Saturday, February 27, 2010


I'm still screwing around with the WAR spreadsheet and various projections. With Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projections for players are out so I wondered what would happen if I loaded the PECOTA projections into my WAR spreadsheet and see what it spits out.

So I used the OBP and SLG from PECOTA and converted the pitching stats to FIP to make it work. The PECOTA-WAR spreadsheet can be found here if you're interested but generally PECOTA likes our hitters more than CHONE but likes our pitchers less.

And comes out to 86 wins.

Granted, I am mixing projections systems and PECOTA is only projecting the Orioles to win 79 games (probably adjusting for the division) but it goes to show you that the talent on the Orioles is higher than it's been in years and that, with a little luck, Baltimore could be a winner in 2010.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Luke Scott Loves the Firearms

Luke Scott understands the recent ban on firearms in the workplace by MLB but that doesn't mean he has to like it.

"I don't think that everyone else should be pay for the mistakes of a few," said Scott, one of baseball's most vocal gun rights proponents. "There is a good reason behind the rule, I can't deny that. The reason is you cannot trust 25 guys in a locker room to have the same respect and training as I do with a weapon. That I do understand. I've carried a gun for 10 years. I've carried them in the locker room and nobody really knows about it."

Scott's got a point that I agree with in principle. However, I can't think of many workplaces that will allow you to bring weaponry on the premises these days.

On the flip side, professional baseball has been around 130 years and just instituted this ban a few months back. I can't remember one incident involving a ballplayer and firearms. Can you?

Luke's given this a lot of thought:

"We have good security," Scott said. "It's hard to get in here. Barring a tactical entry where terrorists come in and hold us hostage, that's about the only thing that could possibly warrant me carrying a gun in the clubhouse. That's highly unlikely and I admit that."
Wow. When the zombie apocalypse goes down, I'm heading to Luke's place with a truckload of canned ravioli and bottled water. This is the man you want to lead you in a crisis. I'll bet he actually has a zombie apocalypse contingency plan.

Whether you agree with Scott's statements or not, you have to give him credit for speaking his mind, especially since he works for a league that doesn't take kindly to criticism. Just ask Peter Pascarelli.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dave Trembley Loves the Small-Ball

According to's Britt Ghiroli, Dave Trembley is having the O's focus on the fundamentals. You know, like bunting.

"I'm trying to add some things here that will be an emphasis on the team, and allowing us to be in a position to win more games," Trembley said. "It's the little things that obviously were prominent that might not have gotten done the way we wanted to get it done last year. So, let's brush up on it in Spring Training, but lets also emphasize the importance of it."

I'm OK with this in general. Some players should know how to bunt. The baserunning needs some work. But nobody on this team needs to be bunting on a regular basis. Maybe Brian Roberts, certainly Cesar Izturis and perhaps whoever will be hitting #2. On occasion.

But it's that last comment that concerns me, "...but lets also emphasize the importance of it." That tells me that Trembley sees this style of play as the key to winning in the American League.

This is confirmed by his quote to Roch Kubatko about the spring training hitting stations...

"Before they can get to the round where they swing, they have to get two bunts down, execute the hit-and-run, get the guy over, get the guy in and get the squeeze down before they can go to the next phase...."

The hit-and-run. It's back.

Again, I don't mind the drills, I'm just scared that Trembley might start actually using these tactics. This team isn't built for this style of ball. The only time you might want Luke Scott or Matt Wieters bunting would be with a runner on second with no outs in the 9th, down by one run. And even then I would rather take my chances with them swinging away.

If you play for one run, that's all you're gonna get. That's what Earl Weaver said.

I'm a big Trembley supporter. He'll lose me quick if he starts laying down bunts and putting on the hit-and-run on a regular basis. It's a recipe for disaster in the AL East.

Sarasota County Approves Stadium Renovations...Again

In case you missed it, Sarasota County held public hearings...again...about the Ed Smith Stadium deal that was struck with the Baltimore Orioles to make Sarasota their Spring Training home. Why?

It's all because a citizens group has filed a lawsuit against the county, claiming sunshine laws were broken... Residents packed the commission chambers. They heard a similar presentation about the deal between the Baltimore Orioles and the county...costs, and benefits. They also heard from representatives of the team and local leaders...

Just a few came to complain. Those who did say Friday's proceedings are a sham. That all the information given is a result of back door out of the sunshine dealings.

Many of those are involved with a group called Sarasota Citizens for Responsible Government. They even put up a huge inflatable rat in front of the administration building Friday morning with a sign reading "bcc redo rat".

A huge inflatable rat? Yep.

A few things...I think once you break out the huge inflatable rat to get your point across, you not only have left the high road, your original argument was a little weak to begin with. Also, who rents out huge inflatable rats? Is there a demand for this? I can't imagine car dealerships would want one for their weekend blowout extravaganzas.

Most times, these lawsuits are brought about because of personal grudges or the promise of monetary gain, not political ideals. I think a smell a rat on this one...

Around the Oriole Blog-O-Sphere

I mentioned a concern about top 2009 pick RHP Matt Hobgood's weight and his offseason conditioning. As he often does, Crawdaddy at Camden Depot goes at least one better while breaking down what is an average body fat measurement for a professional athlete. He compares him to other standards as well:

If Hobgood had enlisted, he would have had to have undergone personal counseling to change his habits. He no longer qualifies at those levels anymore. The US Army would consider him fit. The Marine Corps is a bit more stringent and requires for Hobgood's age group to be below 18% and to never exceed 22%.

I won't spoil the ultimate conclusion for you, go to Camden Depot and check it out.


Still on the theme of "they do it better than me", Camden Crazies tries to decipher why Jeremy Guthrie gave up so many homers is 2009.

As discussed previously, Guthrie’s home run rate went from 1.1 HR/9 in 2008 to 1.6 HR/9 in 2009, mostly due to an increase in flyball rate from 38% to 47% – his HR/FB rate was similar at 10.9% to 10.5% (which are both very reasonable).

Again, I won't spoil the conclusions.


If you haven't checked out new Oriole beat reporter for, Brittany Ghiroli's contributions to the site you should.

Her blog on has been updated almost as much as Roch Kubatko's and she has been very active on Twitter, especially tweeting spring training pics. Nice to see an Oriole beat reporter who will be getting the word out on all fronts.


Eutaw Street Hooligans make some observations about a recent interview that DH Luke Scott did on MLB Home Plate on Sirius/XM radio.

Luke’s comments about the Orioles were much more concerning. Luke made it known once again that he is not happy at all as a primary DH. Luke made similar comments before the start of last season, but this year he seemed much more adamant. Luke also says that last year the Orioles promised him that he would still get half of his at bats as an outfielder. That obviously did not happen and he did not seem very happy about it.

Some interesting observations that I have not seen elsewhere...


Roar from 34 has been assimilated by the "blanket with sleeves" scourge

Resistance is futile. Give in to the power of the blanket with sleeves. You can even pick one up at the ballpark, which defies my original cynical logic upon viewing the Snuggie commercial: "Who would wear one of those things at a sporting event?"

