Friday, May 23, 2008

Circles of Losing, Trends, Three True Outcomes, Melmosity and More

Last night will go down as a Circle 2 loss in Ben's 9 Concentric Circles of Losing: Not Enough To Win.

They had their opportunities. The Orioles had plenty of chances last night to win the game but couldn't get that extra hit, that long sac fly to score the man at third or that timely extra base hit to take the series from the Yankees.

On to Tampa. Tampa has greatly improved this season but not for the reasons people were predicting during the preseason. It was supposed to be the young offensive talent that was to carry this team to playoff contention. Instead, it's been the young pitching while the offense has still been trying to find itself. The good news for the Orioles is that the Rays pitching has slipped a bit after a stellar April. This is hardly an unbeatable team.


Three True Outcomes - the Three True Outcomes in baseball are the strikeout, the walk, and the homerun. These are the outcomes that don't involve the defense or footspeed. It's just batter vs. pitcher to determine the outcome.

Some batters have embraced this method more than others to become legends of TTO. For the Orioles, Mickey Tettleton comes to mind. Elsewhere, Adam Dunn, Rob Deer and Jack Cust have embraced this "all-or-nothing" approach while still maintaining a good batting eye. So I decided to grab what I believe to be the highest TTO average seasons in Oriole history. The only two Orioles I knew that I would see on this list were Mickey Tettleton and perhaps Sam Horn. Some of the names were surprising.

Mickey Tettleton 1990 444 15 106 106 51.1%
Sam Horn 1991 317 23 41 99 45.5%
Mickey Tettleton 1989 411 26 73 117 44.6%
Jim Gentile 1961 486 46 96 106 42.6%
Cal Abrams 1955 309 6 89 69 41.2%
Boog Powell 1964 424 39 76 91 41.2%
Boog Powell 1966 491 34 67 125 40.5%
Jeff Manto 1995 254 17 24 69 39.5%
Chris Hoiles 1993 419 29 69 94 39.3%
Randy Milligan 1990 362 20 88 68 39.1%

As expected, Mickey Tettleton is the TTO king and Sam Horn comes in with the second highest TTO% for a season in Orioles history. Tettleton was so much fun to watch and would routinely walk and strikeout over 100 times each during a season, a rare talent. He was sent to Detroit straight up for P Jeff Robinson, one of the worst trades in the history of the franchise. Tettleton was a productive hitter for several years after the trade and Robinson...well, you probably know about Robinson.

Sam Horn had the potential to be a Tettleton-type slugger, albeit with more power. He never developed that batting eye to let the really bad pitches go.

Jim Gentile. A classic example of a TTO season was 1961. Should have remembered that. Also should not be surprised that Boog Powell show up on this list a couple of times.

Who is Cal Abrams? Abrams was a backup OF who played all three defensive positions for a terrible 97 loss team. He seemed to realize that while he was still a good fielder, his ability to hit was really slipping. So he seems to have decided not to make outs and walked a remarkable 86 times in only 407 plate appearances. It wasn't enough. 1955 would be Cal's last full season in the majors.

It seems that a 30-year old Jeff Manto arrived in Baltimore with the idea that he had better start swinging for the fences if he wanted to stick in the majors. In a way, he was right. 1995 was his best offensive year (108 OPS+) but he paid the price by striking out 69 times in 89 games. He was off to Boston the next year and went back to a more contact-making approach.

Chris Hoiles had a real breakout season in 1993 (the fact that he was not considered for the MVP that year is criminal...). When he made contact, good things happened but he struck out 94 times.

Randy Milligan was a mild surprise. I never remember Milligan as a guy with the skill set to draw 88 walks.


I watched Miami play Georgia Tech last night and saw top prospect Miami 1B Yonder Alonso. He hit two homers but looked terribly mismatched against the lefty relievers they deployed against him. Miami can flat out hit throughout the lineup.


The Wayward Oriole has made a significant scientific breakthrough. He can now measure Melmosity.


Song of the Week: The Replacements - "Bastards of Young" Enjoy!

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