Archive for Ryan Flaherty

2014 American League Championship Preview

Posted in Playoffs with tags , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

Despite both teams sweeping their opponents in the ALDS, each series was fairly close, and if a few breaks had gone the other way, each series could have easily gone to a 4th or 5th game. But that’s not what happened. The Royals came up big twice in extra winnings to notch wins, while the Orioles had two REALLY big 8th innings in their first two games to take control of their series against the Tigers. Now we have an ALCS with two teams that are in a lot of ways, very similar to each other.   The Kansas City Royals haven’t seen the World Series since 1985 and the Baltimore Orioles haven’t been since 1983. Just the fact that one of these teams (and their fans) will finally make it back there after such a long time is pretty exciting. Continue reading

A Trade for Martin Prado Solves a Present and Future Problem

Posted in Offense, Trades with tags , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

Trade season is heating up and like most contenders, the Baltimore Orioles find themselves only a few weeks away from the trade deadline with areas for improvement.  Second base happens to be one of those areas.  With talented rookie Jonathan Schoop struggling offensively, the team could use an upgrade to increase their chances of a playoff run in 2014.  Today over at ESPN Sweetspot Network Oriols blog Camden Depot, I explain why acquiring Martin Prado solves their issue at second base in 2014, but also takes care of potential roster problems in the future.

Direct Link to Article –> A Trade for Martin Prado Solves a Present and Future Problem

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.


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.

Continue reading

Making Amends for Yesterday’s Winter Meetings Post

Posted in Draft, Offseason, Rule 5 with tags , , , , , on December 14, 2013 by oriolesprovingground

Yesterday’s post was meant to be funny, as it was intentionally left blank because the Orioles didn’t really do anything at the Winter Meetings.  And when I say “do anything”, I of course mean that they didn’t make any trades or sign any players to their major league roster.  They were all over the rumor mill, and it was even reported that they had several offers out to players, including right-handed closer Grant Balfour and outfielder Nelson Cruz (although the reports as to whether they actually had an offer out to Cruz were conflicting).

Additionally, they did make two selections in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft, one in the major league portion and one in the minor league (AAA) portion.  If you don’t know anything about the Rule 5 Draft, click here to increase your knowledge and therefore your power (because knowledge IS power).  Rule 5 draft picks are not something to normally get excited about as they rarely pan out.  Still, there is a chance that a team could pick up a productive player in the Rule 5 Draft, even if the chances are slim.  If you want proof, all of the following are Rule 5 draftees: Continue reading

Alexi Casilla to Stop Switch Hitting?

Posted in Glossary, Offense with tags , , , , on May 14, 2013 by oriolesprovingground

Late last week, the Orioles announced that Alexi Casilla may stop switch hitting in favor of solely batting from the right side.  The move seemed like a curious decision to me, and my initial reaction was that the Orioles were looking to exploit some sort of platoon advantage at second base, especially considering their other second baseman, Ryan Flaherty, bats left handed.

It’s no secret that the second base position is something of an offensive black hole for the Orioles since Brian Roberts went down with a hamstring injury 3 games into the season (and even Roberts was not a sure bet to be productive at the plate this year).  In the absence of Roberts, the Orioles have been sending out Casilla and Flaherty to man the keystone, and it has not been pretty.  Orioles’ second basemen possess a combined .221 wOBA and a 30 wRC+*, both ranking 28th in the league.  For anyone too lazy to click on the link below, a wRC+ of 30 corresponds to a batter who is 70% worse than league average.

*click on the link for a definition of wRC+

Individually in 2013, Casilla, a switch hitter, has a .209/.244/.256 line (AVG/OBP/SLG) in 46 PA’s, with roughly two-thirds of his plate appearances against LHP’s (batting right handed).  Flaherty, a left handed hitter, has a .131/.223/.202 line in 95 PA’s (facing a RHP in all but 5 of them).  Just looking at those two lines makes me think that the Orioles are desperate to suggest Casilla give up switch hitting to focus on batting right handed, but maybe he has hit much better batting right handed against left handed pitching over the course of his career.

It turns out to be the opposite. The table below shows career numbers, and Casilla is a worse hitter when batting right handed in every offensive statistic except for batting average. He walks less, strikes out more, gets on base less, hits for less power, etc.  You get the picture.


I can’t comment on whether the Orioles coaches see something better in his right handed swing than his left handed swing based on some sort of scouting or mechanical characteristics (because I don’t know), but the numbers indicate that this will not do anything to improve Casilla’s offensive production, and may even make it worse.  In any event, as long as the Orioles keep playing any combination of Casilla and Flaherty at second base, you can expect little offensive production from them, regardless of what side of the plate Casilla bats on.