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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

2007 ZiPS Projections - Baltimore Orioles


Name       P   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS
Tejada     ss .311 .362 .506 159 628 94 195 41 2 26 109 45 74 4 1
Markakis*  lf .290 .356 .452 135 469 78 136 27 2 15 66 46 72 2 1
Roberts#    2b .288 .364 .426 144 570 85 164 40 3 11 68 67 76 26 8
Mora       3b .281 .355 .439 147 570 85 160 30 0 20 87 56 100 8 2
Hernandez   c   .276 .336 .465 124 428 52 118 25 1 18 77 34 60 1 0
Millar     1b .262 .359 .416 135 435 56 114 25 0 14 57 56 76 1 1
Gibbons*    rf .263 .315 .454 111 392 45 103 25 1 16 60 30 56 0 0
Hall       lf .258 .344 .407 114 376 60 97 20 3 10 47 43 64 10 5
Tatis     1b .269 .336 .390 114 364 43 98 19 2 7 42 35 72 4 2
Newhan*    2b .261 .323 .412 118 410 67 107 22 5 10 57 34 86 10 4
Terrero     cf .264 .319 .434 111 341 46 90 18 2 12 44 22 81 13 8
Gomez     3b .278 .342 .342 86 234 26 65 9 0 2 23 22 25 2 1
Patterson*  cf .253 .297 .411 144 530 73 134 22 4 18 68 32 121 31 7
Fiorentino*  lf .247 .318 .372 118 417 64 103 14 1 12 52 42 69 8 4
Daigle     1b .241 .304 .394 129 436 60 105 20 1 15 57 36 104 3 3
Clark*    3b .247 .329 .342 92 295 36 73 14 1 4 28 35 28 1 1
Majewski*  rf .250 .314 .375 108 360 48 90 16 4 7 44 30 69 7 7
Reimold     rf .214 .311 .361 106 355 57 76 19 0 11 41 45 85 7 4
Reed       rf .253 .291 .391 113 396 47 100 26 1 9 49 18 76 6 5
Garabito#  ss .245 .309 .327 122 416 45 102 20 1 4 38 37 53 11 7
Fahey*    2b .247 .312 .313 114 368 43 91 12 3 2 31 31 52 7 5
Chavez     ss .233 .273 .349 121 424 52 99 23 1 8 48 21 78 8 2
Rogers     ss .248 .282 .333 116 399 43 99 20 1 4 34 17 66 10 7
Whiteside   c   .219 .261 .363 95 306 31 67 17 0 9 36 14 68 1 2
Widger     c   .204 .278 .301 40 113 10 23 5 0 2 10 11 23 0 1
Bowers     ss .214 .273 .291 100 285 28 61 11 1 3 24 20 51 4 3
Chavez     c   .206 .245 .276 67 199 13 41 8 0 2 18   9 31 0 0
Marsters   c   .188 .225 .273 81 256 25 48 10 0 4 20 11 64 1 0

Player Spotlight (Beta) - Nick Markakis
Name           AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS
Optimistic (15%)  .310 .379 .514 146 506 99 157 31 3 22 80 52 61 2 0
Mean         .290 .356 .452 135 469 78 136 27 2 15 66 46 72 2 1
Pessimistic (15%) .270 .333 .400 126 437 56 118 22 1 11 50 37 81 1 1

Name       ERA   W   L   G GS   INN   H   ER HR   BB   K
Britton     3.58   3   1 56   0   73.0   63   29   6   25   67
Ray       3.68   4   3 65   0   71.0   62   29   8   21   64
Bedard*    3.84 13   8 30 30   171.0 165   73 14   64 151
Cabrera     4.26 12 10 31 30   171.0 157   81 15   92 158
Hawkins     4.29   4   4 66   0   65.0   68   31   7   18   40
Rakers     4.34   6   5 63   0   87.0   81   42 14   28   88
Williams   4.64   3   4 64   0   64.0   69   33   6   22   30
Rodriguez   4.77   2   3 52   0   66.0   61   35   6   36   55
Benson     4.80   9 12 29 29   182.0 192   97 27   56   97
Parrish*    4.86   3   3 44   1   63.0   54   34   3   47   61
Loewen*    4.89   8 11 31 28   171.0 170   93 14   92 131
Lopez     4.92 11 15 35 30   192.0 208 105 28   60 124
Olson*    5.04   6 10 26 25   150.0 165   84 19   52   85
Birkins*    5.10   5   8 48   3   67.0   71   38 11   24   44
Hoey       5.24   2   2 54   0   55.0   57   32   7   26   41
Gracesqui*  5.34   0   1 26   0   32.0   33   19   2   19   21
Salas     5.37   2   5 47   0   57.0   62   34   9   23   37
Penn       5.44   5 10 22 22   124.0 137   75 21   47   80
Keefer     5.45   3   5 41   1   66.0   70   40 10   29   46
Chen*      5.47   5   9 36 23   148.0 162   90 30   49 101
Johnson     5.54   7 13 28 27   169.0 190 104 23   75   97
Rleal     5.63   2   4 56   0   64.0   71   40 13   24   38
Bruback     5.67   6   8 31 20   135.0 160   85 20   52   71
Burres*    5.88   5 11 32 25   144.0 164   94 28   59   86
DuBose*    5.93   5 13 31 21   135.0 154   89 24   61   73
Abreu     5.95   3   7 46   1   65.0   67   43 14   35   60
Garcia     6.04   3   7 42   1   73.0   88   49 15   26   36
Manon     6.09   1   2 67   0   65.0   66   44 13   39   61
Ortiz     6.17   4 12 29 25   143.0 160   98 24   79   79
Finch     6.45   4 14 26 25   148.0 179 106 29   70   65
Morris     6.52   3   9 23 21   109.0 115   79 18   81   75
Forystek*  6.98   2   9 30 13   98.0 112   76 24   59   63

