IBWAA Preseason Poll: Citizens Edition

We were asked to answer the following ten questions for DC-IBWAA Preseason Poll. Here are our responses and blow are links to the recorded deliberations between David, Matt and myself.

  1. Who will lead the Nats in home runs in 2013? Ryan Zimmerman
  2. Who will lead the Nats in RBI? Ryan Zimmerman
  3. Who will lead the Nats in stolen bases? Ian Desmond
  4. Who will lead the staff in wins? Stephen Strasburg
  5. Who will make more appearances for the Nats this season: Rafael Soriano, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard or Craig Stammen? Craig Stammen
  6. Who will get more at bats for the Nats this season: Kurt Suzuki or Wilson Ramos? Wilson Ramos
  7. Which minor leaguer are you most interested in keeping tabs on this season? Matt Purke
  8. Date of Anthony Rendon's Major League debut? September 1, 2013 (Barring injury)
  9. How many all-stars will the Nats have? Who? Four: Zimmerman, Strasburg, Soriano, Harper
  10. Total wins and what place in the division? 101-61, 1st in the NL East

Podcast - Citizens of Natstown - A Washington Nationals Blog

Essay Question: What should be the single most important development for the Nats this season?

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The answer to this question is a simple one, nothing. The best possible development for the Nationals is that the season trudges slowly onward towards its inevitable end with nothing of significance developing. Spring Training has given us a slight taste of this. The overall record is so-so, but it is only Spring Training and only matters so-so. The big development the Nats have seen this spring is that nothing has happened. Last season at this time Michael Morse couldn’t throw and Rick Ankiel couldn’t bat, and aside from combining them into some kind of monstrous chimera they were both going to start the season on the DL. Drew Storen likewise had to have surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow and the Nats decided that Henry Rodriguez and Brad Lidge were going to split time as closer. These sorts of developments continued throughout the season with Werth, Zimmerman, Ramos, and Desmond all missing time with various degrees of injury.

Despite all of this the Nationals spent 180 days of the 2012 season in first place and the latest into the season that they were not alone in first was on June 3. Still when the trade deadline approached the Nats made no major upgrades and it was only during the waiver trade period that they added Kurt Suzuki to help with their lackluster catcher play. All of these developments in 2012 and the Nationals were still run away division winners with the best overall record in baseball. The 2013 roster looks even better and that is why that the best of all development is that nothing develops.

That the Nats don’t end up in a situation with Haren or Detwiler underperforming or a major injury to one of their top three starters that requires them to raid their already depleted farm system to coax a trade for Justin Masterson or Edison Volquez. That the issue of having only one lefty in the bullpen never becomes an issue that the talent advantage provided by Soriano, Storen, and Clippard remains greater than any platoon advantage an extra lefty would provide. That the Espinosa/Rendon debate never intensifies because Espinosa has a breakout season much as Ian Desmond did in 2012. And finally that the regression of Adam LaRoche looks more like a .271/.343/.510 hitter falling back to a .268/.338/.482 hitter than the further fall that occurs in most projections.

The Nats roster is the deepest and most complete it has ever been, and the best of all developments is that nothing happens to upset this. That all players go out and play to their career averages and the march to the finish in 2013 resembles the very same one that the Nats completed just last season. 2012 will always be remembered as the year of the Strasburg shutdown and perhaps the biggest development that the Nats can hope for in 2013 is Rizzo being proven right. Strasburg going out and dominating as he has always done, but with more innings pitched than ever before and with no slowdown from fatigue in his last few starts. The old cliché of the best news being no news is at its greatest truth when it comes to the 2013 Nats. For the most important development for the 2013 Washington Nationals is for nothing to develop.

Essay Answer By: David Huzzard

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