Nationals Baseball: Quick Guessing Game

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Quick Guessing Game

Tell me what right now you think the Nats record will be at the end of this year and at the end of next year. 


2024 : 72-90

2025 : 75-87


Todd Boss said...

2024: 79-83
2025: 88-74
2026: 98-64

Harper said...

OK fine

2026: 84-78

Harper said...

Also I like the confidence. Since they are 21-25 now 79-83 says you think they are going to play the remaining ~75% of the season better than they've played the the first 25% even thought they've got a harder schedule remaining then they've faced and you can point to more "can they keep this up" (Garcia Jr, Winker, Senzel, Vargas, Irvin, Williams, Parker, Finnegan) then you can "I'd bet on them improving" (Ruiz, Thomas).

Better hope Wood is up soon and wins ROY

SMS said...

First off, @Harper, this is a pretty big jump from your preseason projection, which was 62 wins, if I'm remembering right. 3 wins of that improvement have already happened, but 7 over 116 is pretty close to 10 wins over 162. Not too bad. Which improvements / upside surprises do you think are real?

Beyond that, sure, I'll play. (And I'll switch from anon so I can own the guess for better or worse.)

2024: 75-87
2025: 85-77
2026: 90-72

I do want to call out, though, that there is a ton of randomness in W/L records, and I wouldn't be actually that surprised by anything within 10 wins of those numbers. Well, maybe 7 for this year. In any case, I'd expect the margin is wide enough to include everyone guesses.

Also, just to save everyone the trouble of computing them. Current % over the season is 74 wins. Current pythag prorated over the rest of the season gets us to 76 wins. Using 3rd order pythag gets 75.5 wins.

Cautiously Pessimistic said...

quick estimation based on the remaining schedule, I'd say they win ~56 more games, putting them at 77-85. Granted this assumes the same roster, or that whoever gets shipped off is replaced by someone equally as good (e.g. Wood for Rosario/Winker) which is a big assumption.

Assuming some slight improvement next year, I'm making a guess of 82-80

2026: 92-70 (assuming 2025-26 offseason is when they make a splash in free agency)

11Zimmerman11 said...

Tough stretch coming before All Star Break. 17 games in 17 days.... and then 12 in a row right after.

11Zimmerman11 said...

2024: 69-93
2025: 81-81
2026: 93-69

Mainelaker said...

I'm with 11Zimm
'24 69-93
'25 81-81

What I don't see yet is how they get to 93 in '26 absent signficant free agent signings, which I find it hard to count on.

JB said...

Despite dropping two to the lowly CWS and getting swept by Philly, our pitching has kept us fairly (surprisingly) competitive. With Lane coming back, CJ hopefully finding his swing again, and Wood coming up eventually...

2024: 79-83
2025: 84-78
2026: 88-74

Donald said...

2024: 73 - 89
2025: 86 - 76
2026: 94 - 68

I’m hoping Wood is as good as he seems and Cavalli is also good and fully recovered. I think the Nats will buy more pitching next year and go all in for 2026.

G Cracka X said...

2024: 70-92
2025: 76-86
2026: ?

MNB4 said...

While I think this is pretty optimistic, I’d like to imagine Wood/House/Crews pan out fairly well. I don’t think the SP situation will work without fortuitous FA signings:

2024: 75-87
2025: 83-79
2026: 89-73

Harper said...

I initially didn't want to do 2026 because I think that far out is very hard to judge for several reasons - like you all mention the potential trades and FAs. They could win 65 games or 95

SMS - well part of it is the wins they don't have to give back. Even if they played 62 win ball the rest of the way they have 65-66 wins. You also have to take into account what's happened so so far. It'd be silly to say 25% of the season doesn't matter. That's a minor bump say 66-67, or halfway there. What's the other 5 wins?

I think Garcia & Abrams are both good. I think either Irvin or Parker are better than I thought (which means better than a replacement #5). I think Williams found his feet and won't be terrible like last year. I think the relievers are as good as they could be. I think Wood could be an upgrade on anything here.

Not sure that makes 5 more wins over the course of the year but they've gotten some breaks so far so why not?

billyhacker said...

24' - 69
25' - 77

Anonymous said...

There are way too many unknowns to be confident in a win prediction for '25, not just '26. But if the over-under for wins in '25 is set at Harper's number, I'd gladly take the over and put a few hundred dollars on it.

Harper said...

Anon - I agree (with the first part). Basically you have to make a ton of middle ground assumptions (Williams leaves, they trade a good reliever and or OF for scraps, Wood comes up and is ok but not an immediate star, no one gets majorly hurt, in the off-season they sign a decent SP and maybe a solid bench guy) and leave everything else as is and each one of these could or couldn't happen and the performance of every player not mentioned has a range.

Something like - Assuming no call-ups, they will get to late July at between 40-70 and 55-55 would be as confident as one might be able to go with.

IOW : This is for entertainment purposes only

Donald said...

On a different note, Gray and Cavalli will both be back in the not too distant future. Maybe they trade Williams sooner rather than later, but they still need two spots. The obvious answer is to cut Corbin. Any chance that happens? Or do they demote Parker just because that’s the easy thing to do?

