15 March 2016

Why The Orioles Needed Ian Desmond And David Freese

The Orioles had a very eventful off-season. They resigned Matt Wieters, Darren O’Day and Chris Davis, traded for Mark Trumbo and added Yovani Gallardo, Mike Carp and Pedro Alvarez. In order to make all of these additions, they had to open up the checkbook as payroll is at $145M according to Cots. It's impossible to argue that the Orioles are trying to build this club on the cheap. But despite all of these additions, the projections sure don’t like the Orioles very much. PECOTA thinks the Orioles are a 74 win team while Fangraphs thinks they’ll win 80 games. Turns out that $145M doesn't go very far in the free agent market. It doesn't seem like they've used their resources efficiently.

Part of the Orioles’ problem is that the projection systems think that the Orioles have weak projected starting pitching and minimal pitching depth. If things go wrong, and Spring Training hasn’t gone well for them so far, then this is going to be a long season for the bullpen. But I’d argue that the Orioles major problem is that they didn’t sign Ian Desmond and David Freese.

Ian Desmond isn’t a particularly good hitter. He did have a poor 2015 in which he only had a wRC+ of 83, but his wRC+ was 128 in 2012, 116 in 2013 and 108 in 2014. It seems reasonable to presume that he’s trending downwards. He’s considered to have above-average range as a shortstop but has a lot of errors per year. Pretty soon, he’ll be unable to play shortstop and he doesn’t have a good enough bat to be a strong outfield option.

Ian Desmond does well when he puts the ball into play as he’s typically in the 70th to 80th percentile. However, nearly half of the pitches he’s put into play have been ground balls since 2013 good for around the 70th or 80th percentile since 2014. He has comparatively good production when making that kind of contact, but I’m worried about what happens to his production when he starts to lose power and speed.  Desmond typically has poor BB/K ratios and fails to put enough pitches into play. His plate discipline isn’t going to carry him.

I think that Steamer and ZIPs are a bit low on him, but I think they have the right idea for what one can expect from him going forward. I see him as a league average batter that can play passable defense at a number of positions.

David Freese also isn’t a particularly good hitter. He also reached his peak in 2012, and for the past three years has been slightly above average with the bat. But he does not have significant power nor does he boast above average OBPs. Speed isn’t his biggest virtue as he’s had 1 season where he’s had over 1 stolen base and his defense is questionable. Aside from that, he typically misses significant time each season due to his struggles to remain healthy.

Freese also is primarily a groundball hitter with a 55% ground ball rate since 2013 and typically is in the 90th percentile in putting ground balls into play. As his speed and power begin to degrade, his ability to be successful when putting pitches into play will struggle. One of these days in the next few years, he’s going to be unable to contribute to a club. Until then, one should expect league average production from him and passable if not average defense.

I don’t think these players are very good. Then again, the fact that they received about $11 million combined suggests that front office don’t think much of them either. So, why do I think that the Orioles biggest problem wasn’t signing them?

The Orioles have a very interesting offensive structure at the moment. Players like Schoop, Machado, Jones and Joseph both have decent bats and are able to play premium defensive positions. Wieters will also be a huge help to the offense and defense if his elbow isn’t ruined. Chris Davis is likely to lock down 1B.

Aside from those positions, the Orioles have question marks. JJ Hardy will likely at least be a good defensive option at shortstop if he’s healthy enough to play. If he isn’t, the Orioles will likely need to choose between Machado, Flaherty or Janish at shortstop. Reimold may be able to lock down a corner outfield position if he could stay healthy, but that seems unlikely. Hyun-Soo Kim appears to have below average fielding ability at LF and is having a horrendous Spring Training. Players like Trumbo and P. Alvarez are able to hit, but will be disasters in the field.  Players like Avery, Hoes or D. Alvarez would be acceptable in the field, but aren’t the best hitters.

The Orioles have a decent number of offensive pieces but the pieces they do have don’t fit together. It's sort of like a 500 piece puzzle after your toddler has gone to town on it.  As far as I can tell, the Orioles likely will have 2 DHs, 2 1B/LF, a catcher, utility man, center fielder, second baseman and third baseman in the projected everyday lineup. If other players than Reimold and Hardy are injured, then the Os will quickly need to resort to hoping to receive production from replacement level players. Not to mention that Trumbo in RF is going to be awfully interesting.

