Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2010 Defense vs. 2011 Defense

The Orioles have seemingly upgraded their offensive potency since last year. But lets take a look at how they fare on defense based off their new acquisitions.

-Catcher is essentially the same as last year, and  Matt Wieters is only getting better so I will not touch on him.

The Outfield will see a slight difference this year. Last year consisted of Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and a variety of different left fielders such as Reimold, Pie, and Corey Patterson.

in 2010 the UZR/150 ratings looked like this for the OF:

LF: -3.8
CF: -5.8
RF:  9.6

-For some odd reason it seems UZR hates Adam Jones (probably because of how many balls get over his head due to playing so shallow).

2011 UZR/150 Ratings based off of prior seasons should look like this:

LF: 1.35
CF: -5.8
RF:  9.6

-I've already discussed how Scott will be an upgrade in a past blog, which you can find here.

First Base will consist Derrek Lee instead of Ty Wiggington
The UZR/150 for 2010 was:
 -3.9
The UZR/150 for 2011 is projected to be:
  2.1

Another clear upgrade, not to mention that Derrek Lee has been a very consistent fielder over his entire career.

Second Base will be welcoming back Brian Roberts:
In 2010 without him the UZR/150 was:
-2.7
In 2011 with Roberts back we can hope for a similar carer path UZR of:
3.1 (although his last few years have been closer to 1)

SS will consist of JJ Hardy now instead of Cesar Izturis
in 2010:
5.8
in 2011 the projection is:
8.1 

It is an interesting case, because UZR seems to not favor Izturis that much and really seems to be in favor of Hardy. But as the stat suggests, Hardy is an upgrade.

Finally, 3rd Base will be taken over by Mark Reynolds, as Miguel Tejada departs and Josh Bell  goes to AAA. 2010 looked like:
-3.5 between the two of Tejada and Bell.
2011 Projects to:
2.5

If defense could only be measured by UZR, it would surely seem that the Orioles have indeed gotten better on Defense. However it is important to remember that every stat is flawed in some form or way. I still believe that the Orioles did get better defensively regardless.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What Should The Orioles Do With Tillman?

At age 22, Chris Tillman is one of the youngest starting pitchers on the Orioles. He also is one of the younger pitchers in the entire league. He is only 22 years old. Did I make myself clear?

I think people tend to forget the age difference in Tillman, and that most of the other young arms we have are a full 2 years older. This is why I think Tillman gets unfair judgment in Baltimore. He really should not be compared to Matusz, Bergesen, Arrieta, or even Britton.
Chris Tillman

-As of now, The Orioles Roation will most likely be:

1. Guthrie
2. Matusz
3. Duchscherer
4. Bergesen
5. Arrieta

Obviously those pitchers will still need to win their rotation spots (at least Arrieta). I think it is safe to say that this rotation is what the Orioles go into opening day with, barring any injuries.

So What decision should the Orioles make with Chris Tillman? There are a few options, all with their own positives and negatives:

1. Keep Tillman in the MLB as the Orioles emergency starter/ Long Releiver
  • Positives: He can stay close to Buck Showalter, Bullpen Coach Rick Adair, and Pitching Coach Mark Connor. Also he can get occasional work in the highest level of the game.
  • Negatives: He will not get the consistent time he needs to further develop. He could pitch every 5 days at AAA.
2. Send Tillman down to AAA for the start of the season.
  • Positives: Obviously he can pitch every 5 days and work on refining his secondary pitches better, as well as fastball location. It never hurts to become more intelligent with your pitch selection.
  • Negatives: He will not be in direct contact with the Orioles best pitching coaches, and this could also hurt his ego from not making the opening day roster.
-There is also the chance that Tillman surprisingly wins out the 5th spot, but I seriously doubt that happens.
-In my personal opinion, I think the Orioles should send Chris Tillman down to AAA to pitch every 5 days. It's a tough decision to make, because in all reality Tillman might be ready for the majors. But there is simply no room in the rotation now, and it is not going to hurt Tillman if he is sent down. It may make him work harder, which you would obviously think is true. I still think he could use some seasoning in AAA, possibly working more on his secondary pitches, such as the cutter he started throwing last year. In the long run, adding Duchscherer could be beneficial for Tillman, even though it most likely pushed him out of the rotation.

-One Final Thought: Please stop acting like Tillman is a bust prospect, when in reality he shouldn't have even pitched in the Majors yet.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Jake Fox Should Be Backup Catcher

The Orioles bats have been on fire these first three spring training games, with another 6-5 victory today over the Phillies. A big reason for these three victories has been the one and only Jake Fox.

Jake Fox has 4 hits through three games, a .571 batting average. He has really been hitting the ball well since spring training started (Remember he reported with pitchers and catchers so he has been here a little longer).

-I have come to the conclusion that Jake Fox should be the backup catcher over Craig Tatum, and I honestly don't think I need to see anything else for me to sway from this conclusion. There are a few reasons I think he has the upper hand and deserves it:


1.  He is clearly a better hitter than Craig Tatum, although Tatum did surprise many with his hitting last year. But in all honesty, Fox brings a much scarier bat to the plate. He has much more power than Tatum and can be a gap-to-gap hitter as well.

2. He can play multiple positions, and therefore free up a roster spot for a 5th Outfielder, extra Reliever, or Utility man. Fox plays 1st, Catcher, 3rd and OF. I think this is the most obvious reason why Jake Fox is so valuable for the Orioles. It may come down to where Showalter feels that we need an extra player (injuries happen), and instead of having to make the tough decision of what Catcher to drop, they can just jettison another bench player down much easier.

3. He has a strong relationship and good connection with the young pitchers. For example, today he was attributed with calming the nerves of Zach Britton down, whom was making his spring training debut against a tough Phillies squad. This is a big deal to me because of how often a backup catcher gets to play. They really are important, and if Fox can help the young pitchers grow even further, than they need him in Baltimore. I am not saying Craig Tatum does not do this, but Tatum does not have the first two points on his resume.


Overall, I really think Fox is the better pick for backup catcher. Lets see if the team thinks so too.