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After reading this article, I assumed that Norris' BABIP declined in 2013 when he moved teams from Houston to Baltimore because of Baltimore's defense. Nope. It went up from .316 in Houston to .382 in Baltimore. His ERA also went up after the move from 3.93 to 4.80.
But his FRA went down from 3.98 to 3.31. How do we explain this?
I think it was because his K/9 improved when he moved to Baltimore from 6.4 to 10.1, his OppSlg improved from .418 to .405 and his GB% increased from 41% to 45%.
I find this a curious mix of stats.
I don't think everybody can sign A.J. Burnett
A minor correction: Bundy's Major League debut was in 2012. In 2013 he was down with Tommy John surgery.
What's the cutoff on MLB service time? Urrutia only had 58 at bats.
It seemed Gausman was up more than Urrutia last season.
I've been very impressed with Gausman, but ranking him ahead of Machado? Wow. I can only say I hope so.
I'm very surprised that Henry Urrutia is not mentioned in this article. He tasted MLB this past season, and played very well in the Arizona Fall League.
I would think he would fit in the 4-6 range on this list.
I also would like your impressions of Dariel Alvarez, another Cuban defector who made an impressive debut this past season.
And shouldn't it be A-ball hitters should prove no match for Harvey, not Harvey should prove no match for A-ball hitters?
As an O's fan who watched Arrieta for several years hoping that he would mature into an effective starting pitcher, I think the scout's comment is right on point.
I was not pleased by the O's trade of Arrieta and Strop for Feldman. I thought the O's were giving up too much.
Arrieta still has the potential for the light to come on and be a solid starting pitcher.
Actually, the Red Sox intentionally walked Pearce to pitch to Machado with 1 out, creating the potential of a ground ball double play to end the inning. Machado popped out, bringing Davis up with 2 outs.
Actually, Cal Ripken's first major league appearance was as a pinch runner.
I think it depends on whether the pitcher delivers the ball from the rubber, in which case its a pitch, and the catcher can't step in front, or whether the pitcher steps off the rubber in which case its a throw and the catcher can step out.
If it's a pitch, the batter can swing. If the batter swings and hits the catcher it is catcher's interference.
Frank Robinson's triple crown was 1966, not 1968
Dariel Alvarez, a Cuban defector recently signed by the Orioles, made his American professional debut today in the Gulf Coast League going 2 for 4 with a HR and a triple. It seemed to take forever for BP to comment on Urrutia, who is now the DH for Orioles, and was their last Cuban defector. Any idea when you'll get a report on Alvarez?
At the time the O's traded Strop and Arrieta for Feldman I believed the O's gave up too much for Feldman. I continue in that belief.
I like the Urrutia/Pearce platoon better than the various trade options I saw mentioned for the Orioles. What alternatives were available that you think were worth the cost and better than this platoon?
Three on the list are players the Orioles traded away, but I don't think any of them will be missed by the Orioles. What were the Orioles going to do with Delmonico, whose "bat is below average, and glove is fringy at 3B". I think the O's have 3B covered for awhile.
Similarly, Hoes had no role on the O's. Even if McLouth leaves this off-season as a free agent, the O's have other options at LF (Urrutia for one).
The wild card is Hader. He's so young you don't know what will develop. It's a shame though that the O's traded away 2 prospects from the local area (Hader and Hoes). That's baseball.
The two best lines I heard about the Hoes trade:
Hoes goes from O's to 'Stros.
I guess I'll have to go over the the visiting clubhouse and check out Houston's scouting report on Miggy (Miguel Gonzales, the O's starter last night) - Hoes
The difference is 3 points in OBP? No mention of a difference in BA or SLG.
Intuitively I expected a greater difference.
I suspect the difference between the starter and the bench player is more than 3 points in OBP.
I believe the culprit is the use of the "Depth Chart Win %" in the Hit List Factor. This is the projection of the season's record done before the season. At this point use of the "Depth Chart Win %" increases the Angel's position, and decreasese the Orioles position. Based on the discussion after the June 20 Hit List, the use of the Depth Chart Win % drops out after 103 games have been played.
At what point in the season does the preseason depth chart win % drop out, so that the HLF is based solely on the actual performance during the season?
Any thoughts on Henry Urrutia, the Cuban defector in the O's system?
Interesting, but the problem is clearly the pitching, and not the defense. The defense that you characterize as "modest" is 5th in the league. That's better than 25 teams.
It may be a slight decline from 1st, but it is clearly well above average.
The changes are really in offense and pitching. The defense is relatively steady
I didn't realize TAv addressed "productive outs". It's good to learn
I think we can agree that Davis is an unlikely leader of the AL in TAv. We can also agree that Davis showed last year that we could expect him to be a productive hitter. The key to this year's improvement, as noted in an earlier BP article, is that his strike zone judgment has improved markedly this season.
I hope it is a permanent improvement. I'd love for Jones to note the difference and improve his strike zone judment as well.
A couple of developments not noted in the article, but consistent with the observation that the Orioles are aggressive about promoting players to plug holes (although that is not limited to "prospects" as the term is usually used)
Flaherty has been demoted. The platoon partner at 2B for Cassilla is now Navarro. Navarro has started well, with triple slash of 333/429/500, but that's in only 12 ABs. Obviously not sustainable, but we can expect an improvement over what Flaherty put up.
Reimold is on the DL. The O's are lately using Dickerson against right handed pitching (not always as DH, he often plays the field with Jones or Markakis getting a breather as DH). Again, in a small sample, 39 AB, it is working well with triple slash of 333/350/615.
The O's continue to platoon in LF/DH lateley using Valencia as DH and Pearce in LF against LH pitching. The triple slashes for them are mediocre.
In just over a season of watching Duquette and Showalter run the team, I can confidently say that if something is not working, they will try something else.
As a long time Orioles fan, a silly exercise I engage in is listing the best Orioles career at each position. For many positions it's easy: Brooks at 3B, Cal at SS, Frank at RF.
I told a friend that we may be watching two Orioles now who will have the best career at their position: Jones in CF and Wieters at C.
My friend said, what about Machado?. I thought: better than Brooks?, if he moves, better than Cal? At first I thought that was rediculous.
On reconsideration, I won't rule it out.
This is a career I am looking forward to watching.
Will it be a feature of this article that trades are examined only from the perspective of 1 team?
Why no consideration of the Ayala/Jones trade from the perspective of the Orioles, and no consideration of the Harang/Hensley trade from the perspective of the Rockies?
You might call it the Froot Loop summer, but in Baltimore it was the "Why Not?" summer
We should come up with a list of really good players who suffer from not being as good as prospect mavens said they would be. Let's start with Matt Wieters and Alex Gordon.
Any other suggestions?
There should be a prize. Say, a book of the winner's choice from the BP Library.
That won't break you.
As an Orioles fan, and a longtime BP reader, which has of course affected my thoughts about the game, I find myself fascinated by the Orioles, last year and this.
I think the Orioles will be a better team this year than last year. Markakis is likely to play more, although his rate stats may slip. McLouth and Machado are here from the beginning. The improved defense will be there from the beginning. While there is likely to be some decline from Hammel and Gonzales, there is likely to be improvment from Arrieta and Matusz. Hardy will hit better. Who knows about Roberts?
That said, even if the Orioles are "better" than last year, that doesn't mean they will win more games. You don't set the record for win % in 1 run games every year. You don't win 16 extra inning games in a row every year.
I don't know if the O's will make the playoffs, but I am confident they won't be in last place.
One of the most interesting things I learned from following the Orioles last year was considering what (besides the knee jerk reaction of "luck")are the characteristics of a team that wins a disproportionate number of 1 run games.
It reminds me of the refinement of the Voros theory that pitchers don't influence the results of balls in play (but on further study some do, at the edges).
The conclusion I reached from following the Orioles was that there are good reasons to be skeptical of the ability of a team that wins a dispropotionate number of their 1 run games to be able to continue that ability, but the ones that have a really good bullpen are the ones that are most likely to be able to sustain success in 1 run games.
A fair assessment.
I look at the new roster, and see the makings of the constant transactions we saw last year.
The O's have shown that if a player isn't doing the job, they are willing to give someone else the opportunity. Look at all those pitching candidates, most of whom have options.
I don't think we should assume that the starting five pitchers out of spring training will be the starting five in August, or even in June.
I forgot to mention Jurrjens.
I think he starts the year in the minors to prove he's healthy and effective. If he is, he comes up.
Showalter and Duquette made moves constantly last year. I expect the same this year as well.
They have the parts to do that.
The O's weren't active. Granted. What should they have done?
I assume nobody is saying the O's should replace their CF (Jones), C (Wieters), SS (Hardy), 3B (Machado) or RF (Markakis).
Re-sign Reynolds? I think they made the right move there. Davis will play 1B.
Sign Hamilton? That's a big contract for a risky player. I don't disagree with a reluctance to sign him. In LF the O's re-signed McLouth and have Reimold coming back off injury. Not perfect, but probably a good choice.
I didn't see a lot of good options at 2B. The O's hope (again) that Roberts will be back healthy. They acquired Cassilla, who isn't great, but is better than Andino. At worst he's an upgrade for utility infielder and brings a pinch runner who can steal a base. Flahery, who was a platoon started at the end of the year is there too. This year, unlke his Rule 5 season last year, he can go to the minors. I expect the O's to start the season with Roberts, and see how long he can go. Cassilla will start as a reserve. Flaherty will likely go to the minors and get some experience. If Roberts gets hurt, Flaherty comes up.
DH? It looks like the O's will go with Betemit against RHP and will sort through Reimold, Valentin, Canzler and Pearce against LHP. Not great, but what was better on the market?
The O's are keeping the bulk of their bullpen that excelled last year. We are likely to see Hunter and probably Matusz in the pen from the outset, which will be a change. Who would you have dropped?
The starting rotation is a puzzle. It is likely to be Hammel, Chen, Tillman and Gonzales plus one of Britten, Arrieta, Johnson or Matusz. Britten, Arrieta, Johnson and Matusz all have options, so if they don't start in the rotation, they will be a phone call away. I expect a lot of shuffling in the rotation this year. Bundy and Gausman will start in the minors, but may come up during the year.
If the O's improve, it will be from the development of their young players.
They could be a "better" team, and end up with a worse record because the 1 run record and 16 straight extra inning games are very unlikely to be duplicated.
Come to Baltimore to see the O's and Camden Yards
Last season the Orioles set a major league record for best record in 1 run games, and had (if memory serves) 16 straight extra inning wins. While I love my Orioles, I do not expect them to match either accomplishment in 2013.
The Orioles could very possibly be a "better" team in 2013 than in 2012, and have a worse record because of last year's record in close games.
I do think that the Orioles will be a "better" team in 2013 than in 2012 because of the factors cited above.
I will take the over on both PECOTA's projection of 75 wins, and Vegas' over/under of 76 1/2.
Repeating 93 wins will be tough.
The projections indicate that the Orioles are the 3rd worst team in the American League, winning more that only the Astros and the Twins. As I recall, last year the PECOTA projections showed the Orioles to be the worst team in the American League. We know how that turned out.
I'll take the over for the Orioles.
So PECOTA projects the Orioles as being worse than every team in the American League except the Twins and the Astros. If I recall correctly, last year the projection was that the Orioles would be the worst team in the American League. We know how that turned out.
I confidently predict that the Orioles will not be the 3rd worst team in the American League
Unless Flaherty or Casilla really shine in spring training, I think the O's will give Roberts a chance to prove he doesn't (or does) belong. In that case, I expect Flaherty to play every day in AAA at the beginning of the season.
If Roberts proves he no longer belongs in the majors, however, it will be interesting to see if Showalter and Duquette bite the bullet and release Roberts.
If he really shows he can't do the job, it would not surprise me to see the O's and Roberts work out a financial settlement, and Roberts retires.
If Roberts gets injured again, however, he will simply sit on the DL and collect his paycheck.
A fitting memorial
Christina, I too miss you on this site.
I have an original copy of the Weaver On Strategy, so I didn't pick up your re-issue.
Once when I went to the O's FanFest, I brought Earl's autobiography for him to autograph, but now I wish I had brought Weaver on Strategy.
Later, my son encountered Earl at a Orioles event and asked him to sign a ball for his Dad. Earl teased him gently about how he was more appreciated by the older fans. My son told Earl that he was a fan too, probably because of his Dad, but that he knew it would mean more to me.
I treasure the ball, not only because it was signed by Earl, but also because my son got it for me.
It was a classic example of the best player on the team (with the possible exception of Cal) being blamed when the team declines.
Eddie's style was also a factor. He was not, and never was, a "hustle" guy.
I remember having a discussion with another fan during that period at Memorial Stadium when Fred Lynn crashed into a wall trying to get a fly ball, which he couldn't handle. The fan said "That's why I love Lynn, he's always hustling and willing to crash into a wall. Not like Eddie Murray, who rarely dives for a ball". My response was that I prefer Eddie, and unlike Lynn, who usually was able to play maybe 120 games in a year, Eddie played 162 games a year, and was a much better percentage player.
Eddie also was not one to cooperate much with the press, which led to the press bad mouthing him.
And yes, there was probably some racism too.
A couple of days ago on Clubhouse Confidential, Duquette said he was looking for a bat, and that could be LF or DH.
It is appropriate that it comes down to Game 5. These teams were nip and tuck all August and September. Except for the 9th inning of Game 1, they have never been separated by more than 1 run for the whole series. Two extra inning games.
As an O's fan I have been looking forward to another appearance in the postseason for 15 years. So is this nerve wracking and excuciating tension that lasts the entirety of each game the reward for a good season?
Brutal loss last night for the O's. Everything that worked for the O's this season failed them last night. It was a rare one run loss. It was their first loss when leading after 7 innings. It broke the streak of 16 straight extra inning wins.
It is interesting that all 3 of the O's extra inning losses this season (2 were early in the season before the 16 straight wins) have been against the Yankees.
Sometimes I think the Yankees were created to break the hearts of Orioles fans.
Saying there is a 62.0 percent chance of the Yankees winning is surely an example of false precision. With the O's having a 66.6 percent chance of winning that means there is a1.4 percent chance of neither winning. So what happens then?
Go ahead and create the trophy for the best regular season record if you want, but nobody will care who wins it.
The playoffs, and even the World Series, cannot be understood to determine the best team. It simply determines the champion.
I believe the infield fly rule was properly called. Kozma, using ordinary effort, was certainly in a position to catch the ball. My viewing of the play, and replays, indicated to me that the umpire called the infield fly as soon as Kozma waived his hands, indicating that he was going to catch it. That he, almost immediately, gave way to the left fielder, and because of poor communication with the left fielder the ball was not caught, does not change the rule or the call.
The Wild Card Game was very much like watching the O's all season. They simply did what needed to be done.
I was unexcited when the O's acquired Saunders, but it has obviously turned out to be an excellent acquisition. He pitched just like he has since the O's acquired him. Not dominant, but gritty and effective.
Regarding your comment that Markakis is good defensively and McLouth is not - Every year of FRAA for McLouth is negative (which agrees with your point), but also every year of FRAA for Markakis (except for 2006, his first year) is negative (which disagrees with your point)
All of which shows why I lack confidence in FRAA.
Zach's comment regarding McLouth and Reynolds, which, as an O's fan, I agree with, leads me to comment on the differences between observation and fielding metrics.
