Saturday, September 29, 2012

Guest Post at Camden Depot: Who Gets the Credit for the 2012 Orioles?

I have a post up this morning over at Camden Depot.breaking down player contribution to this season's team with what GM brought them to town. Enjoy!

Friday, September 28, 2012

This Week in Chat, Part 2: 9/28/2012

Part 2 of the weeks chats boiled down to their Oriole essence...

Dave Cameron,

12:03 Comment From Preston
Could the Orioles outperforming their expected wins based on WAR mean that we are over-valuing defense and under-valuing bullpens in the equation?

12:03 Dave Cameron:

12:05 Comment From Person hscer
if the wild cards end up atlanta st. louis oakland baltimore, who has the best chance at the WS? the worst?

12:05 Dave Cameron:
I think St. Louis is the best of those four teams. Baltimore's probably the worst.

12:05 Comment From The Oriole Bird
Do you expect the O's to be a big player in this year's free agent market? If so, whom would you expect them to target?

12:06 Dave Cameron:
Yeah, my guess would be that they'll look to add a big name pitcher to the rotation. I could see them in on Greinke, Haren, or Peavy.

12:24 Comment From TKDC
Say the Yankees are a game back of the Orioles on the last day of the season and they play either before or at the same time (so a win could be meaningless). If possible, would you throw your ace, or would you save him for the one-game playoff?

12:25 Dave Cameron:
The play-in game should be a bullpen day, so I'd use Sabathia and watch the scoreboard very closely.

12:55 Comment From Dan
Without making any changes to the roster, Baltimore will be a __ win team in 2013.

12:55 Dave Cameron:

12:59 Comment From Scott
Does Bundy pitch over 100 innings in the majors next year?

12:59 Dave Cameron:
Don't think he's ready yet, no.

Wallace Matthews,

george (boston)
8 games left - what's your guess at the Yanks record? Let's say 5-3. That would mean the O's would have to play to 6-1 to force a tiebreaker. So ... Yanks pretty much a division lock?

Wallace Matthews (12:34 PM)
I figured at the start of this stretch the Yankees would win at least 6 of these last 10 games, and more likely seve. They are 1-1 so far, so sticking with my gut, that means a final record of 95-67

Ian Miller, Baseball Prospectus

Roger (Washington DC):
So 2012 has seen the debut of Harper, Machado, Profar, and Bundy. At least two and quite possibly three of them are up for good. Is this the greatest group of teenagers collectively in the majors at the same time? More importantly, what the heck is happening to the standard development curve?

Ian Miller:
I can't say for certain that they're the best group of teens ever, but OTOH, I can't think of any other group, so maybe, yeah!

The second part of your question is far more interesting to me, though. Is this just a fluke, or is it something more profound? Are diets or training regimens or something else entirely causing players (kids) to develop faster than ever? I think that's a very real possibility, but it's not a question a liberal arts guy like me can answer.

Intriguing, though.

Tony La Russa,

Henry (Phoenix)
How good for the game is it that we've seen teams like Baltimore, Washington, and at least earlier in the season, Pittsburgh, have some success this year?

Tony La Russa (3:31 PM)
I think one of the problems with our system is so often the city and the fans going into spring training don't have a realistic chance of being excited. Like Tampa Bay if you draft smart and develop well, you can build a nucleus and make some moves to jump into the competition.

Keith Law,

Ryan (DC)
The Orioles run differential is down to -1. Thoughts?

Klaw (1:07 PM)
Which means they've played roughly like a .500 team. There's been a weird emphasis on the O's run differential potentially turning positive, as if that's a binary variable. It's not. The point is that a team that barely outscores its opponents on the season doesn't end up 20 games over .500 without a lot of good fortune.

Rob (DC)
What do you think is the ceiling for Tillman? Been looking pretty good this year.

Klaw (1:25 PM)
He has looked good. Looking at him as a potential above-average starter again.

Mike (DC)
Do you think Showalter is a big reason for the O's success this year? Seems like he manages circles around people...

Klaw (1:27 PM)
I think he's a reason, but no manager can entirely explain their success this year.

Randy (Baltimore)
How do you see the Machado/Hardy situation playing out in BAL for 2013?

