Skip to content

Revisiting Opening Day media predictions

Sep 30, 2013, 3:00 PM EDT

USA Today Sports Images USA Today Sports Images

You may recall way back on April 1 when I posted this annual article of predictions for the 2013 Nationals made by me and my fellow reporters on the beat. Well, it’s time for another annual tradition: Revisiting those predictions and proving to the world just how wrong we all were in almost every case.

We had a particularly rough 2013, though I suppose the same could be said for everybody out there who predicted great things for the Nationals, only to watch this club slog its way through the season’s first four months before finally get hot late (but too late).

We strive for accountability around here, though, so it’s only fair that we go through this exercise. I appreciate all my friends on the beat for participating in the first place, and for the embarrassment they’re now experiencing as they read the following…

WHICH NATS WILL BE SELECTED FOR THE ALL-STAR GAME?
Amanda Comak (Washington Times) — Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann
Craig Heist (WTOP) — Tyler Clippard, Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg
Chase Hughes (CSNwashington.com) — Bryce Harper, Rafael Soriano, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann
Pete Kerzel (MASNsports.com) — Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg
Adam Kilgore (Washington Post) — Ross Detwiler, Danny Espinosa, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg
Dan Kolko (MASNsports.com) — Gio Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman
Bill Ladson (MLB.com) — Ian Desmond, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman
Brian McNally (Washington Examiner) — Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman
Joey Nowak (MLB.com) — Tyler Clippard, Bryce Harper, Rafael Soriano, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman
James Wagner (Washington Post) — Tyler Clippard, Ross Detwiler, Danny Espinosa, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg
Mark Zuckerman (CSNwashington.com) — Ian Desmond, Ross Detwiler, Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman
CORRECT ANSWERS: Bryce Harper and Jordan Zimmermann were the Nationals’ lone All-Stars, and Zimmermann didn’t even participate in the game due to a neck injury. Ian Desmond did make the “Final Man” ballot but didn’t come close to winning it.
WINNER: Amanda Comak and Chase Hughes were the only ones to have both Harper and Zimmermann, though each had multiple incorrect answers, so it’s kind of a win by default for them.

WHAT WILL TOTAL HOME ATTENDANCE BE?
Bill Ladson — 3,000,000
Chase Hughes — 2,900,000
James Wagner — 2,900,000
Amanda Comak — 2,835,000
Joey Nowak — 2,830,000
Brian McNally — 2,800,000
Mark Zuckerman — 2,754,913
Craig Heist — 2,700,000
Adam Kilgore — 2,580,000
Dan Kolko — 2,580,000
Pete Kerzel — 2,567,795
CORRECT ANSWER: 2,652,422
WINNER: This proved a close contest, but Craig Heist barely beat Adam Kilgore, missing the attendance total by only 47,578.

HOW MANY HOMERS WILL BRYCE HARPER HIT?
Bill Ladson — 40
Mark Zuckerman — 39
Chase Hughes — 34
Craig Heist — 34
Adam Kilgore — 33
Amanda Comak — 33
Dan Kolko — 31
James Wagner — 31
Brian McNally — 28
Joey Nowak — 28
Pete Kerzel — 27
CORRECT ANSWER: Harper finished with 20 home runs.
WINNER: Pete Kerzel came closest, but he didn’t come particularly close. Winner by default.

WHERE WILL HARPER FINISH IN NL MVP VOTING?
Amanda Comak — 1st
Adam Kilgore — 1st
Bill Ladson — 1st
Mark Zuckerman — 1st
Craig Heist — 2nd
Joey Nowak — 2nd
Dan Kolko — 3rd
James Wagner — 3rd
Chase Hughes — 4th
Brian McNally — 5th
Pete Kerzel — 18th
CORRECT ANSWER: The MVP voting results won’t be announced until mid-November, but it’s safe to say Harper won’t receive a single vote.
WINNER: Nobody.

HOW MANY INNINGS WILL STEPHEN STRASBURG PITCH?
Bill Ladson — 210
Craig Heist — 210
Amanda Comak — 203
Chase Hughes — 202
Adam Kilgore — 201
Brian McNally — 198
Joey Nowak — 198
Dan Kolko — 196
James Wagner — 195 2/3
Pete Kerzel — 195
Mark Zuckerman — 192 2/3
CORRECT ANSWER: A brief DL stint due to a lat strain and a couple of early exits due to rain and an ejection left Strasburg with 183 innings pitched for the season.
WINNER: I was only off by 9 2/3 innings. That’s good enough, right?

