Friday, July 31, 2009

Base Hits: 7/31/2009

Reaction to the George Sherrill Trade:

Rob Neyer of ESPN:

I'm not going to criticize the Dodgers for trading Josh Bell. Who knows? Maybe Casey Blake will live forever.

What I will do is send up a big hip-hip-hooray for the Orioles, because the single best thing any rebuilding manager can do, ever, is trade a relief pitcher in late July for a couple of solid prospects.

Let me repeat for anyone not paying attention: a relief pitcher....

If I were an Orioles fan, I would be organizing a party right now.

Evan Brunell of The Hardball Times:

The Orioles won the deal by far, however. Yes, Sherrill is a very good left-handed reliever. However, he's already 32 and is about to get extremely expensive in his second year of arbitration. Also, did I mention his career high for innings pitched is 53.1? For that, the Dodgers gave up someone who is certain to anchor the Orioles' order in a few years and an intriguing arm....

The Orioles did very well here, while the Dodgers clearly overpaid...

Matt Pouliot of NBC Sports:

So much for the thought that the Orioles would have to be overwhelmed to move their closer...

(Josh) Bell isn't the problem...Johnson is the weak link here. The Orioles should have insisted on a better second prospect than the 21-year-old. It'd be very disturbing if they let the fact that his father, Dave, was a former Oriole influence their thinking here...

...I think the Dodgers did quite well here...

Keith Law of ESPN:

The main return for Baltimore is third baseman Josh Bell, who alone is probably worth more in asset value than a good but sub-Joe Nathan, 60-inning-a-year reliever with two years of control left. Bell is a strong, athletic switch-hitter with ridiculous bat speed from the left side -- so much that his bat might be in and out of the zone too quickly. He has improving power that probably is above-average to plus in the future. He's a little rough at third but projects to stay at the position, and he has the athleticism to be above-average there with more work....

The second player Baltimore acquired, right-hander Steve Johnson, has a solid to average fastball that will touch 92 with a fringe to average changeup and a below average to average breaking ball. But Johnson has a long arm action; he shows the ball to the center fielder, pronates his forearm and comes around with a "pie-thrower" action that really looks like it's costing him command. He's a local kid and the son of former Orioles pitcher and current Orioles broadcaster Dave Johnson, so there's some karmic value there, but he looks more like a good organizational pitcher than a prospect right now.

Drew Forrester of WNST:

They’ll survive without Sherrill, obviously. I wonder, though, did the O’s inquire about Cliff Lee before the Indians dealt him to the Phillies for a couple of decent prospects and some towels? Was there ever a consideration to approach the A’s about Matt Holliday and use him as a DH and 4th outfielder?...

Selling off good players is what the Pirates do. And we all know they stink....

I wanted to be a seller by jettisoning the scrubs, not the good players.

Good teams acquire good players at the deadline.

Bad teams trade good players at the deadline.

R.J. Anderson of

In Bell, the Orioles receive a 22-year-old switch-hitting third baseman with impressive power potential. His ISO in Double-A this season is .203, but there are some questions as to whether he’s going to stick at third for the long haul or move to a corner – either first or left/right field. Bell has had issues with strikeouts in the past which reached their apex in 2008. His walk rate has grown impressive and his strikeout numbers are down for this year, so he’s definitely an interesting player to watch for in the next few years....

The two seem like a nice coup by the Orioles in exchange for a two years and a third of Sherrill as they continue to build with impressive young talent.

Frostking of Camden Crazies:

I have mild concerns about Bell sticking at third long-term, but if he keeps hitting this well then there’s a possibility that he’ll begin 2010 as the Orioles starting third-baseman. Johnson is pretty good as a throw-in and might develop into an interesting arm. I don’t immediately love the deal, but I sure like it and it was the right thing to do. There will be talk about who takes over as closer, but given the team’s record I don’t think that really matters right now - a lot of fans (this one included) will certainly miss seeing Flat Breezy coming out from the pen though. Not a steal (the O’s come out maybe $1-3 M ahead), but Andy MacPhail once again moves the team closer to contention.

neal s at The Loss Column:

I think we’ll see Bell here either in late 2010 or 2011 at the latest — and he’ll be here as a third baseman. You can book that.

Johnson’s harder to project, but if he keeps doing what he’s doing I can see him making a bid as a back-rotation guy in maybe 2011 or 2012.

On paper this looks like another MacPhail winner. I’ll miss Sherrill, but I’ll also wish him the best out in LA. It’ll be nice to watch him pitch in October.

Cliff Corcoran from

The reason the Orioles should be clicking their heels over this deal, and Dodgers fans should hot under the collar, is Josh Bell. He's not true blue-chipper, but as a 22-year-old switch-hitting third baseman who was hitting .296/.386/.497 in Double-A this season, he has a high ceiling and fills a big hole in their organization. Bell's defense at the hot corner could use some work, but he's already shown an ability to improve in the field.

On the chat rooms, comment sections and Twitter, the casual fan base is split between hating the deal and loving the deal. That's understandable since Sherrill has become a fan favorite in Baltimore but I love the move. It made the team younger and addressed an organizational need.


The Baltimore Orioles are 14-24 against the AL East. But they are 30-33 against the rest of the league. We're getting close guys/ As bad as the pitching has been, we are nearly a .500 team outside of the AL East.


Patrick Sullivan of The Baseball Analysts thinks the Orioles are close to competing in the AL East:

Given their youth, Baltimore might consider tacking on a free agent to the rotation. They will also have to cobble together a bullpen. But as it stands right now this Orioles starting staff looks like it will be able to post a season's worth of above average pitching in 2010 and quite a bit better than that in 2011 and out. When you combine this with their offensive nucleus, the Orioles appear positioned to make the moves necessary to put a contender on the field.


Bergey's on the DL!

What good is having Matt Wieters on the team is he can't heal the sick and make the lame pitch again?


Speaking of Wieters, his 40 games in the wilderness is over. Time for the miracles. Wieters has hit .271/.320/.392 but has hit .423/.444/.462 in the last 7 games so he's stepping it up for August.


Cal Ripken Jr. will be building more youth ball parks in Baltimore and one will be something special:

The former Orioles great plans to build five youth ballparks - including one at the site of the former Memorial Stadium.

Ripken's plan is to turn the little-used field at the stadium site into a multipurpose, artificial turf sports complex.

God bless Cal Ripken. Baseball at the Memorial Stadium site will continue.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

George Sherrill Gone! Off to LA For 2 Prospects!

Geroge Sherrill, Oriole closer and wearer of the flat-brim is gone to the Dodgers for a couple minor league prospects. How long until we see "Sherrill-wood" signs at Chavez Ravine? Hard to believe that a flamboyant personality like Sherrill will not be embraced in L.A. Georgey being Georgey.

Anyway, here's the haul:

3B Josh Bell

Bell is 22-years-old and played for the AA Chattanooga Lookouts until today. He has posted a .296/.386/.497 line in 94 games. 50 walks, 70 strikeouts and 11 homeruns.

If his glove is good enough to stick at 3B, he appears to be the heir apparent to Melvin Mora and is at least the equal of Brandon Snyder as a corner infield prospect.

SP Steven Johnson

21-year-old RHP (and Baltimore native and son of former Oriole hurler Dave Johnson) who has gone 9-5 with a 3.61 ERA between high A and AA in 2009. 117 strikeouts, 45 walks and 15 homers surrendered in 107.1 innings.

