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Baseball is Upon Us! (From a DMV Fan's Perspective)

By: Mike Patt

Original Date: 2/21/23

Hello sports fans, and welcome back to the IE Sports Radio blog. First off, congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs for their Super Bowl 57 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. It was a great game, and an excellent way to conclude the NFL playoffs and the whole of the 2022-23 season. The conclusion of the football season means several things. The NHL and NBA are headed towards their playoffs, March madness is right around the corner, and the Spring Training will be here soon. Or in other words (dramatic pause for effect), Baseball is upon us! With me being resident DMV fanatic, let’s talk about how the Nationals and Orioles are shaping up for the year.

Washington Nationals

The Nationals find themselves in a similar position to where the Orioles were four and a half years ago. They had a stretch of playoff runs and championship contention, but then fell off a cliff to the bottom of the league. The biggest difference, of course, is that the Nats got a World Series title out of their run. Unlike the Orioles, who needed a few years to rebuild their farm system, Washington seems to be building their prospect pool quickly. With the Juan Soto trade, the farm was rebuilt overnight, and with a top five pick last year plus the first pick this year (and likely next year), it would not surprise me if Washington owned a top system ranking by August 2024.

As for 2023, the big league roster is an unfortunate combination of aging, oft injured pitching, raw/developing young talent, and veteran placeholders who are nothing more than stop-gaps. Expectations are low, and it would not be surprising if they failed to reach them. In a division with three legitimate NL championship contenders, the Nats are likely to reach the 100-loss mark yet again. The goal, however, is to continue to develop the raw young talent in the majors, along with those coming up the ranks. If that part is done properly, then it might not be ridiculous to see a contending Washington team by 2025. Patience is the key, for both the organization and the fans.

Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore, on the other hand, has a lot more immediate potential. They just completed one of the largest single-season turnarounds in MLB history, improving a whopping 31 wins from 2021 to 2022. They have the top farm system for the second year in a row, with several highly rated prospects either already in the majors or in AAA almost ready to make the jump. Their pitching took a leap that no one expected, with many key pieces returning (across the entire roster for that matter). Looking at it on paper, there is good reason for the excitement surrounding the Orioles.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in the city of crabs and Edgar Allen Poe. While the team improved in the off-season, they failed to bring in a top pitcher to lead the rotation. They also did not add much to the bullpen, which has been bitten by the injury bug over the past week. They are relying heavily on the development of young talent and bounce-backs for more experienced players like Cedric Mullins and Ryan Mountcastle. Having Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson for a whole season will add wins, and few areas should see a decline from 2022. The question is whether there is enough improvement to get the 7-10 extra wins to make the playoffs.

The regular season is still several weeks away, so we should not get too excited. It was an eventful off-season, with some big names changing hands and lots of money spent (mostly by the Mets, my goodness). There will be many story lines to follow throughout the year, such as whether Houston will be able to repeat, or will the Dodgers finally break their non-covid playoff curse. One thing is for sure, this is going to be an exciting year. Tune in to Let’s Wine About DMV Sports with Mike Patt on Fridays at 9PM EST/6PM PST. Be sure to check out all of the awesome shows here at IESR, as well as the live calls on our partner station USRN. Shout out to our patreon supporters and all you loyal listeners that continue to help our station grow. Thank you for reading, and we will see you next time on IE Sports Radio; your direct feed for ALL that is sports.

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