16 May 2011

Predicted Wins and Playoff Probability: Week 7

The Orioles are quite the streaky team this year.  The last week has seen the Orioles sweep the Mariners in a three game set and going two and one against the Rays.  All three projection systems are still in line with each other, which is quite impressive to me.  Eventually, I expect a shift to occur.  I do not use the same system as PECOTA or runs given/earned.






Remember when thinking about playoffs, we are talking about somewhere around 92 wins.  The Orioles are currently far off that pace.  PECOTA puts the Orioles as having a 5% chance of hitting that.  My system has them at 1.3%.

2011 First Round Talents in MLB Draft: Composite Rankings (May 14, 2011)

I had meant to send this out a few days ago, but the Blogspot issues prevented that and I then just forgot.  Remembering now to do so, here is the updated composite rankings of the top 33 prospects in this year's draft.  I am showing 33 prospects because that is how many selections are in the first round this year.  These rankings are composites from three well respected sources: Baseball America, ESPN's Keith Law, and DiamondScape Scouting's Nick Faleris (who also writes for Camden Depot).  Baseball America's contribution comes from their mid-season evaluations on April 12th.  Keith Law's was published on May 4th.  Nick Faleris' was from May 12th.  The bar represents the average ranking with the whisker illustrating the standard deviation.  I have been asked instead to do a median with two whiskers showing the highest and lowest ranking for each player.  However, I am averse to doing that because as far as I know, some of the rankings are proprietary and a reasonably inquisitive mind could figure out who ranked who where.
There seems to be growing speculation that Anthony Rendon, Garrit Cole, and Danny Hultzen will be the first three taken in some order.  The wild card of those three to drop would be Cole.  That would be the ideal situation for the Orioles.  In that scenario, Rendon would go first with the Mariners going after a bat and the Diamondbacks taking Hultzen.  I doubt that happens.  Assuming those three do go first, it has been said that the Orioles are looking for college pitchers of which there are many.  Jed Bradley and Trevor Bauer are the names mentioned most with Dylan Bundy, Bobby Bundy's brother, as the dark horse.  I would personally prefer Sonny Gray or Bubba Starling.

Game Wrap and Morning Links: May 16, 2011

Baltimore 9, Tampa 3
Box Score / Play-By-Play / AP Recap

Jake Arrieta came out and dealt again, leading the Orioles to a 9-3 win over the division-leading Rays and earning a 2-1 series win on the road. The second year starter went six strong allowing two runs on four hits and three walks, while strikign out seven. Pegged as a back-end starter by a number of national "prospectors", Arrieta is doing his best to show he still has a shot to be a legit #3 off the strength of his fastball, breaking balls and improving control. J.J. Hardy delivered the knockout blow in the sixth inning, taking a Cesar Ramos offering and depositing it into the left field stands. Matt Wieters had a day, throwing out the only would-be base stealer (ho hum) while going 3-4 at the plate with a walk. Nick Markakis, Vlad Guerrero and Brian Roberts also chipped in with multi-hit games.

Stat(s) of the game

9-3; .325/.386/.550

That is the Orioles record with J.J. Hardy in the line-up, and Hardy's triple-slash over his first 45 PA. Obviously it's way too early to draw any conclusions, but suffice it to say things look a little brighter than they did in 2010 when the shortstops in Baltimore combined for a triple-slash of .236/.277/.272.

Orioles Game ball

Jake Arrieta (6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 7 SO, W (5))

MiLB game balls

Norfolk (Box) - Brendan Harris, SS (1-4, 2 RBI (11), GW RBI)
Bowie (Box) - Caleb Joseph, DH (1-3, BB)
Frederick (Box) - Bobby Bundy, RHP (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, W (4))
Delmarva (Box) - Mychal Givens (2-5, 2 2B (4))

Three Morning Links - Draft Edition

Roch Kubatko talks Brian Matusz's rehab start in Frederick tonight and the effect his return might have on the Baltimore rotation.

Bill Haisten of Tulsa World takes a look at Dylan Bundy (rhp, Owasso HS, Owasso, Okla.), potential 1st Rd draft target in June and brother of O's standout prospect Bobby Bundy (rhp, A-Adv. Frederick).

Early AL RoY candidates Zach Britton (lhp, Baltimore) and Michael Pineda (rhp, Seattle) are "emerging stars", writes MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince.

Up Next

Chris Tillman (4.48 xFIP, 65 ERA+) will attempt to maintain the momentum in the series opener against Daisuke Matsuzaka (5.12 xFIP, 89 ERA+) and the Boston Red Sox. Start time 7:10 Eastern at Fenway Park.

15 May 2011

Game Wrap and Morning Links: May 15, 2011

Baltimore 6, Tampa 0
Box Score / Play-By-Play / AP Recap

Baltimore climbed back in the win column off the strength of Brad Bergesen's best start of the year. Bergie went the distance, using just 105 pitches and facing just five over the minimum while shutting-out the divisional leaders. His two-seamer was at its best, and the Rays hitters struggled all day to square-up the pitch. Offensively, the O's got all they needed in the first when Vlad Guerrero doubled home Derek Lee with two outs. Adding some cushion in the mid-innings were Jake Fox and Mark Reynolds, who found the left and right field stands, respectively, prompting me to immediately switch to the weather channel to confirm my suspicions. In all seriousness, it was an enjoyable game and the Birds put together nine solid innings of baseball.

Stat of the game

23.1%

That's Adam Jones's linedrive percentage through the first two weeks of May. He was 2-4 in Saturday's action, including a walk and his sixth double of the year, raising his triple-slash line to .285/.331/.453 on the year.

Orioles Game ball

Bradley Bergesen (9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, W (1))

MiLB game balls

Norfolk (Box) - Ryan Adams, 2b (1-3, 2B (9), 2 BB)
Bowie (Box) - Ronnie Welty, RF (2-4, HR (7))
Frederick (Box) - Tyler Kolodny, DH (1-4, 2B (9))
Delmarva (Box) - Jonathan Schoop (2-4, 3B (3), HR (5))

Three Morning Links - Draft Edition

DiamondScape Scouting thinks Baltimore should take Dylan Bundy (Owasso HS, Owasso, Okla.) in the first round of next month's draft.

Baseball America projects Jed Bradley (rhp, Georgia Tech) to be Baltimore's pick at 1:4.

Keith Law weighs-in, claiming Trevor Bauer (rhp, UCLA) lands with the Birds (ESPN Insider content).

Up Next

Jake Arrieta (3.81 xFIP, 96 ERA+) takes the hill for Baltimore in the rubber match against Tampa and Andy Sonnanstine (5.06 xFIP, 132 ERA+).

14 May 2011

2011 Depot Draft Preview - Finding 1:4 (Gerrit Cole)

We continue our annual look at amateur talents the Baltimore Orioles could (should) be targeting in the 1st Round and beyond. Over the next two weeks we will bear down on the eight potential 1st Round targets listed below, followed by a week dedicated to the 2nd - 5th Rounds and finally the 6th - 10th Rounds. As a reminder, the draft coverage here will focus on Baltimore. More in-depth coverage, including rankings, scouting reports, videos and more can be found over at http://www.diamondscapescouting.com/.

