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Orioles Trade Options at the Deadline: Oliver Perez

Posted in Pitching, Trades, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 18, 2013 by oriolesprovingground

The following post was written by Doug Nickerson in the very first guest post for Orioles Proving Ground.  Nickerson grew up as a Red Sox fan on Cape Cod, MA and is looking forward to writing about the Orioles with his knowledge of the AL East from a non-emotional perspective.  He moved to the DC area last August, and while he loves the city, he hates humidity and traffic.

Hi Orioles Fans!  Thanks for coming to Orioles Proving Ground.  This is my first contribution to OriolesPG; I hope you find it insightful and please let me know what you think.

As mentioned in Nate’s earlier post on laying out the needs of the Orioles coming into July, Baltimore needs pitching, pitching, and then more pitching. Dan Duquette looked to secure the back half of his rotation by acquiring starter Scott Feldman from the Cubs.  With the return of Wei-Yin Chen from the disabled list, and hopefully an improvement from either Jason Hammel (a FIP of 6.99 since June 1st says probably not), Zach Britton (pitched well but not far into games since June 18th with a high GB% of 54% and a BABIP of .282, and was optioned to AAA on July 9), or Kevin Gausman (pitched well out of the ‘pen but mixed results as a starter, and also optioned to AAA on July 9) the rotation will be stable and dependable 1-5.

That leaves the bullpen as a glaring need for improvement.  As with every year, teams in contention are looking for bullpen help as relievers performance can be fickle.  With the addition of another wildcard playoff spot, more teams are in contention and fewer teams are looking to sell.  Thus basic supply and demand can drive up the cost of these trade assets.  The Orioles will not be looking to be on the wrong end of a trade as the infamous Heathcliff Slocumb for Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe in 1997, or to a lesser extent, the Eric Gagne (horrific after trade) and cash (unneeded but best thing the Red Sox got) for David Murphy (a serviceable 10.2 WAR since trade), Kason Gabbard (forgettable), and Engel Beltre (23 and just called up to majors this week) trade.

Many rumors are circulating that the Orioles are looking into Oliver Perez.  I find this a high risk/high reward proposition for the Orioles.  Perez has done an amazing job re-making himself into a very good left-handed reliever in the last two years.  Thus, he also has a small sample size, which can give misleading data for a reliever.  However, this year he has held left handed batters to a .250 AVG while keeping right handed batters to an even lower .171 AVG.  This is exactly what the Orioles could use out of their ‘pen.  Darren O’Day, Brian Matusz, and Tommy Hunter have been tough on same side match ups but have done poorly against opposite handed batters.  The other mainstays of the bullpen have been mediocre to borderline bad to either side of the plate.  As seen from the chart below:

   

Split

IP

AVG

BABIP

FIP

xFIP

Darren O’Day

RHP

vs L

14.2

0.312

0.362

4.63

4.48

vs R

27

0.161

0.213

2.80

3.29

Brian Matusz

LHP

vs L

22.2

0.141

0.167

2.80

3.07

vs R

13.1

0.321

0.354

4.56

5.16

Tommy Hunter

RHP

vs L

24.1

0.278

0.263

6.14

4.42

vs R

28

0.118

0.162

2.02

3.43

T.J. McFarland

LHP

vs L

20

0.263

0.333

3.16

2.47

vs R

28

0.265

0.306

3.63

4.47

Troy Patton

LHP

vs L

16.2

0.269

0.278

4.56

3.9

vs R

22.1

0.277

0.333

3.82

4.62

Jim Johnson

RHP

vs L

24.1

0.250

0.296

3.92

3.83

vs R

19.1

0.264

0.333

3.22

3.49

Although Perez’s stats look great now, they do come with an asterisk of caution.  The issue is Perez’s pitching style.  He is a strikeout-flyball pitcher.  His HR/FB ratio has been 7.9% which is slightly better than the league average of 9.8%.  This number is not alarming since he’s playing half of his games at the deep caverns of SafeCo Field and all of his home runs allowed have been at home to right handed batters.  However, his FB% is much higher than the league average, 49.4% vs. 35.4%, and his career average is 47.4%.  With 32 of the final 66 games at home and 12 of the 34 away games being played at flyball unfriendly stadiums (Fenway, Yankee Stadium, Toronto), it can be assumed that his HR/FB ratio would increase with the Orioles.  Having Perez implode with a high HR/FB ratio is the biggest risk the Orioles would be taking in acquiring him.

Adding to his list of positives, Oliver Perez has an attractive contract to the Baltimore organization.  He is in the middle of a 1 year deal for $1.5 million for which they would only be responsible for the prorated remainder.  Trading for Perez, the Orioles would be wise to only offer a lower level prospect, maybe someone they rank no higher than their 15th best prospect, due to the lack of draft compensation if Perez leaves via free agency. This is a distinct possibility, especially if he continues to play as he has since becoming a reliever, he could play himself into a bigger contract that the Orioles would be unwilling to give him.  With only 2 more weeks until the non-waiver trade deadline, look out for more analysis on potential bullpen additions to the Orioles bullpen.