Not listed among the Dodgers' top prospects but a guy who can strikeout batters like that would at least project as a nice relief prospect.

I like the trade. They moved Sherrill, whose value will never be higher, got a legitimate 3B prospect (who may not be far from the big leagues) and another live arm for the farm system.

All that for a guy who was basically a throw-in in the Erik Bedard trade.

WAR Graphs: The Great Orioles of the 90's

(click on the graph for a version you can actually read...)

I decided to take a look at the great Orioles players of the 90's to see how they stacked up in terms of WAR (which includes defensive value). I only included players who played more than 5 seasons for the Orioles between 1990-1999 so Rafael Palmiero, Roberto Alomar and the like do not make the cut.

No real surprises here except maybe the inclusion of Mike Devereaux who hit fairly well for a centerfielder over the course of 7 seasons.

There's Cal's monster 1991 season looming above all with only Chris Hoiles huge 1993 as any kind of rival.

Brady Anderson exceeds Hoiles with overall WAR due to his consistency and longevity...that and his own monster season in 1996.

Cal reigns supreme, which is no surprise but I was surprised by the margin over Anderson...I thought it might be a little closer as Cal entered the twilight of his career.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On Matt Wieters: A Quick Rebuttal

I was reading a post by blog-buddy frostking over at Camden Crazies about Matt Wieters and how he has underwhelmed thus far, especially with the bat. It's worth reading and he makes some good observations about the cause of some of these trouble.

However, he misses on a couple things that I will point out here. First, on Wieter's patience at the plate:

I don’t know if he’s just over-anxious or has some issues with pitch recognition...but until he takes a more patient approach at the plate I don’t think we’ll see quite the hitter we expected.

Well, the walks aren't there and (as frostking's data seems to indicate) Wieters is chasing ball outside of the zone. But he's not impatient.

Pitches per Plate Appearance for Baltimore Orioles:

Wieters 4.1
Reimold 4.0
ZAUN 4.0
Roberts 4.0
Salazar 3.9

Wieters is being as patient as Oriole at the plate, he's just having issues with pitch recognition. And why is that? I have a theory.

Matt Wieters Left/Right Splits:

Wieters vs RHP 80 .316 .350 .461 .821
Wieters vs LHP 69 .222 .290 .302 .611

Wieters is struggling against lefties in the majors and has been done no favors as Baltimore has been facing an unprecedented number of LHP's since Wieters arrival. A whopping 46% of Wieters' plate appearances have been against lefthanded pitching. By comparison, Brian Roberts has only faced lefties 34% of the time. Facing this much lefthanded pitching just doesn't happen over the course of a season.

So Wieters has had to make the toughest transition in sports against the best lefthanded pitchers in the world and only faced lefties 28% of the time during his entire (albeit brief) minor league career. Is it any wonder he has struggled? He's barely seen any professional lefthanded hurlers before May.

Besides, I've already told you that Christ in a Catcher's Mask needs to wander in the wilderness for 40 games before he comes to town and starts dropping the miracles. Last night was game 39 (he went 4-5) and the last 6 games he is OPSing .933.

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Baltimore to be born?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Base Hits: 7/28/2009

I have been following the Orioles Spring Training stories for years now and it appears that the Orioles will officially move to Sarasota for Spring Training 2010.

Kate Wheeler at MASN has conceptual drawings of what the complex will look like after renovations. I'll be there in 2010...


Also from Kate, MASN launches MASN to GO. What is MASN to GO?

MASN to GO is a downloadable and printable stats package similar to the information MASN's on-air talent use to prepare for game broadcasts.

As stats change each night and as the O's take on a new opponent every three or four days of the season, the pdf files are automatically updated with the newest info and are available for fans each morning to enjoy throughout the day....

But it doesn't stop there. You'll have BA's against tonight's opposing starter and their averages against the O's starting pitcher, probable pitching matchups for every game scheduled that day--and tomorrow, transactions and player news, standings, league leaders, hitting stats, pitching stats...

It's a nice one stop shop for fellow bloggers and the more serious fan. Good stuff. Thanks for making that available MASN!


Jonathan Mayo runs down some of the best farm systems in baseball. The Orioles still rank among the top 10 in the league on the strength of their pitching.


Rich Hill stinks up the joint, offers explanation and apologizes...

"Other than that, unfortunately I haven't been able to give any kind of consistent help to this team. I apologize to the front office and the guys in this clubhouse."

Hill joins Koji Uehara as apologetic pitchers for the Orioles in 2009, an occurrence I don't remember happening even once in a previous season, let alone twice. Say what you will but Sidney Ponson or Victor Santos never apologized for sucking.

At least he's trying to be a standup guy about the whole thing. ("A 7.00 ERA means never having to say you're sorry...")


Non-Orioles story: I wish I could leave this story alone but I am just so dumbfounded by the whole thing. Christine Brennan speaks to the Erin Andrews controversy again.


Since June 1st,

Aubrey Huff's OPS - .609

Melvin Mora's OPS - .643

Ty Wigginton's OPS - .822

I don't think you have to be a baseball genius...Free Wiggy!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Oriole Hurlers In Review

Just some random observations about our rotation...

Brad Bergesen

The rookie keeps impressing. He still needs a bit better strikeout rate (something closer to 6.0 K/9 would make me feel better) but he's doing all the other things a pitcher with his skill set needs to do to compete at the major league level. He's killing worms (49.9% ground ball rate), he's not walking guys (2.32 BB/9) and he's keeping the ball in the park (0.85 HR/9). You've got to love the attitude, the guy doesn't quit or get shell shocked. His strikeouts are a bit lacking (4.56 K/9) but he looks to have the skills to be a legitimate back of the rotation starter.

David Hernandez

Another guy who keeps succeeding on pure will power at this point. Hernandez came to Baltimore with a rep as a guy who could pile up the strikeouts but that hasn't happened yet (so far he's only striking out guys at Bergesen levels...). He has kept the ball in the park (0.80 HR/9) but is giving up fly balls at a 55% that HR rate is bound to rise and his ERA with it.

But give credit to Hernandez. He's not able to strike guys out at a rate that he's used to but he's worked around that, kept his head about him and battled the best he could. Hernanadez may not ultimately succeed but it won't be because of his makeup.

Jeremy Guthrie

Guthrie gave up his 23rd home run of the season on Saturday, one short of his career high...and it's not even August.

Guthrie is on pace to surrender 37 home runs, surpassing Sidney Ponson, Scott McGregor and Robin Roberts for the club record. According to, damn near all the homers given up by Guthrie are legitimate, almost none of them are counted as lucky shots.

Here's hoping that Guthrie's just having a bad year. Better for him to return to form in 2010 than in 2009 in my opinion.

Rich Hill/Jason Berken

With the impending promotion of Chris Tillman, the fates of Hill and Berken are linked in competition to remain with the club.

Jason Berken really doesn't have the resume to be in the majors at this point. He was promoted to AAA due to a lack of arms and then promptly to the majors for the same reason. He can be a useful arm in the future but could use some more seasoning in an environment where he's not getting shelled every start. The one plus for Berken...he has a FIP of 4.76 versus his actual ERA of 6.55 which indicates that he may have been pitching better than the surface results. But I'm guessing that's small consolation to Berken.

Hill is not good. There's no doubt about it. A 7.64 ERA and a 5.13 FIP. But there are two guys struggling in the rotation and only one Chris Tillman to call up from Norfolk. If you're asking me to pick a guy for cannon fodder, I'll take the veteran and save the psyche of the kid. Fans can be angry about Hill taking the mound every 5 days but the eye has to be on 2010 and 2011. Let Berken go work things out in Norfolk/Bowie. Hill can fall on his sword for the next two months.

