Admittedly, that headline requires a qualifier: MLB Network's "Hot Stove" program was in the middle of a segment on World Series long shots when analyst Eric Byrnes declared that the future has already arrived for the Washington Nationals.
Maybe Byrnes was trying to be provocative, but it's worth noting that neither of his colleagues went out on as long of a limb, picking the last two NL West champions. (Al Leiter went with the San Francisco Giants while Billy Ripken tabbed the Arizona Diamondbacks.)
With the Nationals, Byrnes is going against the train of thought that has the firm Strasburg, Zimmeran and Harper arriving in 2013 or 2014. Here's the clip:
I'm a pretty big fan of unconventional preseason picks because you can select a darkhorse just as easily as you can crown the 2011 Boston Red Sox with everyone else. With the age of two wild cards upon us either this year or the next, it's even more likely that we'll see teams like the 2010 Giants or 2011 Cardinals rise up to shock the proverbial world.
So with that said, which team is your longshot pick for the 2012 World Series?
Big BLS H/N: DC Sports Bog
Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
• Fantasy baseball video: Don't draft these guys for your team
• What to watch for in the Daytona 500
• Y! TV: Jimmy Fallon sings Pearl Jam's 'Jeremy [Lin]'
- Eric Byrnes
- Washington Nationals
- San Francisco Giants
- Billy Ripken