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  1. What happened up til now doesn’t matter. Tillman,Gonzalez,Johnson,McClouth,Thome,Ford, others weren’t here. Guys that got bashed around(Arrieta,Matusz,Britton,Hunter) are no longer in rotation. Were also without Markakis for 6 weeks(46 hits last 34 games). Add Hammel back in 2 weeks and there is no reason this team can’t go 30-21 last 51 games.

    Comment by eric — August 9, 2012 @ 11:16 am

  2. Is there any non-anectodal evidence that suggests players getting called up before they’re ready have any long term effects on their performance?

    If i was an Orioles fan I would be very worried about what happened to the Jays and Travis Snider

    Comment by Matt — August 9, 2012 @ 11:19 am

  3. If the Orioles win, do I get a ring?

    Comment by Andy MacPhail — August 9, 2012 @ 11:21 am

  4. Linked to this on Orioles Hangout. Very well put, especially the Pythag stuff.

    Comment by VeveJones007 — August 9, 2012 @ 11:22 am

  5. DC:

    Good points, like always. My only issue: I’m not one of those dudes that feels two months of a ‘rushed promotion’ is disastrous for a player, but I think the concern that promoting Machado based on the team’s 2012 versus what is *more* appropriate for his development needs to at least be given more consideration. I notice that you say if he fails, no big deal – he’ll just start the year in the minors next year. Well, sure. But that’s just process. What are the substantive ramifications of 2-months (assuming, of course, he fails) of sustained failure for Machado’s development? All individuals react different to failure leading to all different sorts of outcomes. The possibility that Machado doesn’t react favorably to a rushed promotion (and, let’s be frank, it *is* a rushed promotion) needs to at least be considered in the decision/evaluation of the decision.

    Comment by CabreraDeath — August 9, 2012 @ 11:27 am

  6. This was essentially my concern, as stated below. I think people overreact to ‘rushed promotions’ in general, but I think the concern is at least valid and relevant to the decision-making process.

    FWIW, I hope your concern over Snider is misplaced and he realizes his full-blown potential, as a huge Buccos fan. But, you’re correct – his career thus does raise the obvious question of ‘rushed promotion disorder’.

    Comment by CabreraDeath — August 9, 2012 @ 11:30 am

  7. As a rule of thumb, if you cite Nate McClouth and Lew Ford as potential difference makers going forward, then your comment should not be taken seriously.

    Comment by Michael Scarn — August 9, 2012 @ 11:30 am

  8. Good article, Dave. Also, let’s not forget the recent example (albeit SSS) of Simmons (another SS, but less highly touted than Machado) jumping from AA to the Braves with only minimal variation in his numbers. I will say he was little unique in that he was essentially told to just play good defense and not worry about his hitting. I wonder if it’ll be tougher for Machado having to deal with defensive pressure of switching to 3B and offensive expectations . It’ll be fun to watch.

    Comment by Brad — August 9, 2012 @ 11:32 am

  9. Minor correction: as of last month, Manny Machado is no longer a teenager

    Comment by J Walter Weatherman — August 9, 2012 @ 11:32 am

  10. At the end of the day the Orioles are replacing Wilson Betemit. That should tell you everything you need to know.

    Comment by Wes — August 9, 2012 @ 11:32 am

  11. Oh yeah now that the O’s got Lew Ford back for the stretch run the rest of the AL East better watch out. The guy put up a .432 wOBA during his magical 2010 season in the Mexican league so he’s clearly going to give their OF a huge boost.

    Comment by Guest — August 9, 2012 @ 11:36 am

  12. You raise a valid concern, but I trust Buck to manage him appropriately.

    To quote from, “Showalter is a stickler for details: for hitting the cutoff man, for running the bases smartly, for not giving away outs.”

    Exactly the kind of tutelage a player like Machado needs.

    Comment by shibboleth — August 9, 2012 @ 11:36 am

  13. May I ask regarding which current manager has said “Ralph favors details being ignored, missing the cutoff man, running the bases like a bozo and giving away outs”???