There’s some window dressing that the Orioles can do. Presuming Hardy is injured, they can put Machado at SS and Flaherty at 3B. That would probably be decent defensively; although Flaherty doesn’t have a good enough bat to play regularly. They can put Davis in RF and Trumbo at 1B every once in a while. That’s not ideal, but it would be a slight upgrade.

Adding Ian Desmond and David Freese would have changed that. If JJ Hardy is unable to play as expected, then Ian Desmond would be able to play shortstop. Now it looks like the Orioles can look forward to having Flaherty play there for 100 games this season. When Hardy is healthy, Ian Desmond would be able to play defense in an outfield corner. Likewise, Freese is an acceptable piece to play at 1B, 3B or possibly corner outfield.

With those two players, the Orioles could have had the following offensive players on their roster: Wieters, Davis, Schoop, Hardy, Machado, Kim, Jones, Desmond, Trumbo, P. Alvarez, Joseph, Freese and Reimold. Flaherty could be stashed in the minors (he has options remaining) and used as the utility player when Hardy was on the DL. Alvarez and Freese make excellent depth pieces that can also be used regularly to give stars an occasional day off. Reimold and Kim could compete for a starting spot in the outfield and if both were ineffective could be replaced in the outfield by Trumbo or Freese. Given the Orioles lack of talent in Norfolk, having a few guys like that on the bench would have been nice.

Of course, money is a factor. The Orioles have already spent a lot of money and another roughly $10M would make a huge impact on the budget. In addition, Desmond would have cost the Orioles’ a pick. On the other hand, the Orioles as currently constituted have a lot of questions. Adding those two pieces would have gone a long way to giving the Orioles some well needed depth. As it is, the Orioles have a $145M roster with pieces that don't quite fit together.


dpsmith said...

I wholeheartedly agree that this roster has been VERY poorly built and lacks ANY balance in the offense. It is Bash or Trash. Like watching nascar, boring until a crash happens. It is my hope that after this .500 season, our front office gets a make over and a proactive GM is brought in.

Adding bench depth to this aging team was certainly a priority, unless your goal was to just be "competitive". I completely agree that Desmond would have made alot of sense and unlike the numbers, I think he has a good bit left and his athletic ability should not be overlooked.

My self though, I would have preferred to add Jhoulys Chacin and Henderson Alvarez. The down and dirty;

Alvarez signed for 4.25 Million with 1.6 in incentives. Call it 6. He was an all-star in 2014 and is coming off of arm injuries. His numbers compare very favorably to Gallardo, wouldn't have costs us a pick, and would have been a great low-risk buy. He would have bolstered this pitching staff in May and given us more depth. He is also under club control in 2017!

Chacin signed a minor league deal with the Braves. Coming off of 3 VERY successful years in Colorado, he has been injured the last 2 years. He came back late last year and showed the same success, in 7 starts with Arizona. Again he is under club control in 2017 and the Birds would have had the ability to give him time to be ready. He is another quality starter with a solid K rate, coming back in May.

These 2 players were SLAM DUNKS in my opinion to be targetted by the Orioles. The Birds have 2 starters that are free agents at the end of this year and greatly lack depth, already. Not only are these 2 pitchers as good as any on our staff, but they would be under team control for 2017. Having them in the fold would also eliminate the necessity for knee-jerk trades of prospects or over-paying free agent starters.

These 2 players, along with Desmond, are the types of moves a proactive GM would make to build a championship team, not just a "competitive" one.

Joe Reisel said...

As we've learned with Dexter Fowler, it's easy to say that a team "should" do this or that. However, like it or not, the player has something to say in the matter. I believe there is absolutely no chance that David Freese would have signed with the Orioles and virtually no chance Ian Desmond would have signed with the Orioles, at least at the prices they signed for elsewhere and under the conditions you advocate.

Both Desmond and Freese were looking for places where they could play regularly and rebuild their value for next season's free agency. If as this article assumes the regular shortstop and third baseman would be Hardy and Machado, Freese and Desmond would have been nothing more than backups. Freese will be given every opportunity to be the Pirates' third baseman. Why would he pass up that opportunity to be a backup on a worse team? Desmond is a tougher case, as he will likely be the Rangers' left fielder, not shortstop. Would the Orioles have considered that, the way the Rangers did? Maybe.

Matt Perez said...

Tillman, Gonzo, Jimenez and Gallardo (team option for 2018) are under control through 2017.

