Four months later than everybody thought, the 2020 Orioles season is a finally only a day away from getting under way. The shortened season is going to look and sound like nothing that anyone could have predicted only six months ago. The rules are different. The schedules are shortened. The only fans in the stands will be cardboard cutouts in some cities, and the only crowd noise will be fake. It is all going to be strange to see play out.
The season being limited to 60 games instead of closer to the usual 162 opens up a lot of room for some kind of unexpected outcome. If some team predicted for mediocrity has a good two weeks to start the season, or if a surefire contender stumbles out of the gate for 15 games, that’s 25% of the season instead of less than 10%. Every slump and every hot streak is magnified in its importance.
The significance of some bad injury luck is greater as well. Even a player with a day-to-day sore hamstring that ends up keeping him out of a three-game series has missed 5% of his team’s games. Teams are going to travel with a three-man taxi squad so they can bring up injury replacements sooner, but there aren’t many teams equipped to replace one of their stars from their stash of prospects.
Not that any of this matters too much to the Orioles. They don’t have very many good players whose absence would make a significant negative impact on the team, and one of the only ones who might is Trey Mancini, who we’ve known would be missing most of 2020 whether or not COVID-19 had ever come along for a few months. Though it’s possible things could get weird in the wider world of MLB, the Orioles are most likely not going to be any good.
With all that in mind, what do you hope for from the O’s this season? What do you think is going to happen? I polled some of the other Camden Chat writers on three quick things, and I’m interested in knowing what you think about these as well, so drop in to the comments and let us know:
- Your biggest hope for the 2020 Orioles
- What you think the O’s final record will be
- A prediction (big or small) about something you think will happen with the Orioles this year
Here’s what we thought:
Stacey: That everyone stays healthy enough that we get to see a full season. And that John Means proves he wasn’t a fluke.
Nick: I want to see the Orioles have “moments”, if that makes sense. Provide some evidence, even in a 60-game schedule, that there are future contributors on the current big league roster.
Paul: What I’m most hoping for is the full 60-game schedule gets completed and nobody gets seriously ill. (This applies to all of MLB and not just the Orioles, obviously.)
Harrison: Two things: no major injuries among the high profile young players, whether they’re on the 30-man roster or in the 60-man player pool, and a more patient team approach at the plate, i.e. walks.
Ben: I would love to see some Orioles who won’t be a part of future winning teams in Baltimore get off to a hot start so they can net prospects in a trade. I hope the O’s can at least add some young talent since 2020 will mostly be a lost year in terms of prospect development.
Andrea: Austin Hays wins ROY.
Mark: I want to see Austin Hays have a good, two month season. His September 2019 got me excited between his hitting and his fielding.
Alex: Another impressive (and hopefully healthy) showing by John Means. Means came out of nowhere last season, and another quality year would prove it wasn’t a fluke.
Orioles record predictions
Stacey: 30-30 (yeah, I said it)
Andrea: 20-40 sounds about right to me. (I just don’t see a path to a better record playing like all of our games in the AL East.)
Alex: 21-39. You know what they say... “Everyone‘s going to win 20, everyone’s going to lose 20, it’s what you do with the other 20.”
Select expert/computer predictions
Fangraphs: 21-39 (worst in MLB)
PECOTA: 22-38 (worst in MLB)
FiveThirtyEight: 21-39 (worst in MLB)
Stacey: The Orioles won’t finish last in the division
Nick: The Anthony Santander fan club will be declared too large to have any sort of public gathering because that guy is going to continue to his upward trajectory at the plate and in the corner outfield.
Paul: Hanser Alberto will be the Orioles’ All-Star representative.
Harrison: Austin Hays will lead the team in home runs
Ben: I predict that Anthony Santander will improve upon his solid 2019 season and establish himself as a part of the Orioles’ future plans.
Andrea: Anthony Santander hits the short-season equivalent of 30 home runs and gets named Most Valuable Oriole
Mark: The only players on the Orioles top prospect list who we’ll see before September are Hays and Hunter Harvey. And with his current arm status, I’m not too sure about Harvey.
Alex: Chris Davis will lead the team in home runs.
At least among our writers, seems like excitement is high for Anthony Santander though minimal for the Orioles overall. What do you think is coming over the next two months? Here’s the place to lay down your prediction so when it comes true you can point and tell everyone how you knew what would happen all along.