The Orioles Don’t Care About Our Expectations

In 2012, the Orioles — fresh off a losing streak dating back to the Cal Ripken / Mike Mussina / Davey Johnson squad of 1997 — shocked all of baseball by winning 93 games and the American League wild card game. Backed by what seemed like completely unsustainable one-run luck and with the knowledge that the rest of the AL East was still dangerous, most analysts said something along the lines of “that was fun, good luck doing it again.” They didn’t quite get back to the playoffs in 2013, but 85 wins was still something to be proud of, thanks mostly to 53 homers from Chris Davis and the smashing defensive debut of Manny Machado.

Once again, no one thought much of them headed into 2014. The Red Sox had just won the World Series; the Yankees had added Masahiro Tanaka, Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. The Jays couldn’t possibly be as bad as they’d been in 2013, and the Rays might have been the best team of any of them. In our 2014 predictions, only two writers picked the O’s to win the division.

And why not? Think about all the things that would have needed to go right for the Orioles to make it back in the playoffs. Even with a pair of six-win seasons from Davis and Machado, last year, they had merely a good season, not a great one. They’d need repeats of that and for others to step up. Now, think about how little of that actually happened. Think instead about how much has gone terribly wrong. So much, in fact, that we’re going to lightning-round it with a list of unfortunate calamity — some that seemed obviously bad at the moment, only to turn out much differently, and others that have been a slow train wreck over the course of the season. In rough but not necessarily precise chronological order:

  • Jim Johnson, a probably overrated but still effective closer, was dealt to Oakland for a spare part (Jemile Weeks) because the O’s couldn’t afford his arbitration award.
  • Grant Balfour, a very good closer who’d agreed to join Baltimore at a very fair price, didn’t have his contract finalized when the O’s team doctors disliked his physical. He signed with AL East rivals Tampa Bay, leading to no shortage of ridicule for the Orioles — especially when the same thing happened with Tyler Colvin.
  • Two departed members of the 2013 rotation, Jason Hammel and Jake Arrieta, suddenly became among the most-improved pitchers in baseball with the Cubs.
  • Matt Wieters played well for a month, then blew out his arm.
  • J.J. Hardy, who had hit 77 homers in the last three seasons, didn’t get his first until June 21.
  • Machado, when he wasn’t being suspended for bizarrely throwing his bat at people, didn’t make it back from knee surgery until May, then revealed himself to be far more advanced on defense than offense, with a mere 87 wRC+ over the last calendar year, though he’s been very hot recently.
  • Davis, who’d put up one of the five best hitting seasons in Baltimore history last year, has been so awful in 2014 that he’s actually been below replacement-level.
  • Of the 10 players with the most playing time at each position, three — Davis, Caleb Joseph and David Lough — have batting averages that start with a “1,” and even though batting average isn’t wRC+, that still stands out.
  • Oh, and second baseman Jonathan Schoop has been just as bad, giving the team four problem spots in the lineup, and five if you include Hardy.
  • Free agent acquisition Ubaldo Jimenez has been an expensive disaster, with the worst walk percentage in baseball, and just landed on the disabled list with an ankle reportedly sprained while walking through the parking lot near his home.
  • The best — best! — FIP among their five primary starters is 4.41, by Wei-Yin Chen, good for 80th in baseball, between Tommy Milone and Kyle Kendrick.
  • Lottery ticket Johan Santana tore his Achilles weeks before making it back to the big leagues.
  • Last year’s “shockingly effective reliever” version of Brian Matusz has become this year’s “sub-replacement inferno” version of Brian Matusz.

… and so on. Every team has problems, sure, but that’s quite the list, encompassing three of the team’s four most important players on offense (Adam Jones, thus far, has been hitting about the same as he always does), two of 2013’s most important bullpen pieces, and an entire rotation. Had you read this list prior to the season, you’d have likely expected that they’d either be well on the way to a 100-loss season, or have simply folded entirely before the curse got any worse. It would have been hard for the best team in baseball to overcome all that, and few would have suggested the Orioles were the best team in baseball.

They’re not on the way to 100 losses, of course. They’re in first place at the All-Star break, with the fourth-most wins in the American League and the third-largest division lead in the game, and are the overwhelming favorites to stay in first place according to our projections. Just like we all expected, of course. Never change, baseball. You’re the best.

