ESPN The Magazine’s baseball preview issue declares it’s the Nationals’ time — now and in the coming years.
The magazine projects the Nationals to win a major league-best 91 games, which is 10 more than their projected closest competitor in the National League East, the Miami Marlins. Washington’s “Contribution Age” — a team’s average age weighted by 2015 projected wins above replacement (WAR) — ranks in the younger half of the league, suggesting the Nationals are set up for success in the future. As for the present, Washington is the favorite to win the World Series in the magazine’s anonymous poll of 117 major leaguers with 30 percent of the vote.
In the same player poll, Bryce Harper was voted the “most overrated player in MLB” for a second consecutive year. Harper received 41 percent of the vote, while Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was second , just as he was last season, with 15 percent.
The voting was much closer last year, with Harper (24 percent), uh, edging out Puig (21 percent) and Alex Rodriguez (14 percent). Incidentally, the Dodgers are projected to finish with the second-most wins in baseball this season (89). Perhaps MLB players are just jealous of success.
Players voted Mike Trout the “best overall player in MLB” with 61 percent of the vote.