It's the offseason so it's the return of the Big Homer Index! What is the Big Homer Index (BHI)? Look here.
Melvin Mora - 158 Oriole Career Home Runs
Now that we can look back lovingly on Melvin Mora's career, I figured it was time to put him through the BHI prism to see how he stacks up. The answer is...pretty well.
Mora hit nearly 25% of his homers with the O's down by 4 or more runs but 41% were Go Ahead homers and he had a couple walk-offs as well. While the "garbage homer" score is high, he had enough heroics to finish with a respectable middle-of-the-pack BHI.
BHI - 238
Paul Blair - 126 Oriole Career Home Runs
Known more for his glove during his Oriole career, Blair delivered his fair share of pop with the bat. Even though lead-off types tend to get penalized by my formula, Blair acquits himself well in terms of BHI. Even with zero walk-off homers, Blair boosted his score with 51 Go Ahead shots and a very low percentage of homers during "garbage time". He finishes on the good side of 250 which puts him well above average.
BHI - 255
Jefferey Hammonds - 51 Oriole Career Home Runs
Hammonds was a disappointment to Oriole fans on so many levels and as it turns out, he wasn't even clutch. A whopping 37% of his Oriole homers came during "garbage time". A lone walk-off blast against Oakland in 1994 is the only thig that keeps his BHI from being sub-zero. His profile is classic stat-padder.
BHI - 109
BHI Leaders - Oriole Career
Brooks Robinson - 495
Eddie Murray - 469
Rafael Palmiero - 469
Mickey Tettleton - 444
Tony Batista - 406
John Lowenstein - 393
Boog Powell - 341
Mike Devereaux - 333
Jim Gentile - 274
Larry Sheets - 266
Paul Blair - 255
Albert Belle - 240
Chris Hoiles - 240
Melvin Mora - 238
Roberto Alomar - 230
Doug Decinces - 225
Brian Roberts - 224
Miguel Tejada - 218
Cal Ripken - 197
Brady Anderson - 138
Rick Dempsey - 136
Kevin Millar - 117
Jeffrey Hammonds - 109
Jay Gibbons - 42
Jeff Conine - 5
B. J. Surhoff - -64
Thursday, October 29, 2009
It's the offseason so it's the return of the Big Homer Index! What is the Big Homer Index (BHI)? Look here.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Oriole players may want to request hazardous duty pay when they report to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, their new Spring Training complex:
At one time the neighborhood ballpark was a landfill so city commissioners requested a thorough environmental check before teaming up with the Orioles.
Recently, the group obtained a 117-page report, commissioned by the city, which shows a plume of vinyl chloride contamination, along with a series of heavy metals and organic compounds that far exceed safe EPA levels.
In a related story, the Orioles have unveiled new black and orange DEVO suits.
Since there are plans to renovate or demolish Ed Smith Stadium after 2010, local residents are concerned about what toxins may be kicked up into the air during construction, as well as what pollutants exist, literally, in their backyards.
You would have to think that there are contingencies to clean up the site if need be. If not, do the Orioles balk and go elsewhere?
The full report has not been released to the public. I'm sure there is more to come.
The "This Year in Baseball Awards" at MLB.com feature few Oriole nominees. In fact, they only feature two, both in the defense category. The first is Adam Jones who had a bit of a down year in center but did have 9 outfield assists in 118 games. OK.
The second was Melvin Mora. Melvin Mora! Mora?!?!?
There are 10 nominees from all of baseball. Anyone who watched the O's this season knows that Mora was struggling in the field this year and that he was not one of the top ten defenders in baseball. In terms of UZR, he ranked 11th among third basemen alone. I don't understand the selection at all.
In related news, Drew Silva at FanGraphs.com thinks Mora could be a nice utility player next season.
This article on delmarvanow.com details the up and down career of current Phillie outfielder and former Oriole first round pick, Jayson Werth. I would say that former Oriole manager (and current Phillies third base coach) Sam Perlozzo took a cheap shot at the Orioles organization but he does qualify his remark:
"They saw him as a (career) backup," said Sam Perlozzo, an Orioles coach in those days and now the Phillies' third base coach. "To be fair, he wasn't the player he is now. He's gotten bigger, stronger."