So, which is it going to be? Are they playing wildly over their heads, not unreasonable given all the negatives they’ve had to overcome? Or have we just continued to underestimate Dan Duquette, Buck Showalter and friends? Perhaps not unexpectedly, the answer is a little of both, but less so on offense, which is performing to expectations:

2014 Orioles, runs/game
Batting to Date Batting Projected ROS
4.31 4.41
Pitching to Date Pitching Projected ROS
4.03 4.49

One might think with so many problems on offense, the Orioles would either be desperate for runs or hitting something like .700 with the few runners in scoring position that they managed to accumulate. Not so, in fact; Baltimore’s non-pitchers have the No. 10 wRC+; they’ve scored the 9th-most runs. That level of run-scoring is in line with what you’d expect from that wRC+, so it’s not luck or sequencing or ballpark. It’s just not happening from the sources you’d expect it to be. Jones, again, is a constant, but in the absence of consistent production from Davis, Machado and Wieters, the Orioles have counted on a most unlikely source of offense.

I’m talking about Steve Pearce, of course. Yes, obviously all anyone wants to talk about is Nelson Cruz, on track to become arguably the best one-year free agent in the history of free agency, and his second-in-MLB 28 homers and top-15, better-than-Miguel Cabrera 150 wRC+ have been both incredible and a huge part of why the Orioles are where they are. (Particularly when you remember that had he not landed in Baltimore in the spring, those plate appearances might have been going to some combination of Lough, Delmon Young and Henry Urrutia.) But it’s the 31-year-old Pearce, who has been property of five teams dating back to 2011, and had been dropped by Baltimore twice in the last two years, who has helped pick up the slack, putting up an only-partially BABIP-fueled 163 wRC+ in 209 plate appearances. As Nick Markakis‘ rebound has been a mild one, better than 2013 but still nowhere near where he was at his best, Pearce and Cruz have been saviors.

It’s the pitching that’s a concern, as you can see above; without a single elite starter, and with the worst (non-Rockies division) pitching FIP in baseball, we’re actually seeing them be outscored over the remainder of the division. Perhaps unsurprisingly, only two teams have a larger negative discrepancy between their ERA and FIP, and it looks like regression is coming.

I’m not going to sugarcoat that for you, really. This rotation isn’t good. Only the Rockies and Twins strike out fewer; only the Rockies walk more. Only five rotations allow more homers. They don’t generate many ground balls, despite the spectacular left-side infield defense behind them. Perhaps there’s hope, though; less Jimenez means more Kevin Gausman, which can only be an upgrade, and Duquette has a few weeks to further improve it. No, this isn’t a landing spot for David Price, though an Ian Kennedy-type might be a fit.

Through foresight, luck, or both, they avoided the horrendous seasons of both Johnson and Balfour, and when Tommy Hunter failed as the closer, Zach Britton stepped in ably, though the bullpen as a whole has been somewhat middle of the pack. All of them are helped by what has become one of the better defenses in baseball, and not just the expected pair of Machado & Hardy; Jones has improved, Joseph has seen high marks, and even Pearce has contributed. If you’ve been following Duquette’s never-ending roster moves closely, he’s been constantly turning over his players to take advantage of options and get a starting pitcher out of the way in between turns to get Showalter another reliever. (Bud Norris, who had made just one start since returning from the DL, was sent to Double-A yesterday to start for the nearby Aberdeen Ironbirds, making an 11:05 a.m. start.)

It helps, of course, that the Rays have collapsed, and the Red Sox have collapsed, and the post-Tanaka Yankees are about to collapse, and the Blue Jays are in the process of collapsing, and maybe that’s the biggest factor. Against their rivals, the Orioles are 26-18, the only team in the division to be more than one game over .500 inside the East. Depending on how you look at it, they either have a very tough remaining schedule, or they don’t. Sometimes, all you have to do is be the team that manages not to implode. That’s probably not good enough to get past the Athletics, Angels and Tigers into the World Series, but anything can happen once you get to October. For the continually confounding Orioles, whether we respect them or not, it sure looks like they’re on their way to doing just that.




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Mike Petriello lives in New York and writes about the Dodgers daily at Dodgers Digest, as well as contributing to ESPN Insider. He wrote two chapters in the 2014 Hardball Times Annual as well as building The Hardball Times and TechGraphs, and was an editorial producer at Sports on Earth. Find him at @mike_petriello.


62 Responses to “The Orioles Don’t Care About Our Expectations”

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  1. Buck Showalter says:

    Hey, you forgot too add me and my idiotic bullpen management to everything that has gone wrong for the Orioles this year.