Some examples from the Orioles: right field: Derek states that replacing Markakis with Davis in right field is a detriment defensively. I agree from observing them, but FRAA doesn't seem to. Markakis' FRAA is -6.6 (?). Davis' FRAA is +2.6 (admittedly Davis has played several positions). Endy Chavez, who is routinely used as a late inning defensive replacement for Davis has a FRAA of -0.9.
Observing McLouth in LF leads me to believe he is quite good defensively, but FRAA rates him -1.6.
I agree with Zach that Reynolds has been very good this season at 1B, but FRAA says -15.1 (this would include his early games at 3B, but they were only, I'd estimate, 15-20 games) The -15.1 2012 FRAA is worse than 2011 at -14.5. I don't see how any objective observer can say that Reynolds has been worse defensively this year, primarily at 1B, than he was last year, primarily at 3B.
At 2B, Flaherty has a -0.7 FRAA, while Andino, who is used as a platoon partner and defensive replacement for Flaherty, has an FRAA of -2.6 (Andino has played a lot more. This could be explained by the additional playing time).
From years of reading and observation, I have a lot of confidence in offensive metrics. I lack similar confidence in individual defensive metrics, other than DER, which is common sense, and team based. I even have confidence in PADE. I look at individual defensive metrics, but I find I don't have much confidence in them.
But there is subjective judgment galore in you numerous comments that belittle the Orioles.
When Andy MacPhail was the O's GM, he had a development philosophy summarized as: "Grow the arms, buy the bats". His theory was that it is close to impossible to obtain a pitcher in a trade or in free agency once they have established themselves. It is easier to obtain a hitter.
Well, let's look at the O's development path. The hyped prospects the last few years for the Orioles included the following arms: Adam Loewen, Matt Riley, Jake Arrieta, Zack Britten, Brian Matusz, and Chris Tillma. Well, Loewen and Riley got injured and essentially disappeared (I think Loewen is in the Blue Jays system as an outfielder). Arrietta and Matusz started the year in the O's rotation, got sent down because of poor performance, and are now back up as relievers (for now). Britten and Tillman have had injury issues, but are both now in the O's rotation, having joined it mid-season this year.
The hyped batting prospects for the O's the last few years have included Nick Markakis, Adam Jones[acquired in a trade], Matt Wieters, and Manny Machado. All of them are now regular starters for the O's, Machado having joined in August.
Some of the pitchers may establish themselves as rotation regulars, it's too early to rule that out. From this small sample, however, it appears that batters are the surer prospect path.
I din't include high draft picks who never even established themselves in the minors (Rowell, Hobgood), and new draft picks who are too young or new to be evaluated (Bundy, Gausman)
Oops I meants against the Blue Jays or the Red Sox.
For the Orioles to clinch a playoff spot against the Blue Jays or the Yankees, they will have to clinch before the season ending 3 game series against the Rays.
Taylor Teagarden seems to specialize in game winning hits in extra innings. Obviously Showalter should have used him to pinch hit earlier than the 18th inning.
The Baltimore press expects Showalter to rest Wieters today after he caught 18 innings yesterday. Wieters leads MLB in innings caught, but his bat has been hot in September.
The O's did not "fire a front office that laid the groundwork for this season". MacPhail's contract expired and he chose not to re-sign.
As pointed out by CSPitt, Gregg was never slated for a late inning role this season, or at any time under Showalter.
The O's batting with men in scoring position is below average.
What have the O's done right? Actually, although bullpen construction is difficult, with luck factoring into it, the O's did construct an excellent bullpen by promoting a closer a pitcher who succeeded as a set-up man (Johnson), and assembling a bullpen with a pitcher who had strong physical gifts (Strop), a pitcher with a "gimmick" delivery (O'Day), a pitcher who had a history of success in the AL East (Ayala), and all on a low budget.
The plan for acquisitions from Duquette's signing was increasing depth. The O's acquired a number of veteran's with a track history who were at a low point. Some worked out (McLouth, Ford), some contributed for a bit (Thome, Quintanilla, Betemit), and some didn't work out at all (Tejada, Chavez)although Chavez has contributed in the last few games.
The O's have been willing to try new things to see if they work, such as Reynolds at 1B and Machado at 3B.
The run differential seems to be the only reason to say they are not succeeding in the right way, but the process (this year, and even going back to MacPhail) has been good. It's the 12 years before that when the process was terrible.
Didn't Manny Machado get a walk-off single on September 13, driving in the winning run in the 14th inning?
How can you fail to mention that amazing play Machado made in the 9th inning?
Actually, the pitching matchup for the opener in the O's - Rays seriers is Hammel / Moore
What is average TAv when pitchers as batters are excluded?
I would think that pitchers as batters have little impact on the O's. They only face pitchers as batters in away inter-league games.
Very interesting article. It helps explain why the Orioles have been down so long.
I note that while the figures for 2012 overall are somewhat lower, it is not dramatic. Overall opposing batter TAv for 2012 is .273, which is only 3 points "easier" than 2011 and 1 point "easier" than 2010. Moreover it is 13 points "harder" than average. The O's pitchers are still facing well above average batters.
Similarly for opposing pitchers, the difference you cite is 2-3 points. Apparently the pitchers the O's have faced this year are average at .260. You state that previous years have been 2-3 points "lower", and characterize that as "not quite as effective". I had some trouble with that one. Wouldn't a TAv 2-3 points lower than .260 for opposing pitchers show that they were more effective? Perhaps the use of the term "lower" and "higher" is confusing in this context where "lower" is better and "higher" is worse.
In any case, while the Blue Jays and Red Sox have been significantly worse in their batters' TAv this year, as opposed to previous years, it is still .264, which is above average.
Interestingly, the Blue Jays and Red Sox pitcher TAv is the same in 2012 as it was in 2011, which is slightly worse than average. It was in 2011 that the Red Sox and Blue Jay's pitching declined. This year, their batting has significantly declined.
Bottom line: While the relative TAv of the batters faced by the O's pitchers helps explain why the O's have improved, the batters the O's have faced are still, in an absolute sense, significantly better than average. The pitching the O's have faced has been average.
This helps explain why the O's have improved, but it doesn't really explain why the O's have a winning record. They are still facing above average competition.
When the Orioles traded Guthrie to Colorado, I thought he was doomed. A league average pitcher with strong flyball tendencies.
I think the Orioles have a better chance of making the playoffs (10 spots) than entering the top 10 of the Prospectus Hit List
What's the prognosis for Teixeira returning to the lineup?
I'm assuming Machado will lose his rookie eligibility with the playing time he's getting this year.
It is unusual for a player to be waived by the Orioles, sent to the minors by the Astros and bat cleanup for the Yankees in the same season.
Unfortunately, I did not find this article particularly enlightening. There were some good, but common sense insights (Home teams win a higher percentage of 1 run games than games generally, and extra inning games are a series of one inning games)
The design of your study, I believe, is flawed. Grouping three years of a team as the element of your study undermines the study. Teams change year to year in personell, so it is hardly surprising that their one run record changes.
While I have not done a study, my observation is that being over or under Pythagorean record is not a "repeatable skill". The only team that I have observed be consistently over its Pythagorean record was the Earl Weaver Orioles. I'll chalk that up to one of the best managers in history.
Jay Jaffe did a study a few years ago that concluded that a strong bullpen correlated to being able to out perform a team's Pythagorean record. We agree that a better than Pythagorean record is correlated with an above average record in 1 run games.
I'll stick with that until a better study comes along.
It is fascinating watching what the Orioles are doing this year.
We're starting to see some writing in Baltimore criticising "statheads" for emphasizing the O's run differential, and saying, similar to the "Keylix" post, that the O's record is luck.
The key fact in this article is the correlation difference between one run wins and overall record, and three+ run wins and overall record.
I'm also aware, from reading BP, that Pythagorean record is a better predictor of future record than current record. This was the basis of the recent Jay Jaffe SI article stating that the O's are likely to fade.
Unlike some of the commentators in Baltimore, I don't see pointing to the O's run differential as belittling their accomplishments thus far this season. Frankly, the O's record in this run differential environment is even more remarkable than the improvement from last year.
The reason for the record in one run games (and extra inning games), I believe, is clearly the performance of the bullpen. For that I credit Duquette's (and MacPhail's) acquisitions and Showalter's management of the bullpen, as well, of course, as the credit due to the pitchers themselves.
This is the most fun I've had watching the O's in years.
I look forward to this article. Don't forget to review Jay Jaffe's article, which he referenced in his recent article I saw in his SI blog regarding the Orioles and their one-run wins.
The comparison of Verlander against the O's and Hunter against the Tigers amused me. Regarding Hunter I can only say small sample size.
I will be very pleasantly surprised if the O's win the Verlander / Hunter matchup.
Any thoughts on Nate McLouth?
For what it's worth, the O's general manager, responding to press questions about the possibility of Bundy being brought up, has not ruled it out, while not confirming it will happen.
In Baltimore, when both the Orioles and the Colts were great, the lead radio announcer was Chuck Thompson, who was also a great announcer. The decline and departure of the Colts and the decline of the Orioles took place roughly as Chuck Thompson left.
The Orioles had a rebound to quality in the mid-1990's when Jon Miller was the lead Orioles announcer. He was pushed out by Angelos after the 1997 season. The Orioles have not had a winning season since then (hopefully to change this year).
When the Orioles traded Guthrie to Colorado, I was surprised Colorado wanted him. He was generally overrated as the Orioles best pitcher, which at the time was faint praise indeed. Moreover, Guthrie is a fly ball pitcher.
As a fly ball pitcher, I expected Guthrie to be a disaster in Colorado.
I also expected Hammel to improve outside of Colorado because of his substantial home road splits when in Colorado. In Baltimore Hammel has been better than I expected.
Perhaps I should have been clearer.
My point is that you can't look at the Machado at 3B move in isolation. You have to also look at the likely 2B and 1B platoons as well.
Bringing up Machado and playing him at 3B has the potential of strengthening 3 positions, 3B, 2B and 1B.
It is noteworthy that before Machado was called up, and since Andino has come off the DL, Showalter has been platooning Betemit and Andino at 3B, and routinely replacing Betemit with Andino late in games for defensive purposes when the O's lead.
Quintanilla, since his acquisition, has been the everyday 2B, despite a history of troubles hitting left handed pitching (although he has hit it well in a small sample with the O's).
Last night, against a left handed pitcher, Andino started at 2b.
The comments above about Betemit's bat (good against right handed pitching, bad against left handed pitching) are true. Also true are the comments about how bad Betemit's fielding is.
It think the speculation above about a 1B platoon between Betemit and Reynolds are likely.
As a lifetime O's fan, I am enjoying the season so far.
Showalter has said that if there is a move the O's could make that would make the O's "two inches better" the O's will make it.
Bringing Machado up now is a move based on that concept. I am watching with great interest to see if it works.
I agree. You'll note my question wasn't "Why are the O's so low in the Hit List?", my question was, "Why [do] the Orioles continue to contend?"
I'd love to see an analysis of that question. Is it just the record in 1-run games [and extra inning games]?
I'm trying to figure out why the Orioles continue to contend despite a negative run differential, and continue to be ranked so low in the Prospectus Hit List. The Orioles are approximately 10 games over their W1, W2, and W3.
I'm aware that run differential correlates with future record better than a team's current record.
It seems that the O's are outperforming their run differential and Hit List Factor because of their excellent record in 1 run games. That, in turn, appears to be based on the excellent performance their bullpen, especially Pedro Strop, who pitches the 8th inning when the O's are ahead, and Jim Johnson, the closer.
It may appear, statistically, to be a fluke, but it is certainly a welcome change, and a lot of fun.
I would be interested in a "scouts take" on the returned Brian Roberts
Still no love the for Orioles. Not only do you exclude the Orioles, but you also mock the fact that they are in contention this year.
So what can we anticipate from the Orioles in 2015? In the 2015 lineup they'll have Adam Jones(28), Matt Wieters (28), J.J. Hardy (31), Nick Markakis (30), Chris Davis (27), Manny Machado (21) and Jonathan Schoop (22).
The starting staff will be assembled from Dylan Bundy (21), Jake Arrieta (28), Brian Matusz (27), Jason Hammel (31), Zach Britton (26) and Chen.
Jim Johnson (31) will likely still be the closer.
The core of the team that is tasting contention for the first time this year is young. In 2015, the bulk of them will be in their peak years, and many of them will be better than they are now. They are looking at being supplemented by Bundy and Machado, two the the top 10 current prospects.
The Orioles' future, finally, is bright
Kevin: The Orioles are saying that they had Gausman above Appel on their board (as you indicate). Is that a reasonable position, based on talent, or do you think that the O's passed on Appel for signability reasons?
Note that 5 of the top 10 are in the AL East.
At the beginning of the season, who would have predicted that the Orioles/Nationals series would be a battle of 1st place teams?
The thing that amuses me about the Davis pitch (in the 16th inning, before he came back out in the 17th to pitch another shutout inning)is Buck Showalter.
Showalter knew that Davis had been a pitcher in junior college, and that there was some discussion when he was drafted about whether he would be a better pitcher than hitter. So Showalter had that nugget in his pocket in the event it became necessary, which it did.
Showalter was quoted as saying he had another position player he was considering, and who would have gone in for Davis in the 18th inning if necessary. That player was Markakis, another player who pitched before being drafted. Indeed, when the O's released Markakis to play on the Greek Olmpick team, the Greeks used Markakis as a pitcher as well as an outfielder.
I appreciate some real analysis of the Orioles's fast start.
While nobody expects the O's to continue at their current pace (which would lead to 104 wins over 162 games), O's fans can't help but be encouraged. The third order Pythag winning % would result in 86 wins.
Is this more of Buck Showalter's 2nd full year magic? His 3 prior teams have averaged improvements of 22 wins in Buck's 2nd full year. If the O's match that, they will win 91 games.
It's fun again to be an O's fan.
Does the subscription cover this? Is there any discount for subscribers?
Re: #4. So now it's started. The Orioles have some early season success, and now an attempt is beginning to be made to figure out how. The bullpen is strong (the best in baseball this year if I'm not mistaken), and the explanation given is: they're lucky!
What I've been reading the last several years in BP is that it is folly to spend significant money on the bullpen. The best option is to assemble some arms with promise, or a novelty, and thereby assemble a bullpen.
This year the O's have assembled a bullpen from: a former successful set-up man who they made their closer at the end of last year (Johnson - 20 straight successful saves), an acquisition from Texas in the trade late last season for Gonzales (Strop), and acquisition in the off-season trade with the Rockies for Guthrie (Lindstrom, who came with Hammel, a waiver pick-up from Texas (O'Day), and inexpensive free agent from the Yankees (Ayala).
If the Rays,the Yankees, or the Rangers had accomplished this, BP would praise their skill. But it's the Orioles, so it's just luck
Two corrections on HRs hitting the warehouse at Camden Yards. First, Griffey's HR that his the warehouse on the fly was in the Home Run Derby before the All-Star Game, not in batting practice. (Unless you consider the Home Run Derby batting practice.
Second, Hamilton's HR yesterday was a shot, but it hit the warehouse on the bounce, which is not uncommon on HRs hit onto Eutaw Street.
