Archive for March, 2014

2014 Orioles Opening Day: Live Blog!

Posted in Live! with tags on March 31, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

And we’re live!  Working on a computer that hasn’t been turned on in quite a while that needs numerous software updates, so I’m not sure how this goes.  I probably should have spent a little more time getting prepared for this.

(2:59 PM) – Looks like a pretty good crowd at Camden Yards.  Would probably rather be there then here right now, but I guess I’m saving money?

(3:01) Richard Troxell (sp?) kiling it on the national anthem.  He’s sporting #61 today. #vitalinformation

(3:03) Man I missed Gary Thorne’s voice.  In my opinion, one of the better local guys around

(3:04) Just opened up my beer with a Sam Adams bottle opener that I got in Boston…OOPS!

(3:06) For anyone interested, I’m drinking a Bell’s Smitten Golden Rye Ale…drinking it out of my Cooperstown Hall of Fame pint glass.

(3:07) Catch your breath Gary Thorne!  You sound like you’re about to have an asthma attack! Continue reading

Projecting the 2014 Orioles: Pitching

Posted in Offseason, Pitching, Projections with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

Last week we looked at what the Zips projection system over at Fangraphs thought the Baltimore Orioles position players were capable of in the 2014 season.  Comparing those projections to the wins (fWAR) the team received at each of the offensive positions in 2013 resulted in the 2014 Baltimore offense to be worth 4.7 wins worse than the previous year’s team.  Today we’ll take a look at the pitching staff and see if we can bring that number back into the positive.

Starting Pitcher

2014 Zips Projection

2014 Zips Projection

In 2013, Baltimore starting pitchers as a whole were one of the weakest parts of the roster.  The starters combined for only 7.4 fWAR, which placed them 24th among all major league starting rotations.  Much of that production came from Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Tillman, and Miguel GonzalezScott Feldman and Bud Norris also added about 1 win each in a little less than half a seasons worth of work for the Orioles.  Other than that, 9 other pitchers produced anywhere in between 0.5 fWAR (Jason Hammel) and -0.8 fWAR (Freddy Garcia).  I looked at how the starting rotation fared in depth at ESPN Sweetspot Network Orioles blog Camden Depot earlier in the offseason, so if you would like a more detailed analysis, you can find it here. Continue reading

2014 American League East Preview: Boston Red Sox

Posted in Offseason with tags , , on March 30, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

We’re now less than a week away from opening day of the 2014 baseball season (while that whole thing in Australia was fun, I’m not considering it the “real” opening day).  As we count down the remaining days of spring training this week, Orioles Proving Ground will be asking some of our friends to answer somewhat important questions about the Orioles American League East foes.

Today, Ben Feeney takes some time to answer some questions about the defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox, which somehow includes a Wizard of Oz comparison.  Below are links to the teams we’ve already looked at.

Tampa Bay Rays | New York Yankees | Toronto Blue Jays | Boston Red Sox

Orioles Proving Ground: The Red Sox went from worst (in 2012) to first (2013), winning the World Series last year, and no one saw it coming.  In fact, I remember a comment you made on my very first blog post in March of 2013 that stated that the Red Sox will be “non-existent” in 2013.  What do you think was the biggest reason for their turn-around?

Ben Feeney: So you want to know how a team such as the Red Sox goes from worst (2012) to first (2013) right??   Well, maybe I have the answer written down in a small envelope concealed in a safe, hidden in the deep dark cavern beneath my house.  And you would have to assume it is being guarded by the Sloth character from the Goonies!   Listen Friend, if I had the answer to that riddle I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this response.  I’d be rich and important…both of which I am currently lacking.  The way I see it there were several factors that contributed to their success and I will give each factor a percentage based on it’s respective influence.

TEAM CHEMISTRY- 50% – This team reminded me of the 2004 squad.  Each player had his own personality and identity.  If you can be allowed to be the raw version of yourself while working…win/win.   JOHN FARRELL-25% – Finally they brought in a manager with similar mannerisms to Terry Francona.  Valentine’s strong-arm tactics and feuds with players backfired, end of story. Farrell trusted this group and rarely changed the line up during post-season play, most notably when hitting slumps were felt by more than a few.   All of the players contributed to filling in the “gaps” when fellow teammates struggled. 2012 OFF SEASON CHANGES TO PERSONEL & LUCK 15% & 10% – Honestly, I questioned some of the salary dumps in the off-season.  I will not question upper management further (until next season of course). They are good at what they do, period.  Still, even those Add-Wizards could not have predicted this outcome and luck plays a part and takes her cut.   THE BEARDS-100% per whisker!!!!! Continue reading

2014 American League East Preview: Toronto Blue Jays

Posted in Offseason with tags , , on March 28, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

We’re now less than a week away from opening day of the 2014 baseball season (while that whole thing in Australia was fun, I’m not considering it the “real” opening day).  As we count down the remaining days of spring training this week, Orioles Proving Ground will be asking some of our friends to answer somewhat important questions about the Orioles American League East foes.

Today, we’re heading north of the border as Will Ragland answers questions about the Toronto Blue Jays in his best Canadian accent (Editor’s Note: Will isn’t actually Canadian, or even answering these questions from Canada, despite how that previous sentence read). Below are links to the teams we’ve already looked at.

