Archive for Hunter Harvey

The Camden Highball (Episode 8): Get to Know Your Orioles Prospects

Posted in Offense, Podcast, Prospects with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2015 by oriolesprovingground

It’s Monday, so that means there is a new podcast over at ESPN Sweetspot Network Orioles blog Camden Depot.  This week’s guest on the Camden Highball is Tucker Blair of the Baseball Prospectus prospect team to discuss Orioles prospects and Baltimore’s minor league system.

Direct Link to Article –> The Camden Highball: Get to Know Your Orioles Prospects

The Misunderstood Relationship Between Team Chemistry and Sabermetrics

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 6, 2015 by oriolesprovingground

After inadvertently taking the entire month of February off, I’m finally back with a new article.  Nearly two weeks ago, MASN writer Steve Melewski created an uproar by tweeting the following.

Today at ESPN Sweetspot Network Orioles blog Camden Depot I examine that while he’s technically right, he misses the mark.

Direct Link to Article –> The Misunderstood Relationship Between Team Chemistry and Sabermetrics

Some Thoughts on Ubaldo Jimenez

Posted in Free Agency, Offseason, Pitching with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

As of Wednesday February 19, Ubaldo Jimenez officially became a member of the Baltimore Orioles.  The Orioles signed him to a 4-year, $50 million contract.  While he’s expected to perform near the top of the rotation for the duration of the contract, he’s already completed his toughest task, which was passing Baltimore’s physical exam*.  The details of the contract aren’t that important (they can be found here), but at an average annual value of $12.5 million, at first glance this looks like a decent deal for the Orioles, especially if you’re last memory of Jimenez is the unhittable version of him from the 2013 All-Star break to the end of the season.

*I know the whole “passing a Baltimore Orioles physical” has been overdone this offseason, but I felt that it was my duty to make sure I had at least one joke in here about it.  Although any joke probably wouldn’t top this tweet from former Orioles’ pitcher Jeremy Guthrie.

If you’ve been reading the different opinions about the Jimenez signing, you see a lot of the emphasis on how the signing affects the team’s playoff chances in 2014.  This is important to talk about for a couple of reasons.  One is that since Jimenez will be 30 years old during the 2014 season, there is a decent chance that the first year of his contract will be his best. Second, with all the recent talk of Baltimore’s current window of contention potentially closing in the next year or two (Hardy and Markakis are free agents after 2014, while Wieters and Davis will be free agents after 2015), it appears that productive seasons from Jimenez will be more valuable to the team’s success in his first 2 years than his last 2 years.  There may be a bit of truth to both of these points, but I don’t necessarily want to focus only on 2014 in this post. Continue reading

The Futility of Mock Drafts

Posted in Draft, Prospects, Rule 4 with tags , , on June 8, 2013 by oriolesprovingground

Last night, Major League Baseball held the first 2 rounds of its first year player draft and the Orioles selected high school left-handed pitcher Hunter Harvey with their first round pick (#22 overall).  Now, I’m not going to pretend that I know anything special about any of these amateur players, because I haven’t seen any of them play on video, let alone in person.  The only thing I know about the players drafted last night is based on what I saw about them in the many articles I read leading up to the draft.  From what I have seen, Harvey projects as a potential ace, but has questions regarding his arm action and his ability to throw an effective third pitch, which makes him a future relief pitcher to some evaluators.

Was it a good pick?  Well, Baseball America had Harvey ranked as the #33 prospect in the draft, while Keith Law of ESPN had him as his #24 prospect.  Based on this, he probably went about where he was expected to go.  But did any of the many mock drafts from various (extremely well qualified in my opinion) baseball analysts predict that Harvey would be selected by the Orioles?  Yes, actually.  Keith Law predicted that the Orioles would select Harvey, however, none of the other analysts predicted that result (Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America, and Jonathan Mayo of  I think the fact that even one of them got it is amazing.  I imagine for the writers that putting mock drafts together are extremely difficult and time consuming, only to get almost all of it wrong.  Based on this I thought it would be fun to see just how wrong Keith Law’s mock draft would end up (maybe fun is the wrong word, let’s change that to “interesting”).

Before going into this, I would like to mention that Keith Law is one of my favorite baseball writers, and I view him as being one of the most intelligent and thoughtful analysts in the sport.  Basically, if he can’t get a mock draft right, then no one can.

So first, let’s look at how Law did, pick for pick. Overall, Law correctly picked 7 out of 33 players correctly in the first round.  That’s 21%.  With regards to both Pittsburgh and Texas (who both had 2 first round picks), he correctly predicted a player they picked, but at the other selection (for example, Law predicted Reese McGuire would go to the Pirates at #9, but instead, the Pirates selected McGuire at #14).  So we’ll give him partial credit for that.  Additionally, Law was mostly correct in the names that would go in the first round, regardless of team, as only 6 players he projected to be picked in the first round were not selected (mostly at the back end).  Overall, I thought this was pretty impressive, given the extremely fluid nature of the draft.

Additionally, for the first time (at least I don’t remember them doing it for baseball before), ESPN rolled out a draft simulator based on Law’s final mock draft.  Basically, the user could plug any potential player into any draft spot, and (based on the Law’s mock and different scenarios) it would predict how the remaining picks would pan out.  I decided to keep track of how many times I would have to change this, with the logic being that as the draft proceeded, the less the simulation would change because of the increased information of what had already taken place (I really hope this isn’t confusing).  Anyway, I had to change the simulator a total of 21 times, meaning the total number of correct picks throughout the draft was slightly better than Law’s mock draft (36%), but not as much as I thought it would be.  Interestingly enough, I had to change the simulation for the Orioles pick, since based on what had already happened, the simulation no longer thought Baltimore would take Harvey.

So if a mock draft has no chance to be even close to right, why even read them?  Because they’re fun to read.  They give us a head start on who our favorite team may pick and provide encouragement to learn more about that player (or players).  For a second, it allows us to get drawn into those players’ overwhelming potential and visualize them becoming a once in a generation talent who will wear your favorite teams colors for their entire career, even though in the back of your mind, you know there’s a strong likelihood he won’t be drafted by your team and may never even make it to the major leagues.  Maybe that’s just me, but I hope Keith Law and the other writers continue producing mock drafts every year, knowing full well that there’s no chance they will ever come close to being right.