This is the 20th anniversary for Camden Yards. As yet, nobody has hit the warehouse on the fly in a game. If anyone on the current O's roster does it, I think it will be Chris Davis
Would Jason Hammel count as a value pick?
Ostrow1: You're right. Cal's rookie year was 1982, which is 30 years ago. But what's a decade among friends?
As I recall, about twenty years ago the Orioles had a shortstop whose "size has a chance to limit his range, which has prompted some in the industry to speculate about a move to third base down the line".
He turned out very well as a shortstop, although at the end of his career he did, in fact, move to third base.
Duquette has had his problems, but he has his successes as well.
Acquiring Hammel and Lindstrom for Guthrie looks great so far. Signing Chen looks good so far as well (signing Wada not so much). His bullpen acquisitions have also looked good so far.
The Korean snafu should not be the headline for Duquette's work so far.
It may only be April 26, but the Orioles are in first place, so it's time for a little optimism.
Extending Adam Jones (and Matt Wieters) is obvious. At this point, nobody else on the team has proven enough to get anything more than a new one year deal at the end of the year.
The immediate question is what has the last several years of rebuilding brought the O's? The pitching has led the way in the current O's surge. Arrieta is looking promising. Chen and Hammel also look very good so far. Hunter is an innings eater. Matusz doesn't look good.
The bullpen has been a strength.
In addition to Jones, Wieters, and Markakis, who are keepers, I am intrigued by Davis and Reimold. I am skeptical that Hardy can duplicate last year's performance. Reynolds is off to his usual slow start. It is possible his bat will heat up with the weather, but his glove remains a problem. I remain unconvinced by Andino, despite his hot start.
The O's will improve this year. The question is by how much.
Wow, three ex-Orioles mentions, and (no surprise) none positive.
If the Phillies are counting on Ty Wigginton to play first base, they are in trouble. I'd play Thome as much as possible without causing injury. I'd also go with Mayberry before Wigginton.
Huff has a tendency to have a good year, and then several bad years. He had one good year for the Orioles (he was voted O's MVP by the sportswriters in 2008 when he had a .308 TAv)While the O's started with him the following year, they traded him to the Tigers before the 2009 season was over. He did have a .313 TAv for the Giants in 2010, but, like his 2008 season, it was not sustatainable.
Alfredo Simon is a victim this spring of the O's increased competition among pitchers, which was the result of Duquette's offseason work. With that arm there is always the possibility of a breakout, but he hasn't done it yet.
Based on comments in the press by Buck Showalter, I am confident that Reimold will be the starter. Today, for example, Showalter was quoted as saying that Chavez is "a really really good fourth outfielder" (He went 2 for 3 with a home run off Verlander and an outfield assist in today's game. He is batting .421 now for the spring).
With no player slotted to be the full time DH, Reimold may get some time at DH with Chavez getting some starts in the field. As Ben indicated, with Roberts likely not ready to open the season, Reimold looks to be the favorite to lead off.
Jai Miller, who the O's acquired in the off-season, and who is out of options, is also making a bid to make the roster. The question is whether the O's will carry 5 outfielders. I think it is unlikely that he takes a roster spot from Chavez or Reimold. I suppose dealing Chavez (selling high) is a possibility if the O's decide they want to keep Miller for his potential for the future.
I like the idea of rating a team's position by WARP, and would like to see it done more often.
I would like to see a chart of each position for each team in the annual, with a major league ranking. It would make it clear where each team's strength and weakness lies.
OK, the Orioles have been bad, and are likely to be bad this year. I think they will be improved, but, as Buck Showalter said, the O's improved last year (2 games)just not as much as they would like.
I think your comments on the specific players and the team's plans are often inaccurate, (and snarky) so I will comment.
Brian Matusz. Agreed, he was historically bad last year. He was also pitching through injuries. Let's remember he was a 4th overall draft pick and highly rated in the prospect lists just 2 years ago. Let's also remember how strong he finished 2010. I don't know whether he will put it back together. I certainly would give him the shot. Duquette, however, has loaded up the Orioles with starting pitching options (admittedly few likely top of the rotation pitchers in the bunch). I expect Matusz to start the season in AAA to see if he gets his act together. He will not get the innings he got last year with a comparable performance.
Brian Roberts. I consider him finished, unfortunately. Concussions are strange things. Certainly, give him a chance this spring, but don't count on him.
Mark Reynolds. Pretty much as advertised in his first year as an Oriole. Lots of home runs, lots of strike outs. He had a dreadful defensive season, the worst of his career (-15.3 FRAA). The two previous years were -0.5 and +2.5. He will never be a superior defender, but I do expect a better performance this year, more typical of his career.
Matt Antonelli. This is the kind of chance you take if you have a need and not a lot of good options. Last year he had a .393 OBP and .460 SLG in 359 PA in AAA Syracuse. He is heading into his age 27 season. He's worth a look. The O's aren't counting on him, but are willing to be pleasantly surprised. Duquette has said they are looking for some OBP. The O's would prefer to use Andino as a "super-sub" at 2B, SS and 3B, rather than putting him at 2B every day.
Jason Hammel. One of the candidates for the rotation. I consider him a likely member of the rotation to start the season, but it is far from a lock. He has had a severe home/away split, suffering from pitching at altitude in Colorado. Let's see how he does away from Colorado, but faced with the AL East.
Endy Chavez. He will not be the starter in Left Field. Nolan Reimold will. If he makes the team (which is not certain) he will be a 4th/5th outfielder.
J.J. Hardy. Last season he had top slugging and defensive metrics for AL shortstops, although he did miss some time with injuries (We have high standards for shortstops in Baltimore). I expect him to regress some, but remain a significant contributor.
Matt Wieters. Last year, by RARP and WARP, he was the best catcher in the AL East, and 4th in the entire AL. He has become a top defender, and his offense improved through the entire season. He is heading into his age 26 season. I anticipate that he will retain his defensive excellence and improve his hitting.
Jim Johnson. He ended the season as the O's closer, and he will start in that role this season.
In your review of the projected O's rotation, I agree with you that Hamel and Chen will likely begin in the original starting rotation. I expect Wada to be in the bullpen. I think Arrieta and Harper will be in the rotation as well. I would have said the Britton would be in the rotation, but apparently he has some shoulder inflammation. So we'll see. I expect Matusz and Tillman and others to be in AAA Norfolk.
I won't say that the O's are a terrible choice for worst record in the AL. I don't think they will be though (not that they will contend). My pick for worst AL record is Oakland.
I hope you never experience health problems from chewing snuff, but caution that just because you haven't experienced them yet doesn't mean they can't arise.
My mother, who had smoked for 20 years, quit smoking in 1969. In 2001, however, she was diagnosed with tongue cancer.
Don't use tobacco!!
If I recall correctly, the Orioles had SS, 3B and 1B last year.
Well there appears to have been some progress in the position players.
Just don't ask about the pitching.
In the last several years, the young Orioles pitchers were anticipated to be the coming strength of the team. Some referred to them as "the Cavalry", believing they would ride in to save the day. The surprisingly good performance of the young pitchers (especially Matusz) was a key part of the improved Orioles performance when Showalter came aboard at the end of 2010.
The failure of the young pitching (especially Matusz again) was the most disappointing aspect of the Orioles 2011 season. The 2010-2011 off-season was spent primarily building up the offense. That project was relatively successful, as the Orioles posted the 2nd best improvement in runs scored from 2010 to 2011. The pitching, however, fell off the table.
The question becomes: was the 2011 performance of the young pitching simply a bump in the road as the young pitchers adjusted to the majors, or an indication that they will never be competent major league pitchers.
You covered the least valuable catchers, I would say the most valuable catcher was Matt Wieters. His defense remained excellent in September, and his offense, especially his power, picked up in September (which is surprising considering the number of games he caught during the season). I don't have the exact stats but if I'm not mistaken, in September his OBP was over .400, and his slugging was over .700.
Sure, they were out of it, but I'm proud of how my O's played in September and last night.
I was at the O's-Red Sox game. Of course, it is hard to impossible to judge the umpire's strike zone from the stands, but I noted the hight number of called third strikes and the numerous complaints from batters. I commented to my son, who was with me, that the umpire is having a bad game.
The clincher was when Markakis, who virtually never argues anything, much less balls and strikes, argued the pitch that you have characterized as "a foot off the plate".
My team, the O's, lost, but it was a fun game with lots of tension. The last month has been entertaining despite the fact that the O's have long been out of it. "Pains in the ass" indeed. I'll say this, despite another disappointing season, there ain't no quit in the O's.
unfortunately, the O's strong September has cost them several spots in next year's draft.
I agree with Agent007 that a large portion of Pie's problem is that he completely lacks baseball instincts. It's a shame because he has wonderful physical talent. A great baseball player has both physical talent and specific skills and knowledge for baseball. The players with the physical talent will get repeated chances because the talent is something that can't be taught. It is assumed that baseball knowledge and instincts can be taught. Pie is a great example that in many cases they cannot be taught.
The Orioles brought up Matt Angle to take Pie's fourth outfielder role. Angle is certainly not without physical talent. He is very speedy. He lacks Pie's power potential (which never really was manifested). Angle, however, has demonstrated good baseball instincts. He appears to be able to harness his speed better than Pie defensively, and unlike Pie, Angle can steal bases. Angle also appears to have an idea of the strike zone, unlike Pie.
Angle is not significantly younger than Pie. He turns 26 in September. He seems to show some promise, however, to be a useful fourth outfielder, pinch runner,defensive replacement. The question will be whether he can hit.
See - If the Orioles could only play more one-run games, they'd win the division!
Between Chris Davis and Mark Reynolds, the Orioles seem to be moving toward home run or strikeout results.
Apparently you do not consider a return to Baltimore even worth discussing
In Baltimore they keep talking about Wieters' remarkable batting average with runners in scoring position thus far this year. He wasn't mentioned in the earlier article about the leaders. Where does he stand?
The Yankees and the Red Sox are not the only teams in the AL East. It just seems that way based on press coverage, and that includes BP, unfortunately.
Studies I have seen in the past state that "catcher's ERA" does not show any statistical significance.
Nonetheless, we constantly hear about catchers' role in calling a game and helping the pitcher.
Have there been any developments on this issue?
I would like to hear what the scouts are saying about Robert Andino, who is doing a good job at SS filling in for the injured JJ Hardy
If Josh Bell can put it together, he will be either the O's 3B, replacing Reynolds, or the O's 1B replacing Lee, who is struggling, may be a deadline trade target, and is signed for only 1 year.
Actually, in his last start (Wednesday) Britton pitched an effective six innings and got the win, despite suffering "flu-like symptoms".
The biggest benefit is making the division title more significant, thereby making teams truly fight for the difference between first and the wild card.
The second benefit is increasing the number of teams in contention.
Both effects make the end of the regular season more interesting.
I don't think it would make the regular season less meaningful. I think it would make it more meaningful.
To those claiming the Orioles were contenders after the 6-1 start, I said that it was too early to draw any conclusions. To those claiming that the 8 game losing streak shows the Orioles haven't really improved, I say it is too early to draw any conclusions.
It is indisputable, however, that the O's record thus far this year is significantly better than their record at this point last year.
Congratulations Christina on your continued professional success.
I still miss going to games with you at Camden Yards, which stopped when you moved to Chicago. Personally, this feels like one more step away.
Now you're moving to ESPN. Certainly it is a more commercially accepted site than BP, and it is likely to expose your writing to a larger audience. It is very unlikely, however, that your ESPN writing will give full flower to your unusual and entertaining style. I assume you will continue to give your style full flower in your less frequent contributions to BP.
Of course I give you my best wishes, and confidence in your continued success
I agree that fans in the immediate Baltimore area will never switch to the Nationals. Baltimore hates D.C., and D.C. teams do not attract Baltimore fans. Remember that the NFL tried to get Baltimore to follow the Redskins during the period when Baltimore had no football team, and it just didn't happen.
I live in Baltimore, not D.C., so it is hard for me to gage D.C. interest in the Orioles. Certainly, before the Nationals arrived, the Orioles had a significant following in D.C.
The battleground for the teams are the Maryland counties between Baltimore and D.C. I assume the Nationals will gradually claim Montgomery County and Prince George's County, which are the Maryland counties that border D.C.
The questions are Howard County, Frederick County, Anne Arundel County and Calvert County.
I absolutely agree that the O's and the Nationals should not be signing free agents to expensive long term deals which cost draft picks.
Where you lose me is condemning short term (1 year)free agent signings that do not cost draft picks, especially if the signing does not block a prospect who is ready. As I understand your argument, you are saying that these players cost the team draft position, and therby retard development, because they will help win games.
Surely the best way to alienate fans is to give the impression that you would prefer to lose (even in the short term) in order to gain draft position.
Moreover, signing a free agent to a one-year deal could help the team's future if that player is traded in season for prospects, as the Orioles did with Tejada last season.
Bottom line: I am skeptical of the portion of your argument that condemns short term free agent signings that plug a hole in the line-up.
For what it's worth, it was a toilet, not a urinal.
Also, in fairness to the authorities in Baltimore County, it was not a toilet alone; it was rigged up with a cellphone and other paraphenalia so that fears of a bomb were not unreasonable.
Still, to me, it spoke of Duchamp.
Recently there was a bomb scare in Baltimore County when somone left a toilet outside the courthouse.
The perpetrator was arrested on charges of terrorism. There was no bomb.
I wondered at the time whether it was just an artistic statement in the style of the Dada master Marcel Duchamp. I was distressed, when expressing this theory, how few people knew who Marcel Duchamp was, or were familiar with his famous urinal. Few were even aware of Dada.
Christina, you are advancing the cause of art education with your references to Dada.
Whether they had any relevance to baseball transactions is another question.
Wieters clearly doesn't belong on this list. He was an above average catcher in his 23 and 24 year old seasons. He is not yet 25.
Even if he never develops more, and is simply an above average catcher, he will be valuable.
And then there is the possibility (likelihood?)that he continues to develop.
We'll see what he does in the future, but he does not belong on this list. The worst we can truthfully say about Wieters thus far is that he was overhyped (by Baseball Prospectus among others), and he has not dominated the league, but in less than 2 full seasons he has established himself as an above average major league catcher.
I assume you mean Britton will reach the majors in 2011, not 2010.
For what it's worth, I'm hearing that the $8 million is $5 million this season with the remaining $3 million deferred. So, it is not truly $8 million this season.
To hotstatrat: What's wrong with Nolan Reimold? Did you review last season's performance? He was not only terrible in the major leagues, he was terrible in AAA. At this point we don't know whether his admirable 2009 or his disastrous 2010 was a fluke. Similarly Josh Bell did not dominate at AAA, and when he came up to the majors he seemed overmatched at the plate most nights. Both Reimold and Bell have options, so we are likely to see them in Norfolk at the start of the season. I hope they dominate and show they should move up.
It is easier for a team to improve if it has a terrible player at a position or two, rather than mediocrity throughout the lineup. The O's were either the worst or near the worst offensively at SS 1B and 3B. They have replaced all of those positions. Each of those replacements is at least average, with a possibility of good. That is a major improvement.
