Thursday, September 29, 2011

Revisiting those predictions

So, you may recall back on Opening Day, I and my counterparts on the Nationals beat made some predictions for the 2011 season. Easy stuff like, you know: How many games will they win this year, and what will their exact home attendance be for the season?

It's only fair, of course, that we now hold ourselves accountable to those predictions, as terribly wrong as we were. Hey, how could I sleep at night letting you all believe I predicted Tyler Clippard would make the All-Star team and Ryan Zimmerman wouldn't? (Oh wait, that's not at all what I predicted.)

So without further ado, here's a look back at what we all guessed back on Opening Day, and what actually happened...

Who will represent the team at the All-Star Game?
Mark Zuckerman ( -- Ryan Zimmerman
Adam Kilgore (Washington Post) -- Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Sean Burnett
Dave Sheinin (Washington Post) -- Ryan Zimmerman
Amanda Comak (Washington Times) -- Ryan Zimmerman
Ben Goessling ( -- Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth
Pete Kerzel ( -- Ryan Zimmerman
Bill Ladson ( -- Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Danny Espinosa
Craig Heist (WTOP) -- Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth
WINNER: No one. Nobody had Tyler Clippard, though I suppose Kilgore gets some credit for picking a setup man, just the wrong one.

What will total home attendance be?
Craig Heist -- 2,512,759
Bill Ladson -- 2,500,000
Pete Kerzel -- 1,987,654
Dave Sheinin -- 1,841,000
Amanda Comak -- 1,640,000
Ben Goessling -- 1,585,000
Mark Zuckerman -- 1,562,538
Adam Kilgore -- 1,200,000
WINNER: Kerzel, who missed the actual total of 1,940,478 by a mere 47,176. Not bad.

When will Stephen Strasburg make his next start in the majors?
Craig Heist -- Aug. 21 vs. Phillies
Bill Ladson -- Aug. 28 at Reds
Amanda Comak -- Sept. 2 vs. Mets
Mark Zuckerman -- Sept. 6 vs. Dodgers
Ben Goessling -- Sept. 9 vs. Astros
Adam Kilgore -- Sept. 23 vs. Braves
Pete Kerzel -- April 2012
Dave Sheinin -- April 2012
WINNER: Yours truly. Somehow, I managed to nail down the exact date. Hey, you know what they say about the blind pig...

Where will Bryce Harper finish the season?
Adam Kilgore -- Washington
Pete Kerzel -- Washington
Craig Heist -- Washington
Amanda Comak -- Washington
Bill Ladson -- Washington
Mark Zuckerman -- Harrisburg
Ben Goessling -- Harrisburg
Dave Sheinin -- Harrisburg
WINNER: Me, Goessling and Sheinin.

How many total home runs will Harper hit in 2011?
Adam Kilgore -- 31
Mark Zuckerman -- 29
Amanda Comak -- 27
Bill Ladson -- 25
Dave Sheinin -- 24
Pete Kerzel -- 23
Craig Heist -- 22
Ben Goessling -- 19
WINNER: Goessling. Harper finished the season with 17.

How many errors will Ian Desmond commit?
Dave Sheinin -- 28
Pete Kerzel -- 28
Ben Goessling -- 26
Mark Zuckerman -- 25
Adam Kilgore -- 25
Amanda Comak -- 24
Craig Heist -- 23
Bill Ladson -- 20
WINNER: Heist, who correctly predicted Desmond would finish with 23 errors.

How many RBI will Jayson Werth finish the season with?
Craig Heist -- 101
Adam Kilgore -- 92
Bill Ladson -- 90
Pete Kerzel -- 89
Ben Goessling -- 88
Dave Sheinin -- 88
Mark Zuckerman -- 86
Amanda Comak -- 83
WINNER: Comak, though that's more by default than anything, because Werth amassed a scant 58 RBI this year.

Who will lead the pitching staff in wins? How many wins?
Bill Ladson -- Jordan Zimmermann, 15
Mark Zuckerman -- John Lannan, 13
Adam Kilgore -- Tom Gorzelanny, 13
Craig Heist -- Jason Marquis, 13
Dave Sheinin -- Jason Marquis, 13
Amanda Comak -- Jordan Zimmermann, 13
Ben Goessling -- John Lannan, 12
Pete Kerzel -- Jordan Zimmermann, 12
WINNER: Goessling. Lannan led the staff, though only with 10 wins.