This was kind of a forgone conclusion but Spencer Fordin reports that the Orioles have decided that Koji Uehara will definitely be a reliever next season.
On MLB.com, vote for The All-Time 9 for the Baltimore Orioles. Even though I consider myself something of a baseball historian, I do not like the inclusion of St. Louis Browns in the ballot. Down with Baby Doll Jacobsen and Moose Solters! And where's Rick Dempsey? Not even a mention?
Speaking of Rick Dempsey, Rick will be playing live with the Deanna Bogart Band on Sunday, November 15th, 2009 at Serafino's in Ellicot City. I was not even aware that Rick was a musician.
I also did not know that Rick Dempsey has released a holiday CD called Home Run Holiday. I'm getting that. I'm not kidding.
Monday, October 26, 2009
I told you that this was an interesting crop of AFL prospects for the Orioles...
The future corner infielders for Baltimore continue to rake. 3B Josh Bell is posting a .464/.531/.786 slash line and 1B Brandon Snyder is sporting a line of .400/.436/.714. As we know, both corner infield positions in Baltimore are essentially vacant. These guys may force their way into Baltimore before the All-Star break.
CF Matt Angle continues to do what he has always done (get on base, steal bases) albeit in a more spectacular fashion. Angle has strung together 5 consecutive multi-hit games and has a line of .406/.486/.500 in AFL play. In 7 games, he has stolen 6 bases without being caught.
3B/DH Brandon Waring has only gotten 16 ABs but is hitting .250/.368/.563.
In a league that has been all about offense, the O's pitching prospects have held their own.
Ryohei Tanaka leads the team in innings pitched (with 8.1) and has struck out 8, walked 2 and posted a 3.24 ERA. Brandon Erbe (1.93 ERA), Josh Perrault (2.08 ERA) and Eddie Gamboa (3.86 ERA) have also pitched well in limited action.
Stephen Strasburg got tagged in his last start against Peoria (and then Tanaka came in and shut the Javelinas down) and now has an ERA north of 10.00.
After a hot start, Adam Loewen is now hitting .179.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Former Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver was best know for losing his head on the field with the umpire. But what "Weaver on Strategy" reveals is that Weaver used his head far more than he lost it.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Most of the O's prospects now have a couple games under their belts. The highlights so far:
1B Brandon Snyder is posting a .385/.429/.615 line, picking up where he left off last fall but has just a lone extra base hit (home run).
3B Josh Bell has hit the tougher pitching well. Hitting .400/.536/.600 with a couple of doubles.
CF Matt Angle is hitless in 7 ABs but has drawn three walks and stolen two bases.
RP Josh Perrault has a 0.00 ERA over two games. RP Eddie Gamboa has a 3.86 ERA over two appearances.
Others of Note
Nationals SP Stephen Strasbourg pitched 3.1 scoreless innings in his AFL debut on Friday.
Blue Jays OF Adam Loewen is hitting .444/.538/.556 over three games.
The Desert Dogs are a juggernaut! They have won 4 straight and at 4-1 lead the AFL East by two games already.
MLB.tv will not be televising any of the AFL games, save for the All-Star game and the championship game. Bummer.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
SP Ryohei Tanaka started the game for the Desert Dogs and promptly surrendered a home run to center off the bat of Mesa leadoff hitter Rene Tosoni. However, he did not allow another run over the three innings he pitched. Final line: 3 IP, 3 hits, 4 Ks, 1 ER. Tanaka pitched well but Phoenix did not score until the 5th inning and he took the loss.
1B Brandon Snyder went 2-5 with a 2-run homer and finished with 2 RBI and a strikeout hitting third.
3B Josh Bell went 0-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
Others of Note:
Former Oriole Randor Bierd started for the Mesa Solar Soz and held the D.D.'s hitless over three innings.
Fellow desert Dog Adam Loewen played leftfield and went 0-1 with a strikeout but drew 3 walks and scored twice.
