This year's winner of the pre-season contest is long time Camden Chatter (though only part time commenter) Bill in LA! Congrats to Bill, who made 13 correct predictions on the contest. There was actually a tie for the win, but as the other person is also the author of the contest, she has been disqualified. It's still pretty cool, though!
To see where you ranked, check out the leaderboard here. As always, please double check your results. I'm fairly certain I got them all right, but when there are 225 entries you never know. Now, on to the answers:
Which will be higher?
1. Orioles wins or Royals wins? Royals 95, Orioles 81
In previous years I had made this question between the Orioles and Yankees or Red Sox, but fresh off the ALCS, Royals seemed appropriate. I had no idea it would end up being so lopsided, and neither did most of you. Only 19 of you (8.1%) picked the Royals to have the higher win total.
2. Games played by Ryan Flaherty or Everth Cabrera? Flaherty 91, Cabrera 29
When the Orioles picked up Everth Cabrera at the price of $2.4M, everyone thought it might be curtains for Ryan Flaherty, who had minor league options. But the combination of Cabrera's complete ineptness and injuries to J.J. Hardy and Jonathan Schoop opened the door for Flaherty to get plenty of playing time. He even played games at first base and in the outfield! (# Correct: 156/66.4%)
3. OPS by Nick Markakis or by all Orioles RF? Orioles RF - .767, Markakis - .746
There has been a lot of hand wringing over the lack of a stable presence in right field this year as Nick Markakis moved on to the Braves. Markakis got on base at a .370 clip, which would have looked pretty sweet batting in front of Manny Machado's 34-HR campaign. But his complete lack of power was his downfall and why he couldn't out-OPS the subpar Orioles who patrolled right field. The O's numbers were boosted by Chris Davis's playing time there, as he put up an .843 in 30 games at the position.(# Correct: 211/89.8%)
4. Home runs by Nelson Cruz or all Orioles DH? Cruz - 44, O's DH - 14.
Oops. (# Correct: 148/63%)
5. Hits by Adam Jones or strikeouts by Chris Davis? Davis - 208 K, Jones - 147 H
Over the last three seasons Adam Jones has tallied hit totals of 186, 186, and 181, while Chris Davis struck out 169, 199, and 173 times. So this seemed like a good question. Then Davis struck out over 200 times for the first time in his career and Adam Jones was limited to 137 games, so this wouldn't normally have been such a lopsided difference. (# Correct: 81/34.5%)
6. Games played by Steve Pearce at DH or OF? OF - 49, DH - 1
The Orioles lost their primary DH when Nelson Cruz left, and they picked up Travis Snider to go along with Alejandro De Aza, Adam Jones, David Lough, and even Delmon Young. Where would Steve Pearce play, I wondered? Well, it wasn't at DH. (# Correct: 124/52.8%)
7. Games started by Ubaldo Jimenez or Kevin Gausman? Jimenez - 32, Gausman 17
Oh, guys. We got this one wrong. People were talking about Ubaldo going to the pen and Goose taking his place and that did not happen. Jimenez started off stronger than we all expected and Goose got the yo-yo treatment. (# Correct: 33/14%)
8. Adam Jones HR or J.J. Hardy walks? Jones - 27 HR, Hardy - 20 BB
Both missed time for injury, but Hardy was a lot worse when he was actually on the field. (# Correct: 68/28.9%)
9. Orioles leader in BB (pitcher) or BB (hitter)? Hitter - Davis, 84; Pitcher - Ubaldo, 68.
Jimenez has led the pitching staff in walks the past two seasons, but he cut them down from 77 last year to 68 this year. It doesn't look like that huge of a drop, but keep in mind that he made 10 more starts and pitched 59 more innings. Last year's walk leader among batters was Nick Markakis, who had 62. Davis kind of blew that out of the water in 2015. (# Correct: 104/44.7%)
10. CS% of Lough/De Aza/E. Cabrera or CS% for all Orioles catchers? Baserunners - 50%, Catchers - 31.9%
OK, so this ended up being a moot point. People loved talking about how these three were going to be the big base stealing threats this season. In their limited bouts of action, the three combined to go 6-for-12 in stolen base attempts. They were the worst. The catching foursome of Ryan Lavarnway, Caleb Joseph, Matt Wieters, and Steve Clevenger went 29-for-91, which was just about the league average of 32%. (# Correct: 82/34.9%)
11. Chris Davis's batting average: .250 1/2 - OVER (.262)
Davis batted an abysmal .196 in 2014 but had a career batting average of .253. He got back to average and then some in 2015. I always knew he would (maybe). (# Correct: 133/56.6%)
12. Orioles wins: 84.5 - UNDER (81)
I don't want to talk about it. (# Correct: 18/7.7%)
13. J.J. Hardy's OBP: .305 1/2 - UNDER (.253)
In four seasons with the Orioles prior to 2015, Hardy had an overall OBP of .301, and had been over .306 in three of those four seasons. Most of us thought he'd bounce back above .300 which, while still pretty bad, he had managed to combine with good power and great defense in the past to make for a good baseballer. That didn't really happen this year. (# Correct: 61/26%)
14. Steve Pearce HR: 14.5 - OVER (15)
Steve just made it! Prior to his 21-dong season in 2014, Pearce had never hit more than four home runs in a season. It's an understatement to say that this season was a disappointment for him, but he did look pretty good towards the end of the season. Maybe there is still a good player in there somewhere.
