Tag Archive | "Orioles"

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2017 Orioles preview: Zach Britton

Posted on 26 March 2017 by Luke Jones

With Opening Day just over a week away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2017 Orioles every day as they try to return to the postseason for the fourth time in six years.

Manny Machado
Kevin Gausman
Adam Jones
Darren O’Day
Seth Smith
Mike Wright
Caleb Joseph
Donnie Hart
Jonathan Schoop
Mychal Givens
Ryan Flaherty
Brad Brach
J.J. Hardy
Ubaldo Jimenez
Mark Trumbo
Wade Miley
Welington Castillo

RP Zach Britton

Opening Day age: 29

Contract status: Under club control through the 2018 season

2016 stats: 2-1, 47 saves, 0.54 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 9.9 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 1 HR, 67 IP

Why to be impressed: Going a perfect 47-for-47 was amazing enough, but Britton set major league records with 43 consecutive scoreless appearances and the lowest ERA ever for pitchers completing at least 50 innings. Using his sinker 91.7 percent of the time, the lefty had a ground-ball rate of 80 percent, which was 14.1 percent higher than second on the major league list among those finishing 60 innings.

Why to be concerned: Expressing concern about the best closer in baseball would be reaching when you look at Britton’s results over the last three years, but he’s bound to blow a save at some point and will need to shake off the disappointment quickly on a club with little margin for error. It’s worth noting that opponents’ .231 batting average on balls in play reflects a level of good luck that will be difficult to repeat.

2017 outlook: The 2016 AL Reliever of the Year could feature even better stuff this season and still not be able to duplicate perfection, making you appreciate what he was able to do last year. The oblique issue that slowed his start to spring training is worth keeping an eye on early in the season, but there’s just no reason to think Britton won’t remain one of the top relievers in baseball in 2017 if he stays healthy.

2017 not-so-scientific projections: 3-2, 45 saves, 1.51 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 10.3 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 3 HR, 64 IP

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Former Orioles reliever Todd Frohwirth dead at 54

Posted on 26 March 2017 by WNST Staff

Former Orioles relief pitcher Todd Frohwirth died Sunday after a lengthy battle with stomach cancer.

The 54-year-old spent nine seasons in the major leagues with his best work coming in Baltimore from 1991-1993. Known for his unorthodox submarine delivery, the right-hander pitched to a 1.87 ERA in 96 1/3 innings in 1991 and followed that exceptional campaign with a tidy 2.46 mark over 106 innings in 1992.

Frohwirth had spent parts of his post-playing career coaching high school basketball and had scouted for the Orioles. The club announced it will hold a moment of silence prior to Monday’s spring game in Sarasota.

He posted a career 3.60 ERA in 417 2/3 innings with Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, and the California Angels.

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2017 Orioles preview: Welington Castillo

Posted on 25 March 2017 by Luke Jones

With Opening Day less than two weeks away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2017 Orioles every day as they try to return to the postseason for the fourth time in six years.

Manny Machado
Kevin Gausman
Adam Jones
Darren O’Day
Seth Smith
Mike Wright
Caleb Joseph
Donnie Hart
Jonathan Schoop
Mychal Givens
Ryan Flaherty
Brad Brach
J.J. Hardy
Ubaldo Jimenez
Mark Trumbo
Wade Miley

C Welington Castillo

Opening Day age: 29

Contract status: Under contract through the 2017 season with player option for 2018

2016 stats: .264/.322/.423, 14 HR, 68 RBI, 41 R, 2 SB, 457 PA

Why to be impressed: Former Oriole Matt Wieters has received many more accolades throughout his career, but Castillo is a year younger and has posted a .747 OPS over the last two years compared to Wieters’ .723 mark over that same stretch. Not known for his defense, Castillo threw out a career-high 38 percent of runners attempting to steal last season.

Why to be concerned: Arguably the biggest reason why Arizona didn’t tender Castillo was his ranking in the bottom five in pitch-framing metrics from 2013-2015 with only modest improvement last year. And while the Orioles downplay the significance of his absence this spring, Castillo’s participation in the World Baseball Classic eliminated the chance for him to better familiarize himself with his new pitchers.

2017 outlook: There’s little reason to think that Castillo won’t be a solid short-term starting catcher with Caleb Joseph backing him up as the Orioles wait on the progress of top prospect Chance Sisco. However, it is fair to wonder what ultimately turns clubs off from Castillo as he’s been traded twice and non-tendered over the last two calendar years.

Not-so-scientific projections for 2017: .256/.315/.421, 15 HR, 62 RBI, 44 R, 1 SB, 431 PA

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2017 Orioles preview: Wade Miley

Posted on 24 March 2017 by Luke Jones

With Opening Day less than two weeks away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2017 Orioles every day as they try to return to the postseason for the fourth time in six years.