I can understand the Os being skeptical of Alvarez. As you stated, he is coming off of injuries and wouldn't be ready to start until late May. I don't think the Os would have been able to go slow. It's likely that the Os pitching depth will be tested extremely quickly. That's what happens when your rotation has four starters like Jimenez, Tillman, Gonzo and Gallardo that have a good chance of completely busting. Not to mention the Os have had bad experiences with Jurrjens, Santana and Duchscherer.

But someone with Alvarez' profile would be a good fit for Camden Yards. That would have been an intriguing signing.

Matt Perez said...


This article presumes that Hardy will be injured for 100 games. That's because his shoulder injury is reasonably serious. Even if he's healthy, it's likely he'll be ineffective. The Orioles will be offering someone playing time.

Desmond wouldn't have been a backup in Baltimore. He'd be starting at either right field or shortstop and would likely start 150 games. But ironically, he's going to be a backup in Texas. The Rangers already have Choo, Hamilton, Fielder, Moreland and Gallo. Hamilton is injured at the moment, so they have LF open for the first month of the season. But guess who will be the starter when Hamilton is healthy?

Desmond won't be starting at 2B or SS either as the Rangers already have Odor, Andrus and Profar. Maybe they'll replace Beltre with Desmond?

There's no question that he'd be a more favorable situation in Baltimore then in Texas. The Os have holes in both outfield spots and likely will have one in shortstop.

The Pirates GM talked about Freese. Turns out, he is going to be given the opportunity to start at third until Kang comes back. At that point, he'll be turned into a platoon first baseman. But he's not starting full time unless someone gets hurt. Thing is, the Pirates already have a player called Josh Harrison who is better depth than Flaherty.

It's possible that the Pirates situation is more favorable than Baltimore, although that certainly isn't the case if the Os signed one of Freese or Desmond. But if anything, it's only a little better.

dpsmith22 said...

Your correct about Gonzo and Tillman. My mistake, thank you for correcting me on that.

Hmmm hurts my argument for both players but certainly not for entertaining one of them. Chacin has been good in spring training and Alvarez is throwing already.

To me, both of them were slam dunks. You cannot manage a big league roster in fear of a repeat of Duchscherer and Jurrjens. There just isn't enough quality pitching out there, not to take a risk or two.

I am not sure I agree that the O's wouldn't have had time to wait. Waiting a month to get a quality starter wouldn't have been the end of the world. After all, we have waited 2 years for quality outfielders.

Roger said...

Where is Jon to tell us that neither Desmond nor Freese will move the needle. Losing a pick would make sense for Fowler but not for Desmond. Didn't you guys see the article mlb.com just put up saying that Hardy is one of the top ten guys in the league to watch play defense??? His problems last year began in the spring and, lord willing, haven't resurfaced this spring.

H. Alvarez and Chacin would likely have never passed an O's physical for the contracts they actually received. The O's are already dealing with a couple of rehabbing prospects, they don't need more.

You guys are also forgetting one thing about Flaherty (as well as Kim and Fowler and P. Alvarez). He's a LH batter. The O's were only in the market for lefties (I think they only had a passing interest in Jackson). You say that Desmond and Freese don't bring much with the bat except league average at best and they are both RH. And they are on the downswing. Flaherty can be expected to produce at the same or better levels for a couple of years more - the upswing. I also noticed you left Rickard off your roster. How is Rickard statistically worse than Freese for basically zero dollars? At least Desmond can resonably be argued to be an improvement over Flaherty but is a 1st rd (comp round) draft pick worth that amount of improvement - I don't think so.

In fact, here's one for you. The O's would be vastly better off if they had kept Logan Verrett last year in addition to Jason Garcia. He's a legitimate prospect and a legitimate starter. We might have been able to save the Gallardo pick and money. Can you imagine giving up on Norris earlier and installing Verrett in the rotation?

Jon Shepherd said...

Desmond does not move the needle for me to sacrifice the draft pick.

Matt Perez said...

"Waiting a month to get a quality starter wouldn't have been the end of the world. After all, we have waited 2 years for quality outfielders."

Well played. Can't argue with that.

I think the Os will be tempted to rush any pitching talent they may have.


