Posted by Brady
In 2010, the Baltimore Orioles had an infield that consisted of Ty Wiggington, Brian Roberts, Ceaser Izturis, Matt Weiters, and Miguel Tejada. And an outfield that consisted of Felix Pie, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis. Luke Scott was the DH. Save for Roberts and Weiters, that whole infield is gone. Derrek Lee will be at first, J.J. Hardy at short, and Mark Reynolds at third. Nick Markakis is still in right, and Adam Jones is still in center. Pie will go to the bench, to the minors, or be moved, because Luke Scott needs to play somewhere, since Vladimir Guerrero is now the new Orioles DH. Buck Showalter has an offense. A ridiculously good offense.
Last season, Baltimore finished in 5th place in the AL East, and they scored 650 runs. They were 27th in runs scored, 20th in total bases, 24th in OBP….they were terrible. Just awful. They didn’t rank in the top half in any offensive category. But what about in 2011? The answer is in the new guys. Hardy, Lee, Guerrero, and Reynolds.
J.J. Hardy is slightly under a league average hitter with an OPS+ of 95. And he seems to have completely lost his home run power stroke going from 24 home runs in 2008, and 17 in 2009 and 2010 combined. His ISO in 2008 was .195 and in 2009 and 2010 it was .128 and .126 respectively. But what value does Hardy bring? It’s mostly in his glove. He put up a UZR of 8.1. Ranking behind Brendan Ryan, Alexi Ramirez, Cliff Pennington, and Stephen Drew in that category. Baltimore’s SS last year? Cesar Izturis put up a UZR of 5.1 . So, how big of an upgrade is it really? Izturis had an OPS+ of 50.
Mark Reynolds is the new Orioles 3rd baseman. We all know the knocks on him. He’s struck out 767 times in 2285 plate appearances, over 563 games. Including 200 times in the last 3 years. To put that in perspective, Reggie Jackson, the all time leader in getting struck out, never struck out 200 times in a season. It wasn’t until Jackson’s 6th season that he had reached Reynold’s pace. But what can he do right? Well, he is the proud owner of a career .241 ISO, and his mark last year of .234 had him in the top 20 in all of Major League Baseball last season. When Reynolds does get a hold of one, it is going over the fence. Hopefully Buck Showalter’s staff will help him put more of them in play. He’ll also need help with the glove, seeing as how he has a career -19 UZR.
Derrek Lee is now manning first base for the O’s. What is there to say about Lee that isn’t awesome? He has a .282/.367/.498 career line with a career 7.3 UZR.
As was the case with Derrek Lee, the same basic thing applies with Vladimir Guerrero. .320/.383/.567 over a 16 year career.
I once saw him hit pitch that bounced in front of him against the wall for a double. He’s big, he’s strong, and he hits it where he wants to hit it. Some people say he was the best free agent signing of the 2010 off season (though I say Jim Thome was), and he’ll certainly be able to help this new Orioles team maybe break .500.