Player Spotlight (Beta) - Daniel Cabrera
              ERA   W   L   G GS   INN   H   ER HR   BB   K
Optimistic (15%)  3.40 15   7 31 30   180.0 144   68 10   79 181
Mean           4.26 12 10 31 30   171.0 157   81 15   92 158
Pessimistic (15%)  4.91 10 12 31 30   165.0 159   90 17 110 146

Disclaimer:  ZiPS projections are computer-based projections of performance. 
Performances have not been allocated to predicted playing time in the majors -
many of the players listed above are unlikely to play in the majors at all in 2007. 
ZiPS is projecting equivalent production - a .240 ZiPS projection may end up
being .280 in AAA or .300 in AA, for example.  Whether or not a player will play
is one of many non-statistical factors one has to take into account when predicting
the future.

Dan Szymborski Posted: October 10, 2006 at 02:00 AM | 60 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Frisco Cali Posted: October 10, 2006 at 04:12 AM (#2205378)
Okay. The offense is mediocre, and if anything happens to Tejada or Markakis, then it is bad. Plus, it has almost no upside.
This organization is in the toilet, since you asked.
   2. Azteca Posted: October 10, 2006 at 04:28 AM (#2205385)
Yes, the offense right now is lacking, but the bullpen & rotation could become among MLB's best. Loewen is very good, and will easily outperform that projection, I think.

I just think Angelos recognizes that he's forced to spend some dollars on a left fielder & a 1Bman/DH this offseason, which he doesn't seem to want to do.
   3. DKDC Posted: October 10, 2006 at 04:30 AM (#2205387)
Well, the only positive is that the pitching is relatively young. If a few from the Liz/Olson/Penn/Hoey/Loewen group can make a contribution, then the pitching could be average.

The offense is a disaster waiting to happen.

This team needs to add a lot of talent to challenge the Red Sox for third place.
   4. 1k5v3L Posted: October 10, 2006 at 05:04 AM (#2205406)
The O's could really use 247 at bats from Tony Clark at 1B next year.

We'll take Sean Penn, thank you.
   5. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 10, 2006 at 12:00 PM (#2205444)
We'll take Sean Penn, thank you.

If you're going to relieve us of Sean Penn, you don't even need to give anything in return.
   6. 1k5v3L Posted: October 10, 2006 at 01:14 PM (#2205480)
Sean Penn for Tony Clark would an excellent trade for the Diamondbacks.
   7. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 10, 2006 at 01:20 PM (#2205485)
Why, are the Diamondbacks hoping he'll play Schilling in a movie about the 2001 season?
   8. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 10, 2006 at 01:25 PM (#2205491)
The Orioles have a decent core of Tejada, Markakis (who I think will be better than that projection), Hernandez, and Roberts, and the pitching staff could be pretty good if some of the young guys progress. But the team desperately needs a 1b and LF, and if they don't get either, and Cabrera and Loewen don't improve, the team could be awful.

I still think they should blow everything up and trade Tejada and anyone else over 26 or so with value for prospects. Maybe even Bedard.
   9. AROM Posted: October 10, 2006 at 01:29 PM (#2205497)
That's not pessimistic enough on Daniel Cabrera, since he walked 104 in 148 innings this year.

At some point I think they'll have to move him to the bullpen. He might improve his command a bit if he can scrap a few pitches and throw a fastball slider/combo. He'd be another Joel Zumaya.
   10. Azteca Posted: October 10, 2006 at 01:54 PM (#2205512)
He'd be another Joel Zumaya.


