18 April 2018

The Orioles Have Been Bad In Many Areas

You only need to look at the Orioles' record (5-12) and run differential (-37) to know they've had a rough start to the year. They haven't won many games, and they've been outscored by a lot.

As you'd imagine, they've struggled in plenty of ways. This isn't an exhaustive breakdown, but here are some areas in which they've been very bad. First, the offense:
  • Scoring runs: 3.19 runs per game (2nd worst in AL)
  • Getting on base: .286 OBP (2nd worst in AL)
  • Avoiding strikeouts: 28.2 K% (MLB worst)
  • Also have the 2nd most caught looking Ks (38) in the majors
  • Hitting the ball hard (28.0 hard-hit percentage, worst in AL)
  • Making contact (71.9 Contact%, worst in MLB) 
  • 2nd worst in both out-of-zone contact and in-zone contact
How about the pitching struggles?
  • Limiting runs: 5.38 runs allowed per game (3rd worst in AL)
  • Avoiding bullpen usage: 5.0 IP per start (tied for 2nd worst in AL)
  • Keeping runners off base (1.50 WHIP, 2nd worst in AL)
And the fielding? That actually depends which metric you use (and yes, it's incredibly early to be looking at fielding metrics):
  • 16th in MLB in FanGraphs' defensive runs above average (DEF)
  • 6th in UZR/150
  • 26th in DRS
I can't imagine this O's defense will rate anything better than average as the year goes on. The battle lines of Manny Machado playing shortstop have been drawn (I'm still in favor but also never thought it was a huge deal), but no matter what, I don't think anyone wants to see Danny Valencia playing third base anymore.

So Orioles batters are not scoring runs, getting on base, putting the ball in play, hitting the ball hard, or making much contact. Jonathan Schoop (out with a quad injury), Adam Jones, Danny Valencia, Anthony Santander, Tim Beckham, Chris Davis, Colby Rasmus (hip injury), and Caleb Joseph all have a wRC+ under 70 (with several far below that mark). O's starting pitchers, collectively, are not going longer in games, and they're not keeping runners off base. With each start, Chris Tillman's hold on a roster spot gets even more tenuous. And while the fielding has maybe been OK, it hasn't helped pitchers to keep runs off the board. These are all significant problems.

The Orioles have not had much go right. They need a healthy Schoop back as soon as possible, and they need a significant chunk of the team to play better. And they need to do it soon, before things get really bad and the team digs a large enough hole that they can't climb out of. I hope Buck still likes his guys because they're all he's got.

Photo via Keith Allison. Stats, from FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference, as of April 17.


Unknown said...

My theory for the last 4-5 years is that the Orioles never stood a chance in the playoffs because they rely on the homerun to score. When the weather turns cool/damp and the ball isn't flying out the park, they have nothing else to rely on. How much do you contribute the Orioles offensive struggles to the bad weather?

Matt Kremnitzer said...

I have no idea. I'm sure it's a factor, just like it's a factor for many teams. I can't imagine the Orioles will keep being this bad on offense, but they don't have a bunch of great hitters. Several of them have been coasting by on reputation for a while. I think they'll break out of this funk at some point, but I also don't think they have one of top handful of offenses in the AL.

Pip said...

The most important thing is to discern who is making he decisions.

louie said...

Chris Davis now has 3 times more strikeouts than hits. Last year, he had nearly twice as many strikeouts as hits. This is not a slump. This is historic, record-setting incompetence as a hitter. With his straight up and open batting stance, his head isn't anywhere near the ball, and he obviously can't see the ball well. Yet, he appears to be sticking with the same batting approach over and over and over again. How long are we expected to keep watching this? At this point, it's on the hitting coach and the manager to do something.

John Wellington "Goatman Johnny" Forbes III said...

Since their 4-19 stretch to end last season, and continuing with their 5-13 run to begin this season, Orioles have averaged 3 runs per game while allowing 5.8 runs per game. They have more Ks (405) than hits (293). This is a historic run of incompetence that not even the 1998-2011 teams could touch. Hard to get better when Rule 5 picks are elbowing out homegrown talent and Chris Tillman keeps on getting trotted out every 5th day. Meanwhile, Ryan Flaherty is batting .322 (17/48) in Atlanta as their every-day third baseman and Buck has to trot out has-beens to cover gaping holes in infield depth.

Matt Kremnitzer said...

People are still stuck on Ryan Flaherty? Give me a break. This team has serious flaws, and a utility player isn't the answer.

CBreezyThreezy said...

For me, this horrific start affects two things:

1. Motivation - Usually the O's start out hot and that carries over the year. This (previously) led to easy motivation to spend time watching their games and reading about their prospects etc. With the bad start, and given where we are with multiple contracts running out, I'm worried I won't be able to be as good of a fan. It's hard to watch right now.

2. Sellers - We haven't been sellers in years and if we continue to be this bad we SHOULD be extreme sellers. Restocking the farm system sounds great but saying goodbye to Manny, AJ10, and Britton (among others) will be very sad.