Who will lead the pitching staff in saves? How many saves?
Bill Ladson -- Sean Burnett, 25
Adam Kilgore -- Drew Storen, 24
Dave Sheinin -- Drew Storen, 24
Craig Heist -- Drew Storen, 23
Pete Kerzel -- Drew Storen, 22
Ben Goessling -- Drew Storen, 21
Amanda Comak -- Sean Burnett, 20
Mark Zuckerman -- Drew Storen, 19
WINNER: Kilgore, though he came up well short of Storen's incredible total of 43.

When will they use a sixth starting pitcher for the first time?
Dave Sheinin -- April 22 at Pirates
Pete Kerzel -- April 23 at Pirates
Adam Kilgore -- April 30 vs. Giants
Craig Heist -- May 1 vs. Giants
Ben Goessling -- May 5 at Phillies
Mark Zuckerman -- May 8 at Marlins
Bill Ladson -- May 15 vs. Marlins
Amanda Comak -- June 1 vs. Phillies
WINNER: Comak, who missed by only three days. Yunesky Maya became the Nats' sixth starting pitcher on May 29.

How many games will the Nats win this season?
Bill Ladson -- 82
Craig Heist -- 78
Mark Zuckerman -- 77
Pete Kerzel -- 77
Adam Kilgore -- 76
Dave Sheinin -- 76
Ben Goessling -- 74
Amanda Comak -- 74
WINNER: It's a tie between Ladson and Heist since the Nats finished with 80 wins. Those two arch-rivals will have to settle this duel with a televised debate on whether Rafael Palmeiro and Mike Mussina are Hall of Famers. (Hmm, that could take a long time to settle. Might have to tell the networks to set aside a full three hours of primetime.)

Special bonus question: When will the Zuckerman baby be born? (Due date: Oct. 4)
Bill Ladson -- Sept. 28
Pete Kerzel -- Sept. 30
Amanda Comak -- Sept. 30
Craig Heist -- Oct. 1
Mark Zuckerman -- Oct. 2
Adam Kilgore -- Oct. 7
Ben Goessling -- Oct. 9
Dave Sheinin -- Oct. 14
WINNER: Ladson, but nobody came close to getting it right. Brian was born on Aug. 29, five weeks early.


baseballswami said...

I must say it is awesome of all of you to own up to your predictions. It blows my mind how far off some of them were -- Werth's rbi's over estimated and Drew Storen's saves underestimate - by a mile. Some of the stuff was right in the middle of the pack, though.I wish I had made my own predictions and saved them so I see how well I fared up against the pros!! This was really fun to re-visit.

Gonat said...

Still shocked how so many of the beat reporters thought Harper would finish the season in Washington. When Ladson predicted 82 wins I laughed....he darn near nailed it.

Mark, why don't you do 2 rounds of guesses, one now where guesses can include Trades and Free Agent signings to guessing the starting 8 and starting rotation.

Catcher50 said...


Make an adjustment in the attendance. Remember that there were 2 less dates (the Dodger game and a traditional double header. Extrapolating, the total number would have been about 1,988,000.

Gonat said...

Catcher50, actually there were 2 traditional doubleheaders and the loss of the Dodgers game so that attendence is based on 78 games.

Anonymous8 said...

The Nats averaged 24,877 paid attendence per game and was #20 in MLB in average attendence.

The Nats should probably get to Top 16 in attendence next year as 30,000 per game average should easily be within reach if the Nats do their job and sell 5,000 new Season Tickets

Steady Eddie said...

Gonat -- You are correct, sir!
April 17 vs. Brewers (swept 'em) and
July 2 vs. Pirates (split, thanks to Bad Sean's back-to-back meltdown in the 8th)

Actually, re Mark's grades in his earlier post, Burnett really deserves two grades rather than a totally unrevealing average. His first half was either D- or Slaten-level F -- he was human meltdown incarnate, instantly cringeworthy just to see him warming up. After he shifted his position on the rubber 18 inches to the left, he was more or less the Burnett of 2010, easily B+/A-. What a relief looking to next year! (Sorry, couldn't stop myself,)

Gonat said...