It's hard not to hold out hope for Cabrera, but he'll never be Joel Zumaya. Mainly because Joel is still just 21 years old, and Daniel is 25. But also, Zumaya, as a professional, has never had incorrigible control problems; in fact, before he became a key part to this 2006 Detroit WS Campaign, many thought the Tigers would be best served to have kept JZ in the rotation. Now, it seems, the only thing that will get him out of the pen is a torn labrum.
   11. PleasePassTheGravy Posted: October 10, 2006 at 03:18 PM (#2205584)
Who is the LF Hall...? If it's Mel Hall, lock him up! He's not 50 yet, he could replace the AARP void left by the Conine trade....
   12. PleasePassTheGravy Posted: October 10, 2006 at 03:26 PM (#2205591)
Oh, I guess it's Noah Hall from Bowie...I'd like to see what Adam Stern's projections would look like...

Great job, by the way, on getting these projections so quickly...!!
   13. Joey B. Posted: October 10, 2006 at 03:47 PM (#2205622)
This organization is in the toilet, since you asked.

Yes it is. From the noises Angelos is making though it sounds as though they're going to be quite active in the market this offseason and significantly increase the payroll. Look for them to offer Soriano a massive contract, and possibly go after a couple of other guys as well.

Not sure if it will make them truly competitive with the Yankees and Red Sox once again, but only time will tell.
   14. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 10, 2006 at 03:57 PM (#2205636)
This organization is in the toilet, since you asked.

I don't agree. The organization has made significant strides in improving the farm system over the last 2-3 years. They still have major problems -- namely Angelos -- but things aren't nearly as bleak as they were a few years ago.
   15. Kyle S Posted: October 10, 2006 at 04:32 PM (#2205674)
man, zips hates the orioles pitchers huh?

still, i'm more sanguine of their prospects. pencil bedard and loewen into the rotation now. penn *should* be ready but zips doesn't think so - i think he takes a step forward next year. cabrera makes you tear your hair out but the results from him, while disappointing given his stuff, are good enough for your fourth starter. add a jason schmidt or zito and the rotation, while not a strength, is probably near average with only one guy making any money. of course, they'd love to have maine in there rather than benson right about now... that's 8 million bucks down the toilet.

if they get soriano or lee to play lf, they have a decent offense too. tejada/roberts is a very good middle infield -- probably the best in the AL save cano/jetes. it would help if patterson could take a walk, but he's probably near average at CF after you factor in defense and baserunning. markakis is good and cheap. hernandez is pretty good. mora can at least get on base (good timing on that contract, melvin -- you've got a lot of mouths to feed!).

altogether, yeah, they ain't going to win the AL east as constituted, but they owe it to their fans to either try harder or get serious about rebuilding. this half-assed sh** isn't doing anyone any favors.

---

could the O's put together a package for A-Rod? Mora's value coudln't be lower now, unfortunately, but if they package him with Penn and Bedard, could that get it done?
   16. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: October 10, 2006 at 04:34 PM (#2205676)
I'm not optimistic about the Soriano situation. The local media is clamoring for a major signing and Soriano seems to be the guy they want. I'm afraid an expectation will be placed on the FO that not landing him will equal a failed offseason regardless of what else they do or don't do.

This could lead to 2 undesirable scenarios: (1) landing Soriano for top dollar - hitching the wagon to a guy that, despite the gawdy stats, is still an easy out for a skilled pitcher in a pinch. If they do sign him, it would not surprise me if they move Roberts and install Fonz in the leadoff spot. ug. Or (2) if they don't sign him the FO will get hammered so badly that they'll make some desperate moves to try to save face. ugly.
   17. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 10, 2006 at 04:41 PM (#2205682)
could the O's put together a package for A-Rod? Mora's value coudln't be lower now, unfortunately, but if they package him with Penn and Bedard, could that get it done?

I've had the same thought, but I think you're offering way too much. I wouldn't offer more than Mora and Loewen (assuming the Yankees aren't sending any cash other than the Texas money). But I can't imagine steinbrenner would trade him in the division, so it's a moot point.
   18. Kyle S Posted: October 10, 2006 at 05:26 PM (#2205732)
the rumor from olney is:

ANA         NYY
C Figgins   A Rodriguez
E Santana   TEX Cash ($9m/yr)
B Wood      NYY Cash ($5m/yr)


That's a pretty good haul for the Yanks, IMHO (I guess Figgins plays 3B? *shrug*) -- if ANA is really offering it, the O's would have to beat it. I'd take Figgins, Santana, Wood over Mora, Penn, Bedard, I think.
   19. TH Posted: October 10, 2006 at 06:05 PM (#2205770)
I am deadset against trading ARod but that is an offer I would have to consider.
   20. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 10, 2006 at 06:11 PM (#2205775)
I have a hard time believing that the Angels are offering that much. But who knows? Maybe Moreno is desperate for a big bat and is putting the screws to Stoneman.
   21. fra paolo Posted: October 10, 2006 at 08:27 PM (#2205879)
I'll hazard a guess that the Loewen projection is a tad too pessimistic. I think he'll be closer to the Cabrera ERA, based on hits + walks components.
   22. AROM Posted: October 10, 2006 at 08:52 PM (#2205908)
Interesting rumor.

