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Predict Strasburg's debut line: The winners

Last week we asked you to predict Stephen Strasburg's stats in his major league debut vs. the Pirates. The winner would get a chance to write a guest post on Nats Journal.

We received nearly 700 entries, and we felt two were close enough to be called winners:

Scott Crane of Centreville, who predicted a line of 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB and 7 Ks (Rememeber Strasburg's actual line? It was 7-4-2-2-0-14).

Gloria MacKenzie of Silver Spring, who predicted 7-3-1-0-0-12. Both Scott and Gloria correctly predicted Strasburg would get the win.

Scott explains how he made his entry:

I based my predictions on several aspects.
1) The number of innings pitched was based on how the Nationals staff (Riggleman and McCathy) have handled their pitching staff in the past. Rarely do they let their pitchers (except Livan) pitch past the sixth or seventh innings.
2) Since the Pirates are a weak hitting team and they had never seen Strasburg's 'stuff' before, I didn't think they would be successful hitting his arsenal of hard and soft pitches (number of hits).
3) I thought he might make one or two mistakes (Young's 2-run HR) being as inexperienced as he is and not looking at the scouting report (number of runs given up).
4) I thought his strikeout total might be high with his 100 mph fastball, his major league level change and breaking pitches, and the weak hitting opposition.
Also, I am an analyst by trade, so I love finding the meanings behind the surface or in this case, the team and their new star pitcher.

Gloria, meantime, said simply:

My prediction was based on his past stats plus hope that he could equal or surpass them for his major league debut! Add luck to that and shake for my guess.

Congrats to both Scott and Gloria. We'll post an entry from each of them some time in the next week or so.

Note 1: Of what we would call plausible predictions (a couple people predicted perfect games with 20-plus strikeouts), only 13 of more than 600 entrants predicted Strasburg would have 10 or more strikeouts. And only one predicted 14 Ks -- seeing a nine-inning no-hitter.

Note 2: If you're wondering how we came up with the "closest" entry, well, it's a long story. In the end, we ran two formulas -- one based on the percentage the prediction was off in each category, and another that weighted the guesses based on how many innings, hits, etc an average NL starter is yielding this season. Gloria's prediction was best in one formula, Scott's was best in the other, and they both scored very high in the opposite formula.

By Jon DeNunzio  |  June 15, 2010; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Stephen Strasburg  
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Next: Stephen Strasburg's Sports Illustrated cover


Scott sounds a little like a geek, which means he'll have a very well thought out posting, which I'm already looking forward to.
Go Scott.

Gloria sounds someone who doesn't try to overthink things (Scott????), and also knows how to mix a nice cocktail. Two of my favorite characteristics.
Go Gloria.


Posted by: Sunderland | June 15, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I was solidly close:
7.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K

The use percentage off mucks up the formula when you're dealing with the 0 BB. Since that entry will be infinitely off if you guess anything but 0. Hence, both winners have BB = 0.

Posted by: Kavorka | June 15, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Maybe geeky Scott can post about a better way to have scored the contest?
(I'll bet he didn't get the pitch count right on the money.)

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 15, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

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