Asian people will eat a lot of rice. Oh wait, not that kind of offensive prediction...
We're talking hitting. The Nats offense was carried by Michael Morse in the wake of injuries to Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche and a sub-par season for Jayson Werth. In 2012, Beastmode should be able to share more of the load with a healthy Zimmerman and LaRoche, a hopefully resurgent Werth and at some point, Bryce Harper. So, who will lead the Nats at the plate? Will a surprise player breakout and earn MVP consideration, a la Mike Morse? To the predictions!
Sean's Batting Average Champion: Ryan Zimmerman - .308. With several other offensive weapons on the team, the load on Ryan to produce runs will be lighter, allowing him to go the other way more often and even bunt occasionally (he is a very talent bunter, though it is unlikely Davey Johnson will allow that).
Sean's Home Run Champion: Mike Morse - 40. Beast Mode will pick up right where he left off. Given an entire season of ABs he will not disappoint. Werth, Zimmerman and Harper will all break 20 and make get close to 30.
Sean's RBI Champion: Mike Morse - 102. Hard to guess anyone but Mike. He will be hitting with Zimmerman and hopefully Ian Desmond or Danny Espinosa on base quite a bit and will make the most of his opportunities. Zim will get his, but real offensive success will be incumbent upon Werth and LaRoche contributing a serious number of RBIs.
Craig's Batting Average Champion: Ryan Zimmerman - .302. I based this entirely off of 2nd half splits from last year. Once healthy, he became the offensive force that he was back in 2009 and 2010. My hope is that Zim flies high in 2012 after receiving a contract extension during Spring Training that makes him a National for life *Spoiler Alert*.
Craig's HR Champion: Michael Morse - 30. I don't believe that Morse is going to put up 40 home runs next year, I think 30 is a more reasonable goal. You have to figure that he is going to play against the Phillies, Braves, and Marlins' rotations a total of 54 times next year - it's tough to put up that many bombs in this division. I think that 30 is a nice round number that he can achieve.
Craig's RBI Champion: Michael Morse - 88. I think that the team is going to spread the love around a lot more in 2012. The Nationals scored 624 runs in 2011 and 95 of them were knocked in by Morse - a whopping 15.2% of the team's runs. I don't think that the onus will be solely on Morse to knock in runs, and that others will take the opportunity to drive in runs before he gets to the plate. With a healthy LaRoche and Zimmerman, I think that Morse still leads the team but it is going to be close.
Well, CapBallers, we agree on the players but not quite the numbers. What do you think?