According to one preseason listing of those over and under wins totals used mostly for wagering purposes, the Orioles’ win total for 2019 is put at 59. That would be 12 more victories than in 2018, but would also mean 103 losses are coming our way.
But such lines are crafted to induce equal wagering on either side, and public perception factors in here. And an over-under wins total doesn’t really matter or predict with any certainty what will happen next season.
We already knew that the team is undertaking a multi-year rebuilding process, and that we probably should not count on October baseball this season.
Nothing wrong with that for a team going through an on-field and front office reboot of sorts. No one is accepting losing here, but it’s OK for fans to understand the process the team is going through and adjust expectations for the coming season. Heck, it could be fun to follow a team trying to build from close to scratch, a club that will now approach trying to win very differently under Mike Elias and his staff.
There may be days and nights this year when Orioles fans feel some level of satisfaction in saying, “We lost, but ... “
That clearly depends on what comes after “but.”
What could follow is that a young pitcher such as David Hess, Yefry Ramírez or Josh Rogers is making progress toward becoming a rotation regular you can count on. Or that Cedric Mullins is making improvements batting right-handed and is settling in nicely as a leadoff hitter. Or that Trey Mancini is bashing the baseball and his numbers are looking more like what he showed in 2017. Or that a young catcher such as Austin Wynns or Chance Sisco is taking steps forward. Or Mychal Givens is showing signs of becoming a top closer. Or Tanner Scott is building on his 2018 progress. Or a veteran such as Andrew Cashner, Alex Cobb or Mark Trumbo is having a solid year and providing nice leadership while at the same time building some trade value.
What if Yusniel Díaz, Austin Hays, Keegan Akin, Ryan Mountcastle, DL Hall, Grayson Rodriguez or any number of countless others are making big strides on the farm? What if the Orioles organization is embracing analytics nicely and it’s helping the club in countless ways? What if in having another rough season, the Orioles get another high draft pick to help the rebuild.
There are a lot of what-ifs there and I’m sure you can come up with others. These are just some ways that an organization can be moving forward toward an end goal while the present won-loss record is unsightly. Aren’t some of these things exactly what the Orioles need to happen in 2019?
While all this may be happening, I think it will be interesting to track the farm system. What will change in the O’s affiliates under Elias? What will change with new minor league pitching coordinator Chris Holt? What will change under the new international scouting leadership of Koby Perez?
The point here is there should be a lot to look forward to, follow, track and discover with the Orioles on and off the field in 2019. There are plenty of reasons to follow the team. No one wants to see losses, but fans may have to take some victories where they find them, which may not always be on the scoreboard.
Barring a surprise or change of heart, since we hear from so many fans here, Birdland seems quite ready to enjoy the 2019 season, no matter the record. Will the fans enjoy the ride, even if its an uphill one right now?