If you feel like this is a case of déjà vu, you are not alone. This is the second pre-season of 2020 for Major League Baseball because of the initial stoppage of America’s game due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 12th. Spring Training has been replaced by Summer Training due to the change from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice. The Nats open camp today and have nineteen more days until Opening Day 2.0. They will face a New York team on Opening Day but instead of the New York Mets who they were set to face on March 26th, the Nats will now play the other New York team — the Yankees.
For the past few days, the Nats have tested players and personnel for COVID and all healthy players they will get to it at Nats Park for workouts. Fortunately many of the Nats players had been finding ways to workout and stay in shape, but nothing can replace the intensity of real games. The Nats will hold intra-squad scrimmages fairly soon with the possibility of an exhibition game before the season starts. Everything is fluid at the moment and officially, there is not even a 60-game schedule that has been made public.
For their part, the fine people at Fangraphs had to scrap all of their previous 162 game models and prepare 60 game projections based on 30-man rosters to start the season. Here is how the Nationals look on Fangraphs. For historical purposes whenever we look at 2020 stats we will have to interpolate and extrapolate with our calculators to try to come up with some fair assessments of how players have done.
Teams are bunched together on this Fangraphs chart, but the top-3 teams seem to be there by every analyst. The interesting part by Fangraphs is how many ties there are. If it finished like this the Nats and Braves would need a tiebreaker for who wins the NL East and the other other team would get the first Wild Card. The Cubs would win the NL Central, and the Mets and Cardinals would play game #61 to see who is the second Wild Card.
— Alyson Footer (@alysonfooter) July 2, 2020
MLB.com’s first Power Rankings are out and based on the 60-game season. They have the Nats at #8 in their Power Rankings.
18. Red Sox
The odds of multiple ties are greater with fewer games played, mathematically speaking, plus MLB and the MLBPA could still agree to expanded playoffs with more teams. Remember, right now the Top-5 in each league still make the postseason.
Getting our daily news of what is going on in training camp will be interesting as we will see if the Nats have virtual press conferences.
In roster news and as we reported two days ago a source confirmed Nats newly signed first round pick, Cade Cavalli, would be joining the Nats 60-man player’s pool. We were told yesterday that it will not be made official until Cavalli passes his medicals which includes the COVID test. Cavalli was en route today to D.C. according to his own social media page confirming he will be in Nats camp.
It sounds like Sean Doolittle is still committed to playing baseball for the Nats and won’t opt-out. Doo was set to make the largest salary of his career this year at $6.5 million. He has earned approximately $16 million in his career. There is an old saying to make hay while the sun shines and the sun shines bright most days in July in Washington, D.C. Of course all salaries are prorated so Doolittle will be making $2.5 million approximately if the full season gets played. For Ryan Zimmerman on the other hand, he was on a one-year $2 million contract and walked away from $740,000 which was less than he made playing one week last year! Plus Zimmerman got $2 million when his option was declined, and he does not have to pay that money back.
There is still the possibility that general manager Mike Rizzo will acquire a designated hitter type of player and a fifth starter to take the spot of Joe Ross as he opted-out of the season also.
Updates to follow.