially be traded at the deadline.

How many Nats pitchers will have 10 or more wins?

4- I know it is a bold prediction, but I believe 4 of the 5 starters will end up with 10 or more wins (though probably two of them will just have 10). The Nats might not have the Phillies four aces, but they have 5 capable starters in the first time ever.

Who will lead the Nationals in Home runs?

Zimmerman, 32- Although Werth and LaRoche have some pop, I think Zimmerman is the Nationals best power hitter (at least until a certain prospect comes up).

How many Nationals will have 20 or more home runs?

4- Zimmerman, Werth, Morse, LaRoche: No surprises here, Desmond and Espinosa have some pop and could push the 20 HR mark, but will more likely fall in the 10-15 range. Ramos will add some HR's as well, but he is splitting time so I doubt he gets that many as well.

Who will lead the Nationals in saves?

Drew Storen, 27- I know Storen has had some ST issues, but I think he will quickly get back into the swing of things and be the Nationals usual option to pick up saves. I would guess that both Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard pick up 8+ saves as well, but Storen should be the main option.

When will the Nationals use their 6th starting pitcher?

Thur. June 2nd @ D-Backs

How many of the following players will still be Nationals on Aug. 1st? Jason Marquis, Livan Hernandez, Rick Ankiel, Ivan Rodriguez, Jesus Flores, Todd Coffey:

I'll say two, Rick Ankiel and Jesus Flores. I know that is a bit of a shocking proposition, but it could happen. I think with the emergence of Wilson Ramos, Pudge could be traded to a team looking for a backup catcher with some post season experience. If that is the case though Flores will still probably remain a National, and backup Ramos until top prospect Derek Norris is ready. Ankiel could potentially be dealt, and the probability increases if he gets off to a hot start.

As for the pitchers Coffey makes the most sense to go considering how fungible middle relievers are. If Coffey has a good season a team without bullpen depth would be willing to give up a small piece to strengthen their pen for the stretch run. As for the two starters I know most people will say it will be one or the other (with Marquis the more likely option), but don't be surprised if both Hernandez and Marquis get dealt.

The Nationals sent both Ross Detwiler and Yunesky Maya down to the minors despite them both having strong springs. Both Detwiler and Maya could be forcing their way into the rotation sooner than July 31st, but will likely be held down until the Nats can find a suitable deal. In addition the Nats will still have fairly decent pitching depth as Chien-Ming Wang looks to return from injury midsummer and Washington could always stretch out Chad Gaudin or Brian Broderick from their bullpen or use former starter Craig Stammen. Considering that top pitcher Stephen Strasburg could be back next year, there is little reason to hold on to these impending free agents if the Nationals can get some value for them.

How many wins will the Nationals have this season?

78- A 9 game increase is a nice improvement and right about where I see the Nats this season.

What are your predictions?


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