Revisiting the Predictions
Preseason predictions never make you look good. Either you're wrong (and there's no fun in being wrong) or you're right, in which you're bound to feel compelled to say so. (And nobody in world history has invited goodwill by pronouncing the magnificence of his foresight.) These days, in fact, it seems that more and more sportswriters haven found the wisdom in trumpeting the wrongness of their predictions. You had the Indians in the ALCS? You figured Sabathia would be an epic bust? Shout it from the rooftops! Everybody loves a dope.
Anyway, this year's Nats' season made dopes of plenty. Baseball Prospectus, most notably, used its PECOTA system to predict a 77-85 finish for the Nats. I've spent the last few minutes (while taking the Acela up the NY for the Yanks-Twins series) reviewing the Journal's Official 2009 Prediction thread. More predicted an above-.500 season than a year with fewer than 70 wins. Only one poster, jdschulz50, predicted a win total below 60 (57, he said). My guess: 69.
That's not to say every prediction went wrong.
I guessed that Adam Dunn would hit 38 home runs and Ryan Zimmerman would represent the Nats in the All-Star Game. I guessed John Lannan would finish the year with a 3.93 ERA (he had a 3.88) and that Craig Stammen would "make an impact." But where did I go wrong? Egads. My home attendance guess (1.95 mil) would have required about a 12-game series against the Red Sox. And somehow, I envisioned an Aug. 4 debut for Stephen Strasburg.
This was long before I developed an understanding for Scott Boras.
As a bonus question, NJers were asked to predict the end-of-the-year pitching rotation. Not many of us ever imagined so much turnover. Goodbye, Shairon Martis. Goodbye, Jordan Zimmermann. Goodbye, Scott Olsen. (Looking through the various posts, more NJers predicted an end-of-the-year rotation with Jarrod Washburn [one vote] than with J.D. Martin [no votes].) That said, four posters guessed that Detwiler would be in the mix.
Before I finish this post, let me prove, with finality, that baseball is unpredictable, and that falling for foolish possibilities is part of its charm.
I confess, I wrote all of these sentences.
"With Opening Day almost a week away, the Nationals' biggest looming question extends not from a shortage, but a surplus. With Willingham, Kearns, Dunn, Dukes and Lastings Milledge, the Nationals have five outfielders accustomed to, and perhaps deserving of, starting jobs. The Nationals have more than they need, and perhaps more than they can accommodate."
"Right now, pitcher Shawn Hill feels confident -- cautiously confident -- that his arm will allow for a solid season."
"With pitchers in camp for more than a week, pitching coach Randy St. Claire and Manager Manny Acta categorize only two relievers -- Joel Hanrahan and Saul Rivera -- as locks for the roster."
Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 7, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 7, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: FloresFan | October 7, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 7, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 7, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: periculum | October 7, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: KenNat | October 7, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: goexpos2 | October 7, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: slewis1 | October 7, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: NatsNut | October 7, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Section222 | October 7, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: BinM | October 7, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 7, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: fearturtle44 | October 7, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: natbiscuits | October 7, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: fischy | October 8, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: cokedispatch | October 8, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.