Manny Machado
Kevin Gausman
Adam Jones
Darren O’Day
Seth Smith
Mike Wright
Caleb Joseph
Donnie Hart
Jonathan Schoop
Mychal Givens
Ryan Flaherty
Brad Brach
J.J. Hardy
Ubaldo Jimenez
Mark Trumbo

SP Wade Miley

Opening Day age: 30

Contract status: Under contract through the 2017 season

2016 stats (with Seattle and Baltimore): 9-13, 5.37 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 7.4 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 25 HR, 166 innings

Why to be impressed: It’s no secret that Miley struggled in 2016, but his 47.3 percent ground-ball rate ranked 25th among qualified major league starters, which fits well with the Orioles infield behind him. The left-hander also saw his strikeout rate spike after being traded to Baltimore as he punched out an impressive 9.2 batters per nine innings in 54 frames of work.

Why to be concerned: As if his 6.17 ERA with the Orioles wasn’t bad enough, Miley has seen his season ERA increase each year since his 2012 All-Star campaign with Arizona. He also had issues giving up the long ball as opponents clubbed 1.4 home runs per nine innings in 2016, and this doesn’t figure to be helped by pitching half of his games at Camden Yards for a full season.

2017 outlook: Opponents posted a .329 batting average on balls in play against Miley in 2016, and his fielding independent pitching mark of 3.79 upon being traded from Seattle suggests he experienced plenty of bad luck. No one should expect Miley to be anything but a back-of-the-rotation starter, but the Orioles need him to pitch competitive innings and his peripherals suggest that’s a fair possibility.

2017 not-so-scientific projections: 10-11, 4.58 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 7.7 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 20 HR, 171 innings

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2017 Orioles preview: Mark Trumbo

Posted on 23 March 2017 by Luke Jones

With Opening Day less than two weeks away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2017 Orioles every day as they try to return to the postseason for the fourth time in six years.

Manny Machado
Kevin Gausman
Adam Jones
Darren O’Day
Seth Smith
Mike Wright
Caleb Joseph
Donnie Hart
Jonathan Schoop
Mychal Givens
Ryan Flaherty
Brad Brach
J.J. Hardy
Ubaldo Jimenez

OF Mark Trumbo

Opening Day age: 31

Contract status: Under contract through the 2019 season

2016 stats: .256/.316/.533, 47 HR, 108 RBI, 94 R, 2 SB, 667 PA

Why to be impressed: The slugger had the best season of his career at the plate, setting new highs in home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage, runs scored, extra-base hits, OPS, and offensive wins above replacement. A big reason for this improvement was better plate discipline as Trumbo swung at fewer pitches outside the zone and had his lowest swinging-strike percentage since 2011.

Why to be concerned: After earning his first invitation to the All-Star Game since 2012, Trumbo struggled with a .214 batting average and .754 OPS in the second half of the season. He entered 2016 with fairly similar career numbers against right-handed pitching and left-handers, but he managed just a .173 average and .608 OPS against southpaws, which is something to keep an eye on this season. 

2017 outlook: Expecting Trumbo to repeat what he did in the first half of 2016 would be asking a ton, but his .216 batting average on balls in play after the All-Star break indicates some bad luck being at work. He may not flirt with 50 home runs again and needs to serve primarily as the designated hitter to maximize his value, but his ideal fit at Camden Yards will keep his power numbers at an impressive level.

Not-so-scientific projections for 2017: .249/.308/.494, 35 HR, 92 RBI, 87 R, 1 SB, 634 PA

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2017 Orioles preview: Ubaldo Jimenez

Posted on 22 March 2017 by Luke Jones

With Opening Day less than two weeks away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2017 Orioles every day as they try to return to the postseason for the fourth time in six years.

Manny Machado
Kevin Gausman
Adam Jones
Darren O’Day
Seth Smith
Mike Wright
Caleb Joseph
Donnie Hart
Jonathan Schoop
Mychal Givens
Ryan Flaherty
Brad Brach
J.J. Hardy

SP Ubaldo Jimenez

Opening Day age: 33

Contract status: Under contract through the 2017 season

2016 stats: 8-12, 5.44 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 7.9 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, 16 HR, 142 1/3 innings

Why to be impressed: Rebounding from a miserable first half that saw him temporarily lose his spot in the rotation, Jimenez rebounded dramatically down the stretch with a 2.45 ERA over his last seven starts covering 47 2/3 innings to help Baltimore secure a wild card. The right-hander was also able to harness his two-seam fastball, finishing with a 49.0 percent ground-ball rate to lead all Baltimore starters.

