Playing in the rugged American League East, and after four consecutive losing seasons, it would be wishful thinking to consider the Orioles contenders. They’re still compiling young talent with the goal of challenging the heavyweights in the future.
That FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA have calculated that the Orioles have no chance –0.0 percent — of making the playoffs isn’t surprising or insulting at this point, although it provides motivation for the Orioles. FanGraphs predicts the Orioles will finish 63-99; PECOTA says 66-96.
Betonline.ag, which predicted the Orioles’ over/under on wins last year to be 20 ½ and assigned them 80-to-1 odds to win the American League East shortly before the 60-game season began, calculated this year’s odds at 40-to-1.
Reliever Paul Fry, the most veteran member of the Orioles’ bullpen, slipped in a crack about the dismissal of the Orioles’ chances in 2021.
“If we do have a meeting, it would probably be, ‘don’t settle on last year and keep going and keep pushing’ because we have a special group, and we have a 0.0 chance to make the playoffs,” Fry said.
In 2020, the Orioles, who had the worst record in baseball in 2018 at 47-115 and the second-worst in 2019 (54-108), tied for fifth-worst, 25-35. The record extrapolated to 95 losses in a 162-game season, and neither FanGraphs nor PECOTA thinks the Orioles will do better this season.
“We want to stay competitive, and want to get better every single day,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said in Saturday’s video conference call. “I’m still in the mindset of improving as a ballclub, improving as an organization, continuing to get guys experience at the major league level.
“There’s no better experience than playing in the American League East. You’re only going to get better by playing the competition that we played the last two years.”
In 2020, the Orioles went 14-26 (.350) in 40 games against the American League East, an improvement on 2019 when they were 24-52 (.316).
“We’ve seen a lot of our guys improve,” Hyde said. “We’re just going to continue with that mindset. I think we surprised some people last year, being in it until the last series of the year — really happy and proud of how hard our guys played. I want to continue with that same energy level. I want to continue to keep playing the game hard.
“We have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of improvements to make. We have a lot of guys that don’t have a ton of experience, and the bottom line is just to get these guys better and continue to get major league experience at the highest level and compete … that’s our mindset going forward.”
After Orioles pitchers and catchers completed their first workout in Sarasota, Florida on Wednesday, Hyde expressed how little he thought of preseason projections.
“It’s the least of my concerns,” he said. “I’m worried about the guys in our room. I’m worried about getting better on a daily basis, and we’re controlling what we can control.
“I’m trying to win one game at a time, to be honest with you. That’s an old cliché, but that is true, and I just want to see improvement from our players, and that will equal more wins.”
Babe Ruth Museum event: Each February, the Babe Ruth Museum holds an event celebrating The Babe’s February 6th birthday. (Ruth was born in 1895 and would be 126.) This year, it’s a three-day virtual event, Tuesday-Thursday nights.
Fans can view the events, including an interview with Hyde with MASNSports.com’s Roch Kubatko, an interview with University of Maryland football coach Mike Locksley and basketball coaches Brenda Frese and Mark Turgeon on Tuesday.
Frese, Locksley and Turgeon will be interviewed by longtime Maryland broadcaster Johnny Holliday.
On Wednesday, a program on Babe Ruth will include longtime major leaguer Mark Teixeira and author Jane Leavy. On Thursday, the 1970 Orioles will be celebrated. Jim Palmer, Boog Powell and Brooks Robinson will be interviewed by former Orioles broadcaster Jon Miller.
These events are free to the public at birthdaybash.givesmart.com. There will also be a raffle and silent auction.
Holliday, Miller, and a panel on Ruth, including Leavy, Boston Red Sox broadcaster Joe Castiglione, Babe Ruth historian Bill Jenkinson and senior curator of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Tom Shieber, will participate in live question-and-answer sessions.
Fans can purchase tickets to watch and ask questions for $10. Silent auction items will be available for preview on Sunday. Bidding begins at 6 p.m. on Tuesday and runs through February 28th at 6 p.m.