The Orioles were middle of the pack when it came to getting on base in 2011.
They ranked 19th overall with an OBP of .316
They ranked 12th overall with a wOBA of .320
They ranked 20th overall with a BABIP of .288
They ranked 14th overall with a K% of 18.2%
They ranked 24th overall with a BB% of 7.3% (Tied with 3 other teams)
They really were not good in any category, although their wOBA is surprisingly a little higher than expected. I would attribute that to how many HR they hit as a club though.
If you look at each player individually, you can get a better idea of where they stand. I only chose to look at players who got more than 150 AB. Chris Davis did not make the cut (124AB).
OBP: Nick Markakis .351
wOBA: Mark Reynolds .348
BABIP: Robert Andino .311
K%: Vlad Guerrero 9.5%
BB%: Mark Reynolds 12.1%
A few things jump out when looking at these stats. This team simply does not have the necessary patience at the plate. Only three players had BB% over 9% (Nolan Reimold, Mark Reynolds and Luke Scott). That alone will drag down a teams' OBP. Six players had K% over 18%(Felix Pie, Luke Scott, Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold, Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds)! If it was not for Vlad Guerrero and his 9.5 K% outlier, the Orioles would have been even worse in that category. Finally, Felix Pie and Brian Roberts in 353 AB last season collectively had a .255 BABIP and .259 wOBA. Those 353 AB really drag down the teams' overall stats.
So how can this team get better in 2012? Well first let's start at looking at the new projections for the starting lineup. I compiled all of Bill James projections for the starting lineup together.
I did NOT consider Brian Roberts in the 2012 projections. I just do not see him ever being healthy this season unfortunately.
Here is the starting lineup:
C: Matt Wieters
1st: Chris Davis
2nd: Robert Andino
SS: JJ Hardy
3B: Mark Reynolds
LF: Nolan Reimold
CF: Adam Jones
RF: Nick Markakis
DH: Wilson Betemit
Notable Bench Players:
These are the guys I see getting significant (or relevant) playing time.
Unfortunately there are no projections for Matt Antonelli at this time. I would consider him a boost to these stats if anything.
Here are their projections for 2012 in RED
Bill James Projections:
OBP: .332 They ranked 19th overall in 2011with an OBP of .316wOBA: .336 They ranked 12th overall in 2011with a wOBA of .320
BABIP: .308 They ranked 20th overall in 2011with a BABIP of .288
K%: 19.68% They ranked 14th overall in 2011 with a K% of 18.2%
BB%: 8.37% They ranked 24th overall in 2011 with a BB% of 7.3% (Tied with 3 other teams)
If the 2012 projections were ranked with the 2011 stats they would be:
7th overall in OBP
4th overall in wOBA
4th overall in BABIP
21st overall in K%
13th overall in BB%
I tend to think that Bill James' projections are STRONGLY optimistic at times. I don't think anyone projects the Orioles to really improve substantially in each category like these projections indicate (Besides K%, which is due to the loss of Vlad Guerrero and the gain of Wilson Betemit and his 27.3%). They project players such as Nolan Reimold, Nick Markakis, Matt Wieters, and Chris Davis to all take significant steps forward. At the very least, I would doubt that all four do. Also it is very hard to project BABIP, as it has a lot to do with luck and opponents defensive abilities.
Overall, I would still say that the 2012 team has a much better chance at getting on base, but to not get overly excited with the outcome of these projections. Let's remember a year ago at this time when everyone thought the Orioles lineup projected to be a force in the AL East!