Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Possible Positional Player Targets for 2012

As the season winds down, it becomes time to put on the GM cap. While the Orioles have shown much improvement this September, there is still a lot of work to be done for this team to be competitive year long.

I want to discuss a few names that I think the Orioles should target. I am going to stay away from the Prince Fielder and CJ Wilson types, as practically every team could use or want players of that stature.

David Dejesus: Dejesus would be an excellent addition to the Orioles squad in 2012. While the 32 year old slumped in Oakland this season, he has a career OBP of .356. The Orioles should be in the market for a top of the order hitter such as Dejesus, who can get on base for the big power bats of Reynolds, Jones and Hardy (who should be batting lower in the order). Dejesus probably will not cost that much to bring in since his batting line this season was only .240/.323/.376. Regardless if Dejesus is on a decline, he still would be a better fixture than Matt Angle as the 4th OF or as a starting LF. The only problem is figuring out what to do with Luke Scott and Nolan Reimold. One could obviously DH.

Coco Crisp: Crisp is almost like Dejesus, as he would be a top of the order batter. While he only has a career OBP of .330, he still would give the Orioles that dose of speed that they severely lacked at the top of the order all year. He has tallied 49Stolen bases this year (58 attempts, 84%) . While he would probably not run that much in Baltimore, it would still be a strong asset for them.

Michael Cuddyer: Cuddyer would be a great addition to the Orioles if they could get him on a 2 or 3 year deal while not severely overpaying. His career OBP is .343, while this year he is a little above that at .349. However, Cuddyer has a few other positive assets that make me even more excited about the idea of bringing him in. He can play 1st, OF, DH and has even played 2nd and 3rd in recent years. I just like the flexibility that Cuddyer would bring to the Orioles. Another thing that I like about him is extra base power. Cuddyer can hit anywhere between 25-35 doubles with 15-25 HR's any given year.Finally, Cuddyer has a career BABIP of .306, which has not varied much in his career. He is about as consistent as you can get, besides the aberration 32 HR season he had.

While these guys may not be top tier additions, they provide the Orioles with better options than they currently have. You could argue that signing any of these guys would reduce the time of Nolan Reimold, but the front office should not be worried about that. Make Nolan earn his playing time in spring training and early next season.

(Stats taken from Baseball Reference)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Role-ing the Dice with Chris Davis?

I was a big proponent of the Orioles acquiring Chris Davis at the trade deadline (As seen Here). Not only were the Orioles able to acquire Davis, but they were able to get a decent arm in Tommy Hunter.

The question I have though, is whether the Orioles should be going into the 2012 season fully committed to Chris Davis.

Davis has not shown too much improvement since coming over in the trade.
He had a .250/.296/.408 batting line in 81 plate appearances with the Rangers.
He has a .267/.298/.388 batting line in 121 plate appearances with the Orioles.
Overall a .260/.297/.396 batting line in 202 plate appearances.

While he has had limited playing time, that line does not exactly make anyone jump out of their seat when they read it. So the question is, should the Orioles feel confident in going into the 2012 season fully relying on Chris Davis to be a big factor in the team?

I would argue that Davis has looked a lot better in the month of September. In the month of September he has hit over .300 and has shown a much better approach at the plate. A lot of that can be credited to shortening his swing when he has two strikes on himself. While his power has been missing since getting full playing time, I am more impressed with the decline in strikeouts. In the past 10 games he has 8 strikeouts, with 12 hits. That is going up against Josh Beckett, and  Justin Verlander to name a few. It does worry me though how he has not had a Walk in the past 10 games . While 10 games is clearly a small sample size, it is interesting to see the underlying stats in these games. But the problem with Davis is that he simply has trouble working the count, as he has a below average batting eye.
However, the most important stat for Chris Davis is his BABIP. It currently stands at .360 for this season. This stats tells me that when he does indeed make contact, that he is successful. Thus, his better two strike approach can surely help him in the future.