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  2. Kenny says:

    Actually, what’s about to happen is that the Red Sox and Rays will have the second halfs you expected all along, the Orioles will regress, and all five teams will finish exactly 81-81. Now there’s a scenario to root for!

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  3. santorumforpresident says:

    Why do we assume ERA regression is coming? The ERA and FIP discrepancy is really just a measure of the impact the defense has on runs allowed, isn’t it? So unless some of the plus defenders on the team go down to injury, we can expect the same level of defense and a continuation of that discrepancy.

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    • Emdem says:

      This is doubly true since their team BABIP, while low, isn’t outside the realm of normal, and the staff also boasts one of the best LD% in baseball, which suggest that the BABIP isn’t entirely reliant on defense.

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      • tz says:

        Precisely. The defense has been the hidden ingredient for the O’s, just as it has been the lifeblood for the Royals.

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    • AlbionHero says:

      The Orioles always have a much higher FIP than ERA the last few years, so its just what the team is. “Analysts” always say it’ll regress every year but it never does.

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  4. RandomDigits says:

    How many years in a row do the Orioles have to outperform their FIP before you realize it’s a trend not a coincidence?

    You guys don’t seem to realize that Dan has decided that OBP and Strikeouts are out of the O’s price range and that he specifically built the team in other ways. Since your projection systems heavily favor OBP on offense and K’s on defense they will continue to underrate the Orioles.

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    • santorumforpresident says:

      There doesn’t seem to be much of an effort to connect the ERA-FIP discrepancy to the quality of the defense. Pitching isn’t “fielding independent” in real life. Gonzalez, Tillman, Chen have all been pitching in front of essentially the same defense since 2012 and have outperformed their FIP each year by amounts similar to this season.

      If these guys were to be traded to a team with a worse defense, then I would expect a regression there. But unless there’s an injury to a guy like Machado or Hardy that impacts the defense, I expect the discrepancy to continue the way it has the last 2.5 seasons.

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      • emdash says:

        But those pitchers don’t seem to be beating their FIPs by that much, do they?

        Tillman doesn’t seem like a great example. He’s had FIPs between 4.25 and 4.50, while his ERA’s gone from 2.93 to 3.71 to 4.11. So he’s beaten his FIP by wildly varying amounts (and only by .39 this year) because of the consistent defense?

        Chen’s beating his FIP by .28 points so far. That doesn’t seem like a significant difference.

        Gonzalez is beating his FIP, but so far that’s just making him a poor pitcher rather than an abysmal one.

        As for the Orioles as a staff? For the year, they’re currently beating their FIP by .48. In 2013, they beat it by .13. That’s not a consistent, statistically significant difference explainable by their admittedly great defense.

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        • santorumforpresident says:

          Not sure of the point you’re trying to make. It seems like you’re stating that there isn’t much regression left to erase the ERA-FIP discrepancy, which would support my general point that I don’t see a big drop off in results from the rotation in the second half like the article suggests.

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        • emdash says:

          Your argument was that their great defense is allowing them to consistently beat their FIP; my main point was that that consistency doesn’t seem to be there, considering how widely Tillman has varied over the years and that they didn’t beat it by very much in 2013 despite having the same defense and most of the same pitchers.

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        • RandomDigits says:

          They are consistently beating it, just not by a consistent amount.

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        • thebamoor says:

          Individual ERA-FIP is noisy. But team ERA-FIP is a pretty good measure of defense, because more innings (more sample).

          Look up teams known for great D, and you’ll almost always see discrepancies between ERA and FIP. They also often allow low ball-in-play batting averages relative to the league.

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    • Kevin Krueger says:

      The projections are based on everything. OBP for hitters and K’s for pitcher’s happen to be the biggest factors in, you know, scoring and preventing runs. Defense has been factored in…in position player WAR. No reason to double count it.

      Reasons for success…

      1. AL East being much worse than expected
      2. Unexpected goodness of Pearce and Cruz
      3. “Positive variation” ;)

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  5. SickRick says:

    It’s about time someone gave some credit to the O’s who have been baseball’s Rodney Dangerfield for 3 yrs now. Jeez, imagine if Chris Davis turns his season around a bit…

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  6. SickRick says:

    If any team can benefit from a mid-season addition or two, it is probably the O’s. If not for the suddenly surging Mets, Daniel Murphy would be a nice 2B bat to add there. They can obviously stand to add an arm to both the rotation and pen.

