Archive for DH

Taking a Look at Mark Reynolds

Posted in Offense with tags , , , , on August 14, 2013 by oriolesprovingground

Last week, the Cleveland Indians designated Mark Reynolds for assignment.  Orioles fans should be familiar with Reynolds, as he spent all of 2011 and 2012 with Baltimore, coming over in a trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks.  During his two years in Baltimore, he accumulated -0.2 fWAR.  Most of that was a function of the fact that he plays terrible defense (at any position) and doesn’t run the bases effectively.  Despite the negative WAR, he was an above average hitter during his time in Baltimore, with a cumulative line of .221/.328/.458 (AVG/OBP/SLG), and a 112 OPS+ (meaning he was 12% better than the average hitter, who has an OPS+ of 100).

If you’ve read this blog at all, you should know that the Orioles have had trouble getting production out of the DH spot in 2013, since we’ve talked about it a couple of times.  If you haven’t been reading this blog, you can find those discussions here and here.  Baltimore’s designated hitters have combined for a .230/.275/.385 triple slash line, and a .288 wOBA, good for 14th in the American League.  With that in mind, it would seem like the recently available Reynolds could provide an upgrade for Baltimore’s DH spot.

Through 99 games with the Indians this year, Reynolds has a triple slash line of .215/.307/.373, and a wOBA of .303.  While Reynolds’ production this year would have been an upgrade over what the Orioles have gotten out of DH, it wouldn’t be much of one.  Additionally, we don’t care about the past, we care about the future.  Would Mark Reynolds provide more offense for the Orioles in their final 44 games than anything they already have available?

Overall, Reynolds’ season isn’t too far off from his career numbers.  His AVG, OBP, BB%, K%, and BABIP are all at or around his career averages.  The biggest difference in 2013 has been his lack of power.  His current ISO of .158 is easily the lowest of his career, in addition to it being under .200 for the first time.

Reynolds has experienced two different seasons in 2013.  There is the month of April, and then there is everything else.  Take a look.

Provided by Generated 8/13/2013.

Provided by
Generated 8/13/2013.

That’s not trending downward, that’s falling off the cliff.  The Indians stuck with Reynolds as long as they could, but they severely cut his playing time in July and eventually just took him off the roster completely.

Prior to their recent trip through the National League West, the Orioles have been using a mix of mostly Henry Urrutia, Danny Valencia, and Steve Pearce at the DH position.  They have been deployed in a platoon, with the left-handed Urrutia getting most of the at-bats.  There are small sample size issues with each player’s performance.  Pearce leads all three in PA’s, with just 102 on the season.  Despite that, let’s look at how they’ve done this year.

Henry Urrutia (47 PA’s)                 .298/.298/.340
Danny Valencia (78 PA’s)              .216/.256/.500
Steve Pearce (102 PA’s)                 .261/.333/.402

Pearce owns the best triple slash line of the group and has Reynolds beat in every category.  However, the majority of Pearce’s PA’s have come against left-handed pitching.  He’s completely ineffective against right-handers and because of that, he can’t be counted on as an everyday DH.  Urrutia, who has faced right handed pitchers almost exclusively since being called up, has an impressive average, but only has one extra base hit (a triple), and has not walked once.  Valencia has hit for some power, but not much else.  His average may be held down by his .216 BABIP (despite a line drive percentage around the league average), but his slugging percentage has been buoyed by his lofty 18.5% HR/FB rate, approximately 10% higher than his career level.

So where does that leave us?  It leaves us with 4 terrible options at DH.  While Dan Szymborski’s Zips projection system at Fangraphs sees Reynolds as a slightly above average hitter the remainder of the season, the depths of his terribleness in June and July make me think Zips is a little too optimistic.  However, Baltimore fans know that Reynolds can occasionally go on one hell of a hot streak, which could make him very valuable to the Orioles down the stretch.  If Reynolds is able to pass through waivers without getting claimed (VERY likely), the Orioles could roll the dice on him for basically nothing more than the cost of a roster spot.  Given the limitations of Baltimore’s current options, it’s probably worth a shot.

