I wouldn't bring it up at all on my own, but when people kept saying that they are pretenders that haven't played anybody (which has kind of stopped after the latest run) I think pointing out that they have in fact been good for a longer period than a few weeks and played plenty of good teams last year is a little bit relevant. Especially since they didn't substantially improve the team over the offseason and the core is largely the same. I would have been more open to the pretenders label last July or August than now. But if you don't think last year with like half+ the same roster is meaningful you don't have to give it any weight, sure.
Like I posted, pointing out that they turned a corner last season is a fun fact. But the way people beat that drum around here, is more than just a little over the top. As for the pretender aspect of it, your GM said they were pretenders last season. You can't get much more of a competent opinion than that one. The O's are 31-16, isn't that good enough to stand on it's own merit? I think it is. And I thought their W-L record stood on its own, before they started winning multiple series against other good teams.