11 March 2016

When To Worry About Hyun Soo Kim...Not Any Time Soon

Kim's First Spring Training Hit Orioles Hangout
This spring, Hyun Soo Kim is 1-24 with only three strikeouts (the one hit being an infield single).  That is rather impressive to get out so often on a batted ball.  I have yet to see him play, so I do not know about the quality of the batted balls.  However, it seems that they might mostly be rather weak contact.  This might cause some concern for people who were expecting him to play a major role in left field this season, but how valid is that worry?

Last year, Matt Wieters was coming off his arm injury and was 0-23 with a walk.  That performance did not appear to reflect his performance during the season.  Wieters was certainly still getting back to playing form and was unable to catch consistently at that point, so maybe the comparison is not exactly apt.  That said, Kim is adjusting to a new league, a new culture, and even a new Spring Training setup that is condensed from the Korean three-month norm to that American standard of about 33 days.  Some might remember last year when Jung Ho Kang also had a long acclimation period that was as bleak as Kim's current experience.

We can try to discern something by taking a quantitative approach.  Looking only at MLB season production, Russell Carlton found that the only indicator that might be useful with less than 100 PA (which no one ever achieves in Spring Training) is strikeout rate.  Nothing else reflects season numbers beyond that metric.  I would argue though that when we see Kim not performing, we are not trying to discern what his seasonal average will be.  What we are trying to figure out is more of an up-down conclusion.  Will Kim be good or not?

As a quick first look, I looked at all of the players with rookie status in 2014/2015 and compared their performance in Spring Training against their performance during the regular season.  Very simply, I bucketed the 60 players into three groups with ascending Spring Training slugging percentage. 

Bucket
sOBP
StDev
sSLG
St Dev
1
.300
.034
.382
.069
2
.312
.032
.410
.062
3
.312
.033
.406
.059

Traditional standard of significance (0.05) was not met, but Buckets 2 and 3 were far more similar than Bucket 1 was with either 2 or 3.  In other words, Bucket 1 gives the incredibly noisy appearance of being different than Buckets 2 or 3.  However, if you look at even five or six of the players in Bucket 1, that vague difference will in no way give any suggestion that there are differences.  I would say that this initial test informs us that there is not a great reason to think there are differences, but further investigation should be considered.

I next tried to see how important the Spring Training data was for predicting actual results in conjunction with a projection model (i.e., ZIPS).  The result there was that Spring Training data account for less than 2% of the final performance.  For players with slugging below .400 during Spring Training, the contribution to the model rose up to 4%.  In other words, trust ZIPS. That model has Kim at 272/338/424.  If Kim goes 0-60, then this model would adjust him down to 270/335/420.

Keep in mind that this is a pretty rough cut to answer the question.  Players that were awful and simply were assigned to the minors are not included here.  The players within this population were seen as meaningful enough to stay in the majors for a considerable amount of time.  That likely results in a survivor bias.  That said, we see similar effects for players who greatly excelled in Spring Training.  If we were to think that Spring Training provides enough meaningful events to discern how poorly one might do, then we should probably be able to discern how well someone might do.  I could not establish that with this data.

59 comments:

Don Smith said...

There is no way Kim hits .270 this season. This expectation of .270 has no backing or real numbers to grind on. In my opinion, it would be very unlikely, that he hits .270. Kim's first half, will certainly be a struggle based on facts you have already mentioned. My expectation is probably around .230, in limited duty, for 2016.

All in all I believe Kim is another poor attempt by Dan Duquette to improve the ball club, from the bottom of the list. At the opening of Free Agency, I counted 7 major league outfielders that would have been nice upgrades for this team. The type of players that good teams have in their outfield. We ended up with Kim, Trumbo, and Hoes.

Dan Duquette's attempt to create a "competitive" team as been marginally successful. Of course, this is backed by a core group brought to Baltimore by Andy MacPhail. This core will be gone soon and I believe I speak for many fans when I say that "competitive" is not good enough and neither is Dan.

Matt Perez said...

Dan Rosenheck wrote about this. He wrote an actual study, which I was unable to find, but he also wrote this article.
http://www.economist.com/blogs/gametheory/2015/03/baseball-statistics

He found that it did have an impact albeit not much of one and that therefore we should be slightly (and only slightly) concerned.

Jon Shepherd said...

