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Nationals Preseason Predictions Are All Over The Map

No one seems to know quite what to make of the 2012 Washington Nationals. Everyone agrees that on paper, they have all the pieces to make a move to challenge for the National League East, but whether they actually will is another story.

The Cardinals and Marlins get the American-soil version of Major League Baseball's regular season underway Wednesday night in South Florida, so outlets all over the nation are unveiling their season predictions.

The Washington Post didn't pick the Nationals to make the playoffs this year, but outlets farther afield weren't so pessimistic.

15 of ESPN's baseball "experts" (one of whom, in the interest of full disclosure, was former Nationals GM Jim Bowden) predicted the Nationals to make the playoffs. Commentator Rick Sutcliffe and ESPN New York writer Adam Rubin actually picked the Nationals to make the World Series, only to lose to the Rangers and Yankees, respectively.

Yahoo's Jeff Passan predicted that the Nationals would defeat the Phillies in the NLCS (delicious) and lose to the Rays in the World Series (less delicious).

Over at CBS Sports, Jon Heyman picked Washington to win the National League East. None of his colleagues picked the Nats higher than third, though Danny Knobler did predict that Stephen Strasburg would win the National League's Cy Young Award, and that Jordan Zimmermann would be the surprise of the league, whatever that means.

Elsewhere, The Sporting News predicts the Nationals to finish fourth, while Bryce Harper was picked to win National League Rookie of the Year. You know, the guy who's not even starting the season with the club.

You get the idea. It's always nice to have a yearly reminder that sports journalism is a lot like Hollywood: "Nobody knows anything."