Mesa beat the Desert Dogs 10-6
The game wasn't televised on MLB.tv, nor was there a radio feed and, for this game, no PitchFx data. No word on if and when AFL games will be televised this year. Lousy...
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
RP Eddie Figueroa - The 2008 21st round pick has gone from the rookie leagues all the way to Bowie in under a season and a half of pro ball. Can he keep mowing them down and killing worms (or scorpions) in Arizona?
SP Brandon Erbe - Coming back from injury, Erbe showed signs of life in Bowie over 14 starts. This will be the toughest competition the 22-year-old Erbe has faced in his career...should be a good test.
RP Josh Perrault - The AFL'er most likely to break camp with Baltimore out of spring training. Perrault pitched 32 innings in Norfolk and struck out 33. A good showing in Arizona will go a long way toward getting him a long look in Sarasota this spring.
SP Ryohei Tanaka - The Orioles' forgotten Japanese import. Tanaka put together a nice season in Bowie as a swingman in '09 winning 4 games, saving 3 and posting a 3.00 ERA. Will his junk fool the rest of the AFL? I'm curious to see what kind of stuff he has. Tanaka makes the season opening start for Phoenix today versus Mesa at 2:35 EDT.
1B Brandon Snyder - Last fall, Snyder's good showing led to a white-hot run in Bowie and gained him a mid-season promotion to Norfolk. Will this fall help ignite similar success in AAA?
1B/3B Brandon Waring - The Carolina League MVP. He beat up on the pitchers in A-ball but can he mash against the top pitchers in the minors?
OF Matt Angle - Frederick centerfielder hasn't shown much at the plate except that he can a) get on base and b) steal a lot of bases. If he can do that in the AFL, those skills could play in Bowie and beyond.
OF Adam Loewen - Former Oriole top pitching prospect arrives as an outfielder for the Jays. Loewen hit pitifully in Dunedin so I'm surprised he's here at all. He will either affirm his status as a hitting prospect or get completely exposed.
RP Drew Storen - The top pick of the Nationals in 2009 and heir apparent to the closer job in 2010. Drew dominated minor league hitters in '09 and along with Stephen Strasburg will give Nats fans something to cheer for in 2010.
SP Stephen Strasburg - No player will be more closely scrutinized this fall than Strasburg. The pitcher described by his agent as a "once a generation" talent will have to prove it against the best hitters in the minors this fall. Nats fans will be watching with baited breath while sport writers across the country will be hoping he fails.
2B Jemile Weeks - Ricky Weeks' little brother raked in the high-A California league while stealing bases at will. The Athletics hope he continues that success against tougher competition since they haven't produced an impact position player from their farm system in years.
P Katayama/Mishimura/Yanuki - A trio of pitchers from the Nippon Professional Baseball league will be playing for the desert Dogs in 2009. This is the first time I have seen players unaffiliated with MLB play for teams in the AFL (I have seen them in the Hawaiian Leagues.) There are five total and three will play for Phoenix. They are:
P Hiroshi Katayama - Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
P Ken Mishimura - Hanshin Tigers
P Toshiyuki Yanuki - Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters
I always love to see the NPB players get a shot against North American competition especially since the Orioles seem to have turned their eye toward Japan when it comes to scouting. It's a good way to get a sense of how competitive those guys can be.
I don't know about you but I'm excited! I'll be a die-hard Desert Dog fan for the next two months.
Monday, October 5, 2009
This last month has been a microcosm of the 2009 season. The team looked doomed to 100+ losses, showed some fight that gave you hope, lost 13 straight to send them right back to the depths of suckitude and then rally to sweep the Jays in the last series of the season. With Matt Albers getting the win in the final game! An odd season...
Record: 63-98 (Baltimore will pick third in the 2010 Draft.)
Brian Roberts clouts 56 doubles to set the team, franchise and switch-hitter record for doubles in a season. Add 16 homers and 30 stolen bases and you've got a heck of a year and the MVO award. And before we leave Roberts' remarkable season, one more record of mild interest. No one in the history of baseball has ever hit 55+ doubles and stolen 30 bases in a season until Brian Roberts in 2009. Nobody.