So sad, so sad...


The Wayward O seems to have a strange fascination with new Oriole closer Mike Gonzalez. I'll let that speak for itself.


Weaver's Tantrum looks at how the Orioles have slowly and quietly assembled more southpaw pitchers for the organization.

These guys slot in at different levels and are useful in different ways. I think the O's made a good effort at fixing the problem. It should be regarded as a successful winter effort at shoring up a weak point.

Have fun at Yellowstone, Dave.

Baby Birds Make Yet Another Top Prospect List

Baseball America released their 2010 Top 100 Prospects List and four Orioles made the list. LHP Brian Matusz (5), 3B Josh Bell (37), LHP Zach Britton (63) and RHP Jake Arrieta (99) all made the list.

A couple of notes from Jim Callis' "top tools" column...

Zach Britton (Orioles) doesn't dazzle on the radar gun like Strasburg, Feliz or Chapman, but his 88-92 mph fastball stood out for our panel, who anointed it the best sinker in the minors. It's a heavy pitch with late sink and run, and Britton can carry the life on his sinker into the late innings as a starter. He had a 3.4 groundout/airout ratio last year, when he was the high Class A Carolina League pitcher of the year as a 20-year-old....

The top changeup artists all stand out for their well-rounded repertoires. Brian Matusz (Orioles) has lived up to his billing as the top pitcher in the 2008 draft thanks to his plus-plus changeup—as well as his curveball and slider, both of which drew votes as ranking among the best in the minors, and a low-90s fastball that touches 95.

So the O's have the prospects with the best sinker and the best changeup. There has never been a time in my fandom when the Orioles has had so much nationally acclaimed talent in their system.

So we got that going for us. Which is nice.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Miggy Didn't Report Until Today....And So What?

A sampling of comments around the web about the fact that Miguel Tejada did not report to camp until today:

I see Tejada is making a strong effort to restore the fans confidence.

I suppose we shouldn't read anything into it this early but there is a marked difference in Atkins showing up early looking to work with the Crow.

He never was much for practice or leading by example.

I hope Tejeda has been taking ground balls since he signed. I would have thought myself he would have been the 1st one in camp to work at the hot corner but that is just me.

He should have reported early to show that he is ready to lead and to hustle, but NOOO he has to drag ass in at the last possible moment to create drama. Mark my words, before this season is over Andy Macphail will regret bringing him back.

 Really? Pitchers and catchers didn't report until last Wednesday. Position players didn't start reporting until yesterday. Does anyone truly believe that and extra 1-5 days in camp will make the difference between Tejada being a good fielder ro a poor fielder at third base? I think this is just frustration from the fans and Tejada makes a good target.

Luke Scott doesn't know exactly where he's going to play. Not one comment seen about Scott not reporting early. Hmmm.....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Sarasota Opposition...Revealed!

In front of the Ed Smith renovation hearing happening tomorrow in Sarasota, the Herald-Tribune has a story on the leaders of the opposition to the project who have filed to lawsuit to stop it in its tracks.

Cathy Antunes was incensed when she learned that the county was considering trading away youth ballfields at Twin Lakes Park to make room for Major League spring training.

"I think this is legalized stealing," said Antunes, 46, who mobilized an activist group to stop taxpayer resources from going to pro baseball...

She is a devout New York Yankees fan. Her husband, endocrinologist Jose Antunes, is a Boston Red Sox fan.

Isn't it enough that Baltimore has to face off against AL East foes between the lines? Now they have to face them in court?

On a side note, Cathy Antunes is also a pharmaceutical saleswoman. Blech.

Is Matt Hobgood's Weight Going to Be a Problem?

Steve Melewski has a two part interview up with Baltimore's 2009 1st round draft pick RHP Matt Hobgood. I found this part interesting:

He worked out at the Athletes Performance Institute in Carson, California from November 9 through late January, then days later reported to Sarasota.

"That was really good for me. The Orioles recommended it. I worked out with some big league guys and minor league guys. It was a good experience and did a lot for me physically.

"About a week into API, I went with a company that delivers your food and was on an 1800-calorie per day plan. I did that plan for about a month."

Hobgood said he reduced his body fat from 22 to 17 percent, a nice reduction for about three months of work. Hobgood is 6'4", 245 pounds and he'll likely play at a similar weight this year.

"I didn't get to where they wanted me weight wise. I lost about 17 pounds of body fat and gained nine pounds of muscle. That's 26 pounds total if I had taken off that muscle.

I am a man who can put on weight like Jimmy Page plays guitar but I remember being 19. I could take off weight with a good workout routine and no change to my diet whatsoever. I could have dropped 17 lbs in a month. I understand that 9 lbs is muscle but that's only 8 lbs net loss. And according to the blurb from Baseball America that Melewski quoted, Hobgood weighed 245 before the draft. He had to lose weight to get back down to his original drafted weight? This does not seem like a good harbinger of things to come.

On the bright side, he is in camp early, will spend the entire season as a professional and be exposed to better training and nutritional habits. And hell, he just got his braces off in January, the kid has a lot of time to learn.

Another Hobgood quote:

"Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays we go the gym and workout with trainers. Sundays we are off. There is a lot of down time. I've been bowling already about nine times since I've been here."

Stay away from the hot dogs and onion rings, son. Bowling alleys are not known for their health food.

Maybe I could get Weaver's Tantrum to weigh in. That guy knows something about training.

PECOTA Standings Updated...Again

It's been five days since the last PECOTA revision over at Baseball Prospectus so I am guessing all the kinks are worked out. Here's the projected AL East standings:

The Orioles lose a win since the last projection but 79-83 would still make for an entertaining season. I still can't see three teams finishing with 90+ wins in the division though.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spring Training Video...

...courtesy of The Baltimore Sun


Unofficial 2010 Baltimore Orioles Spring Training Visitor's Guide

Pitchers and catchers report today! With that in mind, here is my unofficial Baltimore Orioles Spring Training Guide. This is based on my personal experiences from past visits plus information I have gathered from around the web, from the team and other publications. Once I make my trip to Sarasota in early March, I'll post an addendum with even more details but this, in my humble opinion, is a very good start.


The Orioles have moved across state to Sarasota. Ed Smith Stadium is due to be renovated, perhaps as soon as this year, but it's already a big upgrade from the crumbling confines of Ft. Lauderdale Stadium. The stadium is located at 2700 12th St. in Sarasota at the corner of 12th and Tuttle. There's a ton of parking available and it's $8 to park there on game day.

The stadium is cozy so there's not really a bad seat in the house. There is little to no shade so if you go to a day game, pack sun screen accordingly.

Again, not a great stadium but much better than what the Orioles left behind.

From Florida Spring Training by Alan Byrd:

"There's little to like about Ed Smith Stadium. While it comes close in size to some of the League's older parks, it's missing the things that would make it quaint...