Chris Tillman

His stats in Norfolk:

Tillman - AAA 8-6 96.2 2.70 99 26 5

His last outing was not good but I imagine he'll be better than most of what we already have.

Tides vs. Braves: 7/26/2009

I drove up to Lawrenceville last Thursday to witness what was probably the last minor league start of 21-year-old Chris Tillman's career. I watched Tillman warm up before the game and he was fairly wild, even during long toss. I was hoping he just needed to get warmed up but he was wild during the game too. After skating through the first two innings (4 Ks through 2 IP), the Braves lineup started to make Tillman throw strikes and started hitting him hard. Tillman only lasted 3.2 innings, striking out 4, walking 4, giving up 4 runs including a solo homer. He was hitting low-90's on the stadium radar gun. Looks like that performance won't keep him from the majors though; he's rumored to be called up for his major league debut this Wednesday.

Not much else of note to report from the game. Brandon Snyder went 0-4 and the Tides lost 5-1. On the bright side, Screech went 2-4 to continue his fine season (.315/.390/.524) and 2B Justin Turner went 3-4 with an RBI (.304/.353/.393 overall) and could have the makings of a good utility man for the O's next year.

Nice little stadium the Gwinnett Braves built. Classic design, not too overdone.

Tillman vs. Braves

(Over at Roar from 34, Matt has a similar post as he caught Jake Arrieta on the mound when the Tides moved north and took on the Durham Bulls this weekend. We've got the south covered when it comes to your Oriole coverage. Word.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why Christine Brennan Is Undeserving of Your Attention

I have been a fan of Christine Brennan's writing for as long as I can remember. She and Tony Kornheiser are the first two sports writers that I can recall reading on a regular basis. When The Washington Post would turn up at my house, looking for the latest column by Brennan or Kornheiser was my first order of business.

With that preface, I was very disappointed to hear Brennan's take on bloggers and the internet. Last month, Brennan was on an ESPN podcast called "Play Ball! with Amanda & Melissa". She was asked a general question to her thoughts on sports blogs and sports bloggers (the Raul Ibanez blogger controversy was in the news at the time) and here was her response:

"What I try to do with blogs, is I try to read the ones that come from newspapers, come from legitimate trained journalists and I would encourage anyone who listens to us or anyone who cares about this issue to do that. The guy or woman in their pajamas in a basement in Seattle or Tupelo or Bangor, Maine...they who will never be seen, who will never go to a practice or a game, they will never meet the coach, why should we listen to them? Why, why should we pay any attention to what they're saying about a pro or college team or whatever.

"That's the kind of thing that we need to discern and it's harder and harder for people to figure out what's legit and what isn't, understandably, we've all had this because you click on a website and then you click on a link and you're just clicking on those little blue lines and off you're going to another world and pretty soon you are reading the person who's sitting in their pajamas in their basement, you know, in Omaha, Nebraska. and that person who really has no training and no idea what they are talking about. And when I say that, they certainly can have an opinion but do we want to waste one moment of our time on Earth reading those opinions? I want to read the opinion of people who are there, are trained observers, whether they went to journalism school or whatever, they've invested in this career and they are trained in it and therefore they are worthy of our attention.

"But the problem is, as you've said, you know, I might be able to figure it out, you guys can figure out, OK this person is, you know, a trained working journalist there at the event. The lines blur so much, how do you start to know? and for the average casual reader, someone who's wandering around the internet, just doing what a lot of people do, trying to figure out where they are and what they're doing, those lines are blurred to the point where, you know, when you're holding a newspaper in your hand, you know who's produced it. That is the nice little real estate, the demarcation of the territory that you happen to be looking at. So a newspaper's simple. It was produced by USA Today or The Washington Post or The New York Times, that's who gave us that and it's crystal clear. And the internet, of course is completely blurred, the opposite of crystal clear and it's gonna, I think, create many more issues like this and how does the mainstream media, not that we're always right, not at all, but at least we are trained journalists, by and large, how do we react to these kinds of things?

"Another huge issue about these stories and how they catch fire and do you put out the fire or do you let it keep going? Really something and it certainly, books will be written on this topic so a couple moments don't really give it justice but I just think the best thing is go with the trained journalists who are there, who have to see the coach day in, day out, it's not hit and run kind of reporting or journalism or blogging. It's hit and stay."

A few things here...

First, I was soooo disappointed that Brennan went with the old "blogging from his basement" line. So cliche, so tired and I would expect that if Christine was going for a putdown that she would have something more original and clever than that.

Second, if you live in Seattle, Tupelo, Bangor or Omaha, you should be doubly insulted. The disdain in her voice when those cities rolled off her tongue was glaring. If you live in a small town, you are marginal in Brennan's mind.

Third, your opinion does not matter if you are not working for a newspaper or trained as a journalist. Pro sports writers have the informed opinions and if it doesn't come from them, it means nothing. Now, if Brennan wants to take a shot at a rinky-dink hobby blog like mine, fine. I see the value that blogs like mine hold, at least as a collective, but why put down the good work done by Shysterball, The Hardball Times, FanGraphs, Beyond the Boxscore and such? Those guys are doing fantastic work, covering aspects of baseball that the mainstream media doesn't touch . I once conversed with a "professional journalist" who covered baseball and sent him a player's slash line. He had to ask me what it was. I'm not putting the guy down but if you cover baseball shouldn't you have a rudimentary knowledge of modern baseball stats? But no matter. To Brennan, the work doesn't count unless it comes through official sources.

Fourth, I don't think anyone is going to click on a link at The Baltimore Sun (who has linked to my site) , come to my site and believe that they are still reading something written by a writer in their employ. Look at this place. My layout is amateurish. My writing is certainly not up to snuff. Brennan thinks people who use the internet for their news are bumbling idiots, "wandering" around aimlessly, consuming information without discretion. Brennan seems to think the public is some great unwashed who can't be trusted to read anything that does not come from a newspaper. One they can hold in their hands. That's silly and ridiculously outdated.

But none of this on the surface is a big deal. I toyed with posting about it last month and never did because I find the whole "the big bad journalist is picking on us bloggers" theme kind of tired and I truly don't care that much. But it sets a tone. A tone from Brennan that says, if you don't meet my standards of education, professionalism, geography or living quarters, you don't matter. Period.

This week, Brennan has a tweet about Erin Andrews and the voyeur who spied on her in her hotel room.

There are hundreds of women covering sports in this country who haven’t had this happen to them. I wish it didn’t happen to Erin, but I also would suggest to her if she asked (and she hasn’t) that she rely on her talent and brains and not succumb to the lowest common denominator in sports media by playing to the frat house....

Women sports journalists need to be smart and not play to the frat house. There are tons of nuts out there.

So because Erin Andrews is a very attractive young woman, the kind of reporting she does "succumbs to the lowest common denominator"...what? What does this have to with the subject you're talking about? Nothing...unless you're suggesting she brought this on herself.

Erin Andrews does not meet Christine Brennan's standards of journalism. Thus, she is not worthy of Brennan's empathy.

And with that, there's a sport columnist you never have to read again.

Later, Christine.

(posted from an office where I can see the sun...)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Trade Value Calculator: Estimated Oriole Trade Values

A quick look at some trade values of current Oriole players using the Trade Value Calculator developed by Sky Kalkman at Beyond the Box Score. For a more detailed analysis of individual players, see the series frostking is putting together at Camden Crazies, I believe he is using the same calculator.