I expect Pie to be a fourth outfielder who plays fairly regularly. He did not yet show the bat to be a regular left fielder, but he was excellent covering ground, and he has room to develop offensively. I expect Showalter to use Pie to rest Jones in center, Scott in left, Lee at first base (with Scott moving to 1B) and Guerrero at DH (with Scott moving to DH). Weaver would shuffle based on a player's head to head matchup with the day's pitcher. Showalter is likely to do pretty much the same.
The O's improvement this year should be significant, not only because of the new parts, but also because of the likely development of Wieters, Jones, Pie, Markakis, Matusz, Arrieta, Bergesen and Tillman.
I'm looking forward to this year.
I believe that Feix Pie of the Orioles is also out of options
I don't write off the "Showalterian Revolution" as readily as you do, not that I'm expecting the O's to win 97 games next year.
Sure, I'll listen to offers for Guthrie and Scott, but trading them is not at the top of my list. There is talk of acquiring a veteran innings eating pitcher to help the young pitchers. I think Guthrie is the veteran, and I would simply let the young pitchers pitch. Scott is the O's best power threat. If he is traded he needs to be replaced.
I am not convinced that Pie is a tease (but neither am I convinced he is a long term keeper). Left field, however, would not be a priority for me.
The obvious problems are 3B, SS and 1B. I hope the O's don't sign Wigginton. He got hot for 2 months this past year, and was mediocre at best the rest of the year.
I am torn between sending Bell back down to develop his batting eye, and keeping him up to develop at the major league level. As with all of this, the question is: what is the alternative?
The Orioles are neither as good as the Showalter period, nor as bad as the pre-Showalter period.
I still have faith in MacPhail (despite the Atkins fiasco).
It should be an interesting winter.
The Orioles obviously have a number of needs, and Showalter is spending time this fall getting a read on the players that are in-house.
Based upon recent playing time, Buck is not impressed with Josh Bell. While I think his defense was a pleasant surprise, and he certainly flashed some power, the poor contact rate and strike zone judgment indicates a need for more seasoning. He has disappeared from the O's lineup of late, after weeks as the regular third baseman.
The O's desparately need a SS who is not a black hole in the lineup. Showalter has moved Andino all over the place (and he has no options). He will probably be next year's utility infielder (taking Lugo's spot), but I would have liked to see him more at SS to see if he could replace Izturis.
We're seeing more of Wigginton at 3B of late, as Showalter looks at Snyder at 1B,and puts Scott in the field at 1B more often. Wigginton is a free agent. I think he is overrated in the Baltimore media, and his stats this year are reliant on a hot period in April and May, and they're still not very good. I'd let him go.
The gaping need is at 1B. We'll see if the O's can fill that hole with something better than Garrett Atkins this winter.
Since the Yankees have both the most revenue available to them, and the greatest incentive/reward for spending those revenues on players, they spend the most money onplayers.
These facts are essentially locked in. This makes competing with them much more difficult.
We constantly hear that other teams can compete by drafting well and developing players (the Rays example). The Yankees, however, have essentially the same opportunity to draft and develop players (adjusted for draft order). They are major players in signing international free agents.
Competing with the Yankees requires a team to beat them so badly in the drafting and development area that it overcomes their advantage in the free agent area.
Focusing on what the poor teams do with the revenue sharing misses the point.
The real problem with baseball's financial system is that a few teams (especially the Yankees) have a huge financial advantage that grossly distorts the competitive environment.
One of the many discouraging things about being in the division with the Yankees is that even when the Yankees develop a weakness (their current outfield)you are convinced they will simply use their overwhelming financial advantage to address that weakness in the off-season (watch where Carl Crawford signs this off-season).
Yankees apologists will say that shows smart management. It takes no genius to note your weakness and then buy the best available solution in the off-season.
It would be interesting to see the Orioles' DER after Roberts and Pie returned from injuries that had kept them out until late in the season.
What are the odds Manny Machado sign with the Orioles?
Is Nolan Reimold finally starting to turn it around?
Pitching is not the only thing that has improved for the Orioles since Showalter took over. Prior to Showalter taking over the Orioles were batting .232 with runners in scoring position, the worst in baseball. Since Showalter took over, the O's are batting .414 with runners in scoring position. (credit to Steve Gould of "Orioles Insider" on the Baltimore Sun website for this information)
Clearly a .414 batting average with RISP is unsustainable, but it is certainly a factor in the O's recent resurgance.
From here, taking the Orioles to a point where they can worry about the quality of a manager's decisions in the playoffs looks like a vast improvement
Actually there were comments on 2 O's farmhands (Avery and Mummey).
As the Beatles sang "Give me Mummey, that's what I want!"
While the Orioles have certainly been a disappoinment this season, you can't fall very far on this metric when you start at 6.5%.
Also of note, the Orioles have the largest increase comparing Win% to #Ord%. Does that come from playing in the AL East?
I think it would be more accurate to say that the Orioles acquisition of Jake Fox will facilitate the use of Matt Wieters at DH because they will have another player capable of catching in the event that Craig Tatum gets injured while catching.
That's a brutal evaluation of Matt Wieters, but he does look bad at the plate right now.
And then he struck out a batter with the bases loaded to end the inning without giving up any runs.
Are there any rumors that anyone is interested in Kevin Millwood? The O's obviously going nowhere this year. They actually have good young pitching in AAA. Perhaps they could get something for Millwood.
Following up on your comment that you don't know where the Orioles runs will come from - what are you hearing about Nolan Reimold at AAA? Is he showing that his early struggles this year were not an indication of his talent, or is he showing that last year's success was a fluke?
After the O's sent Bergesen down to Norfolk for a short visit,and he came back to go 3-0 with an excellent performance last night, the O's seek to duplicate that result with Reimold.
Unless he gets injured (See Jim Johnson) or buries himself in Norfolk, I expect him back shortly.
Remember the discussion in the spring about whether to trade Felix Pie because the O's had too many outfielders? That concept went away quickly with Pie's injury and Reimold's ineffectiveness.
I had expected the O's to send Montanez down, and let Patterson fill the defensive replacement / pinch runner role that Montanez has been filling. Montanez has not been good, and sending him down would probably be permanent.
Meanwhile Patterson has come up, and in his first 2 games has given the O's a lift, especially today. He had 2 hits, including a home run in the bottom of the 8th that started a 5 run inning to put the O's up by 1. Then he nailed the tying run at the plate on a single by Ichiro to end the game. I don't think he wants to go back down to Norfolk.
Tonight (weather permitting) a series between the Orioles and Mariners begins. The Mariners are scoring 3.29 runs a game, and allowing 4.00 runs per game (negative 0.71 runs per game). The Orioles are scoring 3.34 runs per game, and allowing 4.07 runs per game (negative 1.63 runs per game).
The Orioles are hoping that finally getting out of the AL East will help, but they did not do well in their earlier series against the Mariners in Seattle.
No, it's right. The O's are 27th in SNLVAR. Only the Reds, Tigers and Pirates are worse. For what it's worth the O's entire staff is 22nd in VORP.
Should we be surprised that the O's are mired deep in the standings for any metric, in light of their performance?
It's been bad enough that the O's have fallen off a cliff at the end of the last several seasons. This year they've fallen off a cliff to begin the season, which makes it harder to anticipate anything good for the rest of the season.
Thus far they have faced the AL East in 21 of their 32 games. Last year the O's actually had a winning record outside of the AL East, but got brutalized by the East. This year, so far they are 6-15 against the AL East and 3-8 against everyone else. They are actually doing a little worse outside of the AL East thus far.
Every team the O's have played so far this year are .500 (Red Sox) or better except the Mariners.
Does this mean the Orioles won't make the playoffs?
Jeez, it's bad enough that the Orioles are playing so bad, now you're dissing our ballpark too! "overrated, bland"?? Wow is there any reason to go to an Oriole game?
Regarding Simon's save for the Orioles against the Yankees: While he did give up 2 runs, an error on a routine ground ball, with 2 outs, allowed one run to score, and the second scored on a single by Teixeira after that. He then got the final out against ARod with the tying run on 3rd.
If the play had been made on the routine ground ball, he would have surrendered no runs.
Local press suggests that the medication Roberts is taking is causing stomach and intestinal distress. This is apparently the reason for the endoscopy.
Patience is being sorely tested in Baltimore.
Local press indicates that Bergesen is being brought back up to start on Saturday May 1 rather than Tillman or Arrieta. Apparently the team believes that Bergesen showed improvement in his one AAA start, and he earned another look based upon his performance in the major leagues last year.
Do you have any thoughts on that?
The O's will need a 5th pitcher for May 1. I have tickets for that game. I'm hoping to see Arrieta's debut.
With Tejada hurt, Wiggington moved to 3B on Sunday. He hit another home run and drove in 4 runs. I think it's safe to say Trembley will find a spot for him in the lineup for awhile.
Not only has Arrieta pitched well in the O's system, so has Steve Johnson.
Will an article appear that summarizes MacPhail's comments at the event in Baltimore?
As I understand it, a significant part of the reason the O's are not regularly playing Reimold in LF is that he continues to experience soreness in his heel from the off-season achilles surgery.
I remember when the Orioles were promoting McDonald as a major prospect. Since then the O's have drafted better.
Two years ago, Chorye Spoon was on your top 100 prospects list. He had injury issues last year.
What are his chances now? Has he come back from injury?
The O's are saying that Pie's rotator discomfort is day to day. Any insight into that one?
I wish my team had a player whose TAv "slipped" to .333 like Manny
I noticed that too. It made me recall Cust's time in the Orioles system when the O's tried to "retrain" Cust to be "more aggressive", which I think meant to swing a more pitches (preferably strikes).
But I think Christina means "retain"
I have no idea what a "Raw True Average" is. I don't recall this stat ever having been used before, and the values generated do not fit within a known range, making this article harder to follow than it should be.
The acquisition of Lugo is interesting. It is clearly a vote of no confidence in Andino.
It will be interesting to see what happens in AAA if Andino clears waivers (he is out of options). The O's recently announced that Scott Moore, whose background is that of a corner infielder, will be tried as the starting shortstop in Norfolk. He wasn't going to get any playing time at 3B with Bell there, or at 1B with Snyder there. It would make Moore significantly more useful as a utility player if he shows he can play SS. He has a left handed bat with some pop. This is probably his best chance to have a major league career. Between the Lugo acquisition and the plans for Moore, it looks like the O's are interested in pursuing the option of having a utility infielder who is offense first.
I liked Aubrey when he came up at the end of last year. He does everything right, in the sense of baseball intelligence. He is patient at the plate, and he is good with the glove. The problem, of course, is that he doesn't really hit well enough to be a 1B in the American League. His ceiling is probably adequacy.
Moving Aubrey reduces the congestion of 1Bs at Norfolk. Snyder, the former #1 draft pick and first baseman of the future designate, will get the bulk of the playing time. Also on the roster, in addition to Aubrey, is Hughes, who the O's acquired last season for Zaun. I suspect he will be the primary DH.
It will be interesting to see how Lugo is used. It appears the O's plan to use him to spell Roberts in the hope that they can nurse him through the season despite the back issues he has encountered. Also he will be an offensive alternative to Izturis at SS. Christina's comments regarding the fly ball tendencies of the O's staff are interesting in this context.
I wouldn't call Andino's batting average of .235 in 51 at bats in spring training "hitting the hide off the ball". No there is no chance the O's will waive Izturis. He may be a weak bat, but the O's love his defense.
Some comments on the Orioles moves. The choice for 5th starter came down to Hernandez or Tillman. Between Hernandez and Tillman, Tillman is the more highly regarded prospect. Hernandez is 25, Tillman is 22.
Last year Hernandez came up and started 19 games with unspectacular results (4.74 EqERA, 8.8 VORP, 1.5 SNWX, 0.9 WARP). Tillman came up later, started 12 games,and had results very similar to Hernandez (4.78 EqERA, 5.1 VORP,0.8 SNWX, 0.5 WARP) [When comparing VORP, SNWX and WARP remember that Hernandez had 7 more games started 58% greater]
If you compare PECOTA's projection for this year, they are virtually identical.
Hernandez pitched a bit better in spring training than Tillman, and, based on press reports, Hernandez is showing a new and improved curveball.
If Hernandez did not make the rotation, the Orioles planned to put him in the bullpen. While Earl Weaver advocated breaking a young pitcher in in the bullpen, it's a little late for that. He already has 19 starts. If he was put in the bullpen, he would probably be there the rest of his career. By contrast, Tillman will be sent to AAA rather than the bullpen.
There is something to be said for allowing Tillman to get a bit more polish at AAA, while extending the look at Hernandez in the rotation, especially when, in the immediate past and the immediate future, their results are likely to be much the same. Also don't forget the delay in Tillman's service time clock.
I think it is quite likely that if Tillman pitches well in AAA, he will be back soon (unless Arrieta passes him!). I would be very surprised if both Guthrie and Millwood spend the entire season in the O's rotation.
This year's O's staff is in a much better place than last year. Last year's opening staff was Guthrie, Uehara, Hill, Simon, and another pitcher whose name I have mercifully forgotten.
Last year the O's had roster spots looking for players. This year they have players looking for roster spots.
It breaks my heart that you are coming to town on a day when I have a pre-existing professional commitment that I can't change.
I have O's tickets for the next day!
So close, yet so far away.
Don't you meant TAv?
I am concerned because Adam Jones has finished each of the last 2 years on the DL. Is this a pattern that is likely to continue?
Of the top 10 picks, 2 from the Yankees and the Orioles, and 1 from the Rays, Twins, Indians, Mariners, Royals and Tigers.
Is this another indication that the Orioles are improving?
"Pitchers for the most part are guys that...they don't like to think. They just like to go out there and throw, so I do their thinking for them."
Wow. Such a high opinion of pitchers.
One time Rick Dempsey got upset because a pitcher was shaking him off, so he complained to Earl Weaver. Weaver told Dempsey that it was the pitcher's responsibility to decide what to pitch, he was just the catcher, who could make suggestions.
Maybe there's a reason that the pithers Lucroy is catching are still in the minors: They don't like to think.
Makes me wish the Orioles were in the Central so they could contend
Let me pick a nit. It grates on my sensibilities to see the phrase "above the league average" applied to ERA as something good. I assume you are referring to ERA+, but nonetheless, years of use make me think that a lower ERA is better.
Perhaps it should have been phrased "better than the league average".
I am amused by Thomas' down years, like 1998 when his OBP/SLG was "just" .381/.480, and a "lackluster" 2002 when it was .361/.472.
When those are your bad years, you're a hell of a hitter.
I'm glad you disclose the numbers and process. I'm glad you explain what you're doing and why it should be an improvement on earlier metrics. I am reminded, however, of the title of the edited collection of Bill James articles which went something along the lines of this time let's throw out the bones.
I'm looking forward to the meat of statistics on actual pitchers. I would also be interested in a comparison(looking backward to previous years) to what the older metrics showed for pitchers, and what SIERA would have shown.
Interesting article as far as it goes, but what about the rest of the catchers? Any analysis or speculation, for example, regarding Weiters and his future at catcher, or his likelihood to be an impact hitter?
You assumed that if the strategy was used in the AL the DH would be lost. Wouldn't the second pitcher entering the game be substituted for the fielder/batter (the left fielder in your article) and take his slot, leaving the first pitcher in the pitching/non-batting slot, thereby retaining the DH?
Does the rule lose the DH if the pitcher takes a different position?
