Baltimore Orioles Getting Promising Results from Jonathan Villar

The Baltimore Orioles received only one player with extensive major league experience during their deadline dealing, and so far he has done very well in orange and black.

When the Baltimore Orioles made all of their deadline trades, most of the returns were prospects. However, there was one established major leaguer who they received in return.

That player was Jonathan Villar, who they received along with Luis Ortiz and Jean Carmona for Jonathan Schoop.

Some considered Villar to be a throw-away in the deal. Carmona is an 18-year-old shortstop who has the tools to be a major leaguer with development.

Ortiz is a right-handed pitcher who will likely be part of their rotation in the coming years, and likely next year.

So far, Ortiz has done pretty well at Triple-A Norfolk, with a 2.81 ERA in three starts, with two wins under his belt. He has allowed five runs over 16 innings in those games. Ortiz could theoretically have a chance to start this season as the Orioles look at young starters in September.

But, Villar has been performing on a major league level, since coming off the disabled list on August 1.

This wasn’t the first time Villar was dealt at the trade deadline. The first time, he was traded by the Philadelphia Phillies, who signed him as an amateur free agent in 2008.

He was sent to the Houston Astros, along with Anthony Gose and J.A. Happ, for Roy Oswalt.

That trade worked pretty well for the Phillies.

Villar cracked the major leagues in 2013 for Houston, playing 57 games in his rookie season and 87 the next.

It was in 2016, after being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, that Villar flourished, to an extent. In 156 games he hit .285/.369/.457 with 19 home runs, 38 doubles, 63 runs batted in, 92 runs scored, a major league-leading 62 stolen bases, and 174 strikeouts.

Villar has always been a high strikeout guy for someone without a ton of power, which is not exactly what the Orioles need.

Since being acquired, Villar is hitting .270/.343/.444 with three home runs, two doubles, nine runs batted in, seven runs scored and two stolen bases.

His offensive WAR since joining the Orioles is 0.5, nothing to write home about, but not bad for 20 days of work. His defensive WAR is 0, but it is worth noting that he has never had a dWAR below -0.1

Villar also has been steady at second base for the Orioles. While he doesn’t have the arm of Jonathan Schoop, he is more athletic and can make some plays that Schoop, at his size, doesn’t have the ability to make.

Villar is actually more experienced at shortstop, where he has played 272 games, as opposed to 200 at second base and 54 at third base.

However, the Orioles look comfortable with him at second and trying to get Tim Beckham comfortable at shortstop. Which makes sense, because if Beckham can’t figure it out, he probably won’t be on the team next year.

When you consider the fact that Schoop is struggling for Milwaukee, this is one trade the Orioles look like they did well with.

Add in the fact that Villar is making less than Schoop, and is not a free agent until 2021, and it looks even better.

Then you remember Schoop is a free agent after the 2019 season, and you realize the Orioles got a talented international player in Carmona, a pitcher who could potentially help in the major leagues, and a second baseman who is outperforming the second baseman they traded to Milwaukee, and also will be with the team longer.

While trades cannot be looked at in a vacuum, this one looks good so far for the Orioles.

In related news, the Manny Machado trade to the Dodgers will also look pretty good for the Orioles if the Dodgers fail to miss the playoffs.

Should the credit go to Dan Duquette? Maybe to management for allowing Schoop to be traded?

Or maybe Villar should get some credit, for taking advantage of this new opportunity on a rebuilding club.

No matter who gets the credit, the different facets of the game that Villar excels at are a nice complement to a team that doesn’t have the speed and athleticism it needs.