Klaw (1:28 PM)
If I were the GM there I'd try to trade Hardy and get Machado back to shortstop, which I believe is his long-term position.

Mike (DC)
Think Jonathon Schoop could be the O's long term answer at 2B, or is he more likely to move to 3B and take over there when Machado goes to SS?

Klaw (1:32 PM)
Third base. But I think he was rushed this year.

Andrew (LA)
I'm glad the O's called up Bundy to get his feet wet. What situations would be ideal for Bundy to pitch i.e. mop up duty or close contests?

Klaw (1:50 PM)
I'd rather use him in longer outings than short ones. Not concerned about the score, just don't want to see him used like a short reliever, warmed up more than once in a game, asked to come in and air it out for a few pitches, etc.

Joe (Chicago)
I have seen a lot of Orioles fans says that the reason Bundy is able to pitch now is because the Orioles made him throw three inning starts earlier in the season. What is your response to this?

Klaw (1:55 PM)
Shelby Miller.

Muzzy (Leicesster)
Mr. Law, I have a three-part Davis question for you: Ike's overall numbers are not good, but is there anything in his swing that says he's not the player he was or is not healthy? Chris Davis is having a breakout year...that looks almost exactly like his career slash line. Is this the "real" Chris? Finally, can Khris hit enough to overcome his fielding limitations? Thanks!

Klaw (2:00 PM)
Ike: will always swing and miss, but there's power there. This is probably the real Chris. Khris (Brewers prospect) probably gets there as an extra guy.

Mike Newman,

4:10 Comment From The Oriole Bird
What kind of future, if any, do you see for LJ Hoes?

4:11 Mike Newman:
Tweener type. Potentially a 4th outfielder, but I don't think he contributes quite enough to be considered a starter.

4:41 Comment From Jeremy Strain
Did you get a chance to see Delmonico with Delmarva before he got hurt? What's your take on him?

4:42 Mike Newman:
Yes, and I've written about him at FG at length. I liked the hit tool, but LOL'd at their attempts to make him a 2B. He will be ranked on my list of the top 1B prospects I've seen this season.

Jayson Stark,

Mike (San Diego)
You have no idea how much I'm rooting for Oakland, LAA, Baltimore, and Tampa to have the same record. Bring on the chaos!

Jayson Stark (1:33 PM)
Easy for you to say. You don't have to travel 12,000 miles in 72 hours to break all those ties!

Curt (Trappe Md)
Very exciting time to be an Oriole fan this year which is something we have not had for almost 20 years, but how do you explain a team without 1 player having an average of 300 is knocking on the door of the division title?

Jayson Stark (1:35 PM)
It's incredible, isn't it? And only one pitcher making 20 starts! I'm going to quote my friend Casey Stern of Sirius/XM fame. Heard him say one day the Orioles aren't a great team, but they're one of the greatest stories ever. Totally agree.

Wayne (Baltimore)
How about them Birds!!! With the schedule that both teams have remaining (Red Sox and Rays for O's, Jay's and Sox for Yanks) what realistic chance do the Orioles have of winning the East outright?

Jayson Stark (1:41 PM)
I don't like their chances, based on the schedule alone. The Yankees finish with the Blue Jays and Red Sox, two teams that are 37 games under .500 just since Aug. 1. The Orioles also get the Red Sox at home, but those three games in Tampa Bay to finish up look awfully precarious.

Danny (Baltimore)
Does Matt Wieters deserve any MVP consideration, he has done a masterful job handling the O's rotation mess.

Jayson Stark (1:57 PM)
He'd be in my top 10. He's had a fantastic season. Really fulfilling expectations that people had for him.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Orioles Go Primetime

Could Deion Sanders have cured the Orioles offensive doldrums?

Via CSN:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

This Week in Chat: 9/26/2012

Where we boil all the weeks baseball chats down to their Oriole essence...

(For the first time in the history of this semi-regular feature, the Baltimore Orioles are seemingly the talk of the baseball world and there is so much here after Tuesday's chats for a post. I'll post part two from this week on Saturday...)

