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Revisiting those 2010 predictions

Oct 4, 2010, 8:32 PM EDT

Photo by Rachel Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
I missed Stephen Strasburg's June 8 debut by one day and his win total by 2.

Good journalists strive to be several things. Trustworthy. Fair. And, of course, accountable. If you aren't willing to admit when you were wrong about something, you don't belong in this business.

And we're all wrong sometimes. Hopefully not too often. But no ballplayer has ever hit 1.000 (at least none that ever got more than three big-league at-bats) and no sportswriter has ever hit 1.000 when it comes to preseason predictions.

So it is in the spirit of professional accountability that I will now admit all the things I and some of my colleagues were wrong about the Nationals before the season started. Way back on Opening Day, I asked six of my counterparts on the beat (Adam Kilgore and Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post, Bill Ladson of MLB.com, Ben Goessling of masnsports.com, Pete Kerzel of the Associated Press and Craig Heist of WTOP) to join me in making predictions in 10 different categories related to the Nationals.

As you can see, we actually did a pretty good job in most areas (aside from, most notably, our All-Star selections)…

Who will represent the team at the All-Star Game?
Mark Zuckerman — Ryan Zimmerman
Adam Kilgore — Ryan Zimmerman
Dave Sheinin — Ryan ZimmermanRead more »

  1. Anonymous - Oct 4, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    "1. Yankees2. Red Sox3. Rays4. Orioles5. Blue JaysVerdict: I should've given the Rays more respect."And the Orioles less.

  2. Steve M. - Oct 4, 2010 at 8:55 PM

    Always fun looking back on the predictions. Ladson failed miserably I see, and only got the pessimistic award right on JFlo never playing a MLB game in 2010! Continues to show he knows nothing about the team he covers full time. Bill Ladson's guesstimate on the attendance 2,500,000. Haha

  3. Steve M. - Oct 4, 2010 at 9:01 PM

    How many games will the Nats win in 2010?Bill Ladson — 83Craig Heist — 75Adam Kilgore — 73Pete Kerzel — 71Ben Goessling — 70Dave Sheinin — 69Mark Zuckerman — 68Winner: Sheinin. It all came down to yesterday's season finale. Dave and I were on pins and needles straight through the 14th inning, at which point the Nats pulled out victory No. 69.____________________________________I had Nats with 72 as they had a good interleague schedule for 2010 and unfortunately didn't do well with it. If only they swept the Borioles in Baltimore, I would have had my 72!

  4. Dan Heuchert - Oct 4, 2010 at 9:09 PM

    If Stras had stayed healthy, attendance could have been much higher.

  5. Anonymous - Oct 4, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    Dan, sure, if, if, if.If Strasburg stayed healthy, got run support and won 10 games instead of 5 that would have skewed most of the numbers plus Batista would not have started and attendence would have been 80,000 to 120,000 higher based on the declining phenomenom of seeing him pitch. The numbers are what they are which is what makes predicting fun. Some of his predictions are so far off.

  6. Sam - Oct 4, 2010 at 9:29 PM

    Mark, this shows how smart you are and how well you cover the team. Kudos to you!On the other hand, Mr. Ladson needs to do some soul-searching…or just start using his head…

  7. N. Cognito - Oct 4, 2010 at 9:56 PM

    Seattle? Really. I mean really.Don't feel bad Mark. There's a few heads at ESPN that always pick the Rangers to win the Stanley Cup

  8. Anonymous - Oct 4, 2010 at 9:57 PM

    I'm glad that Ladson came up so empty on the predictions and looked like a fool on most of them. Desmond an All-Star? 2.5M attendance?

  9. bdrube - Oct 4, 2010 at 11:04 PM

    @Anon:83 Wins? Ha!

  10. JD - Oct 4, 2010 at 11:13 PM

    I,m thinking Jiffy Lube for Ladson.

  11. Les in NC - Oct 4, 2010 at 11:45 PM

    I have to agree Ladson was seriously high when he predicted this years Nats had 83 wins in them! I had this years win total "ceiling" at 75…I figured the bullpen changes alone (during the off season) had to net us about 10-15 wins because our 'pen in '09 was so terrible. I should have factored in the Riggleman effect of about -5 games (which we could have had a chance to win during inter-league play alone, if he had played Morse over Harris as DH).

  12. NatBiscuit - Oct 5, 2010 at 12:00 AM

    Mark, thank you for your great service throughout this year and thank you for your continuing contributions.

  13. DCDingo - Oct 5, 2010 at 12:43 AM

    Mark, let me join the chorus of voices thanking you for your timely stories and insightful analysis. Your site is definitely the best thing to happen to Nats coverage for a while. I hope this is working out financially for you and I'm happy to contribute once again. Thanks also to the knowledgable and usually temperate frequent posters at this site — I've learned a lot.