I don't want to see Santana or Wood go. While I like Figgins, he may have to.

Wood, because we've been waiting on him for a few years, following his progression. BA has him as #2 prospect in the Texas League behind Gordon, and now they are saying he should be good enough to stick at short. I want him to have an Angel career.

Santana is going to be really good, unless he gets hurt. He's been a little better than league average despite the fact that he doesn't know how to pitch yet. I think he's right where Lackey was in 2003-04, except he's better than Lackey was. If he can figure it out and doesn't get hurt, watch out.

But getting A-Rod and having other teams pay more than half his contract, that's hard to pass up. The Angels have a ton of talent, but at some point you have to turn that into a solid team.

For the next 2 years our 3B options are Figgins, Izturis, McPherson, Quinlan, and Wood. A group filled with plusses, minuses, potential, and questions. Turning that position over to A-Rod certainly bodes well for our 2007 chances. If they deal, they should consider moving A-Rod back to short and handing 3B to McPherson, with Izzy as a fallback at either spot.

Perhaps A-Rod would play better at short and is just not comfortable at third. Perhaps not, and his defensive skills have just deteriorated. If they get him, they owe themselves a spring training to find out.
   23. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 10, 2006 at 11:09 PM (#2206058)
I don't agree. The organization has made significant strides in <strike>improving</strike>issuing propaganda about the farm system over the last 2-3 years. They still have major problems -- namely Angelos -- but things aren't nearly as bleak as they were a few years ago.

Fixed it.
   24. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 11, 2006 at 08:37 AM (#2206658)
Any bets, by the way, on whether the Orioles bring Kevin Millar back after his hot September?
   25. Joltin' Joe Orsulak Posted: October 11, 2006 at 07:45 PM (#2207149)
Any bets, by the way, on whether the Orioles bring Kevin Millar back after his hot September?

I'd actually like to see them do it, at this point. I think they'd be better off saving their money for upgrading LF/SP/RP. Millar had a hot September because he finally got to play everyday after the inane Lopez/Conine/Millar platoon mercifully ended. Millar got on base at a higher clip than almost anyone on this free-swinging club. I say give him another one year deal.
   26. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: October 11, 2006 at 08:35 PM (#2207206)
I'm not sure I wouldn't rather see Majewski, Fiorentino, Newhan or even Tatis get those atbats instead of Millar.
   27. Joltin' Joe Orsulak Posted: October 11, 2006 at 10:59 PM (#2207464)
I'm not sure I wouldn't rather see Majewski, Fiorentino, Newhan or even Tatis get those atbats instead of Millar.

I can understand an argument for Tatis, but not for the other ones. But, directly or indirectly, you bring up the subject of defense. They do need to get better at 1B and LF defensively as well, and you could then make a case that dumping Millar for a more adept defender makes sense. But whoever it is needs to be able to hit, too.
   28. number 6 Posted: October 11, 2006 at 11:00 PM (#2207470)
Crazier Mound presence: Daniel Cabrera or Oliver Perez?
   29. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 11, 2006 at 11:09 PM (#2207482)
Fixed it.

No...they've improved according BA. They've gone from having one of the worst systems in baseball to average to slightly below average. That's a step in the right direction.
   30. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 12, 2006 at 08:06 AM (#2208091)
No...they've improved according BA. They've gone from having one of the worst systems in baseball to average to slightly below average. That's a step in the right direction.

The Orioles farm system has been marginally productive in recent years, but virtually every product -- Cabrera, Loewen, Bedard, Markakis -- is already in the majors.

There's not a single player at AAA or AA who can hit. At all. But that's okay; they made up for it by having nobody at Frederick who could hit, either.


As for Millar, he's a 35 year old 1B with a weird reverse-platoon split who hasn't hit in two years, but who had a great September. The Orioles need that like they need a hole in the head. The fact that he's actually not the worst player on the team is an indictment of Fluquette, but hardly an argument for keeping him.
   31. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 12, 2006 at 12:24 PM (#2208120)
The Orioles farm system has been marginally productive in recent years, but virtually every product -- Cabrera, Loewen, Bedard, Markakis -- is already in the majors.

And that's a bad thing? The point is that the farm system has been somewhat productive over the last few years. In contrast to the farm system of 5-6 years ago, which was awful.

