SI Baseball Preview: Washington Nationals Will Win 2013 World Series

SI-2Sports Illustrated Predicts

Washington Nationals Will Win 2013 World Series

Baseball Preview Features 42 pages of Scouting Reports; Stephen Strasburg, David Price,
Justin Verlander, CC Sabathia, James Shields, and Clayton Kershaw on Six Regional Covers

(NEW YORK – Mar. 26, 2013) – Sports Illustrated predicts that the Washington Nationals will defeat the Tampa Rays for the 2013 World Series in the April 1, 2013 issue of SI, on newsstands Wednesday. The SI Baseball Preview, which has six regional covers including one of Nationals’ ace Stephen Strasburg, features 42 pages of scouting reports with standings and playoff predictions, stat projections from rotowire.com and takes on every team from rival scouts.

In a profile on why the Nationals will win the World Series, senior writer Tom Verducci says that the they look a lot like manager Davey Johnson’s 1986 Mets team—and that the similarities will extend through October.

Verducci writes: “Like the ’86 Mets, the 2013 Nationals are the best team on paper at the start of the season. And like that championship team, Washington has young power pitching, a deep bullpen with multiple closers, a blend of power and speed, and an unmistakable swagger.” (PAGES 59-60)

The consensus from expert analysis in the SI Baseball Preview is that pitching, and strikeouts in particular, rule today’s game.  In “Generation K”, Verducci writes on how swings and misses, which have increased in the major leagues for seven consecutive seasons, are changing the game: “As hitters accept strikeouts as a necessary cost of their search for power, pitchers are better equipped than ever to exploit that concession.” (PAGE 46)

Verducci finds that there has been a change in philosophy, as teams are less worried about their players striking out, as long as they produce power and runs. This coincides in an era that features pitchers who throw harder and with more movement, pitchers who have increased access to analytics and video that helps them exploit hitters’ weaknesses and teams that utilize power bullpen arms more frequently.

“More pitchers, more velocity, more movement, more strikes…Night after night, game after game, pitchers are asserting their power, three strikes at a time,” writes Verducci (PAGE 49).

Along with Strasburg (2nd SI cover), five additional star pitchers known for strikeouts are featured on regional covers of this week’s SI: David Price (2nd SI cover), Justin Verlander (3rd SI cover), CC Sabathia (2nd SI cover), James Shields (1st SI cover), and Clayton Kershaw (1st SI cover).

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Also in this week’s SI Baseball Preview:

Standings Predictions, Takes from Rival Scouts, Award Winners, and Stat Projections

American League Standings Predictions

AL EAST                                  AL Central                                AL West

1.     Rays                                         1. Tigers                                   1. Angels

2.     Blue Jays                                  2. Royals                                  2. Rangers

3.     Yankees                                   3. White Sox                             3. A’s

4.     Orioles                                      4. Indians                                  4. Mariners

5.     Red Sox                                   5. Twins                                    5. Astros

National League Standings Predictions

 

NL EAST                                  NL Central                                NL West

1.     Nationals                                  1. Reds                                     1. Giants

2.     Braves                                      2. Cardinals                               2. Dodgers

3.     Phillies                                      3. Brewers                                 3. Diamondbacks

4.     Mets                                         4. Pirates                                  4. Padres

5.     Marlins                                      5. Cubs                                     5. Rockies

Postseason Predictions

American League                                                                                 National League

 

Wild-Card Playoff                                                                                 Wild-Card Playoff

Blue Jays over Rangers                                                                         Dodgers over Braves

Division Series                                                                                     Division Series

Blue Jays over Angels                                                                           Nationals over Dodgers

Rays over Tigers                                                                                   Reds over Giants

Championship Series                                                                           Championship Series

Rays over Blue Jays                                                                              Nationals over Reds

World Series

Nationals over Rays

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Enemy Lines: A rival scout’s take on each of the predicted division winners:

Rays: “The team is deceiving as hell. Outside of Evan Longoria, you say, where are the stars? But all the Rays have a good approach at the plate, and they find ways to score runs.” (Page 72)

Tigers: “This is how it’s done: They spent money and made trades with prospects to get quality big league players to build a veteran team.” (Page 81)

Angels: “Their system is lean. This is a team that’s built to win now.” (Page 84)

Nationals: “Top to bottom, this is a really good team—they’re better than they were last year.” (Page 94)

Reds: “There aren’t weaknesses here. They’ll be back in position again in October, with an even more dangerous team.” (Page 100)

Giants: “Their obvious strength is the rotation with Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito. But their depth beyond that is a concern if someone goes down.” (PAGE 106)

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SI Baseball Preview: Award Winners and Stat Projections

 

AL Best Bets by Ben Reiter

AL MVP: Mike Trout, Angels

AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander, Tigers

Rookie of the Year: Jurickson Profar, Rangers

Mr. Irreplaceable: Robinson Cano, Yankees

Breakout Hitter: Yoenis Cespedes, A’s

Breakout Pitcher: Alex Cobb, Rays

 

Rotowire.com AL Stat Projection Leaders

AVG: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (.335)

HR: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays (44)

RBI: Cabrera (126)

OBP: Cabrera (.420)

SLG: Cabrera (.618)

SB: Michael Bourn, Indians and Mike Trout, Angels (50)

Runs: Trout (121)

Wins: Verlander, Price, Yu Darvish and Jered Weaver (18)

ERA: Fernando Rodney, Rays (1.92)

WHIP: Koji Uehara, Red Sox (.745)

Saves: Rodney (41)

K/9: Al Alburquerque, Detroit (12.5)

 

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NL Best Bets by Albert Chen

NL MVP: Bryce Harper, Nationals

NL Cy Young: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals

Rookie of the Year: Adam Eaton, Diamondbacks

Mr. Irreplaceable: Matt Kemp, Dodgers

Breakout Hitter: Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks

Breakout Pitcher: Kris Medlen, Braves

 

Rotowire.com Stat Projection Leaders

 

AVG: Joey Votto, Reds (.323)                        

HR: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins (43)

RBI: Ryan Braun, Brewers (115)

OBP: Votto (.443)

SLG: Braun (.606)

SB: Ben Revere, Phillies (46)

Runs: Bryce Harper, Nationals (111)

Wins: Strasburg, Kershaw, Gio Gonzalez and Adam Wainwright (17)

ERA: Craig Kimbrel, Braves (1.54)

WHIP: Kimbrel (.843)

Saves: Kimbrel (41)

K/9: Kimbrel (15.6)

 

-SI-

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