Congrats to our two winners, Knubles and Bits and jsuperstarr!
The 2022 season is over for the Orioles, and that means it’s time to give the final results of the pre-season contest. The Orioles were a lot better than anyone expected, which may have messed with some people’s scores if they went the pessimistic route.
But not everyone did so, and we had two winners whose final score was 19 correct out of 30. That may not be a great grade on your high school math test, but 19 correct on this contest is a great job! So congrats to jsuperstarr and Knubles and Bits!
Once again, I failed to win the contest, despite having all the questions ahead of time. My score of 12 was one fewer than blog boss Mark, but so much more than my dear husband Paul, who only got a score of 7. Household bragging rights to me!
To see your score, check out the full spreadsheet and CTRL+F to find your name. The spreadsheet is ranked by number of questions correct. How did you do? Tell us in the comments!
Every year I thank fellow Camden Chatter and spreadsheet aficionado fart_shoes for sprucing up the scoring book to auto tally and do other fancy things. This year I owe him a special thanks because we had three questions that had a tie in the answer, and three times he had to revisit the spreadsheet and work his magic. Thank you, friend!
The contest is one of the most fun things I do for this site every year, so thank you to the 179 folks who took the time to play along. I hope you also had fun doing it.
Now, on to the answers. Did any surprise you?
Which will be higher?
- John Means HR allowed or Cedric Mullins HR hit? Mullins 16, Means 0 — This one was sadly answered much too early in the season. As we all know, Means made just two starts this year before going on the injured list. It wasn’t long after that our worst fears were confirmed and he was headed to Tommy John surgery and would be out for the rest of the season (and then some). Mullins had just one home run at that time, but that was enough. (47% chose correctly)
- Number of pitchers to make a start or number of players to steal a base? Pitchers – 14, Base stealers – 13 — This one came down to the wire! It was a tie for some time, until Keegan Akin started game two of a double header in early September. After that, I just waited to see if any other batters would nab a stolen base. (78% chose correctly)
- Grayson Rodriguez strikeouts across all levels or Orioles batter with most strikeouts? Ryan Mountcastle – 154, Rodriguez – 109 — Another one answered way too early in the season. At the time of his injury, Rodriguez had 80 strikeouts and a healthy lead on the current Orioles leader at the time, Jorge Mateo. It took less than a month for Mateo to catch him. His 81st strikeout came on June 28th. Grayson added another 29 strikeouts in his rehab, but by then Mountcastle had racked up too many for Grayson to catch up. (45% chose correctly)
- Trey Mancini walks or Orioles wins? Orioles wins – 83, Mancini walks – 35. This one was tricky. For one, the Orioles won a lot more than anyone expected! And two, Mancini was traded on August 1st. Just like that, the question was answered. On the day he was traded, the Orioles picked up the 52nd win to go above .500. But really, this one came down to the Orioles being good, not to the trade. Trey was never gonna have over 83 walks. (76% chose correctly)
- Ryan Mountcastle plus Ramón Urías bWAR or Nelson Cruz bWAR? Ryan + Ramón — 4.6, Cruz — 0.2. Father time comes for us all, and it finally happened for Nelson Cruz. It felt like he’d never get old, but OPS+ of 90 with the Nationals is the lowest since his early days with the Rangers back in 2007. Combine that with a surprising season from Urías and it was an easy win for the O’s teammates. (87% chose correctly)
- Games started by Ryan McKenna or Robinson Chirinos? Chirinos – 62, McKenna – 41. General good health by the Orioles outfield doomed McKenna on this one. He did appear in more games overall, 102, but Chirinos’s regular gig to spell Adley Rutschman plus his full time job behind the plate before he was called up couldn’t be surpassed by McKenna. (67% chose correctly)
- Number of pitchers with ERA under 5.00 (min 10 G) or number of batters with a triple? Pitchers – 16, Triplers – 12. Guys, I was not prepared for how many pitchers there would be with ERAs under 5. I was also not prepared for how many players were going to hit a triple. This question was wild all around. In 2021, only five pitchers had ERAs under 5. This year, only three were OVER five. I guess that’s why they won so many more games, huh. (37% chose correctly)
- Orioles runs scored at OPACY or OBP*1000 of team leader (min. 250 PA)? Rutschman – .362, Runs scored – 343. Last year’s OBP king, Ramón Urías, had a mark of .361, but the Orioles scored quite a few more runs at 362. (38% chose correctly)
- Austin Hays OPS+ or Austin Hays number of strikeouts? Strikeouts – 114, OPS+ – 103. I had high hopes for Hays this year. I know a lot of us did. He got off to a good start, but got cold and never recovered from July through October. It was speculated he was dealing with injury towards the end of the year, but to be bad for half of the season means the Orioles will have to re-evaluate Hays’s future with the team. (35% chose correctly)
- More questions right in this contest, Mark or Stacey? Mark – 13, Stacey – 12. Thwarted again! And to be completely transparent, one of my correct answers was from choosing Mark as the answer to this question. (30% chose correctly – I’m sorry for letting everyone down!)
- Orioles losses: 99.5. Under — 79. Hooray! The Orioles won their 63rd game on August 21st, ensuring their run of 100-loss full seasons would end at three. You were an optimistic bunch, with 65% taking the under.
- Longest winning streak: 4.5. Over — 10. The 10-game winning streak from from July 3-13 was one of most unexpected and delightful stretches of baseball I have seen in some time. It took them from nine games under .500 to one game over. 70% took the over on 4.5, but I doubt anyone would have predicted double digits.
