Wednesday could be considered a holiday for MLB fans. Today marked the official start of 2021 spring training as pitchers and catchers began reporting to camp. Adding to this excitement and anticipation is the potential for fresh starts and clean slates. Every team owns a .500 record of 0-0, at least for the next few weeks. And a fresh start equals dreams of postseason baseball. This goes for all 30 MLB teams, except one. The Baltimore Orioles.
After a few months of offseason, the gloves and baseballs are dusted off, the basepaths are lined, and you may even catch the smell of fresh-cut grass across stadiums and complexes throughout Arizona and Florida. Teams have revamped their rosters through offseason trades and acquisitions all intending to compete for championship aspirations.
2021 MLB: Baltimore Orioles eliminated from contention?
FanGraphs Baseball recently released their official 2021 MLB Playoff odds for all 30 clubs. The graphic listed percentage odds for every MLB team to earn a spot in the postseason. All of the teams possessed a chance, ranging from less than one percent to nearly 97 percent, except one. FanGraphs projects the Orioles to have zero percent odds to make the playoff field.
The projects may be viewed as a bit harsh, but Baltimore is one MLB franchise in the middle of a full rebuild. Last season, the Orioles actually finished fourth in the AL East ahead of the last-place Boston Red Sox. The O’s finished 25-35 and 15 games back from the first-place and eventual AL Champion Tampa Bay Rays.
There are a few factors that went into this projection including the strength of schedule. Playing in the top-heavy AL East, the Orioles possess the league’s toughest strength of schedule at 52.3 percent. The projection also included potential wins and losses, which sits the Orioles at 63-99.
While FanGraphs projects the Baltimore Orioles to have the entire league’s worst odds, they are not alone in facing an uphill battle in 2021. The Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Miami Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Colorado Rockies all project to finish last in their respective divisions. None of these clubs possesses higher than two percent odds to make the postseason.
Of course, these are simply projections. And, we all know in the world of sports, projections can be wrong. According to last season’s version of these projections, it’s quite clear the model got some things wrong. For one, the Marlins contained only a nine percent chance to make the postseason, even factoring in the 2020 expanded postseason format.
We all know how that story went. Miami was one of the most surprising MLB teams, finishing 31-29 for second place in the NL East and a spot in the playoffs. The model also predicted the Red Sox to win 31 games. Boston fell quite short of that mark at 24-36 to finish last in the AL East.