Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pre-Season Prediction Mania pt. 2

Earlier this year we put our money where our mouth was. We were stupid enough to make some predictions on the season, and as you see below - we made complete fools of ourselves (mostly). Here are our original votes for the IBWA-DC Pre-Season Poll - our own bold prediction crow-eating will occur later. After these wounds heal.

Enjoy our suffering below - Included is what we wrote at the time, followed by what actually happened.

7) Who will pitch more innings for the Nats this season: Chien-Ming Wang, Yunesky Maya, Ross Detwiler?
What we wrote: Yunesky Maya - Maya is coming off an offseason where he was named Dominican Winter League Player of the Year and has had a good spring start so far. But Detwiler has been incredible so far this spring, so he also has a pretty good shot. We went with Maya on pure gut, plus we hadn't seen Detwiler at all this spring yet. Seriously, he's been awesome.

What actually happened: Ross Detwiler barely edged out Chien-Ming Wang for the title on this one by at total of 66.0 to 62.1 IP- with our pick, Maya, coming in dead last with 32.2.

8) Who will get more at bats for the Nats this season: Rick Ankiel, Jerry Hairston, Alberto Gonzalez?
What we wrote: Rick Ankiel - Hairston and Gonzo will be around and will probably get some ABs. But with Nyjer Morgan's inability to... you know... play baseball, he might get some real action in center field.

What actually happened: Boom! We got one! Rick Ankiel had 380 ABs for the Nats this year to Jerry Hairston's 213, as Hairston got traded to the Brew Crew at the deadline. The AG is ineligible for this award because he was traded to the Padres before the season even began!

9) Who will get more at bats for the Nats this season: Ivan Rodriguez, Jesus Flores, Wilson Ramos?
What we wrote: Wilson Ramos - Ramos has been incredible behind the plate this spring, Flores has yet to get a hit, and Rodriguez isn't getting any younger. Flores will most likely end up behind the plate in AAA, at least to start the year, so Ramos it is.

What actually happened: Boom! Two in a row! This one was kind of a no-brainer, as the Nats were looking to get younger up the middle. Ramos led all comers with 389 ABs to Pudge and Flores' 124 and 86, respectively.

10) How many all-stars will the Nats have? Who?
What we wrote: 1; Ryan Zimmerman - We're convinced Zimm won't get snubbed again in 2011 like he did in 2010, but we're not convinced that anyone else on the team has the potential to be an All-Star this season. The Nats will get their mandatory one.

What actually happened: Well, we were half right? Zimmerman was displaced for most of the first-half of the season with an Oblique injury, as Tyler Clippard paved the way for Middle Relievers everywhere as he notched the W for the NL in the Mid-Summer Classic. Following in the footsteps of great Nats All-Star Relievers before him (See: Matt Capps in 2010).

11) Total wins and what place in the division?
What we wrote: 76; 4th place in NL East - The Nats won't hit .500, but they'll get closer than last year, and they won't be nearly as bad as the team we predict to be the cellar dwellers in the NL East: the Mets. They're basically broke, have old, washed up talent, oh... and they're really broke.

What actually happened: I have never been so happy to be wrong. The Nats showed some serious chutzpah in the 2nd half, overcoming a quitting manager and a cavalcade of different starting pitchers to finish the season at 80-81 - just one game under .500.

12) Single most important thing for the Nats this season?
What we wrote: Young player development - There's little to no chance that the 2011 Nats end up bound for the post-season. But one thing they need to focus on is developing their staggering amount of young talent. In addition to the development, the entire baseball world, NatsTown included, will be focused on Stephen Strasburg's recovery from Tommy John surgery. If Strasburg completes his recovery and the minor leaguers can show some real progress, we can have a different story in 2012 and beyond.

What actually happened: Our young players developed - your 1st and 3rd Batting WAR leaders were Espinosa and Ramos. Your best pitcher, by WAR and pretty much everything else, was Jordan Zimmermann (3.4 WAR) - highest on the Nats since 2005. And, ohbytheway, Stephen Strasburg, in recovery from Tommy John, racked up a 1.1 WAR in just 5 starts; sickness.

Overall, we didn't do too bad on our predictions. It was fun to take a look back and, if anything, it has made us more excited about next season.

Post any predictions you may have made in the comments!

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