Watching MLB Network as they are discussing the Postseason Ranks. As they are going through the Defensive rankings, Larry Bowa goes off on the UZR stat and says "I'm not going on this UZR stuff".

Steady Eddie said...

Capcha was "buntis" -- I'll take that as server approval for my grade of Burnett.

Actually, though, that was one of the absolutely monumental areas of the pitchers' improvement over last year -- bunting. Outside of Livo, of course, there wasn't a one of last Year's pitchers who could bunt worth a damn, even in the direst need. They were put-a-bag-over-your-head awful. They were so bad it must have been contagious because even Zlivo bece uncharacteristically inconsistent last year.

This year they were downright impressive, right down to Strassie's perfect sacrifice yesterday.

Theophilus said...

Somewhere fairly early (tho not before Opening Day) I said the Nats could win 81 games, which seems to have been just about right.

I am late to the game on the report card -- was actually working -- so will post my reactions here. If no comment, I concur w/ Mark.

WILSON RAMOS -- B is what he earned. Inexperience/impatience at the plate showed often. That whacko play against the Braves in the last series sticks.

His bat, not the rest of his game, needs work.

"He still calls a good game and throws out runners like nobody else." Tho doing little at the plate, he made a positive contribution, on defense or offense, in virtually every game.



IAN DESMOND -- C "First and foremost, he cut down his errors by 33 percent (from 34 to 23)." Even his second half performance at the plate couldn't be called consistent.

I don't think he ever got into game condition. Double his stats and that's about what you'd expect on a regular basis.


He gets an allowance for not being on the field much. His stats don't merit any better than a D, otherwise. His inexperience shows.

Lack of pop in his bat was disappointing.

Mark's grade is OK but his arm was as uninspiring as advertised.



"The guy has got the best outfield arm in the sport right now, maybe the best ever. If only he could do just a little bit more at the plate." Allowances need to be made for all of the LHPs he had to face, contrary to the beginning-of-the-season plan.


Bat was really disappointing.

Streaky everywhere. I just don't think he's ever going to get it.

I'm downgrading all of the Nats' starters except Strasburg for not going deeper in games.


See above re: Zimmermann


If Strasburg's comeback was worth an A, Wang deserves better than a B-.

See Zimmermann.

Any higher grade says you see him as a consistent major league starter. Not yet, by any means.

Confirmed that his curve and change-up need work. I wonder what the league will think about his knuckle curve second time around.


"Where would the Nats be without this guy? Seriously. Simply one of the best relievers in baseball, a dominant setup man who put out fire after fire." "A dominant setup man" sounds like an oxymoron but it applies.

Granted he improved but he looks more like a LOOGY than a both-sides-of-the plate guy.

Until I stop cringing when he comes in, nothing better than a C.

See H. Rod

Not enuf data to be sure; seems to be lacking a KO pitch.


"Just can't seem to establish himself at the big-league level" -- that says it all.

Someone -- Stammen or this guy -- will be next season's long RH reliever. He handles the first time through the order relatively well.

Except for the grade, agree. That wild pitch was a problem.

Didn't show enuf stuff to get excited about.

Only player I was angry was on the roster.

Gonat said...

Theophilus said...RYAN ZIMMERMAN -- B-
I don't think he ever got into game condition. Double his stats and that's about what you'd expect on a regular basis.

He played in 101 games so if you double that it is 202 games so not sure how you can double his stats.

Gonat said...

I'm downgrading all of the Nats' starters except Strasburg for not going deeper in games.

He averaged on each start 1 out into the 7th inning. That is an average. He had 1 complete game and could have gone deeper into a few games if they weren't keeping his pitch counts down.

Next year they will be able to let him go deeper into games and hopefully get him some offense and some better lefty relievers behind him.

When you have a 3 to 4 run lead you can challenge hitters more and keep pitch counts lower.

I think Strasburg yesterday was hanging on the corners too much yeterday and it pushed his pitch count up early and caused him some walks. Pitchers with stuff have to attack batters, not nibble.

Gonat said...

If the Nats were in the AL Central, they would have ended up in 2nd place. Amazing in the end the Nats finished up with a better record than the Indians who added Ubaldo to their rotation.

JaneB said...

It's just so nice to be able to read some Nats Stuff today. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

In the end the Nats would likely have barely cleared 70 wins with Riggleman managing. The sea change brought by his sudden resignation and the insertion of Johnson is really what led to 80 wins.