On the positive side, you'll have no trouble seeing all the action. The box seats are close to the diamond and the other seats aren't too far away."


Oriole pitchers and catchers report on February 17th with the first workout taking place on February 18th. The first full-squad workout takes place on February 23rd. Workouts are scheduled to begin each day at 9:00 AM and are free to the public until the games begin. Fans will be able to access the main "bowl" of the stadium but not the back fields.

(edit: Evidently, the previous statement was not true either. You CAN access the backfields during workouts as evidenced by this video by @michaelgbaron )

After the games begin, team practices are closed to the public but you can enter the stadium up to two hours before game time with your ticket.

The full game schedule is available here with the first official game on March 3rd against the Tampa Bay Rays in Sarasota. Most games are at 1:05 with a handful of night games. The seating chart is here.

I am a big fan of attending workouts. It's very laid back and you get to watch fielding drills, batting practice and throwing sessions up close and personal. Some concessions and souvenir stands are open during the workouts and they hand out a roster as you go in so you can identify the players. The workouts also give you the best chance to get autographs. On top of all that, it's free!


Tickets for Oriole Spring Training games run from $9 for General Admission ($5 for kids 14 and younger) to $18 for Infield Box Seats. ("Premium games" against the Yankees and Red Sox are slightly more...) From what I can tell during my FanFest visit, there's not a bad seat in the house.

Get you Spring Training tickets here.

Minor League Camp

One of the benefits of the Oriole's move to Sarasota is that the major league facility is now in close proximity to the minor league facility. The facility, known until this season as Twin Lakes, will soon be re-christened Buck O'Neil Baseball Complex and is located at 6700 Clark Rd. in Sarasota, about 10 miles from Ed Smith Stadium.

Minor league pitchers will hold their first workout at the complex on Tuesday, March 2. The first minor league full squad workout will take place on Saturday, March 6. Minor league games begin Wednesday, March 17.

According to the team, the minor league game schedules are "fluid" and are not published. However, all workouts and games at the minor league complex are free to the public and I have to think that some level of game (scrimmage or otherwise) would be played everyday.

edit: via Oriole beat reporter Britt Ghiroli, there IS a published schedule...and here it is:

March 17 AAA/AA Tampa Bay 1:00 Ed Smith Complex

A @Tampa Bay 1:00 Port Charlotte

March 18 AAA/AA @Tampa Bay 1:00 Port Charlotte

A Tampa Bay 1:00 Buck O'Neil Complex

March 19 AAA/AA Boston 12:30 Ed Smith Complex

A @Boston 12:30 Fort Myers

March 20 AAA/AA @Minnesota 12:00 Fort Myers

A Minnesota 12:30 Buck O'Neil Complex

March 21 All clubs Workout TBA Ed Smith and O'Neil Complexes

March 22 AAA/AA @Tampa Bay 1:00 Port Charlotte

A Tampa Bay 1:00 Buck O'Neil Complex

March 23 AAA/AA Tampa Bay 1:00 Ed Smith Complex

A @Tampa Bay 1:00 Port Charlotte

March 24 AAA/AA @Boston 12:30 Fort Myers

A Boston 12:30 Buck O'Neil Complex

March 25 AAA/AA Minnesota 12:30 Ed Smith Stadium

A @Minnesota 12:00 Fort Myers

March 26 AAA/AA @Tampa Bay 1:00 Port Charlotte

A Tampa Bay 1:00 Buck O'Neil Complex

March 27 AAA/AA Tampa Bay 1:00 Ed Smith Complex

A @Tampa Bay 1:00 Port Charlotte

March 28 All clubs Workout TBA Ed Smith and O'Neil Complexes

March 29 AAA/AA Boston 12:30 Ed Smith Complex

A @Boston 12:30 Fort Myers

March 30 AAA/AA @Minnesota 12:00 Fort Myers

A Minnesota 12:30 Buck O'Neil Complex

March 31 AAA/AA @Tampa Bay 1:00 Port Charlotte

A Tampa Bay 12:00 Buck O'Neill Complex

April 1 AAA/AA Tampa Bay 12:00 Ed Smith Complex

A @Tampa Bay 1:00 Port Charlotte

April 2 AAA/AA @Minnesota 12:00 Fort Myers

A Minnesota 12:30 Buck O'Neil Complex


I am not big on autographs but the last time I went to Spring Training in 2006, my son certainly was. Here's some tips from my limited experience.

If you really want autographs, go to the workouts. There are always a fair amount of players who will come over to sign things for the fans. From what I can recall, Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis, Rick Dempsey, Jay Gibbons, Ramon Hernandez, Corey Patterson among others all came over to sign a ball for my son. We were able to get a few autographs before one of the games but there was much less jockeying for position at the workouts. Players are much more likely to sign for kids than for adults or obvious "autograph hounds". I remember Kevin Millar in particular ordering "Autograph hounds to the back, kids up front!"

Cute little kids tend to get more freebies too. Stadium workers would go out of their way to give my son foul balls and two players gave him their bat; a Dodger minor leaguer named Tydus Meadows and Matt Treanor, then a catcher for the Marlins. Again, I'm not big on autographs but my kid sure got a kick out of it.

Links and References:

Thanks to Kristen Hudak and Kate Wheeler at MASN and Orioles Public Relations Director Monica Pence Barlow for helping me fill in some of the blanks.

Florida Spring Training: Your Guide to Touring the Grapefruit League by Alan Byrd

Baltimore Orioles at
2010 Baltimore Orioles Spring Training at
Sarasota FanFest Post (with pics of the stadium and such)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

When It Comes to Spring Training Games, MASN Comes Up Small

MASN has released their 2010 Spring Training broadcast schedule. As in year's past, it is lacking.

Here's the schedule:

Sunday 3/7 
1pm vs Red Sox in Sarasota

Thursday 3/25 
1pm vs Yankees in Sarasota

Monday 3/29 
7pm vs Yankees in Sarasota

Wednesday 3/31 
1pm vs Red Sox in Sarasota

First, there are only 4 Orioles games. Second, there is a gap of nearly three weeks between the first game and the next one. Thirdly, it's all Yankees and Red Sox games. Blech

MASN (and the Orioles) could double the amount of broadcasts if they want to get serious about  bringing back fans to the team.

The Red Sox will broadcast 9 games on NESN. The Yankees, 12 games on YES.

That's how the big boys do it. Peter Angelos owns the network...time to make use of it to get fans excited for 2010.

Base Hits: Spring Training, Projections and Submariner Scouts

A quick set of Base Hits while I prepare bigger posts for later this week...

Pete Kerzel at PressBox offers his 5 Questions for Spring Training.

Like me, he needs to add a 6th item. Brad Bergesen.


Camden Crazies is coordinating 2010 fan projections for the team. Go over there and help him out.