WHERE WILL STRASBURG FINISH IN NL CY YOUNG VOTING?
Dan Kolko — 1st
Bill Ladson — 1st
Joey Nowak — 1st
Craig Heist — 2nd
Pete Kerzel — 2nd
Adam Kilgore — 2nd
James Wagner — 2nd
Amanda Comak — 3rd
Chase Hughes — 3rd
Brian McNally — 3rd
Mark Zuckerman — 3rd
CORRECT ANSWER: Like MVP, the Cy Young results won’t be announced for another six weeks. But as was the case with Harper, Strasburg won’t be receiving any votes.
WINNER: Nobody.

WHO WILL LEAD THE PITCHING STAFF IN WINS? HOW MANY?
Bill Ladson — Stephen Strasburg, 25
Amanda Comak — Stephen Strasburg, 21
Pete Kerzel — Stephen Strasburg, 21
Adam Kilgore — Stephen Strasburg, 21
Joey Nowak — Stephen Strasburg, 21
Chase Hughes — Gio Gonzalez, 20
Mark Zuckerman — Stephen Strasburg, 19
Craig Heist — Gio Gonzalez, 19
Dan Kolko — Jordan Zimmermann, 19
James Wagner — Stephen Strasburg, 18
Brian McNally — Stephen Strasburg, 17
CORRECT ANSWER: Jordan Zimmermann led the staff with a 19-9 record.
WINNER: Congrats to Dan Kolko, who nailed this one.

WHO WILL BE THE 6TH PITCHER TO START A GAME? WHEN WILL IT HAPPEN?
Bill Ladson — Chris Young, May 1 at Braves
Craig Heist — Chris Young, May 5 at Pirates
Brian McNally — Zach Duke, May 15 at Dodgers
Chase Hughes — Zach Duke, May 16 at Padres
Mark Zuckerman — Zach Duke, May 19 at Padres
Adam Kilgore — Zach Duke, May 22 at Giants
Pete Kerzel — Yunesky Maya, May 25 vs. Phillies
Amanda Comak — Zach Duke, June 2 at Braves
James Wagner — Zach Duke, June 9 vs. Twins
Dan Kolko — Zach Duke, June 15 at Indians
Joey Nowak — Ryan Perry, June 21 vs. Rockies
CORRECT ANSWER: Zach Duke filled in for an injured Ross Detwiler on May 20 against the Giants.
WINNER: Wow, this one was incredibly close. I had Duke starting one day too early, Adam Kilgore had him starting two days too late. I was closer, so I win.

HOW MANY GAMES WILL WILSON RAMOS START?
Joey Nowak — 106
Chase Hughes — 105
Bill Ladson — 100
Mark Zuckerman — 94
James Wagner — 92
Pete Kerzel — 88
Amanda Comak — 83
Craig Heist — 80
Adam Kilgore — 75
Brian McNally — 70
Dan Kolko — 68
CORRECT ANSWER: Ramos missed considerable time with hamstring injuries, but he became an Iron Man down the stretch and finished with 77 games started.
WINNER: Another close one, with Kilgore narrowly claiming the victory over Heist.

HOW MANY ERRORS WILL RYAN ZIMMERMAN COMMIT?
Chase Hughes — 18
Brian McNally — 16
Joey Nowak — 16
Mark Zuckerman — 16
Craig Heist — 15
James Wagner — 15
Dan Kolko — 14
Pete Kerzel — 13
Amanda Comak — 12
Adam Kilgore — 12
Bill Ladson — 10
CORRECT ANSWER: Zim’s early season throwing woes became a national story. Though he battled through them and finished strong, he still wound up with 21 errors.
WINNER: We all expected better a better performance from Zimmerman, but Hughes came closest with his prediction of 18 errors.

HOW MANY SAVES WILL RAFAEL SORIANO RECORD?
Chase Hughes — 47
Adam Kilgore — 40
Joey Nowak — 39
Mark Zuckerman — 38
Brian McNally — 36
Craig Heist — 35
Dan Kolko — 35
Amanda Comak — 34
Pete Kerzel — 32
James Wagner — 31
Bill Ladson — 15
CORRECT ANSWER: Soriano recorded 43 saves, exactly one-half of the Nationals’ victories.
WINNER: One more save by Soriano would’ve given the title to Hughes, but instead Kilgore takes this one by a nose.