Dan Szymborski,

12:05 Comment From Joel
How excited were you last night (if you watched the O's game), when you saw Dylan Bundy jog out to the mound? Any impressions?

12:05 Dan Szymborski:
Unfortunately I wasn't. Because I had run upstairs to get a bite to eat because I hadn't had any lunch and I was hungry. I got back in time to see the last pitch in Valencia. I'm going to look back at the game this afternoon. That's why awesome starting prospects need to have announced debuts.

12:15 Comment From Os Fan
I Steve Johnson.

12:15 Dan Szymborski:
I Dan Szymborski.

12:34 Comment From JT
How should the Orioles handle their postseason rotation? Do you think a Rockies-esque paired pitching system would suit them best?

12:34 Dan Szymborski:
I dont' think you want to go with anything too crazy at this point - dangerous time to start experimenting. The WC game is, however, the focal point of the offseason that all planning should go through - it's the only game in advance that you know for a fact will risk your elimination.

12:37 Comment From The Oriole Bird
I'm going to the doubleheader today. Think I'll see Bundy pitch?

12:37 Dan Szymborski:
Hope so! Good luck!

12:47 Comment From Os Fan
Dangit, that was a "less than three" heart there. What gives cover it live?

12:47 Dan Szymborski: Ah, so you're not Steve Johnson? Definitely gotta dig that ultra-slow loopy curve that he has.

12:49 Comment From STiVo
Estimate the likelihood of the following happening today: The Orioles sweep today's doubleheader against the Jays, and the Yankees lose to the Twins. If this occurs, the O's will be 0.5 games ahead of the Yankees.

12:50 Dan Szymborski:
let's say 36% for winning both and Yankees 35% lose to Twins. That's what, 12%?

12:54 Comment From Darn Zimbowski
Dan Duquette's #1 priority this offseason...?

12:54 Dan Szymborski:

1:04 Comment From Penguinis
Last week, Dave Cameron said Mark Reynolds is "awful" at first base, while a general consensus of Oriole fans, broadcasters, and Buck Showalter seem to think he's playing gold glove caliber defense. What do you think? And if he's actually any good, why does UZR hate him?

1:04 Dan Szymborski: I don't think he's quite that awful. I don't think he's all that good. After watching Reynolds at third, he's going to inevitably look good. Like how after you watch a rerun of Suddenly Susan, Two and a Half Men doesn't seem so bad.

Jerry Crasnick,

Ryan (State College)
Whats the most fascinating storyline left with so few games to play?

Jerry Crasnick (1:02 PM)
Ryan, For me, it's the Orioles and A's both making spirited runs at the wild card spots. But you can also look at the fallout that will ensue if the Tigers and Angels fail to make the playoffs. I'm a Little Engine that Could type of guy, so I like the underdog storylines.

Harrison (New York)
Who are your AL and NL managers of the year? (I've got Buck Showalter(AL) and Don Mattingly(NL))

Jerry Crasnick (1:08 PM)
Harrison, I'll go with Showalter in the American League. As for the National League, I think the first place managers -- Johnson, Baker and Bochy -- will all get some support. You can make a strong case for Dusty Baker given how his team played in Votto's absence, and the way he didn't let his contract status become a distraction.

Nick (College Park)
Jerry, given that they don't have an ace, I wouldn't make the O's a favorite vs. anyone in the WC, but in a full series, I think they've got a fighting shot. They've got a good record agains everyone but Texas, I think. I think we've also reached the point in the season where almost nothing they do will surprise me. What say you?

Jerry Crasnick (1:39 PM)
Nick, I spent two months writing off the Orioles, then I just threw up my hands and decided they're for real. There are some things in baseball that can't be fully explained by the numbers, and that team's success is one of them.

Jay (Baltimore)
So would you give Jim Johnson/O's bullpen the O's MVP? or Showalter? or Adam Jones?

Jerry Crasnick (1:44 PM)
Jay, That's a really apple and orange-y comparison. I would probably go with Adam Jones because he does so many things day-in and day-out for that club. He has really matured into a leader and a guy who's accountable every game. Throw in the power and the defense in center, and he's an incredibly valuable piece for that club. I think he helped keep them together when Markakis went down with what could have been a crushing injury.

