Orioles Think Tank

Orioles Coverage for the Information Age

A Closer Look

Posted by Mike on May 16, 2006

The O's are 18-21 and fans are already starting to express some frustration.  Before we react too strongly, I think it's important to look at some stats that might be a little more meaningful than a simple W-L record.  All stats are courtesy of the fine folks at The Hardball Times

RS– 201  RA– 233

The O's have been outscored by 32 runs so far.  If anything, I'd expect their record to be a bit worse than 18-21.  Pythagorean formulas would put them at 17-22.

Record in 1 or 2 run ballgames– 9-6

That helps explain the discrepancy.  Teams generally regress to .500 in close games.  Just think about how the Nationals won more than a dozen 1 run ballgames in a row early last year before losing several in a row.  It's luck.  So, if anything, the O's are a bit lucky to be 18-21.

R/G– 5.15

That's higher than the AL avg. of 4.98.

Team Batting Line– .270/.330/.440

The aggregate AL line is .269/.339/.432.  The O's don't walk much but they can slug better than most clubs.  We already knew that, right?  I'd actually prefer the aggregate AL line, so why have the O's scored more R/G than the avg. AL team?

BA w/ RISP– .289 

The aggregate AL line- .267.  The O's have been lucky with men on base, so they've scored more than their share of runs.  That or they've been clutch.  Just kidding, they've been lucky.  But there is good news…

BABIP– .280

The aggreagte AL BABIP sits at .298.  The O's BABIP should come up as their BA w/ RISP comes down. 

Now for the pitching/defense…

R/G– 5.97

That's much higher than the AL avg. of 4.98.  It's slightly lower than the Royals, but if you're taking solace in that, then your standards are simply not high enough. 

It's not all the pitching staff's fault…

Defense Efficiency Rating (DER)- .683

This is the inverse of BABIP.  It measures the rate of balls in play that the defense converts into outs.  The avg. AL defense has a DER of .696.  In case you're wondering, John Dewan's plus/minus system distributes the blame equally among the OF and infield, at -6 runs apiece. 

There are a few flukey things going on that also bode well for the pitching staff. 

LD%– 20%, HR/FB-14%

Year to year correlations of line drive percentage is much lower than for any other type of batted ball.  In english, that means that pitchers have little control over how many line drives they give up.  The AL avg. is 19%, so O's pitchers have been a bit unlucky.  Same deal for HR per flyball.  The AL avg. is 12%.

Of course, the pitching staff's struggles has a lot to do with the pitchers themselves as well.

K/9– 5.5, BB/9– 4.4

The AL avg looks like this: K/9- 6.0, BB/9- 3.2.  The O's are the third worst team in the AL at striking batters out and are, by far, the worst team in the AL at allowing free passes. 

All in all, the most glaring problem is the same as it has been the last several years: walks.  The O's allow too many of them and don't take enough of them.  Leo Mazzone has his work cut out for him.  And Terry Crowley, well, he needs to learn how to teach hitting. 

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2 Responses to “A Closer Look”

  1. bradley said

    btw…is it just me or are loewen’s minor league numbers very similar to cabrera’s?

  2. Ted C said

    Excellent analysis as always, Mike.

    Another cause for hope is the ridiculously low IFFB%. They are currently at about 7%. Typically the lowest you would expect to see would be about 12% (even though I understand the overall % is down across the AL). The bottom line is that we can expect/hope to see a significant increase in popups – which are almost as automatic an out as are strikeouts. Another good sign is that the overall K% is up this month – which will help to negate the bad defense.

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