I would have preferred the Orioles signed Branyan rather than Atkins. They wanted a right hander hitter in the worst way, and they got him.
Wow. Marginal economic analysis in two articles on one day. Let's break out our economic textbooks!
One point I take away from this is that it is not efficient from a marginal payroll/marginal win perspective to lose, even if your payroll is relatively low. Otherwise, how could the Orioles efficiency be less than the Yankees and Red Sox?
One of the keys to this analysis is the use of marginal wins rather than total wins. I've forgotten the number of wins written off as base wins, which are assumed to be gained by a team with a minimum salary, but that number is subtracted from the denominator in the calculation. A change in the denominator has a greater effect than a change in the numerator (marginal payroll in this calculation). This means that a win has a greater effect on your stated efficiency than if the analysis were total wins/total payroll.
Marginal analysis is more consistent with economic theory, as I understand it. Total wins and payroll, however, would probably conform more closely to the "gut assumptions" (for lack of a better term)of fans who consider the effect of spending on a team's record.
I don't agree with your negativity on the Tejada signing. (I agree with your disapproval of the Atkins signing).
As with all decisions, this decision must be placed in context. The Orioles had an absolute hole at 3B. It was listed as the worst team 3B in baseball in Jaffe's recent article. The Orioles wisely decided not to re-sign Mora. The options were: 1. Bring up Josh Bell prematurely; 2. Play Ty Wigginton at 3B, or 3. Play Atkins at 3B and Aubrey at 1B,or 4. Sign Tejada.
Let's look at those options. 1. Bring up Bell prematurely would be a bad decision because it would both jeopardize his contnued development and start the arbitration/free agency clock running prematurely.
2. Ty Wigginton was terrible last year. His EQA was .239, and he proved he can't play 3B posting a 72 Rate in 39 games.
3. Alkins posted Rates of 95 and 88 when he played 3B full time in 2006 and 2007. His Rates improved in part time play at 3B in 2008 and 2009, but nothing that suggests he is a good defensive 3B. While there is something to be said for Aubrey at 1B (I prefer him over Atkins), committing to Atkins at 3B and Aubrey at 1B is a bad bet. Obviously the O's hope that Atkins rekindles his 30 HR stroke, or that Aubrey develops. Keeping both and hoping (wishcasting) that one pans out makes some sense. Counting on both is foolhardy. Let them both play 1B until one emerges.
4. Tejada is not the force he once was. He's also not getting paid like he once was. Last year he got $14 million. This year he'll get $6 million. The signing is apparently very popular with the Orioles players (Roberts, Markakis and Jones have all been quoted with positive comments). He's a place holder for Josh Bell signed for one year. He won't block Bell's development. I'm aware of the line of thought that the Orioles and teams like them shouldn't sign free agents until they're really ready to contend. Each signing should be evaluated in context. The Orioles needed to fill a hole temporarily. A one year contract does not block the anticipated development of Bell. While Tejada will not be the MVP level player he once was, he will be a significant improvment on last year's performance and on the other options. You have access to the 2010 PECOTA and we don't, but if, as you say the projection for 2010 is .257, it is calling for a decrease in one year of 22 points, and an increase of only one point from last year's PECOA projection when Tejada was coming off an injury marred down year. Apparently PECOA thinks 2009 was a fluke. I'll take the over.
The O's are a better team with this signing. It is a better choice than the other options available to them. Isn't that the best test when evaluating a transaction?
I can't help but notice a number of Earl Weaver's pinch-hitters on the list: Merv Rettenmund, Terry Crowley and Jim Dwyer. Weaver was the rare manager who valued a walk, even from his pinch hitters.
Last September Mike Aubrey was an island of adequacy in a troubled sea for the Orioles (Matt Wieters was better). Aubrey played good defense at 1B (Rate 105) and hit passably. His slash stats were 289/326/500, with an EQA of .269. They say he won't hit enough home runs, but he showed adequate power in late 2009.
Note that I keep saying adequate. Aubrey is not a player you build around. Aubrey can be used, however, to fill a gaping hole adequately.
Obviously, the Orioles are hoping that Atkins can recapture 2006 and 2007, but 2008 showed decline, and 2009 was a disaster.
I would prefer Aubrey over Atkins to start the season, but even Aubrey is not a player who excites.
The other gaping hole for the Orioles last year was 3B. Mora dropped off the table. The O's have signed Tejada for an encore performance. I expect his defense to be slightly below average, but not terrible. I expect him to hit for average, but fail to draw walks, and his power is declining. He will be an improvement over last year, but again not someone to build upon.
The good news, as Jay mentioned is that the O's are not planning to build on Tejada. He is a placeholder until Josh Bell arrives.
The bad news is that the O's had 2 absolute disaster positions. The good news is that it is easier to improve by finding adequacy for 2 disaster positions that it is to find excellence to improve 2 adequate positions.
The O's actually look solid or better for the other 7 batter positions (Izturis doesn't hit well at SS but at least he fields very well) The O's are stocked with young developing players across the outfield and at catcher. 2B is well handled by Brian Roberts, although he should start aging soon.
The real question for the Orioles is the pitching,where they have acquired Millwood for veteran presence, but are relying on the development of their promising young pitchers.
I expect improvement from the Orioles this year. My wife says I say that every year.
I can't believe the determination of who is the better slugger turned on the length of home runs rather than their frequency. Also, since when are strike outs a positive?
I remember when Jerry Hairston was the Orioles incumbent second baseman, and Brian Roberts was coming out of the minors. The Orioles played both for a while (made possible because injuries would take one down) and then decided to go with Roberts.
Obviously it was the right choice.
First Huff, then Freel. Any other former Orioles you want to write personals for? How about Melvin Mora? After all he has 6 kids to support.
One more thing from the "long suffering Orioles fan".
I'm old enough to remember The O's become contenders in the early 60's, including the forgotten and overlooked '61 season of Jim Gentile (I was 8). I played Little League with current GM Andy MacPhail winning "Rookie of the Year" in 1963, and the prize, obviously arranged by MacPail's father who was O's GM at the time, was a ball taken signed by Lefty Grove, Brooks Robinson, Luis Aparicio, Jim Gentile, Steve Barber and Bill Hitchcock (then the manager). My father took me to the '66 World Series when the O's swept the Dodgers. I followed the entire Weaver era, attending World Series games in '69, '70, '71 and '79, as well as the "just after Weaver" series in '83. I was able to take my son to playoff games in '96 and '97, including a classic duel between Mike Mussina and Randy Johnson.
The last 12 years have, shall we say, not been the best, but there has been a lot of joy in my life following the Orioles. With the new young core, I even have hope for the future.
Your discussion of historical FRAA suggets another article: the best fielders at the various positions, as measured by the various defensive metrics currently available (and which can be applied retroactively)
As the person who posed the original question, I think that Jay's reformation of the question made for a more interesting article. Certainly I received a more thorough response to the question than I anticipated when I posed it during the chat.
"..who wants to be an Oriole and do the underdog thing?"
Oh dear. Sad but true. Some of that thinking arises from the Orioles' poor administration until recently, but a significant portion arises from the economic disparities in the AL East.
Those economic disparities affect the market as well as the play on the field.
How many times have we heard slugging and drawing walks referred to as older player skills? This study appears to confirm this.
I have been reflecting on the role of prospects as compared to the role of "expensive" free agents in the development of a winning team in light of the thought provoking post of Matt Swartz on January 4.
Based upon the chart on that post, the winningest teams generally get most of their WARP from the AM "auction market" (players eligible for free agency). Certainly the NM "non-market" players (players before and through their arbitration years) are important, but this does not seem to be the way that winning teams separate themselves from their competitors.
Consider the range of AM WARP for teams in 2009: It ranged from a high of 46.3 (the Yankees, World Series Champs) to -.1 (Padres). Clearly there is a wide divergence.
The NM range, however, only ran from a high of 40.2 (Phillies, World Series losers) (Rays were next at 39.1) to 18.4 (Mets). Yankees were the second lowest for NM WARP at 18.6.
Certainly every team want WARP from every source, but the richest (the New York teams) gain their WARP advantage from being able to spend on the free agent market.
Summary of the Yankees and their market:
1. The Yankees have an advantage because of the very rich market in which they operate.
2. The Yankees have maximized their advantage through good management.
3. This makes them very hard to compete with.
I, for one, credit them for #2, and would like to see the advantage of #1 addressed to make the playing field more fair.
As an Orioles fan who watched Huff play in 2007, 2008 and the beginning of 2009, I strongly believe that 2008 was a fluke season.
He was pathetic for the Orioles in 2009, and worse for the Tigers after the trade. I would stay well away from him.
Remember that delay in promotion allows a team to keep the player deeper into his core peak period before arbitration/free agency
The best free agent signing that I can remember, although little commented upon, was the Orioles signing of Rafael Paleiro for the 1994-1998 seasons (age 29-33). In those 5 years he put up WARPs of 4.5, 5.8, 4.5, 2.0 and 5.5
Does the fact that Pie was abysmal in the beginning of the season, but improved significantly late in the season affect your opinion of him for the future?
Treating his season total rate stats as though it was consistent throughout the season does not reflect reality.
Why do the catchers have to be (in baseball terms) elderly in order to be considered for this "mentor effect"?
What about the universe of catchers?
While I may sound like a fan who is unaccustomed to hard economic analysis with this post, some teams need to consider local conditions in deciding whether to sign a free agent.
Let's look at the Orioles, since you criticize the Mike Gonzalez signing. The Orioles management is, I'm sure, well aware of its shrinking attendance. There is a growing feeling in Baltimore that the Orioles have been losers for 12 years, and, especially since they are in the AL East with the Yankees and the Red Sox, are likely to be losers into the indefinite future. Many in Baltimore are blind to the improvements in the team, and the promise in their young players, over the last year or two, and look solely to the annual win (and loss) total to determine the direction and development of the team. If the team does not win more games, it is not improving.
In this environment does the signing make more sense? Is it necessary to improve the team's performance, even if it doesn't get them to the playoffs, so management can sell the team's improvement to its fan base?
The lead Orioles story in the local paper yesterday was headlined "All the right moves aren't all that exciting". It generally praised the O's moves thus far in the off-season, but asked where is the trade for Adrian Gonzalez, where is the signing of Matt Holiday or a similar "impact" free agent. Is the signing of Gonzalez necessary to sell hope to its fan base?
Is it necessary for a "bad" young team to butress its bullpen so it wins "the games it should win" (read: the games it is leading)so the spirit of the young players is not crushed by the losing?
I don't have answers to these questions. Moreover these questions sound suspiciously like the kind of sports writing pap that passes for analysis, which is blind to the hard realities of the development of a team.
The Orioles face a skeptical fan base. They must show that they are working to improve. If they continue to lose with the kids, claiming they are working to improve in the long term, they will continue to lose the fan base. Some wins now are important, eve if it doesn't get them to the playoffs.
I have heard it sometimes expressed that a player can continue to play if he is hurting but not if he is injured. Is there a way to tell when a player can continue to play with various aches and pains, and when he should shut it down?
I know this article is aimed at the Fantasy crowd, but an article ranking the performance of the various shortstops that considersnot only their offensvie contributions but also their defensive contributions (it is after all an important defensive position) would be of more interest to us baseball fans who are not involved in a fantasy league.
Snyder was the PTBNL in the Rangers-Orioles Millwood for Ray and a PTBNL trade
Millwood's contract is for $12 million in 2010. The Rangers are sending the Orioles $3 million in the deal, so the Rangers save (and the Orioles pay) $9 million for Millwood.
Ray's contract for 2010 is about $1 million. The Rangers pay, and the Orioles save $1 million.
The net savings for the Rangers and payment by the Orioles is $8 million.
The deal saves Texas $8 million net: save $9 million on Millwood and pay Ray about $1 million. For Baltimore, the net is also a cost of $8 million: pay $9 million for Millwood, save $1 million on Ray.
What would the Royals be offering for Pie?
The rumor in the Baltimore media is that Soriano has consented to a trade (required to trade a player who has accepted arbitration) and that the Orioles are going after him in a trade with the Braves.
True, but if you start at superior, and then decline to above average, you are better off than if you start at marginal and decline to unacceptable.
My my, a Glenn Gulliver sighting. It brings back memories of 1982, and Earl Weaver telling the Orioles front office that he doesn't care that they traded away Doug DeCinces to make room for Cal Ripken at 3B, he's playing Ripken at SS. Then looking around and noticing there was nobody left to play 3B.
After going through a few bad options, late in the season Weaver is playing Glenn Gulliver at 3B. Typical Weaver, in that he's not interested in what Gulliver can't do (which is hit), he's interested in what he can do, and that's walk. Suddenly, the O's have a weak hitting 3B batting second and posting an OBP of about .370. Lo and behold Gulliver's standing on base as Ken Singleton, Eddie Murray, and Cal Ripken come up to drive him in. And the Orioles get hot.
The Brewers are comfortably in first place when the O's start their finishing kick. The next thing you know, it's the last day of the season and the O's are playing the Brewers in a flat footed tie for first place. While the ending wasn't good for O's fans, it was a hell of a season.
I remember it like it was yesterday, even though it was 27 years ago. The Orioles have been bad for awhile, but I have my memories to sustain me, and hope for the future with the young team that MacPhail is assembling.
Credit to Hirschbeck for writing a gracious letter. He is obviously a class act.
If memory serves, Boddicker had trouble breaking into the majors because the Orioles had a brilliant pitching staff, and there just weren't any openings. He was brought up in 1983 (O's won the World Series that year) when Mike Flanagan injured his knee coming off the mound to field a ball. Boddicker came up, and was excellent from the start. He was a major factor in the O's winning the World Series.
If memory serves, his start against the Angels in the playoffs was notable because of a high number of strikeouts, when he was not really a strikeout pitcher.
A final note: I remember a female radio sports analyst at the time commenting that she appreciated "the bod of Boddicker"
Projecting any free agent outfielder as being signed by the Orioles reflects an ignorance of the Orioles' roster. The O's do not need to sign outfielders. They have 4 serviceable outfielders (Markakis, Jones, Reimold, Pie), 5 if you include Scott
I'm revealing my ignorance, but what is "delta".
It sure would be helpful if it was defined somewhere.
As an Oriole fan, I hope you are wrong about the O's interest in Looper and Feliz. Looper looks to me like an aging, below average innings eater. I would rather take my chances on the development of one of the young arms.
Feliz is also too old for the Orioles, and a poor hitter, but at least he has the benefit of a good glove. Sure the O's have a hole at 3B, but I hope it can be filled better than this. When will Josh Bell hit Camden Yards?
I know that consideration of future performance is not a factor in voting for the Rookie of the Year, but, at this point of the (off)season, it seems a more relevant consideration. So, in the hope of kicking off the discussion:
1. Is the relatively low 4.7 K/IP of Porcello and Bergesen a negative indicator for their future?
2. While Wieters' initial numbers were disappointing, does his finishing kick indicate that he has/will made the transition, and will be the kind of star that had been anticipated (within reason)?
3. Which of these players (such as Andrus, Bailey, or Reimold) will build on their rookie years, and which had a fluke year that they will not duplicate?
I saw Reddick play last year, and was very impressed. Of course I saw him play against the Orioles, against whom he was, as Kevin notes, 6 for 16 with two homers.