Mel Antonen of USA Today takes a look at how the Cincinnati Reds left Sarasota, how the Orioles moved in and the repercussions of the shuffling:

The Orioles had reached agreement with the city and Broward County to overhaul Fort Lauderdale Stadium, but the city couldn't persuade the Federal Aviation Administration to drop its demand that the team pay $1.3 million a year for upkeep of the executive airport that is next to the field...

The Orioles meant between 30,000 and 40,000 visitors during March with 20,000 hotel-room nights sold, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, but baseball was a slim slice of tourism in the area, which attracted 10.8 million people in 2008.


I was skimming through the Orioles directory this weekend. Did you know Todd Frohwirth was a pro scout for the team? I didn't. I used to love watching that guy pitch, him being a submariner and all. Gary Roenicke is a scout too.


Jay Trucker takes a look at the round physique of relief pitcher Matt Albers.


The Wayward Oriole bemoans the realities of technology encroaching on his blogging.

Long story short, Wayward O is probably going to be forced to change up publishing platforms -- unless Google comes to its senses. Hopefully this move will pave way for nifty redesign or something but most likely it will pave way for swearing and broken links.


Camden Depot has an interesting interview with the makers of "Pelotero", a documentary about baseball in the Dominican Republic.


I'll leave you with Ichiro. If someone can make a video like this for Nick Markakis, it would make me very happy.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Base Hits: Freak Injury, Cleared Waivers and Prospect Talk

As you've heard by now, Brad Bergesen has injured his shoulder during the taping of a MASN commercial and will not be 100% ready at the start of Spring Training.

After reporting he would be 100% for Spring Training at the Sarasota FanFest, I grimaced as I watched him play in a charity tennis game. Now this. Has MASN ever heard of CGI? No more live action commercials! Hire a cartoonist!

As I've said before, injuries are not a control pitcher's friend. Their success comes from a repeatable delivery and any injury jeopardizes their ability to recreate that delivery again. I don't feel good about this.

Here's the link to the commercial. (TOH to Jay Trucker of the Examiner)

For Christ's sake...


In (perhaps) related news, the Orioles have been linked to free agent lefty starter Jarrod Washburn. How does the Oriole blog-O-sphere feel about this? Go here to find out.


Armando Gabino cleared waivers and was added to the Norfolk roster. It's another arm to consider for the bullpen.


This is a bit old but it's a slow news day. Here's a link to a short interview with Josh Bell by Project Prospect.

While you're at it, check out this longer interview with Brandon Erbe.


A couple of nuggets from the 2010 Bill James Handbook...

Jeremy Guthrie led the AL in "tough losses"* with 5.

The Baltimore Orioles are the second worst base running team in the AL with 57 total bases below average. They do poorly in every category except for stolen bases.

Bill James gives Nick Markakis an 11% chance to break the major league record of 793 career doubles. Brian Roberts has a 10% chance.

*A Tough Loss is defined as a loss in which the pitcher had a Game Score higher than 50. In other words, the pitcher pitched well enough to win.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Raw Power...Again. This Time with Splits!

I was playing around with the new splits over on and discovered that they had batting stats for various zones of the field. So I broke down the ISO stats for some of the Oriole hitters to see where their power was for 2009

Nick Markakis

Split                ISO
as L to Left        0.138
as L to Center      0.126
as L to Right       0.291

Not surprising that Nick's power comes when he pulls the ball toward Eutaw Street. 14 of his 18 homers went to rightfield. But there is power to right as he hit 24 doubles while going the other way.

Brian Roberts

Split                ISO
as L to Left        0.089
as L to Center      0.087
as L to Right       0.448
as R to Left        0.101
as R to Center      0.182
as R to Right       0.125

When Brian Roberts is batting lefthanded, don't let him turn on one. He hit 15 of his 16 homers to right while batting lefty as well as 20 doubles. His righthanded power is more modest but more evenly distributed.

Luke Scott

Split                ISO
as L to Left        0.097
as L to Center      0.368
as L to Right       0.325

I've always thought of Scott as a dead pull hitter and he's got some great power to right but his power is even better to center. 12 of his 25 homers went to center.

Nolan Reimold

Split                ISO
as R to Left        0.288
as R to Center      0.215
as R to Right       0.143

Good power to the pull side, pretty good up the middle to. Even going the other way is not bad with 5 extra base hits over only 358 ABs.

Matt Wieters

Split                ISO
as L to Left        0.269
as L to Center      0.085
as L to Right       0.167
as R to Left        0.139
as R to Center      0.250
as R to Right       0.108

The splits for Wieters are uneven but his power as a lefty to left field is what kept me encouraged during his early struggles. Even when he was swinging late, he still showed fantastic opposite field power. 5 of his 9 homers went to the opposite field.

Adam Jones

Split                ISO
as R to Left        0.321
as R to Center      0.110
as R to Right       0.213

Power to the pull side. Jones did hit all 3 of his triples to right as well as 3 homers displaying good opposite field power.

Felix Pie

Split                ISO
as L to Left        0.153
as L to Center      0.224
as L to Right       0.273

This is what is so tantalizing about Felix Pie. His power is close to Reimold's output and he's a fantastic defender. It's easy to see him pushing his way into the lineup during Spring Training. If Reimold is DH'ing as he works himself back into shape after Achilles surgery, Pie will have ample opportunity to impress in Sarasota.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

5 Things To Watch - Spring Training 2010

It's that time again! 8 days until the first Spring Training workouts commence. Unlike previous years, many of the roster spots will be spoken for going into Sarasota but there will still be some things to look for, many of them holdover topics from previous years

1.  Chris Tillman - The rotation is pretty much set but comments from Dave Trembley and Tillman's struggles during his debut last season have left the door open. He's only 22 and if he doesn't look more like the Norfolk version of Tillman in Spring Training, he could find himself back in AAA to start the season. There's also an outside chance that David Hernandez figures out how to strike guys out in Sarasota and edges Tillman out. We know that Trembley likes to go with the hot hand in spring. See Alfredo Simon last season.

2.  The Bench - It's hard to believe that Ty Wigginton breaks camp with the team given his salary and his skill set. This opens the door for Michael Aubrey, Rhyne Hughes or Scott Moore (I have not given up on Moore yet...). And while Robert Andino showed a good glove last season, his bat makes Cesar Izturis look like Brian Roberts. Justin Turner in particular could earn a utility infield spot with a strong showing in Sarasota.

3.  Health - For all the happy talk about everyone being ready for Spring Training, there still has to be some concern with how Brad Bergesen, Nolan Reimold and, now, Will Ohman looks as they shake off the rust this March. For one, I will be shocked if Reimold plays any left field before March 15th. Koji Uehara needs to show he is back and can handle bullpen duty. Bergesen will have to show he feels good enough about his leg to pitch free and easy.

4.  The Battle for the Backup Backstop - This is my own pet subject and this year should be no less fascinating (at least for me). Trembley has already said he sees a good competition between Chad Moeller, Craig Tatum and Michael Hernandez. Sure, it's not earthshaking but it gives you something to watch during the late innings of those early Spring Training games.