    Comment by Richie — August 9, 2012 @ 11:41 am

  14. CD, I get your point, but I feel like if a position player can’t handle failure for two months, then I’m not sure they are ever destined to make it. Every player goes through slumps, and we all know the saying about “even the best hitters fail 2/3 of the time”…so, if he can’t handle two months of striking out and realize “crap, I’ve got to learn to hit offspeed stuff”, then he’s already in trouble. Yes, I definitely think there’s a slight added risk if the guy has a fragile psyche or is more likely to make too many adjustments/get into bad habits, but absent that scenario, I think that risk is worth the potential reward here. Also, I’ll say worst-case scenario…they get all “firsts” out of the way and get him comfortable with being with the MLB club, he figures out some important things to work on, and is much more prepared next year.

    Side note: I definitely see your “rush” risk being a bigger consideration for young pitchers, who may be less used to failure or may injure themselves trying to overthrow or make adjustments. But, that’s just based on my broad assumptions…no factual basis.

    Comment by Brad — August 9, 2012 @ 11:44 am

  15. The position switch has me very concerned. He’ll make who knows how many mistakes as he adjusts to the unfamiliar position (and at the major league level, no less), is more likely to hurt himself (Will Carroll, along with additional research), and will have less time to work on his hitting due to the time needed to work on the 3rd base stuff.

    This will only work if Machado has an ’80’ mental and emotional approach along with his baseball skills. Which if his minor league supervisors say he does, then yeah, bring him up.

    Comment by Richie — August 9, 2012 @ 11:47 am

  16. Not sure how you would avoid the prospects that actually suck bias.

    Comment by karcotte — August 9, 2012 @ 11:49 am

  17. Good point. The run differential hardly means anything if the team does not stay constant. They’ve replaced several ineffective players with new faces, and there will be more to come. They might have benefited from a lot of luck up to this point, but the future is up in the air. If Steve Johnson and Miguel Gonzalez both end up pitching adequately (Chris Tillman has already won me over), it’s going to be a close race.

    Comment by Anonymous — August 9, 2012 @ 11:53 am

  18. For the record, how epic would it be if the Orioles if they somehow made the playoffs with a Nate McLouth and Lew Ford left field platoon?

    Comment by Dave — August 9, 2012 @ 11:54 am

  19. mexican league is a fine place to get your life back on track, catch up with your dad, and bang the hottest seniorita in mexico.

    seriously though, AAA numbers in 2012 aren’t relevant? 162 wRC+?

    Comment by kp — August 9, 2012 @ 11:57 am

  20. Not much mention of the likely added value on defense. Yes, it’s a new position, but farther down the defensive spectrum. It’s what, 3 weeks longer than the cup of coffee he’d get anyway, and he ought to be an improvement on defense if a slight downgrade on offense, so why not? Duquette’s gotta keep rolling the dice if he wants a chance at reaching the post season.

    Regardless, I look forward to seeing how the kid plays!

    Comment by gobears — August 9, 2012 @ 11:58 am

  21. i think the implication is that if one doesn’t do those things, you’re less likely to see expanded playing time. i’m sure we can think of plenty of managers tolerate less-than-stellar fundamentals in favor of projected talent when filling out a lineup card.

    Comment by kp — August 9, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

  22. Slash line? How about I’m not fat, my BAC is 0, and I banged his mom last night?

    Comment by Manny Machado — August 9, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

  23. They’ve apparently had him practicing at 3B in the minors quite a bit as of late. Obviously it’s not the same as in game reps, but it’s not like he hasn’t practiced there extensively.

    Comment by Nitram Odarp — August 9, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

  24. kp: AAA numbers don’t mean anything when the player is THIRTY-SIX (well, three days short. Happy Birthday, Mr. Ford!).

    Comment by byron — August 9, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

  25. Someone explain Jake Arrieta to me. He comes up throwing harder, looking good, with solid peripherals. Then he proceeds to have a horrid LOB% and BABIP and allows a ton of runs as a result. The Orioles demote him. And now since he has been demoted his peripheral stats are in the toilet albeit in a small sample. What gives?

    Comment by Colin — August 9, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

  26. Richie, the White Sox did a lot of that last year under Ozzie Guillen.

    Comment by Yinka Double Dare — August 9, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

  27. The problem with bringing up Travis Snider as an example is that he’s always continued to hit well against minor league pitching, so leads me to believe that there is less of an issue of him being rushed and more of an issue of him being a AAAA player.

    Comment by JayT — August 9, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

  28. I will buy this argument the first time I hear it said about a manager PRIOR to his team losing bushelsful of games. 5 decades now and counting.