Cesar Izturis would have trouble hitting his way out of a wet paper bag but it's his glove we love. Izturis ranks 4th in baseball among shortstops in terms of UZR and even with the injuries has been a breath of fresh air over the motley crew that was trotted out in 2008. Baltimore fans know good defense at short when we see it and this year Izturis (with an assist from Robert Andino) provided it.
Matt Wieters. This next quote comes from a season wrap-up article for the Orioles on Baseball Prospectus:
Aubrey Huff, Melvin Mora, and Ty Wigginton were big disappointments, but none so much as the eagerly-awaited Wieters. The catcher produced some of the best minor league numbers in recent memory, including his first two months in Triple-A this year, but upon his big-league debut, he didn't show much in the way of big-league power.—Clay Davenport, Baseball Prospectus
Possibly the dumbest, most short-sighted comment I've read all year.
Wieters, in fits and starts, has shown steady improvement as the season has gone along, at the plate and behind it. He has a mere 380 plate appearances in the majors. It's just a tad early to call him disappointing isn't it? Chuck Norris-style joking aside?
Wieters posted a .346/.403/.505 line for September/October. That's a nice way to finish the season and gives him something to build upon for next year. But no one could have reasonably expected him to come to Baltimore and start immediately bludgeoning the AL East. But that time may be sooner than we think.
All the debuts were good, even if the results were not. Getting Brad Bergesen, Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, even David Hernandez and Jason Berken up to the bigs for a taste of things (and giving management a chance to evaluate them) was a good thing for the future of this club.
Melvin Mora was dreadful. Arguably the worst third baseman in the league (at the plate and in the field) and he got way too much playing time based on his tenure and not his actual skill. He will be remembered fondly but not for 2009.
Aubrey Huff peaked far too early to get any trade value for him. He was pretty bad himself and the thought of him returning to Baltimore in 2010 gives me the tremors.
Jeremy Guthrie righted the ship a bit in September/October but was pretty wretched throughout the 2009 season. Only the complete ineptitude of the rest of the rotation made him look palatable on the mound.
As the ball left Billy Butler's bat and struck Brad Bergesen sharply in the shin, I tried to guard myself against a creeping fatalism as he limped, hopped and ultimately tumbled down the dugout steps and collapsed in the tunnel. You hope he comes back the same pitcher and you wonder what might have been had he pitched the rest of the season.
Nick Markakis posted a measly .801 OPS after nearly topping .900 last season. Markakis saw drops in power, OBP and average from 2007 and 2008 and now sits back at offensive levels that he had in his rookie season. That means he's merely decent and not great. Perhaps this year was a fluke, perhaps 2008 was the high water mark but Nick dashed my predictions for a breakout season in '09 and all the Enos Slaughter comps I've ever made.
I could probably throw the entire bullpen into my bag of disappointments but I'll personify them through Matt Albers. I think Albers has the talent to be a great reliever in the majors but while he show flashes from time to time, ultimately he fails and leaves you wondering why he can't throw strikes. This is the story with most of the remaining bullpen as we head into 2010. Nobody (save perhaps Mark Hendrickson) stepped up their performance in 2009.
I never got to see the lineup with four switch hitters before they traded Zaun to Tampa Bay.
Nolan Reimold was certainly a prospect before the season but I was quite surprised by how fast he made it to Baltimore this year and even more surprised how he found success from the jump. Even more surprising was the fact that he could post an OBP north of .350 for his rookie campaign. The power was never in doubt and, yes, he showed some plate control skill in the minors but some (including me) doubted if he could translate that skill to the majors and avoid becoming the second coming of Jay Gibbons. He proved me wrong.
Brad Bergesen's poise and effectiveness so early in his career. It's not easy for a finesse pitcher to live in the AL East, especially a rookie. But Brad did.
Michael Aubrey was acquired from the Cleveland Indians for the ubiquitous player-to-be-named-later and after Bad Aubrey was traded to the Tigers, Michael got a shot to play and has shown himself to be Good Aubrey indeed. Aubrey has posted a .289/.326/.500 line in 90 plate appearances and flashed a (dare I say it?) a Teixeira-like glove. He makes me feel like he's a good in-house stopgap at first base, a guy to give Brandon Snyder more time to come along in Norfolk next year. I've been beating the drum for guys like this to get a chance on this team and with a nice Spring Training, Aubrey may force management's hand.