Desmond will absolutely move the needle at shortstop especially with the other options being Flaherty or Janish. In RF, not so much. But what's the point of signing Chris Davis to a monster contract and not surrounding him with as much talent as possible? It's not like the farm has so much talent. For better or worse, the club has decided it's going to try to win over the next three years. I'd devalue picks and overvalue current talent.

I don't think Hardy's labrum is going to get magically better. I do think that he'll need a lot of rest if he wants to stay healthy. Even in the best case scenario, he won't be playing so many games.

Flaherty and Rickard are projected to be below average hitters. Flaherty is in the 10th to 30th percentile and will remain there. He has a below average bat when he does put the ball into play AND strikes out too often. He's reached his ceiling of utility infielder. Freese and Desmond are likely to be far superior offensively -- and have legit chances to have boom seasons.

I think the Os would be happy to have Logan Verrett. I'm not sure he's better then Mike Wright. That's a question for Jon or Joe.

dpsmith said...

-Hardy has had shoulder troubles for the past 2 years or so. I like to watch him play SS, but expecting 100 games out of him, is all I can hope for. That would make Desmond valuable. Comparing Flaherty to Desmond with a bat in their hand, is silly.

-You may be right, Alvarez may not have passed the physical. However, in Chacin's case, it was a minor league deal. IF the O's physical, stops a minor league deal, it will then become a hindrance that the organization cannot continue with.

-The difference between Chacin/Alvarez is that they are PROVEN big league pitchers, not "prospects".

-I like Rickard, he is exactly what this club needs. But, comparing him to Freese isn't apples to apples. Freese will hit 15 homers. That's not Rickard's game.

-The O's would have been vastly better off NOT trading Davies for Parra. Davies is a higher touted prospect than Verrett/Wright and has already had big league success.

Roger said...

Chacin/H. Alvarez were "proven" before they were injured. They are not proven now, although Chacin is having a good spring. The O's have shown no propensity to taking on injury rehabs. Worley fills the role you are seeking for Chacin/H. Alvarez. The Braves, on the other hand have stocked up on high upside TJ cases as part of their total rebuild. If you have a couple or three years to wait for the arm to return to full health then you can do that.

Freese's and Rickard's expectations can be compared through OPS+ and WAR. The O's don't need Freese's 15 HRs but they do need Rickard's OBP potential (as yet unrealized).

Matt - see Jon's comment on moving the needle with Desmond. I fully agree and endorse his statement.

I'm just wondering here why I keep saying the players the O's have are not so bad (re: Reimold, Hardy, Rickard, Mancini, etc...) while everyone else says that only players the O's don't have are worthwhile even when the statistics don't support it. No one wanted Desmond - he was the low man on the QO totem pole. We needed a pitcher and Gallardo was all that was left. You guys say the O's haven't built a team but every move you have recommended has not be unrealized because of DD but mainly by the players they are recruiting (e.g. Fowler, Kazmir, etc...). Even the Davies trade which looks pretty bad now but Parra was exactly what everyone wanted last year - a solid COF and a lefty to boot (O's seem to only be serious about lefties). If he had led to the playoffs like Miller did then everyone would think it was great. The Miller/Rodriguez deal is looking better with Rodriguez experiencing injury issues.

Oh, by the way, Walker in LF today - intriguing idea. Anybody take Walker over Reimold defensively?

dpsmith22 said...


-Worley is not even in the same league as Chacin and Alvarez. He is an emergency starter/organizational depth.

-With pitching so expensive, so difficult to find, and Duquette's propensity to trading pitching prospects, the O's MUST start looking at Rehab's. Otherwise, they will be in the same boat they are now, having total reliance on the current staff. Oh and players with little to no upside, like Worley.

-I agree 100%. The O's need Rickard's OBP more than Freese 15 homers. Rickard's defense is almost necessary with Trumbo in right. (But Hey, I didn't build this sad excuse for a 140 mil roster)

-Gallardo was all that's left because March is when Duquette decided to shop. Let's not act like their weren't plenty of quality starting pitchers available.

-I am not advocating for Desmond. My gut says teams didn't want him because he is a SS, who wasn't very good and they didn't believe he could play the outfield.

-The Davies trade was bad for 2 reasons;
1) Duquette had already traded 5 starting pitching prospects in 2 years, 2 of which were for Snider, who Parra was replacing. So 3 pitching prospects for right field?
2) The timing of the deal. The O's were beaten half to death by NY in 4 straight a few days before the deadline and were obviously done. A deal for an outfielder was necessary somewhere around mid-June, not the final hour of the trade deadline. It was quite obvious to anyone paying attention that the collection of AAAA outfielders Duquette had acquired, to replace Cruz/Markakis, weren't getting it done, by June.