Potential targets at 1:4

Anthony Rendon / 3b / Rice Univ.
Gerrit Cole / rhp / UCLA
Bubba Starling / of/rhp / Gardner Edgerton HS (Gardner, Kan.)
Sonny Gray / rhp / Vanderbilt Univ.
Danny Hultzen / lhp / Univ. of Virginia
Dylan Bundy / rhp / Owasso HS (Owasso, Okla.)
Taylor Jungmann / rhp / Univ. of Texas
Jed Bradley / lhp / Georgia Tech

*Every player discussed in the Depot Draft Preview has been scouted by Nick J. Faleris, either through his efforts at DiamondScape Scouting or as part of his duties as an Associate Scout in the Midwest Region for a National League organization.

Gerrit Cole (rhp, Univ. of California - Los Angeles)
Ht/Wt: 6-4/225
B/T: R/R
Year: Junior
Age at Draft: 20y9m
Games Scouted: 2 (in person); 6 (video)

Grades - Now (Future):
Motion: 50 (50)
Fastball: 65/70 (75/80)
Slider: 55/60 (70)
Cutter: 50 (60)
Change-up: 55/60 (65/70)
Control: 50 (60)
Command: 45/50 (55/60)
Feel: 45/50 (60)
Overall Future Potential: 62/63

*Notes on Grades: The Scouting Scale works from 20-80, with 50 being Major League Average. The scale operates loosely on a bell curve, so the further you move from 50 the fewer grades you'll find among ML players (e.g. Aroldis Chapman's fastball, Ichiro Suzuki's arm strength, Adam Dunn's power and Albert Pujols' hit tool would all be 80 grade). A 60 grade is sometimes referred to as plus and a 70 grade is sometimes referred to as plus-plus.

Physical Description:
Big, thick and strong throughout. Well proportioned build and distribution allows for solid body control. Moves well enough on and off the mound.

Motion:
Cole has a simple, repeatable delivery with a clean arm action and solid tempo throughout. He throws from a low three-quarters slot that suits his repertoire, and while there is effort (there is bound to be when sitting mid- to upper-90s with your fastball), it works with his motion, minimizing stress in the shoulder/arm during his forward action and softening his recoil. Just as important, Cole is able to maintain solid command and repeatability in spite of reaching back and letting it fly. As compared to his freshman year, Cole has all but removed his tendencies to dip his back shoulder as he enters his arm circle and is much more consistently out and over his front leg as his arm is accelerating towards home -- both adjustments playing a role in his improved command.

Stuff:
Fastball - True "80" offering, with upper-90s velocity at peak, life and ability to maintain to the late innings. Swing and miss pitch off pure stuff alone, but precision has improved through two-plus years at UCLA and with Team USA. Will sit 94-96 mph and bump 98/99 mph. 4-seam and 2-seam are mixed, with his 2-seam coming with excellent boring action and sitting 93-95 mph and his 4-seam 96-98.

Slider - Cole's slider is a swing-and-miss breaker generally in the 86-88 mph range. He hits the same slot and release as his fastball, giving him deception in pitch plane.

Cutter - The cutter essentially acts as a harder slider, showing tighter, later break but less depth. He is 88-89 with the offering, and has broken 90 mph without losing the late life. This pitch bleeds into his slider and could probably be folded into it at the next level.

Change-up - Cole has made big strides with his change-up, flashing plus this spring. The biggest advancement has been in his ability to maintain his arm speed, which now offers solid deception. Additionally, with the improved arm speed has come a little more late tumble and a whole bunch of empty swings from opposing hitters.

Discussion:
Cole has everything you want in a potential ace -- big, durable build, loud stuff that includes three plus or better pitches, an aggressive but under control demeanor on the mound and a desire and ability to attack hitters with his arsenal. While he has not racked-up the strikeouts this spring to the staggering extent of his rotation mate Trevor Bauer, Cole has shown legit ML "power stuff", better overall command in the zone and a less troubling, cleaner delivery. The Friday starter should be in the discussion for #1 overall, and is still the top arm in the draft two plus months in. Coming out of high school there were some make-up concerns floating around, as well as mechanics to clean-up, consistency issues with his secondaries and spotty control. He has addressed each and every one of these issues and has put himself in a position to follow in the footsteps of David Price (Tampa Bay Rays) and Stephen Strasburg (Washington Nationals) as a quick-to-rise Major League front-end starter.

Projected position: #1 starter on 1st division team; perennial all-star candidate
Suggested draft slot: Top five overall

Video:









This scouting report originally published by the author here.

12 May 2011

Game Wrap and Morning Links: May 12, 2011

Baltimore 4, Seattle 2
Box Score / Play-By-Play / AP Recap

Last night had carried a sense of dread as the game began.  The Orioles were facing on the best starting pitchers in baseball in Felix Hernandez and the Mariners had been hot of late.  The realistic hope was that the Orioles would be able to last out Felix and get lucky of a errant pitch home run or two.  Instead, we were treated to a shaky outing by Felix where his pitches fell out of the zone a bit too much and his command was uncharacteristically off.  The Orioles waited him out and wound up getting good pitches to hit and those batted balls falling in.  On the Orioles' side, there was concern of former Mariner farmhand Chris Tillman throwing too many pitches and getting knocked out early.  Tuesday had been a rough night on the Orioles' pen and they needed to be saved as much as possible.  Tillman answered that with a good effort by going six inning while putting up a poor, but not horrific 112 pitches.  The other major note of the game was former Mariner Adam Jones being en fuego.  He saw only eight pitches last night, but he hit them for a hard triple and three solid singles.  He certainly has streaks like this when it seems like he can cover the whole plate on any kind of pitch.  If he can keep that up, we can think of him more as a superstar instead of being an average centerfielder, which also has a lot of worth.

Stat of the game

 
6 innings

After a draining night on the pen yesterday, Chris Tillman was needed to go as deep as possible.  Tillman brought out 112 pitches over 6 innings.  This was not exceptional, but was needed.

Orioles Game ball

Adam Jones (4-4, 3B(1))

MiLB game balls

Norfolk (Box) - Blake Davis, PH (1-1, HR (2))
Bowie (Box) - Pedro Florimon Jr., SS (2-4, HR (3))
Frederick (Box) - Tyler Townsend, 1B (1-3, HR (7), BB)
Delmarva (Box) - Kipp Schutz (3-4).

Three Morning Links

Contracts have now been approved allowing for further renovation of the Orioles' Ed Smith Sports Complex.

Camden Crazies' Daniel Moroz reports from a conversation with an Orioles front office employee that the O's are not fully involved in international markets because the numbers do not work out.  The rest of baseball scratches its head.

Roch Kubatko reports that Brian Matusz threw 40 pitches in extended spring training as part of his rehab assignment..

Up Next

Zach Britton (3.97 xFIP, 136 ERA+) will try to lay in the sweep against the Seattle Mariners and Jason Vargas (3.96 xFIP, 80 ERA+).