In any event, Reimold had a medicore year b/c he was injured, but he's still a decent prospect. And Rowell looks very good.
   32. TH Posted: October 12, 2006 at 04:33 PM (#2208330)
If the Os really want to rebuild that means basically trading all of the players who won't be important contributors to the 2008-2010 Orioles. This leaves them in a weird position with Tejada, Hernandez and to some extent Mora. All are signed through 2009 and are likely to retain a decent amount of their value through that time (well maybe not Mora).

The Orioles are stuck in a weird position in the success cycle: they have some (but not enough) very good and valuable veterans that they control for the next 3 years, but likely don't have enough young talent in the pipeline to surround those veterans and win 90+ games.
   33. TH Posted: October 12, 2006 at 04:47 PM (#2208342)
I think if I was running the Orioles I would either blow up the whole team or going on an Angelos-financed spending spree. Unfortunately the Orioles will probably go for something in between and win 75 games again.

I think this was discussed but if the Orioles signed Soriano or Lee, plus a 1B (Nomar?) and a big name starting pitcher (Schmidt), could they contend in the AL East?

Is this team a competitor:

2b Roberts
rf Markakis
lf Soriano/Lee
ss Tejada
1b Nomar
3b Mora
c Hernandez
dh Gibbons
cf Patterson

sp Schmidt
sp Bedard
sp Loewen
sp Cabrera
sp Benson
sp Lopez

cl Ray

I think if one or two of the young pitchers (Loewen, Cabrera, Penn) step up they would have a chance.
   34. AROM Posted: October 12, 2006 at 05:02 PM (#2208363)
Is this team a competitor:

I doubt it. At best they could have a Blue Jay type of season. Part of the problem is that they don't have any true holes on the team, just a couple good guys and a bunch somewhere between average and replacement level.

The Royals might be an easier team to fix than the Orioles. For example they could improve by 2 wins just by getting a replacement level shortstop, and 4 just by finding an average one.

Lee and Soriano are overrated and will be paid too much. For all the great season that Soriano had, I was surprised to see his slugging % at year end was only .560. Not bad, but far from superstar level. He's 30 and played way better than expected last year. Not something I want to pin my hopes on for 2007.
   35. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 12, 2006 at 05:14 PM (#2208378)
The thing is, TH, is that the Oriole projected lineup and rotation always looks like it could be a contender, but the Oriole front office the last 10 years has had this mindset that if anybody in the starting lineup or rotation is injured or underperforms, they then think they have the worst luck in the history of baseball and that everything is totally not their fault.

Let's say the Orioles have a Soriano/Patterson/Markakis outfield going into the season. In June, Soriano tears his groin and Patterson's OBP is .280. The Orioles Plan B would be something to the effect of OMG WORST LUCK EVER WE HAVE TO HAVE BRANDON FAHEY START IN LEFT AND HOLY CRAP WE GOTTA FIND MARVIN BENARD'S PHONE NUMBER IF IT HASN"T BEEN DISCONNECTED!!!!!!!!!!111111111111111oneoneone.

It isn't so much that the Orioles are horrible at figuring out the difference between good and bad players - there are quite a few teams that are worse than they are. It's that the Orioles front office and Peter Angelos have been completely incapable of thinking on their feet when their little plans go the least bit awry. They either panic or do the equivalent of Homer Simpson's college testtaking strategy of hiding under a pile of coats and hoping, somehow, that everything will just work out.
   36. Oriole Tragic is totally awesome in the postseason Posted: October 12, 2006 at 05:28 PM (#2208400)
ZiPS (heart) Brian Roberts '07...in a big way.

Projecting career "second-bests" in AVG, OBP, SLG, K/BB...if not for 2005, the system would be projecting a career year for Roberts in 2007. If he really does put up a .360 OBP, you think he can beat his projection for Runs Scored? As an aside, I noticed that ZiPS doesn't appear to buy into the 2005 power spike.

I'd say that Roberts-Markakis-Tejada would be a good 1-2-3 in the lineup. In 2006, Mora managed an .356 OBP hitting third, but his power fell off sharply after May. I believe it's no longer a good bet to slot him at #3 anymore. Mora could turn into Millar (the crappy '06 iteration) as early as next year.

That is, if he hasn't already.
   37. Oriole Tragic is totally awesome in the postseason Posted: October 12, 2006 at 05:36 PM (#2208409)
Dan, do you think/know that the O's are targeting Lee and Soriano as their top two FA targets? Sure wish they would forget that until it's certain they can't land Big Tex...of course it would probably cost half the team to get him.
   38. AROM Posted: October 12, 2006 at 05:42 PM (#2208415)
Mora could turn into Millar (the crappy '06 iteration) as early as next year.

