The latest PECOTA numbers just came out today from Baseball Prospectus. PECOTA is their predicitive set of numbers for how players will perform this year. The playing time hasn’t been worked out yet, so rather than look at any counting numbers, let’s take a look at their rates. Today we’ll start with the Nationals hitters.

Ok, for hitters I added one counting number. I took their predicted HRs, divided it by number of PAs and then multiplied it by 600. That’s normalizes everyone at about a 150 game season, so it’ll give a perspective on how many HRs PECOTA sees these guys hitting given a more or less full season.

Ryan Zimmerman – .285/.350/.473, 22 HR. This seems a little light on power – it’s very very close to his .288/.355/.479 career splits, but that prediction seems off to me. He had showed improved power and patience in 2009 and 2010 to that career line, and while last year his numbers didn’t indicate that, he was playing with an injury that likely hindered his power. I’ll take the over on this one

Jayson Werth – .261/.354/.449, 23 HR. This is significantly better than his 2011. It’s on line with his career numbers (a little less slugging) and it’s almost identical to the .264/.349/.445 he hit after July 18th last year.

Michael Morse – .280/.337/.479, 26 HR. I had a feeling this one would look bad compared to last year, and it does. But if he doesn’t hit .300, his OBP actually will look rather unimpressive, as he doesn’t walk alot. The SLG dropoff is a pretty big one, but the HR production isn’t, so I guess they’re seeing alot less doubles. I dunno… the AVG seems realistic, the OBP might be slightly low, and I think he can beat that SLG.

Danny Espinosa – .235/.307/.408, 20 HRs. This is both below his career numbers for AVG and SLG and his 2011 numbers. I think he won’t ever be a .300 hitter, but his OPS will be more in the .750-.800 range than the .700-.750 range. He’s still young, he’ll get better.

Wilson Ramos – .269/.310/.420, 17 HRs. Ok, the average and the slugging are pretty much around his career lines, and I could say the power might improve or whatever, but its not such a big difference so I’m ok with that. But the OBP seems low to me. Yeah, he’ll never walk a ton, but last year he showed more patience, and his career line (which is mostly from last year) is .329. So I think he’ll get on base a little more than that. Still, those numbers are pretty darn good for a 24 year old catcher

Ian Desmond – .266/.306/.391, 12 HR. Yeah, most metrics don’t like Desi that much, and last year he proved them right. Heck, that OBP is actually better than his .298 from last year and a minute tick above his career line. I’d like to think this undervalues him, but that’s only if he takes the big step which we’d all love to see but have no confidence that it’ll actually happen.

Adam LaRoche – .251/.321/.435, 21 HR. Remember this guy? Yeah, he’s the starting first baseman. The numbers look pretty comparable to what he did in Arizona in 2010, although it’s a little light on power. If he’s fully recovered, it’s not unrealistic to imagine a guy with a career SLG of .478, who’s lowest (before last year’s aborted season) mark was .458, to have more power than what’s shown here. But that’s if he’s fully recovered.

Roger Bernadina – .258/.315/.382, 7 HR. Compared to what he did last year, this wouldn’t be too bad.

Rick Ankiel – .243/.299/.422, 9 HR.. Ugh, that OBP is atrocious, but it also beats last year. It’s a power drop though. I don’t see much to disagree with here.

Mike Cameron – .235/.311/.405, 6 HR. Yeah that’s right, of the three, especially considering Bernie isn’t much of a fielder out there, it looks like the 39 year old is their best option in center. If he does this well, I’m sure they’l love it, even if it is just in a platoon role.

Steve Lombardozzi – .260/.305/354, HR. I threw him in because he could see some significant time, especially if it seems Desi is a lost cause at some point this year. It is certainly a sunny outlook compared to what he did last year, and if he ends up doing this, it wouldn’t be a bad set of numbers for a 23 year old who can play 2B. But his ability to make contact and pick up hits at every level makes me think he might be able to beat this AVG. It might not be in 2012, but if he keeps to form, it really could be. And if he does, the OBP and SLG would go up accordingly, but I’m not sure they’d raise any more than by the increase in AVG.

Bryce Harper – .239/.303/.382, 16 HR. Ok, this one is a bit of a surprise to me. I’m not someone who thinks that Harper is gonna light up the majors at age 19, but I also think he won’t do this bad. I bet this has more to do with PECOTA using a billion OTHER guys who only have AA experience (keep in mind Bryce only hit .256/.329/.395 there last year) and fit him with that. He’ll do better than this, I’m sure, but it highlights how almost unprecedented it would be for someone at his age to tear up the league.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about the pitchers. Hmm, do they have anyone there worth talking about? I seem to recall the rotation being an issue most year going in to the season…

By Charlie