5.  Shaking Out The Pen - Mike Gonazalez, Mark Hendrickson and Jim Johnson are near locks for three bullpen spots. The rest? Wide open. It's an interesting mix of veterans and kids. Matt Albers and Cla Meredith will try to retain their spots. Dennis Sarfate will try to force his way back in after being DFA'd this offseason. Kam Mickolio and Alberto Castillo will try to build on brief successes in 2009. Would-be rookie Josh Perrault is my dark horse candidate to make the bullpen in 2010. Can Uehara and Ohman stay healthy? Can Alfredo Simon relieve better than he started?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

Randall: When the rebels blew up the first Death Star...

Dante: Luke Skywalker. I like giving credit where credit is due.

- Clerks

Not that there was a ton of success for the Orioles in 2009 but I was curious where the credit was due. Andy MacPhail has remade the Orioles in his image since he arrived in 2007 but how much and how successfully? Which GMs made the trades, signings and draft picks that shaped the Orioles in 2009?

I decided to measure it in terms of WAR for 2009 only. Here's the snapshot for the hitters.

MacPhail                  7.0
Duquette\Flanagan         2.5
Beattie\Flanagan          3.1
Frank Wren                3.4

As expected, MacPhail is responsible for much of the good play in 2009 led by Adam Jones, Luke Scott and Felix Pie. Lou Montanez and Ty Wigginton did not help his cause.

The Jim Beattie/Mike Flanagan combo was responsible for Nick Markakis and Nolan Reimold. The Jim Duquette/Flanagan combo was aided by the drafting of Matt Wieters, one of the last things they did before getting dismissed. Without it, they would be responsible for only 0.6 WAR from the offense less than two years after being dismissed. Frank Wren will always have Brian Roberts.

The pitching:

MacPhail                  4.5
Duquette\Flanagan         1.8
Beattie\Flanagan          0.7
Syd Thrift                0.5

Here's where MacPhail really shines. What little success the O's had on the mound can be attributed to him even with Brian Bass and Alfredo Simon pulling things down. Koji Uehara, George Sherrill and Brian Matusz lead the way on the positive side.

Duquette and Flanagan found Jeremy Guthrie and drafted Jason Berken. They also signed Danys Baez and Jamie Walker. Beattie/Flanagan drafted Brad Bergesen but got pulled down by David Hernandez, Bob McCrory and Rad Liz. Syd Thrift is living on Jim Johnson.

MacPhail obviously has an advantage as he has way more players contributing than the others. A breakdown of WAR per player:

MacPhail                .44
Duquette\Flanagan       .53
Beattie\Flanagan        .48

But this is also skewed a bit since players who don't produce don't last long. MacPhail's guys are still working things out.

What's the conclusion? Probably nothing to be learned here...yet. MacPhail has added impact players to the previous regimes (previous GMs added Markakis, Wieters, Roberts, Bergesen, Reimold) with Jones, Pie, Scott, Matusz, even the glove of Cesar Izturis. But, unsurprisingly, the key will be the young arms and how many pan out to be even average MLB starters.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Base Hits: Offseason Moves, Suspensions and Hope for the Season

Erik Bedard went back to Seattle. Now that the best of the remaining "high risk, high reward" pitchers is off the market, one has to wonder if the O's will now bring in a couple guys on minor league deals. The pickings are slim. Todd Wellemeyer. Kip Wells. Livan Hernandez. Jason Jennings. Kris Benson. And more like that. The Orioles have been linked to none of them.

One intriguing possibility would be Noah Lowry if he's truly healthy but for now it appears that the Orioles are satisfied to go to Spring Training with David Hernandez, Jason Berken and Alfredo Simon as backup plans.

(And it's nice lip service and all but I don't believe for a second that Chris Tillman has serious competition for a rotation spot. It's a nice thing for Dave Trembley to say for motivation but Tillman is in the rotation barring injury.)


Oriole minor league reliever Brian Parker has been suspended for 50 games after violating the Minor League drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Given the level of prospect, I'll label this one "BFD".


I was listening to the MLB Home Plate channel on Sirius/XM radio last Wednesday when Adam Jones was pulled over while conducting a phone interview with Casey Stern and Kevin Kennedy. "Guy's, you're not going to believe this but I'm getting pulled over." sais Adam, then as he addressed the officer, "Hold on, I'm conducting an interview. Let me get off the phone." He was pulled over and cited for having his windows tinted too darkly (Jones lives in San Diego but was in Arizona for offseason workouts) and when he came back on the show he reported that the officer was a Red Sox fan and like Jacoby Ellsbury. Adam's mother defended him over here.

But here's some other gems from the interview:

Jones doesn't care where he hits in the lineup, he just likes hitting with Brian Roberts on base. If Nick Markakis is on base too, all the better. He just likes to drive in runs.

On Nick Markakis' arm and defensive prowess, ""I yell at him everytime he gets to throw. He has a great arm. I love it. I loive watching him throw."

In addressing a couple of off-beat question from Casey Stern, Jones reports that he is the most likely Oriole to lock his keys in his car and that Nick Markakis is the teammate most in need of a makeover. "He wears the 'Who shot the couch?' coat sometimes."


In other various roster news, Roch Kubatko thinks that Ty Wigginton may get dealt before the season begins. I have been assuming/hoping that he will since Garret Atkins and Miguel Tejada make him expendable and moving him gives Michael Aubrey or Scott Moore a shot at a bench spot.

Japanese lefthander Hisanori Takahashi,a former team mate of Koji Uehara, has rejected a minor league offer from the Orioles. Not great loss here as he would be providing only depth except for that cool name.

Dennis Sarfate has cleared waivers and will be a non-roster invitee to Spring Training. A little depth never helps.

Cal Ripken, Jr. and Brooks Robinson both believe that Miguel Tejada has the skills to make the transition to third base. The gist is that Tejada still has the "quick twitch" skills and the arm to play third, which is probably true.


The Wayard O details Nestor's swansong from the WNST airwaves.


In a variation of the "he's in the best shape of his life" stories you see at this time of year, here's a couple from Steve Melewski on former (and future?) Oriole top prospect Billy Rowell. Part 1 and Part 2. I'd like to get optimistic but...


I love two things today; DJ Roomba and the latest edition of the Eutaw Street Chronicles.


Last minute link: Camden Crazies gives us colorful charts showing how various Orioles do with pitches thrown in various zones.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Off the Subject: Top Ten Quarterbacks of All Time

With the Super Bowl coming up, I figured I'd finally post this list of the Top 10 Quarterbacks in NFL History list.

I'm doing this in part because I have rarely seen it done correctly. Most lists only consider great quarterbacks of the last 30 years. I wanted to do a list that covered all of NFL history. I pulled some advanced stats fro If you've seen me use and explain OPS+ in my baseball posts, you'll understand what Rating+ or Comp%+ do...they just help us judge quarterbacks across eras. On with the countdown!