Jason (St Louis)
The Orioles may be for real as you say but they don't have the look of a team built to make a run in the playoffs, if you want my unsolicited honest opinion. They've got to lose an extra innings game one of these day at a minimum.

Jerry Crasnick (1:46 PM)
Jason, I hear you. The rotation looks iffy for October and you have to wonder when the strain of pitching all those one-run and extra-inning games will catch up to that bullpen -- a la the Braves of 2011. But I'm past the point of saying that team"can't" do anything.

Bill Parker, Baseball Prospectus

Albert (DC):
What do you think of the 2012 Orioles?

Bill Parker:
I'm in favor. Look, I know they probably aren't a great team, etc. In my mind, though, there's a difference between wanting a setup that makes it more likely that the best teams come out on top (which is kind of what my last answer was about) and actually wanting the best teams to always come out on top. If we've got a good, competitive system, and you're a mediocre team that somehow beats that system over a full 162-game schedule, good for you! I'd love to see an Orioles-Nats World Series, both because I spent a few years down there and it'd make me happy, and because I think it makes for the best story.

@jakelarsen (chicago):
Looking at the remaining schedule for Wild Card contenders and Division leaders, who do you see making playoffs when all the dust has cleared?

Bill Parker:
I think the Yankees win the AL East, because they get to play the Twins now. I think the White Sox win the Central by default, because nobody wants it at all, and obviously the Rangers win the West. I don't see a compelling reason to go against the current WC leaders, Baltimore and Oakland. In the NL, with the Brewers getting creamed as I type, it's all but set in stone: Washington, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Atlanta and St. Louis.

john (ct):
Orioles-Nats would be great for baseball. As a lifelong O's fan- back to the days of Brooks Robinson, this season has been a very pleasnat surprise. And how about the Nats- no more "first in war, first in peace and last in the American League". Gonzalez just struck out 200. Walter Johnson was the Washington player to do that!

Bill Parker:
Not a question, so I don't have an answer, I just love the excitement.

Jeff Sullivan,

12:07 Comment From Kyle
Where's the love for the O's Steve Johnson? Guy is so good.

12:08 Jeff Sullivan:
The Orioles overall make so little reasonable sense that it's hard to focus on any one individual player of theirs. Sure, we could focus on Steve Johnson for a little bit, but then it's like, shouldn't we just be talking about the Orioles? What on earth is going on with the Orioles?

12:16 Comment From The Oriole Bird
Over the next three seasons, how many times do you expect Adam Jones to post more than 4.5 WAR?

12:17 Jeff Sullivan:
I'll say one time? And another time where he's very close. And one time where he's more like 2-3, due to either underperformance or injury

David Schoenfield,

John (NC)
Hey David, with 8 Games left for the Orioles, 1 1/2 games back in the East and 1 1/2 games up on the A's (3 1/2 on Angels), where do you see Baltimore's season going from this point?? And if they make the playoffs, how far do you see them going?

David Schoenfield (2:07 PM)
I think the Yankees win the East and the O's take the first wild card. The lack of an "ace" would seem to hurt them in the wild-card game, but of course Showalter would have a very quick hook. But I don't see them beating the Rangers in the Division Series. Nothing they do would surprise me though. An O's-Nats Beltway Series would be pretty fun.

Monday, September 24, 2012

These 2012 Orioles are Record Breakers

This team has broken a lot of records on their way to their improbable playoff chase, individual and team, franchise and league. Here's a look at some of the notable, the obscure and downright bizarre.

Jim Johnson breaks the franchise saves record

It seems almost fitting that Jim Johnson broke the Oriole's single season saves record during the only winning season that the team has had since lefty fireballer Randy Myers set the old mark of 45 back in 1997. After years of being the best reliever in the Oriole bullpen and watching men not nearly his equal get big buck to come to town and fill that role, Johnson has shown that becoming a proven closer does not require receiving training from Ra's al Ghul to develop that poise and steely determination that all closers seemingly possess. You just have to pitch well, keep the ball in the park and generate outs. After watching that "proven closer" label being thrown around by Oriole management and having Johnson's ability to close questioned by a few in the local media, it's nice to see the guy succeed and get in line for his own huge payday, first in arbitration and then in free agency. 47 saves...and counting.

