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February 18, 2013 5:00 am

Overthinking It: Why There Probably Are No Next Orioles

24

Ben Lindbergh

We all missed on last year's Orioles and A's, so we're determined to see the next similar surprise team coming. But are we sure that one will?

“I know a lot of the national reporters say we’re going to finish last and lose a lot of games again. You know what? Oakland was supposed to be last [in the division] last year, Baltimore was supposed to be last, and they both ended up making the playoffs.” —Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, February 5.

Sometime between now and Opening Day—if you haven’t already—you’ll probably hear someone speculate about the surprise team(s) of 2013. Every spring, fans and analysts attempt to predict which teams will surpass the expectations of PECOTA and the pundits. Most of those predictions, of course, don’t come to pass. It’s tough to beat the stats, the oddsmakers, and the combined predictive powers of people who spend large chunks of their lives watching and reading and writing about baseball teams. Especially since some of the people who can beat the consensus consistently start publishing their predictions, the consensus becomes a bit better and harder to beat.

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