July 29, 2011

Team of the Future–Washington Nationals

The future isn’t now, but I’m here to tell you here and now, July 29, 2011, that the Washington Nationals will make the playoffs in 2012. “Jeremy, you’re crazy! They haven’t made they playoffs in their entire existence [2005]” Well, sir, I’m not crazy, just a little nuts. To be honest, I’m not the only one on this bandwagon. People more reputable then I have been tooting the Nationals’ horn since the spring, but after seeing some key players play, and perform, I had to write my love down.

When building a franchise it’s typical to “start up the middle”, so lets do the same with Wilson Ramos. This guy has some serious upside. I see multiple all-star appearances in his future. Looking at his advanced metrics one can see a staple in the making. He can field extremely well, call a game, and has some nice pop hitting. I likey!

Moving to pitcher one can never forget The Savoir, Mr. National himself, Stephan Strasburg (cue fainting girls). We all know he’s a stud, but lest we forget his ace in the making partner in crime Jordan Zimmerman. He’s quietly making a case for #1 status. With a K-rate hovering around 7, and his walk rate about 1.5 per game that’s a great pitcher to have as your #2. Place a couple innings-eaters behind those 2 and that’s a pretty good staff.

Now we move on to the piece of the puzzle I was most intrigued in at the start of the season. A virtual unknown, Danny Espinosa has really made a name for himself. With a defensive ranking in the top 5 of all starting 2nd basemen, and a bat fast approaching the 25+ HR mark, this guy has the tools for a star. The batting average is a concern, but his power is legit, as is his defense. Espinosa is a solid piece, and a great building block.

His double play partner, Ian Desmond, doesn’t rank as high on the defensive charts, but he’s no slouch. He doesn’t hit for as many awe-inspiring bombs, but he has some pop. Desmond is a great role player. He’ll turn you some smooth double-plays, pop double digit HRs, and add just as many SBs. I see a 20/20 season in his future.

Michael Morse. Why not? He’s always had the talent, just never the chance. I believe, and you should too. The advanced metrics show he’s playing right along with his career numbers. Morse has been talked about 100 times over this year, so no need to go any further, but know I think he’ll repeat his performance in 2012.

All these bright spots and I haven’t even mentioned the 2 faces of the franchise, Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth. Both had forgettable seasons, thus far, in 2011, which is why I’m predicting this club makes it to the playoffs in 2012. Both of these guys will be on a mission, they’ll be out for blood with something to prove. Combine that fire with a farm system that is ranked top 20 in baseball and have yet to call up the next Babe Ruth/Willie Mays/Insert Hall of Famer, Bryce Harper. There’s a lot to like about this team. The Rays, Cleveland Indians, and now the Nationals in 2012.

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