Thursday, June 2, 2011

Vlad is Teflon. There's Nothing to be Done

In Vlad's dreams, Father Time takes the shape of a large parrot...
I was going to say that this post was not me picking on Oriole beat reporter Matt Palmer. But that would be disingenuous. I am totally going to pick on him to make a larger point.

Matt decided to give grades to various facets of the team for their performance up to the end of May. Here's a sample.

Grade: C-

...Hardy missed most of April with an intercostal strain, but in 25 games, has not made an error. Offensively, he's been decent, batting .234 with 12 runs driven in and nine runs scored.

Reynolds is no better now than he was when he arrived with the Orioles. He is batting .198 and has struck out 52 times, good for nearly one per game. At this pace, he'll miss .200 for the first time since 2007. Still, he has just seven home runs. If that's his bread and butter and that's not happening, something's wrong. His on-base, slugging and on-base plus slugging percentages are at career lows. He has nine errors and is halfway to the number he had last year...

Now, if we're just going to cite batting averages, hitting .234 is not "decent". Cesar Izturis hit .230 last season. But Hardy is up to .250 and will likely hit better so that's just nitpicking on my part.

And he is not at all wrong about Mark Reynolds. All those thing are absolutely true. Remember them.

Designated Hitter
Grade: B+

For the most part, the Orioles are getting what they expected out of Vladimir Guerrero. He has 23 RBIs with five home runs, so his power abilities are starting to diminish just a bit. Still, he changes the lineup's dynamics just by his mere presence. He leads the team in batting average (.295) and hits (61). The question remains, how long will he be in Baltimore? He's going to be attractive to American League teams with playoff hopes next month.

Let's take this line by line. Getting what they expected out of Guerrero? He is on a pace for 15 home runs so far. 15. Vlad has never hit fewer than 25 over a full season. That is NOT what the Orioles expected out of Vlad. His "power abilities are starting to diminish"? They've diminished! They're gone!

And there it is. Let's let this phrase lie for a second:

"Still, he changes the lineup's dynamics just by his mere presence."

Oh, it's OK then. Because Vlad is magic.

I am beginning to believe that Vlad is magic. He is able to make his poor performance look attractive to a whole lot of fans and media.

And how has this change in dynamic helped the club? This is one of the worst scoring teams in the American League. Only Minnesota, Seattle and Oakland are worse. (And we see how our offense stacks up against Oakland and Seattle in their home parks.) Vlad Guerrero is not a talisman. He's a washed-up hitter. Period.

And he is NOT going to look attractive to AL teams with playoff hopes. He stinks. Let's apply this phrase written about Reynolds to Guerrero.

Still, he has just (five) home runs. If that's his bread and butter and that's not happening, something's wrong. His on-base, slugging and on-base plus slugging percentages are at career lows.

All of the above statements are as true about Vlad as they are about Reynolds. Hell, Reynolds isn't even hitting that much worse than Vlad at this point. (.307 wOBA for Reynolds, .315 wOBA for Guerrero.)

And Guerrero gets a B+. It's just unbelievable.

Matt's not alone is his assessment. Many people think Vlad is having a fine season and is just peachy. It's the great Orange and Black swindle of 2011.


Anonymous said...

The worst part about having Guerrero on the team is he can't play OF anymore. We risk ending Luke Scott's career every time he makes a throw.

DempseysArmy said...

Which is why I was against the Vlad signing far more than Derrek Lee's signing. At least Lee can play a position and free up the DH for banged up players. Vlad limits the lineup options.

Andrew Morris said...

I was pretty sure Reynolds hit below .200 last year at .198, and that Hardy was out with a strained quad and Matusz was the one with the intercostal strain?

bobthewalrus said...

Did the Orioles overpay for Vlad? Yes, but he's been decent. We new we weren't going to get him in his prime, but he had 7 straight multi-hit games, a game winning hit in extras, and one or two go-ahead homeruns. He's led the team in batting average most of the year. He's also fourth in runs. No, the real waste of money was Derek Lee.

Anonymous said...

i am from montreal. i have been a vlad fan since he was with harrisburg. i have seen him play a countless number of times, live and on tv. vlady is an exceptional talent. one of the best of all time. he will pick it up. his 2nd half will be strong. i guarantee you. be patient orioles fans.

DempseysArmy said...

Andrew - I didn't get into all the inaccuracies but yeah...think he means 200 K's.

Bob - We really have to cherry pick to make Vlad look good these days, don't we?

Anon - I hope you're right. But he's pretty old and faded in the 2nd half last season too.