Anonymous said...

Harper, you can't make a trollish prediction and when questioned about it say "it's for entertainment purposes only." You say your prediction bakes in a bunch of middle ground assumptions. Fair enough. But you need to defend those middle ground assumptions. For example: why are you assuming the '24-25 offseason features only a "decent SP and maybe a solid bench guy"? If the team wins 75 games this year and certain prospects play well in the minors, the case for opening up the checkbook to contend in '25 gets much stronger. If they recognize the lack of INF prospects, sign Juan Soto to play 1B in the offseason, and blow past your 75 win projection in '25, you can't defend the trollish prediction by saying you didn't expect them to sign Juan Soto. That's part of trying to predict the future!

$100 on 75 wins in '25. I take the over. If you're not willing to make this bet, come up with a better, less trollish number and we can have a different discussion.

kubla said...


I seriously doubt they get rid of Corbin. It makes sense from a baseball perspective to get rid of him, but this ownership is not going to pay that much to not have him work (even if continuing to send him out there is in fact generating negative value). These are the same people who wanted Strasburg to show up to ST. Him being out of the rotation next year will be worth a couple more wins.

Kevin Rusch said...

In terms of cost-effectiveness, I think they're better off getting a depth starter (maybe re-upping Williams if he keeps this up?) and backing up the truck for Juan Soto at 1B/LF/DH. They have what appear to be a bunch of decent-to-good starting pitchers, and pretty good bullpen depth, so a lineup of Abrams/Wood/Soto/House/Crews/Thomas/Garcia/anybody/Ruiz should score enough runs to compete.

I really feel like Mitchell Parker and Jake Irvin have changed the discussion about the rotation -- what looked like 2 giant holes sure look like they'll be, if nothing else, competent starters for a good while.

Given how well Adams and Millas are both hitting, I'd like to see Millas called up (either return Nunez or give up on Meneses) and have 1 of the 3 catchers on the roster DH most days.

G Cracka X said...

Would love it if they signed Soto! That alone almost gets them to .500 and potentially in the hunt for a WC spot

Harper said...

Anon - I can totally do whatever I want! That's the magic of this place. I'm not making money here. Not trying to get a job. That's how I've lasted so long, not being overly serious about any of this.

No way I make a bet on 2025 on ANY team in May of 2024. Like the Orioles or Dodgers breaking 90 next year? Nope. Not going to do it. Way too much variability going on here.

The Nats are on pace this year to win 71 games. I have the Nats to win 72 games. I think that's not enough for them to gamble on a FA Williams who would have 1 good year of full starting pitching since 2018. I think it makes sense to trade a Floro or Winker for what you can get - and I think we are all expecting Finnegan/Harvey to go as they could bring back something good AND they themselves are on the older side with only one year to FA. I have Wood being up and "not an immediate star" is very fair, just look at pretty much every recent call-up. I have the rest of the minors progressing on a slower path likely debuting next year. If the Nats didn't sign a good SP this year when you could argue there was a clear need, I don't see them doing it when there's still Gray, Cavalli, maybe Henry to evaluate. I think all that evaluation taking place next year is going to keep them down so I don't think 75 is "trollish" but they should be able to clearly set up the team after that hence the almost 10 game improvement in '26 just in general. (with FA moves after that year the jump could be bigger).

Anonymous said...

2024: Interesting bad team
2025: Cromulent and very young
2026: The dynasty returns

Anonymous said...

The difference is that it’s far less likely that the Dodgers or Orioles will win more than 90 games in ‘25 than that the Nats will win more than 75. I wouldn’t take either side of the 90 win bet because of the reasons you state. But you’re spouting nonsense about the Nats. I, too, wouldn’t pencil in “star” performance from Wood “right away.” But the end of ‘25 is a long way from “right away.” The Nats are about to replace bad players with plausibly good players in a number of spots, and certain of those plausibly good players are going to be better than just plausibly good. They did literally nothing in FA this year and, IMO, that won’t happen again (and the basis for that expectation is past experience with the same owners).

You normally don’t spout nonsense but you are doing it here. If I set the ‘25 win total at 85 wins, you’d be willing to bet the under even given all the uncertainty because that’s a good bet. You’re not willing to bet on your nonsense 75 win prediction because you know it’s nonsense because you know the roster is going to improve (in fact, I think that’s your point, albeit expressed trollishly: to be a WC contender, the Nats need to buy FAs. To which I say “yes”). Another part of the magic of this place is that we can call you out when your posts are silly, like this one is.

Harper said...

You can't call me out! I'll ban you! By uhhhh... and hmm you're anonymous so how would that work? Seemed to have painted myself into a corner here.

I won't bet because I don't normally bet a lot of money and have no interest betting with strangers on the internet. I wouldn't do it at 85 wins. Ok maybe I give in at 95 sure because that's silly, like 55 would be, but those aren't bets as much as sure things. I don't stand by my feelings on how good the Nats will be at the end of 2025 right now. Nobody should. Hell Vegas doesn't offer lines on these things for a reason.

