Bill James has put out his 2011 projections on Fangraphs, and the Nats are generally smiled upon favorably.
Below is the Nationals lineup if the season started today. Of course, with nearly three months left till Spring Training, a lot can happen.
2011 projected lineup
CF - Nyjer Morgan - .285/.347/.352 (389 AB, 1 HR, 24 RBI, 55 R)
(.253/.319/.314 - 2010)
Outlook - Morgan sees a big bounce back from James in 2011, mainly due to a correction in BABIP. In 2010, he hit a career low .304 BABIP. In 2011, James has Morgan bouncing back to a solid .334.
SS - Ian Desmond - .280/.328/.421 (561 AB, 13 HR, 66 RBI, 69 R)
Outlook - Desmond projects to see quite the increase in walk rate, from 4.9 to 6.3%. While walking more, Desmond is also projected to cut his strikeouts to under 20% (19.3).
3B - Ryan Zimmerman - .291/.368/.507 (580 AB, 27 HR, 95 RBI, 94 R)
Outlook - Zimmerman is the first National to see a decrease in his projections. Losing Dunn will hurt, as well as coming off a career year. As is, his 'decrease' is minimal and still puts him in the elite category of 3B.
RF - Jayson Werth - .275/.375/.493 (560 AB, 28 HR, 91 RBI, 98 R)
Outlook - Quite the drop for the newest Nat. Not totally unexpected though as Citizen Bank Park is quite the hitters paradise, while Nationals Park is a slight pitching park. On the positive side, James has Werth improving his BB% and decreasing his K%
LF - Josh Willingham - .259/.369/.465 (475 AB, 22 HR, 72 RBI, 71 R)
Outlook - Hammer sees a drop in all major categories outside of an uptick in power. Heading into free agency at the end of 2011, Josh will be looking to maximize his value for his one shot at a big contract.
1B - Michael Morse - .278/.337/.461 (284 AB, 11 HR, 44 RBI, 36 R)
Outlook - James clearly does not believe that Morse's 2010 season was anything other than a fluke. "Werth Jr." will either need a Willingham trade, or the Nationals not being able to sign a 1B to see significant time in 2011.
2B - Danny Espinosa - .255/.312/.460 (424 AB, 21 HR, 60 RBI, 69 R)
Outlook - Short sample sizes do not make for accurate projections, but Espinosa's line in 2011 looks obtainable if he can up his contact rate slightly.
C - Pudge Rodriguez - .266/.301/.373 (399 AB, 7 HR, 45 RBI, 43 R)
Outlook - Surprisingly, Pudge sees an uptick in his stats from last year. Outside of the first 13 at-bats of the year for Pudge, it speaks to just how awful the backstop played in 2010.
1B - Adam Dunn - .247/.373/.511 (567 AB, 39 HR, 102 RBI, 90 R)
Outlook - Oddly enough, Dunn is projected to see a drop in slugging with the move to the AL and a cozy new ballpark. Nothing would make this blog happier than to see Dunn obliterate every HR record next year for the White Sox, the big guy deserves it.
OF - Roger Bernadina - .273/.341/.418 (194 AB, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 27 R)
Outlook - Bernadina looks poised for a breakout year in 2011. Will the at-bats come? Only time will tell.
So that's it; what do you guys think? Will the Nats reach Bill's projections? Exceed them? Drop a line in the comment box and let everyone know.