- Number of players on the roster for both game 1 and game 162: 17.5. Over – 20. When posing the question, I added the stipulation that players on the IL will count towards the 17.5, as the spirit of the question was about which players would be ousted from the roster. I never anticipated core of the bullpen would stay mostly intact, did you? That’s basically what kept the number up. (42% chose correctly)
- Players from FanGraphs Top 45 prospects to make their ML debut: 6.5. Over – 8 . Here is the list, for reference. The players are Adley Rutschman, D.L. Hall, Gunnar Henderson, Kyle Bradish, Kyle Stowers, Terrin Vavra, Félix Bautista, and Logan Gillaspie. That’s a lot of good players! (61% chose correctly)
- Shortest nine-inning game: 2:25 ½. Over – 2:27. They looked several times like they might do it, but then the final innings dragged. They did have one game clock in at 2:16, but it was rain shortened and called after eight innings. On the flip side, they played seven games that lasted four hours or longer, though five of those were extra innings. I am looking forward to the pitch clock next year to limit the long games. (45% of you chose correctly)
Who will be the first…
- Oriole to hit a home run? Anthony Santander (4/8). It seems appropriate that the team leader in home runs nabbed the first dinger of the year. The most common answer was Ryan Mountcastle, who was 2021’s HR leader.
- Player traded away? Cole Sulser, Tanner Scott, Trey Mancini. The pre-season contest authorities were thrown for a loop when Scott and Sulser were traded to the Marlins after the contest was posted but before Opening Day. Anyone who hadn’t entered yet suddenly had a question answered for them before they even started. In an effort to make things fair, we opted to accept not only Sulser and Scott, but the first player traded after the season started. That ended up being Trey Mancini. Next season we’ll add clarifying language that it’ll be the first player traded after Opening Day. The most common answer by a landslide was a player who didn’t get traded: Anthony Santander.
- Minor leaguer called up? Alexander Wells and Spenser Watkins. Watkins and Wells were called up together on April 11th. Watkins last until June 8th before being optioned, after which time he joined the Norfolk Express. He pitched the final game for the Orioles. Wells had a less successful year, going on the injured list in May and never making it back to the big league team. The most common answer was the one the people wanted to see most: Adley Rutschman.
- Team the Orioles sweep? Texas Rangers (July 4-6). This took longer than it should have. It was wins 2-4 in their 10-game winning streak. The most common answer was the Yankees. Only one person chose the Rangers, and it was also the contest winner! Good job, jsuperstarr. This answer was the difference between first and second place.
- Team that sweeps the Orioles? Tampa Bay Rays (April 8-10). Didn’t take long to have our answer to this question! The Rays were the most common answer, as the team who the Orioles play first usually is.
- Will the Orioles have the highest team ERA in the American League? No, and it wasn’t even close. For most of the year, the Orioles’ team ERA hovered around league average. That’s not the ultimate goal, of course, but it was a major improvement. At the end of the year, the team ERA was 3.97, good for 9th in the AL. In 2021, when they were dead last, the team ERA was 5.84.
- Will the Orioles have a single-game home attendance higher than 30K? (excluding Opening Day) Yes – they did it eight times including Opening Day! We really underestimated this question when we asked. We weren’t really sure what the crowds would look like after the covid-induced attendance weirdness of 2021. It seems most of you realized this was a silly question as 75% answered yes.
- Will Grayson Rodriguez make his major league debut before August 15, 2022? No (insert sad face here) Rodriguez looked poised to make his major league debut in June, forget about August. But his injury set back the timetable. I look forward to seeing him on the big league roster in April 2023. Only 28% of you knew he wouldn’t make it here by 8/15.
- Will the Orioles have a winning month? (Sept/Oct count as one month combined) YES! And they didn’t have just one winning month, they had three. June, July, and August were very good months to be an Orioles fan. Only 44% of us answered correctly.
- Will Anthony Santander be traded? No. Everyone expected it right up until the trade deadline passed. It was just another surprising thing about the 2022 Orioles. 26% answered correctly.
- Which of these players will have the highest slugging percentage? (min. 250 PA) – Choices: Trey Mancini, Cedric Mullins, Ryan Mountcastle, Adley Rutschman. Winner: Adley. Because he does everything well. He didn’t lead the team in SLG, though. His .445 SLG was second to Santander’s .455, but he wasn’t a choice. I guess because we thought he’d be traded. 15 people correctly picked Adley, the most common choice was Mountcastle in a landslide (67%)
- Who will be the Orioles’ All Star representative? Choices: John Means, Trey Mancini, Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins, or Other. Winner: Other! Specifically Jorge López. Really didn’t see that one coming. 15% correctly chose other, the most common answer was Mullins.
- Which of these prospects will have the highest minor league OPS? (min. 250 PA) – Choices: Jordan Westburg, Coby Mayo, Gunnar Henderson, Colton Cowser, Kyle Stowers. Winner: Gunnar Henderson, .946. Henderson played so well they couldn’t possibly keep him in the minors any longer. The most exciting thing, though, is that aside from Mayo (.782), all of these guys OPS’d over .850. Only 10% correctly chose Gunnar, the most common answer was Cowser.
- Which of the following pitchers will have the most Orioles starts? Choices – Dean Kremer, Bruce Zimmermann, Zac Lowther, Alexander Wells, Keegan Akin. Winner – Kremer, 21. This was only ever a contest between Zimmermann and Kremer, and in the end Kremer won easily. Lowther and Wells never got any significant playing time, and probably never will. Akin found a home in the bullpen. 10% correctly chose Kremer, while 56% chose Zimmermann.
- Against which AL East team will the Orioles have the most wins? 48% of participants chose the Yankees for this question. I’m not really sure why. But funnily enough, that answer ended up being the only incorrect one. The Orioles finished the season with nine wins each against the Rays, Red Sox, and Blue Jays.
That’s it! That’s the entire pre-season contest. I hope you had as much fun participating and following along throughout the season as we did creating the questions. If you didn’t win, you can try again next year.