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Best Case Scenario For 2006

[December 9th] -- Now that the smoke has cleared [at least for the moment], it might be fun to take a step back and see what Bowden hath wrought

If the Nationals had been at full strength last season, if the team had suffered an "average" amount of injuries, they would certainly have won 85-90 games and finished in the middle of the pack in the NL East. None of us really knows what Nick Johnson, Jose Vidro, Jose Guillen and Ryan Church can do when healthy.

BSC. "Best Case Scenario." During this time of the year, with it's short days andlong nights, when snow is deeper than even our darkest secrets, we look at our team's lineup and see what they should do and not what they can do.

How good will the Nationals offense be if Bowden is done dealing and this is the final result? Pretty good really, assuming all the Nationals stay healthy, and they play up to their talent level. Here is my "best case scenario" for the 2006 Washington Nationals.

That's a pretty good lineup assuming that nobody dies or refuses to take the field because they are playing out of position. If Cristian Guzman rebounds from his dismal 2005 campaign [and he will, I just feel it], there won't be a single "easy out" in the entire lineup. Things could be a lot better if Ryan Zimmerman is really, truly the "wunderkind" that Bowden believes he is. There is an equal chance that he'll spend some time in New Orleans too. You just never know with kids. Jose Guillen had 18 homers well before the all-star break, before he hurt himself, and it's possible that both he and Alfonso Soriano could hit 35+ homers next season. Steve Phillips, former Mets' general manager and current ESPN pundit, said that most of Soriano's home runs are of the "Oh my gosh" variety and will travel out of RFK just as easily as anywhere else.

Assuming the pitching staff is not as good as last year but not "worse," the Nats' best case scenario for 2006 is 77-87 wins, about the same as last season. Hopefully, the improved offense will negate the watered-down pitching staff and give Washington another "fun" year.

Basil over at Federal Baseball mentioned my BCS on his site. He wondered my methodology in coming up with these probabilities.

Happy to reveal my secret. I guess. 2005 was the 40th baseball season I've watched as a fan, and all that experience has given me a "feel" for prognosticating. Oh, I'm not always right, sometimes I'm not even close, but it's fun to do. (I guessed the Nats would win 79-82 games this past season. Can't guess any closer than that)
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