Oct 10, 2015, 6:00 AM EST
This was, without question, a supremely disappointing baseball season in D.C. Yes, for the Nationals. But more importantly, for those of us who covered the team all season and completely botched our Opening Day predictions. We do this every year, and every year we’re proven wrong. But we keep coming back for more punishment every year.
And because we’re all about accountability, it is with great humility that we revisit those predictions and reveal just how misguided we all were.
Enjoy, and as always, please be kind. We have feelings, too…
WHICH NATIONALS WILL BE SELECTED FOR THE ALL-STAR GAME?
Craig Heist (106.7 FM) — Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Ryan Zimmerman
Chase Hughes (CSNwashington.com) — Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg
Chelsea Janes (Washington Post) — Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman
Chris Johnson (MASNsports.com) — Gio Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Max Scherzer
Bill Ladson (MLB.com) — Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann
Tom Schad (Washington Times) — Max Scherzer, Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann
Andrew Simon (MLB.com) — Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg
James Wagner (Washington Post) — Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann
Mark Zuckerman (CSNwashington.com) — Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann
ANSWER: Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer were the Nationals’ lone All-Stars this season.
WINNER: A bunch of us had both Harper and Scherzer, but everybody had at least one more player who didn’t make it to the Midsummer Classic.
WHAT WILL TOTAL HOME ATTENDANCE BE?
Andrew Simon — 2,750,000
Mark Zuckerman — 2,703,145
Chris Johnson — 2,700,001
Bill Ladson — 2,700,000
James Wagner — 2,680,000
Tom Schad — 2,642,212
Chase Hughes — 2,630,306
Chelsea Janes — 2,600,000
Craig Heist — 2,500,000
ANSWER: Final paid attendance for the season was 2,619,843.
WINNER: In a nailbiter, Chase Hughes (who missed by only 10,643) beats Chelsea Janes (who missed by only 19,843).
HOW MANY HOMERS WILL BRYCE HARPER HIT?
Bill Ladson — 35
Mark Zuckerman — 32
Craig Heist — 31
Chelsea Janes — 31
Chris Johnson — 31
Chase Hughes — 27
Andrew Simon — 27
James Wagner — 25
Tom Schad — 23
ANSWER: Harper, as surely you know, hit 42 homers this season, tied with Nolan Arenado for the NL lead.
WINNER: Bill Ladson was the most optimistic of the crew, but even he wasn’t optimistic enough.
WHO WILL LEAD THE PITCHING STAFF IN WINS? HOW MANY?
Mark Zuckerman — Max Scherzer, 21
Bill Ladson — Jordan Zimmermann, 20
Chris Johnson — Gio Gonzalez, 20
Chelsea Janes — Max Scherzer, 19
Tom Schad — Max Scherzer, 19
Craig Heist — Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, 18
Andrew Simon — Max Scherzer, 18
Chase Hughes — Jordan Zimmermann, 18
James Wagner — Jordan Zimmermann, 18
ANSWER: Scherzer led the staff with 14 wins.
WINNER: Several of us expected Scherzer to lead the staff in wins. None of us expected his total would be so low.
WHO WILL LEAD THE PITCHING STAFF IN STRIKEOUTS? HOW MANY?
Chris Johnson — Max Scherzer, 265
Mark Zuckerman — Stephen Strasburg, 254
Tom Schad — Max Scherzer, 252
Bill Ladson — Max Scherzer, 250
Andrew Simon — Max Scherzer, 248
Chase Hughes — Max Scherzer, 247
Chelsea Janes — Max Scherzer, 242
Craig Heist — Max Scherzer, 237
James Wagner — Max Scherzer, 215
ANSWER: Scherzer set a new club record with 276 strikeouts.
WINNER: Chris Johnson was pretty close with his prediction of 265.
HOW MANY GAMES WILL TANNER ROARK START THIS SEASON?
Andrew Simon — 14
Craig Heist — 10
Mark Zuckerman — 10
Chris Johnson — 8
Tom Schad — 8
Chelsea Janes — 7
James Wagner — 7
Chase Hughes — 6
Bill Ladson — 4
ANSWER: Roark wound up starting 12 games this season.
WINNER: It’s a tie. Andrew Simon, Craig Heist and I all missed by 2, with Simon going over and Heist and me going under.
HOW MANY SAVES WILL DREW STOREN RECORD? HOW MANY BLOWN SAVES?