The rundown:

Aubrey Huff

Year Sal (M) WAR Val (M) Net (M) Sal (M) Arb %
2009 $4.0 0.2 $1.1 -$2.9 $4.0
FA Picks $2.5
Total $4.0 0.2 $3.6 -$0.4

George Sherrill

Year Sal (M) WAR Val (M) Net (M) Sal (M) Arb %
2009 $2.8 1.5 $7.0 $4.2 $2.8
2010 $4.0 1.0 $4.7 $0.7 $4.0
2011 $4.3 1.0 $4.9 $0.7 $4.3
FA Picks $2.5
Total $11.0 3.5 $19.1 $8.1

Melvin Mora

Year Sal (M) WAR Val (M) Net (M) Sal (M) Arb %
2009 $4.5 0.4 $2.0 -$2.5 $4.5
2010 $9.0 0.8 $3.8 -$5.2 $9.0
FA Picks $2.5
Total $13.5 1.2 $8.3 -$5.2

Oscar Salazar

Year Sal (M) WAR Val (M) Net (M) Sal (M) Arb %
2009 $0.2 0.2 $1.1 $1.0 $0.2
2010 $0.4 1.5 $7.2 $6.8 $0.4
2011 $3.0 1.6 $7.6 $4.6 40%
2012 $4.8 1.7 $8.1 $3.2 60%
2013 $6.8 1.8 $8.5 $1.7 80%
FA Picks $0.0
Total $15.2 6.8 $32.4 $17.2

Danys Baez

Year Sal (M) WAR Val (M) Net (M) Sal (M) Arb %
2009 $2.7 0.0 $0.2 -$2.5 $2.7
FA Picks $0.0
Total $2.7 0.0 $0.6 -$2.1

Cla Meredith

Year Sal (M) WAR Val (M) Net (M) Sal (M) Arb %
2009 $0.2 0.2 $1.1 $0.9 $0.2
2010 $1.1 0.5 $2.7 $1.6 40%
2011 $1.6 0.5 $2.7 $1.1 60%
2012 $2.1 0.5 $2.7 $0.5 80%
FA Picks $0.0
Total $5.0 1.7 $9.1 $4.1

Obviously, I made some assumptions for these calculations but I don't think they're crazy.

Aubrey Huff, at current production is a huge drain. Most of his remaining value is tied up in the fact that he may be a Type B free agent and garner the O's a draft pick if he walks. But you'd have to offer Huff arbitration for that to happen and he just might take it...

Sherrill has a ton of value due mostly to the fact that he remains under arbitration for the next three years. The Orioles should get good value for him if they plan to move him.

Mora is abysmal and in this calculation I have the O's picking up his option for 2010. Eeesh. I put him at a Type B free agent but I must have been smoking crack. No way he qualifies and no way Baltimore offers him arbitration.

Look show much value Oscar Salazar provides relative to his salary. I was very conservative with his production too; modest production in a platoon role. I think he could have been more but that ship has sailed.

That's right. Danys Baez has 0.0 WAR undoing all the good from the beginning of the season. He has little real value, antyhing Baltimore receives would be a bonus.

There's Cla Meredith. I'm being optimistic about his perofrmance. Still valuable if he can be slightly above average.

Keep Your Eye On The Ball

Last night's loss to the Yankees (via a walk-off Matsui homer) was a bummer. No doubt. But where's the sense of perspective? The blogs, forums and comments on various sources for venting spleens are full of angst, bitterness and lots of self-pity.

But let's keep our eye on the ball Oriole fans. We trotted out a rookie pitcher who didn't have his best stuff but battled and scratched his way through 6 innings all the while holding arguably the best lineup in the league to one run. 3 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts. To paraphrase the song, if you can pitch there, you can pitch anywhere.

And our rookie catcher went 1-3 with a walk.

Losses still suck but let's keep in in perspective. Last night was a win for the Orioles in many ways.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Base Hits: 7/20/2009

I posted this rant over at Camden Crazies in response to some tweets by frostking. I figured I'd repost some of that here...

OK, so this trade in a vacuum is 31-year old Salazar for 26-year old middle reliever. But in this case I don’t care how old Salazar is because he is a) cheap and under control (not even a full season of MLB experience yet) and b) the Orioles have a need for a bat at both corner spots in the infield, certainly this year and even more so in 2010.

The Warehouse will not pick up the option on Mora and will probably not resign Huff unless Aubrey is ready to take a big paycut. That leaves Ty Wigginton to play third base and…who’d on first? Salazar could have filled that need and given Brandon Snyder (who is not exactly tearing up AAA) more time to develop. It’s cheap offense and buys time for one of our few position player prospects. That’s value.

People act like the only choice was to trade either Salazar or Pie. There was another. Cut Melvin Mora. MacPhail seems to understand the concept of a sunk cost and with only $3 million still owed to Mora, it would have been fairly easy to do. Even with Salazar’s poor defense at third, he would still more valuable than Mora. Shift Wiggy to third and let Salazar get ABs at first, the defense is even less of an issue.

Cla Meredith is bad away from PETCO and against AL competition:

The splits are ugly and he may contribute absolutely nothing to the team.

A team like Baltimore needs to be creative in filling holes. They can’t attract top free agents quite yet. Who’s going to play third base next year? Or first? Retreads, has-beens or “good field, no-hit” types. Seems to me Salazar would have been at least a shot at filling the spot cheaply and maybe even produce on a regular basis. His major league OPS is .880 . His last two years in Norfolk he’s had an OPS well over .900 . Worth a shot, I think.

Now maybe MacPhail has irons in the fire that will garner Baltimore a 1B or 3B for next year. But I gave him the benefit of the doubt with the rotation this year and they really didn’t have a great plan in place for that deficiency. On the face of it, I’m calling this trade shortsighted.

I'd say this is my last word on the subject but I know if Salazar starts tearing up the NL West I'll be back here stamping my feet like a petulant child...


A few loosely related things...

I finally got around to reading the Sports Illustrated Earl Weaver "Where are they now?" article.

I've toyed with the idea of writing an article about how easy it is for an Oriole fan to get on board with basic Sabermetric principals because Earl was employing them years before they had a name. But I'm not that talented a writer and Tom Verducci basically did it here.

Semi-related, former Oriole farmhhand Steve Dalkowski is being inducted into The Shrine of the Eternals. Read all about the amazing career (or lack thereof) at The Baseball Analysts and via links at Roar From 34.

So, regarding the Earl Weaver/Sabermetrics link, there was this about former Oriole manager Paul Richards:

As a manager, Richards was thrown out of games more frequently than anyone else....

He was the first manager known to enforce pitch counts to protect young arms from injury. Previously undiscovered documents reveal that Richards tracked his hitters' on-base percentages before that statistic even had a name and decades before it became a cornerstone of baseball analysis. He computed catchers' earned run averages years before the sabermetric community thought of it.

So the roots of statistical analysis (and evidently hot-headedness) run deep in Oriole managerial history.

Also, this nugget about Dalkowski:

However, to the extent that this card has any value whatsoever, it is solely due to the legend that is Dalkowski, the inspiration for Nick LaLoosh, the character portrayed by Tim Robbins in "Bull Durham."

