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Trends and picks for the Camden Chat pre-season contest

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Did you pick the way everyone else did? How do you think you’ll do?

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The year’s pre-season contest was our most successful yet, with 351 entries! Thank you so much to everyone who participated, I have a lot of fun putting it together and tracking it throughout the year.

If you want to look at the full list of responses, you can check out the spreadsheet.

Excitingly, we already had the answer to one of our questions: Who will be the first Oriole to hit a home run? 34 of you, so just about 10%, picked Adam Jones. Well done to you all! Adam was the 4th most picked answer after Manny Machado (33.3%), Trey Mancini (17.9%), and Jonathan Schoop (15.7%). Others who received votes were Anthony Santander, Caleb Joseph, Chris Davis, Colby Rasmus, Danny Valencia, Pedro Alvarez, and Tim Beckham.

That question was, of course, in the section asking about the season’s firsts. Here are the other questions in the category:

Who will be the first Oriole to pitch a complete game? An always popular pick for this question is “The Orioles will not have a complete game.” This year it was the second most popular answer after Kevin Gausman. Gausman captured 29.6% of the vote; No complete game got 25.4%. The last two years the Orioles have gotten exactly one complete game each season. They had none in 2015.

Other votes went to Dylan Bundy (24.5%), Andrew Cashner (10%), Other (8.8%), and two people actually voted for Chris Tillman. Wouldn’t that be something!

Who will be the first team that sweeps the Orioles? The most popular answers here were the most obvious. Leading the pack with 109 votes was the Yankees. They play six series a year and they’re good, so that’s smart. Just behind them with 107 votes were the Astros. The defending world champions are the second team the Orioles face this year, so that’s also a smart call. I know I can’t wait to see Tillman face them.

Who will be the first team the Orioles sweep? The first team the Orioles play every year is usually the most popular pick, but this year the number one spot went to the Rays (29.3%). I guess it seems the Rays will be pretty bad, and the Twins did make the playoffs last year. But I picked the Twins, who got the second most votes at 47. The Orioles are one game closer to make that the correct choice!

Only two people said that the Orioles will not sweep a team this year, which is fewer than normal. To my surprise, neither of them was Mark Brown.

Who will be the first minor leaguer called up? The overwhelming favorite for this question was Austin Hays with 83 votes. Second was Alex Cobb, for people who submitted their picks after that new was announced. He got 38 votes.

This is the only question that allows the participant to enter whatever answer they want, so I always get some good ones. Other picks for this question included Mark Brown, That Guy, and most perplexingly, “By Phone.”

Every year when I’m putting together this contest, I try to pick questions that will get close to a 50/50 response rate. That never happens. Of the nine which-will-be-higher questions, the six over/under questions, and the two yes/no questions, only about half were closer than a 70/30 split.

The closest answer was the over/under on starting pitchers used, which I set at 9.5. 50.7% of you picked under, with 49.3% picking over. The next closest was the over/under on the team’s longest losing streak. Just over half of you, 52.4% think the Orioles will have a losing streak longer than 6.5 games.

The most lopsided answer of the contest is an understandable one. That is, “Which will be higher, starts by Mike Wright Jr. or home runs by Colby Rasmus?” No one wanted Wright to be in the rotation, which made me expect that people would pick Rasmus just because they couldn’t bear the idea of Wright making a lot of starts. And then on top of that, the Orioles signed Alex Cobb a few days after the contest went live, pushing Wright from the rotation. 84.3% of you picked Rasmus to hit more home runs. I suspect you’re right.

Here are the other answers:

Which Will Be Higher

  • Walks by Adam Jones or HR by Mark Trumbo? Jones 266 (75.8%), Trumbo 85 (24.2%)
  • Starts by Hunter Harvey or stolen bases by Manny Machado? Machado 248 (70.7%), Harvey 103 (29.3%)
  • Outfield starts by Hays or Trumbo? Hays 235 (67%), Trumbo 116 (33%)
  • Saves by Brad Brach or Zach Britton? Brach 230 (65.5%), Britton 121 (34.5%)
  • HR hit by Mancini or HR allowed by Gausman? Mancini 220 (62.7%), Gausman 131 (37.3%)
  • Strikeouts by Chris Davis or walks+hits by Tillman? Davis 256 (72.9%), Tillman 95 (27.1%)
  • Bundy ERA+ or Schoop RBI? Bundy 206 (58.7%), Schoop 145 (41.3%)
  • Questions right in this contest, Mark or Stacey? Stacey 249 (70.9%), Mark 102 (29.1%)

Over/Under

  • Attendance - 2 million. Over - 246 (70.1%), Under - 105 (29.9%)
  • Longest win streak - 6.5. Over - 241 (68.7%), Under - 110 (31.3%)
  • Orioles All Stars - 1.5. Over - 282 (80.3%), Under - 69 (19.7%)
  • Team ERA - 4.50. Under - 205 (58.4%), Over - 146 (41.6%)

Yes/No

  • Will the Orioles trade Machado before the 7/31 deadline? No - 228 (65%), Yes, 123 (35%)
  • Will the Orioles be a .500 team (81+ wins)? Yes - 220 (62.7%), No 131 (37.3%)

Always included in the contest is a section on who will lead the team in certain categories. Each is usually skewed heavily towards one player, but the answer sometimes surprises us! In the 2017 contest, only one person correctly guessed that Schoop would lead the team in RBI. And in 2016 only two people picked Mark Trumbo hit the most dingers. This year the answers are all about Manny. Here are your top three answers:

Who will lead the team in...

Home runs?

  • Machado - 142 (40.5%)
  • Davis - 116 (33%)
  • Schoop - 52 (14.8%)

OPS (min 350 PA)?

  • Machado - 206 (58.7%)
  • Schoop - 70 (19.9%)
  • Mancini - 39 (11.1%)

Appearances out of the bullpen?

  • Givens - 192 (54.7%)
  • Brach - 77 (21.9%)
  • Darren O’Day - 48 (13.7%)

ERA as a starter (min 10 starts)

  • Bundy - 142 (40.5%)
  • Gausman - 97 (37.6%)
  • Other - 68 (19.4%)

Walks as a batter

  • Davis - 166 (47.3%)
  • Mancini - 52 (14.8%)
  • Machado - 51 (14.5%)

Thank you everyone for playing! I know we have a lot of fun with it throughout the year. I’ll be back to announce the winners at the close of the regular season.