    Comment by Richie — August 9, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

  29. Players as a rule practice switches before they do switches. And still get hurt more often, still make more mistakes, etc.

    Comment by Richie — August 9, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

  30. When ARod switched from short to 3rd, he was worse as a 3rd baseman than he was as a shortstop. It takes tons and tons of reps to adapt to a new position, easier or not.

    (and in ARod’s case, the effects of aging militated against his ever being better at 3rd than he was as a younger player at short)

    Comment by Richie — August 9, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

  31. Examine your motives

    Comment by Michael Scarn — August 9, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

  32. will anyone on this site care?

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — August 9, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

  33. People who have never followed Machado and just googled his season stats this morning will think this is a team oriented move and could possibly be detrimental to his development.
    But that isn’t the case. Machado is batting .440 for the last 2 weeks and hit for the cycle a few days ago. His performance has gotten him on the roster, not the team needs alone.

    Comment by ZZ177 — August 9, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

  34. I don’t think this happens if Betemit can play an average third base. Or even a below average third base. But to call what Wilson Betemit does on a baseball diamond “playing third base” is to misapprehend the rules and objectives of the game of baseball. Even Buck, as stubborn and slow to adjust to reality as he is, had to come around sooner or later.

    Comment by Brandon — August 9, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

  35. “The reality is that those 111 games are in the books, and no one is going to be stripping wins from them simply because they won more close games than we would have expected.”

    I love that line and its statistical significance. Regressionists take note.

    Comment by Karl — August 9, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

  36. Good one KP!

    Comment by good one. — August 9, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  37. Orioles are fools gold. Won’t finish better than 3rd in the division. I wouldn’t even rule them out for last. How many years now have they started off really well only to completely fall off and collapse?

    Comment by everdiso — August 9, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

  38. Colin – I do not have any direct knowledge of the situation, but I imagine the Orioles (read R.Peterson) are working to increase Arrieta’s mechanical consistency and tempo. Similar to the re-work on Tilman which started in ST. Despite dominating AAA in his previous stint, Tilman posted heinous numbers early this year for Norfolk.

    There’s a lot of info out there on the approach/philosophy/technique RP utilizes to develop pitchers. Bio-mechanical analysis is part of his program and most of the Orioles’ pitching prospects went under the cameras when Cs and Ps reported in the Spring. Guys on the major league squad did not.

    Comment by BMoreGreen — August 9, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

  39. Richie, you are such a negative ninny!

    Comment by supershredder — August 9, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  40. Unlike the Jays, I may add.

    Comment by everdiso — August 9, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

  41. There’s only one 2012 baseball season. Irrelevant data points mean nothing to the rest of this go around. There are meaningful critiques to be levied against this iteration of the Os; you failed to address any of them.

    Comment by BMoreGreen — August 9, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

  42. “In general, standard deviations around a team’s true talent level are believed to be about eight to 10 wins per full season, so it’s completely normal for a 75 win team to win 65 or 85 games just due to normal variation”

    Question about the standard deviation of wins around true talent: I thought that 8 to 10 was the observed standard deviation of wins, but that the standard deviation around a team’s talent (based only on luck) is more like 6 wins.

    The point about expecting large variation still stands either way, but am I understanding this correctly?

    Comment by nayr mit — August 9, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

  43. It’s a different and potentially harder throw. A-Rod really struggled making it when he moved and he has one of the strongest arms in baseball. I really think the O’s are expecting to much of this kid to throw him in the big leagues at a new position.

    Comment by Preston — August 9, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

  44. …$5 says this is real everdiso, any takers?

    Comment by jim — August 9, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

  45. Except the Orioles have consistently played worse later in the season than they had earlier. If you’re arguing that’s random, statistically show so.

    Comment by Richie — August 9, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

  46. ‘Real’ how?

    Comment by Richie — August 9, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

  47. I’d argue that Clint Hurdle does this on a regular basis (o.k., maybe he asks them to hit the cutoff man), but because the Buccos are winning, nobody except those of us forced to watch our “speedy” baserunners being #hurdled notices.