HOW MANY SAVES WILL DREW STOREN RECORD?
Amanda Comak — 16
Brian McNally — 16
James Wagner — 16
Joey Nowak — 14
Craig Heist — 12
Adam Kilgore — 10
Bill Ladson — 10
Dan Kolko — 9
Mark Zuckerman — 8
Chase Hughes — 5
Pete Kerzel — 3
CORRECT ANSWER: Storen recorded 3 saves this season.
WINNER: Kerzel nails this one.

HOW MANY BIG-LEAGUE GAMES WILL ANTHONY RENDON PLAY THIS YEAR?
Chase Hughes — 65
Craig Heist — 40
Brian McNally — 35
James Wagner — 35
Adam Kilgore — 30
Joey Nowak — 29
Amanda Comak — 27
Bill Ladson — 20
Dan Kolko — 12
Mark Zuckerman — 12
Pete Kerzel — 6
CORRECT ANSWER: To the surprise of many, Rendon was promoted early in the season and became a fixture in the starting lineup, appearing in a total of 98 big-league games.
WINNER: None of us expected Rendon to spend so much time with the Nats this year, but Hughes came closest to getting it right.

HOW MANY GAMES WILL THE NATIONALS WIN?
Bill Ladson — 108
Dan Kolko — 102
Craig Heist — 99
Joey Nowak — 98
James Wagner — 97
Amanda Comak — 96
Chase Hughes — 96
Pete Kerzel — 96
Adam Kilgore — 96
Brian McNally — 95
Mark Zuckerman — 95
CORRECT ANSWER: The Nationals finished 86-76.
WINNER: Nobody. I wouldn’t even dare try to claim victory here, even if Brian McNally and I technically were closest.

HOW WILL THE NATIONALS’ SEASON END?
Craig Heist — Win World Series
Adam Kilgore — Win World Series
Dan Kolko — Win World Series
Bill Ladson — Win World Series
Amanda Comak — Lose World Series
Pete Kerzel — Lose World Series
Joey Nowak — Lose World Seres
James Wagner — Lose World Series
Mark Zuckerman — Lose World Series
Chase Hughes — Lose NLCS
Brian McNally — Lose NLCS
CORRECT ANSWER: The Nationals finished in second place in the NL East, 10 games behind the Braves, 4 games behind the Reds for a postseason berth.
WINNER: Most definitely none of us overly optimistic schlubs.

  1. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Always a crapshoot. I assume similar stories are being written on Angels and Blue Jays blogs, two other teams for whom big things were predicted.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:15 PM

      In fact, I just found the 2013 predictions from ESPN ‘The Magazine':

      NL East – Nats
      NL Central – Cardinals
      NL West – Dodgers

      AL East – Blue Jays
      AL Central – Tigers
      AL West – Angels

      • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:17 PM

        And, by the way, they had Boston — which ended up tied for the best MLB record — finishing 5th in the AL East.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:53 PM

        I had a Nats/Sox WS….

        But I am probably going to watch the tie game tonight, the WC games tomorrow and Wednesday and that will be all that I watch this year…

        I normally watch all of the AL games and then the WS… But this year, my heart is so sad from disappointment, I dont think I can do it this year.

  2. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    This is kinda depressing….

  3. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    And you know how I feel about “accountability.”

    Sec. 3, My Sofa – Apr 1, 2013 at 3:04 PM
    Ah, what the hay.
    All Stars — Harper, Desmond, Gio, Ramos [NNNNNNNNNK!]
    Attendance — 2.5 million
    Harper’s Homers – 47
    Harper in MVP — 2
    Stras’s innings — 133
    Stras in Cy Young — also-ran
    Wins Leader — Gio and Znn tied at 21
    6th Starter — Duke
    Ramos’s starts — 120
    Zim’s errors — 16
    Soriano’s saves — 39
    Storen’s saves — 10
    Rendon’s G’s – 0
    Nat’s wins – 103

    And I’m optimistic LaRoche and Desmond can approximate their production from last season, Harper will exceed everyone’s expectations except his own and Davey’s, but Strasburg, alas, won’t hold up.