11 May 2011

Are All Divisions Created Equal? Team WAR (2002-2010)

Many a fan, particularly in Baltimore, has uttered the words: if only we played in another division.  Without a doubt, the AL East is a difficult division to play in.  The Yankees and Red Sox have considerable resources that help them sign top talent in the offseason and gives them enough of a margin of error to absorb bad contracts.  The Rays are saddled with severe cash restrictions, but their front office finds remarkable ways to remain competitive.  Finally, the Blue Jays are a club that always appears to be underrated.  It is tough to be an Oriole fan at times with all of these successful teams to play against with an unbalanced schedule.  This leaves many wondering what would it be like if the Orioles were to play in a different division and makes me want to try to quantify it.

This is not exactly an original idea.  It has been addressed before by Stacey Long over at Camden Chat.  They decided to use the Orioles' winning percentage in each division to determine how the team would perform with various unbalanced schedules.  In that article, Long found that the Orioles' record in 2009 would have improved by four games had they played in an easier division.  I think that is solid work, but I wonder if the number of games the Orioles play against other teams in the other divisions is robust enough.  Daniel Moroz of Camden Crazies wrote over at Beyond the Box Score a short piece trying to determine what the difference playing between divisions would be.  Moroz used an elegantly simple set of assumptions (e.g., typical wins by AL East teams, an 81 win average for AL teams, interleague play winning percentages) along with Bill James' log5 calculations.  He found that unbalanced schedules could cause changes of a win.  That is not much to be concerned about.  So, two solid articles with two different conclusions.

This well tread idea needs, perhaps, another way to address it.  I propose that WAR (Wins Above Replacement) could be used to determine how many games a team could win by shifting divisions.  You may have noted in the past that if you sum up all of the WAR of individuals on a single team, you wind up with a number that is anywhere from 35-55 wins less than the actual total wins that the ball club earned.  This makes sense as a replacement level team (roughly defined as a team composed of AAA players) would be able to win a game here or there.  WAR actually relates rather well to actual wins.  The graph below illustrates how WAR relates to actual wins for AL teams from 2002 to 2010.

click on image to make larger


The trend line shows a good fit between wins and WAR with an R-squared of 0.81.  The y-intercept (where the line crosses the y axis (the vertical one)) is the number of wins that would be expected to be won by a replacement level team.  As this can be done with all of these data points from 2002 to 2010, we can also do something similar for teams in each division for each year.  With fewer data points, the correlation will not be as strong, but using replacement level performance as a base line for each division would provide a different way to measure how a team would perform in a different division. The following graph illustrates Replacement Level Wins (essentially Average Wins minus Average WAR) for each division.

click on image to make larger

The graph above passes a general smell test for me.  My perception has been that the AL East is the toughest division to play in because there is a concentration of talent of both young players (Tampa Bay Rays) and free agents (New York Yankees).  It has also been my perception that this concentration of talent has been challenged at times, which is also indicated in the graph above.  What I find interesting is that over this stretch of time, a replacement level team shifting from the AL East to the AL Central or AL West would improve by one and three wins, respectively.  If you translate that into free agent money (4.5 MM for every win), you could say that it costs 4.5 MM less to compete in the AL Central or 13.5 MM less to compete in the AL West.

Again assuming that the replacement level is additive, we can determine how well the Orioles would perform in "weakest" AL Division each year over the past nine years.


Comparing our results to what Long and Moroz found, we see in general that our numbers fit in more with Long's in the idea that shifting divisions would cause a decent sized shift in the number of wins.  When we specifically unravel Long's predictions for the Orioles in the AL Central from 2002 to 2009, we do not see a strong match between our efforts.  Years in which I show little difference between the AL East and AL Central (e.g. 2005), she shows a difference.  In my opinion, I think this is largely a product of there may not being enough games played when using one team's winning percentages to determine division strength.  What is certainly known by all of these efforts is that simply moving the Orioles to another AL division is not a cure for what ails them.

In the near future, I will be using this approach to address the addition of a fifth team in each league's playoffs and will try to determine how good that team would be in comparison to the current field.

Game Wrap and Morning Links: May 11, 2011

Baltimore 7, Seattle 6

Box Score / Play-By-Play / AP Recap

Last night was a long and wild night.  Kevin Gregg blew a save on a night when the Orioles offense was more productive than usual.  The bullpen was forced to go deep into a game without a 13th man, which forced Jeremy Accardo into 43 pitches over two innings and seemingly giving up the winning run in the 13th.  Felix Pie and Matt Wieters then came through with runners on base (did we ever doubt Wieters in that position) to plate two men and the Orioles break their losing streak.  Although it was tough on our relief corp and Chris "I might be able to give you six innings" Tillman is starting today, it was good to notch one in the win column.  It was also good to see JJ Hardy out-Andino Robert Andino with a 4-5 performance highlighted with a home run.  It is nice to have him back.  Hopefully, he will do more of the same against King Felix tonight.

Stat of the game

 
8-21

The Orioles were 8 for 21 with runners in scoring position.  This is a change from the previous week.

Orioles Game ball

JJ Hardy (4-5, HR(1), BB)

MiLB game balls

Norfolk (Box) - Brandon Snyder, 1B (2-3, 2B (9), BB)
Bowie (Box) - Robert Widlansky, 1B (2-4, HR (3))
Frederick (Box) - Brian Ward, C (2-4, HR (3))
Delmarva (Box) - Mike Flacco (1-2, 2 BB).

Three Morning Links

Matt Wieters looks good in Matt Klaassen's catcher defense ratings for 2011 over at Beyond the Box Score.

Orioles legendary coach Earl Weaver is selling some of his memorabilia because he would hate to misappropriate items in his will.

Troubled pitcher Alfredo Simon will be making two more starts before going back to the Dominican Republic due to his legal problems.

Up Next

The O's hope to make it two in a row with a tired pen and Chris Tillman (4.36 xFIP, 56 ERA+) on the mound against stalwart King Felix Hernandez (2.90 xFIP, 123 ERA+).  Looks like one of the teams pens tonight will be getting some rest. 7:35 pm Eastern start.

10 May 2011

2011 Depot Draft Preview -- Finding 1:4 (Anthony Rendon)

With four weeks remaining before the 2011 MLB Rule 4 Draft, we begin our annual look at amateur talents the Baltimore Orioles could (should) be targeting in the 1st Round and beyond. Over the next two weeks we will bear down on the eight potential 1st Round targets listed below, followed by a week dedicated to the 2nd - 5th Rounds and finally the 6th - 10th Rounds. As a reminder, the draft coverage here will focus on Baltimore. More in-depth coverage, including rankings, scouting reports, videos and more can be found over at http://www.diamondscapescouting.com/.

Potential targets at 1:4

Anthony Rendon / 3b / Rice Univ.
Gerrit Cole / rhp / UCLA
Bubba Starling / of/rhp / Gardner Edgerton HS (Gardner, Kan.)
Sonny Gray / rhp / Vanderbilt Univ.
Danny Hultzen / lhp / Univ. of Virginia
Dylan Bundy / rhp / Owasso HS (Owasso, Okla.)
Taylor Jungmann / rhp / Univ. of Texas
Jed Bradley / lhp / Georgia Tech

*Every player discussed in the Depot Draft Preview has been scouted by Nick J. Faleris, either through his efforts at DiamondScape Scouting or as part of his duties as an Associate Scout in the Midwest Region for a National League organization.

