Enchanting Sunshine made a comment on one of my previous posts about Aubrey Huff and how he's having one of the better seasons ever for an Oriole DH. "Where was Terry Crowley?", she wondered.
I only included players that qualified for the batting title. Crowley never did. So I changed the criteria to include Crowley in the assessment. Here it is:
T. Crowley 1979 154
H. Baines 1999 150
H. Baines 1995 142
H. Baines 1993 137
A. Huff 2008 136
K. Singleton 1981 135
J. Dwyer 1987 131
K. Singleton 1983 131
S. Horn 1991 130
T. Crowley 1980 130
Crowley only played in 61 games in 1979 but he made the most of his at bats. He was perhaps more impressive in 1980 when he playe din 92 games, still hitting at a high level.
Look, it's Sam Horn! You think Weaver would've loved having Horn on his bench? Horn could've been the Terry Crowley of the 90's.
Huff has fallen off the pace a bit since last week but still finishes in the top 5 of all-time.
E.S. also wondered about Huff coming through for the team this year. Luke Scott has a lot of big hits but who's had the biggest hits for the club this year?
Total WPA leaders for the 2008 Baltimore Orioles:
Surprised to see Luke Scott so low? I sure was.
Huff has loomed large overall (he has been uncharacteristically consistent all year) but Melvin Mora at number 3? Has the Melmosity been peaking and I haven't noticed?
(BTW, from 1979-1981, Crowley had 78, 266 and 166 plate appearances respectively. He posted WPAs of 1.19, 2.00 and 1.50 respectively. Crazy numbers for a guy who played so little. Per at bat, he may be the clutchiest player in Oriole history.)
The biggest hits of the year by measure of WPA:
10 - Adam Jones - 6/29 - .351 WPA
Down by a run in the top of the 12th, The Truth singles home Markakis to tie up the Nats.
9 - Ramon Hernandez - 6/14 - .388 WPA
Two outs in the bottom of the 9th, Hernandez singles home Freddie Bynum to tie up the Pirates.
8 - Ramon Hernandez - 4/12 - .405 WPA
Down to their last out, Hernandez gives the Orioles life by hitting a solo shot to tie the game against Houston.
7 - Luke Scott - 7/19 - .414 WPA
With one out in the bottom of the 10th, Scott homers to tie the game.
6 - Melvin Mora - 4/17 - .418
Two outs in the ninth and the score ties, Mora singles Roberts home off Bobby Jenks to win the game.
5 - Ramon Hernandez - 7/19 - .431
Walk-off homer against Joe Zumaya to defeat the Tigers.
4 - Brian Roberts - 6/15 - .489
Walk-off homer against Matt Capps to defeat the Pirates.
3 - Melvin Mora - 6/17 - .556
Down 5-6 in the bottom of the 8th with 2 out, Mora doubles to center scoring Adam Jones and Brian Roberts.
2 - Aubrey Huff - 5/27 - .611
Down 7-6 in the bottom of the 8th to the Rays, Huff doubles in Kevin Millar and Mora to give the O's the lead.
1 - Aubrey Huff - 4/2 - .617
In the bottom of the 11th, Huff doubles to the wall off of Yankee reliever (and Oriole badmouther) LaTroy Hawkins. Mora comes all the way from 1st to score the winning run.
Who would have thought that Huff had the two biggest hits all season? Not I. Luke Scott only shows up once. Ramon Hernandez shows up three time lending creedence to my belief that he is having a better season than the boxscore shows. (Not that it matters much. Matt Wieters approaches.) Mora on both lists may indicate that he is having a better year than I thought as well. More to dwell on later...
E.S. also said, "I guess that's why it's better to not rely on perceptions." Well, not necessarily!
Earlier in the year, George Sherrill was being compared by many to Don Stanhouse (especially by E.S.) so I took a look at where Sherrill ranked among other "nailbiter" closers in Oriole history. At the time, he did not make the Top Ten based on my criteria. Now he is in a statistical dead heat with Stanhouse's 1978 season in terms of WHIP. That puts him as the #5 nailbitingest closer in Oriole history.
Sometimes perception is correct regardless of what the numbers say!
But eventually, the numbers tend to catch up.