Ron Shelton, who wrote and directed the 1988 movie classic, will introduce Dalkowski at tomorrow's induction ceremony. Shelton was a minor league second baseman for the Orioles during the '60s, yet, according to George Vecsey in an article in today's The New York Times, he and Dalkowski have surprisingly never met.

I had forgotten all about the Dalkowski's Nuke La Loosh connection and that Ron Shelton had been an Oriole farmhand. Makes me love that movie even more...


Some new developments of note for Oriole Spring Training...Sarasota has cleared a major hurdle in luring the Orioles to Sarasota for Spring Training. The City of Sarasota has approved a measure to turn the stadium complex over to the city for $1 allowing the county to make a $31 million bid for the team. County officials and the Orioles report they are close to an agreement.


So I switched from Sirius to XM so I could listen to baseball on the radio. It's nice.

Anyway, I was listening to MLB Home Plate and Aubrey Huff was scheduled to join the network for an interview during the 11 o'clock hour but he never showed up.

If I was a conspiracy theorist, I would imagine that it is because he is on the verge of being traded and the club doesn't want him talking to the media. If I was...


Screech is tearing up the International League. Jeff Fiorentino in Norfolk:

Fiorentino .317 .388 .527 18 4 7 44 28

Not too shabby. That gives him a MLE OPS of .793. Maybe he could be trade bait? Maybe he's finally breaking through? A long shot but worth thinking about. And good for Jeff.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Oscar Salazar Gone to San Diego!

Oscar is gone and in return we receive a mediocre (at best) reliever. Awesome.

First, good luck to Oscar and here's hoping he gets more playing time on the west coast than he did here. Salazar should have been taking at bats from Aubrey Huff and (especially) Melvin Mora, two players who are not going to be back with the club anyway. Instead he rotted on the bench and was brilliant in his limited opportunities at the plate.


Andy MacPhail gives this quote from Roch's blog

Meredith, 26, is a submarine-stylist who was described by Andy MacPhail, president of baseball operations, as a "poor man's Chad Bradford."

"He gets a lot of ground balls and can pitch every other day," MacPhail said. "The ground ball ratio becomes more important later in the summer in our ballpark."

Well, he does get a lot of grounders. Even this year when he seems to be off his game he is inducing grounders at a 62.2% clip. And I like submariners too. But is he anything like Chad Bradford, even a poor man's version?

Bradford has only given up more than 1 home run in a season twice. He gave up 5 his rookie season and gave up 3 in 2008. All but one season was in the American League. Cla "Who stole my Y?" Meredith gave up 6 in each of the last two seasons pitching in an extreme pitcher's park in San Diego against inferior National League hitters. (To be fair he has only given up one homer this season...)

Now the disturbing splits:

Cla - Home 2009 2 1 2.89 12 4 1 .707
Cla - Away 2009 2 1 5.50 8 10 0 .790

Meredith takes full advantage of his home park. Is OPACY a hitter's park or a pitcher's park? How does this one look to play out?


Cla - Interleague 2009 0 1 5.68 1 2 0 .613
Cla - Interlegue Career 0 4 5.25 14 7 3 .845

Great. AL batters hammer him too.

So he's best when he's facing NL hitters at his home park which just happens to be an extreme pitcher's park.

Maybe Rick Kranitz sees something is Meredith's delivery he thinks he can work with. Maybe MacPhail thinks that AL batters haven't seen much of Meredith so he can have some success his first time through the league and the O's can flip him in the offseason.

But I don't think so. I think the O's made a move out of desperation and don't have to guts to release the shell of Melvin Mora that is our current third baseman. This trade is as epic a fail as you can make when you trade away a bench player.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Base Hits: 7/16/2009

It's the traditional midseason point so let's look back at my pre-season predictions!

"I hate the Hayden Penn trade. We could have just kept Jolbert Cabrera if we needed a fourth bench player. I'd rather fail with a 24-year old pitcher than with a bunch of retreads or never-were's like Eaton, Simon and Hendrickson. So my first prediction is that Penn turns out to be way more useful to the Marlins than Robert Andino will be to Baltimore."

Hayden Penn posted in 7.77 ERA in 16 games for the Marlins and was sent to New Orleans about 6 weeks ago and has only posted a 4.50 ERA since he got back to AAA.

Andino has not been great but his slick fielding came in handy when Cesar Izturis went down with an injury. So far, dead 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."

Well, Simon was out of the rotation by the end of April but because of injury instead of ineffectiveness. He did suck though. So I'll call this one correct.

"Matt Wieters is here in May."

Nailed it.

"Brad Bergeson is here in July."

Beregesen came up in April due to the Simon injury but he would have forced his way into the rotation by May anyway. He's ahead of where I thought he would be. I'll call this one a push.

"Brian Matusz is here is September."

Matusz dominated A+ Frederick and is dominating AA Bowie. A September call-up looks to be in his future. So far, so good.

"The Orioles win 72 games."

The O's are on pace for 66 wins. They would have to go 32-42 to reach 72 wins this season. Not impossible but for now, I've overestimated the team.

(edit: A commenter named Brett has pointed out that I made a miscalculation; 40-48 is good for a 73 win pace. So I was close...)

"Lou Montanez won't OPS better than .750 at any level...unless he goes back to Bowie."

Montanez posted a 1.000 OPS in AAA Norfolk...but in only 10 games. In 18 games in Baltimore he put up a .6s0 OPS. Montanez is hurt but I'm correct on this one.

Whew. I had this one wrong. Barring a white hot second half, Markakis will be lucky to reach an .800 OPS, let alone .900. So much for the Markakis breakout season.

"Felix Pie gets better in the second half."

He couldn't be much worse. But will he even get an opportunity in Baltimore?

Adam Jones hits 20+ home runs.

A couple months ago, this looked like a slam dunk but a recent homerless draught put the goal in question. Jones has 12 homers and should be able to reach 20 with little problem.

Luke Scott and Ty Wigginton provide the best Oriole platoon since...well, in a very long time.

Wigginton and Scott haven't had a straight platoon at all (no surprise) but Wigginton hasn't hit lefties well (his forte before this season) and and Scott has crushed lefties that he hasn't hit well in previous seasons. It's like Scott stole Wigginton's soul. Dead wrong.


Baseball America's Hot Sheet, which ranks recent performances of minor league prospects, ranks Brian Matusz #1 and Chris Tillman #3. That's pretty cool.


I don't think Dave Trembley's job is in jeopardy and it seems like Jeff Zrebiec is trying to create a story where there is none. I'm not sure what makes this column any better than idle speculation on any blog or message board. You expect a little bit more from a real "journalist"; Zrebiec didn't even bother to go as far an Ken Rosenthal and get an anonymous source.




He's been kind of overshadowed with all the other talented pitchers in the Oriole farm system but RHP Tim Bascom has rebounded from a bad 2008 season in Frederick to pitch extremely well for the Keys and now the Bowie Baysox. Bascom has struck out 57 against only 23 walks in 90.3 innings pitched between those teams. He's not dominating but it's not difficult to see him in Norfolk's rotation in 2010 and perhaps in Baltimore (either starting or relieving) in 2011.


Adam Loewen is posting a .243/.348./.696 line at high A Dunedin. However, in the last month he is posting a .304/.424/.464 line and .364/.440/.591 over the last 7 days. In other words, he's trending up as a hitter.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Throwing Ice Water on the Brad Bergesen Enthusiasm

"Bergesen is God"

"...a fixture in the rotation for years to come..."

"...the ace of the staff..."

The Oriole blogosphere is getting carried away with Brad Bergesen.

