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[October 26th] -- I thought it would be fun to take a look back into the Beltway Boys' archives and see how I did at predicting the outcome of the Nationals' 2006 season. Please feel free to give my a pat on the back, or snicker at my stupidity, as the case may be.

"Now that the smoke has cleared [at least for the moment], it might be fun to take a step back and see what Bowden hath wrought.

If the Nationals had been at full strength last season, if the team had suffered an "average" amount of injuries, they would certainly have won 85-90 games and finished in the middle of the pack in the NL East. None of us really knows what Nick Johnson, Jose Vidro, Jose Guillen and Ryan Church can do when healthy.

BSC. "Best Case Scenario." During this time of the year, with it's short days and long nights, when snow is deeper than even our darkest secrets, we look at our team's lineup and see what they should do and not what they can do.

How good will the Nationals offense be if Bowden is done dealing and this is the final result? Pretty good really, assuming all the Nationals stay healthy, and they play up to their talent level. Here is my "best case scenario" for the 2006 Washington Nationals.

1B] Nick Johnson -----.292 - 20 - 90
2B] Jose Vidro ---------.283 - 12 - 68
SS] Cristian Guzman --.252 - 4 - 44
3B] Ryan Zimmerman-.281 - 18 - 75
LF] Ryan Church-------.289 - 21 - 80
CF] Alfonso Soriano---.285 - 28 - 116
RF] Jose Guillen-------.291 - 30 - 104
C] Brian Schneider----.265 - 13 - 55

That's a pretty good lineup assuming that nobody dies or refuses to take the field because they are playing out of position. If Cristian Guzman rebounds from his dismal 2005 campaign [and he will, I just feel it], there won't be a single "easy out" in the entire lineup. Things could be a lot better if Ryan Zimmerman is really, truly the "wunderkind" that Bowden believes he is. There is an equal chance that he'll spend some time in New Orleans too. You just never know with kids. Jose Guillen had 18 homers well before the all-star break, before he hurt himself, and it's possible that both he and Alfonso Soriano could hit 35+ homers next season. Steve Phillips, former Mets' general manager and current ESPN pundit, said that most of Soriano's home runs are of the "Oh my gosh" variety and will travel out of RFK just as easily as anywhere else.

Assuming the pitching staff is not as good as last year but not "worse," the Nats' best case scenario for 2006 is 77-87 wins, about the same as last season. Hopefully, the improved offense will negate the watered-down pitching staff and give Washington another "fun" year.

I could have done better, but hey -- it could have been worse. The 77-87 wins were way off, but at least I threw a "caveat" in there, as assumption that the pitching staff wouldn't be any worse than the previous. We all know what happened there. Really, when you consider how much worse the staff was, ten less wins wasn't all that bad.

P.S. The first reader who can tell me where the "Tell Your Statistics To Shut Up" came from wins a "like-new" 1980 Topps baseball card.

Charlie Brown!
It sounds like something that would come from "Peanuts," but no.

(hint)It's from a baseball book that changed how player's private lives would be reported forever.
Oh sure, make it easy! That pretty much has to be "Ball Four"!
good job sbrent, you win the baseball card. email me a rushfari@isu.edu with you address and info and i'll send it on the way! Congrats to you
"Tell Your Statistics To Shut Up" headed the section in the back of the book that gave his career statistics.

I loved Ball Four -- it was the first time I had the opportunity to go "behind the scenes" and learn about baseball players when they weren't on the field. Today, almost forty years later, I would't read that type of book. I'd rather not know about my hero's imperfections.
I believe the correct answer is actually "Peanuts." I remember Bouton writing in the body of the book a description of the cartoon and quoting Charlie Brown telling either Linus or Lucy to, "Tell your statistics to shut up." He did it while imagining a conversation with Marvin Milkes or Joe Schultz.
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