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Baltimore Orioles (55.5) and Detroit Tigers (56.5) Have Lowest 2020 Win Totals; Is the Under Still the Play?

Brandon Hyde of the Orioles
The Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers struggled in 2019. With their 2020 win totals set, can either hit the over? Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr).
  • The Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers have the two lowest projected 2020 season win totals
  • Baltimore won 54 games in 2019; the Tigers won an MLB-worst 47
  • Is there value with either going under in 2020?

2019 was forgettable for both the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers.

The Orioles had the worst ERA in the majors, with Detroit just marginally better. The rest of the pitching categories don’t paint a favorable picture either.

Offensively, things were better but still not great. Baltimore was at least able to avoid the bottom ten in terms of average, but their other numbers left plenty to be desired.

After a pair of off-seasons where neither did much, is there any hope for improvement?

2020 Lowest Projected MLB Win Totals

Team 2019 Record Projected Wins Over Under
Baltimore Orioles 54-108 55.5 -125 -105
Detroit Tigers 47-114 56.5 -115 -115
Kansas City Royals 59-103 65.5 -115 -115
Miami Marlins 57-105 64.5 -115 -115
Seattle Mariners 68-94 67.5 -105 -125

Odds taken Jan. 23rd

The five teams with the lowest 2020 MLB win totals are the same teams that finished at the bottom of the league in 2019.

Baltimore’s over/under is set close to 2019’s total. Kansas City is pegged for a six win improvement, while the Marlins were given a seven win bump. Seattle is actually the worst of the bunch, after a 68-win 2019.

But the biggest year-to-year shift is the 47-win Tigers.

Can the Tigers Improve in 2020?

In all fairness to that total, it would be almost impossible to repeat an historically bad campaign.

For 2019, the Tigers were trotting out retreads like Jordy Mercer, Gordon Beckham and Josh Harrison. The team traded its biggest bat in Nick Castellanos, leaving them with unproven commodities in Jeimer Candelario and Brandon Dixon.

And while he’s an all-time great who still hit a respectable .282, Miguel Cabrera is not the force he once was.

Tigers Off-Season Acquisitions

Player Position 2019 AVG Home Runs RBI WAR
Austin Romine C .281 8 35 0.8
CJ Cron 1B .253 25 78 1.4
Jonathan Schoop 2B .256 23 59 1.6

While Romine has never caught more than 80 games in the season, he insulates the position. Cron and Schoop add power and consistency.

When comparing WARs, Romine’s is better than any incumbent Detroit catcher, while Cron and Schoop are marked improvements.

Will the Orioles Youth Movement Be Successful?

There were no significant additions from outside the organization for Baltimore. Any move they made, the Orioles had an eye towards the future.

If you’re looking for known veteran commodities, then Alex Cobb is your best bet. The Orioles are hoping that Cobb can regain his Tampa Bay form, rather than replicate the struggles that have plagued him in Baltimore.

It’s not much, but it’s a start.

Orioles Prospects to Watch

Player Position Proj. MLB Debut MLB Pipeline Rank
Adley Rutschman C 2021 1
Ryan Mountcastle 1B 2020 4
Austin Hays OF N/A 6
Ryan McKenna OF 2020 13

Depending on how they perform, we may not see some of these names in 2020.

Rutschman is the O’s top prospect. He’ll be going to Spring Training, and while he isn’t expected to make the big club, he could be a September surprise. He hit .352 in his NCAA career, and .254 in his first year in the minors.

If Mountcastle doesn’t break camp with the big club, it won’t be long until he’s in Baltimore. He’s a power-hitting first baseman that’s hit double-digit home runs in every season in the minors that he’s had more than 200 plate appearances.

After a stop-and-start 2019, Hays should be ready to go in Baltimore’s outfield. He raked in a late-season call-up, producing a .309/.373/574 slash with four homers in 21 games. He scuffled in the minors following his 2017 debut, but he’s hoping those issues are in the past.

What’s the Best Bet?

Both teams have suffered historically inept seasons over the past two years, so both want to start turning the corner.

The Tigers at least have the Royals to beat up on, with some formidable division leaders. Even so, the over should be achievable.

With Baltimore, the under could be worth an investment. There are four teams better than them in the AL East, and their paper-thin rotation could mean plenty of struggles.

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