It’s hard to believe that just last week, we were digging out from 24 inches of snow and seemed as though we would be in the grasp of winter for a long time. Today’s spring-like temperatures in DC (I think our high temperature is approaching linebacker number range!) almost certainly don’t mean that winter is behind us, but they make baseball fans long for what is ahead a few short months from now when the 2016 baseball season begins.
Here are a few thoughts that are in the mind of this Nats’ fan on a day where one can almost hear the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd:
- Ben Revere is probably going to give Washington its best base stealing threat in the team’s time in DC and with other speedy players possibly getting the green light from new manager Dusty Baker, it seems very possible that Washington will top is previous high of 123 stolen bases that was set in 2006. Revere has 178 career steals and has been successful in over 80% of his attempts, so he’s a legitimate threat to not only lead the Nats in stolen bags but to lead the entire National League as well. It will be fun to watch the newest Nats’ outfielder in 2016.
- The defending NL East champion Mets received a big boost in 2015 when the team recalled towering starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard from the minors in mid-May. Wouldn’t it be something if our own up and coming tall and talented righty, Lucas Giolito, gave the Nats a similar boost in 2016? With the rotation fairly well stocked and with the team being careful about pushing its top prospect we probably won’t see Giolito in DC for the major portion of the year, but how much fun would it be to go to a three game set and see Scherzer, Strasburg and Giolito take the hill for the Nats?
- There’s a lot of talk in baseball circles about this being the San Francisco Giants’ year in that the team won World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014 with 2016 being the next logical step in their magical equation. We don’t have the same level of success to fall back on in DC, but the Nats won the East in 2012 and 2014, so perhaps they’ll continue that trend in another even numbered year. Last year was a season of great expectations that were dashed (for a variety of reason) in the end, but one would think that the Nats would be less “hunted” and more “hunter” in the upcoming year due to the Mets’ surprising 2015 success. A combination of better health, the hunger to get back to the post-season and better fortunes in the upcoming year should be enough to make the Nats a serious candidate to re-join baseball’s elite in 2016.
- Like most Nats’ fans, I feel badly for Ian Desmond being left to twist in the wind with the start of the season a little more than two months away. Desmond always gave his all as a National and we’ll miss his contributions. Here’s hoping he lands on a new team soon and that he has an excellent year.
- Want an early candidate for National League comeback player of the year in 2016? Look no further than the hot corner at Nationals Park, where ultra-talented Anthony Rendon may be poised to rejoin the ranks of the League’s best hitters in 2016. In 2014, Rendon showed a quick bat, discipline at the plate, an ability to hit to all field and surprising power. Here’s predicting that his 2016 season will be way more like his 2014 one than last year’s.