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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Melewski: Orioles: A look at the stand-pat theory

I knew a girl that couldn’t stand Pat Dobson’s squirrely mutton chops…but that’s a different story.

There seems to be a concern among some of the Orioles’ fan base that the club wants to return pretty much the same roster as it had last year. A concern that the club may stand pat, so to speak.

I say one big reason to not worry about that theory is the duo of Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter. Those men were at the controls in 2012, when the Orioles led the universe in roster moves. “Stand pat” is not in their dictionaries.

But if the Orioles did return a club next season that looked a lot like the 2012 Orioles, what would be wrong with that?

The worry here seems to center on the club’s amazing record in the close games. The Orioles went 29-9 in one-run games for the best win percentage in major league history. They won their last 16 extra-inning games, the longest win streak in the big leagues since 1949.

No, they cannot count on having that success again. But that doesn’t mean major upgrades or changes to the roster are necessary either.

...I don’t expect to see the Orioles in stand-pat mode, but if they failed to make many moves and instead returned most of the 2012 Orioles, I could live with that.

 

Repoz Posted: November 25, 2012 at 11:23 AM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: orioles

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   1. McCoy Posted: November 25, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4309119)
Usually never works for any team that wasn't consistently good going into the season.
   2. BDC Posted: November 25, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4309130)
Didn't they just trade Robert Andino for somebody? IOW they already haven't stood entirely pat.

The Orioles are surprisingly young, though several of their young players have a lot of experience. Probably you're better off standing pat with a young team on the assumption that they're still improving. Who knows how this will work, but it's better than standing pat with a bunch of 33-year-olds who got you into the playoffs on the strength of last-leg seasons.
   3. Steve Sparks Flying Everywhere Posted: November 25, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4309154)
The 2003 Angels are an example of why this theory is wrong.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: November 25, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4309162)
The O's look OK in terms of position players although the Hardy/Machado/2B/3B thing needs to be worked out. LF is an issue and an upgrade at 1B wouldn't hurt. But they look young enough and solid enough in terms of position players -- and there's not a lot available that would be an obvious upgrade.

The pitching is a disaster waiting to happen though. Jason Hammel and Miguel Gonzalez combined for 223 IP of about a 125 ERA+ and that is not happening again. The bullpen was pretty much unhittable and that's not likely to repeat. They should really make a play for at least one of Sanchez/Jackson/Dempster/etc. Or a Garza or similar trade.
   5. Curse of the Andino Posted: November 25, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4309174)
The pitching is a disaster waiting to happen though. Jason Hammel and Miguel Gonzalez combined for 223 IP of about a 125 ERA+ and that is not happening again. The bullpen was pretty much unhittable and that's not likely to repeat.


Agree the bullpen isn't likely to repeat its performance, but... Tillman, Chen, maybe Saunders, Dylan Bundy competes for a starting role, Steve Johnson has at least earned a spot in the bullpen. Not really that worried about pitching for a change.

Biggest problem for the Os is Toronto has now taken a great leap forward, even with the Yanks getting another year older and Boston being Boston (and the Rays'll still be winners, of course).
   6. Dan Posted: November 25, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4309177)
The O's look OK in terms of position players although the Hardy/Machado/2B/3B thing needs to be worked out. LF is an issue and an upgrade at 1B wouldn't hurt. But they look young enough and solid enough in terms of position players -- and there's not a lot available that would be an obvious upgrade.


I'd say they have more pressing needs than First Base. Chris Davis hit for a 120 wRC+ last season and is a good glove at first (though less impressive defensively in the OF, where he was relegated after Markakis got hurt last year). Advanced metrics haven't loved him in small samples, but from what I have seen he has looked like a good defender at first and fans of the teams he's played for seem to agree. I know Bob Dernier Cri is a big fan of Davis's defense at first.

I'd say second base and left field and possibly DH are probably the biggest needs for the Orioles on offense. They could probably also use a dependable starting pitcher, as their rotation wasn't amazing last year and a lot of those guys lack extensive track records of good pitching.

On a random Orioles note: Tommy Hunter was throwing in the upper 90s as a reliever and topped 100 MPH? Wasn't he like 89-91 MPH as a starting pitcher for the Rangers? That seems like a crazy jump. I assume it was also accompanied by some kind of mechanical fix by some coach.
   7. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: November 25, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4309189)
If the O's could find someone who hits lefties to pair with Davis at first, they'd be in much better shape.
   8. rlc Posted: November 25, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4309198)
If the O's could find someone who hits lefties to pair with Davis at first, they'd be in much better shape.


It appears that you have Davis confused with another Oriole:

2012
        vRHP  vLHP
Davis   .836 .792
Betemit .859 .405 


Davis's defensive strengths at 1B seem to be the exact complement of Reynolds's: good range, mediocre hands. If he winds up as the full-time 1Bman, the first time he fails to dig a throw out of the dirt to get a key out will be a cause of much consternation on the intertubes.

Tommy Hunter was throwing in the upper 90s as a reliever and topped 100 MPH? Wasn't he like 89-91 MPH as a starting pitcher for the Rangers? That seems like a crazy jump. I assume it was also accompanied by some kind of mechanical fix by some coach.


No, I haven't heard about any mechanical fix. Hunter seems to have a good idea of his own stamina; he knows he can't throw the upper 90's heat for more than an inning or so.
   9. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: November 25, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4309222)
It appears that you have Davis confused with another Oriole:
Obviously, Betemit should never be facing lefties but if Davis is playing first base, a SLG-heavy .792 OPS (which is a career high for him vs. lefties) is pretty ordinary number.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: November 25, 2012 at 06:50 PM (#4309253)
I'd say they have more pressing needs than First Base. Chris Davis hit for a 120 wRC+ last season and is a good glove at first

Was thinking Reynolds at 1B and Davis at DH (which is how b-r lists it) but no matter. An upgrade at 1B/DH, even if it's just a 3rd guy to add to that mix, would be useful but not pressing. I'm further assuming that, as it stands now given Andino's departure, they are (a) praying for a Roberts rebound; (b) Machado or Hardy moves to 2B; (c) some mix of Betemit and ? at 3B. A trade of Hardy is a fairly obvious option but I didn't see any point in my speculating which hole they might choose to fill with that move.