Orioles on Pace for a 162-0 Season

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 3, 2013 by oriolesprovingground

The Orioles won their first game of the season last night, putting them on pace to finish the season undefeated.  They thoroughly embarrassed Tampa Bay 7-4, and it could have been much worse if they hadn’t shown the Rays mercy by choosing to leave an additional 8 runners on base.  Basically the only thing left to do is for the American League to win the All-Star game so the Orioles will have home field advantage in the World Series…not that they would need it.

Glossary

Posted in Glossary, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 22, 2013 by oriolesprovingground

Below are some definitions for some statistics that I will refer to over the next couple of posts (and most future posts).  I’m going to assume that everyone is familiar with more traditional statistics such as OBP, SLG, ERA, etc, but not necessarily familiar with some of the newer sabermetric statistics that both of my grandfathers would probably hate (my Dad may even hate them as well…I’ll ask him and provide an update at a future time).  All of these definitions are taken directly from Fangraphs, and if you would like to investigate them further, head over to the Fangraphs library page for more detailed explanations, as well as how these statistics are calculated.

BABIP (Batting Average in Balls in Play)Batting Average on Balls in Play measures how many of a batter’s balls in play go for hits.  Typically around 30% of all balls in play fall for hits.  There are three main variables that can affect BABIP rates for individual players: Defense, Luck, and Changes in Talent Level.

wOBA (weighted On Base Average) – Weighted On-Base Average combines all the different aspects of hitting into one metric, weighting each of them in proportion to their actual run value. While batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage fall short in accuracy and scope, wOBA measures and captures offensive value more accurately and comprehensively.  It is set to the same scale as OBP, so league-average wOBA in a given year should be very close to the league-average OBP.

UBR (Ultimate Base Running) – Ultimate Base Running is FanGraph’s way of accounting for the value a player adds to their team via base running. This value is determined using linear weights, with each individual base running event receiving a specific run value.

WAR (Wins Above Replacement) – Wins Above Replacement is an attempt by the sabermetric baseball community to summarize a player’s total contributions to their team in one statistic.  WAR basically looks at a player and asks the question, “If this player got injured and their team had to replace them with a minor leaguer or someone from their bench, how much value would the team be losing?” This value is expressed in a wins format, so we could say that Player X is worth +6.3 wins to their team while Player Y is only worth +3.5 wins.

FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching)Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a player’s ERA should have looked like over a given time period, assuming that performance on balls in play and timing were league average.  FIP’s concept is based on the idea that pitchers have little control over balls hit in play.  A better way to assess a pitcher’s talent level is by looking at results a pitcher can control: strikeouts, walks, hit by pitches, and homeruns.  It is set to the same scale as ERA, so a league average FIP in a given year should be the same as the league average ERA.

UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) – Ultimate Zone Rating puts a run value to defense, attempting to quantify how many runs a player saved or gave up through their fielding prowess (or lack thereof).  Components that make up UZR include outfield arm strength, infielder ability to turn the double play, the range of the fielder, and errors committed.  UZR/150 is UZR, scaled to 150 games.  As with any advanced defensive statistic, UZR contains a lot of uncertainty, especially in small sample sizes.

Welcome!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 11, 2013 by oriolesprovingground

Welcome to Orioles Proving Ground, a new baseball blog that focuses primarily on the Baltimore Orioles, but may occasionally delve into other general baseball topics from around the league.  My goal for this website is to provide objective analysis of the Baltimore Orioles organization, including everything from the lowest level prospects in the minor leagues, up to the front office.  Not only do I hope to provide some interesting information for prospective readers that happen to stop by, but I also hope to learn something new about baseball along the way.  Once the regular season starts, I’m planning on posting something about once a week.  We’ll see how that goes…

As for me, my name is Nate, and as result of growing up in southeast/central Pennsylvania, I am a fan of the Philadelphia Phillies.  I chose to focus on the Orioles for several reasons.

  • Living in the DC/Baltimore area would allow for easy access to televised and/or live games
  • I recently spent a summer working for the team as a minor league video coordinator, so my current first-hand knowledge of their minor league system is better than any other team
  • I felt I could not write about the Phillies without getting emotional (more anger than crying, but honestly, maybe a little of both) and making subjective arguments
  • I felt like I couldn’t write about the Washington Nationals, since they are currently a model franchise and will likely be one of the many reasons for the Phillies not making the playoffs for several years (with the Phillies front office doing a great job making sure they’re not in the playoffs for several years)

So there you have it.  In the coming weeks before the regular season, look for posts that attempt to tackle the Orioles offseason (or lack of) and the arbitration process.  Also look for mediocre writing skills and bad jokes.  As we get deeper into the season, we’ll also try to get some guest authors in here as well.  See you next week!