Adam Jones hits more doubles than any other Oriole centerfielder

Jones has racked up 31 home runs but he'll not sniff Brady Anderson's famous mark of 50 set in 1996 and no other center fielder is likely to. But what Jones has done during his breakout season is tie Anderson for the team record of doubles from an Oriole center fielder with 37. I like Jones' chances to break that record over the team's last nine games.

Strikeouts of various iterations

The Orioles set their franchise record for batting strikeouts as a team at 1019 in 1964. That total was not exceeded for 46 years when the 2010 Orioles took the crown with 1056. The 2011 Orioles blew right past that (thank you Mark Reynolds) with 1120. But this team is more than 100 strikeouts beyond the 2011 total and still has nine games to go. However many more strikeouts are added to the 1227 these batters have already been rung up, it's hard to imagine this total being approached again.

In addition, this team will also set the franchise record for most players with 100 strikeouts on a team. The 2011 Orioles only had 2. The 2008 team had 4. This team has 6! (Wilson Betemit, Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Mark Reynolds, J.J. Hardy, Matt Wieters) And Robert Andino, with 97 is knocking on the door.

Manny Machado

Manny Machado is officially the most successful 19-year old to ever play for the Baltimore Orioles. Sure, he's actually 20 right now but this is his age 19 season. He has 14 extra base hits. (Brooks Robinson had 5 during his age 19 season). He has played in 41 games. (Wayne Causey played in 51 for the 1956 Orioles). His bWAR is 1.1 and his fWAR is 0.7. Nobody else is even close to half of those totals.

Winning Percentage in One Run Games

Even after yesterday's loss to the Red Sox, the 2012 Orioles are tied for first (with the 1981 Orioles) for the highest winning percentage in one run games since 1901. I'll give the 2012 O's the tie-breaker on the identical .750 winning percentages because they have won 6 more games and '81 was a strike shortened season.

Extra Inning Games

I believe, if the Orioles win their next extra-inning game, they will tie the record for consecutive extra inning wins. But even if they don't, this is still one of the greatest extra-inning performances in baseball history. Taken in terms of winning percentage and the number of extra inning games played, their 16-2 mark is only exceeded by the 1949 Cleveland Indians (18-1) and the 1959 Pittsburgh Pirates (19-2).

Thursday, September 20, 2012

How to Build a Winner: The 2012 Baltimore Orioles

A graphical representation of the origin story for these 2012 Baltimore Orioles. Well, the best I could do at least.

Click on the picture or go here for a full sized view.

Monday, September 17, 2012

What's Up with Pedro Strop?

Pedro Strop came into yesterday's game in the 9th inning and turned what was a 9-4 romp into a relatively tense affair with the tying run in the on deck circle when Buck Showlater called in Jim Johnson to get the final out of the game. For Strop, it was 2/3 of an inning, 2 singles, a walk and a run surrendered.

It was the latest in a string of disturbing outings for Strop over the past two weeks ranging from shaky to disastrous. What's going on?

Here is a breakdown of Strop 2012 ERA's and FIP's by month for 2012.

              ERA     FIP
April        2.08    3.43
May          0.66    3.49
June         0.96    3.31
July         1.64    3.29
August       4.09    2.02
September    8.31    8.04

Strop has been outperforming his FIP and xFIP all season long. August was the first month in 2012 where his peripherals were actually better than his overall results.

He's walked 6 is his last 7 appearances while only walking 2 in his previous 7 games. His strikeout rates remain about the same and his ground ball rate is still in the 65% range. It has just been the extra walks and some of those grounders finding holes.

These last 7 games have been the worst stretch of the season for Strop in terms of wildness and walks and he'll have to figure out how to throw it over the plate on a more consistent basis if he is to remain a key member of the Oriole bullpen. But he has only 16 games left to figure that out.

When's Troy Patton coming back again?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Markakis Coming into His Own (Or Was Anyway...)

I was working on this post but then I was at that game last Saturday night at OPACY when C.C. Sabathia hit Nick Markakis with a pitch and broke his thumb and it thoroughly bummed me out so I set this post aside. I'm going to post it anyway since I think his recent performance still hints at future greatness...

