Baltimore Orioles: David Lough and Outfielders on the Fringe


Sep 20, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles outfielders Alejandro De Aza (left) David Lough (center) and Adam Jones (rear) celebrate after a game against the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Red Sox 7-2.Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

In the quest of the Baltimore Orioles to find outfielders, particularly in the loss of Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz, the O’s have had a total of 15 in major league camp for this 2015 spring training. A number of these are destined for the minor leagues and are being given a MLB experience, like Mike Yastrzemski and Glenn Davis. Yet quite a number of other players are on, or near, the proverbial bubble as they battle to come in off the fringe.

The Orioles are likely to carry six outfielders, and five of that number are rather certain, barring some injury or unforeseen circumstance: Adam Jones, Alejandro De Aza, Steve Pearce, Travis Snider and Delmon Young.

The one extra position would be most often presumed to go to David Lough. But this is not a definitive decision or scenario. A number of others could possibly slip into that spot or be ready in the event of a need – which is likely to happen at some point. And beyond that, three of the five “locks” mentioned above are free agents at the end of this season, so there is much to play for in order to be well-positioned for 2016.

I thought it might be interesting to seek to gain an evaluation of those outfielders closest to the majors by comparing them (as much as is possible) at the relative same level of play … choosing to look at their career statistics at AAA, beginning with David Lough.

David Lough29401.295.34833
Henry Urrutia2880.286.3112
Dariel Alvarez2644.301.3281
Julio Borbon29402.298.35517
Nolan Reimold31164.274.37925
Chris Parmelee27141.295.39527

Though the numbers of games played at AAA varies, it is striking as to how relatively similar are the batting averages. The lowest by Reimold at .274 is offset by his .379 OBP.  And I would not have expected Parmelee to have such good numbers, so one can see why a franchise would want to give such a player a chance to break through.

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These numbers also do demonstrate why Lough is given a long look. What else would there be for him to prove or learn at AAA?  Along with his good second half of 2014, so long has his spring turns out decently, he should be the presumptive favorite. Right now he is 3-for-18.

The two Cuban outfielders are quite the rage in the minds of many, but when put on a chart like this, their relative lack of power does stand out.

A strategy of the Orioles is to stockpile players who were high draft choices at one time and who have had some success, even if it has not been sustained – all the while hoping for them to break out. Steve Pearce is of course “exhibit A” of this sort of thing.

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So, speaking of Peace, how would his career AAA numbers equate?  Actually they would be quite similar. Over 309 games, he had an average / OBP of .287 / .364 with a total of 48 home runs. Clearly his power is a bit more than those on the chart, but other numbers are roughly the same.

It will be interesting to see how many of these players prove over the next five years or so to become consistently-producing MLB outfielders.

Next: Rooting for Urrutia to make it - sooner or later