And why not? What's not to like? The rookie is 6-3 with a 3.54 ERA and he's averaging 6.6 innings per start.

However...what's the real long term projection for Bergey?

The bottom line is, he can't strike people out and it's tough to succeed in baseball without that ability.

Through yesterday's game, Bergesen is striking out batters at 4.7 per 9 innings. I searched to see how many starting pitchers were successful over the past 30 years while striking out fewer than 5 batters per nine.

Here's the highlights of guys that managed to be above-average in terms in ERA while pitching 500 innings or more.

John Tudor
Chien Ming-Wang
Dave Dravecky
Rick Reuschel
Charlie Liebrandt
Zane Smith
Bob Tewksbury
Mike Flanagan

Anybody see any staff aces on that list?
Now, all those guys had some success in the league. Their best years occurred when they A) edged their strikeout rate up over 5.0 K's per 9 or B) lowered their walk rate below 2.0 per 9. (Bergesen is currently walking 2.2 per 9.)

Brad Bergesen is certainly capable of doing either of those things and sticking in the rotation but it will probably be toward the back, not as "the ace". But he needs to improve his strikeout rate or lower his good walk rate to insanely low levels to achieve even that. Otherwise he stands to be a righthanded version of Horacio Ramirez. And that's not pretty.

WAR Graph of Greatest Oriole Pitchers

(just click on the graph to get an image you can actually read...)

These are the top four Oriole pitching careers in terms of WAR. The seasons are arranged from greatest to least, not in chronological order.

As you can see, (and it's no surprise) Jim Palmer stands alone. Mussina is in the next tier although if he had remained an Oriole he probably would have bene the career WAR leader for Baltimore even though he never reached the heights that Palmer did.

Next is Dave McNally who suffered from a sharp decline. People remember Milt Pappas, almost like a punchline, as the player the Orioles sent to the Reds to acquire Frank Robinson. Pappas was a hell of a pitcher.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Should Tillman Be In Baltimore?

Chris Tillman is dominating the International League in near Tommy Hanson-like fashion and with the Orioles rotation in shambles, should the 21-year-old Tillman be in Baltimore after the All-Star break?

Tillman in Norfolk:

Tillman 90.7 88 22 4 1.04 2.50

Those are sick numbers and sick peripherals. More:

Tillman 2.67 8.74 2.18 4.00 41.8%

So the numbers are legit. Is he ready for the majors? His Major League Equivalents from

Tillman 90.3 3.77 7.27 2.89 7 1.13

Do you think the Orioles could use those numbers from one of their starters? I think so.

One reservation: Tillman has only averaged just over 5.3 innings per start this season. He isn't going to come up here and eat a bunch of innings and help take pressure off the bullpen. But he would spare us from watching Rich Hill struggle through the rest of the season.

Bring Chris Tillman to Baltimore. It's time.

Base Hits: 7/10/2009

BJ Ryan revisited.

First, Steve DeClue at the Examiner suggests that the Orioles should bring Ryan back into the fold.

Ryan has struggled to stay healthy and effective with the Blue Jays ever since undergoing Tommy John surgery, but he would be a logical claim for the Orioles.

I'm assuming that he used the word "claim" in error because if the Orioles "claimed" Ryan off of waivers, they would be responsible for the $15 million due to him over the next two seasons. And that would be retarded.

Look, the contract Toronto gave Ryan was crazy, it was a bad move and everyone knew it when it happened. Outside of signing Ryan to a minor league deal to see if he can round himself back into shape, I can't imagine Ryan helping this club in the least.


A few interesting mid-season PrOPS numbers:

Scott .975 .975
Reimold .801 .843
Jones .856 .813
Huff .758 .796
Wigginton .693 .754
Markakis .791 .752
Pie .654 .704
Izturis .620 .694

Luke Scott matches his PrOPS and OPS exactly, something that rarely happens. Reimold, Huff and Wigginton have swung the bat better than the numbers show so far. Pie too, although in far fewer at bats.

Markakis is underperforming on the field and PrOPS show that he was lucky to reach even those diminished numbers. I picked Nick for a breakout season in 2009 but he's going to have to have a hell of a second half to reach the heights I predicted.

Cesar Izturis: if he can even approach a .700 OPS as PrOPS suggests, he'll be a fine boost to the offense in the second half.


Who is Eddie Gamboa? Find out in this article.

This season Gamboa went 6-0 with a 1.80 ERA as a reliever in Delmarva and in 8 innings pitched in Frederick, he has a 0.00 ERA and 6 strikeouts to one walk. It's guys like this that make your farm system viable and prevents you from having to go out and, I don't know, spend $42 million on relief pitchers some offseason.


Lee County, Florida and the Orioles continue to negotiate to bring Baltimore to Fort Myers for Spring Training.


I found this gem in a Peter Gammons column about international baseball signings:

The Orioles, for instance, selected pitcher Matt Hobgood with the fifth overall pick because he'd sign for slot. The Reds at seven and Braves at eight passed on North Carolina pitcher Alex White because he wouldn't sign for the commissioner's office figure. But the Orioles may go for Dominican shortstop Miguel Sano for more than $3.5 million; Hobgood got $2.4 million. Go figure.

As much as it pains me to say this, that is just lazy reporting. Lazy.

Matt Hobgood was not strictly a signability pick. High school pitcher Zack Wheeler was still on the board (he went to the Giants with the very next pick) and he was highly touted and said to be an easy sign. There were certainly other options if the O's just wanted to go cheap. And, by the way, no analyst ripped Baltimore for the Hobgood pick. Most analysts saw it as a reasonable pick at that spot.

In 2008, Baltimore signed LHP Brian Matusz and gave him a $3.2 million singing bonus and a major league contract. In 2007, the O's signed Matt Wieters for a $6 million signing bonus. They do not have a pattern for going cheap or selecting inferior talent to save cash under the current leadership.

Anyway, the whole point of this article is to bemoan the exorbitant spending in South America on prospects (I guess it's not a good

Alderson and a committee of general managers should propose a system that would cap total spending for amateur and international signings. They need to allow bad teams to get the best players. They ought to allow teams to decide whether they want to spend in the draft or internationally. could just add all the international players in the amateur draft. Seems pretty simple to me.


Another interesting prospect, Ryohei Tanaka, began AA in relief but has now started two games and finally gave up his first run of the season. He's a bit wild as a starter but in 22 innings, only the lone run surrendered, 18 strikeouts and 7 walks.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The History of the Oriole Closer: From Zuverink to Sherrill - The 60's

The 1960's would see the end of the Paul Richards era, a championship during the brief Hank Bauer years and the dawning of the Earl Weaver regime. It would also see some of the best relievers in the game suit up in the Orange and Black.

Paul Richards still employed most of his relievers as spot starters but that practice basically ended with the arrival of Billy Hitchcock in 1962. By the time Hank Bauer took the helm, top relievers making starts was a virtually non-existent practice. "Firemen" were becoming increasingly specialized in their role and the best became highly coveted. Baltimore recognized the value and did their best to build some of the best bullpens in the American League


Reliever Record SV ERA IP
Hoyt Wilhelm 11-8 7 3.31 147
Jack Fisher 12-11 2 3.41 197.2
Wes Stock 2-2 2 2.88 34.1

After Hoyt Wilhelm's amazing 1959 season, he struggled as a starter in 1960. By mid-July, he was back to being a full time reliever and ended up finishing 24 games.