Don - The batting average projection is literally backed by real numbers. That is how those models work. The problem is gauging the uncertainty around those numbers. Models do a fairly decent job projecting how AAA players will perform in MLB. The problem with the KBO, in my opinion, is that the sample size is lower and there may be significant selection bias as the connectivity between MLB and KBO is pretty limited even when you include the Japanese leagues into the mix. My model has him at 253/322/363. My model appears to do three things well: strikeout rate, walk rate, and home runs. The model says that Kim's valuable on base skills will be cut dramatically and his moderate home run tallies will be moderate (which scouts agree with). The problem is that his bat skills are primarily derived by what he can do with gap to gap power. I cannot figure out how to successfully model that with the data I have. My model is pretty pessimistic, but the others are optimistic.

Jon Shepherd said...

Matt - Yes, I remembered that, but could not find the original work, so I just scribbled with the data set I had. I think the studies are consistent.

Don Smith said...

Jon - The "real" numbers your model is trying to use, have no past to back them and not enough data to evaluate. Comparing the KBO to AAA has no value. There is nothing to say the KBO is AA/AAA or rookie ball. Only 1 hitter from the KBO has ever had success and his was FAR less than his KBO numbers. To me, that is the only barometer available to evaluate Kim. I guess the model is just as accurate, that is to say, just as inaccurate, as my hypothetical comparison to Kang.

IF your model ends up being accurate, I would be happy with .253/322 as compared to the rest of the outfielders and their "potential".


Pip said...

Jon, good eye should translate from league to league and it seems to be doing so in this instance as well. In 24 at bats he's only had three strikeouts. I don't know about the quality of the pitcher, but three in 24 is a pretty good K rate.
So at the very least, we should be able to expect him to walk and make consistent contact, right?

Jon Shepherd said...

Don - The link between AAA/MLB and KBO is essentially Kang and all of the AAA/MLB players who went to KBO. That is a limited data set, but, yes, there is a past there and, yes, there is some level of uncertainty attached to that. It is not just Kang. Still there is likely some level of selection bias in having a population of failed AAA/MLB players who played in KBO plus Kang.

Jon Shepherd said...

Pip - A "good eye" is a simple term trying to describe something much more complex. Based on the data I have at hand, we should expect Kim's ability to be cut significantly. We can expect a league average walk rate and being slightly above average in avoiding strikeouts. There is little reason to think there is anything close to a 1 to 1 relationship. If we consider walks, that rate basically gets halved. Strikeouts rise slightly. One of the major reasons for this is because a MLB pitcher has better command and control as well as simply better stuff (movement, velocity) than what a batter would see in KBO.

Don Smith said...

Jon - I agree with your last post and I am not down-playing the validity of the model. I am simply stating that players who have gone from AAA/AAAA to the KBO have had success and in some cases, amazing success. To me, that is a more telling sign of the future success of Kim, then the limited amount of numbers crunched by the models. As time goes on and more US players play in the KBO and vice-versa, the models will then be a better assessment.

Pip - I believe I read the average fastball in the KBO is 86, as opposed to 91-92 in the majors. Believe me, as a hitter that is a considerable difference. Kim will need to "cheat" a little more early in the season to get acclimated to that difference. With his contact rate being quite high, that lends to hand eye coordination and a short swing. My expectation is to see many weakly hit balls as opposed to strikeouts.

Jon Shepherd said...

Don - It certainly is telling and the models (I know about mine specifically) are largely (almost completely) based on scrubs dominating over there. I think from a distant view, the models currently provide a decent baseline to then move off of. I think STEAMER and ZIPS are a little too bullish in their projection and I wonder if they overly weight Kang's performance or if they are linking into the Japanese leagues and finding more similarities with Kang than I current utilize. But, yes, the models will get better with time and more players coming over and going over.

Pip said...

Thanks for the info.
The only virtue of Kim was his offense, and presumably Dan also about knew these problems. I haven't any faith in Dan's decision-making ability, so what now?
If Kim can't offer OBP, and we added another useless defender in Alvarez, does this mean Reimold or Rickard will start in LF?
Rickard seems like a good addition. He's started to hit, and he's had three OF assists so far, so his defense seems every bit as good as advertised.
But can he start, in the event Kim continues to reveal Dan's shortcomings?

Jon Shepherd said...

Pip - I am unsure if this is a shortcoming. Generally, we should not expect players getting paid less than 3 MM a year to be all that valuable.