Anthony Rendon (3b, Rice Univ.)
Ht/Wt: 5-11/190
B/T: R/R
Year: Junior
Age at Draft: 21y0m
Games Scouted: 7 (in person); 14 (video)

Grades - Now (Future):
Hit: 50/55 (65/70)
Power: 45/50 (55/60)
Arm: 60 (60)
Defense: 55/60 (60/65)
Speed: 55/60 (55)
Feel: 55 (60/65)
Overall Future Potential: 63

*Notes on Grades: The Scouting Scale works from 20-80, with 50 being Major League Average. The scale operates loosely on a bell curve, so the further you move from 50 the fewer grades you'll find among ML players (e.g. Aroldis Chapman's fastball, Ichiro Suzuki's arm strength, Adam Dunn's power and Albert Pujols' hit tool would all be 80 grade). A 60 grade is sometimes referred to as plus and a 70 grade is sometimes referred to as plus-plus.

Physical Description:
Average build with strong wrists/forearms, solid core, lower-body strength. More strength than frame lets on. Good agility, excellent body control with quick first step.

Defense:
While much of the focus on Rendon often centers around his bat, he is easily one of the best defensive infielders in the college game, and could hold down shortstop at the collegiate level if asked. He has a strong and accurate arm and shows consistent strength and accuracy from a multitude of angles, highlighting his footwork and quick release. Rendon charges very well, has no difficulty with throwing on the run, and displays a high level of comfort to both sides. An excellent defender already, he should provide plus defense as a pro, with a chance to grow into a truly elite defender at the highest level.

Bat:
Rendon's bat is special. He generates very good bat speed through a strong core, maintaining and then transferring the force in his swing through his strong wrists. The top notch bat speed produces loud contact as often as any amateur in the game, and portends an ability to hit for average and power (despite his unimposing physical appearance) at the next level. What sets Rendon's offensive prowess from other elite bats is his command of the strikezone and his ability to control the barrel. He has an uncanny ability to lay off close balls and spoil tough strikes, helping him to eventually find the pitch he needs to do damage. His approach seldom falters (though he was caught pressing some earlier this year), and there is little question his game should transition well to the pro ranks.

Discussion:
The story this spring has been a sore shoulder for the five-tool third baseman, which has kept him in the DH role for most of the season. Perhaps stemming from the sore shoulder, Rendon's power numbers have fallen off drastically, with his isolated power dropping from a whopping .407 to a merely impressive .189. Barring troublesome medical reports come draft time, there is little concern that this will have a long term effect on Rendon's game. Provide the shoulder checks-out, he is easily the top position player in the draft class, arguably the top player overall, and on par with the likes of Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg in terms of future potential and draft time skill set. Rendon is the rare five-tool talent with game changing ability in each category (he was clocked at 4.2 seconds home-to-first a number of times last year, during the USA CNT Trials and twice this spring), and an intricate feel for the game on defense, in the batters box and on the basepaths. He has a chance to move quickly once he signs and could be a perennial All-Star at the Major League level.

Projected position: Elite third baseman on 1st division team; perennial all-star candidate
Suggested draft slot: Top five overall

Video:






































































































This scouting report originally published by the author here.

Just the Links . . . and Today's Game: May 10, 2011

MILB Game Balls

Norfolk - Ryan Adams (2-4, 2B (6), 3B (2))
Bowie - Jose Diaz (1 IP, 3 K, 1 BB)
Frederick - No Game
Delmarva - Michael Ohlman (2-4, 2B (4))

Three Morning Links

Baltimore Sun reports JJ Hardy did not play Monday for Norfolk and is expected to be activated Tuesday.  Clay Rapada seems like she will be designated for assignment.

Carroll County Times reports that Justin Duchscherer will throw a couple simulated innings in the next few days.

Luke Scott has torn his labrum and will need to get surgery after the season is over.


Today's Game

Seattle is in town tonight with the game starting at 705 PM EST.  Jake Arrieta (3.80 xFIP, 92 ERA+) will face off against rookie sensation Michael Pineda (3.33 xFIP, 144 ERA+).  The Orioles will try to end their slide with a series against the last place team in the AL West.

09 May 2011

Predicted Wins and Playoff Probability: Week 6

This past week, the Orioles were 1-6, managing a win against the Kansas City Royals.  Each projection system thought the Orioles would do better than they did and so we find the new predicted wins to be less than they were last week.  However, it is about in line with where the predictions were two weeks ago.  PECOTA has the Orioles at a 1.8% chance of making the playoffs.  We have them at 0.41%.

click on image to make larger

So, once again, this team is about as good as the systems thought they would be.

EDIT: It appears that we are getting considerable traffic from ESPN on this post.  I think I might need to explain some thing here as this is one of our weekly updates.

We are using three "systems" to predict the number of wins the team will win over the course of the season.  The three systems we are using are:

PECOTA - Baseball Prospectus issues updated projections on a daily basis.  We use this as an industry standard.  These figures are based on updated PECOTA player projections, playing time projections, and strength of schedule.

Camden Depot - At Camden Depot we used Tango's MARCEL projections and account for playing time to generate a WAR prediction.  We then generate a prediction for each team in baseball and weight the Orioles schedule according.  Expected wins are derived using Bill James log5 method.  The MARCEL projections are not updated, but the Orioles record in past games is incorporated in what we expect them to do in future games based on the projections and strength of schedule.  We will change our projections if major trades or injuries occur.

Pythagorean - This method is the simple well known Pythagorean method where we predict wins based on runs scored and runs given.

Playoff predictions are done by PECOTA in their daily update and by us.  We use a simple binomial function and adjust it to the expected Wild Card win total or AL East win total (which ever is lower).

Feel free to ask more questions.

Game Wrap and Morning Links: May 9, 2011

Baltimore 3, Tampa Bay 5

Box Score / Play-By-Play / AP Recap

Tampa Bay completed it's sweep of Baltimore yesterday on Mother's Day.  Brad Bergesen was knocked out of the game before the end of the fifth inning.  All five runs were scored after him.  The pen was able to shutout the Rays for the rest of the game, but the Orioles were only able to muster three runs.  Although it is disconcerting that the Orioles keep losing, but it will soon exhaust the bullpen with the starters not being able to go deep into the games.  Thankfully tomorrow the team has a day off and should help out the bullpen.  Matt Wieters continued his guru hitting with runners in scoring position by tacking on two more hits and is now 10 for 15 with runners in scoring position.  He seems to be the only Orioles hitter who is capable of hitting well with men on base.

Stat of the game

 
5 Orioles walked and none scored

The Orioles have a problem with earning walks.  This series they earned a great number of walks while not being able to plate many of them.

Orioles Game ball

Matt Wieters (2-4, 2B (6))

MiLB game balls

Norfolk (Box) - Michel Hernandez, C (1-2, 2 BB)
Bowie (Box) - Kyle Hudson, LF (1-2, 2B (2), BB)
Frederick (Box) - Oliver Drake, SP (6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 6 K)
Delmarva (Box) - Michael Ohlman, C (4-4, HR (2), 2B (3)).

Three Morning Links

Former Orioles Groundskeeper Paul Zwaska is now keeping fields tidy for a Little League in Wisconsin.

Steve Melewski talks to several Orioles, including Luke Scott, about the offensive slump the team is going through.

