After being baseball’s biggest laughingstock not so long ago, it feels pretty good to be a Nats fan right now. Never has that been more evident than yesterday, when the news broke that John Lannan was optioned to AAA Syracuse in favor of Ross Detwiler (and, eventually, Chien-Ming Wang). Remember, Lannan was the Nats’ Opening Day starter in both 2009 and ’10, and he just had his best season, at least based on ERA and wins, in ’11.
These aren’t the kick-around Nats, not anymore, and they don’t figure to be for some time. Four of the five starters ahead of Lannan are 26 or younger. The bullpen is a strength and anchored by 23-year-old Drew Storen, who had 45 saves and a 1.02 WHIP last year. The lineup is average, and has 19-year-old Bryce Harper and 21-year-old Anthony Rendon on the way.
All of which isn’t to say the Nats will win the pennant this year, as some are prognosticating, but it is to say the Nats should finally be good and will be for many years to come. Still, should’s got nothing to do with it.
Which leads me to this. The D.C. chapter of the Internet Baseball Writers Association was kind enough to include us in their 2012 Nats survey, and my answers are listed below. Follow the link for the full results, and comment away with your predictions.
1) Who will lead the Nats in home runs in 2012?
2) Who will lead the Nats in RBI?
3) Who will lead the Nats in stolen bases?
4) Who will lead the staff in wins?
5) Who will pitch more innings for the Nats this season: Chien-Ming Wang, John Lannan, Ross Detwiler?
6) Who will get more at bats for the Nats this season: Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina, Bryce Harper?
7) Date of Bryce Harper’s Major league debut?
8) Which minor leaguer are you most interested in keeping tabs on this season (other than Bryce Harper)?
9) How many all-stars will the Nats have? Who?
10) Total wins and what place in the division?
Essay: Single most important development for the Nats this season?
Nothing could be finer than Harper and Rendon tearing it up down on the farm, further signaling that two more cornerstones are coming.