  14. Sunderland - Oct 5, 2010 at 12:44 AM

    Just one more point of confirmation for what I've always thought of Ladson…..

  15. JaneB - Oct 5, 2010 at 1:27 AM

    I'm usually grumpy as all get out, suffering withdrawal on the day after the regular season ends. And yet, here I am laughing out loud and feeling such gratitude for Mark and all of your. Four months till pilchers and catchers… I think I'll make it. Thanks everyone!

  16. barney - Oct 5, 2010 at 1:31 AM

    I had the Nats at 65-67 wins. Pretty good, I think! Unless, umm…you realize that I cheated a bit and waited until April 10th to make that prediction after seeing a few "real" games. I guess it wasn't exactly in the spirit of the thing. What stuck out for me was the fact that the offense was not very good and we weren't going to win a lot of 2-1 and 1-0 games. Getting a front-line pitcher is #1 with the front office but I'd be happier with 2 good hitters who were at least OK fielders. It would enhance the rest of the lineup!

  17. Nervous Nats Fan - Oct 5, 2010 at 2:02 AM

    Mark, thanks for this. Pretty interesting, and it made me sad all over again about Strasburg.One thing I think would be interesting would be an analysis of the Nats with respect to league-wide payroll spending – are they not spending enough, or are they spending poorly (relative to other teams), or both?Thanks for the coverage this year, I've really enjoyed it.

  18. natsfan1a - Oct 5, 2010 at 2:08 AM

    So, Kilgore for rookie of the year? After some cipherin' it seems like he got more of them correct than any of the wily veterans did. But I'm sure you guys were just trying to make him feel welcome, right? ;-)Seriously, I generally don't even try to do predictions, so good on y'all for taking a flyer with them. I suppose it comes with the territory in sports writing, eh?

  19. Sec3MySofa - Oct 5, 2010 at 2:44 AM

    I'm noticing how much easier (if onionless) it is to take anonymous potshots, compared to simply posting your own predictions, as Mark did.I've been looking for mine, and I can't find them yet, but I'd be surprised if they were close to much at the end.I think I was short of 69 wins, overestimated the Cardinals (all that starting pitching!), and favored my own native Giants. Well done, mostly, Mark.

  20. Anonymous - Oct 5, 2010 at 2:56 AM

    I ran into George F. Will at Nats Park on Opening Day. I asked him how many wins he predicted for the Nats, and he said 79.

  21. BQ - Oct 5, 2010 at 3:06 AM

    I did not do any Nationals specific predictions before the season but if you had asked me, I would had Zimm in ASG, 81 win season, and bullpen as the worst unit at the end of the season. All wrong!!!My MLB predictions were as follows:AL West: Seattle, AL Central: Detriot, AL East: Boston, AL Wildcard: Tampa Bay.AL Champion: Seattle (the most disappointing team of the season).NL West: Giants, NL Central, Cardinals, NL East: Phillies, NL Wildcard: DodgersNL Champion: Giants (still possible but very difficult with their type of offense).AL MVP: Evan Longoria (solid bat but not a great season offensively)AL ROY: Neftali Feliz (nailed it for sure)AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander (not even close)NL MVP: Albert Pujols (safest bet but won't happen)NL ROY: Jason Heyward (should be Posey hands down)NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay (most likely)World Series Champs: Don't even ask. Oh and this was my first time doing predictions.

  22. Bill B - Oct 5, 2010 at 3:41 AM

    Mark, Not an original comment, but worth repeating: Awesome reporting the whole year! Really enjoyed it. BTW, don't feel bad about the Mariners pick. A lot of folks picked them in the West. An epic collapse! Analysts were talking about the brilliance of their GM in the spring. Now, not so much. (For half the season they had arguably the two best pitchers in the AL, King Felix and Cliff Lee.)

  23. BQ - Oct 5, 2010 at 4:14 AM

    Seriously dude. They did unbelievably bad. They have the best lead off hitter, had two of the best pitchers, decent infield defense and one of the best OF defense. But below avg performances from Guti, Figgy, Lopez, and really pathetic bottom of the order hitting just killed all their chances.

  24. Anonymous8 - Oct 5, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    Pittsburgh Pirates, 105 losses. 7 of the 9 top payroll teams didn't make the playoffs!Mets clean house.Tampa Bay Rays win the AL East ahead of the NY Yankee$ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. N. Cognito - Oct 5, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    I've got some really bad news…Mike Wise is back to scribbling with his crayons.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 75 57 --
ATLANTA 70 64 6.0
MIAMI 65 67 10.0
NEW YORK 62 72 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 61 72 14.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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