What could go right or wrong during the 2012 season?

Trying to predict how many games the Orioles will win this year is a dicey proposition. If some of their young players take steps forward and the team has a healthy year, maybe they approach or even better a .500 mark. But if some of the opposite occurs and the team once again gets overwhelmed by its American League East rivals, the 2012 Orioles could approach or reach 100 losses.

That seems to be a big swing from the most optimistic outlook to the most dire.

By the way, just twice in club history, dating to 1954, have the Orioles lost 100 games. The 1954 Orioles were 54-100 and the Orioles went 54-107 in 1988. Two years ago the Orioles lost 98 games.

In Las Vegas, where sports betting is legal, the sportsbooks provide an over/under number for each team. It is the number of games they project each team to win and the betters then gamble that the club will go over or under that total.

In a quick Internet check of a few sites last night, I saw that number listed at 69.5, 70.5, 71 and 71 for the Orioles. So, for entertainment purposes only as they say, do you see the Orioles going over or under?

Here is a look at the upcoming season, looking at some possibilities which would likely produce very different outcomes for the 2012 season.

What could go right:

* The young pitchers like Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton could all show improvement and take steps forward. This would not only be significant for this year but for the team’s future as well.

* Given regular playing time, Nolan Reimold and Chris Davis could have solid offensive seasons and the O’s could improve on last year’s runs scored total which ranked seventh in the AL.

* Jim Johnson could prove to be an above average closer and the Orioles could do a lot better than last year’s late-inning disasters which produced a team save percentage of just 63 percent when the club recorded 32 saves in 51 chances. That percentage was bad, but not even the worst in the AL East last year.

New York: 75 percent
Tampa: 73 percent
Boston: 69 percent
Toronto: 57 percent

* The Orioles could see defensive improvement at third base and left field and become one of the better fielding teams in the AL.

* Brian Roberts could return. While most would consider getting Roberts back for this season to be a longshot, it would be about the biggest boost this team could get this year.

What could go wrong:

* The young pitchers could struggle and/or deal with more injuries, failing to take a step forward.

* Some hitters who produced solid numbers last year like Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy or Matt Wieters could fail to produce the same numbers this season.

* Wei-Yin Chen and Tsuyosi Wada could struggle to adjust to pitching in the United States.

* The Orioles, who always seem to have their fair share of injuries, could have them again.

* The offense could take a step back due to the lack of a true leadoff and/or cleanup hitter.

This is just a quick list and feel free to add to it in terms of what you think may go right or wrong for the team this season.

What is your take on the 2012 season?: Do the Vegas oddsmakers have it right with their over/under projections? What could go either right or wrong to impact the final record for this season?

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