Don Smith said...

Jon - lol that's funny to hear it said that way but yea I agree. 3-4 mil is a long shot.

Pip - I agree with you totally about Duquette. He isn't a very good GM and it shows both in his acquisitions this year and last. Not to mention the complete farm system trashing.

My guess is that Reimold starts in LF and Trumbo in right. Poor Jones, I hope he is in shape :) Rickard has played well but I can't see him starting over Reimold, as long as he is healthy. Rickard has come into his own the last year or so and only a major surplus in outfielders allowed us to get him from TB. His OBP is comparable to Jason Giambi in the minor leagues. (I use Giambi because he known to have gotten on base and the value OBP is to the A's organization)

I am higher on Rickard than any other Oriole outfielder mainly because of contact rate and speed. Speed doesn't take a day off and should help keep his average above the rest of the AAAA outfielders we currently have. Plus, he is a good outfielder and Jones will need a break from being Kelly Leak, on occasion.

Jon Shepherd said...

In all honesty, I would not be surprised if the OFs on the roster on opening day are Jones, Trumbo, Kim, Rickard, and dude on some other team.

It seems there are some rumors that the Orioles have been inquiring on corner outfielders. Also, some mention of them trying to find a left handed starting option. I would not expect much of significance.

Don Smith said...

It can't be anyone with any talent.

Duquette has traded away so many "solid" prospect for rentals and never-were's, that there is no one left to trade. I hope he doesn't trade any more talent from the farm system. He has done enough long term damage already.

I am still upset about Jhoulys Chacin getting a minor league deal and not from us.

Jon Shepherd said...

I think we would be talking about something in the cheap and expendable mode like a Matt Szczur, Brandon Guyer, or Oswaldo Arcia.

Don Smith said...

Yep, actually Arcia has some nice upside. Although I can't see Minnesota giving up on him just yet.

Maybe someone like Shane Peterson from Mil would be ok. Sad that we are even having this discussion. If our GM would only have done his job a few months ago....

Jim Moyer said...

Dayn Perry. Sorry if one of you guys is his friend, but he breathes through his mouth. It's spring training!

Sessh said...

The point raised about the velocity difference in KBO vs MLB is significant as Kim has had a lot of trouble hitting fastballs. He is late on them big time and is then unprepared for the off-speed stuff. Kim is a mess right now, but he has reached base in each of the last three games I believe. He got another hit today and yes, it was another infield hit. The point about Kang's slow start is a good one. He came from the same KBO as Kim did, so it's certainly possible that Kim does end up being like Kang eventually, but he's going to have to adjust to fastballs and to off-speed pitches with KBO fastball velocity. He has squared up a few pitches, but he hits them right at outfielders in a soft line drive kind of way.

There certainly should be concerns about whether or not Kim makes the team and I have my own doubts, but I do truly want him to succeed. If Kang can make the adjustments, Kim certainly could as well. Even if Kim doesn't make it, I do not expect Reimold to get a spot over Rickard if he earns his way on the team. Rickard brings more to the table than Reimold and he's young and needs to play. Rickard brings better D to left field, slightly better speed on the bases with a better ability to steal and will be able to hit for a higher average if his success translates.

If Reimold is starting in the outfield opening day, I would consider that a huge problem and perhaps a bad omen for the season. It would mean despite all our efforts to improve left field, we end up back at square one relying on a 32 year old "prospect" to get the job done who may be on the DL in May. I hope that Kim can pull through and I hope Rickard makes the team as well. I have nothing personal against Nolan Reimold, but it's just time to move on.

Roger said...

Kim, Reimold, and Rickard will all be on the opening day roster. The only real question mark was Rickard and he has impressed enough to stick. Everyone else goes back to Norfolk. Paredes gets released or traded. Both Urrutia and D. Alvarez will eventually be traded or released. P. Alvarez is an improvement over Urrutia. D. alvarez is insurance against an injury.

Roger said...

Check out today's lineup against the Twins. This is Buck's standard lineup. Think about Reimold/Kim platooning in left. Trumbo/Alvarez platooning at DH. Trumbo in RF when Alvarez DHs. Reimold in RF when Trumbo DHs. Rickard coming off the bench for defense (aka the new Lough). That's it dudes. That's what's happening. Machado to bat first and Kim second or Reimold batting first with Machado second.