(My cutoff for playing time was 10 full seasons or some equivalent. That's why you don't see a Tom Brady on the list yet (only 8 full seasons) or a guy like Roger Staubach who was great but really only started for a handfull of seasons.)

10. Otto Graham (1946-1955) - I have often thought that Graham was overrated due to the number of championship games that he played in and his numbers from the AAFC (before Cleveland joined the NFL) but his resume is actually quite impressive. He led the league in passer rating 4 times and and in passing yards 5 times during his 10 year career. He has a career 127 Rating+ (higher than Steve Young) and was an NFL MVP 3 times. Still holds the record for Yards per Attempt (9.0). Top passer of the late 40's/early 50's. All this while missing two seasons while he served in the Coast Guard during WWII.

9. Steve Young (1985-1999) - Young just barely qualifies for this list (he only played 9 full seasons but played enough in backup duty that I added him.) Still holds the record for career passer rating (96.8) , passed for more than 30,000 yards and rushed for 4,000 yards. The most exciting running QB until the arrival of Michael Vick. Posted a career Rating+ of 126. Threw 232 touchdowns (still good for top 20 all time) and rushed for a record 43 TDs as a quarterback.

8. John Elway (1983-1998) - Elway was having a very Jake Plummer-like career over the first 10 years of his career. He only had one season with a passer rating over 80 over that span as well as throwing more interceptions than touchdowns in 5 of those seasons. The only thing that redeems his early career is his stellar playoff record, especially 19887-1990 (except for those Super Bowls). He really didn't blossom as a passer until 1993 which hurts him here. His career passer rating is 79.9 even including his playoff record and his Rating+ is only 101. What sets Elway apart from the Dave Kreigs of the world is his career from 1992 forward, his playoff performances and his gaudy numbers (51,000+ passing yards, 300 TDs, 3400+ rushing yards, 33 rushing TDs) that he piled up over his 16 years in the league.

7. Dan Marino (1983-1999) - The best pure passer of his generation. Perhaps the best pure passer ever outside of Peyton Manning. Retired with more passing TDs and more passing yards than any quarterback in history. He led 36 4th quarter comebacks (Elway only had 35...) Led the league in passing 5 times and in passing TDs 3 times. Remarkably quick release, he was rarely sacked even though he was not a mobile QB. The only knock you can make is that he never won a Super Bowl but anyone making that argument doesn't understand that it takes 21 other men to win one.

6. Fran Tarkenton (1961-1978) - Tarkenton tends to get overlooked because he never won a championship but he held the record for career passing touchdowns for over 15 years after his retirement until Dan Marino passed him in the mid-1990's. Tarkenton was one of the great scrambler in NFL history but he scrambled far more behind the line of scrimmage than running for yardage. Still he rushed for 3674 yds and 33 rushing TDs on top of his 47003 passing yards and 342 passing TDs. Tarkenton did all this without any great receivers (ala Montana/Rice or Marino/Clayton) John Gilliam and Homer Jones were probably the best targets he had. Minnesota's Super Bowl futility leads many modern fans to leave Tarkenton off the list of the greats. He was well above average in all facets of the game,he could beat you any way he needed to.

5. Joe Montana (1979-1994) - Montana get the knock of being a "system quarterback" and he was but he ran his system to perfection. No offensive scheme and player have ever been married so well. Montana showed you didn't need the big arm to excel in the NFL and his success spawned imitators around the league as Bill Walsh's disciples earned head coaching jobs throughout the league in the 80's and early 90's. Montana retired with the highest career QB Rating in history, racked up 40,000+ passing yards, 237 TDs and a 63.2 completion percentage (also a record when he retired). He won two NFL MVP's, three Super Bowl MVPs and finished his career with a 95.6 QB rating in the playoffs. The postseason heroics don't hurt the resume either.

4. Sammy Baugh (1937-1952) - Any top quarterback list without Sammy Baugh and Johnny Unitas in the top 5 is instantly null and void. Let me repeat that. If you see a list of top NFL quarterbacks without Baugh and Unitas in the top 5, that's a writer you never have to pay attention to again. Baugh was a revolutionary passer, an innovator and the perfector of the forward pass. Baugh arrived in the league and as a rookie led the league in passing. He led the league in passing 6 times, finished with a 122 Rating+ and completed an unheard of 56.5% of his passes (Comp%+ of 132). He did much of this while running the "single wing" offense, a formation that does not lend itself well to the passing game. The Redskins switched to a more modern "T" formation in 1944...when Baugh was already 30. He retired with all major passing records in his possession. He also played defense (he was a defensive back) and served as the team's punter. He still holds the career record for average punting distance. He is still the greatest quarterback in the history of the Washington Redskins and was a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

3. Brett Favre (1991-present) - Favre has shattered the career passing yards and passing TD records. If he comes back for 2011, he will become the first QB in NFL history to throw for 500 TDs and 70,000 yards. A classic gunslinger, Favre is almost as well know for his dramatic mistakes as he is his dramatic heroics but, for now, He is the most prolific passer in league history. A three-time NFL MVP.

2. Johnny Unitas (1956-1973) - Unitas was the prototypical quarterback of the modern era. He was the first quarterback to throw for 40,000 yards and finished his career with 290 TDs. He set the record for consecutive games with a TD pass at 47 games. He engineered 36 4ht quarter comebacks in only 211 career games. He was a four-time NFL MVP. Coming off that last MVP season in 1967, he suffered torn muscles in his throwing arm after he was hit in the last preseason game of 1968 and played sparingly during the Colts march to the Super Bowl. He was never quite the same after that and only showed flashes of his former brilliance. Thus, some of his career rate states look a bit more pedestrian than they should (Rating+ of 112, basically an average quarterback after the injury) but he was considered the greatest quarterback of the late 50's/60's.

1. Peyton Manning (1998-present)- Still just 33, Manning is perhaps the best passer to ever ut on cleats. He's closing in on 2nd place in the major passing categories and if Favre ever hangs them up, he may just pass him too. He combines the passing acumen of Marion, the field general qualities of Unitas and the late-game heroics of Elway (35 4th quarter comebacks) in one package. If he could run, the Colts might never lose. A four-time MVP, Manning has led the league in passing twice, TD's and QB rating three times and is a 10-time Pro Bowl selection. This weekend he may add his 2nd Super Bowl title.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Crystal Ball 2011: Mark Reynolds

With the arrival of Mark Reynolds to Baltimore, we looked at the drama that will accompany him. There will be 475 ft game-winning homers followed by quadruple strikeout games. Highs and lows like Mt. Everest and Death Valley. Watching Reynolds in an Oriole uniform is going to be like dating the crazy bad girl who you know is bad for you. But she's fantastic in bed so you put up with it and you're happy...until she torches all your clothes.

But now we must look a little closer about the kind of player he is. On the surface, he hit .198 and struck out 211 times. So he must be a huge out machine, right? Well, kind of...

Leaders in outs made last season, with less than 625 plate appearances.

