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Monday, February 11, 2013

Keri: 10 Minutes With Orioles GM Dan Duquette

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.

Repoz Posted: February 11, 2013 at 04:26 PM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, orioles, sabermetrics

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   1. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: February 11, 2013 at 05:07 PM (#4367297)
The AL East should be fascinating this year. Almost any outcome is possible.
   2. escabeche Posted: February 11, 2013 at 05:27 PM (#4367308)
“I think we can be as good or better next year,” Duquette said.

I actually think Duquette is right about this. But I also think a team slightly better than the 2012 Orioles is very unlikely to win 93 games in 2013.
   3. zonk Posted: February 11, 2013 at 05:33 PM (#4367315)
“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.”

That's really the best thing to hang his hat on --

Wieters, Jones, Davis, and Chen are are all 26 - and I agree that this is a fine core, all of whom are at an age where they ought to at least hold serve... You've also got Tillman and Machado. It's really a pretty decent core -- but the problem is twofold:

1) One of those guys - maybe two - really need to take a BIG leap forward and

2) Counting on the supporting cast to hold serve isn't a good bet.

Still, the 2012 Orioles weren't the movie Major League come to life -- it's not like it was some collection of never-will-be's and has-beens who just put together a fine season... There's a legitimate core of talent here - at the right age - that had been disappointing for a while, and just suddenly picked the same year to become pretty darn good.
   4. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: February 11, 2013 at 05:51 PM (#4367331)
The team that finished the 2012 season was also very different from the team that got really lucky early on. IIRC, they outscored their opponents by a healthy amount from August 1 on and the team was excellent overall. Of course it's unlikely that Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman will pitch as well as they did over those last couple months, and lot of those runs came from an insane hot streak from Reynolds, but I think this is fundamentally a sound team, with a decent offense, a decent rotation, good defense, and a good bullpen. I think 85-88 wins is a fair expectation.
   5. DEF: 8 Posted: February 12, 2013 at 02:20 PM (#4368060)
I loved Duquette when he was GM of the Expos, and I'm thrilled to see him get another chance, and turn a job that no-one else wanted into a 93 win season and making the playoffs. I hope he manages to surprise everyone agin this year.

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