Sessh said...

I don't think so. If Alvarez's career is taken to another level by the DH, he will not be coming out of the lineup much. Trumbo may not even survive in right field and his bat is going to have to be really good in that case. Seattle couldn't wait to get rid of him.

With Kim, he needs to PLAY not sit on the bench. I don't believe we will keep Kim just to put him on the bench in a platoon role. If Buck keeps him on the roster for opening day, he's playing every day. Kim is not going to get any better sitting on the bench. He needs MLB experience. He is not going to waste away in a full time platoon situation, so it's either every day or back to the KBP for Kim unless some deal can be worked out to allow him to go to Norfolk without going through waivers if that is even possible. If not, it's full time or no time for Kim.

Reimold is a fourth outfielder at best and is not as valuable as Rickard and I can't see Buck sending him back to TB at this point, but Rickard is another guy that needs to play which presents a conundrum. I just don't think there's room for Reimold. Everyone will get into lineups in the spring so no one is overworked. He is not an everyday player or even close to it at this point and if Kim and Rickard make the team, that's two players that will be ahead of Reimold in priority for playing time. He is hitting .167 with six strikeouts in six games. He has not earned anything at all so far this spring and you're handing him a roster spot and full time platoon duty right now. I can't go along with that. He's just not that good and has not done anything to prove otherwise at this point.

Sessh said...

Sorry, Reimold is hitting .158 with six strikeouts in seven games. I was just including the one he got just now leading off the game.

Jon Shepherd said...

I would not call that a platoon. I would reserve that term for a pair of hitters who bat from complementary sides of the plate.

Weav said...

The idea of Reimold being the leadoff hitter is crazy. He wouldn`t be on any other roster in the majors, let alone start and bat at the top of the order. The Orioles could be in rebuild mode like the Braves and Phillies. Just not as obvious. Jay Bruce is still out there. I think its going to be a very long, boring season in Baltimore. Not to Angelos..US.

Sessh said...

Wieters was just taken out of the game and replaced by Perez without having an AB. Looks like he might have been injured?

Pip said...

Giving Wieters the QO remains the correct decision, but it will probably turn our very badly for the Orioles. But Audrey Perez has had a Good game.

Jon Shepherd said...

Pip - I agree. It certainly was an arguable decision, but I think it made a lot of sense to offer it. However, it did not work out as hoped. Sometimes the right decision ends up being the worst outcome.

Roger said...

First, spring stats don't mean much of anything. What the coaches see in the players beyond their statistics is more important. Reimold's .344 OBP in the leadoff role in September cemented his position this year. Buck has always relied on the quantity he knows vs. the quantity he doesn't. If we are all correct and Kim will take a half season to settle in, I am sure it will be in a platoon of some sort in order to improve his confidence. P. Alvarez will not hit ninth like Marte today but the rest of the lineup is a typical "Buck" lineup. And P. Alvarez certainly has big platoon splits and will sit against lefties. At least to begin the season, I am sure Trumbo and Reimold will be more "full time" because they will be shifting between RF/DH and LF/RF, respectively.

Sessh said...

Reimold's OBP was in the low-mid .330's or lower for the majority of last season and only ticked up to .344 in the final game of the season. We can't have a guy who can't even maintain a .250 average in the leadoff spot. He has not cemented anything just because he had a .344 OBP after the final game of the season. The three weeks prior to that final game, he struggled to keep his OBP at .330 and it was in the .320's for awhile as well. His OBP jumped over .340 a few times in the season, but was under .330 for much more of the season. That .344 is misleading and if Kim is on the major league roster, he is playing every day. That is the only way he will get better, period.

Anonymous said...

Good topic. Your real focus should be on why sabremetrics is useless in determining international player values. The Orioles front office knows absolutely nothing about scouting players. Trust your scouts, not some egghead with an economics degree who cut his teeth on math and videos.

Roger said...

