Thursday, August 6, 2020
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So How Did the Pollsters, Predictors Do Last Night: Ranking from...

How did the pollsters do last night in Virginia? Here's my ranking, from "A" to "F." Keep in mind that the final result was...

The Value of Punditry (Or: Dunn & Dumber)

Last night on ESPN's SportsCenter, I was listening to Buster Olney declare that, given that the Nationals haven't signed him to a long-term deal yet, the Nationals had made a horrible mistake by not trading Adam Dunn. At 2006's trading deadline, I heard the knights of the keyboard say the same thing about the Nationals holding onto Alfonso Soriano. So I thought I'd look back at & list all the prospects who'd been linked to a potential Soriano deal at one time or another:
Yusmeiro Petit, Renyel Pinto, Jason Vargas, Erick Aybar, Brent Clevlen, Jair Jurrjens, Humberto Sanchez, Lance Broadway, Brandon McCarthy, Matt Garza, Scott Baker, Jason Kubel
It's still too early to pass final judgment on most of these players. But four full seasons after the 2006 trading deadline, not one of them has been an All-Star. Some, like Jurrjens, Garza, Baker & Kubel, have had one or more good years, but all four have regressed to average (or worse) this year. Others have already flopped.

My point is not that the Nationals made the right or wrong decision in either case (the compensation pick they received for Soriano turned into Josh Smoker, who currently sports a horrific 3-10 record with a 7.44 ERA in single A). My point is that people anointed as experts often say stuff that isn't just questionable in hindsight -- it's not supported by fact at the time. Because in 2006, it wasn't just in baseball that pundits were making bold predictions that turned out to be dazzlingly wrong.