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Thursday, August 11, 2022

The Orioles’ advantage is hiding in plain sight

Last year, the Orioles only produced 122 homers of their own, scoring just 176 runs, at Camden Yards. Opponents plated 263 on their 155 blasts. That’s a minus-87 run differential.

This year? The Orioles outhomered the opposition 52-49 entering play Wednesday. Opponents have plated six more runs on their home runs than Baltimore, but that’s still an 81-run swing compared to 2021.

Last season, opposing teams hit .275 and slugged .495 at Camden. This year? .249 and .381.

Mancini noted that the park remains favorable to left-handed hitters. The club’s top four position prospects - Rutschman, Colton Cowser, Gunnar Henderson, and 2022 first-round pick Jackson Holliday - are all left-handed batters. The advantage might have staying power.

“I think in the future, they are probably going to have a pretty heavy left-handed hitting lineup. That’s really going to bode well for them at that park,” Mancini said. “As a right-handed hitter, I didn’t love it. I hit quite a few balls into that area.”

The Yankees built a short porch for Babe Ruth, so why can’t the Orioles tailor a park for Rutschman and future draft picks?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 11, 2022 at 11:17 AM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: orioles

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   1. Lassus Posted: August 11, 2022 at 11:51 AM (#6091266)
I put a $10 bet on Sunday for the Orioles to win the World Series. Pays out at $2510.
   2. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 11, 2022 at 12:07 PM (#6091268)
The Orioles may not be giving up as many HRs to the now deeper LF, but they also have to defend that expanded territory, and from what I’ve seen (admittedly limited) the opposition may still have an advantage. Developing or acquiring a good defensive left fielder appears to be the missing part of their play-to-the-ballpark strategy.
   3. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: August 11, 2022 at 12:07 PM (#6091269)
The games are also fun to watch. All of these balls in play are great, and you don't think "there it goes" with every decently hit fly ball.
   4. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 11, 2022 at 12:19 PM (#6091274)
The Orioles haven't been this much fun to watch since 2014, and yes, the new LF fence distance has a lot to do with that.
   5. TomH Posted: August 11, 2022 at 01:18 PM (#6091282)
- Rutschman is a switch-hitter, not a lefty
- The Orioles have outscored their opponents for the season. Out-homering them by 3 at home does not seem like a park advantage. True, they have been out-HRed on the road. But the O's are not left-heavy with the bats, nor their arms, so I am not sure this is more than randomness.

- but yeah, much more fun to watch. I'll get to my first game since COVID next weekend with the SABR convention.
   6. donlock Posted: August 11, 2022 at 08:35 PM (#6091380)
The Orioles only signed 7 of the 26 men on the current team. The rest are free agents, throw ins in trade packages, Rule 5'ers, minor league free agents. They draft first by being bad the year before. They have a $40 million or so budget, one of the lowest.
Sometimes it works. Jorge Mateo, SS, and Jorge Lopez, the All-Star Closer were bought off their teams for just cash. Most of the bullpen and pitching staff were available to anyone.The Orioles have a lot of data anaysts and revamped thier coaching system under Mike Elias.
Is this year a fluke or are they onto something that works? The team has worked the low free agent and minor ranks for years and had 3 100 loss seasons.
   7. shoelesjoe Posted: August 12, 2022 at 09:03 AM (#6091392)
The Orioles may not be giving up as many HRs to the now deeper LF, but they also have to defend that expanded territory, and from what I’ve seen (admittedly limited) the opposition may still have an advantage. Developing or acquiring a good defensive left fielder appears to be the missing part of their play-to-the-ballpark strategy.


The Orioles’ normal starting LF is Austin Hays, who’d be a CF on many other teams.
   8. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 12, 2022 at 02:01 PM (#6091398)
The Orioles’ normal starting LF is Austin Hays, who’d be a CF on many other teams.
In the Orioles 111 games, BB-Ref has Hays with 56 appearances in LF, Anthony Santander 33, Ryan McKenna 26 & 6 other guys sharing 13. Hays has -0.1 dWAR, Santander -0.9 & McKenna 0.2. That doesn’t seem sufficiently elite to defend all that expanded territory, which was the impression I had from their games against the Yankees. Maybe those games weren’t representative (perhaps Santander played more often?), but the Yankees seemed to be getting the majority of the extra-base hits to deep LF, some of which might have been outs with a top notch LFer.
   9. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: August 13, 2022 at 11:27 AM (#6091456)
I thought the biggest advantage that Baltimore Orioles have over, say, the related Blackbird, is their striking plumage, which, being pleasant to humans, often leads to backyard bird feeders especially designed for Orioles.

Secondly and most importantly, their typical collection of cast-offs has suddenly resulted in a pitching staff that isn't the tire-fire that is has been in years past, especially in the bullpen. The offense, which is no great shakes itself, is filled with average-or-less players, but I presume playing in a situation where they aren't behind by 5 runs after the first inning every night helps the approach.

I originally assumed the Orioles had been feasting off the AL Central and the lesser teams in the AL West, but such is not the case, they are 1-3 versus the A's for example. A lot of their success has been simply holding their own versus the other teams in the AL East - they are 9-8 versus TBR, 5-4 versus BOS, and 4-2 versus TOR, offsetting their 5-11 versus NYY.
   10. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: August 13, 2022 at 11:30 AM (#6091458)
One thing that is nice about the Orioles' success, is that their broadcast team is actually very competent and pleasant to listen to, especially when Jim Palmer is in the booth. During the pandemic I periodically would tune in via MLB.TV, and as mentioned their crew is top-notch, but sometimes they (esp. Palmer) were just overcome by the ineptitude out there. It's nice to see some success.
   11. The Honorable Ardo Posted: August 13, 2022 at 12:07 PM (#6091460)
their broadcast team is actually very competent and pleasant to listen to, especially when Jim Palmer is in the booth
It's nice that Palmer is still broadcasting. He called the 1978 ALCS!!!
   12. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: August 13, 2022 at 02:02 PM (#6091474)
In case anybody is interested, here's a quick summary of how O's top prospects are faring this season:

Rutschman, C, age 24: Graduated and kicking ass after a slow start. They're 43-28 since his call-up (16-25 prior).

Gunnar Henderson, SS/3b, 21: Has hit .299/.425/.539 at AA/AAA, recently named BA's #1 prospect in baseball.

Grayson Rodriguez, SP, 22: Was dominating AAA until shut down with a lat strain in early June. He's throwing now, unclear whether he'll pitch again in '22.

DL Hall, SP, 23: Still showing great stuff but shaky command. Makes his MLB debut tonight against Tampa.

Colton Cowser, CF, 22: Mediocre at high A, been raking since promotion to AA in June (.345/.487/.613 in 154 PA). Unclear if he has the glove to remain in CF.

Jordan Westburg, 3b/SS/2b: Solid but showing K issues, combined .259/.338/.483 at AA/AAA.

Terrin Vavra, 25, 2b/util.: graduated, showing strong plate skills (.323/.424/.443 combined in minors/majors). Looks like a MLB player, unclear if he'll win a position or be a utility guy.

Heston Kjerstad, 23, OF: finally playing after extended absence due to non-COVID related myocarditis. Hitting .333/.426/.497 at A and A+.

Jackson Holliday, 18, SS: #1 overall pick last month. 2 for 6 with 1 BB and 1 SB so far in rookie ball.

Bonus round: 3 of the pitching prospects they acquired in deadline trades of Mancini/Lopez, since the trades:

Cade Povich: great in 2 starts so far
Seth Johnson: Out with TJ
Chayce McDermott: solid in 2 starts so far

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