I will gladly put up my 75 (can I pin a post?) as a friendly wager. My Twitter avatar is a sandwich because I lost a self-bet I put up on here Feel free to come up with something that satisfies you if you like.

Anonymous said...

I'm not on Twitter, I don't care about avatars, and there's no such thing as a "friendly wager." If you're not willing to put your money where your mouth is, then it reveals that your mouth is full of shit. You are right that there is a huge amount of uncertainty between now and '25, and that aggregated uncertainty explains why Vegas doesn't think it can make money consistently with such long-term bets. We aren't Vegas--we're doing this just once. I'm confident enough that your 75-win projection is implausibly low that I'm willing to bet on it. The "strangers on the internet" thing can be overcome in a number of ways, which you know. The fundamental problem here is that you're confident enough in your projection to post it on your blog but not confident enough in your projection to bet on it. Which is another way of saying that your projection is nonsense. I will happily de-anonymize, make a bet with you, put money in escrow or whatever. But it has to be money (it can be $10 if you like)--if you're going to spout nonsense, it has to be costly.

Anonymous said...

Why did you start writing about the Nats in the first place? (Not snarky at all, genuinely curious)

Harper said...

If I felt spouting nonsense would have to be costly I would stop doing the blog. Feel however you want to about that.

Anon @ 7:37 - in the peak blog days I had a friend writing a blog and I complained to him that he didn't have enough content. He said writing a blog often was hard. I said it couldn't be and I'd do it. I didn't want to write about my life though so I picked baseball. I didn't want to write about the Yankees because I felt knowing TOO much might ruin the simple enjoyment of watching the game so I picked a team I was vaguely interested in with almost no blog presence - the Expos. Three months later they were set to move. Turns out I like writing about baseball especially in a way where there's no pressure to it. I write what I want and when and if people want to read it and interact - great! That's why it's out here and not in a Word Doc on my computer.

Kevin Rusch said...

Anon@7:29 - dude, how much are you paying for this content? Harper doesn't have to do nothin'.

Harper, I sure would like you to have to eat some hat. I think you're a bit more pessimistic in general than is necessary, but I enjoy quibbling with you about it.

Anonymous said...

Peak soulless automaton reasoning. I'm grateful you made that unusual decision.

Kevin Rusch said...

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say 70 wins. Why?
1) Cavalli's coming, and probably will be better than Corbin.
2) Wood's coming, and probably will be better than whoever's in left, or CF.
3) Ruiz will probably revert to "oh, fine."
4) They'll give up on non-producing guys like Gallo, Meneses before long.

When you're a mediocre team, avoiding black holes is as important as adding stars. Vargas means you have an above-replacement-level guy who can play pretty much anywhere. Lipscomb is about replacement level. Garcia seems to have made a jump into "decent". Their current holes are at 1B, C, LF, and kinda RF. If Thomas comes back and plays the way he has in the last 3 years, that'll take care of RF. Winker's doing pretty well, really. Maybe it's smoke and mirrors, but league average from that spot is fine.

The tiny amounts that Robles has played in the last 2 years, he's been an on-base machine. (Sure, mostly through getting plunked, but whatever.) Young is basically the same but younger. (at this point, so is Alex Call.)

When Wood comes up, I think you put him in left and Winker goes to DH.

They need, simply MUST, congratulate Joey Meneses for a great couple months, and a lucrative couple years, then ship him off to Japan where he can make some bank. He's 32, he's not going to get better, and he's slugging .299. Let's get this over with. Gallo's slugging .284. Same - take that $5M, go buy a boat, and have a nice summer. It's pretty clear Gallo's not going to return anything in a trade.

For pitching, they've found a way to keep Williams from killing them every 5th day. He may still put up a clunker, but hasn't yet, and there's a change in usage to indicate that it may not be luck.

They have Cavalli and Gray returning, and each of those guys are less likely to lay an egg every 5 days than Corbin is.

Call up Wood, call up Millas and have a rotation of C/DH/bench for the 3 catchers. Give Blankenhorn another 3-week tryout before cutting bait. They need to make room in AAA for the prospects anyway, and they might as well try to evaluate who's on hand.

SMS said...

@Anon729 - Also it's bullshit to use Harper's guess as the line. He's on the record saying the team is as likely to be over 75 as under, so why would be take that bet?

And, presumably if you think 75 is trolling, your guess isn't 76 or 77, so you're trying to set a line with all the surplus value on your side. Dirty pool.

You should offer him a line of 81 or something, and then you'd at least have an argument that he wasn't willing to back up his guess.

(Though he's been pretty consistently anti sports betting, so your tactic also fails because there could be external reasons he might not wish to bet money regardless of his expected profits.)

Harper said...

SMS - I am anti-betting (and anti-lottery, gambling, etc.) at the large scale but am fine with friendly wagers between individuals, sometimes for money. It's the higher level "trying to get the most money out of you as possible" that crosses the line.

Personally - I only bet small amounts with friends IRL. Some of you have been on here for close to 2 decades and I'd be real hesitant to bet with you.