1. Carlos Lee         479
2. Jose Lopez         473
3. Alex Gonzalez      464
4. Ty Wigginton       461
5. Vernon Wells       451
6. Ryan Theriot       450
38. Ryan Howard       413
39. Lyle Overbay      413
40. Mark Reynolds     412
41. Michael Bourn     411
42. Carlos Gonzalez   407

Even is a very down year, Reynolds trails a bunch of people. Why? Because even though he strikes out a ton, he can take a walk. Best walk rates in the majors last season:

Barton        16.0
Fielder       16.0
Pena          14.9
Pujols        14.7
Bautista      14.6
Heyward       14.6
Zobrist       14.0
Votto         14.0
Reynolds      13.9

In addition, he has a bit of speed for a big guy. He only grounded into 8 double plays last season. Yes, some of that is a function of all the strikeouts he piles up but he stole 24 bases in 2009 and 7 last season. This is not to suggest that he is a good base stealer, just that he has pretty good footspeed for a guy who goes 6'2" and 220 lbs.

Something else he brings to the table in his glove. Talking to Diamondback fans, they are quick to point out that Reynolds was primarily a shortstop in the minors, as recently as 2006. His 2007-2009 fielding numbers are pretty brutal but they steadily improved and he was able to post a UZR/150 of +2.5 for 2010. It could be that Arizona had to live with his learning curve and that Reynolds will be an average MLB third baseman with the glove. Maybe better. Regardless, he is assured of being better than the Miguel Tejada/Josh Bell combo the team had last season.

As far as a projection, I have no idea how Reynolds will fare with a move from the NL West to the AL East. You would have to think he will hit 30+ homers and slug north of .500. But he's coming from a pretty good offensive park in Arizona so Camden Yards will not give him much of a boost with his numbers, if any. He's going to be facing tougher pitching, pitchers who may be able to exploit his offensive weaknesses better but it wasn't like the guy was facing chumps in his old division. Matt Cain, Ubaldo Jiminez, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsly, Mat Latos, Jonathan Sanchez and, oh yeah, Tim Lincecum. Maybe the change in leagues won't impact him as much as we think.

Most projection systems are projecting a mild rebound. Even if he hits .235, thats going to give us some pretty good offensive production from the hot corner. I'm cautiously optimistic that he can do it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Could Nolan Reimold or Luke Scott Play First?

This comment under my Luke Scott post got me thinking...

Replace Atkins with Pie and that lineup is a thing of beauty. It would go


No consecutive batters from the same side. Man I wish Trembley would let Reimold or Scott play 1st.


First, I hadn't realized how well balanced the handedness was in my sample lineup.

But really it got me thinking about first base. Why couldn't Nolan Reimold or Luke Scott play first on a regular basis? You could still sub in Atkins to add flexibility and give Reimold his reps in left. But replacing Atkins with Pie would give the O's the best offensive lineup.

CHONE Projections for the players involved:

Atkins      .739
Reimold     .832
Scott       .808
Pie         .767

Even Pie is projected to be a significantly better hitter than Garret Atkins. And even if we assume average fielding from Reimold in left, Pie is a big upgrade with the glove.

Reimold and Scott would both be big offensive upgrades over Atkins but how big is the difference in their defense? For his career at first base, his UZR is -6.3. That's only over 708+ innings and is a bit of a small sample size. We'll bump him up to -.3 UZR and give him the benefit of the doubt.

Now, we can measure this in terms of WAR. How badly would Scott or Reimold have to play at first to offset the offense they bring to the table. Plugging some values into the WAR spreadsheet, this is what I came up with. (I am assuming all will be equal baserunners.)

Scott     -19.0
Reimold   -26.0

The worst defensive first baseman (of regulars) in baseball last year was Billy Butler. His UZR was -7.4. You will occasionally see a guy have a season with -16, -18 UZR (Mike Jacobs had a -19.4 UZR in 2008) but it would be virtually impossible for Scott or (especially) Reimold to play first base so badly that they would offset their much improved bats.

The best choice would be to make Scott the everyday first baseman, rotate Pie and Reimold through LF/CF/DH with Adam Jones and bring Atkins off the bench.

But that's not happening.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Crystal Ball '10: Luke Scott

Now that Miguel Tejada has returned to the Orioles, there has been a lot of talk that he will be the de facto clean up hitter. But this isn't 2004. Tejada is not a slugger anymore. But Luke Scott is.

While batting orders are overrated in general, the classic wisdom wants your most powerful hitter in the clean up spot. The most powerful hitter on the Oriole roster is Luke Scott. He led the team in slugging in 2009 and if not for Aubrey Huff's career season and Mora's last gasp of baseball life in 2008, he would have led the team in slugging in 2008 too.

But he has posted an ISO (you know how I love ISO) north of .200 for the past two seasons and no other player on the roster has done that. If fact, since 2005 Scott has an ISO of .231, tied with Matt Holliday and ahead of hitters like Adrian Gonzalez, Dan Uggla, Vlad Guerrero and Curtis Granderson. He is an excellent power hitter and just on the cusp of levels that could be called elite (he's 26th since 2005...). Raw power? Scott's got plenty of it.

But for all the power he displays, Scott has hit cleanup only a handful of times since joining the team. For 2008, I can understand it as Huff was on fire and slugging .522. But last year? Only 8 games as the cleanup hitter. Scott is a flawed hitter. But he has the most important attribute for a guy hitting #4 in your lineup. Raw power.

A sample lineup:

1.  Brian Roberts
2.  Nick Markakis
3.  Adam Jones
4.  Luke Scott
5. Nolan Reimold
6. Matt Wieters
7. Miguel Tejada
8. Garret Atkins
9. Cesar Izturis

Who else is a better option? As they stand now, only Scott is a real threat to slug .500 and ISO north of .200. There's no reason not to plug him in and let him drive those runners in. So let's give him a shot and watch him rack up the RBI.

Photo by Keith Allison and used under the Creative Commons License 2.0

Monday, February 1, 2010

Base Hits: Surprise Exit for Melvin (?), Payroll, Projections and Irrational Exuberance

Melvin Mora has signed with the Colorado Rockies.

What's with all the "I guess Melvin Mora is really gone" stories? Wasn't it obvious when they declined his option and gave no hint whatsoever that there was still a place for him in Baltimore? Can you imagine his grousing at having to share time with Garrett Atkins or Miguel Tejada? I don't understand why people think this marks the moment that Mora is "officially" no longer an Oriole. That day has long passed.

While we're talking about Melmo, Buster Olney uses Mora's splits to demonstrate the wrong way to use stats for analysis.

Mora had a .260 batting average in 2009, but he really enjoyed the friendly confines of Camden Yards, where he hit .314 compared to .209 on the road. The .105 difference in his home versus road batting average was tied for the second-largest among players with at least 200 at-bats each at home and on the road.

