Independent of the magazine’s official prediction, SI’s eight baseball writers also weighed in on the 2018 season, and they’re not all as high on the Nationals’ postseason prospects. Not surprisingly, everyone picks Washington to win the National League East, but twice as many writers (four) predict the Nats will lose in the NLDS as predict the Nats will reach the World Series. There’s only one true believer.
“After two straight years of teams breaking long title droughts, it’s Washington’s time,” Jon Tayler writes. “The Nationals have never won a World Series — hell, they’ve never even won a playoff series in franchise history. But this year’s roster is stacked, with impact bats at every position led by Bryce Harper in what’s likely his final year as a National, a rotation featuring two of baseball’s best starters in Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, and a bullpen that for once isn’t a fiery train wreck. If everyone stays healthy, then D.C. should finally get its champion.”
Here’s a look at several other Nationals-specific predictions from pundits on Opening Day.
All 29 experts predict Washington will win the East. The Nationals receive 10 votes to win the National League pennant, which is second to the Cubs (11), but only one vote to win the World Series.
All five experts predict the Nationals will win the East, and three have Washington in the World Series. The Nationals get some awards love, too. Bryce Harper gets three votes for MVP, Stephen Strasburg gets two votes for Cy Young, Adam Eaton gets three votes for comeback player of the year, and Dave Martinez gets one vote for manager of the year.
The site’s predictive model, which is updated after every game, gives the Nationals a 73 percent chance to make the playoffs, a 62 percent chance to win the division and an 8 percent chance to win the World Series. The Dodgers (13 percent) and Cubs (10 percent) are the only NL teams with better chances to win the title.
Zachary Rymer sees the Nationals winning the East and then falling to the Dodgers in the NLDS. Scott Miller predicts the Nationals will win the division and Harper will win MVP, but Washington will fall short of the World Series.
All seven experts pick the Nationals to win the division, five think Washington will advance to the NLCS, and three predict Martinez’s first season as manager will end with a loss to the Indians in the World Series. Martinez receives two votes for NL Manager of the Year, while Anthony Rendon receives two votes for NL MVP. Strasburg gets a Cy Young vote. Not bad.
One of Rendon’s MVP votes comes from For The Win’s Ted Berg, who predicts the Nationals will lose to the Dodgers in the NLCS. Berg adds that, of his predicted division winners, the “Nationals seem the most likely to fall flat after a weirdly sleepy offseason.”
All four experts predict the Nationals will win the East, but only one likes their chances to reach the World Series.
“This might be the last time they’re an easy pick to win the division,” writes Grant Brisbee, who picks the Nationals to win the division before losing to the Cardinals in the NLDS. Harper is Brisbee’s pick for NL MVP.
The Nationals are the unanimous pick to win the East in a poll of more than 50 MLB.com and MLB Network experts. There was an even split among the Dodgers and Nationals when it came time to pick the NL champion. The Astros are the favorite to repeat as World Series champions, followed by the Dodgers, Yankees, Indians, Cubs and Nationals.
Six more experts pick the Nationals to win the division. Four of those experts predict Washington will win one playoff series, and two have the Nationals reaching the World Series, but no one sees them winning it all. Harper earns five of six votes for NL MVP, Scherzer and Strasburg receive single votes for NL Cy Young, and Eaton gets two nods for NL Comeback Player of the Year.
Hey, look at that! A vote for the Mets to win the division. It comes from contributor Roger Cormier, who picks against the favorite in every division. The other 39 ballots cast pick the Nationals to win the East, and Harper is the staff favorite for NL MVP (13 votes).
All 10 of the D.C. media members surveyed in Mark Zuckerman’s annual poll predict the Nationals will win at least 93 games. (The over/under in Vegas is 92.5.) Three predict Washington will lose the World Series, six predict the Nats will lose the NLCS, and one predicts the team’s season will end in the NLDS for a third straight year. Oof. Predictions as to when Daniel Murphy will make his 2018 season debut range from April 8 to May 31.
D.C. Sports Bog
I’ll go out on a limb and say the Nationals win the East, get over the hump in the NLDS and then lose to the Dodgers in the NLCS. Progress, right?
Share your own predictions in the comments.
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