-Miller's trade was a good one, other than he didn't sign with us. Miller was outstanding and was an integral part of that team down the stretch. Injuries killed us.

-Time will tell if Walker can make himself an adequate outfielder. It's just ridiculous that the holes weren't filled with one of the 17 major league outfield free agents available this off-season, or the 13 last off-season.

Matt Perez said...

Jon and I are allowed to disagree. He doesn't even throw rocks at me when we do (or alternatively he has really bad aim).

I agree you can compare Freese and Rickard's expectations via wRC+ and WAR. Rickard is projected to have an 78 wRC+ and be worth roughly 0 WAR. Steamer probably has him at .4 to .5 WAR given 600 PAs. ZIPs would have him at -.3 WAR with the same constraints.

Freese is projected to have a 101 wRC+ with about a 1.5 fWAR given 600 PAs. Those look like very different predictions to me. Freese and Desmond are projected to be far better than Rickard.

People may want players based on their salaries. I wouldn't be a fan of signing Desmond if he received 6 and $100M. But for 1 and $8M, I have to consider it. Likewise, I consider Freese at 1 year and a few million but not at 3 and $40M.

Camden Depot was meh about the Parra deal. And I was in favor of the Miller trade -- because most teams are able to adequately judge their prospect talent. The fact that E-Rod did well after leaving the org is a bad sign.

Ironically, I think the Os are following something I recommended. It's my hypothesis that outfield corner defense is highly over-emphasized by the defensive metrics. If I'm right, then playing Trumbo and Alvarez out there may not be such a bad idea. In such a case, Desmond would only be valuable as SS insurance and Freese would be solely depth (at $3M though, he's still a steal). Regardless of fault, I expect we're going to find out whether I'm right.

I think expecting Walker to be more than minor league depth is a bad sign.

dpsmith said...


IMO Rickard, with a full season of at bats, can, at minimum duplicate, Freese's 1.5 WAR. Not to mention the fact that he is a better fit for this roster.

Of course, I am betting that he can continue to get on base, in the big leagues.

Matt Perez said...

Here's the thing. 1.5 fWAR is valued at roughly $12M. Rickard would cost $500K. If you're telling me that Rickard can be a 1.5 fWAR player then the Rays just gave away $11M by not adding him to the 40-man roster.

Furthermore, the Rays core competency is analyzing young players and seeing whether they can contribute so they can save a buck. They would have failed miserably if he can contribute 1.5 fWAR. To put this in perspective, DeShields was a huge hit, played center field, had significantly more speed, received nearly 500 PAs and ended up with 1.3 fWAR.

I'd say that the smart bet is that he can't continue to get on base at the rate necessary to be worth 1.5 fWAR.

dpsmith22 said...

Everything you say is true. TB is known for evaluating talent and developing it. However, TB took a beating from the media for NOT protecting Rickard. TB claimed it was a numbers game with so many outfielders.

They did say that they thought he had a 4th outfielder ceiling. That was because he hadn't hit as expected. That tool has come on as of late.

Time will tell. I guess Roger and I are higher on him than you and that's cool. I think we will know more in a few months.

Jon Shepherd said...

TB took a beating? Maybe one dude at Fangraphs with a weird model.

Roger said...

Matt, we used to throw pennies in my office..... it hurts less than rocks.

Pip said...

I'm not a betting man, but I would hurry hurry hurry to put up a wager regarding your projection of Rickard putting up a 78 WRC and zero WAR.
Overall I expect he'll be valuable. I don't know how to prorate WAR, and Rickard should get no more than 250 ABs or so (unless something goes horribly wrong) but I'd be surprised if he's less than 1.
He's already the best defensive outfielder we have, and that has to be worth something.

Pip said...

Matt, one thing I've learned from the Rays and the Rule 5 is that if you have too many worthwhile prospects, you're going to lose them, so you should trade them before crunch time happens.
The Rays also lost Tyler Goeddel and at least one pitcher as well in this Rule 5.
They had to choose, and the guys left off weren't cut loose because they were bad, but because there were too many.
Yes, they gave up a potential 1-1.5 WAR player, but Rickard's potential value wasn't a factor in leaving him off, so your point is
If Rickard is worth .4 or so WAR, the Orioles will be money ahead. Anything else and we just get a better bargain.

