When sifting through the national media's coverage of the Orioles this offseason, it isn’t tough to notice a trend.
The pundits love Dylan Bundy, they really like Buck Showalter – but ultimately they’re pretty sold that the Orioles are going to have a tough time repeating their success from 2012.
Here’s a sample of what some of those national outlets have been writing about the O’s in the past week.
--- Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci writes that history isn’t on the Orioles’ side when it comes to winning like they did last year, and he has the numbers to back it up:
Teams that make huge jumps in win totals almost always backslide. The 2012 Orioles won 24 more games than the 2011 Orioles. Over the 17 full seasons with the wild card in use (1996-2012), they became the 15th team to improve their win total by at least 22 victories. Among the previous 14 teams with a +22 jump or more, all of them had worse records the next year and none of them made the playoffs.
Verducci also points out that “The Atlantis Casino in Reno put the over/under number of wins for the Orioles this year at 76.5, the lowest number of any team in the AL East and -- gulp! -- lower than those of the Pirates, Royals and Indians.”
--- Bill Madden of the New York Daily news also takes a similar view with his check-in from Orioles camp in Sarasota, writing about how Showalter is out to prove critics wrong who say team can't repeat last year's success:
They made absolutely no improvements, either by the trade route or free agency, for a team that finished ninth in the American League in runs scored.
They could never repeat, or even come close to repeating, their 29-9 record in one-run games, in which their relievers had a collective 2.12 ERA.
And they can never expect to go 16-2 (including 16 in a row) in extra-innings games again.
It got to a point where Showalter just didn’t want to hear it anymore.
--- Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus takes this line of thinking a step further, writing that there probably won’t be any team this season that becomes the ‘next Orioles’ and has a similar out-of-knowhere season (NOTE: Subscription needed to read the full article):
The Orioles and A’s, as everyone knows, made the playoffs last season and won well over 90 games despite not having done either of those things for some time —15 years in Baltimore’s case, and six in Oakland’s. Someone, somewhere, might have predicted their success, but it wasn’t at Baseball Prospectus, and it wasn’t Billy Beane. It was a wonderful story, and we’re wired to want more wonderful stories. So now we need new Orioles and A’s. Some people started looking for them last year; others started looking last week.
But there’s a catch: Teams like the 2012 Orioles and A’s don’t come along often.
--- ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark wrote yesterday about how the Orioles’ starting rotation is far from settled:
If someone asks you to name the candidates to fill out this team’s rotation, the correct response should actually be: “Got an hour?”
His colleague Christina Kahrl takes a similar glance at the crowded pitching picture. You already know all the names involved, so no need to rehash them here.