The 2021 season is over for the Orioles and once again they won’t be going to the playoffs. Maybe next year! With the end of the season comes the announcement of the winners of this year’s pre-season contest. We had a total of 184 entries and, with all answers tallied, three winners!
Congratulations to Bring Back Buck, pabirdfan, and Michimore Wizskins. You three answered 17 questions correctly, the most in this year’s contest! Five participants answered 16 correctly, including a guy who has been writing for this site for many years, Tyler Young. Great job, Tyler!
As for me, I run this thing and only managed 12. Oh well.
To see how you did in the contest, check out the completed spreadsheet. It’s easiest if you CTRL-F to find your name.
One note: One of the questions in the final section is about which pitcher will get the most saves. Cole Sulser and César Valdez tied, but I am not smart enough to have both names register as correct. It currently only shows Sulser as correct, as that pick affected the winners. But if you did pick Valdez (like me), add one point to your score. Tech support is on this!
Thanks to everyone who participated, volunteered questions, and helped with spreadsheet formatting (fart_shoes). I’ll see you all again in 2022!
On to the answers.
Which will be higher?
This is the heart of the pre-season contest. For the first several years the entire contest was made up of these questions. It’s expanded since then, but these are still my favorite.
Which will be higher...
- Pitching Staff ERA+ or Hitters OPS+? OPS+ (90 to 78). Of course they were both below average, so really we’re all losers here. 72% of you smartly chose OPS+.
- Home runs by the team leader or number of pitchers used? We try to use questions in this section that are historically have answers close to each other. But the Orioles went nuts in the pitching department this year, using 42 different pitchers. Even HR leader Ryan Mountcastle’s 33 dingers couldn’t compete. 86% of you correctly guessed this outcome.
- Team leader in hits or team leader in strikeouts (as a batter)? I love this question because the answers are weirdly close in recent history. In 2020 it was a difference of just two (62 hit to 63 strikeouts) and in 2019 they were identical (176) and the leader in both was the same person. Things weren’t as close this year, and in the good way. Cedric Mullins led the way with 175 hits, which blew away Ryan Mountcastle’s 161 strikeouts. 58% of you chose correctly.
- Starting pitchers making 1-9 starts or starting pitchers making at least 10 starts? This one looked for awhile like it might end in a tie. There were seven pitchers who had made at least 10 starts and seven pitchers who couldn’t conceivably get to 10 starts, with very few realistic options for a pitcher to make his first start of the year. But then on 9/26, Conner Greene started a bullpen game to become the 15th starting pitcher of the year and the eighth with <10 starts. He lasted all of 0.2 innings. 78% of you chose correctly.
- More home runs, Anthony Santander or Trey Mancini? This one became official on 9/28 when Santander was placed on the IL to finish his season. He was behind for most of the year but we’ve seen him get hot and hit a bunch of homers in a few games. But in the end, Mancini’s 21 home runs topped Santander’s 18. 55% of you chose correctly.
- John Means’s ERA or Alex Cobb’s ERA? Cobb ended up with a higher ERA, 3.76 to 3.62, but it feels like a letdown considering Alex Cobb had an ERA of over 5 at the end of June with John Means’s ERA less than half that. But Cobb had a good second half (when he wasn’t hurt) and Means struggled. 48% of you chose Cobb.
- Catchers CS% or total team saves? The team’s main catcher, Pedro Severino, was just below average in catching base stealers. The league average is 24% and Severino caught 23%. But his backups (Austin Wynns, Chance Sisco, and Nick Ciuffo) caught a total of 45% of would be base stealers! That brought the team average up to 34%, which was easily higher than the 26 team saves. 45% of you chose correctly.
- Starts in center field, Austin Hays or Cedric Mullins? When I wrote this question, I assumed that Hays would win if he could stay healthy. Oops! Mullins made CF his own this year and this question was wrapped up by the All Star break. 36% of you correctly chose Mullins.
- Orioles who make their major league debuts vs Orioles who are IBB’d? Why would anyone intentionally walk an Oriole? Well, it did happen 12 times for some reason. But the team had an eye-popping 16 players make their major league debut in 2021. 71% chose correctly.
- More questions right in this contest, Mark or Stacey? Ack! Foiled again! Mark beat me easily with a score of 15-13. 28% chose Mark.
- Orioles losses: 99.5 - OVER. Maybe next year will be the year for double digit losses. Only 22% of you expected they’d be this bad.
- MLB roster players traded by July 31st: 2.5 - UNDER. Paul Fry and Tanner Scott were supposed to be the big trade chips. Instead they were both bad. Now one is in the minors, the other is hurt, and only Freddy Galvis was on the move at the deadline. 39% chose correctly.