Sessh said...

I consider myself to be pretty old school when it comes to stats. Personally, I never really got into all these newer, fancy stats. I don't like how we are now trying to simplify everything and every player by reducing them to a number whether it's their value or their potential. There are flaws with every statistic and there are things statistics don't measure like will, heart and the effect they have on their teammates just by being in the clubhouse.

It also seems, as with players like Rickard, that if you can't hit home runs, you're worthless. I, for one, think that's ridiculous and sad that speed and stolen bases have been reduced to little or no value unless you can hit .350 or something. The days of leadoff hitters that can get on base, distract pitchers and steal are seemingly being phased out entirely. Rickard now has a .294/.333 spring line (no point including SLG) and probably room for improvement OBP wise and if he can even do .280/.340 and steal 20-30 bases as a leadoff hitter, that is a win I don't care what WAR says. A player can be valuable without having a power bat.

As someone who loves to see players stealing and disrupting the rhythm of pitchers with their speed threat, it saddens me that baseball continues to take the path away from these kinds of players.

Matt Perez said...

dpsmith - Agreed we'll know more about Rickard in a few months. And I'm definitely not a scout.

Roger - I imagine it would.

Pip - I'm using Steamer and ZIPS for Rickard's projections. I think they're reasonable though. Rule V guys aren't that good.

So, Schoop was worth .8 WAR last year in 321 PAs. A player with 250 PAs that's worth 1 WAR would be about a 2.4 fWAR player.

We'll see what happens.

Matt Perez said...

"The days of leadoff hitters that can get on base, distract pitchers and steal are seemingly being phased out entirely. Rickard now has a .294/.333 spring line (no point including SLG) and probably room for improvement OBP wise and if he can even do .280/.340 and steal 20-30 bases as a leadoff hitter, that is a win I don't care what WAR says. A player can be valuable without having a power bat."

I mean, you can't just completely ignore SLG. Wouldn't you rather have a guy with a .280/.340/.500 line vs a guy with a .280/.340/.360 line?

In all seriousness, a guy with a .280/.340/.380 line, 30 SB and good defense is probably a rich mans version of Ben Revere and will be worth about 3 WAR. Figure his batting will be league average, he'll be worth 5-6 runs on the basepath and his defense will be worth 5 to 10 runs.

Revere himself was worth 2 wins, but Fangraphs doesn't like his defense. A player with that profile and good defense is probably a 3-4 win player. Maybe slightly worse then Adam Jones?

Sessh said...

It really depends. You can't have a whole team of players that all slug over 500. The Orioles have plenty of (undisciplined) power already, but if there's no one to get on base, it's gonna be all solo home runs much like last year. Plus, there's the low BA that so frequently comes with it which also is a setup for a repeat of last year where we stranded 10 runners a game and lose 2-1 because everyone is swinging for the fences when all we need is a single.

I think a good team is a balanced one that has some of everything, but this team has no balance. A team with guys who can get on base and guys that can hit it out with them on base is ideal. The Orioles have plenty of one and not enough of the other, so in this case, Rickard's lack of power is trivial. We need tablesetters ahead of the bashers. Having a one dimensional team makes it a little easier to manage against, wouldn't you say? A good team should be able to do lots of things and be pretty good at most of them.

Roger said...

SBs and sacrifice's are only worthwhile if the advantage you gain outweighs the loss of the out in the case of a sacrifice or the loss of 30% of baserunners in the case of the steal. It's nice to have one table-setter but I'm not sure if it matters if it's Nick Markakis or Dee Gordon. The O's tradition is good pitching and a 3R HR. Not gonna go into the pitching discussion here but they have always played station-to-station baseball. The real key, the real balance is to not have everyone hit HRs at the same time and not have everyone K at the same time. Last year there was too much of that kind of streakiness. Hopefully, this year it evens out more. But I don't think that being a HR hitter eliminates your ability to take a walk or hit a single in a key situation. A .280/.340 plays the same in those situations regardless of slugging. The difference is coming out with a tie/one-run lead or a three run lead. Hopefully, both happen occasionally. The biggest difference in those situations is whether you hit a sac fly or a GIDP or K and let the next guy have a chance. I would love to see some statistics on correlation between GIDPs and team offensive performance.

