The DC Chapter of the Internet Baseball Writers Association conducted a survey of its members (independent journalists, websites and blogs) on a variety of topics concerning the 2011 Washington Nationals. The results can be found here.
It's particularly interesting to gauge the opinions of those that follow the team the closest on some of the position battles, team statistical leaders and wins projections for the upcoming season.
My answers and some analysis can be found below.
1. Who will lead the Nats in home runs? Ryan Zimmerman. The third baseman is entering his peak seasons and his power indicators are still rising.
2. Who will lead the Nats in RBIs? Adam LaRoche. No player on the team will benefit from hitting behind two on-base machines (Zimmerman, Werth) more than the new first baseman, expected to his fifth in the lineup against right-handed pitchers.
3. Who will led the Nats in stolen bases? Ian Desmond. As the second year shortstop feels ore comfortable with his place in Jim Riggleman's lineup he'll utilize his good base stealing instincts. I don't expect Nyjer Morgan to stay with this team all season.
4. Who will lead the Nats in wins? John Lannan. I think the lefty is poised for a good season and he's the starter I feel most comfortable projecting not missing time with injury.
5. Who will lead the Nats in saves? Drew Storen. I think Storen will eventually be given the job full-time,but I also think Jim Riggleman will play match-up a lot at the back end of his bullpen.
6. Who will lead the Nats in starts? Lannan. Jordan Zimmermann is still recovering from his Tommy John surgery and it's entirely likely he'll miss some time with a sore/tired arm in his first full season back.
7. Which pitcher (Chien-Ming Wang, Yunesky Maya or Ross Detwiler) will make more starts for the Nats? Ross Detwiler. The change in his mechanics and how he's thrown thus far this spring have me more optimistic on the young lefty than I've even been.
8. Which utility player (Rick Ankiel, Jerry Hairston or Alberto Gonzalez) will get more at bats for the Nats? Jerry Hairston. I think Riggleman will find ways to get the versatile Hairston in the lineup. He could see time at second, short, third, center and left fields.
9. Which catcher will get them most at bats for the Nats? Wilson Ramos. Ivan Rodriguez hurt the team at the plate last season except for the first 13 games of the season. Ramos had a great winter league and has continued that success this spring. He's ready for a full-time workload.
10. How many all-stars will the Nats have and whom? One, Ryan Zimmerman. If he can avoid his yearly June swoon, this could be the year Zimmerman becomes a national star.
11. Number of wins and place in division? 72, Fourth. I'm still tweaking my season projections, but I don't think it will fluctuate too much from 72. As a reminder, I missed last season's win projection by just one (I had the Nats for 68 wins in 2010).
12. Most important development for 2011? The successful recovery of Stephen Strasburg from Tommy John surgery. There is no more important player to this franchise and his successful recovery is paramount to anything else that happens in NatsTown this summer. It's a 12-18 month recovery process, and everyone will be watching and hoping Strasburg can follow Zimmermann's timetable and return to a major league mound in September.