Next season the Orioles will most likely lose Vlad Guerrero, and gain Luke Scott (injured). I imagine they will sign at least one player for LF or 1st Base. This leaves an opening possibly at DH, 3rd or 1st for Chris Davis. Assuming Mark Reynolds plays 1st, that leaves only DH, 3rd or a bench spot for Davis.

It will be interesting to see whether the Orioles feel comfortable going into the season relying on Davis. If they do not sign anyone, it will tell me that they do feel comfortable.

(Stats taken from FanGraphs and Baseball Reference )

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mark Reynolds: A Defensive Standpoint

Mark Reynolds' first year as an Oriole has certainly been a roller coaster ride. While he has mashed 36 HR, he has also committed 30 Errors. Most of those errors however, have been at the hot corner. I want to take a look at Reynolds at 3rd Base vs 1st Base and see if there really is a significant difference in his level of defensive play between each position.

3rd Base

Lets be honest. He was a little worse than atrocious at times on the hot corner. In 984.1 Innings so far, he has compiled 16 fielding errors and 10 throwing errors. That's a grand total of 26 errors. His UZR rating is not much better at -23.1 (That is not an error). Clearly he was struggling at 3rd Base. 2011 has actually been his worst year at 3rd Base. His lowest UZR in past seasons was -10.3 in 2008. Another crazy statistic that jumps out is his RngR(Range Runs above Average) at 3rd, which was -15.5. This screams to me that he was not getting to a lot of balls as well as being a well below-average fielder.

1st Base

Reynolds has played 329.1 innings so far this season at 1st. He has 3 fielding errors and 1 throwing error for a total of 4 errors. His UZR at 1st is -3.5, which is a lot better than the dreadful UZR at 3rd. Reynolds has clearly played a lot better at 1st, and genuinely looks more comfortable as well. His RngR was -3.1

Now lets take a look at these two positions compared.

If you think about it, Reynolds has played 3rd base about triple the amount that he has played 1st this year.
If we triple Reynolds error total from 1st base, he would still only have 12 errors. That is much better than the 26 he had at 3rd. I realize this calculation is also somewhat misleading and not fully plausible, but it gives us a general idea that he has been much better at first. So from a little recap we gather that:

Position   Innings   #Errors     Error*3      UZR       RngR
3rd                984.1         26            -            -23.1        -15.5
1st                 329.1          4            12            -3.5          -3.1

Overall, it seems the Orioles have found a home for Mark Reynolds at 1st base.
All statistics were taken from Fangraphs (One of my favorite websites)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Matt Angle: What is Their Value?

It's been a long time since my last blog post (A really long time).

I want to discuss the value of OF Matt Angle in the future. He has been getting substantial playing time in the latter part of the 2011 season.

Through 81 plate appearances, Matt Angle only has a wOBA of .268 . That is not exactly the kind of number you want from an Angle type of player. His biggest asset is clearly his speed. He essentially has minimal power (think of a lesser Brett Gardner). But the speed will not be efficiently used if he cannot find his way on base. Once he is one base though, he is practically a speed demon (10/11 SB so far in the MLB). I know that 81 plate appearances is a small number, but he will have to show a lot more in the next week or so to impress the organization. The biggest worry I have with Angle is that his wOBA has dropped each season, and every level up. While a standard drop is usually accurate, these drops are somewhat startling:

Year   Class    wOBA    PA  
2007     A-       .402     287
2008     A         .362     478
2009     A+       .345    478
2010     AA       .410     70
2010     AAA    .304    399
2011     AAA    .328    489
2011     MLB    .268      81

I still think Angle can be a reasonable 4th OF, but that is about it. He certainly is an asset in the OF defensively, and can be a great pinch runner. However, those assets can be replaceable by an incoming free agent or waiver pickup. Next season in spring training could be a very important time for the career path of Matt Angle.

(All stats were taken from Fangraphs)