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We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2013 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2013 Nationals Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy Patrick Reddington from Federal Baseball.

1) Mike Trout pretty much captured the imagination of the baseball world last year as a rookie and it made a solid season by that one 19 year old kid, Bryce Harper, go a tad unappreciated even with the accolades. Considering the numbers last year were very productive for his age – 22/18 with a .270 average – what should fantasy owners expect from Bryce in 2013?

It’s kind of hard to argue that with Harper winning the NL ROY award and receiving the near-constant media attention that he did, that he was even a “tad unappreciated” this past season. Most folks tend to argue that he was over-exposed if anything. I’m sure Harper will go through adjustments again this season as he and the league react to one another and see more of one another. He had a really rough stretch in the second half last season, but turned it on late, putting up .288/.349/.553 line over the last two months of the season. Down the stretch in September/October he had a .330/.400/.643 line. It’s hard to imagine him sustaining that sort of production over a full season, though that’s pretty close to what Trout put up this year (.326/.399/.564). Bill James is projecting a .272/.347/.476 line for Harper in 2013. Something tells me you won’t go wrong with Harper on your fantasy team. He’ll also be playing left most likely, which will be a little less demanding physically. It will be interesting to see if that’s to his benefit offensively.

2) The fantasy baseball world simply loves Stephen Strasburg but he’s yet to turn in a season of 180 or more innings in his short and injury plagued career. Is there any chance we fantasy owners get to see a 200 inning/250 K year from Stras in 2013?

The Nationals were being cautious with Strasburg from the start since he was still developing when he debuted. With the injury they were even more careful. The Nationals allowed Jordan Zimmermann to throw 195.2 IP this season in his first full-year back from TJS. Strasburg threw just 159.1 in 2012. He’ll have to go a lot deeper in games to get up to the 200 inning plateau, but I don’t think the Nationals will hold him back this season, so he could approach that mark. Again turning to Bill James, his projections have Strasburg at 208.0 IP in 2013 with 255 Ks (11.03 K/9). It’s possible, I’d bet he’s more in the 180-190 range with the same K/9.

3) Which Dan Haren do you expect to see in 2013? The one with the career 3.66 ERA and 1.18 WHIP or the messy 4.33/1.29 version of him from 2012?

Haren’s velocity has been dropping steadily over the last few seasons, but Mike Scioscia praised the way he adjusted last season and predicted a bounce-back campaign in 2013 before he left the Angels. Haren was still fairly close to being the same pitcher he has been throughout his career once he got over back issues early last season. After he returned from the DL (in the second half) he had a 3.58 ERA over his last 73 innings on the mound after putting up a 4.86 ERA over his first 17 starts and 103.2 IP. The Nationals said they were comfortable with what they saw in his medical records. You’d think he’d benefit from a move back to the NL, though he has slightly better numbers as an AL pitcher in his career. I’m guessing the competitive nature of the Nats’ rotation and the chance at a playoff run will inspire Haren, as will the desire to get one more big deal after settling for a one-year contract this year.

4) Ian Desmond had a breakout year last year, leading all shortstops in homeruns with 25 despite playing in only 130 games. In fact, Desmond set career highs in many categories last year and will be going fairly high at shortstop for 2013 fantasy drafts. With all that said, was 2012 a breakout year for Ian or a career year we fantasy owners shouldn’t be overpaying for?

Having watched Ian Desmond’s entire career, I thought he had the “breakout year” he had last year in him, but I was definitely surprised how it all seemed to come together for him last season in spite of the time he missed and the fact that he was dealing with an oblique issue for a good deal of the time he was playing. More than anyone else he seems to have benefited from the confidence boost Davey Johnson provided when he took over on the bench in the nation’s capital. Johnson’s said Desmond’s been one of his projects over the last couple of years as he worked in the organization and eventually took over on the bench. He went from a .262 hitter to a .292 hitter last year, so it’s hard to say what to expect in 2013. You might see a little drop back, but I think he’ll produce the same power this year. He really seemed to have figured something out last year.

5) What’s the most likeliest event to occur in 2013 for these Washington Nationals?

A) Nationals go to the World Series
B) The Nats PR team comes under public scrutiny when they add John Wilkes Booth to the presidential race during the 4th inning stretch, stating they felt the Lincoln runner needed ‘extra motivation’
C) Adam LaRoche proves the Nats right for signing him and trading away Michael Morse as he hits 30 HRs again in 2013, which would be the first time he has back to back 30 HR seasons in his career
D) Ryan Zimmerman forgets to bring his jersey with him to the game so he simply steals Jordan Zimmermann’s and blacks out the second ‘n’
E) Denard Span is left to run wild and steals 35 bases
F) Bryce Harper sues both you and I when your answer to #5 is ‘That’s a clown question, bro’.

I’m going to go with E. Though it’s hard to believe someone who’s never stolen more than 26 will get up to 35 with Davey Johnson (who’s not the biggest fan of the steal) managing him. But both Span and Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo have said his running game is one thing Span could stand to improve and I refuse to predict a run to the World Series. Span getting his career-high in steals is the most likely of the other options, though I think LaRoche could hit 30 again and I’m not sure people will be too upset with the Morse trade by the end of the year.

From Around The Web

  1. Vacation says:
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    Sky, this has very little to do with fantasy, but who is your favorite to win the NL East? Braves and Nats have to be two of the best teams in all of MLB, right?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @Vacation: No prob, I like real baseball as well, of course :)

      I trust the Nats starting rotation more than the Braves at this point and say they win out in the NL East. Only thing that would change my mind about that is Medlen/Minor getting off to strong starts. Beachy’s return will be a big wild card for who wins out down the road but it should be close either way.

      I personally like Cincy more than I do ATL in terms of top two teams in the NL. Feel ATL has a lot of big names that need to post big name numbers for this team to reach it’s full potential while guys like Uggla and McCann having bounce back years. Justin Upton returning to his 2009 or 2011 season form would make a big difference as well.

  2. wifes got my nuts but I got fantasy baseball says:
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    Well this has less to do about the Nationals, but yes I agree 1-2 goes Nats then Braves. As good as the Braves OF now is their IF has lots of concerns, Freeman is still a bit unknown, Uggla had an off year last year with the power and his second year in a row with OPS under 800( with his defense as bad as it is he needs to hammer the ball), 3rd is yet to be cemented and SS well its a brand new commodity. Could give my opinion on the whole NL east but doubt anyone is all that interested. Was more curious about a keeper situation. In a 14 team money league I have 3 main option to keep 2 players. I have V Martinez at a $1 Gio G at $13 and Peavy at $1. Which two should I keep?

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Personally I’d lean Gio period. Just to verify – because I’ve heard he isn’t everywhere – the V-Mart is C eligible in your league? If he is, I’d make him my second one.

      Agree about the Braves. Think Uggla didn’t handle being ‘the man’ very well. Will probably bat between 5th and 7th in that lineup without much pressure to perform. Think he outplays his ADP this year.

      Feel free to tell your thoughts on the AL East. We’re all ears here!

  3. Randy says:
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    Just so you guys know, the Presidential Race occurs in the middle of the 4th inning, not during the 7th inning stretch.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Hey thanks for the catch!

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