Chelsea Janes — 42, 6
Chase Hughes — 41, 5
Mark Zuckerman — 40, 4
Chris Johnson — 40, 6
Andre Simon — 37, 5
Tom Schad — 36, 5
Craig Heist — 35, 6
Bill Ladson — 35, 6
James Wagner — 32, 5
ANSWER: Storen recorded 29 saves (all before July 31) and five blown saves (three of them after July 31).
WINNER: We’ll never know what might’ve been had Storen held the closer’s job all season, but James Wagner (whether he expected it to happen like this or not) came pretty close to predicting the final numbers.
WHEN WILL DENARD SPAN AND ANTHONY RENDON MAKE THEIR SEASON DEBUTS?
Chris Johnson — Span (April 23 vs. Cardinals), Rendon (May 4 vs. Marlins)
Andrew Simon — Span (April 24 at Marlins), Rendon (April 30 at Mets)
Mark Zuckerman — Span (April 27 at Braves), Rendon (May 15 at Padres)
Bill Ladson — Span (May 1 at Mets), Rendon (July 1 at Braves)
James Wagner — Span (May 1 at Mets), Rendon (May 15 at Padres)
Chase Hughes — Span (May 8 vs. Braves), Rendon (April 25 at Marlins)
Chelsea Janes — Span (May 8 vs. Braves), Rendon (April 21 vs. Cardinals)
Tom Schad — Span (May 8 vs. Braves), Rendon (June 17 vs. Rays)
Craig Heist — Span (May 10 vs. Braves), Rendon (April 21 vs. Cardinals)
ANSWER: Span came off the DL to make his season debut April 19, while Rendon first appeared on June 4.
WINNER: Chris Johnson missed Span’s debut by only four days but missed Rendon’s by a month. Tom Schad was the only one to correctly predict Rendon’s debut in June but had Span’s return pegged three weeks too early.
HOW MANY GAMES WILL JAYSON WERTH PLAY?
Bill Ladson — 140
Tom Schad — 136
Mark Zuckerman — 134
Chelsea Janes — 133
Chris Johnson — 132
Andrew Simon — 132
James Wagner — 132
Chase Hughes — 126
Craig Heist — 120
ANSWER: Werth appeared in only 88 games this season after fracturing his wrist.
WINNER: Craig Heist came closest but really wasn’t close at all.
HOW MANY GAMES WILL WILSON RAMOS CATCH?
Chelsea Janes — 119
James Wagner — 115
Mark Zuckerman — 111
Tom Schad — 110
Chase Hughes — 105
Chris Johnson — 105
Andrew Simon — 105
Craig Heist — 102
Bill Ladson — 80
ANSWER: Ramos caught a career-high 125 games this season.
WINNER: Chelsea Janes had faith in The Buffalo’s ability to stay healthy all year but still underestimated by 6 games.
HOW MANY ERRORS WILL IAN DESMOND COMMIT?
Chris Johnson — 30
Bill Ladson — 25
Andrew Simon — 22
Chase Hughes — 21
Chelsea Janes — 21
Tom Schad — 21
James Wagner — 20
Mark Zuckerman — 18
Craig Heist — 13
ANSWER: Desmond committed 27 total errors this season (20 of them prior to the All-Star break).
WINNER: Chris Johnson looked to be in good position to get this one right, but Desmond’s strong defensive finish to the season allowed Bill Ladson to narrowly take this one.
HOW MANY GAMES WILL THE NATIONALS WIN?
Bill Ladson — 100
Chelsea Janes — 99
James Wagner — 97
Mark Zuckerman — 96
Craig Heist — 95
Chase Hughes — 95
Chris Johnson — 94
Andrew Simon — 94
Tom Schad — 92
ANSWER: The Nationals, as you know, won 83 games this season.
WINNER: Um, yeah, not a single one of us experts.
HOW WILL THE NATIONALS’ SEASON END?
Chris Johnson — Win World Series
Bill Ladson — Win World Series
Mark Zuckerman — Lose World Series
Chase Hughes — Lose World Series
Craig Heist — Lose NLCS
Chelsea Janes — Lose NLCS
Tom Schad — Lose NLCS
Andrew Simon — Lose NLCS
James Wagner — Lose NLCS
ANSWER: The Nationals’ season ended with no playoff appearance, major questions about clubhouse chemistry and a fired manager.
WINNER: Any local media members who were smart enough not to participate in this fruitless exercise in 2015.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 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: 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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