Baltimore Orioles: Ryan Flaherty – At Home in Boston


Apr 19, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Ryan Flaherty (3) is greeted at the dugout by manager Buck Showalter (26) after his solo home run against the Boston Red Sox during the second inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The sport of baseball and the players who play it occasionally display anomalies that stand out as very unusual. At the same time, the game is generally one where, over time, there is an averaging-out of most statistics that do not have a logical foundation.

When listening to Baltimore Orioles broadcasts this weekend of games being played against the Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, it has been duly noted that second baseman Ryan Flaherty hits particularly well in this stadium. As a bit of a Flaherty skeptic, I am almost tempted to say that if someone only ever hits well in one ballpark, then yes, it does stand out and gets mentioned.

Flaherty – the Rule 5 draftee in 2012 who has stuck with the team now for year #4 – still does not have a significantly large number of games and at-bats in his career to make many definitive statements (apart from concluding that he looks like a .220-something hitter?). And though the sample size is not huge, his extraordinary numbers at Fenway compared to everywhere else really do stick out as an “anomaly.”

Here they are, compared to everywhere else (at least 20 at-bats) …

Fenway Park, Boston – 22-for-57 = .386

Yankee Stadium, New York – 10-for-37 = .270

Progressive Field, Cleveland – 6-for-26 = .240

Angel Stadium, Anaheim – 5-for-22 = .227

Oriole Park, Baltimore – 82-for-365 = .225

Safeco Field, Seattle – 6-for-24 = .167

Rogers Center, Toronto – 6-for-36 = .167

Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay – 7-for-52 = .135

Everywhere else combined – 14-for-83 = .169

So when you look at this list, there really is only one thing that stands out. For some reason he hits extraordinarily well at Fenway Park. The only explanation that I can figure as a possible reason is that he is close enough to home in Maine that his mom cooks for him while he is there.

Seriously, growing up in a baseball family in New England (his dad is a college coach), one is a fan of the Red Sox and goes to games at Fenway Park. So these walls are really, truly home for Flaherty. The environment is totally familiar, chowder and all. That has to be it!

Actually, his game-tying home run on Sunday was the first of his career at Fenway. Flaherty has now hit 25 career homers, 16 of them at home in Camden Yards.

Without a doubt, now that Jonathon Schoop is out of the lineup for some extended period of time, Flaherty is going to be playing more. I have no grievance whatsoever with his defensive abilities; he has great value as a utility infielder. It is his lack of plate production that makes one wonder if there is not some other possibility to provide more punch in the lineup.

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However, it is noticeable that he has made some modifications at the plate this spring. Most of the time, the big looping swing is now replaced with a more compact and quick swing. This could make a difference. He is swinging through less pitches.

And I am beginning to believe I see the evidence in Flaherty (and a few others) that the Orioles may have definitely upgraded their hitting instruction. If so, Coolbaugh could prove to have been the best offseason improvement and addition to the Baltimore Orioles. We might even start to call him “Fresh Eyes.” That worked last year!

Next: Adam Jones is off to his best start ever

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