Using his penetrating Penetra-Vision…Jonah gets to the bottom of the Orioles season.
Dan Duquette is no stranger to statistical concepts in baseball. He hired an eager researcher named Ari Kaplan to build advanced scouting software and run analytics for him back in the early ’90s, when Duquette was just starting his first general manager’s job with the Expos. When he jumped to the Red Sox in 1994, he hired Mike Gimbel, a sabermetrician-by-hobby who’d offered him advice from afar while Duquette was still in Montreal. Years before the publication of Moneyball, Duquette was exploring every avenue to gain an analytical edge over the competition.
So when you remind him that the Orioles won 93 games and crashed the playoffs last year largely thanks to a historic and impossible-to-sustain 29-9 record in one-run games, he gets the question that’s coming next. Duquette understands the concept of regression to the mean. He knows that on paper, the Orioles, more than any other team in baseball, are ripe for a crash back to earth in 2013. He just doesn’t think that’s going to happen.
“I think we can be as good or better next year,” Duquette said. “Because we’re returning just about the entire ballclub. Our players are at an age where they should continue to improve. Plus we have another year of experience, along with pennant race and playoff experience.”
...How did the team go 29-9 in one-run games?
The depth of the bullpen really helped, that kept us in a lot of games. We had some serious power in our lineup and won a lot of games with the home run. Chris Davis had a breakthrough year, hit 33 homers. [Adam] Jones had over 30. Matt Wieters progressed as an RBI man. It was really bullpen and power. You gotta give a lot of credit to Buck, the way he managed the bullpen’s workload, the way he gives guys a lot of confidence.