Dave Trembley coming back? I wouldn't have guessed that two weeks ago. But I am happy he's back for one more year. He was given little to work with in '09 and did a decent job of putting the rookies in places to succeed, at least as much as could be expected.
The Warehouse started the season with a rotation of Guthrie, Hendrickson, Adam Eaton, Alfredo Simon and Koji Uehara. Only Guthrie was left by season's end. Uehara had injuries, not really management's fault but the assembly of the rotation before the 2009 season was a monumental failure by Andy MacPhail and company.
Baltimore kind of had to take Ryan Freel to unload Ramon Hernandez to the Reds but he did nothing and whined about wanting to hurt the team more with more playing time. He was unloaded for Joey Gathright early in the season.
I still don't like the Oscar Salazar/Cla Meredith trade and, so far, the Trade Monitor bears that out.
The George Sherrill trade netted a legitimate prospect at third (Josh Bell) and perhaps an under the radar starting pitching prospect (Steve Johnson) from the Dodgers. Great, great trade.
The Michael Aubrey pickup was another low risk move that has borne fruit early in the transaction.
Even with Felix Pie's growing pains, that trade has turned out very well for the Orioles. Pie was nearly a league average hitter before he injured his leg late in the year and was playing great defense in left and center. Mental lapses aside, he has shown value as at least a fourth outfielder for this team.
The Jekyll and Hyde Awards
Adam Jones before All-Star Break: .303/.357/.480
Adam Jones after All -Star Break: .222/.290/.405
Luke Scott before All-Star Break: .305/.384/.592
Luke Scott after All -Star Break: .208/.292/.375
Some of my pre-season predictions:
So my first prediction is that Penn turns out to be way more useful to the Marlins than Robert Andino will be to Baltimore. - Actually, they turned out to be equally bad in terms of WAR but honestly, I was wrong about this one.
Alfredo Simon is out of the rotation by the end of May. He won't be with the big club by July. - Check
Matt Wieters is here in May. - Check.
Brad Bergeson is here in July. - He made it much earlier.
Brian Matusz is here is September. - As Andy MacPhail has admitted, he was rushed and got here in July.
The Orioles win 72 games. - Yeah, not exactly.
Lou Montanez won't OPS better than .750 at any level...unless he goes back to Bowie. - Except for a 10 game stint in Norfolk, correct.
Nick Markakis OPS's .900+ - Way, way off base.
Felix Pie gets better in the second half. - Admittedly, it would have been hard for him to get worse but after putting up .234/.299/.355 in the first half he came through with .290/.346/.497 in the second. More plate appearances in the second half too. Correct.
Adam Jones hits 20+ home runs. - In May, it looked like I had underestimated him. But he only reached 19 due to injury and slumps. Wrong.
Luke Scott and Ty Wigginton provide the best Oriole platoon since...well, in a very long time. - I forgot about that whole "Trembley doesn't do platoons"rule. Dead wrong but oh, what could have been.
And as Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues was happy to point out, I predicted an 81-81 record for his New York Yankees in a preseason chat. Yeah, the juggernaut that won 100+ games. What can I say? A lot of old guys had career years where I thought they would start to show their age.
But in that same chat, I was lambasted for stating that while I thought Evan Longoria was a fearsome hitter, I did not find B.J. Upton fearful at all. We'll call those chat predictions a wash.
So, that the season folks and I...am...outta here!
OK, not really. What's in store for the offseason at Dempsey's Army? Coverage of the AFL and the Hawaiian league as O's prospects take the field. Transaction coverage as usual. I think I'll be working on some interviews and honing my chops at that. Some non-Oriole baseball posts and at least a couple posts that are completely off-topic, just to keep the juices flowing. Oh, I'll probably finish the History of the Oriole Closer series and post some mini book reviews if they strike me.
OK, now time for a beer...
How about some "Downpressor Man" to finish the season off? I think so.