Before I give my 2010 Washington Nationals prediction, some background on past predictions:
I did not predict the 2005 Nats record for some reason.
The second Nats season of 2006 saw me predict a 75-87 finish. They went 71-91, not a terrible prediction on my part.
I have not had much success predicting the Nats final record. In 2007, I lowballed them, saying they’d be 62-99 (one rainout). They finished a shocking 73–89 that season.
In 2008, I thought they would improve upon that record. I was way off. I said 76-86. Actual record: 59-102. Ugh.
I said 74-88 in 2009 and they were even worse than the year before — 59-103. They closed with a 7 game win streak too.
So, now it is time to make another prediction. Last year the Nats apparently had 5 fewer wins than the should have based on Bil James’ Pythagorean theorem. This team is better on paper much than last year’s team because they start out with at least two decent starting pitchers in John Lannan and Jason Marquis. The bullpen should be a little better as well. Pitching reinforcements in the form of Chein-Ming Wang and Stephen Strasburg should help the rotation a great deal in June. Perhaps Craig Stammen will continue to develop.
At the plate, I don’t expect Nyjer Morgan to be what he was last year, but he is still the best lead-off hitter they have had in a while. The heart of the lineup with Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham probably won’t quite as many home runs, but I am not worried about them.
I could easily make the case this team could win 15 more games than last year, but I think that’s too optimistic. The early schedule is tough — getting the Philadelphia Phillies to start the season doesn’t help, neither do the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers in April. So, I expect another rough start that will kill any good buzz about the team. However, I think they can have a good June to get back to respectability.
So, when it comes down to it, I’m saying they are going to go
Not a great record, but a start on the path to respectability and then contention.
What is your prediction?
MY AL team, the New York Yankees, will go 162-0.