Now the **REAL** question to ask is: how many wins would they have if Johnson had started the season managing? Would they be the wild card team instead of St. Louis? Perhaps better? I would bet on that given the talent, the bullpen and the starting pitching even without Strasburg for most of the way. Livo would not have been in the rotation and young guys like Milone, Detwiler, Stammen and perhaps even Bradley Meyers would have seen action sooner under Johnson. Combine with a better Marquis and Jordan Zimmermann? Not sure where Wang would have fit but he likely would have found a spot even in that scenario. He still looks like a guy in between a long reliever and a starter but we'll have to see how well he prepares himself for next season and whether his arm can come back even more than it has ... seems unlikely but he has definitely proven to be the exception to the rule.

Finally, everyone is still so stuck on Harper ... Harper. Yeah, if he does well in the AFL he will likely be in the outfield at some point. If LaRoche and his 15 million come back for 1 season it means Morse is in left. Werth is in center. There's NO ROOM for this outfielder Rizzo keeps opining about ... if Johnson puts Harper out there. And he might be a poorer fielder than any of the other outfield choices, at least initially. The outfield might not be a strength defensively until 2013 or so.

BUT, then is there an answer to the OBP problem? Beyond Desmond? The answer may be a resounding YES. Or yea, verily. I'm NOT sure why everyone (including the really dim bulb seeming beat reporters) aren't wondering about Anthony Rendon. And he will likely play in the AFL as well. Here is a polished ***COLLEGE*** hitter and fielder. And not just any college but an Ivy League college in Rice. Rendon had the **HIGHEST** OBP of all college players last year. His fielding is reportedly sublime at third base. His problem like Harpers will be the fact he hasn't faced the grind of a 100+ game season in the highest level leagues (and that means AA or above). However, unlike Harper this guy can field! This guy is likely the better hitter both average and OBP wise. In other words he is going to be more mature and more likely to be major league ready.

Oh man, now what happens to all of these predictions if Rendon sends them crashing on the rocks below ... which I expect he will ... with a certain amount of gusto?

I am betting on Davey based on what he himself said going with the following in 2012:

1. Bryce Harper RF
2. Anthony Rendon 3B
3. Ryan Zimmerman 2B (Utley et al will have no chance at All Star here.)
4. Michael Morse LF
5. Jayson Werth CF
6. Adam LaRoche 1B
7. Danny Espinosa SS
8. Wilson Ramos C

Ian Desmond, to use Riggleman's term, as the so-called starting UTL :
Needed because Rendon's and Harper's first exposure the long and
arduous major league grind of 162 games.

Bernadina is the backup outfielder along with Ankiel if he is brought back.

Anonymous said...

Not enuf data to be sure; seems to be lacking a KO pitch.

95 mile an hour splitter? 90+ mph killer slider?

What games were you watching again? Before his injury he was pretty lights out.

Anonymous said...

Beast-mode team MVP instead of AAAA like the old farts claimed.

Suicide Squeeze said...

The day Zimmerman is moved to second base is the day Rizzo and Johnson announce their love child. No #(@*'ing way do you move a Gold Glove/Silver Slugger/All-Star caliber third base veteran to 2B for a rookie. Please, let's try to keep things at least plausible.

The presidents of Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Penn, and Yale collectively said...

Since when is Rice in the Ivy League? What are you talking about, Anonymous @ 9:45 p.m.?

Section 222 said...

It was fun to read the comments on the original post, including all the congrats to Mark since that post was the first time he revealed that Mrs. Z was expecting. But this comment really takes the prize for best prediction. Take a bow, @Doc:

Doc said...

How about some predictions for Mickey Morse's HRs in 2011?

Ladson doesn't think he can hit. Dave Nichols likewise. Not sure of the others' predictions on the matter.

Me? I say 30-35 if he stays he healthy.
March 31, 2011 7:54 AM

sjm308 said...

Heck with the content of the posts, I am getting just as big a kick out of the names of our posters. So impressed that word got out to the Ivy League about our Insider Blog and that they would take the time to respond. We are getting HUGE!!

