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Washington Nationals Predictions | 2011 Season Betting Preview

2011 MLB Team Preview: Washington Nationals

Hard to believe, as many of us watch the snow fall outside, that the Boys of Summer are almost back. But it’s true; teams have started reporting to 2011 Major League Baseball training camps and it’s time to start our team-by-team baseball gambling previews for the year.

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Nationals Calender

FEB. 1-18, 2011 – Salary arbitration hearings
FEB. 14, 2011 – Voluntary Spring Training reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players
FEB. 19, 2011 – Voluntary Spring Training reporting date for non-pitchers and catchers
FEB. 26, 2011 – Mandatory Spring Training reporting date for all players

Better days certainly lie ahead for the Washington Nationals. In Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, they’re building around arguably the most hyped pitcher and hitter of the last two decades. But the time to rejoice isn’t here yet. Strasburg is out for the year with Tommy John surgery after a dazzling 2010 debut. Harper isn’t ready for the big leagues.

So can the Nats stay afloat in 2011 while they await their saviors?

WASHINGTON NATIONALS
World Series odds: +10000

Aside from Strasburg and Harper, no Washington National generated more offseason news than their newest member: Jayson Werth. The five-tool outfielder signed a seven-year, $126-million contract in the offseason. Is he worth it? We’ll see. Werth has real power, outstanding defensive skills and a keen batting eye, so he should be a solid contributor.

But will Werth have much support in the lineup? He at least has one legit partner in crime in Ryan Zimmerman, who is a budding superstar at third base. Adam LaRoche is no Adam Dunn (who departed in the offseason) but he is a powerful bat capable of going on tears. Ian Desmond has star potential at shortstop.

After that quartet…eek. It ain’t pretty for the Nats. Ivan Rodriguez is (a) still alive and (b) catching for Washington. He fills out the lineup along with castoffs like Rick Ankiel and the volatile Nyjer Morgan. Offensively, Washington still looks only average.

The pitching situation could be even bleaker. Jordan Zimmerman has plenty of ability but is starting his first full season after Tommy John surgery. He’s joined by journeyman innings eaters Livan Hernandez, Jason Marquis, John Lannan and Tom Gorzelanny. That staff has as much teeth as newborn baby.

The bullpen is perhaps the Nats’ main strength. Drew Storen was stellar as a rookie and appears ready to take over ninth-inning duty. He’s backed up by the versatile Tyler Clippard, who won 11 games out of the pen last season.

2011 OUTLOOK

The Jayson Werth signing almost qualifies as one big diversion for the Washington Nationals. The team generated positive press with the big free-agent splash but, once the dust settles, fans and bettors alike will realize that it’s the same old same-old in D.C. This team still has plenty of offensive holes and a hideous pitching staff. It has little to no chance of competing in the National League East.

Once Harper and Strasburg are there to stay, things should get exciting in Washington. Until then, expect more pain and suffering.

Prediction: 5th, National League East

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About Shea Matthews

Shea Matthews the Senior Writer at CP. Lives and breathes sports. He made the transition from athlete to sports journalist at a young age, writing in TV & national papers. Shea applies his knowledge to sports betting + handicapping daily, and shares winning picks with the world.


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