Another lesson in the futility trying to draw conclusions from a few games.
So comparing last year's under 25 list to this year's, after the developments of the 2009 season, and taking the comments regarding Markakis and Reimold above into consideration, and incorporating them into the list, we see the following changes:
1. Markakis and Jones switch spots at 2 and 3.
2. Reimold climbs from 10 to 6.(with the attendant drops of the players between 6 and 10.
3. Josh Bell enters at 8 (factoring in the addition of Markakis and Reimold)
4. Arrieta drops from 6 to 9 (factoring in the addition of Markakis and Reimold)
5. Pie remains at 7, passing Arrieta. (factoring in ...)
6. Zach Britton enters at 10 (factoiopr in...).
7. Matt Hobgood enters at 11 (factoring in ...)
9. Erbe drops from 9 to 12 (factoring in...)
10. Radhames Liz drops off the chart from 9.
All in all the list is relatively static from year to year. Reimold's year certainly justifies his jump. Moving Jones over Markakis is probably justified, but I worry about Jones ending the season on the DL 2 years in a row. Britton's good season has him moving up.
Liz is really the only one who dropped significantly because of failure. The others dropped because the O's acquired someone better than them, or were passed by Reimold or Britton. A positive sign.
According to the chart cited, the Yankees have revenues $106 million more than the #2 team, the Red Sox. That is 39% more.
The Yankees are shown to have revenues $201 million more than the Orioles, which is 116% more.
While the Yankees may be good managers who are able to maximize their revenues, the bulk of the difference is the market.
So long as the revenues give this much of a competitive advantage, the Yankees will win a disproportionate number of championships, and have a disproportionate number of playoff appearances.
Baseball should take additional steps to reduce the tilt of the playing field. I am not holding my breath.
At age 32, Sherrill is not eligible for this list (which is a large factor in why MacPhail traded him).
After watching Bergesen's impressive performance last year, I want to object to your assessment of that performance as all smoke and mirrors in light of his low strikeout rate. Then I remembered Ballard's performance in the Why Not? year (1989) (only 20 years ago) when he won 18 games (if memory serves) but had a low strikeout rate. Subsequently Ballard was terrible.
So the question becomes, is Bergesen's 2009 truly a fluke not to be repeated, and if so, should the Orioles use him this off-season as trade bait while his value is as high as it is likely to get?
unearned runs are excluded in the calculation of ERA (Earned Run Average)
At this point, the O's have long term keepers in the outfield, and at catcher. They also have a solid veteran second baseman. At SS they have a good defensive player who will never be an offensive asset. Their DH is accpetable. The offensive holes are at 3B and 1B, which are the positions of their best non-pitcher prospects.
The biggest need is pitchers, which is the O's strength in propects.
It seems to me that MacPhail is minding the store and lining up the prospects the O's need. The future (for once) is encouraging.
While I am more than willing to point out that Yankees fans are spoiled (by the Yankees' recent success) I have no problem with Yankee fans, other than their blindness to their advantages.
I have significant issues with an economic system that allows one (or a few)teams to have large and systematic competitive advantages. It is to the Yankees' credit that they effectively exploit their advantages, but the constant assumption of superiority because of those advantages is annoying. I'm reminded of Governor Richards' line about George Bush: "He was born on third base, and thinks he hit a triple."
Once again, only Yankee fans consider a playoff appearance that doesn't result in a World Series victory a failure. Yankees fans are spoiled by their team's success. I remember what that was like. The Orioles were the most successful team (measured by total victories and playoff appearances) from 1966-1983.
I think the Yankees have a huge advantage because of the revenue from the market they occupy. I'll give them credit for generating revenue (but note that their revenue per capita in their market is nothing special league wide).
Also give the team credit for being willing to spend it on baseball talent rather than just putting it in their pocket, but I believe the Yankees' owners are making above average profits, even with the spending, because of the revenue advantage.
Developing Jeter, Rivera and Posada is a major accomplishment. Knowing that Sabathia and Texeira were the best free agents was simply obvious to everyone. They were able to sign them, again, because of their revenue advantage.
I don't support a salary cap. I would support significantly more revenue sharing.
I disagree with the statement that the Yankees spent two billion dollars since their last championship to no avail. Remeber they made the playoffs every year in that period except one.
The concept that a year without a championship, where the team makes the playoffs is "to not avail" is a concept peculiar to the Yankees, and reflective of how spoiled they and their fans are.
It is a mojor flaw in the basic structure of MLB that the Yankees are permitted (encouraged) to outspend other teams this significantly. To argue it is OK because they don't win the playoffs every year, when they are essentially permitted to buy their way to the playoffs every year, is sheer arrogance.
During the 1979 World Series, the Orioles had men on 1st and 2nd with no outs and Lowenstein up. Lowenstein swung away and hit into a double play.
After the game Earl Weaver was asked why he didn't bunt in that situation. Earl responded, "You can take the bunt and shove it up your ass."
That about sums up the Earl Weaver position on sacrifice bunting, and I agree.
I don't understand why hitters, if they're going to bunt, don't attempt to bunt for a base hit. If you get thrown out you've still advanced the runners.
I think generally that players with speed underutilize the "fake bunt". When a third baseman plays in to prevent or discourage the bunt, he is not in as good a position to field ground ball. Such players should fake a bunt early in a game/series to encourage the third baseman to play in.
Some thoughts on the Yankees' revenue advantage
1. It is often said that we have many examples of teams making poor decisions while spending a lot of money. The Yankees make good decisions with their spending.
The Yankees' poor decisions are simply ignored or papered over because they (unlike most other teams)can simply write off a bad investment. They are more willing to recognize sunk costs because they have the revenue to be able to afford it.
How difficult is it to identify the best player in free agency every year, and simply pay the most for him. Was there anyone out there who didn't know that Teixera and Sabbathia were good? Soon after they inexplicably did not sign the best free agent at a position where they had a need (Beltran) they missed the playoffs for the first time in 14 years.
2. It is often said that the Yankees (unlike some teams) are willing to invest in their payroll rather than put the money in their pocket. I believe they have sufficient revenue to do both.
3. It is often said that the Yankees are adept at generating revenue. Actually, I think their revenue on the per capita basis for the population in their market is unremarkable. Their market often has 10 times or more population than the teams against which they are competing. They are not making 10 times more revenues.
I still think that rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for the lions against the Christians in the Roman Coliseum.
To indulge further in the pro-Yankee umpiring conspiracy theory, I offer, from the 1996 ALCS, Jeffrey Maier.
I still think that rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for the lions against the Christians.
But congratulations nontheless to the baseball loving Yankees fans.
The Yankees went into the off-season last year, and executed a plan that got them the best 3 free agents available by throwing more money at them than any other team could. Give the Yankees management credit for its willingness to take advantage of their situation by spending on their team, and spending wisely, but curse the economic realities which allow one team to consistently dominate because of its economic resources. The Mets are based in the same town, and have a comparable base to exploit, but can't get the same results.
I recognize the quality of Yankees management, but that recognition is soured by the rediculous economic advantages the team has.
The Orioles have been terrible late in the season virtually every year this century.
The difference this year for the Orioles is that, although they are losing, they have used the year productively to introduce significant new talent to the major leagues, including, Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, Chis Tillman, Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen, Jason Berken, David Hernandez. They have also shown substantial improvement in several of their young players who were not rookies: Adam Jones, Felix Pie.
It's been a losing year, but a productive year.
Perhaps you haven't paid attention to Wieters' latest production. He has been astoundingly hot, raising his BA into the .290s. Last night he hit a monster HR off the face of Toronto's 3rd deck.
It's a wonder people aren't watching the Orioles recent games, in light off how meaningfut they are for the post-season.
I don't know, Ty Wigginton has been as bad as Mora at the plate, and worse in the field. Moreover, unlike Mora, he's likely to be back next year.
If I was Lou Montanez, I'd look at the current Orioles outfield situation, and then start taking ground balls at 3B and 1B
For those of you with a historical interest. The 1967 Orioles, noted above, were a major disappointment in Baltimore (sadly I'm old enough to remember). After the 1967 season, there was a sense that the team was still good, but that the manager (Hank Bauer) had underperformed.
To start the 1968 season, the Orioles brought their AAA manager (Earl Weaver) up to coach third base, but it was perceived, correctly, that he was in place to take the manager's job if the team faltered again in 1968. The team was not doing well, and Bauer was fired and Weaver was hired during the 1968 season. There is a chapter in Weaver's autobiography (It's What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts) that discusses Weaver's perceptions of Bauer's mistakes in handling the 1968 team, and the changes he made upon taking charge.
Of course, Weaver took the Orioles to the World Series in 1969, 1970 and 1971 and launched his Hall of Fame managerial career.
Do you have any explanation or theories on why the Orioles, who were 9th in SLGBIP in 2007, and 11th in 2008 have fallen all the way to 29th in 2009? Jones has still been the predominant center fielder, and Markakis is still in right. Does the change in left field really make that much of a difference?
To what degree do team numbers stay consistent from year to year? We know, for instance, that measures of "clutch hitting" such as BA with RISP can be generated, but are not considered to measure an "ability" because they fluctuate so much from year to year.
To what degree is this pitching rather than defense? For example, one would assume that a ground ball pitcher would have a lower SLGBIP than a fly ball pitcher.
These are interesting concepts. I look forward to greater refinement.
It was a season ending injury, not a career ending injury. Even at that Jones and the O's could have pushed it and got him back at the very end of the year. Instead, they prudently shut him down for the rest of the year. Also gives them (and the rest of the league)a chance to get a look at Pie in center field. He has significantly stepped up his game after losing his starting position in LF.
I'm somewhat amused that Mychal Givens is listed as a "miss" because the O's signed him as a bat, while many scouts prefer him as a pitcher.
A few years ago, the O's signed a young player who was both a bat and a pitcher. The consensus was that he was a better prospect as a pitcher with a 90+ MPH arm, but the O's signed him as an everyday player. That player is now the O's every day right fielder, Nick Markakis. That arm did stay with him. He leads the league in outfield assists.
As a fellow Baltimorean, I agree. The Sherrill trade was recognized locally as a short term detriment in exchange for a long term benefit, and appropriate for the team in its present position.
Jim Johnson should be an OK closer. The problem with any system of choosing who pitches at the end of the game is that a poor performance loses that game immediately and obviously, and subjects that decision to substantial second guessing.
In the Sherrill trade the O's got Josh Bell, who is now considered the O's third baseman of the future. See the reference to him in the O's "Kiss em Goodbye" article. He is a switch hitter with significant power who finished the season in AA. His defense is apparently adequate and improving.
They also got Johnson, a starting pitcher with local Baltimore roots, and the son of former Orioles pitcher Dave Johnson (not the second baseman/manager) He is projected as a back of the rotation starter, who closed the season well.
The answer is none. The question was how many Orioles have hit 50 doubles in a season 3 times, not how many have done it once.
If I am not mistaken, Roberts holds the all time MLB record for doubles in a season by a switch hitter (51), which he is likely to break this season as he is only one short.
As an Orioles fan, I am amused that certain players are described as not good enough to be a prospect for the Orioles, but would be good enough to be a prospect for the Giants. The O's of course are mired in last place, while the Giants are still very much in the race.
With that note, I acknowledge that the O's are stacked with young outfielders. There is Adam Jones in center, Nick Markakis in right and Nolan Reimold in left. Reimold (25) is the rookie this year, but as he noted recently he is the oldest of the three. (He's about a month older than Markakis). Throw in Pie, who has exploded in the last month, and that's a hell of an outfield.
Recently the O's brought up Fiorentino, who has looked like a major leaguer (say as a 4th outfielder). Don't forget Montanez who had succeeded Pie as the starting left fielder before he got injured and opened the door for Reimold.
The question becomes whether MacPhail can get something for this oversupply in the outfield, or whether some of the talent will be wasted.
I find this topic very interesting. I would be interested in your evaluation of other teams that are engaged in rebuilding, such as the Orioles, the Royals, the Blue Jays, etc. etc.
Mac Phail of the Orioles has had two events this season where he handled questions from season ticket holders. The first was at "Fan Fest" just prior to the beginning of the season. The second was prior to a game in August. I attended the first, at which time he essentially said that the starting rotation that the O's were beginning the season with was unlikely to be the rotation they would end the season with. He was right on that one.
But Salazar has mashed this year for the Orioles, and then got traded and mashed some more for the Padres.
It is a good story to see a 31 year old minor league lifer come up to the majors and hit like Ted Williams. Sure it's a small sample, but it's fun!
Several years ago, I was coaching in an American Legion league that included some players graduating from high school and some players who played in the community colleges. It was a pretty high standard of ball. About 7 kids from the league were drafted in the majopr league draft. My son, who was our best pitcher, (even though he had just finished his junior year of high school) got by on command and guile, but didn't throw more that mid - 80's on a good day. When he heard who had been drafted he was surprised and disappointed. I remeber him saying "That kid can't pitch, he just throws hard". I told him that the majors think they can teach those kids how to pitch, but they can't teach you how to throw in the 90's.
Steve Johnson is not only a Baltimore native, but also the son of former Oriole pitcher Dave Johnson (not the former second baseman / manager). Dave Johnson is also a commentator on the Orioles on the radio and on MASN (the cable network owned by the Orioles and Nationals).
One of the more touching moments in the coverage of the trade of George Sherrill was watching Dave Johnson's coverage. He was so happy his son was coming to the Orioles that he was near tears.
Steve throws harder and misses more bats than his father ever did.
I'd love to hear a "Scout's Take" on Felix Pie's resurgence lately after being terrible earlier in the season.
I posted this question to Will's article you cite for Adam Jones alleged "ongoing back and hip problems", which remained unanswered. I am a close follower of the Orioles (the last 12 years have been tough). I recall no hip problems for Adam Jones (admittedly I did not follow him when he was a Seattle farmhand). The time he missed last season was for a broken foot suffered in a collision with a fence. Jones is quoted in the local paper as saying he has never had back problems before.
Jones has a back problem right now. I know nothing in his background to suggest that he has a history of hip or back problems.
If there is a history, when did it take place?
Correction, Jones' missed time last year was from an injured foot. No mention of a hip issue in the spring's Team Health Report.
Just curious about that hip.
First I heard about Adam Jones "known, chronic hip issue". Wasn't last year's missed time from a hamstring?
The difficulties of being a rebuilding team in the AL East are revealed once again. The toughest schedule for the year was the Orioles. The third toughest was the Blue Jays (having been nosed out of second by the A's).
It's more than what the O's are tearing down. The real issue for a rebuilding team is whant they are building up. This year the O's have integrated the following rookies into their starting lineup/rotation - Wieters, Reimold, Tillman, Matusz, Begersen, Hernandez, Berken, Uehara. In addition the following have been added to the bullpen - Meredith and Mackolio (sp?).
This is how you build a team, even if they are not winning.
Brad Bergesen had a setback in his recovery yesterday. Is this normal for his shin injury, or is the slow recovery an indication of something more than a bruised shin?
I agree with the posters who use the receipt of the newsletter as an indication that the day's articles are posted.
Receiving it in the morning makes it less useful for me.
While my admiration of Earl Weaver knows no bounds, I cannot credit him with coaxing solid production from Curt Blefary in 1966. He didn't become manager of the O's until the middle of the 1968 season.
