The Baltimore Orioles are in the midst of their spring training schedule which is the time of the year where MLB predictions, projections, and picks are revealed from the many distinguished baseball writers and sports media outlets.
Over the past two months, the Baltimore Orioles and the rest of the league have been critiqued by prominent baseball writers and experts as major sports media outlets release their MLB season previews and predictions.
Despite coming off a playoff season in 2016 with one of the most powerful offenses and commanding bullpens in baseball, the Orioles, once again, are projected to suffer a losing season in 2017 and finish towards the depths of the AL East.
The following predictions, rankings, and picks will come from various major sports media outlets and baseball writers.
Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments!
USA Today Sports’ 2017 MLB projections
Last year, USA Today Sports’ “semi-scientific” MLB projections forecasted the Baltimore Orioles to finish with the worst record in the American League East at 78-84.
Gabe Lacques, who was credited as the author in USA Today Sports’ 2017 MLB predictions, used the entire seven paragraph opening to explain all the possibilities of how their dramatic MLB projections may (probably) will be altered.
Towards the end of Lacques’ piece, he reflected on the Baltimore Orioles stating:
"And fret not if your team is on the wrong side of the playoff line – it doesn’t mean everybody hates you. Among contending teams, the Baltimore Orioles had the widest divergence among our panel – a high of 89 and a low of 75, like a nice day in Sarasota."
So, after picking the Orioles’ to win just 78 games a year ago, USA Today Sports project the birds to finish with a winning record of 84-78.
Not only did USA Today Sports project the win total for each team, but they also ranked the 2017 starting rotations for all 30 MLB teams in which they ranked the Orioles as the 24th-best starting pitching rotation in the league.
It’s difficult to argue against USA Today Sports’ ranking of the O’s rotation when last year’s group only had three starting pitchers under the league average ERA. In addition, Duquette and the O’s did absolutely nothing this offseason to bolster their conflicting rotation.
*USA Today Sports: 84-78, third in AL East
Baseball Prospectus’ 2017 PECOTA projections
Now we turn to the closely calculated 2017 PECOTA projections by Baseball Prospectus. First, according to Baseball Prospectus’ glossary, PECOTA stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm.
In further detail, PECOTA, created by Nate Silver, serves as Baseball Prospectus’ exclusive sabermetric system that projects the performance of MLB players based on historical baseball data.
It’s not a secret that PECOTA and the Orioles aren’t the best of friends as the baseball projection system continually projects the Orioles to finish at the bottom of the AL East and 2017 is no different. This year, PECOTA projects (guesses) the Orioles to win 73 games, a 16-game decline in wins from last season.
*Baseball Prospectus PECOTA: 73-89, fifth in AL East
Bleacher Report’s 2017 MLB Predictions
The day after Super Bowl 51, the great people at Bleacher Report released their 2017 MLB Predictions in celebration of the start of baseball season.
Unlike PECOTA, Bleacher Report sides with the folks at USA Today Sports on Orioles finishing the 2017 season with a winning record. B/R forecasts the Orioles to win six fewer games than last season with a record of 83-79, third place in the AL East behind the projected first place Boston Red Sox (97-65) and second place Toronto Blue Jays (86-76).
In what seems to be the common question for the Orioles every offseason, Bleacher Report questions the O’s ability to win games with a rotation that carries Ubaldo Jimenez and Wade Miley.
Despite the lack of reliable arms in the O’s rotation, B/R proclaims last year’s league leading 253 total home runs by the O’s will be back in action in 2017, especially with the re-signing of reigning home run king Mark Trumbo.
*Bleacher Report: 83-79, third in AL East
Fangraphs’ 2017 projected standings
Fangraphs, a sabermetric site similar to PECOTA, uses a method constructed and operated by Jared Cross, Dash Davidson, and Peter Rosenbloom called Steamer projections to build their 2017 MLB predictions. It’s important to note that Fangraphs’ projected standings fluctuate throughout the MLB season.
So, at the moment, Fangraphs projects the Orioles to finish the season with at .500 (81-81), fourth place in the AL East. Furthermore, Fangraphs forecasts the Orioles and Yankees to finish with identical records, bringing up the rear in the AL East.
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One projection that really jumps out is the vast increase in wins for the Rays, who are projected to finish above .500 at 82-80, which is a 14 more wins than last year’s dismal 68-94 record.
Fangraphs also provides preseason player projections which predict offensive statistics from each player. At the moment, Davis is projected to lead the team in home runs with 35 and right behind Davis, Manny Machado is projected to hit 33 home runs. Lastly, the home run champ from 2016 is forecasted to knock 32 baseballs out of the park.
Despite four players projected to hit 28 home runs or more, Fangraphs doesn’t forecast one Oriole to hit above .294 this upcoming season. With the exception of Chris Davis and Seth Smith, every player in the projected starting lineup hit above last year’s league average of .255 batting average.
*Fangraphs: 81-81, fourth place in AL East
CBS Sports Matt Snyder’s 2017 MLB over/under bets
Last year, every baseball writer from CBS Sports projected to Orioles to finish in the cellar of the AL East for the 2016 season.
Each year, CBS Sports’ writers release their annual over/under bets on team’s projected win total based on the Atlantis (Reno, Nev.) betting lines. For CBS Sports, I elected to review Matt Snyder’s over/under bets for the 2017 season.
The sportsbook from the Atlantis Casino in the city of Reno, Nevada has set the over/under for wins at 84.5 for the Baltimore Orioles. The early AL East favorite Boston Red Sox lead the division with an over/under at 90.5, followed by the Blue Jays at 86.5 wins.
Now to Snyder’s over/under picks, who picked five teams for the over, followed up by five teams for the under. Surprisingly, at least for me at least, Snyder’s first over pick is the Baltimore Orioles. Snyder opened his Orioles discussion by saying:
"Call this a course correction. I routinely have under-estimated the Orioles under Buck Showalter and they have exceeded expectations in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016. Even in a “down” 2015, they went 81-81."
Even though Snyder didn’t reveal his prediction on how many wins the Orioles capture in 2017, but he did mention that he doesn’t believe the Orioles will get 90 wins.
*CBS Sports’ Matt Snyder’s over/under for wins: Over 84.5 wins
Call to the Pen’s 2017 MLB Playoff Predictions
Jason Reed from FanSided’s Call to the Pen revealed his 2017 MLB playoff predictions back in December. Following offseason acquisitions and spring training underway, Reed published his updated playoff predictions, moving the O’s up one spot into third place.
However, Reed predicts the Orioles to miss the postseason in 2017, with the two wildcards going to the Houston Astros (WC #1) and the Orioles division rival Toronto Blue Jays (WC #2).
Reed’s reasoning on moving the Orioles from fourth to third place is the re-signing of Mark Trumbo and the acquisition of outfielder Seth Smith.
*Call to the Pen: Third place in AL East