You say that like its a bad thing:

2006:
Millar .272/.374/.437
Mora .274/.342/.391
   39. Oriole Tragic is totally awesome in the postseason Posted: October 12, 2006 at 05:50 PM (#2208430)
Wow. Yeah, that 1.000 OPS in September really helped out The Cowboy. I guess I should have said, "the crappy April-August '06 iteration" of Millar.
   40. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 13, 2006 at 05:59 AM (#2209425)
The Orioles farm system has been marginally productive in recent years, but virtually every product -- Cabrera, Loewen, Bedard, Markakis -- is already in the majors.

And that's a bad thing?
Yes. The fact that it produced some players in the past -- and let's keep in mind that this collection really only looks good compared to the Orioles' recent history, not compared to an actually-good farm system -- is absolutely irrelevant to the question of whether there's any help coming from the farm system <u>now</u>. That's the issue at this point: their future.


Dan:
It isn't so much that the Orioles are horrible at figuring out the difference between good and bad players -
No, it's that the Orioles are horrible at figuring out the difference between good and mediocre players. When they see a Luis Matos, they figure out that he can't play -- but they honestly don't seem to grasp the concept that a .270 hitter with 15 home runs and a .790 OPS isn't a contributor at corner outfield.

Also,
It's that the Orioles front office and Peter Angelos have been completely incapable of thinking on their feet when their little plans go the least bit awry.
That's not an incorrect assessment, but it really focuses on the wrong thing. The problem is that they have been completely incapable of planning ahead; if they did that, they wouldn't need to think on their feet.

The problem, as you allude to above, is that for some reason, (with the repeated, puzzling exception of DH) they don't think they need depth. It's like they get bored once they put together the starting lineup (such as it is), and don't think it's worth the trouble to line up any replacements at all. Fahey isn't in the OF because they don't think on their feet; he's in the OF because they didn't think in December, "Hey, maybe David Newhan won't play 162 games."
   41. Azteca Posted: October 13, 2006 at 07:02 AM (#2209433)
Maybe this is old news, but the O's deserve credit for sticking with Markakis. How many analysts thought he was severely overmatched in the majors, on May 15th?
   42. DKDC Posted: October 14, 2006 at 04:34 AM (#2211107)
Part of the problem is that they don't have any true holes on the team, just a couple good guys and a bunch somewhere between average and replacement level.

I disagree

Finding a league average left fielder and replacing Chopez's 300 innings of 6.00+ ERA with a 4.75 ERA probably brings this team close to .500.

Making the team actually good will be next to impossible, but that's not because it's hard to see where the holes are.
   43. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 14, 2006 at 09:57 AM (#2211191)
Azteca: definitely. I was very pleasantly surprised at that.
   44. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: October 15, 2006 at 07:22 PM (#2212575)
No, it's that the Orioles are horrible at figuring out the difference between good and mediocre players. When they see a Luis Matos, they figure out that he can't play -- but they honestly don't seem to grasp the concept that a .270 hitter with 15 home runs and a .790 OPS isn't a contributor at corner outfield.

I don't disagree but I think the main problem with the O's is that their success is completely contingent on the rapid development from their young pitching. The FO expect Bedard, Cabrera, Penn, and Loewen to break out like Bonderman, Robertson, and Verlander did in 06. Bedard obviously had a fine season but Cabrera and Loewen still have control issues and Penn just looked awful (granted he came off of surgery). Unfotunately, the situation is the same for 07 and there is no plan B. Unless Cabrera and Loewen take major steps forward and Penn is servicable in the 5 spot, the O's will be awful. If Cabrera and Loewen take Bonderman and Verlander like steps next year and Bedard/Benson don't regress, the O's obviously will have a tough pitching staff. But I have almost zero confidence of this happening... at least next year.

don't think it's worth the trouble to line up any replacements at all.

How big of a problem is that though? Let's say the O's had some bench depth in 06, how different would their record be. Bench players are typically bench players for a good reason and while Fahey, Newhan, and Tatis have no business getting regular ABs, is the difference between a good and bad bench a difference maker?
   45. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: October 15, 2006 at 07:33 PM (#2212588)
Yes. The fact that it produced some players in the past -- and let's keep in mind that this collection really only looks good compared to the Orioles' recent history, not compared to an actually-good farm system -- is absolutely irrelevant to the question of whether there's any help coming from the farm system now. That's the issue at this point: their future.

Completely agree and even in the last few years (since 2004), the O's have produced two above average players, Markakis and Ray, that's it. And right now, Erbe is the only stand out prospect. Reimold, James Johnson, Olson, and Liz are solid prospects but nothing to drool over. And while Beato and Rowell had fine seasons after being drafted, a half season is a bit small of a sample to get excited about (especially after watching Synder this year). So yes, I guess the O's farm system has improved but this is nothing to get excited about... yet.
   46. RobertMachemer Posted: October 16, 2006 at 07:56 PM (#2214160)
How did Leo Mazzone impress you all? Obviously the pitching was worse by about a hundred runs from the previous year, but was that a function of worse pitchers in the system or steps backward by the ones who were already on the team? How much time would it take for an unsuccesful Orioles pitching staff to ruin Mazzone's (possibly undeserved) reputation as a great pitching coach?
   47. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: October 16, 2006 at 08:59 PM (#2214272)
How did Leo Mazzone impress you all?