Forget for a minute that batting average is a horrible stat to use for splits over one season and forget that for his Oriole career that Mora has fairly even splits in all his offensive categories, this stat may have been relevant if he was going to a neutral or pitcher's park. He's not. He's going to a field that is even more hitter friendly than OPACY. And he's going to a weaker league. If anything, Mora will enjoy a nice rebound based on this split, not a regression because he is leaving Camden Yards.


Irrational exuberance alert! Another glowing story on the rebuilding O's from the national media, this time from Ben Reiter of Sports Illustrated. I wanted to highlight one point about Baltimore's free agent signings during the MacPhail era:

The idea here is to bring aboard players who will contribute immediately at the major league level, but who won't financially hamstring the club in the long term (should their production decline), and who won't block cheaper, and potentially better, alternatives who are nearly ready in the minors.

It's a point that needs more highlighting. This is precisely what The Warehouse is using free agency for in the short term and avoiding questionable multi-year deals. And it will probably work in both the short and the long term.


duck at Camden Chat does his best to unravel the MLB revenue sharing model and finds the Orioles stuck in the middle.


With the addition of Mark Hendrickson and Miguel Tejada, here is my estimated Opening Day payroll for the 2010 Baltimore Orioles. I am assuming that Ty Wigginton is traded away and that Jeremy Guthrie wins arbitration.

Roberts, Brian$10,000,000
Millwood, Kevin$9,000,000
Markakis, Nick $7,100,000
Tejada, Miguel$6,000,000
Gonzalez, Mike$6,000,000
Uehara, Koji$5,000,000
Atkins, Garrett$4,500,000
Scott, Luke$4,050,000
Guthrie, Jeremy$3,625,000
Izturis, Cesar$2,600,000
Meredith, Cla$1,250,000
Herdrickson, Mark$1,200,000
Mora, Melvin,$1,000,000
Moeller, Chad,$900,000
Matusz, Brian$868,000
Albers, Matt$680,000
Jones, Adam$500,000
Wieters, Matt$500,000
Pie, Felix$450,000
Mickolio, Kam$450,000
Bergesen, Brad$450,000
Tillman, Chris$450,000
Aubrey, Michael$450,000
Reimold, Nolan$450,000
Andino, Robert$450,000
Johnson, Jim$450,000

Still coming in under $70 mil. It's not a bad team for the price which will be small comfort if they lose 95+ games again.


Baseball Prospectus has had to re-run their PECOTA projections due to a calculation error. The Orioles are now projected for...80 wins. My WAR spreadsheet has them pegged for 80.5 wins.

Ha! Not overly optimistic after all! Who's crazy now?

Help Me, Oriole Rotation. You're My Only Hope.

An Open Letter to the Oriole Starting Five:

Hi guys. It's closing in on Spring Training and Baltimore fans are full of (cautious, admittedly) optimism and hope. Young prospects are on the rise, national media are picking Baltimore to be much improved and even projection systems like PECOTA have the Birds within the margin of error for a winning season.

But I know the truth. This team only goes as far as you five gentlemen take us. The offense is good but not good enough to outslug the Yanks, Sox or maybe even the Rays. No, we need pitching and we need plenty of it to succeed. The good news is, you won't have big shoes to fill. The starting rotation on Opening Day was Alfredo Simon, Koji Uehara, Mark Hendrickson, Adam Eaton and Jeremy Guthrie. Jeremy, you are the only one who remains.

Each of you have a job to do and the Baltimore faithful beg you to do it well.

Kevin Millwood, we know your best days are probably behind you. While you are the de facto ace, nobody expects you to be anything better than league average. We need you to be Rick Sutcliffe circa 1992. You remember the Red Baron, don't you? He came to Baltimore late in his career to help anchor a staff of young hurlers (Mussina, McDonald, Rhodes) and for the first half of the season pitched like the Sutcliffe of old. OK, not like 1984 Sutcliffe but he went 12-6 over the first half of the season with a 4.13 ERA. He finished the season as a slightly below average pitcher in terms of ERA but for half of 1992 (and then some) he was a hero. He helped lead the Orioles, who had lost 97 games in 1991, to an 89 win season in 1992. More importantly, he bought time for the kid pitchers to develop and stabilized the rotation.

You can be that hero, Kevin. I know former Braves have not fared well in Charm City (Javy Lopez, Leo Mazzone, B.J. Surhoff v2.0) but this is a different era, an era of hope and resurrection. Seize the day and perhaps the Orioles will relax facial hair policies for you too.

Jeremy Guthrie, the Orioles claimed off of waivers three seasons ago and you went out of the frying pan and into the fire. 2009 was rough on you. You gave up a league high 35 homers. But that won't happen again because deep down, you are a groundball pitcher with enough of a fastball to strike batters out. Don't give in and keep the ball down in the zone. You finally have help. A veteran to eat innings, kids behind you who will pitch better as the season wears on. You are battle tested, sir. No pitcher in baseball has faced the fearsome lineups you have faced more often over the last three seasons.

We don't need you to try to be the ace anymore. We just need your innings, we just need your experience, we just need your spirit. Just keep the ball in the park and let your defense do the rest.

Brad Bergesen. You were labeled a AAAA pitcher. You were not supposed to have the stuff to pitch in the AL East. You were not supposed to be in the rotation in 2009. But you were and you were the best of the rotation last season.
You're a groundball machine. You walk no one. Nobody's getting a cheap hit off of you. According to The Bill James Handbook, you might just be the best fielding pitcher in the American League. You have the best chance of any of the starters to hit 200 innings pitched like Guthrie did last year. You're a fan favorite already and everyone is pulling for you to succeed. Like it or not, you're the underdog and everyone loves the underdog. Just keep it up. Please.

Brian Matusz, I have not had so much fun watching a guy pitch since Mike Mussina donned the orange & black. You have four pitches and you command them all extremely well. So on any count, you are likely to throw any of them. It reminds me of Mussina throwing his knuckle-curve on a 3-2 count, buckling the batter's knees and ringing up the K. You are that kind of talent. I can see you tying the hitters up in knots, mentally and physically with each successive at bat.

You are to inherit the "ace" tag for Baltimore and become the best Baltimore pitcher since the aforementioned Mussina. The rotation is relying more on your success than on any other individual pitcher. But the scouts love you and I think you may be due for a great leap forward in 2010.

Chris Tillman, it was not pretty during your 12 major league starts in 2009. A 5.40 ERA and lots of walks. But at the age of 21, you had nothing left to prove in the minors. You destroyed the International League posting a 2.70 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 96 innings for AAA Norfolk. It was your time. It is your time.

But just relax. No one is expecting you to be anything more than the 5th best starter for the Orioles in 2010. But I saw you in AAA. Your fastball moved and you mixed you pitches well. In Baltimore, you overthrew and that fastball flattened out. No need to throw through a brick wall. The baseball is an egg. Hold it like and egg. And by the end of the season, you may just start to show flashes of the ace potential you brought with you from the Seattle organization.

So don't believe the hype. If the Orioles are to surprise the league this season, it won't be because they signed Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins, it will be because the five of you.

Now let's go O's!