Last week, Baseball Prospectus came out with their PECOTA predictions for the Nationals, and it wasn’t pretty. This week, they came out with their depth charts. This is basically their predictions, with playing time adjusted for what the lineup situation looks like right now. They also changed some of the underlying numbers to get their totals. I said I’d be shocked if they put the Nats at more than 60 wins, but they are actually predicted to get to 70 (Joy!). So there must be something positive out of this. There is, here’s a rundown of some of their adjustments, and a few other notes.

Let’s begin with the starting pitching

  • Jordan Zimmermann got better. He went from an 86 IP, 4.27 ERA guy to a 172 IP, 4.19 ERA guy. That puts him as the most valuable starter on the team, with 149 Ks and a 1.4 WARP.
  • Tom Gorzelanny joined the group, and got better. He was still listed on the Cubs, and maybe it was the ballpark, but his ERA was predicted to be 4.73. Now, on the Nats, he is predicted to be their 2nd best of the 5 main starters, with a 4.34 ERA, 105 Ks, and a 0.7 WARP, all ranked #2 behind JZimm. Perhaps because of injury history, they have him ranked #5 in IP.
  • Livan, Marquis and Lannan fill out the rotation, each with about a 0.10 ERA drop from last weeks predictions.
  • Lannan’s predictions still seem a little off. His PECOTA suggested 4.76 ERA would be his career low
  • Chien-Ming Wang does come back and pitch, according to them, and his 4.24 ERA is the best in the rotation after JZimm, but they only have him going 65 innings.

The lineup also sees a few adjustments

  • The AVG/OBP/SLG numbers haven’t changed much at all, but the fact that playing time is factored in allows us to check out the counting stats.
  • Jayson Werth leads the team with 26 HRs, Ryan Zimmerman is next with 24 HRs and Adam LaRoche is a close third with 23. Espinosa is next, with a promising 16 HRs.
  • They’ve got time at catcher split between Ivan Rodriguez (300 PAs) and Wilson Ramos (250 PAs). Neither look great with the bat, but you’d take a 23 year old Ramos hitting .257/.282/.375 than a 39 year old Pudge hitting .246/.272/.334.
  • Jesus Flores, who is allegedly back to 100%, doesn’t show up anywhere on here. If he can play, he’d definitely steal some playing time, especially if the other guys are hitting like that.
  • Bernadina‘s projections may need to be adjusted. If either Morgan or Ankiel tanks, he probably in line to get way more than 260 PAs. Additionally, his .260/.319/.380 line may no longer reflect his ability to hit for power, which may adjust slightly due to his massive biceps.
  • Mike Morse showed last year he might be more than a guy who only hits lefties. If he continues that trend, he might be more than a 300 PA guy. His line of .272/.331/.439 doesn’t pop out as BAD per se, but his career line of .291/.353/.456 is better across the board.

Finally, they must have listened to my complaint last week. Now instead of only 2 pitchers having an ERA below 4.00, Storen and Slaten, they’ve added a 3rd, Clippard. This would still be a franchise low, and the first time in Washington Nationals history where they’ve had fewer than 4 pitchers with an ERA below 4.00 and at least 30 IP. I’d be really surprised if the bullpen, which was great last year, looks as bad as they predict it will this year.

By Charlie