He did, of course reach the World Series in each of his first 3 full seasons (1969, 1970 and 1971).
The O's manager in 1966 was Hank Bauer.
Umpires are the untold story in baseball. I've heard that they are always on the road, and never have a homestand.
I'd be interested in the process of becoming a major league umpire, the experience of the minor league umpires who come up a vacation replacements, and the day to day routine of umpires.
Do they review tape of their disputed calls after the game? Do some umpires, after reviewing the tape, tell a manager sorry I missed a call? Is there a formal or informal review process of their work?
Anything on Brad Bergesen? Will he be back this year?
Do you have any insight into the Hill labrum tear/no labrum tear? Was it detected by the Cubs and not disclosed? Is this simply an exageration of an uncomfortable shoulder to get him on the DL?
I would have liked to have seen Brad Bergesen.
While I would have loved to have seen a discussion of Reimold or Weiters, I note that the rookies discussed are 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 8th in Rookie VORP among non-pitchers. Reimold is 10th
I find it amusing that NL fans, who consistently claim that NL baseball is better because the pitcher bats and there is no DH, are claiming that the DH gives AL teams an advantage in interleague games.
I disagree with your comment on the schedule. 26 of the Orioles first 48 games scheduled them against the AL East. The intra-divisional games were very front loaded. The Orioles have now played 24 straight games outside of the AL East. They have series with Boston and Toronto before the All-Star break.
In September, all of the O's games but 6 are in the AL East.
This is the traditional unbalanced schedule.
Any insight into Koji Uehara's "tired elbow"?
A Floyd Rayford (Honey Bear) sighting! I'll never forget his 1985 when he came out of nowhere to hit (.311/.331/557 .290 EQA) and field (107 rate at 3B)like he never had before and never would again.
I remember being astounded as line drive after line drive rocketed off his bat that year.
This issue can never be resolved, because it is a matter of taste and opinion. I suspect that fans who primarily watch the AL prefer the DH, while those who primarily watch the NL prefer no DH.
Put me squarely in the group who prefers to watch the game with a DH.
I disagree with the contention that there is more "strategy" in the NL with the pitcher hitting. What is definitely increased are automatic moves. If the pitcher comes up in late innings with his team behind there will be a pinch hitter.
Strategy involves a real choice, not an automatic move.
I stand corrected. 9 of the top 11
It is worth noting that 10 of the 11 pitchers who have faced the toughest hitters pitch in the AL East.
Also newsworthy for the Orioles top pitching prospects is that Brian Matusz, the Orioles' #1 pick in last year's draft, was promoted today to AA Bowie.
The top 3 Orioles pitching prospects are usually listed as Tillman, Arrieta (mentioned above, now in AAA) and Matusz.
It will be interesting to watch as the Orioles' rotation takes shape over the next few years. Three of the pitchers who started this year in the rotation are out of the rotation (Adam Eaton released, Mark Hendrickson moved to bullpen, Alfredo Simon injured). Two remain (Koji Uehara and Jermy Guthrie). Two have come up from AAA to join the rotation (Brad Bergesen, who has pitched the best (3.79 ERA 15.3 VORP) despite only 4.16 SO9, and Jason Berken, who has been inconsistent), and one who was acquired in the off-season joined the rotation off of the DL (Rich Hill, also inconsistent). One more pitcher (David Hernandez) came up from AAA to take Uehara's turn in the rotation during his stint on the DL and pitched well in 2 starts.
By this time next year Tillman, Arrieta and Matusz are likely to be in the rotation. Who will be joining them?
Yes the reliever shopping spree was a low-light of the Flanagan regime. Oddly, he remains with the team, although he is a bit of a non-person (His bio isn't even in the O's press guide)
One thing to remember: It was in his regime that Markakis was drafted and turned into a batter rather than a pitcher.
Do you expect Snyder to be moved up to AAA in mid-season, with the idea of preparing him for Baltimore if the O's deal Aubrey Huff?
Guilty pleasure. While in law school in 1979, I was working at the Justice Department in D.C., which was loaded with Yankee fans. A large number of us decided to go to an O's Yankees game at Memorial Stadium. Since I was the Baltimorean, I was tasked to buy the tickets.
I bought all of the tickets in Section 34. For the uninitiated, Section 34 of Memorial Stadium was where Wild Bill Hagey reigned, leading the mostly drunk Section 34 crowd in Orioles cheers throughout the game.
When my Justice Department colleagues showed up in Section 34 in their Yankees gear, they were, of course, booed and generally the target of largely good natured abuse.
Now, 30 years later, I'm not sure the abuse would be as good natured. It was fun, but the next time we went to a game, someone else was asked to buy the tickets.
Most unusual, and well remembered in Baltimore, was August 24, 1983, and the O's were playing the Blue Jays. Joe Altobelli had pinch hit in the 9th in an Orioles rally that took the game into extra innings, the Orioles were left with a strange defensive alignment. Lenn Sakata (utility infielder) was the catcher. John Lowenstein was at 3B.
With Barry Bonnell on first with no outs in the top of the 10th, Tippy Martinez came in to pitch. The Blue Jays couldn't wait to steal on Sakata. Tippy picked off Bonnell. Tippy then walked Dave Collins, and promptly picked him off as well. Finally Willie Upshaw singled, and became the third pick off victim in one inning!
Of course Sakata won it with a walk off homer in the bottom of the tenth.
So the O's went for a signable high school pitcher, rather than the top talent, who could be unsignable.
Obviously there is no reason for great excitement, as there was the last two years when the O's drafted Wieters and Matusz.
The question is, Is this a pick that should cause discouragement? I have heard it said that the O's got a pitcher who is 80-90% of Wheeler, and they'll be signing him for 50% less. Is that a fair assessment?
In light of the crap shoot that high school arms are, can picking a very good one who is signable be defended over picking a great one who may not be signable?
Please tell me that is not the same Almonte who pitched over age so effectively in the Little League World Series a few years ago.
I really like the "Splinters of the True Bat"!
It will be interesting to see, in the next few years, who will be most productive, Jones, Markakis or Wieters.
Most productive over the last 3 games: Scott
The O's went 6-1 in the last week (from 16-25 to 22-26). Their "Hit List Factor" went from .389 to .436. They climbed from 30th place to 24th.
The trend arrow pointing down is obviously an error.
Loved your article, Joe.
A lot of this kind of humor has been going around Baltimore the last few days.
A dispute broke out on talk radio on whether, on his way to Baltimore, he walked across the Chesapeake Bay, or parted the waters.
A very good wrap up of a large number of Orioles transactions. I, for one, am encouraged.
These kids have shown that they can pitch, and, as you point out, we haven't even touched the cream of the coming prospects (Tillman, Arrieta, Matusz).
Reimold looks like a long term keeper in left field, but I have to remind myself that I've only seem a small sample. I doubt we can count on 5 homers every 9 games.
And you didn't even metion Matt Wieters, who comes up tonight...
While I'm not sure where everyone will bat in Trembly's lineup, it looks like we'll have Reimold 7th and Wieters 8th. That's a tough bottom of the lineup!
I didn't realize Wieters could also heal teamates with a laying on of hands.
oops. I forgot to mention Berken, another rookie starting pitcher who has come up. He was dominating at AAA and he pitched well in his first start in the majors.
The remarkable thing so far is that the rookies who have come up don't seem overwhelmed and over matched.
It will be interesting to watch the O's as they bring up the cream of their pitching prospects.
The Orioles are bringing up a flood of young players because of a combination of poor play and injuries. As of Friday, when Wieters arrives, the O's will have replaced 4/5 of its starting rotation, 2 everyday starters and some of its bullpen as compared to Opening Day.
The Nationals designating Daniel Cabrera for assignment, leads me to reflect on the difference between the current actions of the O's front office in promoting players to the majors and the promotions of the former front office.
You may recall that the O's brought Cabrera to the majors directly from A ball because of the team's need for a starter and Cabrera's potential. By contrast, the current O's front office has expressed the intention, and by its actions confirms, the intention not to bring up players until they are ready, regardless of their potential and team need.
We can speculate whether Cabrera would have been an effective pitcher if he had waited in the minors until he was "ready", but there is little doubt that he never developed at the major league level. His best seasons were his first 3, but he never really improved from his first season. After that he regressed.
In left field this season, the O's started with the Felix Pie experiment. Pie is a player with potential who has not been able to make the transformation to the major leagues. The O's were able to acquire him from the Cubs because of his failure to develop and his lack of options so the Cubs couldn't send him down for seasoning. The O's had 2 outfielders in spring training who had played very well in AA in 2008 (Reimold and Montanez) and who both played well in spring training. The O's began the season with Pie as the starting left fielder and Reimold and Montanez in AAA. Pie struggled while both Reimold and Montanez crushed AAA pitching. Montanez was the first to come up. He played sporatically, and did OK, but he injured his thumb and is not out until at lease September. Reimold came up next, has been playing left field regularly, and has certainly staked a claim to the position, including yesterday's walk-off homer in the 11th.
Weiters is about to come up on Friday. His performance in 2008 at A and AA is now the stuff of legends. The O's said they wanted to see him succeed in AAA before bringing him up. (The delay of service time and free agency was probably a factor as well). He started slow in AAA, sat out a slight hamstring injury, and has recently heated up big time. So now he's coming up.
Perhaps the most intriguing promotions are the starting pitchers. The O's system is now full of pitchers with high potential (Tillman, Arrieta, Matusz). At this point Tillman is the only one who has reached AAA. Hill was also acuired from the Cubs and was also available because of a bad 2008, and lack of options. He was injured at the beginning of the season, but has come out of rehab and pitched well (other than yesterday). The rookies who have been promoted have been Bergesen (referenced in the article) and Hernandez who makes his major league debut tonight.
Many are wondering when we will see the young pitchers with all of the potential. As a long time O's fan who remembers Boddicker stuck in AAA until a rotation spot opened for him, and then paced the O's to a World Series in 1983, and who remembers the waste of Cabrera, I am willing to give the current regime the benefit of the doubt. Let's wait until we are sure they are ready before we bring them up. We also get to keep them longer that way!
With Weiters coming in Friday, the Orioles will already have substantially changed its front line players and rotation, making them substantially younger.
Reimold has become the virtually every day left fielder, rendering Pie a fourth outfielder. Weiters replaces Zaun at catcher.
The Opening Day rotation was Guthrie, Uehara, Simon, Hendrickson and Eaton. Simon is out for the year with an injury. Eaton has been cut. Hendrickson has been moved to the bullpen. Uehara just went on the DL with a hamstring. Now the rotation has only one player who started the year in the rotation. Instead, the rotation is now Guthrie, Hill, Bergerson, Berken and Gonzales. The rotation has been rebuilt from the minor leagues, but the cream of Tillman, Matusz and Arrieta have not come up yet.
The youth movement has certainly begun, but there is more to come.
There is, of course, no "right way" to pick an All Star team. Fans love to debate it anyway.
That's part of what makes the All Star game fun!
Nick Markakis career 302/377/482
Jayson Werth career 264/357/455
closer than I expected, but Markakis is clearly better.
For example: Ty Wigginton career v LHP 286/360/505 865 OPS
but this year: 230/272/356 628 OPS (but he starts slow)
Any thoughts on Luke Scott's shoulder? Will he be able to return to play on time? Will there be lingering effects?
Oh God, please don't remind me of the Glenn Davis deal!
I'd go with Jones Markakis and Sizemore for the outfield
Palmer does color on a lot of the Orioles' TV broadcasts, and I always find his commentary excellent.
He is not as stat inclined as BP, but he sure knows his baseball (especially pitching) and applies his knowledge to the game in front of him.
It is rare that I get to point to a good decision by the Orioles in recent years past, but note that even the Orioles passed on keeping or signing Byrnes or Matthews.
As a Baltimore resident, lifelong O's fan,and mini-plan ticket holder (13 games), I still love Camden Yards.
I disagree with the criticism of signing Roberts. Sure, at his age the O's have signed him for some decline, but the funds committed were less than his PECOTA calculated MORP, and the market for second basemen was not good this off-season. I don't think the O's were likely to get good value for him, and he is not blocking a good prospect.
At SS I would like to see a bit more of Andino, who was acquired just as the season starts. He's young and has shown some skill in infrequent appearances.
We all have a tendency to accept as true the trends that confirm our own hypthoses, or those we would like to believe, while rejecting as small samples the trends we don't like or don't want to believe.
For example, as an Orioles fan, I am certain that Adam Jones' April is the beginning of the emergence of a star player, while Pie's April is confirmation of the suspicion we had that he will never hit in the big leagues.
Then again there are the trends you can count on because they are a continuation of what has come before. Markakis really is that solid, and the O's starting pitching really is that bad.
Re: Adam Eaton
The Orioles have been expected to have a good defense this year, and a look at the players in the outfield has led to anticipation of "the incredible outfield defense", but the stats indicate that thus far the O's have the worst Defense Efficiency in the majors. I'm not sure what to make of this, because the players involved should be better defensively. Perhaps the players underperforming defensively is one of the reasons Eaton has underperformed his QERA
First time I can remember the O's being dead last in the Hit List. We could usually rely on our neighbors to the south being worse than us.
You didn't mention the O's last in the majors Defense Efficiency as a cause for their struggles. Also the bottom 3 in the O's batting order (Zaun, Pie and Izturis) has the worst batting statistics of any bottom three of any team in the major leagues. That includes all of the National League teams that bat a pitcher ninth!
I agree. I would like to see BABIP for both pitchers and hitters.
Last year, when the Orioles got off to a strong start in April, they led the league (or were near the lead) in Defensive Efficiency. As the year wore on, however, that stat fell for the team.
In the off-season the O's attempted to improve their defense, committing to Pie in LF, and acquiring Izturis to play SS. During the off-season commentatos suggested that the O's outfied of Jones/Markakis/Pie should be excellent.
Well, so far the O's Defensive Efficiency is the worst in baseball (which helps to explain Eaton's stats). I find it hard to explain.
To this fan's eye, Pie has been disappointing defensively as well as offensively, Mora's injury and missing games has hurt at 3B, and Jones doesn't seem to be as magnificent in CF defensively as he was last year (he's making up for it offensively).
I recognize that it's a small samply so far, but the O's need to improve defensively if they are going to give their mediocre (at best) starting staff a chance.
Not much discussion of right fielders. Can't help wondering what the score of 25 year old Nick Markakis is.
When the O's acquired Freel in the off-season, it looked like a good pickup, but later acquisitions have made him surplus. The acquisitions of Wigginton and Andino have made his infield utility role duplicative, and I would rather have either Montanez or Reimhold's bat as the other member of the Pie LF platoon. Also, a 25 year old Andino certainly presents a brighter future than a 33 year old Freel. Frankly, from what I've seen thus far, I'd like to see a little more Andino and a little less Izturis at SS.
Regarding Pie, you don't have to have a very long memory in Baltimore to remember young Orioles who struggled in April before putting it together for the long term. Jones struggled early last year, and Markakis struggled early a few years back. I also seem to remember Ripken having a terrible April before putting things together to win the ROY and putting together a Hall of Fame career.
Wieters also missed about 4 days with a cranky hamstring, and returned this week. I'm sure the Orioles are also making sure he is fully healthy before calling him up.
An injury to the Orioles starting staff is like kicking a crippled puppy (and may be a blessing in disguise).