Jeff Zrebeic lists off some depressing numbers about the Orioles, including noting that the Orioles are 2-16 in games in which they score three or fewer runs.

Up Next

The O's get a day to think about things.

08 May 2011

One Fifth of the Way into the Season, Vlad is Below Replacement

The last time we checked out Vlad's performance was 16 games into the season.  At that point, he had a -0.3 WAR which would have qualified him as one of the worst DHs in history.  Sixteen games later, a fifth of the way into the season, Vlad is still below replacement level at -0.1 WAR.  More and more, it appears that Scott at DH and Pie in left or Reimold at DH and Scott in left would have been the better approach.  However, Vlad is a "proven veteran," so Buck may have little choice other than to keep shoving Vlad in the cleanup spot game after game after game.  Vlad's walk rate is the lowest of his career and is less than half of his career average.  His ISO is the worst of his career.  His HR/Fly is the worst of his career.  Only 32 games in, but he has seen a 22% decrease in fastballs seen.  His swinging percentage is the highest of his career.  This is not a great series of statistics.

At -0.1 WAR, Vlad has passed the 1994 Dave Winfield and is now tied with the 1976 Minnie Minoso.

Game Wrap and Morning Links: May 8, 2011

Baltimore 2, Tampa Bay 8

Box Score / Play-By-Play / AP Recap

Compared to the two previous home Saturday games, the Orioles' attendance fell slightly more than 50% to 18,961.  Hopefully, this was a product of several fans wishing to go to Kentucky Derby parties.  There is certainly some concern that the fan base has determined this team is gilded and not solid gold as none of the major off season acquisitions have paid off.  Mark Reynolds (-0.3 WAR) is on pace to avoid 200 K's, but is also on pace to have less than 20 home runs and fail to hit a .200 average.  Vladimir Guerrero (-0.1 WAR) is not rewarding people's faith as he is struggling to get on base (.290 OBA) and has not shown much if any power (.126 ISO).  Derrek Lee (-0.1 WAR) is also on pace to hit about 15 home runs over the course of the season.  None of this is surprising, but what has happened is slightly below what we were anticipating here at the Depot and far below what the public in general seemed to think.  What happened in the game?  Jeremy Guthrie was hit hard over five innings, giving up three doubles and two home runs.  Four of the extra base hits that fell on hit were when there were base runners compounding the effect.  The Orioles only managed five hits with Nick Markakis producing three singles.  They were unable to take advantage of the Rays issuing 10 walks over the course of the game.  The difference really was that the Rays were able to produce extra base hits and the Orioles were not.  It was the 17th time out of 32 games in which the Orioles failed to score more than three runs.  Brad Bergesen is now tasked to lead the Orioles back on track with a solid game on Mother's Day.

Stat of the game

 
5 XBH in 5 IP

When a pitcher gives up on average an extra base hit per inning, he is going to be giving up a lot of runs.  The Rays did a good job of squaring up on Guthrie and were a tad bit lucky so many balls fell in to the right place.  Twice that right place was in the stands.

Orioles Game ball

Nick Markakis (3-4, SF)

MiLB game balls

Norfolk (Box) - Tyler Henson, CF (2-3, 3B (1), BB)
Bowie (Box) - Ronnie Welty, RF (1-4, HR (5))
Frederick (Box) - Tyler Townsend, 1B (2-4, HR (6))
Delmarva (Box) - Jarret Martin (2 IP, 1 H, 4 SO, 1 BB).

Three Morning Links

Cal Ripken Jr. thinks Manny Pacquiao will win..

Baltimore Orioles had a scout in attendance for New York HS Kevin McAvoy.  The right hander hit 90 a couple times.

Derek Jeter played his 2,303rd game at shortstop for the Yankees.  This breaks Cal Ripken Jr.'s record for most games played at shortstop with one club.

Up Next

The O's loss last night has dropped them into sole possession of last place in the AL East. Brad Bergesen (4.32 xFIP, 82 ERA+) will work to prevent a sweep against Wade Davis (5.04 xFIP, 133 ERA+) who is having a confusing year as he is striking out only 3.9 per nine innings, yet have been effective. 1:35 pm Eastern start.

07 May 2011

Game Wrap and Morning Links: May 7, 2011

Baltimore 2, Tampa Bay 6

Box Score / Play-By-Play / AP Recap

Baltimore fell last night to the Rays in the first Friday home game of the season in front of 20,694 purchased tickets and slightly less in attendance.  The game immediately became a struggled after Zach Britton gave up three runs on two hard hit balls (a double to BJ Upton and a home run to Brandon Guyer).  In the Orioles first 31 games, 16 have ended with them scoring three or fewer runs.  This club has been largely producing with a low on base average (.296, 13th in AL) and poor contact (.236, 10th in AL).  An offense this enemic needs a strong defense.  The Orioles' is rather average (-3 DRS, -0.3 UZR).  The team is also dependent on a bullpen that has also been unimpressive (5.58 FIP, last in AL by 0.72).  Returning from that aside, Britton calmed down outside of that inning, but was forced out in the sixth inning due to fatigue.  The Orioles were able to put a couple runs up on the board and the pen gave up three more.  The hope that Britton gives everyone with each of his starts was not rewarded today and Jeremy Guthrie comes to the mound tonight to avoid a three game slide.

Stat of the game

7 out of 21

That's is how well Zach Britton did with managing first pitch strikes.  Britton often was pitching behind the count while not hit his spots cleanly.  This forced him into deeper counts and being lifted only one out into the sixth inning.

Orioles Game ball

Derrek Lee (1-3, home run, BB)

MiLB game balls

Norfolk (Box) - Nolan Reimold, LF (2-4, HR (4), BB)
Bowie (Box) - Ronnie Welty, RF (3-4, HR (4), 2B (3), BB)
Frederick (Box) - Kenny Moreland, RP (3 IP, 1 H, 2 SO)
Delmarva (Box) - Clayton Schrader (3.1 IP, 1 H, 6 SO, 1 BB).

Three Morning Links

MASN's Roch Kubatko provided an update on Manny Machado and his dislocation.

David Zurawik at the Baltimore Sun reports that MASN ratings have increased so far compared to last year.

Steve Slowinski mentions how one may view small sample size and what it means for this season.  Vladimir Guerrero swing rate on first pitches makes an appearance..

Up Next

The O's are in the middle of a three game set with Tampa holding a tenuous 0.5 game lead of fourth place over the Boston Red Sox. Jeremy Guthrie (4.24 xFIP, 132 ERA+) will attempt to get Baltimore back on track against a red hot Jeremy Hekkickson (4.39 xFIP, 86 ERA+). 1:10 pm Eastern start.

06 May 2011

Game Wrap and Morning Links: May 6, 2011

Baltimore 1, Kansas City 9

Box Score / Play-By-Play / AP Recap

Baltimore dropped its first Friday home game of the season against the Rays the third game of the KC series, ending their brief Midwest Swang with a 4-3 record. Chris Tillman was not as bad as his line (3.2 IP, 10 H, 8 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO), but once again he was unable to work through some tough luck hits. I've seen most of Chris's starts this year and am not overly concerned. Are there things to work on? Obviously. But learning to make adjustments at the Major League level is an absolute necessity if a player is to stick, long term, as a contributing piece. Chris is in the difficult position of having to learn what works for him while adjusting to new mechanics and resulting inconsistencies in his stuff. I think he gets there, but there are going to be bumps. Back to the game, the lone bright spot is that Nick Markakis continues to swing it, finishing the road trip 8-30 with a double and a homerun and raising his batting average on the season 21-points. What started out as a feel good trip ends on a sour note, and Baltimore will look to Zach Britton to right the ship against an improving Tampa squad.