Tampa Bay Rays | New York Yankees | Toronto Blue Jays | Boston Red Sox

Orioles Proving Ground: The Blue Jays made a couple very high profile trades last year in an attempt to go all in, and it didn’t quite work out for them.  Despite some roster holes that surfaced last year, they chose to the “do-nothing” approach this offseason.  Did they miss a golden opportunity to upgrade an already talented team (on paper at least), especially considering they have 2 protected 1st round draft picks?

Will Ragland: Losing out on Ervin Santana, who opted for a more pitcher friendly Turner Field, was huge and will leave big holes in a rotation that busted a lot of bubbles last year.  Run production will be anemic if Reyes and Bautista can’t stay healthy and Lawrie has been a bust for all the hype.  Maybe there’s something in the air (I’m looking at you Mayor Ford).  One upside is the bargain signing of former all-star catcher Dioner Navarro, who signed a two-year deal for $8 million.  He struggled before hitting .300 with the Cubs last year, but anything will be better than Arencebia’s production. It will also be interesting to see if Melky Cabrera still has it. Continue reading

2014 American League East Preview: New York Yankees

Posted in Offseason with tags , , on March 27, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

We’re now less than a week away from opening day of the 2014 baseball season (while that whole thing in Australia was fun, I’m not considering it the “real” opening day).  As we count down the remaining days of spring training this week, Orioles Proving Ground will be asking some of our friends to answer somewhat important questions about the Orioles American League East foes.

Today, Dave Watts tries to keep his emotions in check as he answers questions about the New York Yankees. Below are links to the teams we’ve already looked at.

Tampa Bay Rays | New York Yankees | Toronto Blue Jays | Boston Red Sox

Orioles Proving Ground: Before the season, the Yankees made a whole lot of noise about keeping their payroll underneath the luxury tax limit of $189 million, only to eventually blow past it.  At any point this offseason, did you actually believe that they would try to stay under that limit?  Why or why not?

Dave Watts: This is less a question about what I believe, and more a question of if I care or not. The answer is NO. The only baseball fans that care about the Yankees payroll are Yankees detractors. “Waaah the Yankees spend too much money, it’s not fair <insert crying emoticon here>”. Tear, tear, shut the hell up.

If the Yankees end 2014 as the winners of their 28th World Series, it won’t be with an asterisk indicating they over-shot their annual pay-roll projections. Fans won’t be having muted celebrations. The ticker tape parade through the Canyon of Heroes won’t be called off. The Yankees sports and entertainment conglomerate will still be a highly valued, highly profitable organization, and Jeter will still get laid. Case closed.

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Projecting the 2014 Orioles: Offense

Posted in Offense, Offseason, Projections with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

Following a surprise playoff appearance in 2012, the Baltimore Orioles finished the 2013 season with an 85-77 record, 12 games out of first place in the American League East and 7 games out of the wild card spot.  Despite not making the playoffs, the 2013 team was arguably more talented than the 2012 team, due to reasons that we’ve discussed before. This offseason was relatively quiet until around the start of spring training when the team made several moves to improve roster holes leftover from 2013 (starting rotation and designated hitter). Despite what looks to be an upgraded team, the Zips Projection System at Fangraphs currently sees them finishing the 2014 season at the bottom of the AL East with a record of 78-84. Let’s take a closer look at how Zips came to that conclusion.*  This is more informative than actual analysis, but I think it is still be a worthwhile exercise.

*Note: this post as written before Zips made its final projections for the season, so things will probably change slightly in the next week.

Catcher

2014 Zips Projection

2014 Zips Projection

In 2013, Baltimore catchers produced a total of 1.9 fWAR, which placed them 18th in all of baseball. The bulk of that production came from Matt Wieters (2.4 fWAR), but the backups added -0.5 wins in only 101 plate appearances.  Offensively, Zips sees Wieters improving on his disappointing 2013 season, while once again playing a lot at the position.*  I personally believe that the projection for Wieters is slightly on the low side, and that he has a decent chance to exceed it.

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2014 American League East Preview: Tampa Bay Rays

Posted in Offseason with tags , , on March 25, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

We’re now less than a week away from opening day of the 2014 baseball season (while that whole thing in Australia was fun, I’m not considering it the “real” opening day).  As we count down the remaining days of spring training this week, Orioles Proving Ground will be asking some of our friends to answer somewhat important questions about the Orioles American League East foes.

Today, John Lynch tackles the tough questions about the Tampa Bay Rays.

Orioles Proving Ground: From the front office to the lowly clubhouse attendant, the Rays just seem like a likable/cool team.  What do you think makes them so likable?

John Lynch: I think it’s the counter-culture desire to like to see someone beat the Yankees or Red Sox with any consistency. All respect to the Blue Jays (WS Champs in the early 90s), and the Orioles (Mr. Ripken’s team) but there’s a draw for anyone wanting to see those 2 behemoths beaten. The Rays have had a young and talented team that’s won recently and that makes them cool. Joe Maddon‘s sweet glasses are an added bonus.

OPG: There was a lot of speculation that the team would trade David Price (a free agent after 2015) this offseason.  There is virtually no chance that the team will be able to afford him much longer.  How long do you think the team holds on to him and where do you think he ultimately ends up?

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