15. Ubaldo Jimenez's ERA: 4.51 1/2 - UNDER (4.11)
Though he had some troubles towards the end of the year, Jimenez looked pretty good at times for the O's this season. His 4.11 ERA equaled and ERA+ of 101. Good enough for the largest pitcher contract in Orioles history? Maybe not. But still a huge improvement from his 2014 season. (# Correct: 74/31.5%)
Who will be the first...
16. Oriole to his a home run? Alezandro De Aza (7 correct)
It feels like it's been a really long time since De Aza was on the team, but he actually hit the first home run of the season for the Birds. The three most popular picks for this question were Chris Davis (58), Steve Pearce (50), and Adam Jones (49).
17. Minor leaguer called up? Ryan Lavarnway (51 picked "other")
This one was a little tricky because Lavarnway actually was on the Orioles roster when Opening Day occurred. But when the Orioles released their OD roster on April 5th, Lavarnway wasn't on it. On April 6th he was officially called up and Ryan Webb was designated for assignment. On April 7th, when Chris Davis returned from his suspension, the Orioles optioned Steve Clevenger (who had made the official OD roster) and kept Lavarnway as the backup. Lavarnway wasn't an option on the answer list, so the 51 of you who chose "other" got the point. The most popular choice for this question was T.J. McFarland, who got over a third of the vote.
18. Team the Orioles sweep? Boston Red Sox (14 correct)
The Orioles didn't get their first sweep of the season until June 9-11, when they were in the midst of a six-game winning streak. June was a fun month. The most popular answers for this question were the Rays (74), Yankees (42), and Blue Jays (27).
19. Team that sweeps the Orioles? Toronto Blue Jays (of course - 42 correct)
The Blue Jays swept the Orioles in Toronto on April 21-23. It was an ugly series in which the Orioles scored six runs twice and still couldn't get a win. The most popular answer for this question was the Red Sox (50), and an optimistic 29 of you said they wouldn't be swept at all.
20. First Orioles pitcher to pitch a complete game? None (womp womp)
This is the first time in several years that I neglected to provide "none" as an option for which pitcher will pitch a complete game. I could say I got cocky in the Orioles' success, but I think I just forgot. Any other year (literally) this wouldn't have mattered, but somehow the Orioles managed to get through the entire year without a complete game. What an embarrassment. The most popular answer was Chris Tillman (146).
Which Oriole will...
21. Be the starting pitcher with the lowest ERA (min 150 IP)? Wei-Yin Chen - 3.34 (60 correct)
Chen was the all around best starting pitcher the Orioles had in 2015, so naturally he won't be back. Chris Tillman just narrowly edged Chen as the most popular answer with 63, but he didn't come close to matching his ERA.
22. Have the most innings pitcher? Chen - 191.1 (1 correct)
Shout out to the only person to pick Chen to have the most IP - Andrew_Lew! Tillman was the most popular pick in a landslide (201) as he was coming off of back-to-back 200 IP seasons.
23. Have the most appearances out of the bullpen? Darren O'Day - 68 (149 correct)
This one was, in my opinion, a toss up between O'Day and Britton. And Britton was the second-most popular pick after O'Day, but with over 100 less picks. If not for his late season lat soreness, Britton might have edged him.
24. Have the highest OBP (min 350 PA)? Chris Davis - .361 (26 correct)
With Nick Markakis gone, this title was finally up for grabs. The most popular answer was Manny Machado (76), and he finished just .002 behind Davis. Manny was leading him going into the last game, but Davis went 3-for-4 with a walk to pass him. A very special LOL goes out to the 10 of you who picked Hardy for this question.
25. Have the lowest OBP (min 350 PA)? J.J. Hardy - .253 (13 correct)
Jonathan Schoop got a whopping 94 picks in this question, and that's not a bad guess. His OBP of .306 was second lowest among those with 350 PA, but Hardy out-disappointed everyone.
That's all, folks! Thanks to everyone who participated, and I look forward to doing it again next year.