If Ken Singleton is Milton Bradley's #1 comp, PECOTA is clearly not taking a player's character and class into consideration.
Have you heard anything on the ball to the head for Ryan Freel? I know the O's DL'd him, but I was wondering what is known about the injury.
Any insight on Alfredo Simon's elbow?
At the Orioles FanFest today, Andy MacPhail commented that he didn't think scoring runs would be the problem this year. "Even Baseball Prospectus projects us as scoring the second most runs in baseball"
Guess you guys have a reader in the O's front office.
He identified starting pitching as the area the O's need to improve, and pointed to the pitching in the minor leagues.
Regarding the Orioles: Sure we all would like it if Hayden Penn had developed into a major league starter. Certainly, many of his chances were snatched from him by the most bizarre of circumstances (appendicitis, broken bat shard). The bottom line, however, is the bottom line. When the opportunity was there, Penn consistently failed to produce. The opportunity was right there before him this spring, and he failed big time.
I think (and hope) the O's are past the point were they keep running failing players out there with the hope they might succeed in the future.
Once you accept that Penn was about to be lost to a waiver claim, the Andino trade looks better. The O's needed another SS to go with Izturis. Izturis has an injury history, and has not played more than 135 games in 5 years. He may be signed for 2 years, but I would hardly call him a fixture. From what I read, Andino brings many of the best attributes of Izturis (a good glove). The O's other options to back up Izturis were very poor.
Will Andino ever hit enough to be a top offensive contributor? I don't know, but I seriously doubt it. Will he develop enough to hit as well as Izturis? I think there's a good chance of that. And he's 4 years younger than Izturis.
Teams aren't just built with the big blockbusters. They are also built with these small deals that give you a slight edge.
In light of the judgment that Penn had failed, I like the deal. If Penn later develops into a solid player and Andino does not, it's a bad deal. I think the chance Andino develops into a starting SS is at least as good as the chance that Penn develops into a starting pitcher. We'll see what the future brings.
I agree the O's have a plan. I also agree the starting pitching is terrible. I actually think the relief pitching will be pretty good (but is likely to get overworked with that starting staff).
I can't believe the O's are considering giving Adam Eaton a starting spot. At 32 he has had plenty of time to prove that he is not a major league starting pitcher (although people keep putting him out there). With the lousy options immediately, I would probably choose Brian Bass. At least he is young enough that you could imagine him developing.
The real story behind the starting pitching is that it will be a revolving door this season. The O's best pitchers will be at AA and perhaps AAA. MacPhail is adamant that he won't rush them, and I support that.
By May, Hill will take a spot to try to prove he belongs. Before long, Pauley will get his feet under him in AAA and get another shot to prove he can pitch in the big leagues. Before the top prospects come up, look for Bergeson to get a shot.
The O's rotation will be better in September than it is now. I agree that there is a plan.
Even if it is deserved, the "Dutch courage" comment directed at Ponson was a low blow. Go back to your corner and come out fighting fair.
While we think back to young Orioles pitchers with promise in the 2000's, let's not forget Matt Riley and Adam Loewen. If Ponson, Cabrera, Bedard, Riley and Lowewen had matched their top projections, the O's would have a hell of a starting staff right now.
That's what makes me nervous when I hear such good things about the O's current young pitchers (Matusz, Arrieta, Patton, Erbe, etc.)
I think you will see Gomez as a utility player backing up Izturis and getting the occasional defensive substitution at 1B when the O's are leading.
Add me as another fan who is disturbed by this plan which would exacerbate an already unhealthy advantage for the teams from the largest markets
I like the Brian Roberts signing for a number of reasons, in addition to the fact that he is my daughter\'s favorite player. It is, as Christina notes, a vote of confidence from Roberts on the O\'s direction. Internally, it (together with the Markakis extension) is also an indication to the other players that the O\'s will now begin to keep what they develop. Several of the young O\'s (such as Adam Jones) have commented on that.
Roberts remains a model to the young players on how to conduct themselves, both on and off the field. I don\'t think it is a coincidence that Adam Jones joined Roberts this off-season in his grueling conditioning program.
Moreover, Roberts continues to produce. As Christina noted, PECOTA thinks the O\'s got a slight bargain on the deal.
Those comments were about Adam Jones\' comps, not Markakis\'
Reviewing the AL Central makes me wish the Orioles were in the AL Central rather than the AL East. Those 57 games against the Yanks, Red Sox and Rays will be tough.
If baseball puts an asterisk on all of the records compiled during the steroids period, will thay also put an asterisk on everything before Jackie Robinson, which was the segregation period?
While anything could happen if the O\'s immediately go into the tank (as opposed to waiting until September to do it, as is their pattern), my perception is that Trembley is on solid ground. I don\'t think it is MacPhail\'s style to change managers mid-season.
I note the possibility that Scott Moore retains some value, but I think adding Ty Wigginton is worth losing Scott Moore, and in any case, I think it is likely that we will hear that the O\'s have assigned Moore to Norfolk, with an NRI and Moore has accepted.
Amazon tells me my \"shipping estimate\" is February 20
Palmeiro\'s statement that he had never used steroids was before the positive test. He (conceivably) could have been testifying truthfully, and later taken steroids.
In order to prosecute Palmeiro there must have been a test that showed he used steroids before his testimony. There is no such test that I am aware of.
Heck, if the Orioles were in the Central they could be a contender
I think the intention of the Orioles is to use Wigginton as a platoon 1B, DH, LF. Several of the Orioles\' left handed hitters (Scott, Huff and the newly acquired Pie) had significantly worse stats against left handed pitching. Last year Wigginton hit 340/424/631 against left handed pitching.
That\'s what I call a lefty masher!
Another example of why I very much enjoy Jim Palmer as a commentator
As an O\'s fan, I was a bit surprised that the O\'s cut ties with Cabrera this off-season. Was it just money?
Sure I had endured Cabrera\'s struggles and watched him get worse over the last few years, but that arm always argued to give him another chance. It\'s not like the O\'s are filled with young pitchers. Giving Cabrera another chance seemed a defensible decision in light of the O\'s other starting options.
Christina\'s artcle gives me greater hope the O\'s front office made the right decision cutting ties with Cabrera.
The Orioles apparently plan to start Wieters this season in AAA, a level he has not yet reached, and bring him up later (like Longoria last year). Is this a prudent gradual promotion of a developing star? Is it roster manipulation to delay the onset of arbitration and free agency? Is it stupid? Will the Orioles consider starting him on Opening Day if he has an excellent spring?
It\'s amazing how many questions arise regarding the handling of a stud prospect.
What are your thoughts on Justin Turner, one of the players who the O\'s got in return for Ramon Hernandez? I heard he\'s a second baseman who can hit. Was he considered and didn\'t make the cut?
I have one disagreement. I think the O\'s will carry a utility infielder who can play SS so they can pinch hit for Izturus without paying a significant defensive penalty.
I would be interested in an interview with Felix Pie, to get his take on being a highly touted prospect who is having difficulty establishing himself
Faidley\'s crab cakes are great, but it\'s hard to pass up the oysters on the half shell there. Can\'t go wrong either way.
No dissent on Berger Cookies and Old Bay. Sprinkle some Old Bay on your popcorn!
As an Orioles fan, I agree with the comment that points out the disadvantages of being in the AL East with the Yankees and the Red Sox.
I think the way to attack the problem is with greater revenue sharing. The Yankees are not the only team playing when they get revenues from tickets and their cable TV system. They have an opponent every night. That opponent should share in the the high revenues the Yankees (Mets Red Sox, Cubs etc.)get for each game. As noted elsewhere in these comments, the Yankees may benefit because they are the best road draw. From my perspective they have at least earned that.
The Yankees (and Mets) remind me of Governor Richards\' famous comment about George H.W. Bush. \"He was born on third base and thought he hit a triple.\"
When you factor in the population base, the Yankees are not as good at attracting attendance or revenue per capita of many of the small market teams. They just have a larger population base to exploit.
The posters who hold the Yankees up as great revenue generaters miss the point. The Yankees generate a huge amount of revenue because they are in a huge market. When you analyze their revenues and payroll, however, the Yankees generate a smaller amount per capita of the population in their market than many of the small or medium size market teams. The Orioles, for example, have a market that is blocked both north (Phillies) and south (Nationals). The Orioles generate more revenue per capita in their market than the Yankees.
I agree with Joe\'s analysis of the reasons why the Orioles should sign Teixeira.
Imagine a lineup that starts with Roberts, Markakis and Teixera, and after that you mix in Huff (for a year)Jones, Weiters, Scott etc. Teixera will drive in a lot of runs with Roberts and Markakis and their exceptional OBP hitting in front of him.
The problem, of course is the starting pitching. The O\'s have young arms coming up (Matusz, Tillman, Erbe, Spoone). The problem is that the best of them are not ready yet.
Signing Teixeira would be a major step for the O\'s.
The most surprising aspect of your left fielders list for me is that Stan Musial leads Ted Williams in JAWS. I had heard that Musial receives too little credit for his substantial accomplishments, but outpacing Williams surprises me.
Perhaps the time Williams missed for military service makes a difference.
I remember the 1983 one-hit game with the Ford home-run. I remember thinking that if the O\'s can win games with one hit, they may go somewhere this year.
First congratulations on your joining the BBWAA.
It is refreshing to see you write something positive about the Orioles.
To me Izturis is an improvement on last year\'s situation at SS (which may be damning with faint praise), but he is no great shakes. He brings good defense at a critical defensive position, and some certainty at the position, so that\'s a positive. Hopefully the O\'s will have a good defensive SS backup to put in so we can pinch hit for him freely late in games when the O\'s are behind.
I know little about Freel. He looks like a high energy back-up for several positions with a good glove and some OBP skills. I\'m sure they will look at him as a platoon mate with Scott in left field. The problem is that he appears to be injury prone. We\'ll see. I may end up loving him, but this is not a critical acquisition. The main thing in this deal was the addition by subtraction with Hernandez, who appeared to be going through the motions the last 2 years, and it clears space for Wieters.
At the end of last season, the O\'s brought up Montanez, who looked good in his limited playing time. He\'s a right handed hitter who can really hit, although he did not look comfortable defensively in left field. Will the acquision of Freel mean that Freel, and not Montanez, is the platoon mate for Scott in Left Field? Would the O\'s carry both of them? Can Montanez become an adequate defensive left fielder with some work? All questions to be answered in the spring and during the season.
I was at the 10/5/97 ALDS deciding game between Mussina and Randy Johnson with my son, who was then 8 years old.
It is probably my second favorite all time baseball memory, surpassed only by attending game 3 of the 1966 World Series with my father. O\'s won 1-0. I was 13.
These memories will live with me always.
For what it\'s worth, Palmer has consistently said that Mussina is a better pitcher than he was.
I can\'t say I agree, but it is interesting nonetheless.
So the real question is whether the O\'s should try to move him in the off-season coming off that good year, try to move him at the trade deadline in 2009, or just let him play out his option.
The fact that he has primarily been a DH for the O\'s will limit his trade value.
My impression of McPhail is that he will move Huff only if he is pleased with the return the O\'s get. He will not be traded to meet a deadline. The O\'s would rather let him play the last year on his contract, and see where he wants to go (or stay) from there. With Millar gone (I hope)we might see more of Huff at 1B, unless the O\'s sign Teixeira, of course.
In 1983, Cal Ripken won, and Eddie Murray was second. Both played for the Orioles, of course.
The O\'s are still talking about trying to sign Roberts to an extension before shopping him around. Whether this is just window dressing remains to be seen. After all Roberts is extremely popular with the fans, as well as with Angelos.
It is absolutely clear that the main reason Roberts was not traded last off-season was because the O\'s were not offered enough in return. While it would be nice to get Bedard like return for Roberts, that is easier said than done. I am confident that MacPhail will not deal Roberts unless he is satisfied with the return. If Roberts is signed to an extension, he won\'t be dealt at all, and the O\'s will try to build around him.
I have not a heard a word about any desire of the O\'s to sign Manny. I don\'t think that is even a consideration.
The big problem for the O\'s in 2008 was run prevention. They were last in Runs Allowed per game in the AL East by virtually a full run. They were tied for 2nd in the AL East in Runs Scored per game.
They have some exciting arms in the farm system. MacPhail\'s challenge is to acquire some arms to build a pitching bridge to the future when the arms in the farm system come online.
ORIOLES: Extend Roberts and Markakis, build a pitching bridge to the developing arms, integrate Wieters, acquire a shortstop, \"don\'t stop thinking about tomorrow\"
Leaving the 1983 team out is a significant oversight, but a quick peak at that team suggests that none of them would have made the team. The 1980 Schmidt is superior to the 1983 Schmidt
I wish the statistics section had a listing for each player\'s WARP
Buck Martinez and Jim Palmer are the \"color\" commentators on Oriole TV broadcasts, so I have heard him a lot this year. Palmer and Martinez alternate. They are never on the same game.
It is always a disappointment when we get Martinez rather than Palmer. While Palmer has not incorporated the BP perspective, he has incorporated his masterful knowledge of pitching, and insights he picked up pitching for Earl Weaver. I always find Palmer\'s insights instructive.
Martinez is just another former baseball player/manager who brings the old-school view to the booth. His incorporation of stories of old ballplayers is often on point rather than an irrelevant distraction, but he really adds little other than an \"inside\" perspective. I\'ve certainly heard worse.
I think it will be a very interesting off-season for the Orioles. In some ways the key is whether they get a long term deal for Roberts. If they do, it means the O\'s hope to contend in the relative near term. If not, Roberts will be dealt for prospects, and we are looking at a long term plan. Either way the O\'s should be looking to try to get prospects for Huff, Hernandez and Mora. They should also try to get a mid-level starter or two to bridge the gap from the present to a future with Matusz, Tillman and the other promising arms who are not ready yet. Expect the O\'s to make a token effort to sign Teixeira (a local boy) but not get it done.
Got to your article a little late, but I really enjoyed it. I don\'t generally look to BP for misty-eyed reverence for baseball. It\'s a genre of baseball writing that is often very poorly done. I generally look to BB for the facts and stats.
Your article was well done and is a refreshing change of pace for the site.
Palmer has been saying for years that Mussina is as good as or better than he was. I remembeer questioning that viewpoint when Mussina was pitching for the Orioles, but Palmer was saying it even then.
Palmer was a smart enough pitcher to know how good his defense was, and the advantages to be gained by making the batters hit the ball early in the count. It does not surprise me that his pitching was enhanced by his defense. I\'m sure he pitched to his defense.
Palmer may not be the most sabermetrically savvy commentator out there, but he is a very good color commentator on MASN games, especially when he discusses pitching (no surprise there). If he was substituted for Joe Morgan on the ESPN national games and teamed with Miller, it would greatly enhance that broadcast.
Among the disappointments lately watching the Orioles, in what had been an encouraging year, are the utter failure of the young pitching prospects and the incomprehensible tendency they have of playing Payton. Montanez looks like the perfect 4th outfielder. He seems to field well, and he can hit (the triple crown in AA seems to say that, as well as his performance in the Majors). Indeed, I\'m beginning to wonder whether either he or Scott can play 1B so the O\'s have a replacement for Millar after they send him packing this winter, and fail to sign Teixeira.