The Sun published an article about a month ago reporting that he rubbed several players the wrong way.

function of worse pitchers in the system or steps backward by the ones who were already on the team?

Considering BJ Ryan was the only major pitcher to leave and the massive regression of Lopez and Chen, I would tend to say the latter. Throw in the starts given to the Russ, Penn, and to lesser extent Loewen, it's easy to find the 100 run lost.

How much time would it take for an unsuccesful Orioles pitching staff to ruin Mazzone's (possibly undeserved) reputation as a great pitching coach?

I asked Rob Neyer this question during one of his chats and he said a year.
   48. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: October 16, 2006 at 10:02 PM (#2214377)
I see no reason to believe that Mazzone is better than his predecessor, Ray Miller. Cabrera improved dramatically between 2004-05 under Miller. Bedard was dominant in 2005 before his knee injury. Chen and Lopez were better with Miller.

I'm biased because I grew up watching great O's pitching staffs coached by Ray Miller, but I'd love to have him back if his health were up to it.
   49. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 17, 2006 at 02:31 AM (#2214583)
I don't disagree but I think the main problem with the O's is that their success is completely contingent on the rapid development from their young pitching. The FO expect Bedard, Cabrera, Penn, and Loewen to break out like Bonderman, Robertson, and Verlander did in 06.
Yep. And apparently Kris Benson to be Kenny Rogers, too. The problem is that even if this happens, the Orioles have less offense than the Tigers did this year... and the lineup is likely to regress, not improve. (Other than Markakis, who can be expected to be better in 2007? Okay, Gibbons plays a full season (maybe), but he isn't very good.)

How big of a problem is that though? Let's say the O's had some bench depth in 06, how different would their record be. Bench players are typically bench players for a good reason and while Fahey, Newhan, and Tatis have no business getting regular ABs, is the difference between a good and bad bench a difference maker?
It can be. (I'm reminded of the Detroit Tigers essay in the 1986 Abstract.) But I think you're missing the thrust of the criticism. It's not so much that they make a big difference as bench players, but the fact that some of them will be "getting regular ABs." That's the nature of a team over a full season. Your starting 9 don't play 162 games each. People will get hurt. Then you have to see whether you're plugging in Wily Mo Pena or calling up Jeff Fiorentino from AA.
   50. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: October 17, 2006 at 05:37 PM (#2215016)
the fact that some of them will be "getting regular ABs." That's the nature of a team over a full season.

Got it. Great point. In the O's defense though, Conine was suppose to prevent Fahey, Newhan and Tatis from getting too many ABs but obviously his trade opened up playing time. Frankly, I would love to see Aramis Ramirez at 3rd and then move Melvin into his super utility, back up role but obviously this will never happen. Scott Spezio is a FA and assuming he doesn't get offered a regular job, he might be great player to add for bench depth.
   51. Kyle S Posted: October 17, 2006 at 05:45 PM (#2215030)
Considering BJ Ryan was the only major pitcher to leave and the massive regression of Lopez and Chen, I would tend to say the latter. Throw in the starts given to the Russ, Penn, and to lesser extent Loewen, it's easy to find the 100 run lost.

Um, you guys really think a 14 year track record can be erased because Bruce Chen and Rodrigo Lopez had poor seasons? Let's just say I disagree.
   52. HowardMegdal Posted: October 17, 2006 at 06:00 PM (#2215052)
"He's not 50 yet, he could replace the AARP void left by the Conine trade...."

Since it's Mel Hall, we can at least assume his girlfriend isn't 50 yet...
   53. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: October 17, 2006 at 10:22 PM (#2215399)
Um, you guys really think a 14 year track record can be erased because Bruce Chen and Rodrigo Lopez had poor seasons? Let's just say I disagree.

Well, explaing the 14 year trend of poor pitching performance is entirely different question so you're kind of talking past us.
   54. Kyle S Posted: October 17, 2006 at 10:45 PM (#2215410)
I guess I wasn't clear. Mazzone has a 14 year track record of helping pitchers succeed. You suggested (by referencing Neyer's response to your query) that Mazzone's reputation will be ruined if the O's pitchers don't do well next year, given what happened this year. I disagree. Replacing BJ Ryan with a replacement-level reliever was probably worth 30 or so runs of the 100 run difference between the 2005 and 2006 staffs. Obviously, that's not Mazzone's fault. So his reputation is endangered of being tarnished because, as I said, he got poor performances this year out of Chen and Rodrigo Lopez. Really?

