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Pre-Season Contest: Mid-season update

A breakdown of where the contest stands so far.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Baltimore Orioles Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

With the first half of the 2021 season in the books, I thought it was time for a look back at our pre-season contest. To date we’ve had eight questions answered and another eight that are pretty much just a waiting game until we can officially mark them as complete. You can scroll down to see all of those answers, and you can check the full spreadsheet to see how you’re doing.

Currently we have a three way tie at the top as booth not boo, toadb22, and our front page writer Tyler Young tied with five correct answers each. There are also 11 of you who haven’t answered a single question correctly. Embarrassing!

We were a lot more optimistic before the season began. Almost 80% of us thought the Orioles wouldn’t lose at least 100 games (they will). 72% of us thought the team would have a team ERA under 5.20 (they won’t). Nearly 23 thought the Orioles would draw over 1 million fans (also no).

Read on to see the questions that have been answered and how the crowd voted. And for a summary of all answers, click here.

Completed Questions

Which will be higher, starts in center field by Cedric Mullins or by Austin Hays?
Answer: Cedric Mullins (84 starts so far)
% correctly answered: 36%

Halfway through the season, it’s funny that this was ever a viable question. But it totally was! The questions a contest participant had to ask themselves back in March were: Will Hays be healthy enough to stay on the field? Will Mullins be good enough to even stay on the roster?

Well, Hays has continued to have health issues this year, but that fact is incidental to the end result thanks to Mullins turning himself into the best outfielder in baseball this year. It didn’t even take him until the All Star break to top 81 starts in centerfield this year.

Over/Under: Orioles runs in one game - 13.5
Answer: Over - 18 runs on 6/6 vs CLE
% correctly answered: 57%

Even the worst of teams have a blowout every now and then. The Orioles have hit double digits in runs scored five times this season, including their crazy game against Cleveland in early June where Mullins was on base five times, including a home run, and the Orioles had two five-run innings and a six-run inning. Those days are fun.

Who will hit the first Orioles home run?
Answer: Rio Ruiz
% correctly answered: 1.64%

Rio Ruiz seemed like he’d be an ok placeholder this season, but he was so bad at the plate the that Orioles cut him loose in late May. He’s now playing for the triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes in the Colorado Rockies’ system. But he did manage to hit the O’s first dinger of the year. It was in the sixth game of the season and came with the Orioles down 7-0 in the ninth inning against the Yankees. The most common answer to this question was Ryan Mountcastle, but his first home run didn’t come until two days later. Three people chose Ruiz in the contest.

Who will be the first minor leaguer called up?
Answer: Ryan McKenna
% correctly answered: 0.55% (that’s one correct answer)

McKenna was called up very early in the season, April 5th, when Hays took his first trip to the DL. Just one person guessed it would be him! Well done, QBurkitt! The most common answer was Yusniel Diaz (17.4%), so those folks got the positioning correct if not the player. After that it skewed understandably toward pitching, with the next most common answers being Keegan Akin (12%), Mike Baumann (12%), and Zac Lowther (11.4%).

Who will be the first team the Orioles sweep?
Answer: Boston Red Sox
% correctly answered: 39.89%

Both sweep-related questions in this contest were answered in the team’s first three series, and both answers were the same. The Orioles kicked off the season with a three-game sweep of the Red Sox in Boston, which was very much fun indeed. The series ended with the 3-0 Orioles in first place and the 0-3 Red Sox in last place. Since then, things have been pretty the opposite.

Who will be the first them that sweeps the Orioles?
Answer: Boston Red Sox
% correctly answered: 20.22%

After their season-starting sweep of the Red Sox, the Orioles went to New York to face the Yankees, the team most of us picked to be the first team to sweep the Birds (56%). And it almost happened until they won in extra innings in the final game of the series. The Orioles then traveled home for their first home series of the year where they were swept by the Red Sox. Not a great way to kick off the return of fans to Camden Yards.

Will Chris Davis play a game for the Orioles in 2021?
Answer: No
% correctly answered: 16.39%

With all due respect to Chris Davis, I was feeling optimistic when I picked “No” as my answer to this question. I didn’t really think it would happen. But after starting the season on the disabled list, the Orioles announced in mid-May that Davis had undergone hip surgery and wouldn’t not play in any major league games this season. Next year is the final year of the incredibly bad contract he was signed to, so it’s very possible that September 11, 2020 was the final game of his Orioles career.

Who will be the O’s All Star rep?
Answer: Other (Cedric Mullins)
% correctly answered: 19.67%

The only named options in this question were Trey Mancini, Anthony Santander, and John Means. Before the season they really seemed the only viable options, don’t you think? Once again I’m glad to have Mullins prove me wrong.

It’s only a formality

Which will be higher: Home runs hit by Trey Mancini or Anthony Santander?
Current score: Mancini 16, Santander 6
% who chose Mancini - 54.64%

I’d love to see Santander storm back and make a contest of this, but he has really been so disappointing this year. Turns out a better choice for this question would have been Mullins (of course, that’s the theme of this contest) or Ryan Mountcastle.

Which will be higher: Total team saves or catchers’ CS%?
Current score: CS% - 38, Saves - 11
% who chose CS% - 44.81%

That 38% could easily come down, but could it come down far enough to go below saves? That seems unlikely.

Which will be higher: Orioles making their major-league debut or Orioles intentional walks?
Current score: Debuts - 11, IBB - 4
% who chose Debuts - 71.04%

I’m having a hard time imagining a scenario where the Orioles get 8 more intentional walks.

Over/Under: Orioles losses - 99.5
% who chose Over - 22.4%

The Orioles are currently on pace to go 51-111. To avoid 100 losses, they have to finish the season 35-38. There is just no way that happened. It’s hilarious to me that over 34 of us picked the under (including me).

Over/Under: Team ERA - 5.20 12
Current Team ERA: 5.60
% who chose Over - 27.87%

I could do the math to tell you what ERA the Orioles would have to pitch to in order to get their ERA to 5.20, but why. It’s not gonna happen.

Will the Orioles finish in last place in the A.L. East?
Current games back of fourth place - 18
% who said yes - 62.84%

We may have been somewhat optimistic before the season, but most of us knew that the Orioles would finish in the basement.

Will the Orioles draw at least 1 million fans?
Current attendance: 377,711
% who said no - 62.84%

In order to reach 1M fans, the Orioles will need to draw 622,289 over their final 38 home games. That’s an average of over 16,000 fans per game. Over their first 43 games they averaged fewer than 9,000. The average should be higher going forward due to 1) full capacity, and 2) summer. But that’s still a big ask.

Which of these starters will have the most starts?
Current leader: Jorge Lopez - 19
% who said Lopez - 10%

The choices were Lopez, Dean Kremer, Wade LeBlanc, Bruce Zimmerman, or Keegan Akin. Lopez is currently six ahead of Kremer and seven ahead of Zimmermann, and it seems he’ll be staying in the rotation.

It’s still anyone’s game! Check back at the end of the season for the final results.