    • Section 222 - Sep 30, 2013 at 5:36 PM

      I was going to ding you for predicting Harper’s homers after he had already hit two of them, but then I remembered that the timestamp is about 3 or 4 hours ahead in the archive!

  4. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    OOPS. Musta hit the wrong thing somewhere … didn’t meant to post that yet.

    But we can pretty much ditto that buzzer noise right on down, except for Stras an also-ran in the CYA, and 1/2 credit for Duke starting, because I seem to have left off a date.

  5. Baseballswami - Sep 30, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    Now I look at this and say– really? Some pretty lofty predictions. Drunk on the Koolaid.

    • David Proctor - Sep 30, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      I think next year the predictions will be much more realistic. Although I don’t think this year should necessarily preclude people from picking us to win the East and all that, depending on what moves are made.

      • Section 222 - Sep 30, 2013 at 5:33 PM

        I’ll predict right now that DavidProctor will predict that Nats will win the NL East in 2014. Secret Wasian Man will not. :-)

  6. Section 222 - Sep 30, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    It’s tough to be reminded of just how optimistic we all were, even the professionals. Here are my predictions from that post. Nailed the Soriano save question, and came close on attendance and Duke’s start. Otherwise, just as schlubby as the schlubs:

    Section 222 – Apr 1, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    All Stars — Desi, Harper, Stras, JZnn, ALR
    Attendance — 2.5 million
    Harper’s Homers – 34
    Harper in MVP — 2
    Stras’s innings — 190
    Stras in Cy Young — 4
    Wins Leader — Det & Stras 18
    6th Starter — Duke May 22
    Ramos’s starts — 110
    Zim’s errors — 16
    Soriano’s saves — 43
    Storen’s saves — 10
    Rendon’s G’s – 14
    Nat’s wins – 99
    As for the end result, this I’m just not going to predict. I’m just going to enjoy the ride.

  7. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 30, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    Ozzie Guilen is available as manager.

    I am too lazy to revisit my predictions. Besides I am sure 90% would be wrong.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2013 at 9:12 PM

      Actually, Faraz, I think you’re ahead on points on all three cards:

      Faraz Shaikh – Apr 1, 2013 at 2:11 PM
      I am gonna give this a try:
      All Stars — Harper, Strasburg, Zimmermann TWO OUT OF THREE
      Attendance — 2.72 million CLOSE ENOUGH TO GET FURLOUGHED
      Harper’s Homers – 31 YEAH, WELL … THAT WALL MESSED UP A LOT OF PREDICTIONS
      Harper in MVP — 5 SEE ABOVE
      Stras’s innings — 193 NOT BAD, ONLY OFF BY 10
      Stras in Cy Young — 5 YEAH, WELL…
      Wins Leader — Zimmermann 19 DING!DING!DING!DING!DING!DING!
      6th Starter — Duke May 22 ONLY LATE BY 2 DAYS
      Ramos’s starts — 100 CLOSE, BUT NOT THAT CLOSE.
      Zim’s errors — 11. YEAH, WELL. IF YOU ONLY COUNT THE GLOVE ERRORS, THIS WOULD WORK.
      Soriano’s saves — 39 RESPECTABLY CLOSE
      Storen’s saves — 6 THE BASIC IDEA–“NOT MANY”–WAS THERE.

      I’d say you did pretty well.
      Rendon’s G’s – 9
      Nat’s wins – 96

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2013 at 9:23 PM

        Well, not those last two. But mostly.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 30, 2013 at 9:37 PM

        Haha, yeah I guess not bad.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 30, 2013 at 9:45 PM

        thanks for digging it out. some random guessing went there clearly.

  8. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    But I think Nattering Nat wins the Internet:

    Nattering Nat – Apr 1, 2013 at 2:21 PM
    As some wag said, it’s very hard to make predictions, especially about the future.So all I will add to the mix is that, as in most seasons, the end result this year will not much resemble the preseason predictions.

    • natsfan1a - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:01 AM

      Nailed it.