Orioles Trade Options: Designated Hitter

Posted in Offense, Trades with tags , , on July 24, 2013 by oriolesprovingground

Most of our recent time here at Orioles Proving Ground has been focused on the trade deadline, and ways the Orioles could improve their team for a run at the playoffs.  Last week, I took a rather lengthy look at trading for Chase Utley, while Doug looked at fortifying the bullpen with a trade for the Mariners’ Oliver Perez.

Next up, I take a look at potential trade options for designated hitter over at Camden Depot, considering certain financial limitations that have recently come to light.

Direct link to article –> Orioles Trade Options: Designated Hitter

Orioles Currently Lacking a Designated Hitter Who Can Actually Hit

Posted in Offense with tags , , , , , on April 26, 2013 by oriolesprovingground

If you’ve been reading this site (or most articles involving the young 2013 baseball season), you’ve heard the words “small sample size” applied frequently.  And since teams have barely played more than 20 games so far, those same three words apply directly to everything I am going to be presenting in this post.  So if you want the answer to the “what should the Orioles do about their DH?” question without actually reading the rest of write-up, the answer will be along the lines of, “they should go with what they have, until there is a large enough sample of plate appearances to support a decision”.

Hopefully the title alluded to this, but the Orioles designated hitters have been bad so far this year.  They have collectively compiled -0.2 WAR (according to Fangraphs), which is currently ranked 15th out of 17 teams (not every National League team has played an interleague game in an American League park yet).  If you take out the National League teams, the Orioles move up to 13th(!)…out of 15.  Let’s take a look at some other offensive (double entendre!) statistics for the Orioles DH’s (as of April 26), but let’s limit the list of teams to AL clubs only, since all of the teams will have similar sample sizes.

(as of April 26, 2013)

as of April 26, 2013

Yikes.  Remember, each of these rankings is out of 15 teams.  Again, yikes.  You can point to the very low BABIP and make an argument that maybe they’ve been unlucky, but looking at the other statistics, it would appear to be a reach.

Nolan Reimold and Steve Pearce have held down the fort at the DH spot so far.  47 of Reimold’s 70 PA’s have come at DH (the others in LF and 1 as a pinch hitter), while Pearce has been used solely in the DH spot for a total of 25 PA’s.  Again, small sample.  Let’s put up their individual stats as a DH to compare the 2 players.  I’m not even going to tell which player is on which line, because as you can tell, it’s pretty pointless.

as of April 26

as of April 26

Since both players are pretty terrible hitting in the DH spot, is it possible that they’ve both been unlucky?  Reimold may be suffering from a bit of bad luck while it looks like Pearce is just suffering from being Steve Pearce.  Pearce is a 30 year old journeyman who has had some success against LHP, but not enough for a team to feel comfortable giving him regular at bats against them (career .258/.339/.456 against LHP in 289 plate appearances).  And he shouldn’t even face a right hander…pretty much ever.  Overall, he’s a career .231/.306/.365 hitter in almost 750 PA’s.  So if he is given more playing time, his numbers will probably improve, but not to the point where anyone should want him as a guy whose only job is to hit a baseball.

As for Reimold, he’s actually hit quite well in his 22 PA’s as a left fielder.  Comparing his numbers playing LF to his numbers in 47 PA’s as the DH…

as of April 26

as of April 26

…we see quite a difference.  If anything, Reimold may be on opposite ends of the luck spectrum during his time at the 2 different positions.  This provides some hope, as there is not much else they can do to improve at the DH position, other than hope that one of these 2 players becomes more productive in the DH spot.  It is WAY too early to talk about trading for anyone, and outside of (MAYBE) Russ Canzler, the Orioles don’t have anyone on their 40 man roster that would provide a substantial improvement.  One interesting option is to bring back Jim Thome, who has not declared retirement and remains unsigned.  While it wouldn’t take a lot of money to sign him, his presence wouldn’t automatically be an improvement, and his presence on the roster would severely limit the team’s roster flexibility, especially when they play games in NL ballparks (Thome cannot play anywhere in the field).

So if you’ve managed to keep reading after the answer was given in the first paragraph, the answer has not changed.  The Orioles should stay the course, continuing to use Reimold at the DH spot (in favor of Steve Pearce), and monitor the results.  If the DH numbers don’t improve by June, then it will be time to look seriously at other options.