Many of the Orioles stars from years past who helped the team constantly outperform their preseason win-loss projections are gone, which is a shame, since no team is projected to lose more games than the 105 losses that Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA has them pegged for in 2019.
The annual projections use a player's past performance and the underlying data to project what BP calls "the most likely outcome" for the upcoming season.
And after losing 115 games last year and bringing back largely the same roster from that franchise-record-setting team, the systems project the Orioles to lose over 100 games yet again.
By comparison, BP ran a projection for a team of all the remaining free agents, and they'd go 85-77 — a 28-game improvement on this particular actual baseball game.
In the previous era of Orioles baseball under Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter, the team used a unique way of constructing their roster and some deft in-game managing and sequencing to outperform their PECOTA projections almost as often as anyone.
They were projected to win 71, 75, and 75 games in 2012, 2013, and 2014 — and won 93, 85, and 96 games in that span. They only outperformed their 78-win PECOTA projection by three in their .500 2015 season, but were back in the double-digit green in 2016 when they won 89 games against a 74-win PECOTA projection.
But last season, the projections were almost as generous as they were unkind, with a 70-win forecast by PECOTA and a league-low 47 wins in reality.
Still, that means this year's projection would be a 10-win improvement. How could that happen? It projects improvements for Chris Davis, Trey Mancini and Mark Trumbo, among others, at the plate. There's not as much optimism on the pitching side, with only Dylan Bundy forecasted to have a sub-5.00 ERA among the projected starters.
It doesn't paint a bright picture, but considering how the vocal doubters in the Orioles organization when it comes to analytics and the underlying theory of these projections are gone and the franchise is embracing so much of what makes these forecasts respected, it's a little harder to dismiss them out-of-hand as so many others did.