  9. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    I would like to point out that Soriano had more saves than any prediction, media or commenter, except Chase’s.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2013 at 9:20 PM

      And Deuces’s by one. Ooops.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2013 at 9:21 PM

        wait, I read that wrong. Bang on with 43.
        I need new glasses.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2013 at 9:22 PM

        On second thought, nevermind the glasses, just leave the bottle.

  10. Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 30, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    Sec3, how did I do with ny predictions?

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2013 at 11:40 PM

      Better than me, not as good as Faraz.

      Ghost Of Steve M. on April 1, 2013 at 4:28 pm
      All Stars — Harper, Desmond, JZim TWO/THREE
      Attendance — 2.59 million CLOSE
      Harper’s Homers – 32 THERE’S THAT WALL THING AGAIN…
      Harper in MVP — 1 MAYBE NEXT YEAR
      Stras’s innings — 182 ALMOST A BULLSEYE
      Stras in Cy Young — 3rd IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT, THIS DOESN’T FOLLOW THE INNINGS #
      Wins Leader — JZim at 22 RIGHT GUY, WRONG #
      6th Starter — Duke HALF CREDIT
      Ramos’s starts — 118 WE WISH
      Zim’s errors — 14 HE WISHES
      Soriano’s saves — 39 THE MAN EXCEEDED ALL ESTIMATES
      Storen’s saves — 9 DOES AAA COUNT?
      Rendon’s G’s – 22 DID ANYBODY SEE THIS ONE RIGHT?
      Nat’s wins – 97 *SIGH.*

  11. nats128 - Sep 30, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Looks to me like the Nats Insider posters did darn good. Faraz nails Jordan Zimmermann as top Nats pitcher with 19 wins and almost got Duke with his 6th starter date. Section 222 nailed Sorianos saves and GoSM nailed Strasburgs innings and the 2 All Stars + Desi and looks closest on the attendance.

    I would say there are some real good predictors here. In fact the media wasnt close on the All Stars. Naming 5 or 6 names isnt really good predicting even if you got Harper and JZ.

  12. nats128 - Sep 30, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    Bill Ladson with some rather interesting predictions.

  13. Section 222 - Sep 30, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. – Apr 1, 2013 at 4:28 PM (actually, more like 12:28 pm)

    All Stars — Harper, Desmond, JZim
    Attendance — 2.59 million
    Harper’s Homers – 32
    Harper in MVP — 1
    Stras’s innings — 182
    Stras in Cy Young — 3rd
    Wins Leader — JZim at 22
    6th Starter — Duke
    Ramos’s starts — 118
    Zim’s errors — 14
    Soriano’s saves — 39
    Storen’s saves — 9
    Rendon’s G’s – 22
    Nat’s wins – 97

    Nice call on Znn wins and attendance. A little too bullish on Harp, Stras, Ramos, and Zim. But weren’t we all?

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 30, 2013 at 11:53 PM

      One season that isn’t over … NIDO+!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:22 AM

      Nice! Way off on the wins and the Harper predictions. Got the Strasburg innings and should’ve gotten the 3 All Stars if Bochy did the right thing and added Desmond. Almost got the attendance. I think if I was in the Media vote I get 3.

  14. Sonny G 10 - Oct 1, 2013 at 1:10 AM

    Well, I predicted 108 wins this season. Boy was I wrong.

  15. natsfan1a - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:06 AM

    Haven’t watched the game yet, but looks like having Cruz back didn’t much help Texas after all. Could have been kinda awkward had he done so, eh? Anyhoo.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      You think they could go for your aunts?

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:28 AM

        ooops, wrong one…

      • natsfan1a - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:48 AM

        lol. Well, one of them is deceased, as noted, but she was a pip. She’s my role model for little-old-ladyhood, as a matter of fact. She always had a twinkle in her eye and you were never quite sure whether she was joking or serious. She baked great cookies, too. My remaining aunt is the best pie-baker around and still quite active at 90. She is a serious baseball fan but doesn’t get too het up about it. (hmmm…I guess she’s something of a role model, too.)

  16. natsfan1a - Oct 1, 2013 at 8:11 AM

    Oh, and go Tribe and Bucs, for my aunts.

    (I’d post on topic, but I don’t do predictions so I got nothing.)

  17. Section 222 - Oct 1, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    If anyone else wants to revisit their predictions, the link is here:
    http://natsinsider.com/2013/04/01/2013-media-predictions/

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.

Follow us on Twitter