Who is the Orioles’ Most Productive Bat?

June 28, 2011 | Thyrl Nelson

The official halfway point in the Major League Baseball season is all but upon us and by now we have a pretty healthy body of work to scrutinize. When it comes to scrutiny, no one has seemingly gotten more, from an Orioles perspective, than 3rd baseman Mark Reynolds. While his defense has been an exercise in frustration and has to improve going forward, Reynolds’ offensive numbers have seemingly polarized the fan base. Those whose cup of Orange Kool-Aid is half empty are having a tough time getting past the strikeouts and batting average. The half full Orange Kool-Aid crowd looks at his walks, runs, doubles, homeruns and RBI while getting less at bats in the bottom of the lineup than many less productive O’s and try to quantify his production.

While the science of Sabermetrics has pervaded baseball in a big way, and attempted despite great resistance from the establishment to educate and enlighten baseball fans – and they have too- baseball is still scored based on the number of guys who cross home plate. WAR, OPS, PECOTA and BABIP do a great job in helping to identify trends and tendencies and to quantify what we’ve seen and can therefore expect going forward, but games are still scored in runs and identifying credible run producers in the era of modern stats can be a confusing endeavor to say the least.

 

At the end of the day, baseball is and always will be largely a function of luck and timing. Offensive prowess can certainly help to tip the scales in the favor of one team or another, but timely hitting still beats good hitting on most nights. Consider the old Strat-O-Matic baseball game; it assigned probablitites to dice rolls and reduced the game of baseball to a board game. It worked because like weighted rolls of the dice, over time the probabilities in baseball are bound to play out, but on any given game or roll or at bat, the improbable was and is possible.

 

Since stats are skewed based on numbers of at bats, plate appearances, RBI opportunities etc., comparing them without an Ivy League degree can be challenging. So in Strat-O-Matic baseball, or more comparably simple lottery calculations I offer the following.

 

Below is a chart listing the production of the regular members of the Orioles’ lineup based this seasons numbers per 100 plate appearances. As opposed to at bats, plate appearances take into account everything including walks, sac flies HBP’s etc. Think of each member of the Orioles lineup as a bucket of 100 lottery balls. Each time a player goes to the plate they pull one. For my money, it’s a lot like the luck and timing necessary to baseball success.

 

When Nick Markakis goes to the plate for example 67 of his 100 lottery balls are outs (10 of those strikeouts); he also has 21 singles, 2 doubles, 2 homeruns, 6 walks 1 sac fly and 1 HBP to pull from. Does that make him a better bet to produce runs than Mark Reynolds who has 64 outs in his bucket (26 of those K’s) and only 9 singles, but who also has 5 doubles, 4 homeruns, 16 walks 1 HBP and 1 sac fly to draw from? Some of the numbers were surprising to say the least.

 

The 2011 Orioles per 100 plate appearances:

 

 

 

 

 

Player

 

 

 

1B

 

 

 

2B

 

 

 

3B

 

 

 

HR

 

 

 

BB

 

 

 

HBP

 

 

 

SF

 

 

 

OUTS

 

 

 

K

 

 

 

RUNS

 

 

 

RBI

 

 

 

Markakis

21

2

0

2

6

1

1

67

10

9

9

A.Jones

18

4

0

4

5

1

2

66

18

12

14

Reynolds

9

5

0

4

16

1

1

64

26

13

13

Guerrero

21

5

0

2

3

1

0

68

11

9

10

Wieters

16

5

0

3

7

0

0

69

17

10

13

D. Lee

20

4

0

2

8

0

1

65

22

11

9

Scott

12

5

0

4

10

0

1

68

22

10

10

Hardy

16

6

0

5

9

0

1

63

15

14

14

Pie

19

4

1

0

2

0

0

74

15

11

5

Reimold

14

2

0

5

14

2

2

61

20

11

14

 

 

 

 

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