If I consider Nick Markakis' Oriole career disappointing, it's only because I had such high hopes. As early as 2007, I was comparing the young outfielder to Hall of Famers and All-Stars. But mostly, I compared him to Enos Slaughter, the Hall of Fame outfielder who chiefly played for the 1940's and 50's St. Louis Cardinals:

As the (2008) season went on, I became more convinced that Markakis is the second coming of Enos Slaughter. Both are/were lefties, both play(ed) rightfield and both are/were very good fielders with great arms, at least when young.

Their bats are very similar as well:

           Age 22     Age 23     Age 24
Markakis     106        121        134
Slaughter    105        122        133
Spooky, huh?

Slaughter's OPS+ at age 25 was 141. How do we get Markakis there? I'll say:

                BA   2B   HR   OBP   SLG   OPS   OPS+
Markakis '09  .315   40   29  .415  .520  .935   141

Using the Slaughter comparison beofore the 2008 season, I had fairly accurately predicted Markakis' offensive output. I assumed this steady improvement would continue in 2009 but I was wrong.

As it turned out, 2008 was the offensive peak for Markakis thus far. From 2009-2011, his OPS+ was 116 and only 2010 could be pointed to as "not disappointing". I was never a huge believer in Nick's ability to be a 30+ homer guy but 20-25 homers, load so doubles, a perennial .300 batter and a stellar walk rate figured to be in his future.

Instead, he never hit even 20 homers again, his hit tool has not proved to be as formidable as I thought and the walk rate has been good but not outstanding. He was becoming Mr. Average at the plate. A guy who did several things well but excelling at none.

Before his first injury, Markakis was going about his season at a 110 OPS+ clip, about what he had averaged over the last three seasons. But upon his return and subsequently taking on the role as leadoff man, he has done what I predicted back in 2009:

                   2B   HR   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS   
Markais (leadoff)  15    5  .335 .390  .489  .879

Markakis, in the 54 games since his return, is hitting at what would be about a 140 OPS+ and even taking his season in total, he ranks 21st among American League hitters in OPS+. His BABIP is a little higher than his career totals but nothing abnormal.

What I'm saying is that in the leadoff spot, as I've discussed before, Markakis has found the elevated level of talent that I and many others projected for him after those first three great seasons. Sure, 54 games is a small sample size and I would feel a lot better about all of this if Nick hadn't broken his thumb and could keep this momentum going but if I believed in the talent before, I have to believe in it now. Nick is Enos Slaughter reborn, even if he is three years behind schedule.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Zach Britton Getting Noticed

I thought I would pass this along...Zach Britton is getting noticed outside of Baltimore. Andrew Schwartz of Midwest Sports Fans provided his thoughts on the young pitcher:

A former 3rd round pick, Britton was previously ranked (in 2010) as a top-30 prospect by Baseball America, so his success shouldn’t come as that great of a surprise. But still, after Britton spent the first three months of the season in the minors and then accumulated an 8.35 ERA through his first 4 starts of 2012 season, he didn’t appear to be the most likely candidate to suddenly turn into a late-career version of Sandy Koufax.

So now, the question is whether Britton’s recent dominance is sustainable or whether it is merely “smoke and mirrors.”

You'll find a very thorough analysis of why Schwartz believes this version of Britton might be for real.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Negative Run Differential Playoff Teams and the Key to Their Success

Much has been made of the Orioles' negative Run Differential this season. But they would hardly be the first team to make the playoffs with a negative Run Differential. In fact, I have discovered a commonality that helps to explain how teams can be outscored but still produce winning results.