Stat of the game

4, 1-3, 0-4 (0%), 32

That's the number of games that Jake Fox has started at catcher, Baltimore's record in those games, the percent of runners Fox has thrown out attempting to steal, and the number of runs Baltimore has allowed in those four games. Small sample size...right?

Orioles Game ball

Nick Markakis (2-4)

MiLB game balls

Norfolk (Box) - Ryan Adams, 2b/3b (2-3, 2B (5), BB)
Bowie (Box) - Brandon Waring, dh (2-4, HR (3), 2B (5), BB)
Frederick (Box) - Tyler Townsend, 1b (2-4, HR (5), 3 RBI (21))
Delmarva (Box) - Kipp Shutz (2-4, RBI (21))

Note: Baltimore's top prospect, Manny Machado (ss, A Delmarva) left the game after crumbling between 2nd and 3rd base. There was swelling in his knee and he is scheduled for an MRI today.

Three Morning Links

MASN's Steve Melewsky provided an update this morning on Manny Machado and his knee.

Luke Scott is heading to the doc's office for an MRI on his sore shoulder, reports Jeff Zrebiec of the Sun.

Dan Connolly of the Sun catches us up on Alfredo Simon's first start of the season since being implicated in a shooting in the Dominican Republic this winter.

Up Next

The O's open a three game set with Tampa tonight. Zach Britton (4.14 xFIP, 152 ERA+) will attempt to get Baltimore back on track against a red hot James Shields (3.12 xFIP, 173 ERA+). 7:05 pm Eastern start.

05 May 2011

Game Wrap and Morning Links: May 5

Baltimore 3, Kansas City 2

Box Score / Play-By-Play / AP Recap

Jake Arrieta, despite struggling through a 35 pitch 2nd inning, gave the O's a much needed seven-inning start, earning the win and posting an impressive game line of 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, and 8 SO. The young righty continues to show solid velocity to go with an improving ability to sequence (hat tip to Wieters, as well) and more consistent execution of his fastball and each of his breaking balls. Markakis drove in two, including a solo homerun in the 7th (his third on the year), and Adam Jones may have saved the game when he alertly threw up his hands to signal a Mike Aviles drive to the gap had wedged under the padding of the outfield wall, saving a run and keeping Aviles at second (he would be stranded at third to end the inning).

Stat of the game

Mark Reynolds: 3-3, BB, 0 SO

A perfect three hit game for the struggling third baseman, a walk and no strikeout? Worth noting and celebrating for the short term. Here's hoping we will start to see the light tower power manifest in-game soon, and often.

Orioles Game ball

Jake Arrieta (7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 8 SO, W (4))

MiLB game balls

Norfolk - No game
Bowie (Box) - Robbie Widlanski, dh (2-4, 2b (9))
Frederick (Box) - L.J. Hoes, 2b/of (5-5, 2b (5))
Delmarva - No game

Three Morning Links

Jeff Zrebiec reports J.J. Hardy is set to begin his rehab stint at AAA Norfolk.

Jon Star (mlb.com) previews this afternoon's rubber match in Kansas City.

Shameless plug: Check out DiamondScape Scouting's midseason top 100 draft prospects, including five mini "player spotlight" scouting reports.

Game three of the series takes place this afternoon (Fox will be behind the plate). Chris Tillman (4.48 xFIP, 77 ERA+) faces-off against former Oriole Bruce Chen (4.70 xFIP, 98 ERA+). 2:10 pm Eastern start.

04 May 2011

Collegiate Diamonds by the Numbers: Pac10, Big 12, Conference USA, and Big East

Here are links to the first two columns:
Introduction and ACC
SEC

This post will roll through four different conferences as very few players met this criteria.  The Pac10 in fact are not represented.  This is not to say there are no prospects in the Pac10.  It says that merely following the criteria is set forth would not identify anyone in this grouping.  I want to remind you that I am using adjusted numbers from College Baseball Splits and not raw numbers.  This post will highlight players who match these criteria in the SEC.

Criteria
Plate Discipline - Walk Rate (>15%) and BB:K ratio (>1.50)
Contact Rate - Batting Average (>.300)
Power - ISO (>.180)


citation
Big 12

Just a Freshman

Erich Weiss, 2B/3B, Texas
397/529/616; 20.2% walk rate, 1.68 BB:K, .219 ISO

It does not appear Erich Weiss was drafted last year, but he has broken out as a freshman for the Longhorns.  In high school, Weiss saw time at SS, 2B, and C.  In college, he has been handed the job at the hot corner.  So far he has performed well as a freshman and will have a couple more years before he is draft eligible (2013).  At 6'3" and 180, Weiss is athletic, but I can imagine him adding on another 15-20 pounds as he matures.

Conference USA


Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice
364/570/573; 32%, 3.01 BB:K, .209 ISO
Diamond Scape Scouting: Best 3B, Best Overall

I'll let Nick Faleris tell you about him (click here for a full scouting report):
The story this spring has been a sore shoulder for the five-tool third baseman, which has kept him in the DH role for most of the season.  Perhaps stemming from the sore shoulder, Rendon's power numbers have fallen off drastically, with his isolated power dropping from a whopping .407 to a merely impressive .178.  Barring troublesome medical reports come draft time, there is little concern that this will have a long term effect on Rendon's game.  Provide the shoulder checks-out, he is easily the top position player in the draft class, arguably the top player overall, and on par with the likes of Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg in terms of future potential and draft time skill set.  Rendon is the rare five-tool talent with game changing ability in each category (he was clocked at 4.2 seconds home-to-first a number of times last year, during the USA CNT Trials and twice this spring), and an intricate feel for the game on defense, in the batters box and on the basepaths.  He has a chance to move quickly once he signs and could be a perennial All-Star at the Major League level. 

Big East

Joe Panik, MIF, St. John's
397/513/609; 17% walk rate, 2.29 BB:K, .212 ISO
Diamond Scape Scouting: 3rd 2B, 2nd SS, 44th overall (pre-season)

Panik was largely overlooked by most of the national talent writers with Faleris being the only one to put him in a top 50.  However, he is not an unknown.  Scouting the Sally reviewed Panik last month and wrote:
  • Compact build; Looked closer to 6-foot than the 6-2 he is listed as
  • Well developed through hips and shoulders; Room for additional growth?
  • Above average speed; Pulled multiple 4.15 times from home-to-first
  • Short, compact stroke; Drops bat head on the baseball
  • Gap hitter; Present swing mechanics tailor-made for spraying line drives
  • Patient hitter; Took a number of borderline pitches
  • Questionable power projection; Should push double-digits, but not much more
It would be highly doubtful that Panik is available when the Orioles pick in the second round.