Seriously, moving the FoF to 2nd for a rookie who has done nothing on a professional level and will be adjusting to a wooden bat and more then 100 game schedule. I can understand that he might jump ahead of Harper since he is 4 years older but to move Zimm just isn't feasible. To me, signing Zimm is the biggest move this franchise can make. I would actually be ok with NO signings or trades if they just signed Zimm to a seven year deal. Actually I would like the signings as well but Zimm is the key for me.

Maybe the ACC can get Rice to go along with their raiding the Big East of Syracuse & Pitt. I mean whats the difference between upstate NY and Texas? At least the folks from Rice will understand the Carolina drawl.

baseballswami said...

I also would be ok with the pieces we have right now if the fo would just sign Zim long term. BHarp may be the answer to some of the questions and also might be ready by the second half of the 2012 season.

Gonat said...

Section 222 said...
It was fun to read the comments on the original post, including all the congrats to Mark since that post was the first time he revealed that Mrs. Z was expecting. But this comment really takes the prize for best prediction. Take a bow, @Doc:

Doc said...

How about some predictions for Mickey Morse's HRs in 2011?

Ladson doesn't think he can hit. Dave Nichols likewise. Not sure of the others' predictions on the matter.

Me? I say 30-35 if he stays he healthy.
March 31, 2011 7:54 AM

September 30, 2011 12:34 AM

That is very cool. We all know Ladson doesn't have a clue even though he guessed 82 wins, Dave Nichols is opinionated and pompous and is wrong far more than he is ever right.

I actually went back to some of the posts here a few days before the prediction and enjoyed reading guesses on the final roster. People were picking Nix over Stairs, funny as they both stayed and Bernadina headed to Syracuse.

You have to like those that not only give their "guesses" and then back it up with why they feel that way.

To me, some of the predictions above lack any type of thought. Some got there totally by luck.

While the Anon above makes some bold 2012 predictions, it makes for interesting conversation none the less.

Anonymous8 said...

Anon at 9:45, is that your 2012 September callup lineup or Opening Day or June 15th 2012?

Jim Webster said...

Anon945, I expect to see Rendon and Harper in starting lineup at Nats Park next year right after pigs flyover in formation in opening ceremony.

Anonymous8 said...

Didn't Ladson think it was possible that Harper would start 2011 for the Nats?

Rabbit said...

The predictions show what a big failure Jason Werth is. Here is my prediction for next year for Werth......NO CHANGE in Werth.

natsfan1a said...

Thanks for the flurry of posts, Mark, and for revisiting your preseason predictions. You may want to pace yourself a bit, though, because the offseason is a marathon, not a sprint. That said, what are your postseason series predictions? ;-)

Mick said...

I have concluded that we need one lead off guy like an Upton and one more starting pitcher. I say all our efforts go towards a free agent lead off guy and maybe we just go with what we have now for our 2012 pitching. What we have now is one of the top 4-5 staffs in the MLB. By focusing on only one free agent, it ensures that we can land a player like Upton.

BTW: Mark will be in the best shape of his life next year because he will be chasing a toddler around, lol

NatsJack in Florida said...

Heading over to watch the FIL Nats take on the Braves. I'll tell you what I see in the morning.

natsfan1a said...

I don't usually do predictions, but Brain Zuckerman, Nats leadoff man of the future. You heard it here first, folks. ;-)

BTW: Mark will be in the best shape of his life next year because he will be chasing a toddler around, lol

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Toddler? The kid was just drafted in August--don't push him. Let him dominate at Rugrat first.

Anonymous said...

Anon945, I expect to see Rendon and Harper in starting lineup at Nats Park next year right after pigs flyover in formation in opening ceremony.

AND... Teddy will win. Book it. Mark it. I be here to chortle in your ear when it happens Webster ... Ha!

And yes it'll be Zim at 2nd base. Why? Because Rendon is a consummate hitter THE BEST college hitter in over a decade according to many scouts. It makes NO sense to switch his position his first year in the majors.

Ryan Zimmerman has been having problems at third with his throws. He has made a bunch more errors this year. A move to second, even if temporary may help him. Plus, the guy is a consummate pro who could make the change and make it work at an elite / ALL STAR level.

Yes, Rendon at third base. Book it, mark it.

natsfan1a said...

Late entry regarding attendance, the Times has a piece about how tv ratings and ticket sales were up in September.

natsfan1a said...

Another such piece, from the Examiner this time.

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