Before the season began, denizens of Camden Chat embarked on their annual tradition: the pre-season contest. It happens during spring training, when everyone is at their most optimistic. Even in years when the Orioles will end up being terrible, the answers to the the contest skew positive.
In March of 2018, we were so innocent. Even those of us who thought the Orioles would be bad this year couldn’t fathom the depths to which they’d fall. Could anyone have predicted a 115-loss season? A trade deadline fire sale? Finishing 60 games out of first? Even the most ardent of pessimists wouldn’t make those predictions.
Something has to be pretty awful to be described as a dumpster fire. A dumpster fire isn’t a typical losing season, it’s worse than that. A dumpster fire is exactly what the 2018 season turned out to be. I would have said that nobody could predict it, and yet one person did.
The winner of the 2018 Camden Chat Pre-Season Contest is DumpsterFire2018, with 19 questions answered correctly! Congratulations to this mystery person. There is no member of Camden Chat with this user name, no way to know more about this prescient entry. How did DF2018 know? Did they have inside information? Are they a time traveler, back to warn the March versions of ourselves of our impending doom? I need to know more, and yet I probably never will.
In second place, with 18 questions answered correctly, are Camden Chat regulars dfa and HIO’sFan. Congrats to you two, as well, for being sufficiently pessimistic. There was a six-way tie for third place, one of whom was blog dad Mark Brown (aka Eat More Esskay).
In total we had 351 entrants into the contest. You can see the full results here. A big thanks to my friend fart_shoes (not his real name) for creating a well organized and low maintenance spreadsheet for me to work with.
Now, let’s get down to the answers.
Which will be higher?
- Walks by Adam Jones or home runs by Mark Trumbo? Winner - Jones (24-17). This was shaping up to be a good race until Trumbo got injured down the stretch. Also I love Adam Jones but only 24 walks? Wow. Even Tim Beckham had more than that and he only played in 96 games. 76% of you chose correctly.
- Start by Hunter Harvey or stolen bases by Manny Machado? Winner - Machado (8-0). Poor Hunter Harvey, injured again. 71% of you chose correctly.
- Outfield starts by Austin Hays or Mark Trumbo? Winner - Trumbo (19-0). When this contest was written it seemed a no-brainer that Hays would be in Baltimore sooner rather than later. Just another thing to add to the dumpster fire. 33% of you chose correctly.
- Saves by Brad Brach or Zach Britton? Winner - Brach (11-4). The idea behind this one was to get an idea of how long people thought Britton would be out with his injury. Then they both got traded, though Brach still ended the year as the saves leader (Mychal Givens picked up nine). 66% of you chose correctly.
- Home Runs by Colby Rasmus or starts by Mike Wright? Winner - Wright (2-1). If you would have told me that Wright would make two starts this season, I would agree that sounds about right. I guess what most of us didn’t see coming was that Rasmus would be a quitting quitter who quits, leaving the team after playing only 18 games. 16% of you chose correctly.
- HR hit by Trey Mancini or allowed by Kevin Gausman? Winner - Mancini (24-23). If Gausman had remained with the Orioles this season, he would have blown Mancini out of the water. Instead he was traded at the deadline, freezing his total at 23. At the time, Mancini had just 13, but finally topped Goose on September 26th with his final dinger of the season. 63% of you picked correctly.
- Chris Davis strikeouts or Chris Tillman walks+hits? Winner - Davis (192-59). Well, this one didn’t turn out as planned. 74% of you chose correctly.
- Dylan Bundy ERA+ or Jonathan Schoop RBI? Winner - Bundy (76-40). Both of those numbers are lower than we expected, I think. Also counting stats don’t really work out when the player is traded. I wouldn’t have ever guessed they’d trade Schoop though (Go Brewers!). 59% of you chose correctly.
- Questions right in this contest, Mark or Stacey? Winner - Mark (17-12). When posing this question I brazenly bragged about the fact that I always beat Mark in this contest. But in a land of pessimism, Mark is king. 29% of you chose correctly.
- Attendance: 2,000,000. Under - 1,564,192. This is the first time since 2011 that attendance has fallen below two million and the lowest attendance in Camden Yards history. 30% of you chose correctly.
- Longest winning streak: 6.5. Under. The longest winning streak of the year was four games, from May 9-12. Only three times in the season did they even win three games in a row. 31% of you chose correctly.
- Longest losing streak: 6.5. Over! The longest losing streak the team had was nine games from June 7-16. They had a eight separate losing streaks of at least six games. 52% of you chose correctly.
- Number of All Stars: 1.5. Under. Only Manny Machado attended the All Star Game for the Orioles, where he acted like a movie star who had just gotten his big break. Before play began in the second half he had been traded to the Dodgers. 20% of you chose correctly.
- Team ERA: 4.50. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. Oops, I mean: Over. Of the 30 pitchers the Orioles used this year, only nine of them individually had an ERA under 4.50. Three of them were traded at the deadline and one was Danny Valencia. 42% of you chose correctly
- Starting pitchers used: 9.5. Over - 14. Four of those 14 made only one start. Most of those 14 were terrible. 49% of you chose correctly.
Who will be the first...
- Oriole to hit a home run? Adam Jones (3/29). Only 34 of you picked Adam! The most common answer was Machado (33%).
- Oriole to pitch a complete game? Dylan Bundy (5/24). Bundy was the second most common answer to Gausman. 24% of you chose correctly
- Team that sweeps the Orioles? Astros (4/2-4/4). They made it all the way to the second series of the year! 30% of you chose the Astros. Not a bad pick.
- Team the Orioles sweep? Mets (6/5-6/6). Frankly I’m surprised they swept anyone. Only three of you picked the Mets! Wow.
- Minor leaguer called up? Jimmy Yacabonis. He wasn’t a popular pick, just 11 of you correctly chose Yac. Austin Hays was the most common answer.
Who will lead the team in...
- Home runs? Machado and Mancini (24). Machado left the team in late July but this section of the contest is pretty much the Manny show. At least Trey tied him in this one. 40% of you chose Manny to win this category. 9% chose Trey.
- OPS (min 350 PA)? Manny - .963. 58% of you chose correctly.
Appearances out of the bullpen?
MannyMychal Givens (69). It was a close race for awhile between Givens and Miguel Castro, but Mike pulled away at the end. 55% of you chose Givens, the most common answer.
- ERA as a starter (min 10 starts)? Gausman (4.43). Cashner could have caught him, but a bad start at the end and an injury knocked him out. Go Braves! 28% of you chose correctly, Bundy was the most common answer.
- Walks (as a batter)? Manny - 45. I thought Mancini might catch him but then he only picked up four walks in the entire month of September. Really it’s a testament to how awful this season was that anyone led the team with just 45 walks, much less someone who didn’t even play here half the time.
- Will Manny Machado be traded before the deadline? Yes, traded to the Dodgers at the All Star Break. I personally voted no because I thought the Orioles wouldn’t be good, but would be just close enough to contention that they would be scared to get rid of him. Only 35% of us actually thought they’d trade him.
- Will the Orioles end the season at .500 or better? haha, no. Only 37% of people correctly guessed no (including, of course, DumpsterFire2018).
And that’s it, folks! Check back in spring for the 2019 contest.