Monday, June 8, 2009

In Defense of the Orioles

I figured two months was about time to check in on how the Orioles are catching the ball. There is no perfect defensive metric but I think the best one is UZR. So thanks to, a quick analysis of the O's have been flashing the leather.

UZR does not apply to catchers.

Overall, the O's come in 26th in terms of UZR:

Team UZR/150 Inn PO A E DP FP
Red Sox -6.9 4152 1384 461 33 81 0.982
Mets -5.8 4101 1367 499 39 96 0.98
Orioles -5.2 4197 1399 524 33 116 0.983
Braves -4.9 4113 1371 532 29 103 0.985
Rockies -4.8 4023 1341 572 32 116 0.984

The defense has been disappointing thus far. A unit that was supposed to be greatly improved is ranked near the bottom of all the teams in baseball.

Let's break it down. First base:

Name Pos Inn PO A E DP FP DPR RngR ErrR UZR/150
Ty Wigginton 1B 42 40 3 0 4 1 0.2 11.1 0.1 14.6
Aubrey Huff 1B 424.1 409 26 2 37 0.995 0.1 -4.1 0.6 -11.8

It ain't pretty at first but we all expected that. Huff does, however, rank as one of the worst fielding first baseman in baseball.

Wigginton, on the other hand, has been good in limited action. Perhaps he should start serving as a late innings replacement when the Orioles have the lead? Granted those are rare these days...

On to second base...

Name Pos Inn PO A E DP FP DPR RngR ErrR UZR/150
Brian Roberts 2B 457.1 75 153 2 34 0.991 0.6 1.5 0.9 6.9

Roberts has actually been quite good so far ranking in the top third of all second baseman. Not bad for a 31 year old speedster.

Third base...

Name Pos Inn PO A E DP FP DPR RngR ErrR UZR/150
Melvin Mora 3B 300.1 32 61 3 4 0.969 0.2 -1.2 0.3 -3.4
Ty Wigginton 3B 156 14 26 2 1 0.952 -0.2 -1 -0.4 -14.4

Melmo has been below average int he field this year, just like last year. After a few good seasons feilding, age is catching up to him. The good news for Mora is that Wigginton is even worse.


Name Pos Inn PO A E DP FP DPR RngR ErrR UZR/150
Robert Andino SS 100 12 32 2 4 0.957 0.4 3.2 -0.8 35.3
Cesar Izturis SS 363.1 69 129 5 30 0.975 0.3 -0.1 0.1 0.1

This one becomes even more relevant now that Izturis is on the DL. Izturis has been steadier, making the plays when he gets to the ball btu has been average overall. Andino is less sure but has demonstrated great range up to this point. If he can cut down on the errors, Baltimore may see play equivalent to Izturis...or maybe better.

Left Field

Name Pos Inn PO A E DP FP DPR RngR UZR/150
Felix Pie LF 151.1 52 2 0 0 1 4 0.2 25.6
Nolan Reimold LF 140.1 29 0 1 0 0.967 0.6 0.1 6.5
Lou Montanez LF 88.2 23 0 0 0 1 0.4 0.1 3.9

Left field has been the source of great success for the O's. Reimold has been very good since his call up. After a rougn start, Pie has been stellar on the rare occastions he gets to play. Montanez was pretty good too before he got hurt.

Center Field

Name Pos Inn PO A E DP FP DPR RngR UZR/150
Felix Pie CF 64 18 0 0 0 1 -1.8 0 -25.7
Adam Jones CF 402.1 138 4 4 0 0.973 -6.4 -1.2 -18.6

Jones has been disappointing so far. He has already made more errors this year (4) than he had all of last year. His range has not been good either. Maybe bad luck? Maybe bad routes? Still plenty of time to turn it around here.

Right Field

Name Pos Inn PO A E DP FP DPR RngR UZR/150
Nick Markakis RF 463.1 92 5 3 0 0.97 -9.5 -0.5 -26.6

Same for Nick. This Oriole outfield had the potential to be one of the best in baseball but the two best fielders are having down years. Nick, like Jones, already has as many errors this year as he had all of last year. The range is down too. The only thing he is still doing well is his outfield assists. In terms of UZR, Nick MArkakis ranks last in the majors among right fielders.

In conclusion, outside of Brian Roberts and Nolan Reimold, there's not a lot to feel good about among the Oriole defenders. The good news is that the talent is there, these guys have performed before. There's still two-thirds of the season to go and plenty of time for things to start moving in the right direction


FrostKing said...

I was actually planning on writing something like this up today, but didn't have a chance. I've been disappointed by the defense, but the sample size is still relatively small.

Heath said...

Small sample size but not insignificant. One-third of the season is enough to start taking a look.

And these numbers are from the end of May...they have actually gotten a bit worse over the past week!

The talent is there though. You'd like to think they are respectable by the end of the season.