Why to be concerned: A 7.06 ERA through late July led to Jimenez being sent to the bullpen for the second time in three seasons, which sums up how disappointing the return has been on a four-year, $50 million deal. The right-hander’s average fastball velocity was the lowest of his career and his strikeout rate was his worst since 2012, concerning signs for a pitcher who already struggles with command.

2017 outlook: Expecting a consistent season from Jimenez is begging for disappointment, but you hope he can put together a nice stretch or two of quality starts while minimizing the lows as he did in 2015. If he can command his two-seamer, Jimenez has a chance to be a league-average starter, but diminishing velocity and inconsistent command make for a lower ceiling than he enjoyed earlier in his career.

2017 not-so-scientific projections: 11-11, 4.79 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 7.7 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 18 HR, 162 innings

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Twelve Orioles thoughts as spring training winds down

Posted on 22 March 2017 by Luke Jones

With the Orioles in the midst of their final two weeks in Sarasota, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Ken Rosenthal fairly laid out positives and concerns related to Brady Anderson’s organizational role, but the big question is the future. With Dan Duquette’s contract expiring after 2018, is Anderson viewed as his successor and, if so, is he adequately preparing for that while still wearing so many other hats?

2. Anderson’s criticism of the handling of Jake Arrieta coincides with Baseball Prospectus’ latest look at the Orioles’ track record with pitching prospects. More scrutiny for both their talent evaluation and development remains in order from top to bottom despite the club’s success over the last five years.

3. Count me as a new World Baseball Classic fan. It’s refreshing seeing outward emotion without it leading to World War III. Cultivating more of this mindset in the majors would better grow the sport than obsessing over shaving 10 minutes from the time of game. Joy isn’t a four-letter word.

4. With baseball being a regional sport in terms of fan interest and player popularity, it’s been fun seeing Adam Jones shine in the WBC spotlight. In the process of pointing out what he isn’t, too many overlook just how important he’s been to the Orioles’ turnaround. He deserves this.

5. As the club counts down to Chris Tillman attempting a long-toss session this Sunday, you have to wonder what’s next if he again experiences shoulder discomfort after a platelet-rich plasma injection in December and a cortisone shot earlier this month. Plenty of folks have to be holding their breath.

6. You shouldn’t read too much into any spring numbers, but Trey Mancini is doing everything he can to make the club. In addition to posting a .926 on-base plus slugging percentage in the Grapefruit League, he is also learning the outfield. Finding a role for him is the obvious problem.

7. There’s much debate about whether Hyun Soo Kim is capable of hitting left-handed pitching, but he entered Wednesday just 2-for-5 with two strikeouts against southpaws in the Grapefruit League. It’d be tough to argue that Buck Showalter is committed to finding out if Kim can be an everyday player.

8. After Francisco Pena and Audry Perez were sent to minor-league camp on Tuesday, Chance Sisco remained as the only non-roster catcher in major league spring training. The 22-year-old isn’t making the club, but the Orioles wanting to take a longer look at him is a good sign.

9. Robert Andino will always be remembered for the final game of the 2011 season, but he’s appeared in only 13 major league games since 2013 and is just 4-for-39 with 11 strikeouts this spring. You have to wonder if the 32-year-old will be given a place in Baltimore’s minor-league system.

10. Perhaps Seth Smith doesn’t need a slew of at-bats to get ready for Opening Day, but he hasn’t played in two weeks because of a slow-healing hamstring injury. That’s an unsettling development for a 34-year-old right fielder who will likely be playing in cool conditions in April.

11. Despite his early success at the plate since re-signing, Pedro Alvarez going to the minors to learn the outfield should remain the plan. The corner outfield defense clearly hasn’t been prioritized recently, but run prevention needs to matter — at least somewhat — with a pitch-to-contact rotation.

12. After enduring headaches with fringe roster players being out of options in recent seasons, the Orioles’ only decision in that department is reliever Oliver Drake. The 30-year-old has had some limited major league success over the last two seasons, but he isn’t helping his cause with a 10.61 spring ERA.

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2017 Orioles preview: J.J. Hardy

Posted on 21 March 2017 by Luke Jones

With Opening Day less than two weeks away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2017 Orioles every day as they try to return to the postseason for the fourth time in six years.