Close, but not quite

David Chester, 1B, Pittsburgh
293/422/527; 16.2% walk rate, 1.61 BB:K, .234 ISO
Not ranked by DSS, Keith Law, or Baseball America

Although not ranked by Nick Faleris, Chester was on Nick's Big East Second Team ratings before the season began.  He was .007 points shy of batting average to qualify for this list.  For a big guy (6'5" 270 lbs), he does a good job making contact with power and earning walks.  Large batters anecdotally seem like a risk as the larger the batter, the larger the strike zone he must work with.  As a Senior, Chester does not have any leverage.  He will likely be taken as an easy slot or below slot signing after past the first five rounds.

Passing Thoughts

The members of this club I have put together are relatively few, but the criteria I have set forth does appear to be hitting on certain ball players who are widely accepted as good college prospects.  This criteria does not replace eyes and stop watches, but it is remarkable how it is finding players who are known and others that are on the fringe.

Game Wrap and Morning Links: May 4, 2011

Baltimore 5, Kansas City 6

Box Score / Play-By-Play / AP Recap

Jeff Francoeur knotted the game at 5-5 in the bottom of sixth with his seventh homerun of the year. Four innings later he broke that tie with a sacrifice fly to medium right field, plating the winning run in the form of Alex Gordon. The loss was Baltimore's second in as many days, dropping their record to 2-2 on this brief Midwest road trip. Jason Berken took the loss and looked pedestrian for the fourth straight appearance. Over that span, Berken's line is a not-so-pretty 3.1 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 4 BB and 2 SO. The positive? Matt Wieters continues to look more and more comfortable at the plate, with his timing issues from earlier this season appearing to drift further and further into his rearview mirror. He also threw out another baserunner attempting to swipe second -- at some point you have to think teams will simply stop trying, yeah? Adam Jones put together a couple of solid at bats and notch three singles and a walk in five plate appearances.

Stat of the game

KC Pen: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 SO

After starter Jeff Francis spotted Baltimore five runs over five and two-thirds innings, the Royals pen dropped the hammer. After losing the lead in the bottom of the sixth, the Orioles never threatened again, with all four hits thereafter singles and none of those runners reaching second. Owner of the top farm system in the game by a wide margin, the Royals have a nice little pen taking shape on the Big Club. The Royals will be in an interesting position later this summer as they will have to decide whether to hold onto shut-down closer Joakim Soria (club options through 2014 in the aggregate of $22.75 million) or move him for a sizable package of prospects. While the Royals have plenty of payroll room in 2012 and beyond, the ability to add one or two potential impact, cost controlled talents while shifting one of their high-ceiling prospect arms (Aaron Crow or Jeremy Jeffress) to work the 9th may be too tempting to pass-up.

Average age of the Royals relievers used last night: 23y9m.

Orioles Game ball

Luke Scott (2-5, HR (6), 3 RBI)

MiLB game balls

Norfolk (Box) - Michael Ballard, lhp (7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 SO, W (2))
Bowie (Box) - Steve Johnson, rhp (6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 SO, ND)
Frederick (Box) - Ollie Drake, rhp (8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 SO, W (2))
Delmarva (Box) - Jonathan Schoop, 2b/3b (2-4)

Three Morning Links

Roch Kubatko talks Derek Lee and Jake Arrieta in his latest School of Roch entry.

Peter Schmuck explores the dilemma facing a weary fan base -- do we buy into Buck's Birds in 2011 or is this summer just more of the same?

The Eutaw Street Hooligans bring us a look at Mark Reynolds and his propensity to K in part 1 of a 2 part series, courtesy of Jjaks Clayton.

Game two of the series will pit young power arm Jake Arrieta (4.20 xFIP, 82 ERA+) against Kansas City's Kyle Davies (4.34 xFIP, 51 ERA+). 8:10 pm Eastern start.

03 May 2011

Collegiate Diamonds by the Numbers: SEC

The previous installment focused on introducing my criteria and players that fit them in the ACC.  Also, I want to remind you that I am using adjusted numbers from College Baseball Splits and not raw numbers.  This post will highlight players who match these criteria in the SEC.

Criteria
Plate Discipline - Walk Rate (>15%) and BB:K ratio (>1.50)
Contact Rate - Batting Average (>.300)
Power - ISO (>.180)

Hitting All Four

Dan Gamache, INF, Auburn
363/462/562; 16% walk rate, 1.59 BB:K, .199 ISO
Not ranked by Diamond Scape Scouting, Keith Law, or Baseball America

Gamache is a Junior on the Auburn Tigers.  He might be the first diamond in the rough as I was unaware of him and have not found a recent scouting report.  He has shown an increase in power and plate discipline, but there is a question as to where exactly he will play as a pro.  I cannot say much more than that.  I look forward to Nick's thoughts in the comment section.  As Oriole fans know with Trent Mummey, future power is difficult to measure in Auburn because it can be rather easy to hit home runs there.

Taylor Dugas, OF, Alabama
333/439/539; 16% walk rate, 2.07 BB:K, .206 ISO
Diamond Scape Scouting: Not Ranked for OF, 177th best overall (pre-season)

Dugas might be taken anywhere from the fourth to seventh rounds.  He profiles as a speedy outfielder with good defensive skills.  He has shown a good success rate in the past for stolen bases, but has been largely ineffective this year with seven steals and four times caught.  His bat is also considered somewhat limited and there are questions if he can sustain a high level of doubles and a smattering of home runs at the next level.  For Oriole fans, Matt Angle might be a decent comp, but I think Dugas' bat profiles a little better than Angle's.

Matt Duffy, 3B, Tennessee
328/434/522; 16% walk rate, 1.56 BB:K, .194 ISO
Not Ranked by Diamond Scape Scouting, Keith Law, or Baseball America

Matt Duffy was not selected last year and is now in his senior season.  As yet, I have not found anyone releasing any scouting reports on him or ranking him.  This season he has maintained his high level of defensive play at third (or so it seems) while he has drastically reduce his strikeouts, increased his walks, and may be showing a little more power.  He may have some worth pas the eighth round for slot.  I don't know who to compare him to.

Passing Thoughts

The first review of talent in the ACC gave me hope that this series would be largely validated by the work of talent scouts as represented by Diamond Scape Scouting and Baseball America.  However, this collection of SEC talent is a bit unimpressive when compared to who these other groups are looking.  It will be interesting to see how this somewhat arbitrarily derived criteria performs as these players move on to the pros.

Game Wrap and Morning Links: May 3, 2011

Baltimore 2, Chicago (A) 6

Box Score Play-By-Play AP Game Recap

The Birds dropped the series finale to the White Sox, missing out on a chance for a sweep for the second straight series. Jeremy Guthre (L, 1-4) put together a solid start. The Orioles' Ace scattered five hits and two walks over seven innings, with his only real trouble coming in the 6th when he loaded the bases and subsequently allowed a Paul Konerko sacrifice fly. Derek Lee continues to climb out of the statistical hole dug by his highly unlucky offensive April. The former All-Star was 3-4 last night with one walk and one home run. Matt Wieters showed very well, again, behind the plate with two more sub-2.0 pops to second, throwing out 2-of-3 would-be base stealers. His 53% caught stealing is second in all of baseball, among qualified catchers, behind Oakland's Kurt Suzuki.

