So is it time yet to start worrying about the Baltimore Orioles lack of offensive punch in spring training? For such a powerful lineup—the one that has led the world in home runs in recent years—it really is a startlingly low production, even for the beginning of the preseason.
The O’s have a team batting average right now after 10 games of .229 (with seven home runs) which is 13th in the American League. So who is leading the league? Some alleged powerhouse like the Blue Jays? No, actually Toronto is 14th at .226, with no surprise in seeing Tampa Bay last at .206. But leading the AL is the mighty offense of the Kansas City Royals with a .306 average, followed by the Oakland A’s at .300.
Anybody want to bet that the Royals and A’s will be #1 and #2 at the end of the regular season?
Certainly the best time of the entire year to suck at hitting is over the first 10 games of spring training. We obviously understand that. At the same time, there really is quite a pattern evolving. One would expect all the fringe and AA/AAA players to be pulling down the team numbers. Actually, many of them are performing reasonably well.
But let’s go around the field (not in any batting order) with a presumptive starting lineup and see what it adds up to: Matt Wieters 0-for-20, Chris Davis 2-for-15, Jonathan Schoop 3-for-15, J.J. Hardy 4-for-15, Manny Machado 6-for-17, Alejandro De Aza 2-for-16, Adam Jones 3-for-17, Travis Snider 3-for-15, Delmon Young 0-for-11. This gives a total of 23-for-141, which is an average of .163.
If you’re not a stats guy, that’s not good.
The encouraging number that jumps out is how well Machado is playing. And it is not just that he is standing in the batter’s box and getting some hits. He is making all the plays in the field, including charging balls and diving into foul territory and making the near impossible plays. He is running aggressively, even stealing. There remains the latent fear that it could all dissipate in in instant in a heap on the field. And this worry may take a year or two to get over completely; but so far, so good.
More 2016 Free Agent Talk
Another day brings another set of quotes from another veteran free agent after this season: Darren O’Day. There is nothing at all that is the least bit caustic in his remarks in an article by Roch Kubatko, and I think it is fair to say that many of these statements from players are happening because reporters are asking questions and the guys are simply answering them. Then it seems like a pile of comments about contracts and events that are closer to a year away from right now.
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O’Day has been fantastic with a 17-6 record over his three years with the Baltimore Orioles, posting ERA numbers of 2.28, 2.18, and 1.70.
Hold it … I thought relievers NEVER had consistent numbers year to year! Isn’t that the old baseball adage that you can’t trust signing relievers to long-term contracts because they are so notoriously inconsistent?
O’Day is near the top of the list of the 11 free agents on the Orioles whom I would seek to retain. And the reason is more than just these numbers. He has a long-term future is baseball as a coach, and he serves as a sort of bullpen captain who is helpful to all others around him.