My mistake. Actually Reimold got most of his plate appearances in September and batted .274 with a .391 OBP mostly batting leadoff. That is what got him cemented into the leadoff spot at least against LH. He's also got significant splits and is better against LH (.278 with .374 OBP for the season). Kim will get plenty of game time against RH. Rickard has proven nothing except that he is a decent defender which is why that will be his role initially. IF he shows something in regular season play at some point, his role might increase. The Orioles have very few perfect players and Buck will maximize the value of each by establishing them in roles that maximize their strengths. Today, the Orioles had most of their regular lineup and Jimenez pitched well and they won going away. This is more what we can expect rather than the earlier 0-9 team which was playing a lot of extra folks. If Wieters goes out, we will have Joseph and Pena which should make a decent catching duo. The pitching may even be better with Joseph's framing ability. (Note: Reimold was leadoff but against RH so it may not be the same in regular season - still waiting for P. Alvarez's first spring action)

Jon Shepherd said...

You might be lost. Try to find posts with a time stamp prior to 2005.

Sessh said...

I don't know why you keep saying he cemented anything. The Orioles spent seven million on a left fielder from Korea, brought in a mid-tier outfield prospect who upped his stock significantly over the last year and were ready to drop $25M on a left fielder in Fowler and yet you maintain Reimold already had the left field job wrapped up from the start?

I know you like Reimold, but that is ridiculous. He has nothing cemented; the job is Kim's to lose at this point and he might lose it, but he hasn't yet. If Reimold had the job cemented, then we wouldn't have been prepared to spend so much money on a left fielder and would not have went to the KBO to spend seven million on a left fielder. Last September was not the first time he put up good numbers in limited action. The Orioles FO are obviously not willing to commit or depend on Reimold for much of anything and have done everything in their power to find someone else for the job. They found Kim and Rickard. The only way Reimold gets significant time in left field is if both those options fall through and that is the only way and at that point, the Orioles are in big trouble.

Roger said...

Guys, I never said Reimold had anything locked up except a roster spot. He does not have a full time job but he will be starting a lot of games in either RF or LF. If Kim starts to come around then he will get more starts in LF. But until Kim starts hitting well consistently, I think he platoons. And P. Alvarez will not play much against LH pitchers. He has bad numbers and they don't need him to play then. Tell me something there that the numbers don't also say. Rickard is a fifth outfielder right now. He has no, zero, none, history in the majors. He will not start until he has gotten time as a late inning replacement and pinch hitter.

Jon, I'm not sure what you mean about 2005 but I'm only looking at recent stats and Buck's tendencies with regards to lineups. Show me where I'm wrong.

The primary lineup will be Kim in LF, Trumbo in Rf, and P. Alvarez at DH. Any time they want to go righty heavy, Reimold will start. And Reimold will be first up if Kim, Trumbo, or P. Alvarez fail to perform.

Sessh said...

The thing is Kim is in his athletic prime and Rickard hasn't even entered his yet. Everything coming out of Orioles camp about Rickard is that he is impressing everyone. Britt Ghiroli, Roch and on every radio broadcast I hear, they talk about how everyone is impressed with him. He is making a very good impression on everyone involved with the Orioles.

I disagree that Reimold has even a roster spot locked up. If I understand the rule five thing correctly, Rickard must stay on the ML roster all season or he must either be returned to TB or work out a trade. The Orioles do not like to part with their rule five picks and Rickard is probably the best one we've picked up in that draft. What does it matter how much history he has in the majors? He's a rookie and has done well this last year. Reimold has been injured his entire career and he's 32; that is not a good history and the Orioles are making every effort to steer away from him when it comes to relying on him in any kind of meaningful way and rightfully so. They steered all the way to South Korea for a left fielder despite having Reimold right there in front of them. He has nothing locked up. That doesn't mean he won't make the team because he might especially if either Kim or Rickard don't make it, but I think it's a stretch to say that he has anything locked up at this point.

The Orioles are doing everything they can to find anyone other than Reimold to fill outfield spots. That tells me unquestionably that he is an absolute last resort. It definitely does not imply even in the slightest that Reimold is a shoe-in for a roster spot.

As for Alvarez, we'll have to see what the DH does for him. He isn't expected to be a savior in Baltimore and he won't have to stress out about playing defense, so we may be getting a much better hitting Alvarez than he's ever been in his career. At least, that's what the Orioles seem to be counting on and it just might have some legs. We'll have to see.

Sessh said...

Anyway, I don't think we'll agree on this one, so we'll see how it all plays out. :)

What's amazing to me about Reimold is even though he hasn't really done anything substantial for the team over his career except get injured, he sure has managed to get into the hearts of Orioles fans. I would LOVE to see him succeed, but I don't dream of that coming true anymore. The issue has always been his health and I think the team is right to try to actively avoid counting on him too much and seek other options.