Tillman's peripherals were not strong (a 222 BABIP cures many ills). Chen was solid enough (105, looks sustainable), Saunders is league average, Hammel is league average but that's not much depth and no "frontline" starter. They're unlikely to get a big time pitcher but adding another Chen type would improve things. Let Tillman and Bundy battle it out for the 5th spot then you've got a top quality 6th starter for whoever craps out in your original 5.

The O's pythag was just 82-80. OK, they were a better team over the last couple of months but they still had a good chunk of luck. If they want to improve, they need to step up somewhere.
   11. Chris Fluit Posted: November 25, 2012 at 08:06 PM (#4309277)
I'm not as worried about LF as others seem to be. A healthy Nolan Reimold is a pretty good option.
   12. rlc Posted: November 25, 2012 at 08:29 PM (#4309287)
A healthy Nolan Reimold is a pretty good option.


As is trading Luis Exposito for Jason Heyward. And just about as likely.
   13. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: November 26, 2012 at 12:37 AM (#4309443)
2003 Angels


It's worse than that for the Orioles - the Angels parlayed a lot of unexpected performances and young players into a legit 99-win team (101 Pythagorean wins! One of the best team performances of the era). The Orioles didn't even do that - they parlayed a lot of good performances *and* a ton of I-won't-call-it-luck-but-whatever-it-is-it-ain't-repeatable into a 93-win season with only 84 Pyth wins. They could be quite good in 2013, but they have their work cut out for them.
   14. jingoist Posted: November 26, 2012 at 04:52 AM (#4309566)
I really don't see them trading JJ Hardy unless they got a ton of value in return as Buck loves him some JJ.
Reimold and Markakis will hopefully return healthy next year/ I think they like Reynolds at 1B; Davis as DH and spot OF/1B duty.
I thought Andino wa seen as a future fixture at 2B as Roberts is obviouly done.
   15. SG Posted: November 26, 2012 at 11:09 AM (#4309623)
The pitching is a disaster waiting to happen though. Jason Hammel and Miguel Gonzalez combined for 223 IP of about a 125 ERA+ and that is not happening again.


I think getting out of Coors may have helped Hammel quite a bit and wouldn't be surprised to see him be pretty good next year. The bigger question with him is probably his health.

I have no idea what to make of Gonzalez. His peripherals weren't great but he looked like a good pitcher whenever I watched him, which isn't worth much, and he was really good in Norfolk, albeit in only 44 innings split between starting and relieving.

There probably isn't a 90 win team in the AL East right now on paper. I've got the Rays as the best team in the divison at around 87 wins, with the Jays and Yankees in the 85 win area. Not really sure where Baltimore will project right now, but probably a bit behind the Jays and Yanks.
   16. DKDC Posted: November 26, 2012 at 12:09 PM (#4309675)
C’mon, SG, admit it. You have the O’s at ~75 wins right now and you just don’t have the heart to say it.

I'm convinced this Orioles team will project even worse than their 2012 pythag record.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: November 26, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4309866)
I really don't see them trading JJ Hardy unless they got a ton of value in return as Buck loves him some JJ.

But that leaves Machado at 2B or 3B and his future as a SS starts to become questionable. Of course if they already think he won't be a SS long-term then there's no loss.
   18. JJ1986 Posted: November 26, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4309875)
The future for the team should be Machado at SS and Schoop at 2B, so I'd probably move Hardy to 3B starting this season. I wouldn't sign Reynolds unless you can trade Betemit. I wouldn't want to have 3 1B/DH types and playing one of them at 3B (or RF) is bad. Let Betemit/Remiold be the DH, with Davis at 1B and spend the money on an outfielder.
   19. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: November 26, 2012 at 04:13 PM (#4309896)
From the article:
* Nolan Reimold could remain healthy and play more than 16 games.
* Brian Matusz could thrive in a bullpen role and pitch more than 13 1/3 innings of relief.
* Jason Hammel could make more than 20 starts.
* Nick Markakis could return to full season health and log more than 104 games.
* Mark Reynolds could return and hit 37 homers as he did in 2011 and not the 23 he had last year.
* J.J. Hardy could see his average and OPS return to their 2011 levels of .269 and .801 instead of the figures of .238 and .671 from last season.
* Jake Arrieta could pitch better than someone with a 6.20 ERA.

That seems to be the thinking of GMs in the off-season of teams that ultimately fail. The logic is that all the bad/injured players return to career norms and all the surprisingly good/healthy players stay at that level.

I know this guy is not running the O's, but you need to be thinking, what if Hammel is healthy and returns to mediocre, what if J.J. Hardy is actually that bad.....
   20. Curse of the Andino Posted: November 26, 2012 at 06:46 PM (#4310044)
That seems to be the thinking of GMs in the off-season of teams that ultimately fail. The logic is that all the bad/injured players return to career norms and all the surprisingly good/healthy players stay at that level.


Duquette may just be the God of the scrap heap, but he is the least stand-pat GM I've ever seen. Matusz, Arrieta, Hammel will be replaced in a heartbeat if they don't produce. Reynolds may not be back, Reimold hasn't shown anyone he can stay healthy, only Markakis and Hardy on that list will get multiple chances.

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