Stat of the game

Team LOB 13 (BAL); 0-9 RISP (BAL)

Guthrie continues to suffer through abysmal offensive showings from his teammates -- this time in the form of 13 runners left on base and an inept 0-9 with runners in scoring position. On the season, Guthrie has received the 7th worst run support in all of baseball, with the O's managing just 3.46 runs per Guthrie start.

Orioles Game ball

Derek Lee (3-4, HR (2), BB)

MiLB game balls

Norfolk - PPD
Bowie - Ronnie Welty, of (2-4, 0 SO!)
Frederick - Tyler Townsend, 1b (2-5, HR (4))
Delmarva - Jonathan Schoop, 22/3b (3-5, 2 2B, 3 R)

Three Morning Links

The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly notes beleagured Alfredo Simon, a suspect in a fatal shooting this winter in the Dominican Republic, could start Thursday's game for the AA Bowie Baysox.

The Sun's Jeff Zrebiec with his Morning Notes covering Guthrie, Markakis, Rupe and Bergie.

Brit Ghiroli takes a closer look at Guthrie's lack of run support at MLB.com, noting, "In Guthrie's 18 losses since 2010, the Orioles have scored 24 runs when he's pitching."

Baltimore heads to Kansas City tonight, 8:10 pm Eastern start. Brad Bergesen (0-3, 4.76) will take the hill for the Orioles against Jeff Francis (0-3, 5.03) of the Royals.

02 May 2011

Predicted Wins and Playoff Probability: Week 5

At the end of 5 weeks, the Orioles are not wildly over or underperforming based on the initial predictions of Camden Depot and the PECOTA forecasting. The Depot has seen a bump of 0.8 games and PECOTA is showing a drop of 0.4 games. Roughly eyeing it, I would say 5 games would be a major shift. We are not seeing that here. There have also been no surprises so far based on what my projections indicate for the rest of the AL East. Although, the Yankees and BoSox have flipped to first and second, respectively.







click image to make larger





PECOTA has the Orioles with a 5.5% chance to reach the playoffs. I have them at 1.89%.

If you prefer odds, that would be about 1 in 18 for PECOTA and 1 in 52 for the Depot.

Collegiate Diamonds by the Numbers: Introduction and ACC

Citation
Unlike my fellow writer here at the depot, Nick Faleris, I do not see as much film as he does and have far less experience with scouting collegiate players.  As such, I scan over batting lines and employ strength of schedule adjustments of players in the college ranks over at College Baseball Splits.  Nick and others do a great job keeping us aware of talent likely to be selected in the top ten rounds.  I, on the other hand, like to look at the numbers that are available and determine if anything with that small a sample size and uneven competition can tell me anything about future success.  I prefer using the adjusted numbers from that website to try to normalize the data against the parks and strength of schedule.  All numbers cited in these posts are adjusted numbers and not raw numbers.

What are those criteria?

Plate discipline - I measure plate discipline by the walk rate and the ratio of walks to strikeouts.  I have arbitrarily set these lines as a walk rate >15% and a >1.5 BB:K ratio.  The thought behind this is to target players who have a good understanding of hittable pitches and their ability to work for a walk.

Contact rate - I also look for batting averages greater than .300.  From an anecdotal perspective, players with good plate discipline AND poor contact rates in college have trouble progressing through the minors.  As they face a greater number of pitchers with more command of their pitches, the opportunities for walks will decrease.  Pitchers are more likely to pitch in the zone and for a player to make contact.  Collegiate players who do not have good contact rates tend to get eaten up by pro-quality offerings.

Power - Good contact rate and plate discipline are a great foundation for a hitting skill set.  However, slapping the ball in professional leagues with players who field better is not as useful.  There are just not many Ichiro Suzukis out there.  In the pro game, there needs to be some power to go along with these skills.  Otherwise, pitchers will go at hitters and give them pitches to hit, knowing that there is unlikely to be much damage.  For this criteria, I set an ISO of .180.

The numbers I use above are eyeball figures.  My goal is to find players who sit above the 75th percentile for these three categories.  As I learn more these numbers may change.

Continue reading to see my review of several players in the Atlantic Coast Conference who match this criteria.  After the ACC, I will be going through each collegiate conference and identifying players who fit these criteria.

27 April 2011

Miguel Tejada is the Rock That Keeps Tigers Away

Tom Verducci is known to take a good idea and then grease up every bit of fact to wedge them into his good idea.  He has done it before, quite famously, with the Verducci Effect.  The Verducci Effect states that pitchers are likely to get injured or become ineffective if they suffered an increase of innings pitched greater than 30 from year to year before they turn 25.  The concept is sound.  However, the data has not been entirely useful.  Understanding the variation between arms, 30 innings are likely to be an overly arbitrary number.  A similar instance also known would be Pitcher Abuse Points (PAP) as they do not correlate with pitching injury well.  Again, just because the numbers do not entirely support these concepts does not invalidate these concepts.  Moreso, it means that it is difficult whether or not there is an effect due to so many confounding factors.

Another pet project of Verducci is his love of how age performance curves may have changed after MLB instituted stricter drug testing.  In today's column Verducci writes:
There is no doubt Jeter and Tejada are struggling enough that their managers will face questions about where they bat in the order and how many days of rest they should be afforded. But guess what: This is what life used to be like for 37-year-old middle infielders. All of us have to recalculate what should be expected of players as they age through their late 30s.
That is a pretty foolish statement to make.  Just because Jeter and Tejada are doing poorly, are old, and you have a hypothesis . . . it does not necesarrily mean it is a good idea to lump them together.  Verducci fails here because he makes an assumption that there were actually 37 year old middle infielders who were good.  It just has never been so.

So, how many seasons has a 37 year old or older SS produced a WAR greater than 2?
19.

Under Verducci's statement, we would assume that his carefully researched piece would indicate that a large proportion of those 19 season performances happened in the 2000s.  Here they are by year:

1900
Bill Dahlen, 1908 3.9 WAR
1910
Honus Wagner, 1911 7.2
Honus Wagner, 1912 8.1
Honus Wagner, 1913 2.9
Honus Wagner, 1914 2.7
Honus Wagner, 1915 4.5
1920
Rabbit Maranville, 1929 2.3
1930
none
1940
Luke Appling, 1946 5.3
Luke Appling, 1947 3.8
Luke Appling, 1949 4.6
1950
Pee Wee Reese, 1956 2.5
1960
none
1970
Maury Wills, 1971 2.0
Luis Aparicio, 1973 2.3
1980
Larry Bowa, 1983 2.7
1990
Ozzie Smith, 1992 4.3
Ozzie Smith, 1993 2.5
2000
Mike Bordick, 2003 2.1
Omar Vizquel, 2004 3.1
Omar Vizquel, 2006 3.1

As you can see clearly, there is not some amazing boost to the presence of useful, old shortstops in baseball in the 2000s.  This sort of thing happens a couple times each decade and usually happens with a rather unique individual.  The fact that there is not likely going to be an average 37 year old or older SS this year in baseball is not exactly a useful piece of evidence.

Best bets to cross the 2.0 WAR threshold this decade?
2011-2012 Derek Jeter
2013 Marco Scutaro
2015 Rafael Furcal