Frostburg native Jack Fisher was just 21 and continued his good work out of the bullpen in 1960. Out of all the young pitchers coming up through the Oriole system in the early 60's (a group that included Milt Pappas and Steve Barber), many scouts thought Jack Fisher was the best. Fisher was confident himself and was in a big hurry to get to the majors and prove it.

"I could have taken any (various offers from big league teams). But I picked Baltimore because the Orioles could give me a crack at the majors quickly, and from what I had heard Paul Richards had a way with pitchers."

"Fat Jack" would become a starter the next season but would never be more than an average starter in his 10-year big league career. He is more famous for home runs surrendered (he gave up Ted Williams final homer and Roger Maris' 60th) than for great exploits on the field. He would be part of the trade that would bring Stu Miller over from the Giants in 1963.

Rookie Wes Stock , returning from military service, showed up in late July and was better than either Wilhelm or Fisher down the stretch. More on him later...


Reliever Record SV ERA IP
Hoyt Wilhelm 9-7 18 2.30 109.2
Dick Hall 7-5 4 3.09 122.1
Wes Stock 5-0 3 3.01 71.2
Billy Hoeft 7-4 3 2.02 138.0

Wilhelm was now the primary fireman for the club. He would be on his way to a second All-Star appearance for the Orioles, this time as a reliever.

Dick Hall was a failed outfielder for the Pirates who had converted to a starter to save his career. (Branch Rickey had claimed that he would be the next Tris Speaker.) Unfortunately, he wasn't very good at that either. The Orioles traded for him in April of '61 and eased him into a relief role that he began to flourish in. Hall would become a fixture in the Baltimore bullpen throughout the 60's.

Stock continued to pitch well for the O's and would win 5 games while remaining undefeated. He posted two undefeated relief seasons for Baltimore (he went 7-0 in 1963) which at the time was the first occasion that a reliever had accomplished that feat twice. Stock would be traded to the Athletics for C Charlie Lau in 1964. Stock would go on to become a pitching coach for the Mets minor league system and was the pitching coach for the Athletics' 1973 and 1974 World Series championship teams.

Billy Hoeft's glory years were with the Tigers in the mid-50's. At this point, he was a 29-year-old veteran trying to keep his career afloat. His '61 performance helped as he won 7 games, primarily in relief.


Reliever Record SV ERA IP
Hoyt Wilhelm 7-10 15 1.94 93.0
Dick Hall 6-6 6 2.28 118.1
Billy Hoeft 4-8 7 4.59 113.2

Another fine season from Wilhelm, arguably his best season at the age of 39 and another All-Star appearance on his way to the Hall of Fame. The knuckleballer was the first relief pitcher elected to the Hall of Fame and would continue to pitch until his age 49 season.

Dick Hall, while never the primary "closer", was arguably the best reliever in the pen during many of his seasons with the O's. 1962 was one of them.

Hoeft fell off a bit in '62 but still saved 7 games. He would go with Jack Fisher to the Giants for Stu Miller in the offseason.


Reliever Record SV ERA IP
Stu Miller 5-8 27 2.24 112.1
Dick Hall 5-5 12 2.98 111.2

Stu Miller came over from the Giants and promptly led the AL in games pitched and was named "Relief Pitcher of the Year". He also came in 19th in the MVP voting and would finish in the top 20 in MVP voting three times during his Oriole career.

Dick Hall teamed with Miller and chipped in with 12 saves. Hall and Miller would team from '63-'66 as a dominant 1-2 punch out of the Oriole bullpen. They would combine for 66 wins and 130 saves over those four seasons.


Reliever Record SV ERA IP
Stu Miller 7-7 23 3.06 97.0
Harvey Haddix 5-5 10 2.31 89.2
Dick Hall 9-1 7 1.85 87.2

Harvey Haddix was 38 and had been a starter for most of his career. (He is most famous for pitching 12 perfect innings against Milwaukee in 1959...before losing the game in the 13th.)He was a dominant lefty out of the 'pen posting a 155 ERA+. He would hang around for one more season in Baltimore before hanging up his cleats.

Dick Hall did him one better, posting a 194 ERA+ for the finest season of his professional career.

Miller continued his good work. Milt Pappas once said, "Dick Hall has three speeds for his pitches: slow, slower and slowest." Regardless, he was nearly unhittable as he would post a 1.028 WHIP from '64-'66.


Reliever Record SV ERA IP
Stu Miller 14-7 24 1.89 119.1
Dick Hall 11-8 12 3.07 93.2

The dynamic duo is back in '65. This time it was Miller's turn for a career year and he came in 7th in the AL MVP voting.


Reliever Record SV ERA IP
Stu Miller 9-4 18 2.25 92.0
Eddie Fisher 5-3 13 2.64 71.2
Moe Drabowsky 6-0 7 2.81 96.0
Eddie Watt 9-7 4 3.83 145.2
Dick Hall 6-2 7 3.95 66.0

Hall was a bit banged up during the '66 season. Perhaps because of this, the Orioles acquired Eddie Fisher from the White Sox in June. Fisher had been named "Reliever of the Year" in 1965 and a lot of his success was attributed to a knuckler he learned from Hoyt Wilhelm while they were both pitching out of the Chicago bullpen. Fisher accumulated 13 saves in just over half a season for the Birds during their World Series push. Fisher was not so good in '67 however and was shipped off to Cleveland before the 1968 season.

Stu Miller's efforts garnered an 11th place finish in the MVP race. Stu was famous for throwing junk but asserted he still had a good fastball when interviewed in 1966:

Stu says his fastball is better than ever. "People get the idea that I throw nothing but junk, but I do have a good fast ball and I use it. I can't stand out there and throw it all day like Drysdale or Marichal but when I do slip it over on a batter it's travelling."

Rookie Eddie Watt acted as a swingman and racked up 4 saves. Watt would be a mainstay in the Baltimore bullpen well into the 1970's.

Of all of these talented relievers, only one made an appearance in the '66 World Series against the Dodgers. Moe Drabowsky was a 1965 Rule 5 draft pick from the St. Louis Cardinals, was undefeated out of the 'pen and struck out more than a batter per inning. Drabowsky struck out 11 batters in Game 1 of the World Series and earned Baltimore the win. The 11 strikeouts are still a World Series record for a reliever.


Reliever Record SV ERA IP
Moe Drabowsky 7-5 12 1.60 95.1
Stu Miller 3-10 8 2.55 81.1
Eddie Watt 3-5 8 2.26 103.2

Dick Hall was traded to the Phillies and the famed 1-2 punch of Miller-Hall became a three headed monster with Drabowsky leading the way. He again struck out more than 9 per game, had a 3.84 K/BB ratio and a 197 ERA+ for the defending champs.

Miller finished off his Oriole career in style with 8 saves and a 2.55 ERA. He was purchased by the Braves after the season but only appeared in two games after his departure. Miller finished his career only behind Wilhelm and Roy Face in saves. Interesting that the Orioles brass in the 60's believed enough in "the closer" that they employed two of the great trailblazers of that role.

Eddie Watt emerged as the heir apparent to Dick Hall, playing a fine second fiddle to Drabowsky.


Reliever Record SV ERA IP
Eddie Watt 5-5 11 2.27 83.1
Moe Drabowsky 4-4 7 1.91 61.1
Pete Richert 6-3 6 3.47 62.1

Eddie Watt continued to take on a heavier load and continued to perform.

Drabowsky had another great season in '68. He would be selected in the Expansion Draft by the Kansas City Royals after three stellar seasons in Baltimore.