For me personally, if he's ever going to get me on his side again, it's gotta be over a full season of productive AB's and being able to stay healthy. Until then, let's see if we can find something better and more reliable and I hope we've found it on this roster right now.

Jon Shepherd said...

2005 comment was directed at the guy saying analytics had no part in the decision making process.

Dpsmith22 said...

Sessh I totally agree with you about Reimold about his performance and his proven inability to stay healthy. I also agree with you that Kim needs to play. It's sad to me that we are discussing these types of players AGAIN this year, to fill 2 outfield spots. Especially in an "all in" year.

I don't agree that Rickard will take a starting job at the seasons start, from Reimold. In my opinion, obviously yours as well, the O's would be better with Rickard, especially with Trumbo in right. However, you are not taking into consideration the "Buck's Boys' factor. Buck loves Reimold and his "potential" and has proven this by having him signed year after year. Rickard will have to force a spot in the O's poor excuse for an outfield in order to get much playing time and while that might be at Reimolds expense, it won't be that way to start.

It's an interesting topic going into this season. As I have said before, it's sad this front office is so inadept at acquiring major league outfielders. There were 17 or so free agent outfielders at the start of the offseason and we ended up with a guy Seattle was itching to dump, a KBO star, Hoes, and Reimold, again.

Maybe I should be happy, Duquette didn't trade 3 starting pitching prospects to attempt to solidify right field this season.

Roger said...

OK, Jon, I agree with you on that certainly.

Sessh, both Reimold and Rickard will make it. Who else would instead of them? All the hype on Rickard is to justify keeping him on the roster. Most Rule 5ers don't see much playing time because they are forced to the majors before they are ready. Don't think rickard is much different in that respect. Buck needs to have a late inning defensive replacement and this year Rickard is it - direct replacement for Lough with higher upside. Reimold is a fourth outfielder until his production is consistent over a longer stretch. I'm just saying that Buck is going to rotate the outfielders around a lot to play matchup. I just see, in the way he's being used, a pattern that's setting up starting with last Sept.

Sessh said...

I don't think comparing Rickard to Lough is fair. Lough couldn't hit and couldn't get on base; Rickard can do both. Lough was a late inning replacement because that was his ceiling. The two players are really nothing alike. They are both good defensively and both have speed, but that's where it ends. Rickard has the better bat and the better on base skills if the last year of numbers is any indication and that isn't even close. He's head and shoulders above Lough in those respects and they are the ones that count.

With most R5'ers, you're right. Again, this is not the same situation as a Ryan Flaherty, Jason Garcia or TJ McFarland. Rickard was only an R5 because of a surplus in TB and because he had a down 2014 year. It had nothing to do with him not being ready and he has proven that he is ready over the last year. It's not the same situation, so no, it's not all hype and he's not the typical R5 player.

Also, Reimold leading off was experimenting trying to fill a void which was opened when Markakis left. It's been an experiment since Roberts fell from grace. Lough was tried leading off, Machado, Reimold, I think Hardy was tried there briefly, Schoop I think; over half the offensive roster has been tried in the leadoff spot. I don't really see a pattern there. Reimold was the last to get put there and sure, it might mean something, but Rickard is a prototypical leadoff hitter and has been hitting there most of the spring.

Kim got his first "outfield" single in today's game and also hit a deep sac fly to center field. It was deep enough to allow Schoop to advance from first to second. All good signs.

Dpsmith22 said...

Sessh, Louth hit over 300 in limited at bats, in the big leagues. Your assessment of Rickard is solely based on his minor league numbers, where Lough was just as successful, if not more so.

I hope your right and Rickard becomes a proto-typical lead off hitter, but it's far from a sure thing.

It will be interesting, if it happens, that a rule 5 player leads off for a team, supposedly, in win now mode.

Sessh said...

Yes I know, Lough was a decent pinch hitter and did ok for awhile in limited action and yes, he did well in the minors as well. Rickard could be the exact same thing, no doubt. Anything is possible when it comes to baseball, but at least in the spring, Rickard is picking up where he left off. He's still hitting and his OBP has started going up as well due to taking walks in two straight games. His chances just keep going up and up and there's no sign so far of being anything other than what he was in the minors that got him here.