Manny Machado
Kevin Gausman
Adam Jones
Darren O’Day
Seth Smith
Mike Wright
Caleb Joseph
Donnie Hart
Jonathan Schoop
Mychal Givens
Ryan Flaherty
Brad Brach

SS J.J. Hardy

Opening Day age: 34

Contract status: Under contract through the 2017 season

2016 stats: .269/.309/.407, 9 HR, 48 RBI, 43 R, 0 SB, 438 PA

Why to be impressed: Hardy rebounded from a miserable 2015 in a big way, thanks in large part to the best hard-contact percentage of his major league career that led to 16 more extra-base hits in virtually the same number of plate appearances as 2015. His percentage of contact to the opposite field didn’t deviate from his career mark, but he hit it the other much more successfully, posting a .368 average.

Why to be concerned: The shortstop will be 35 in August and missed much of the spring with a cranky back, which also hindered him a great deal during the 2014 season. It’s also worth noting that manager Buck Showalter has remained reluctant to give Hardy regular days off despite the luxury of being able to slide Manny Machado over from third base to play short in those instances.

2017 outlook: The former All-Star infielder deserves credit for 2016 after his career looked to be falling off a cliff, but he will need to continue his revamped approach to hit more line drives rather than going for the long ball. With Hardy not having more than 438 plate appearances in a season since 2014, the Orioles need to keep him fresh and healthy to keep his defense at a high level and his bat respectable.

Not-so-scientific projections for 2017: .251/.293/.382, 10 HR, 53 RBI, 55 R, 0 SB, 503 PA

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2017 Orioles preview: Brad Brach

Posted on 20 March 2017 by Luke Jones

With Opening Day less than three weeks away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2017 Orioles every day as they try to return to the postseason for the fourth time in six years.

Manny Machado
Kevin Gausman
Adam Jones
Darren O’Day
Seth Smith
Mike Wright
Caleb Joseph
Donnie Hart
Jonathan Schoop
Mychal Givens
Ryan Flaherty

RP Brad Brach

Opening Day age: 30

Contract status: Under club control through the 2018 season

2016 stats: 10-4, 2 saves, 2.05 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 10.5 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 7 HR, 79 IP

Why to be impressed: The right-hander earned his first invitation to the All-Star Game in the process of setting career-best marks in ERA, WHIP, strikeout rate, walk rate, and wins above replacement (2.6). Making that even more impressive was Brach throwing a whopping 49 1/3 innings and posting a 0.91 ERA before the All-Star break, picking up the slack in the Baltimore bullpen for an injured Darren O’Day.

Why to be concerned: That workload took its toll on Brach as he posted an underwhelming 3.94 ERA in the second half as manager Buck Showalter tried to give him extra rest when possible. Known for his ability to get superb results against hitters from either side of the plate, he surrendered a .784 OPS against lefties, which was significant with the Orioles lacking a lefty specialist for much of the season.

2017 outlook: Expecting Brach to duplicate his 2016 first half would be unfair as opponents owned a .211 batting average on balls in play over that time, but his 2.61 ERA over his three years with Baltimore speaks for itself. Striking out more than a batter per inning and four years younger than O’Day, Brach makes a strong case to be the club’s top setup man in 2017.

2017 not-so-scientific projections: 6-4, 3 saves, 2.52 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 10.2 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 7 HR, 73 IP

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2017 Orioles preview: Ryan Flaherty

Posted on 16 March 2017 by Luke Jones

With Opening Day less than three weeks away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2017 Orioles every day as they try to return to the postseason for the fourth time in six years.

Manny Machado
Kevin Gausman
Adam Jones
Darren O’Day
Seth Smith
Mike Wright
Caleb Joseph
Donnie Hart
Jonathan Schoop
Mychal Givens

INF Ryan Flaherty

Opening Day age: 30

Contract status: Under club control through the 2017 season

2016 stats: .217/.291/.318, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 16 R, 2 SB, 176 PA

Why to be impressed: Always known for his ability to play multiple positions at a solid level, Flaherty was particularly impressive at third base with six defensive runs saved as Manny Machado filled in for the injured J.J. Hardy quite a bit at shortstop. The light-hitting utility man also posted a career-high walk rate of 9.7 percent, which helps offset some of his limitations at the plate.

Why to be concerned: It’s no secret that Flaherty’s offense has always lagged behind his defense, but the modest power he once showed all but evaporated in 2016 with career lows in home runs and slugging percentage. He also received a cortisone injection for a sore right shoulder this spring, which isn’t exactly encouraging news for a player whose already-limited value comes from his defense.

2017 outlook: Flaherty’s contact rate hasn’t declined, but his increasing strikeout rate and declining power aren’t encouraging signs for a player scheduled to become a free agent next offseason. However, his above-average defense at third base gives Buck Showalter more confidence to move Machado to shortstop when Hardy either needs rest or misses time because of physical concerns.

Not-so-scientific projections for 2017: .221/.288/.334, 5 HR, 16 RBI, 18 R, 1 SB, 186 PA

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