Over on our right sidebar, just under Cabrera Bowl '08 (where Z and Big Danny have lost some momentum, sadly), is Numbers Watch with Amber Theoharis. You may recall that Amber smiled really big and typed up some fantastical tall tales of scouts agreeing that it would not be weird for Ramon Hernandez to hit 25 home runs for the first time in his life, or for Kevin Millar to get back to that plateau at this stage of his career, or for Jeremy Guthrie to win 15 games on a team that struggles to score any freaking runs. It was Amber being Amber.
But so far, she and her fictional scouts aren't looking so bad.
The 25-homer club included Aubrey Huff, Nick Markakis, Ramon, Millar, and Luuuuuuke.
Huff paces the team with 17, Scott is at 14, Markickass is at 13, Kevbo has 11, and Ramon comes in with a paltry seven.
Huff would need an injury or a God awful slump to miss 25 homers at this point, and he's a career second half hitter, anyway. He might reach 25 and beyond in someone else's uniform, but them's the breaks.
I'm thinking Luuuuuke will get there, too. Markakis should be right around that neighborhood. I do not think Millar is going to make it even to 20, and Ramon never did it before and had no business doing it this year.
But still, that's looking like a probable 3-for-5.
The "15-20 dingers" patrol had Melvin Mora, Adam Jones and Brian Roberts.
They all have a shot. Mora is already at 11, and I'd go deeper into how 15-20 homers for Mora this year is still going to amount to a terrible season, and then I'd go on a rant that it was moronic to give him that extension in 2006, but we've been there, done that, and all understand it.
Jones would need 11 more to get to 15. It seems like a lot right now, being that it's July and he's only got four, but a second half power surge is hardly out of the question. He's gotten his average up -- never expect big OBP numbers out of Jones, because it's not his game. Never has been, and that's a really difficult thing to teach. But given that he looks like he has the makings of being an elite defensive center fielder and could be a guy that hits .300 consistently with power, he still looks good.
Roberts' home run totals are not really a concern of mine, but his doubles stroke is back in full effect and he's having a hell of a year.
And then comes the 15 wins for Guthrie. It's not happening.
Then comes the 10 wins for Cabrera. It could happen. It should happen. 10 wins for Cabrera doesn't really mean a whole lot. He's done it before. But again, I suppose that's going deeper than Amber intended.
10 wins for Loewen? Oh ho ho! He's closer to 10 injuries. He's closer to the lost and found box, for that matter. But this one was the real stretch because it misunderstands how wins really happen, and it places emphasis on wins to begin with.
For what it's worth, Baseball Prospectus currently has the O's projected at finishing around 77-85. I know that might seem pessimistic, but think of how far this team would have come to reach 77 wins this season. Nobody gave them a shot at doing much better than 70, and a lot of folks had them losing 100 or more. And they had every reason to think that. It was a pretty good bet.
More to the point -- and more in the spirit of Amber -- this team is damn fun to watch and instill a sense of pride in all of us that has been missing for so many years. Even the games they lose, they have a tendency to battle. There is real character on this team, guys worth rooting for.
And like any collection of fans, we have our favorites (Nick, St. Guts, Dr. Jones, Brian Bob, etc.) and the guys we don't care for a lot of the time (all shortstops in Oriole orange this year). But even the Faheys of the world have a day. Even Luis Hernandez hits a walk-off single in a dramatic comeback. Even Freddie Bynum fills in for a sick Roberts and drives in three runs.
Every dog has had their day. And Orioles Magic means something again. So as it stands right now, projections being what they are, I say Amber and her optimism are winning the day. That's a good thing.