I'm sure the Braves will take him back, if you guys are tired of him. Hey, in fact, I offer Roger McDowell for Leo Mazzone. Deal? I'll even throw in Chris Reitsma ABSOLUTELY FREE!
   55. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: October 18, 2006 at 02:42 AM (#2215912)
So his reputation is endangered of being tarnished because, as I said, he got poor performances this year out of Chen and Rodrigo Lopez. Really?

I posted Rob's comment, I'm not quite as harsh as Rob because I'm not ready to concede any damage to Leo's reputation yet. Even before the O's hired, I speculated that it might take more than a season to see improvements under Mazzone. That said, I'm concerned because the team ERA increased something like .8 under Leo's. And this can't be solely attributed to Chen and Lopez although the incredible regression of Chen and Lopez doesn't speak well about Leo. I wasn't looking for miracles from Leo but finishing next to last in the AL in team ERA is something that catches my eye. One of the great things about Leo was his ability to take mediocre talent and make them useable and sometimes great (e.g. Sosa, Burkett, Wright). This didn't happen at all in BAL this year. Bedard is the one player who improved drastically and his improvement is actually attributed to a changeup that Benson, not Leo, taught him. The team ERA took a significant step backwards and it's not about Chen/Lopez or replacing Ryan with Ray (who's very respectably rookie season did a good job in mitigating Ryan's loss). Basically, Miller and Leo had very similar staff but the team regressed under's Leo watch. This isn't an bullet proof evidence but I hope you can see how this would raise concern. The decline is even more troubling because the major knock on Bradbury's study was that he couldn't control for effect of Schuerholz or Cox. Maybe the Brave's 14 run of great pitching is simply due to Schuerholz's major touch in knowing when to sign and release players and/or Cox's major touch for getting the most out of his pitchers. The fact that Leo took over a staff similiar to Miller's and oversaw performance regression lends support to this criticism. Like I said, it's early. But if the O's rank next to last in team ERA in the AL in 2007, I wouldn't say Leo's reputation ruined but I can't help to admit a small bit of damage. I'm not looking for miracles but I expect something better than next to last in team ERA ranking. If the same trend continues year after year, then the charge that Schuerholz's and Cox's magic touch is responsible for the Braves 14 year run of great pitching gains more credence. So even if the Braves regained Mazzone, it may be misplaced to attribute any improvement to him.
   56. RobertMachemer Posted: October 18, 2006 at 09:24 PM (#2216821)
For whatever this is worth, here are the ERA+s of every pitcher (I think) who pitched for the Orioles in both 2005 and 2006. There are obviously small sample concerns for some of these pitchers:

pitcher  2005 2006 career
Lopez     85   76    91
Chen     108   65    95
Cabrera   92   95    94
Bedard   104  120   110
Williams 126   95   106
Byrdak   102   35    65
Ray      156  166   162
Penn      65   30    46
DuBose    75   47    86
Bauer     43  132   103 
   57. "Catching Dianetics" by Dr. L. Ron Karkovice Posted: October 18, 2006 at 09:28 PM (#2216827)
Why isn't Barry Bonds's projection here? (Just my prediction)
   58. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: October 18, 2006 at 09:46 PM (#2216834)
pitcher 2005 2006 career
Lopez 85 76 91
Chen 108 65 95
Cabrera 92 95 94
Bedard 104 120 110
Williams 126 95 106
Byrdak 102 35 65
Ray 156 166 162
Penn 65 30 46
DuBose 75 47 86
Bauer 43 132 103


Bauer is gone. Byrdak barely pitched in 2006. So Lopez, Chen, Penn, Williams and DuBose all took step backwards. While Bedard improved and Cabrera and Ray stayed the same. The rest of the bullpen looks like this using ERA+.

Britton 135
Rleal 102
Hawkins 101
Birkins 91
Manon 84
Halama 74
Ortiz 53
Brower 33

Rheal actually stunk hard after starting strong. Britton was actually sent down for awhile to develop a new pitch because the league had figured him out. Hawkins and Birkins were about average. And Ortiz and Brower made every O's fan twitch in pain. Overall, it looks like a pretty bad pitching staff.
   59. Kyle S Posted: October 18, 2006 at 09:56 PM (#2216837)
i thought penn was hurt? ortiz and brower have made fans of multiple teams twitch in in pain over the past few seasons; they're good like that...
   60. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: October 18, 2006 at 10:03 PM (#2216842)
i thought penn was hurt?

He had surgury for appendicitis. He recovered, made several decent to good starts for AAA, then was absolutely awful in the majors. And Dubose should be removed above. He's barely pitched the last two years.

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