The Nationals may not be overwhelming favorites, but a majority of national pundits — and local beat reporters — still see their season culminating in a trip to the playoffs. Here’s a look at several Nationals-specific predictions from various outlets on Opening Day:
Thirteen out of 31 experts — a plurality — pick the Nationals to win the NL East. The Phillies (11), Braves (five) and Mets (two) also receive votes. Nine of the 18 experts who don’t have Washington finishing first in the division pick them to win one of the NL’s two wild cards. With six votes, the Nationals are the second-most popular pick after the Dodgers (11) to win the NL pennant. Washington receives three votes to win the World Series.
Four out of five experts pick the Nationals to win the East. Three of those four predict Washington will reach the World Series but lose. Max Scherzer receives four votes to win his third NL Cy Young in four years, Victor Robles receives three votes for NL rookie of the year and Dave Martinez receives four of the five votes for NL manager of the year.
In a poll of “more than 50 experts,” 27 pick the Nationals to win the East and 25 pick the Phillies. Twelve experts predict Washington will win the NL pennant, two fewer than pick the Dodgers. Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon receive votes for NL MVP, while Scherzer is the favorite for NL Cy Young.
All 18 experts pick the Nationals to make the playoffs, and six pick Washington to win the NL pennant, yet no one picks the Nationals to win the World Series. Weird.
The site’s predictive model, which is updated after every game, gives the Nationals a 59 percent chance to make the playoffs, a 38 percent chance to win the division and a 6 percent chance to win the World Series. The Dodgers (13 percent) are the only NL team with better chances to win the title. The Mets are predicted to finish second in the division, followed by the Phillies and Braves.
Three of seven experts pick the Nationals to win the East, and a fourth has Washington qualifying for the postseason with a wild-card berth. Bob Nightengale and Gabe Lacques pick Washington to win the World Series, while Jesse Yomtov has the Nats losing to the Yankees. Robles receives five votes for rookie of the year and Scherzer is the favorite to win the Cy Young.
Six out of eight experts predict the Nationals will make the playoffs, and five expect them to win the East. Tom Gatto picks the Nationals to beat the Yankees in the World Series.
The Nationals miss the playoffs in the magazine’s official predictions, but seven of nine writers polled pick Washington to win the East. The Nationals are also the favorite to win the NL pennant, with four votes, though none of those four writers expect Washington to win the World Series. Ben Reiter picks Soto to win NL MVP, while Stephanie Apstein gives the nod to Rendon. Robles and Scherzer receive three and four votes, respectively, for rookie of the year and Cy Young.
All three of Hardball Talk’s writers pick the Nationals to reach the postseason, but to fall short of the World Series.
FanGraphs projects the Nationals to finish with 90 wins, four more than the Phillies. The site gives Washington a 79 percent chance to make the playoffs, 53 percent chance to win the division and 7 percent chance to win the World Series.
Bleacher Report predicts Scherzer to win the Cy Young, Robles to win the Rookie of the Year and the Nationals to win the East before losing to the Brewers in the NLDS.
Former ESPN anchor Adnan Virk, HQ Trivia host Scott Rogowsky, Lauren Gardner, and “Cespedes Family BBQ” creators Jordan Shusterman and Jake Mintz will host a nightly highlight whip-around show on the new streaming service this season. Among that group, Shusterman picks the Nationals to win the World Series, with Juan Soto and Scherzer winning the MVP and Cy Young, respectively.
Four out of five writers pick Washington to win the East, and the fifth has the Nats claiming a wild card. Three members of the site’s baseball staff predict the Nationals will reach the World Series, though Zach Kram is the only one who sees Washington winning the title. Kram picks Soto and Scherzer to win the MVP and Cy Young awards.
MASN’s Mark Zuckerman compiled predictions from 12 media members who cover the Nationals, including The Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty and Barry Svrluga. Nine of the 12 predict the Nationals will win the East, and two more pick Washington to clinch a wild-card berth. ESPN’s Eddie Matz sees the Nationals losing the World Series, while six others predict the team will lose in the NL Championship Series.
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