1987 Minnesota Twins

The Twins switched from a plain outfit to their signature pinstripes before the '87 season and added "Minnesota" to the away jerseys. As a result, they were able to overcome being outscored by 20 runs to win the AL West and eventually the World Series.
1986 Twins Uniforms
1987 Twins Uniforms

1989 Houston Astros

OK, the Astros didn't actually make the playoffs but they would have in the current Wild Card environment. The subtle changes from a pullover jersey to a button-up and adding a belt to the pants helped Houston finish 10 games over .500 despite being outscored by 22 runs.
1988 Astros Unis
1989 Astros Unis

1991 San Diego Padres

San Diego ditched the brown and brought blue to the forefront on their revamped unis for the 1991 season. The team did not make the postseason but would have in the current Wild Card environment despite being outscored by 10 runs.
1990 Padres Unis
1991 Padres Unis
 2007 Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks ditched the weirdness of their purpley and turquoisey pinstripes for a more cohesive anchor of red and embracing the script "D" on their caps. They won 90 and the NL West crown despite being outscored by 20 runs on the season.
2006 D-Backs Unis
2007 D-Backs Unis
2012 Baltimore Orioles

A-ha! AH-HAH!!!
2011 Baltimore Unis
2012 Baltimore Unis

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Individual Performances Leading Team Effort on Charge to the Top

On July 18th, the Orioles were 2.5 games out of the AL Wild Card spot and 10 full games back on the Yankees for the AL East title. Today, they started the day in possession one of the wild card spots and a single game behind the Yankees for the division lead going 29-15 over that stretch.

While this has been an improbable team effort, there are some great individual efforts that have sparked this run. Here are the Orioles who helped lead that furious charge. Not surprisingly, most of these guys are pitchers.

Nick Markakis

          AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS   2B  3B  HR  
Markakis .331  .390  .489  .879    9   2   5

Nick has been on fire since his return from the DL and is flourishing in his new role as leadoff hitter. He is now the best hitter in the lineup.

Mark Reynolds

          AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS   2B  3B  HR  
Reynolds .252  .366  .489  .855    9   0   8

Reynolds has streaked his way to offensive relevance over the past 6 weeks while leading the team in walks, ranks second on the team in ISO and since moving to first base has provided adequate defense. Some of the fans who were clamoring for a playoff spot were also the same ones who were crapping all over Reynolds this season which I always found strange since this team was going to need every bullet in the arsenal to make a run at even a wild card berth. Reynolds has proved to be valuable in that endevour.

Wei-Yin Chen

           IP    K    BB    HR    ERA
Chen     54.2   51    16     7   3.79

In the absence of Jason Hammel, Chen provided some stability and a center to the revolving door of starters entering and exiting the rotation. Not spectacular but always solid.

Chris Tillman

           IP    K    BB    HR    ERA
Tillman  52.0   41    17     8   3.81

Miguel Gonzalez

           IP    K    BB    HR    ERA
Gonzalez 49.0   37    14     8   3.67

Zach Britton

           IP    K    BB    HR    ERA
Britton  41.0   37    15     5   4.39

I lump these three guys together because with the rotation is ruins, these three came in on the Norfolk shuttle to throw some quality innings and settle things down. There were some rough spots for sure but the minor league journeyman, the former prospect whose star had faded and the top prospect who was working his way back from injuries have teamed up to give the pitching staff a huge boost.

Steve Johnson

           IP    K    BB    HR    ERA
Johnson  18.0   37    14     8   3.67

Steve Johnson has come up from AAA to provide some spot starts and long relief for the team. With Tillman's health in question, he will be taking on a larger role in September. Remember when we lost Johnson in the Rule 5 draft a couple of years ago? Thank God we got him back.

Luis Ayala

           IP    K    BB    HR    ERA
Ayala    19.1   11     4     1   2.79

And why wouldn't we see a bunch of guys from bullpen on this list? Ayala is not spectacular and give up his fair share of hits but he is working enough magic to strand enough runners to be very effective.

Pedro Strop

           IP    K    BB    HR    ERA
Strop    18.0   18     8     0   2.50

The big fastball and impressive ground ball rate offset the occasional wildness as Strop continues his breakout season.

Darren O'Day

           IP    K    BB    HR    ERA
O'Day    17.2   18     6     0   0.51

Troy Patton

           IP    K    BB    HR    ERA
Patton   11.0   11     2     0   0.00

The unsung heroes of the 'pen whose praises I keep trying to sing. Even though he is now on the DL, look at what Patton had done before he went down. And O'Day has been dominant. I want Patton back and soon.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Stunned Silence