Editor's Note: Just as a heads up, the Washington Baseball Annual is on sale for Opening Day for $1.99. If you haven't grabbed it, now is a great time to do so!
Here's a story, and oh what a story it is, from Bill Madden of the New York Daily News on how the Mets are going to defeat the Nationals to win the NL East. This is a story desperate with hope, dripping with optimism, and perfect for the end of Spring Training. The problem with hope like this is eventually you have to stop talking, step between the ropes into the ring, and face reality and reality is a bitch.
Mr. Madden wants to talk up the Mets pitching depth, and they have a lot of pitching depth, compared to the Marlins, but when compared to the Nationals they have nothing. Sure the Mets have Matt Harvey, for 160 innings, but the Nationals have three pitchers that can stand toe to toe with Matt Harvey and they get them for the entire season. The Nationals have five pitchers that can lay claim to being top of the rotation starters, a sixth that won 15 games with a 2.85 ERA, a top pitching prospect in AJ Cole who would already be in the majors on at least half the teams in baseball, and the top pitching prospect in all of baseball. Mr. Madden has hopes for Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard, but the Mets pitching depth is a joke when compared to the armory the poses. I'm afraid in the battle of pitching depth the Mets brought a potato to a nuclear war.
People want to know what the weakness of the Nats is and most of them point to the offense, an offense that played together for all of 17 games in 2014, won 96 games, and scored the third most runs in the entire National League. That is the perceived weakness of the Nationals. Sure the Nationals won't have Jayson worth for a couple games in April or Denard Span for a couple weeks or Anthony Rendon for however long it takes him to heal, but let's focus on what they do have. The Nationals have a 22 year old right fielder who's put up an .816 OPS in three seasons in the majors and is considered a disappointment, they have a gold glove third baseman shifting to first ready to win a gold glove at that position with a career OPS of .827, they have a shortstop who has accumulated the most fWAR over the last three seasons, and a catcher with a career .325 wOBA at a position where the MLB average is .305. And none of this even counts the fact the Werth, Rendon, and Span won't even miss half the season with two out of the three not even missing the first month.
Hoping and dreaming on the Mets right now can be healthy, but when June roles around and they've already been buried don't say I didn't try and warn you. The Mets aren't even the right team in the right place at the wrong time. They simply aren't good enough to win a division while the Washington Nationals aren't just built to win now they're built to dominate, decimate, and destroy any team that gets in their path. Mr. Madden you can believe that the Mets stand a chance to win the NL East all you want, but they can't and they won't.
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