He has the tools to be that leadoff hitter and the Orioles have desperately lacked a proper one in, what, seven years now this year? Hell, I don't care if he's an R5 or if we pulled him out of the stands so long as he can play. It doesn't matter much to me how they get here whether it's R5 or otherwise. I've not been excited about an R5 player before the ones we get anyway are underwhelming and it helps that he is coming out of a farm system that produces major league quality talent.

We shall see and yes, it will be interesting. I hope I'm right, too. We sure could use him if he keeps this up. If not, well, wouldn't be the first time I was wrong. I was pretty excited about Adam Loewen, too. :p

Sessh said...

I should also point out that Reimold is already battling injuries namely a sore shoulder that he's been nursing since late February. This is exactly why we cannot depend on him.

Pip said...

Roger, I have enjoyed reading your comments, but I must disagree with you regarding Rickard.
Every team needs a legitimate back up outfielder, and Rickard Seems to have a genuine shot at actually winning the job from the other contenders.
I do not know his spring stats, but he knows how to draw a walk, And his defense may very well be the best outfield Defence on the team. He certainly has a leg up in that he is a rule five, but even if he were not, I think he would have a strong chance of making the club.
He is perhaps taking playing time away from Hoes and Avery, where either of them might win the spot instead, which might be a little unfair, but he certainly seems to be legitimately earning his way onto the roster.

dpsmith22 said...

Sessh;

-I agree that Rickard looks the part, so far, no doubt.
-I totally agree that he has the tools to be EXACTLY what this lineup needs. I think the O's thought Hoes could be in this same mold, hence the urgency to get him back.
-Yes I agree that all of our Rule 5 selections have been less than major league regulars. I am not sure the strategy with them, especially last season with Garcia and that much needed roster spot.
-Your argument about Rickard coming from an organization that produces major league caliber prospects is certainly a valid one. TB actually was chastised by the media from leaving Rickard exposed.
-LOL I have fallen on the sword myself on more than a few occasions. Luis Mercedes got me.

Sessh said...

Luis Mercedes, huh? :) There's been many others for me. I am the kind of guy that loves the stolen base and I grieve (not really) that the Orioles have lacked this element for far too long. Every time we have a fast team against us and they are swiping bags, I get angry. lol .. Matt Angle and Xavier Avery were two other guys I really wanted to succeed in a big way because of their speed no matter how unlikely it was and in both cases, it was very unlikely. Avery is still around, but he's not good enough with the bat and is so "Corey Patterson" with his free swinging tendencies.

I heard on the radio broadcast today that Rickard is in line to be the fourth OF for the Orioles on opening day. Literally, every time his name comes up, it's something good.

Jon Shepherd said...

Just to steer people a bit...we are talking about Joey Rickard (619 OPS over 28 PA, not counting today) and Nolan Reimold (390 OPS over 24 PA). Performance during Spring Training means little, but these guys are not lighting the world on fire. That would be Ryan Flaherty (1173 OPS over 24 PA), ha.

Roger said...

All three will be on the opening day roster. Who else might make the roster other than Rickard, Reimold, and Flaherty? Walker? Do we need another 1B/DH? Marte? His minors stats look a lot like Rickard's only he has enough majors experience for it to look very ugly. Urrutia? His OF play leaves something to be desired and the bat doesn't make up for it. D. Alvarez? Decent fielder but has shown nothing at bat and having a terrible spring. His minors stats don't match up with either Rickard or Marte. WHO ELSE????

Sessh said...

Yeah, but Flaherty always hits like this in the spring. He is such a kidder, isn't he?

Sessh said...

C - Joseph
1B - Davis
2B - Schoop
3B - Machado
SS - Hardy
RF - Trumbo
CF - Jones
LF - Kim
DH - P. Alvarez

Utility IF - Flaherty
4th OF - Rickard
BU Catcher - Perez

Rotation:

Tillman
Gallardo
Gausman
Gonzalez
Jimenez

Bullpen:

Bundy
Worley
Brach
O'Day
Britton

The last three spots should be a fight between Thayer, Givens, Roe, Drake and perhaps Tyler Wilson if Bundy isn't going to be a long man option.

If we carry 13 hitters instead of 13 pitchers, Reimold would perhaps make it IF he is healthy. Reimold also gets a strike against him as a backup outfielder because he can't play CF. Avery can play CF albeit not a good defender and would fit a little better into a fifth outfielder role since he can also be used as a pinch runner and steal a base late in a game. Reimold, if healthy, is obviously a better option than Avery offensively, but can he be counted on if he's always one stride or one throw away from an injury? That doesn't breed confidence from a dependability standpoint.