- Team ERA: 5.20 1⁄2 - OVER. This team is an embarrassment. The 5.84 put up by the Orioles was worst in the majors. Second-worst were the Diamondbacks at 5.11. 28% chose correctly.
- Most runs by the Orioles in one game: 13.5 - OVER. Even a terrible team can score a lot of runs on occasion. The 2021 team topped 13 just once, when they defeated Cleveland 18-5 on June 6th. 57% chose correctly.
- Longest winning streak: 4.5 - UNDER. This team never even won more than three in a row. What an embarrassment. 31% chose correctly.
Who will be the first...
- Oriole to hit a home run? Do you remember Rio Ruiz? It was him! His homer against the Yankees on 4/6 was the first of the season for the Birds. Only three people predicted it would be Rio, for good reason.
- Player to be traded away? Freddy Galvis! 8% of you chose correctly. The most common answer was Anthony Santander, which feels very bizarre at this point.
- Minor leaguer called up? Ryan McKenna, come on down! Only one person predicted this. Well done, QBurkitt. McKenna has been up and down this year but has gotten into 90 games this year. The most common answer was Yusniel Diaz, which makes me sad.
- Team to sweep the Orioles? After sweeping the Red Sox in Boston to open the season, the Red Sox returned the favor by sweeping them in the first series at Camden Yards. 20% of you chose correctly, most picked the Yankees.
- Team the Orioles sweep? After sweeping the Red Sox in Boston to open the season, the Red Sox returned the favor by sweeping them in the first series at Camden Yards. Most of you did predict this, with the Red Sox being the most common pick (40%)
- Will the Orioles finish in last place in the A.L. East? A hearty yes to this one! They not only finished in last, they finished 39 games behind FOURTH place. 62% of you chose correctly.
- Will Chris Davis play a game for the 2021 Orioles? No he did not, and with his retirement announcement in August, we don’t have to worry about seeing him next year either. I gotta admit, this one is a surprise. Most of you agree with me as only 16% answered correctly.
- Will any O’s starter (min 10 starts) have a W-L record of above .500? No, they did not. This one came down the final game of the season when the 4-4 Bruce Zimmermann took the mound against the Blue Jays. But that dream went out the window when he gave up three runs in just 0.2 innings. Only 21% of you chose correctly.
- Will the Orioles draw at least one million fans? Between the horribleness of the team, starting the season at partial capacity, and the ongoing pandemic, it’s no surprise that the Orioles welcomed only 793,229 fans to Camden Yards in 2021. But even I was surprised at some of the low number on day-to-day basis. 63% chose correctly.
- Will Adley Rutschman hit more than 20 home runs across all levels? Yeah he did! Rutschman hit 18 home runs with the Bowie Baysox and five more with the Norfolk Tides. Maybe next year we’ll have a question about how many he’ll hit for the Orioles. 66% chose correctly.
- Which of these pitchers will lead the Orioles in saves? Choices: Tanner Scott, Dillon Tate, Cole Sulser, César Valdez, Other). It was a tie! Both Sulser and Valdez managed eight whole saves. Very impressive. 20 people chose Sulser, 29 chose Valdez. The most common answer was Scott with 44% of the vote.
- Which of these pitchers will make the most starts? Choices: Jorge López, Wade LeBlanc, Keegan Akin, Dean Kremer, Bruce Zimmermann. López won this one and it wasn’t even close. He made 25 starts before being moved to the bullpen. The next closest was Keegan Akin with 17. 19 people (10%) chose López with the most common answer being Kremer (45%). Another bummer.
- Which of these outfielders will have the highest OPS (min. 100 PA)? Choices: Anthony Santander, Austin Hays, DJ Stewart, Yusniel Diaz, Ryan Mountcastle. This question is embarrassing for me for several reasons. First, I didn’t even consider putting Cedric Mullins on the list. Second, the winner is a guy who only started 18 games in the outfield. Whoops! Ryan Mountcastle had an OPS of .796, second only on the team to the guy I left off this question. 77 people picked Mountcastle, second to Santander who got 79 votes.
- Against which A.L. East team will the Orioles get the most wins? It’s the Yankees! The Orioles went a respectable 8-11 against the Yankees this year. If the Yankees had just beaten the Orioles the way people probably expected they would, yesterday would have been a lot less stressful for them. Only nine people picked the Yankees. A whopping 74% of you picked the Red Sox.
- Who will be the O’s All Star game rep? Answers: John Means, Trey Mancini, Anthony Santander, Other. Another Cedric Mullins slight! The 36 of you who chose “other” take home the point for this question. The most common answer was, not surprisingly, Trey Mancini (62%).