This will mark the first time in the history of preseason Major League Baseball predictions that some experts are predicting the Washington Nationals make the World Series.
The Nats know that the spotlight is on, and that they’re a trendy pick, as Adam Kilgore wrote in the preview section.
“I know we’re that team,” outfielder Jayson Werth told Kilgore. “What I don’t like is how we’re being perceived. I would rather come in under the radar. I’d rather be that unknown. So we’re getting a lot of exposure.”
But I’m not sure if they realize just how much.
ESPN, of course, employed 49 experts to make postseason predictions, and when you have 49 people picking the playoffs, you will have at least some people picking the Nats, the Mariners, the Orioles and the The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants to make the World Series.
Nevertheless, Rick Sutcliffe has the Rangers beating the Nats in the Series, and Adam Rubin has the Yankees beating the Nats.
Thirteen more ESPN experts — Stephania Bell, Matthew Berry, Jim Bowden, Jim Caple, Richard Durrett, Kevin Goldstein, Christina Kahrl, Molly Knight, Matt Meyers, Buster Olney, Karl Ravech, Amanda Rykoff and Mark Saxon — have the Nats in the playoffs.
Over at Yahoo, former Post employee Jeff Passan — one of an embarrassingly low three Yahoo staffers to make picks — has the Rays beating the Nats in the World Series. Passan also predicts a Stephen Strasburg no-hitter on April 17, and 91 wins for the home team. All three Yahoo experts have the Nats going over 83.5 wins.
CBS employed eight experts, and only one — Scott Boras BFF Jon Heyman — has the Nats qualifying for the playoffs. (Heyman has them winning the division.) Danny Knobler, though, has Stephen Strasburg as Cy Young winner, and Bryce Harper as rookie of the year.
SI.com also has eight experts. Two — Joe Lemire and Mel Antonen — have the Nats as a wild card team. Six of the eight SI folks have Bryce Harper winning rookie of the year.
So of these 70 expert types, we have 19 Nats playoff predictions. Which is 19 more than I saw last year at this time.