A look at the surprising early season success of Baltimore's hitters
Your computer is not broken. The Baltimore Orioles do indeed lead all of baseball in home runs this season with 56. They were quietly the fourth-best team last year with 191 home runs, trailing only the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rangers. Last season, the Orioles hit 1.18 home runs per game, but in 2012, that pace has spiked to 1.6 per contest… with essentially the same personnel as last year, no less. Nick Johnson—who anointed Joel Peralta his favorite pitcher this weekend when he took him deep twice—is the lone addition to the lineup.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
The tater trots for May 10: a lot of excitement in the Orioles/Rangers doubleheader.
If it's not one thing, it's another. On Tuesday, Josh Hamilton hit four home runs in a game. On Wednesday, despite only a few home runs being hit, we still got to see Matt Joyce run out his trot after falling down with a twisted ankle at the plate - in less than 30 seconds! For Thursday, we were given back-to-back-to-back home runs by the Orioles to start the game. Overall, the Orioles had five hits in the game, with all five hits clearing the fences. The only game to see a team have more than five home runs when they had no singles, doubles, or triples was when the Indians did it to the Rangers in 1989. The Indians had six hits and six home runs that day and Joe Carter had three of them. It goes to show that you just don't know what's going to happen, especially when the Rangers are involved!
Stephen Strasburg faced the Pirates for the first time since his major-league debut, and he reeled off a similar line.
The Thursday Takeaway
Merry Strasmas, Nationals fans. With the team coming off a disappointing three-game skid, Stephen Strasburg took the mound against the Pirates and played stopper with results strikingly similar to his major-league debut.
Back on June 8, 2010, Strasburg surpassed even the loftiest of expectations by striking out 14 batters without issuing a walk over seven innings in his first career start. Strasburg’s victims that night were the Pirates, who managed only two runs on four hits, one of which was a Delwyn Young homer.
Baseball Prospectus radio has a bit role in Ken Burns' latest film, along with a look at injury news from around the major leagues.
Looking back at the things I've done here, there's one where I really wish things had gone different. Brad Wochomurka got the chance to interview Buck O'Neil one day. He was at the studio in Indianapolis and there was a time window where O'Neil was available. I couldn't make it into the studio in time, so Brad did it alone. Joe Posnanski's book The Soul of Baseball is one of my favorite books, baseball or not, and the lessons of O'Neil are just stunning in any context. O'Neil's passion in Ken Burns' Baseball is one of those enduring images. O'Neil should be in the Hall of Fame. In fact, I think we should have a place for people like O'Neil, who spent their lives furthering the game, building the spirit, and showing just what baseball can do. I'd love it if it were the Buck O'Neil Ambassador Award, or something, where others who have given their very souls could be rewarded, where for one afternoon they could hear the roar of a Cooperstown crowd and see their life immortalized on a plaque. I only wish Major League Baseball and the Hall of Fame had seen fit to do so for O'Neil, but I think he understood.
Catching up on reader e-mail with the Fantasy Mailbag.
As I was out of town at the beginning of the week thanks to a few events for Baseball Prospectus 2010, this is as good a time as any to revive something I have wanted to do for awhile, but haven't had the capacity to until this blog went live. My hope is to write a Fantasy Mailbag whenever reader questions allow, which will hopefully be weekly but it depends on how the queries are delivered (and if I'm allowed to publish them, which is up to the reader).
Let me know in the comments if this is something you would like to see—very often, in both my chats and in my inbox, I receive a bunch of similar or related questions involving the same players, and the best way to get this information out there for everyone to seem, including those who want to know but haven't asked, is to run a mailbag. Today we'll go light, with just one e-mail (as many of the others in my inbox were either very specific to their league or quick to answer) but in the future I hope to do 2-3 per mailbag. I can also answer unanswered chat questions through this venue, or expand on ones I already covered quickly in that format.