    Comment by ndbrian — August 9, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

  48. MVP and Cy Young voters, too. “Well he got lucky…his xFIP was 4.53!” or “his BABIP was an unsustainable .385!” you can almost hear the cry on a quiet autumn eve…

    To which one should say…so what? I would venture a guess that *every* MVP winner likely outproduced their (always nebulous) “true talent” level in their MVP season. But it matters not to me what they “should have” done, or what they would have done with a league-average BABIP or strand rate, only what they *did* do.

    Comment by Jason B — August 9, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

  49. It wouldn’t be completely unreasonable if they were both allowed to play there at the same time as some sort of extra outfielder handicap.

    Comment by Radivel — August 9, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

  50. Question: can pythags and late/close records be affected by bullpens, and do these stats take that into account? Say the Orioles had the best bullpen ever assembled, their record in one run games might statistically be seen as unsustainable, but it actually might not be?


    Comment by Stats newbie — August 9, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

  51. Worse than Encarnacion?

    Comment by Stats newbie — August 9, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

  52. theres only one. he pretends to have an imposter when he gets his dumb posts thumbs downed. if people like his comment, then hes the “real” one.

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — August 9, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

  53. the pythag doesnt take that into account. its strictly a formula based on runs scored in the aggregate and runs given up in the aggregate.

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — August 9, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

  54. So, in a hypothetical scenario, if I had a bullpen full of Mariano Rivera in his prime clones, my Pythag scores, record in one run games,etc, would appear unsustainable, when in actuality they wouldnt be?

    Comment by Stats newbie — August 9, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

  55. Except for Barry Bonds, who was just so much better than everybody else that his ‘true talent’ level was better than anyone else’s fluky-great season.

    Comment by vivalajeter — August 9, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

  56. its debatable whether that in actuality would be sustainable, but to answer your question, yes, the pythag expectation ignores this.

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — August 9, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

  57. If good/bad bullpens were all that significant with regard to won/loss records, then the pythag formula would not work as well as it does. And, of course, a good bullpen can turn bad pretty quickly.

    Comment by Richie — August 9, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

  58. a la Mike Trout, who scuffled last year in his debut.

    Comment by ben — August 9, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

  59. I don’t get why you’d call this guy up? I mean, what are they expecting from him?

    Comment by Don Draper — August 9, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

  60. theres a 13 paragraph article above the comment section answering both of your questions.

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — August 9, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

  61. interestingly, Betemit begun his career as a highly touted shortstop in the Braves organization. I mean, not nearly as highly touted as Machado, but was considered a future everyday ss.

    Comment by bbguns — August 9, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

  62. Rick Dempsey just compared him to Alex Rodriguez. Case closed.

    Comment by philcastle — August 9, 2012 @ 6:37 pm

  63. No way man. I’m a total douche.

    Comment by everdiso — August 9, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

  64. Gotta call him up if he hit for the cycle!

    Comment by Aaron Hill — August 9, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

  65. I think twice in the last 14 years they have had some sort of a winning start to the season only to see it crash hard. But never past June, and certainly not into August.

    Comment by kingoriole — August 9, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

  66. Much.

    Comment by Kevin — August 9, 2012 @ 10:06 pm

  67. yeah except BABIP includes defensive performance and ERA includes ballpark effects.

    If you think Felix Hernandez deserves credit for pitching in PetCo and having Brendan Ryan playing SS behind, more power to you.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — August 10, 2012 @ 1:51 am

  68. statistically show that it is random. good stuff.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — August 10, 2012 @ 1:54 am

  69. Felix and Ryan got dealt to the Pads?

    Comment by dnc — August 10, 2012 @ 3:19 am

  70. How is it possible for there to be a “fake” one? I’m sure this has been addressed before, but what’s the argument for how there are two identical accounts?

    Comment by dnc — August 10, 2012 @ 3:21 am

  71. He came to life…good for him!

    Comment by Dave — August 10, 2012 @ 6:44 am

  72. Should have moved Mark Reynolds back to third instead of rushing the kid.

    Comment by Rick Sutcliffe — August 10, 2012 @ 10:16 am

  73. Call it a travel mug of coffee, its not a Beckham type situation IMO. Low risk go-for-it move, love that mentality. Good article, and I really found that bit on milb park factors quite interesting.