Roger said...

Oh, and all those Brian Roberts led teams - not a single winning record among them. I love Brian - those teams had lots of problems - but the table setter won't put you over the top. And statistics do mean something - a lot really. Correlations have a great deal of probative value. It's not very romantic but it's factual. You can specifically say that better slugging equals more runs equals better team offensive performance. How can you argue with the basic premise that winning teams are built on scoring runs and preventing runs scored? Every statistic derives from that premise.

Matt Perez said...

"You can't have a whole team of players that all slug over 500."

I don't know. I feel like an offense with 9 Bryce Harpers would be pretty good. He was even able to catch once upon a time so he may even not be completely hopeless at catcher. You'd be giving up defense in the infield though.

But I'd take an Cespedes, Trout, Harper, Carpenter, Machado (he'll have to play SS), Kipnis (not quite a .500 SLG, but...), Votto and Posey (also not quite .500 SLG, but) lineup. Wouldn't you?

dpsmith22 said...

Matt; I agree but the O's are dangerously close to 9 Hardy's, not Harper's.

I agree that balance is certainly necessary. Only 1 team in MLB HISTORY has ever won the world series after leading the majors in homers.

Roger; I agree a table setter won't put you over the top. However, with this current roster, a strong OBP guy at the top would make a world of difference in this offense.

Roger said...

Seems like our destiny is a lineup with Machado then Kim at the top. Kim is a perfect #2 if he delivers according to his reputation - low K, high W, high OBP with a little power potential. Machado's .380 OBP plays well then even if his 30HRs are wasted.

Sessh said...

Matt - Sure, but that's an unrealistic expectation for a lineup. It's all fantasy unless it's an all-star game or something. Striding for or expecting that is pointless.

Roger - I agree and as you said, the Roberts teams were absolutely horrible and I don't think it's fair to use those teams as examples. We were bad top to bottom. Roberts was one of the only bright spots we had and if we had him on our teams these days, we'd be a much better team without question. A tablesetter alone won't do much, but with a lineup that has a ton of power and not enough tablesetters, one would make a world of difference. Having two at the top of the order would mean more first inning runs, but one would bring some of that as well. A balanced lineup is a way more realistic goal than an all-star lineup and I prefer to stay more in reality with this.

Also, you know that Kim won three gold gloves in KBO, had the highest fielding % in baseball last year (.998) and led the league the last three years in innings played in left field (2,633), putouts (590) and assists (21)? Three gold gloves and people say he can't play D? He doesn't look that smooth out there, but really? People say his D sucks? Kim also played his home games in the biggest park in the KBO; 410ft to center, 394 in the gaps and 328 down the lines. Kang played in a park that was 387 to center field, 371 in the gaps and 322 down the lines. That being said, things aren't looking good for Kim at this point. Man, I really hope he can get it together. He has a better chance than Kang of hitting 30 homers in the majors especially in our park.

dpsmith22 said...

I got to see Kim finally, last night. Here is my opinion, worth no more than yours :)

I was impressed with his willingness to go the other way, especially behind in the count. He certainly can handle the bat well enough for the 2 hole. I don't expect much power from him as he pulls off the ball ALOT (more than Ichiro), so unless the pitch is in, he isn't hitting it 385ft. His bat stays in the hitting zone a long time, which typically means he could hit for a decent average and strike out very little.

I believe we all think its going to take some time for him to get acclimated to big league pitching. Nothing I saw changes that shared opinion. My thought would be to send him down for a bit, but that will make the FO look bad though, not that they need any help doing that.

One thing I saw that bothered me is 2 straight fastballs, thigh high, at 93, right down the middle and he fouled both of them off. Jones would have hit the second one into someone's beer in the left field stands.

I think he will eventually be a soft .270-.280 hitter, but he is going to need time.
Think Joe Orsulak.

Matt Perez said...

Interesting. If Kim turns into an Orsulak, he's going to need an elite walk/strikeout rate to get a .340 OBP. Low for both, and nearly a one to one ratio.

dpsmith said...

'Slacks career OBP is .324. He did have a few seasons where he cracked the .340 mark. Slack did walk and K very little and I think Kim will follow that approach, this season, at least for a while.

Kim appeared to me as "feeling for the ball" which would explain his 0 Extra base hits and low bb/k rates, thus far. That's how Orsulak hit and that's where I derived the bad comparison lol