US Presswire photo
Outfielder Brett Carroll is making a push for a spot on the Nationals' bench.
Even with the lovable losers from Northwestern on the outside looking in yet again, it's always fun to track the experts' various predictions in the days and hours leading up to Selection Sunday, especially those teams on the bubble.
The same principles can apply to predicting Opening Day rosters. You've got players who are already locks to make it into the field of 25. You've got those who appear in good shape for now but still need to hold serve to ensure they make it. You've got those squarely on the bubble with three weeks to go. And you've got a handful who just miss the cut for now but could play their way back into the mix with a strong finish to the spring.
So let's run through the various categories and see where things stand on March 12...
Locks: Wilson Ramos, Jesus Flores
Verdict: No mystery here. Ramos is the starter, Flores is the backup.
Locks: Adam LaRoche, Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman, Mark DeRosa
Bubble: Steve Lombardozzi, Chad Tracy, Andres Blanco, Mark Teahen
Verdict: There's probably only one available spot, and Lombardozzi has the inside track unless Blanco really steps up and makes a late charge. Tracy and Teahen are scrambling to stay in the race for one other possible spot off the bench, but each faces long odds.
Locks: Michael Morse, Jayson Werth
Bubble: Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina, Brett Carroll, Jason Michaels, Bryce Harper
Verdict: Ankiel is all but certain to open the season in center field. That still leaves two likely reserve spots, with Bernadina in solid position for now to snag one of them. Carroll and Michaels are going to be in a dogfight right down to the wire for another job. Harper is clinging to some hopes of crashing the dance as Cinderella, but it still would be an upset of epic proportions (think 15-seed over 2-seed).
Locks: Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson
Bubble: Chien-Ming Wang, John Lannan
Verdict: Wang and Lannan each have strong resumes, but Wang has the better RPI (Rehab Pitcher Index) and should get the nod because he comes out of a stronger conference than Lannan, who is probably bound for the NIT (Nat Intended for Trade).
Locks: Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Brad Lidge, Sean Burnett, Henry Rodriguez
Bubble: Ross Detwiler, Tom Gorzelanny, Craig Stammen, Ryan Mattheus, Chad Durbin, Ryan Perry, Jeff Fulchino
Verdict: Five spots are set in stone, leaving two up for grabs. Detwiler has an inside track at one of them. The other is Gorzelanny's to lose. But continued struggles from the lefty and a late surge by either Stammen or Mattheus could create a real dilemma for the selection committee.
So, by this logic, here are my last four players to make the roster, and my first four players to miss the cut...
LAST FOUR IN
FIRST FOUR OUT