Williams: Nats want to make amends for 2013
We're still about six weeks out from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, but with 2014 officially upon us it's not too early to start thinking about baseball. In the coming weeks publications will start making predictions for the season which is always a fun part of the year.
Last winter the Nationals dominated 'prediction season,' and this year may be no different. Even after winning just 86 games and missing the playoffs in 2014, people around baseball still believe in the Nats.
Sports Illustrated already has the ball rolling on their forecast for the new season with a preliminary look at what they expect from certain players and teams. Joe Lemire has released his predictions, and among them is a nod to the Nationals. He sees Stephen Strasburg winning the Cy Young award.
Lemire says Strasburg will barely edge out the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Jose Fernandez and Michael Wacha, among others.
Now, this isn't the first time Strasburg has been predicted to win the National League Cy Young. He's been predicted by plenty of people, especially last season, to have an award winning season.
But Strasburg went 8-9 last year and, despite holding a 3.00 ERA, seemed to fall out of the national limelight. He didn't even make the All-Star team with a 2.99 ERA through 108 1/3 innings at the break.
For those who looked past Strasburg's win-loss record in 2013, it was clear he had a very good season. And with Jordan Zimmermann falling off late in the year, Strasburg was probably the Nationals' best pitcher overall.
Judging by some other early predictions from national media members, the Nats are still thought of pretty highly around the league. Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com recently said he thinks they will win the World Series. Richard Justice links Strasburg to the Cy Young award in the same article.
Predictions obviously mean very little in the longrun, but this could be a glimpse of more to come. We may see many more writers and baseball experts prognosticating big things for the Nationals. Whether they will meet those expectations this time around will remain to be seen.