Author Topic: Postseason Predictions from the National Media  (Read 851 times)

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The no-fluke Nats have the most talent and will win the World Series
By Jon Heyman

The Nationals will win the World Series. It is the year of the Cinderella, after all.

By now, they are the forgotten Cinderella. They've played so well, and for so long, folks forget that nobody expected them to be here.

The Nats are so well-regarded now that nobody mentions them alongside the A's and Orioles, two upstarts that started OK but finished better.

But remember, the Nats were great from start to finish. They played better, and more consistently, than anyone else.

Sure, it's a loss that their most talented pitcher Stephen Strasburg won't pitch in the postseason. But the rotation still may be better than anyone else's. Nats general manager Mike Rizzo aimed to build around pitching and defense, and he carried out that plan magnificently.

The Nats are the first Washington-based baseball team to reach the postseason since 1933. But this was no fluke.

The Orioles and A's are marvelous stories. But you still wonder how they got here. With the Nats, it is no mystery.

The slogan writers will have you believe it's their NATITUDE. But people around baseball understand that's just a fun bunch of bunk.

They were in first almost from start to finish, not because they had any special aura or mojo or chemistry -- though, they may have all those things, too. It's pretty simple. On talent, they are tops.

Their rotation is still maybe the best in the league, even without the wunderkind Strasburg. Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Edwin Jackson, Ross Detwiler and maybe even the just-remembered John Lannan makes a very solid quintet.

The bullpen, for years a strength, got better with the return of closer Drew Storen. Overall, the Nats' team ERA was 3.33, best in the NL.

Look around the field. They have a solid to very good player at every position. First baseman Adam LaRoche is their MVP among everyday players, but Ryan Zimmerman is a star, and so is Ian Desmond.

To view Bryce Harper as only a future star would be to underestimate him. Turns out the high school catcher solved the Nats' long-running center field issue. Turns out, too, he's blessed with awesome speed to go with his extraordinary power.

The Nats weathered the season-ending injury to their fine young starting catcher Wilson Ramos, and injuries to three more catchers. They weathered an early injury to their closer Drew Storen, then a meltdown by replacement closer Henry Rodriguez. They weathered the injuries to Zimmerman, Michael Morse and Jayson Werth.

They don't have a ton of experience. But they showed their fortitude, if not their Natitude, with all the issues they overcame. The loss of Strasburg is just one more issue to overcome, and they will.