After a very successful 2016 season which included 89 wins and a trip to the Postseason, a Nevada casino isn’t betting on the Baltimore Orioles to have a better 2017.
The Atlantis Casino in Reno, NV is projecting the 2017 Baltimore Orioles at 84.5 wins this year. Compared to Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projection of 73 wins, that doesn’t sound too bad does it? 84.5 wins sound about right for this team. If you had to hold a gun to my head right now on February 13th I’d take 82 wins and the under. I take the PECOTA algorithm with a grain of salt considering they estimated the Orioles to win 72 games in 2016.
Nevada and online based sportsbooks have millions of dollars riding on these win totals. No offense, but I’ll take their professional judgement. How do I think this Orioles team will fare?
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We’re still waiting to see if Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy take that next step as legitimate starting pitchers. Will Zach Britton shut the door on every save opportunity? Probably not, but at the same time he’s still the best closer in the game.
Not everything in Birdland is positively optimistic. I’m still worried that the O’s are a carbon copy of the “beer league slow-pitch” 2016 club who hit a record number of home runs in June and August and fizzled out in October. This team needs more speed and a guy or two sprinkled in who can move the runners forward instead of striking out with two runners on base.
Who will be the Orioles lead-off hitter?
Manger Buck Showalter has publicly said he doesn’t plan on using Adam Jones as a lead off hitter this year. Will Joey Rickard be the guy? My gut is that Joey is in danger of not making the MLB roster with the acquisition of the two rule 5 players. I doubt both make the team, but there’s only so many spots to go around. If someone impresses like Rickard did last year during spring training, he could be looking at a 2017 start in AA or AAA.
If Rickard isn’t the guy, bringing back Michael Bourn could make sense. He made an immediate impact after getting traded from the Diamondbacks, and his speed would be a huge upgrade over anyone else on the roster. I just don’t feel comfortable having such a big bat like Adam Jones or Manny Machado hitting first.
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As the season gets closer more and more books will release their win totals and you’ll get a better perception of what the odds making community thinks of this team. Give credit to Atlantis for being the first Nevada casino to publicly release their totals. Opening Day is in 50 days, not like I’m counting. Can’t wait to see you there!