Also, there's nothing wrong with Flaherty as a utility infielder, he's just not an every day player. His D is good enough to be a backup and his bat is, meh, but he's got some power when he actually hits something. However, I think it would be wise to carry 13 pitchers considering the uncertainty of our rotation especially to begin the season.

Sessh said...

Of course, if Wieters is healthy, he will be the starting C with Joseph as the backup. Shows how much confidence I have in Weiters' health.

Sessh said...

.. and I just realized we'd have no lefty pitchers. Matusz would be there when healthy and.. man, do we really have to depend on McFarland?

Roger said...

Schedule is light in April. Generally, no fifth starter for a while. They will certainly keep 13 batters and 12 pitchers. Givens is a lock. Matusz or McFarland (but I like Cabral too as a LOOGY) is a lock (Matusz, if healthy). The last spot is between Worley, Wright, and Wilson. I'd guess Worley as the other two have options and I'd personally rather have Worley at #5 instead of Miguel. Avery will never be kept over Reimold - probably asked to accept a minors assignment. I wish there was space for Drake but not until an injury, I suppose. The others are Norfolk fodder.

Sessh said...

Man, I don't know. Just looking at the schedule, our opening day is April fools day against the Phils, then two off days, then our home opener against the Twins followed by another day off. Then, we play 12 in a row, one day off, then 13 more in a row. I doubt four starters is going to get us through April. Besides, we don't know if Tillman can return to form, we don't know how good Gallardo is going to be and for that matter, Jimenez and Gonzalez also have question marks of course. I think we need 13 pitchers even through April.

Between Gonzalez and Worley, I'd rather have Gonzalez since he has at least proven that he can be solid for at least half the season. Last season, he was battling injuries. I don't have a very high opinion of Worley at all. I like Wilson out of the three you mentioned and I had forgot about Cabral. I would also be fine with giving him a shot. Thayer had three solid years with the Pads out of the pen, but is coming off a bad season and yeah, kind of agree on Roe. I liked him at first last year, though.

Pip said...

Jon, although I take your point, using OPS is misleading. Rickard has no power, nor has anyone made that claim about him.
What he DOES have is OBP.
I'm not sure what Rickard's is, but I bet it's among the team leaders.
Remember the guy in Moneyball, talking about David Justice(?)
He shrugged his shoulders and said,"he gets on base."
That's what we need and that's what Rickard does.
Who cares about his OPS?

Sessh said...

That is true about OBP. Ozzie Smith had a career .666 (yikes) OPS, but that's not really a good indicator since his career SLG was .328. Not comparing Rickard to Ozzie Smith, just proving a point.

Also, Rickard's OBP is only .313 and hadn't taken any walks until a few games ago probably because he was working on his swing and not his discipline. Of guys who have played in at least 10 games, it goes like this:

Flaherty - .467 (.348 BA)
Janish - .423 (.318)
Avery - .421 (.214)
Schoop - .407 (.385)
Marte - .368 (.333)
Tolleson - .320 (.190)
Rickard - .313 (.267)

They don't mean that much really as evidenced by Flaherty's numbers alone. Avery with the .421 is surprising, but he still can't hit consistently. I don't think Buck and his staff are looking at the numbers, though. It's more the eye test and they like what they see even if it doesn't show up on the stat sheet. Rickards OBP did jump about 50 points in the last few games he played in due to back to back games with walks, though. Look at the stats all you want at the link. Click on a stat title to organize the list VIA ranking.

Sessh said...

Nevermind, I guess links don't work here. Just go to mlb.com and find the Orioles page. It's all under the Stats column.

Sessh said...

Also guys on that site, if you click on "Scores", you can view the gameday tracker. It doesn't always work great, but usually does and you can follow what's going on. The good today: Rickard is 2/4 bumping his spring BA up to .294 with a run scored and a stolen base. The bad: Kim is 0/2 with two strikeouts. It seems there is a lot of free swinging going on with this team right now. I don't know if it's by design or if this is a sign of the lack of discipline from last season carrying over into now, but I sure hope it's by design helping them to warm up and get their swings in order. I don't want to see free swinging during the season. :( Alvarez is also 1/3 with an RBI.