In his first year exclusively as a reliever, lefty Pete Richert racked up 6 saves. Richert would have an larger role under Earl Weaver in the years to come.


Reliever Record SV ERA IP
Eddie Watt 5-2 16 1.65 71.0
Pete Richert 7-4 12 2.20 57.1
Dick Hall 5-2 6 1.92 65.2

Eddie Watt and Pete Richert provided a lethal lefty/righty combo out of the bullpen and would for the next three years. Dick Hall returned from a two-year exile in Philadelphia and turned in one of his best years as the Orioles would win the AL pennant.

Fireman of the Decade: Stu Miller

100 saves for Miller put him at the head of the class. His total would remain a club record for nearly 18 seasons.

Honorable Mention: Dick Hall

Hall plays second fiddle to Miller yet again.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Base Hits: 7/8/2009

This story was somewhat troubling to me. Pie and Salazar, two guys I have championed, are drawing interest from other teams in terms of trades.

Obviously, the merits of trading either of them would depend on who they got in return. If the O's got less back for Pie, I would be OK with that. The starting outfield positions are set and the Orioles have internal options for 4th outfielders in the organization (Lou Montanez, Joey Gathright, even Jeff Fiorentino). Better to get something for Pie than lose him on waivers. Salazar is another matter. I think he's already a better option at third than Melvin Mora (a player who will not be back next year) and I don't know why you would move a guy who provides some depth at the corner infield positions when that need will be glaring in 2010. Salazar provides a good bat and flexibility as he can play the corner outfield spots, third and first.

Hopefully, Salazar sticks here. If someone has to go, Pie makes the most sense.

Of course, someday we may be looking back at this and wondering why we were in such a rush to bring back Cesar Izturis in the first place. Robert Andino has displayed much better range in the field and is cheaper to boot. The only reason Izturis is starting at short for this team is the roughly $7.5 million he is owed for the rest of his contract.


B.J. Ryan was released by the Blue Jays today. The Jays are not released from their financial obligation however and will have to pay Ryan about $15 million to finish out his contract. That's $47 million for 75 saves.

The Orioles were criticized as being cheap when they let him go to Toronto but sometimes it's just a smart move not to pay the big money.


Replays? We don't need no stinking replays?

Dave Trembley on the edge of madness after last night's ejection.

Evidence that Dave Trembley is a cyborg:

1) He hasn't slept in a week.
2) He can replay all the team's plays in his head.
3) That odd resemblance to T.J. Hooker.
4) The built-in lie detector. Once he determined that Nolan Reimold was telling the truth about being past second base during the errant throw in the first, he really went ballistic.

Classic Trembley quote:

"You laugh, you think I'm funny. You have no idea what I've gone through. No idea. I can't talk for a week now, my hat is a mess."


Who is Eric Crozier?

Eric Crozier is a former 41st round pick of the Cleveland Indians. He had a cup of coffee with the Blue Jays back in 2004 but he has bounced around the minors since and in 2008 he signed with the independent Atlantic League team, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. In the cultural and baseball purgatory that is Waldorf, MD, Crozier posted an .856 OPS hitting .265 with 13 homers. Hardly the stuff of legend.

This year, however, Crozier hit .314 with 8 homers in 50 games for the Blue Crabs and an OBP north of .400. The Orioles came to take a look and about three weeks ago, signed him and put him on the Baysox. In 18 games, Crozier has destroyed Southern League pitching slugging .574 and OPSing .959. Interesting "depth signing" for the Orioles and an interesting player to keep an eye on.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4th Tradition

And Independence Day tradition at Dempsey's Army...Rick Monday saves the flag!

Happy Independence Day everybody.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Off The Grid

I'll be away from the internet until at least next Tuesday...have a good 4th everybody!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Comeback WPA

One more "comeback" post. The WPA graph from :

O's batting leaders in WPA:

Markakis .513
Wieters .131
Scott .102
Salazar .090

Koji...See You In September

Koji Uehara is out for 8 weeks with a partially torn tendon in his elbow.

I keep beating this drum, The Warehouse did a lousy job building a viable rotation this winter.

Good news for David Hernandez.'s your time. You're about to get an 8-start audition to show you can strike out major league hitters. Don't let us down!

With Rich Hill, Jason Berken and David Hernandez as 3/5 of the could get ugly quick. All Baltimore fans need to desperately hope thise guys improve.

Red Sox Reaction

Gotta enjoy these while we can...

Surviving Grady

Apparently, sometime after the rain delay of last night's game, Tito decided to give the lads a rest and replaced the entire team -- particularly the bullpen -- with robot doppelgangers. This was evident the moment the Sox headed off the field with only two outs in the bottom of the sixth; robots, despite their advanced computer brains, are notoriously bad at counting outs. And because robot players are also inherently lazy and nonchalant, within what seemed the blink of an eye, our comfy 10-1 lead became an 11-10 kick to the pills. So what should have been a chapter for the John Smoltz memory books became a first-night-in-prison hazing for our relief corps.

Over the Monster

Then, something disastrous happens; the opposing team forgot that they were supposed to lose this game, and the first team (our heroes) reminds us all that an entire bullpen can have an off-night. I'm not sure there's anymore I want to say about this game.

Extra Bases

Manny Delcarmen walked out of the Red Sox clubhouse right behind Justin Masterson, just after midnight, and placed his hand on Masterson’s left shoulder. “Unbelievable, dude,” Delcarmen said, and then they both walked silently down the tunnel toward the exit.

Boston Dirt Dogs


Sox Blow the Biggest Lead in the History of Earth
Baltimore 11, Boston 10
When Push Comes to Save, Papelbon Is No Mariano
But It Was Nice That He Got That Ceremonial Save on Monday
Markakis Cracks Two-Run Double Off Pap to Give Orioles the Improbable Win

Joy of Sox

Okay, so maybe watching last night's game was like passing a kidney stone ...Earl Weaver once said, "This ain't football, we do this every day." And so last night becomes a distant memory -- and lo: A new day and a new game.(Still, if everyone in the bullpen was going to have a shitty outing, it was awfully nice of them to do it all in the same game.)

Red Sox Monster

So there we all were, watching the Red Sox cruise along in the sixth inning with a 10-1 lead against the worst team in the American League East.

And then what happens? A cherry bomb goes off in our hands, that's what....'s not every day that a team is historically bad, which the Red Sox qualified for tonight by allowing the biggest comeback win in Baltimore Orioles history.

Comments on the game thread from Sons of Sam Horn:

It's weird, it's the same thing for me. This is a totally ridiculous loss and I'm sure that it'll bother me later, but right now, I'm more amazed than anything.

Embarassing. I haven't seen a little water cause somebody to melt this badly since Margaret Hamilton.

what a nightmare

One of the worst losses I've ever seen. Brutal.

That's the worst loss of the season - hands down - absolutely disgusting and unnecessary. What a choke!

Markakis is 0-7 vs Paps w/ 4 Ks. (1 minute later) Wow. I mean, I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOO GLAD I DIDNT GO TO THIS GAME.

kill me now.

Baltimore 11, Boston 10

I stayed up watching the Pirates vs. Cubs and the Twins vs. Royals waiting for the rain delay to be over but having the day job and being worn out from a post-work hike, I had to surrender to sleep.

And now this.

Honestly, I have no idea what to say. The play by play is insane. Oscar Salazar singles to the catcher?

God bless MLBTV. I'm going to have to go back and watch the rest of the game before I comment. I'm just in shock...