    Comment by WahooManiac — August 10, 2012 @ 11:05 am

  74. There is no account control at Fangraphs, you can type anything you want in the name field. Try it sometime!

    Comment by dnc — August 10, 2012 @ 11:18 am

  75. I wonder what the alternatives available to the O’s at the deadline were. Was there not a third baseman around who could provide league average defence and some offensive contribution? I cannot imagine that that skill-set on a rental would cost too much. The Yankees acquired McGehee for Chad Qualls…

    The problem with the Machado rush has been identified here- the development concerns perhaps magnified by the position switch.

    Comment by Mike Green — August 10, 2012 @ 11:43 am

  76. Seems unlikely he’ll be any worse than Mark Reynolds or Betemit at 3B.

    Comment by therood — August 10, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

  77. 4/7, 3B, 2HR so far. I’m okay with it.

    Comment by Oscar — August 10, 2012 @ 8:48 pm

  78. Along the lines of what Richie said, an outstanding bullpen would not fuel a team to overperform its Pythag, because the runs that bullpen wouldn’t allow would become part of the team’s Pythag record.

    The bullpen that might help a team outperform its Pythag would be a very polarized bullpen. You need to put Marianos Rivera in whenever you need to protect a lead, and then put AAAA retreads out there to work on new pitches when you’re trailing. This you’d win more close games and lose more blowouts, changing the relationship between your run differential and your record.

    Comment by Newcomer — August 10, 2012 @ 9:32 pm

  79. Looks like Machado decided to prove this article right early on.

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — August 10, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

  80. Lol, fangraphs overthinks this one a bit too much?

    Comment by Atlee — August 10, 2012 @ 11:39 pm

  81. Sorry, if cody ross could be a difference maker to the 2010 Giants, anyone can.

    Comment by Atlee — August 10, 2012 @ 11:42 pm

  82. Lol, Atlee is critical of people thinking

    Comment by fmf — August 11, 2012 @ 11:54 am

  83. Has anybody written an article entitled “Machado about nothing” yet?

    Comment by Aaron Beach — August 11, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

  84. i thought this was a bad joke until i read the name

    Comment by henry — August 12, 2012 @ 2:33 am

  85. Yes, one of the Orioles’ beat writers, when he had a minor injury at A+ or AA.

    Comment by Os Fan — August 12, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

  86. Richie, not so. they finished 2010 on a 34-23 tear and played nearly .500 baseball (28-29 IIRC) for the last two months. take it for what it’s worth, but since they’ve had Showalter as manager (I don’t really want to get into the effects of a manager on a team, I don’t think anyone has the right answer) they tend to finish strong.

    Comment by Daniel — August 12, 2012 @ 10:37 pm

  87. Oddly, the Orioles would win like this back in the ’70’s with pitching, defense and timely hitting. The major difference with this team is that their bullpen is +A top notch group of pitchers. They are the glue that is holding it together.

    Comment by Westman3 — August 12, 2012 @ 11:38 pm

  88. Reynold’s was almost as bad at third, but has been passable at 1st.

    Comment by Sean — August 13, 2012 @ 11:24 am

  89. A great bullpen and inconsistent starting pitching would also accomplish the same thing as a bullpen full of Marianos and AAAA retreads. And inconsistent starting pitching and a good bullpen is exactly what the Orioles have.

    Comment by Sean — August 13, 2012 @ 11:29 am

  90. Jake Taylor got his career back on track after a stint in the Mexican League.

    Comment by Sterling — August 18, 2012 @ 11:46 am

  91. O’s are 15-7 since this was posted. To all those people that were laughing at Eric’s (first commentator’s) post? Yeah. You guys might want to temper those thoughts. Ha.

    Comment by Eddie — September 4, 2012 @ 8:18 am

  92. I love how sure people are about things that they have no ability to be sure about. I’m an O’s fan and I was worried all season they wouldn’t keep it up–but then they did. I never understood how people KNEW they wouldn’t sustain it, though. To people who said that, I always asked one question: If the O’s have a winning record while not playing that well, what would happen if they started playing better? Looks like that happened…

    Comment by iwishyouweresmart — September 30, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

  93. Those people are long gone. It’s easy to post dismissive, insulting things when you do it all the time and never go back to see if you ended up being right or not. If you don’t go back to check, it allows you to continue in the erroneous assumption that everything you think is right, and continue in the belief that everyone who disagrees with you is an idiot.

    Comment by iwishyouweresmart — September 30, 2012 @ 7:14 pm

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