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  7. Bat says:

    I still think the Mets are eyeing next year when Harvey returns, some of their young players have cut their teeth in the majors a bit, and a bunch of their prospects are ready or closer to The Show.

    Seems from Sick Rick’s comment that Daniel Murphy + Colon might be good additions to the Orioles if the O’s have the right upper level prospects so that the Mets can continue building for a run next year.

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    • SickRick says:

      Yeah those two are a good fit for the O’s. I think it would take Christian Walker+ (possibly EduardoRod) and I’m not sure the O’s would be willing to pay that steep a price.

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      • Orsulakfan says:

        The Orioles should not be afraid to lose a few prospects to strengthen the team this season. They have to strike now. I would trade Schoop and E-Rod to the Mets for D. Murphy, for example. I like Jonathan, but Murphy would give the lineup more heft. As for pitching, I don’t love what is out there at a reasonable price, but I think moving Gonzo or Norris to the ‘pen when Ubaldo returns might be the right move. Gausman should be given a regular slot: he’s not a savior, but he’s an improvement.

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    • emdash says:

      Doesn’t seem like the Orioles would be that interested in a starting pitcher without options for them to shuttle around. Murphy, maybe.

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  8. Jack says:

    Britton is severely underrated by FIP. He’s got a nearly 2.00 SIERA due to a ~80% GB rate. His sinker is just unreasonable. That’s a big contributor to how they are outperforming their FIP.

    O’Day, Britton, and Webb are all good relievers. Hunter and Macfarland are serviceable. They could use another reliever, sure, but not nearly as bad as a better starter.

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  9. Orsulakfan says:

    I am very happy to see Fangraphs write about the O’s, finally! They are not the analysts’ favorite team, for the reasons described in this article, but they are plenty interesting.

    I don’t know whether they will keep it up. You have to anticipate 2nd-half regression from Pearce, Cruz, O’Day, and Britton. Machado, Davis, and Hardy can pick up some of that slack, and Jimenez is the best bet on the pitching staff.

    I think one of the things that makes them awkward for analytics, in addition to the defense suppressing ERA vs. FIP, is their all-or-nothing quality. They have games where they seem to be lost at the plate and on the mound, and then they get creamed. Tillman and Jimenez, in particular, are either terrible or solid. Maybe this explanation isn’t great either, but I do think there is something at work more than luck.

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    • Weedwums says:

      Been saying this since 2012 when he had that negative run differental. There were a lot of early on Brian Matusz starts where the O’s would get shelled. This team defines feast or famine.

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      • Phil says:

        Plus Machado coming up in mid-2012, and McLouth coming off the scrap heap as a valuable player that year. The 2012 run differential was over-analyzed that fall as the team the Orioles were putting on the field then was a good deal better than the one that started the season.

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    • Jason B says:

      “Jimenez is the best bet on the pitching staff”

      That should frighten any O’s fan, or splash some cold water on their warming postseason aspirations.

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      • dandrews says:

        Regardless of what advanced metrics say, it’s been pretty obvious over >80 games that Ubaldo has not been the Orioles best pitcher.

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      • Orsulakfan says:

        The best bet to improve in the 2nd half, is what I meant. But Gausman could be the key to the season.

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    • Kevin Krueger says:

      Yeah, I think this is perhaps part of having a good team with a bad pitching staff. For all his warts, Showalter seems to have a good handle on how to leverage his best arms.

      talented but inconsistent arms –> high variation in RA
      high power, mediocre OBP lineups –> high variation in RS
      overall volatility + Showalter’s bullpen wizardry = overperforming projections

      Not very scientific, but its worth considering! Perhaps they are not receiving enough credit their unorthodox roster construction. Obviously, being consistently good is preferred, but this has to be the next best thing, right? Especially in such a tough division (in recent history anyway…)

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  10. Baroque6 says:

    I agree that the starting pitching is completely mediocre, but there’s no real fit on the market who would be an significant upgrade over their six competent innings-eaters. They’re (rightly) not willing to send whatever package it would take to get Price or Hamels, and the upgrade that an Ian Kennedy or Jorge de la Rosa type would provide would not nearly be worth the giveaway. I think 2B is clearly the spot to target in a trade.

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  11. VeveJones007 says:

    O’s are tied for 5th in the AL with the Angels and Rays for overall team ERA. O’s are last in FIP. Sorry Fangraphs, but there’s something amiss there.

    FIP may be a better measure of how good a pitcher is, but giving up runs is a factor of pitching + defense. I’ll take 94 games worth of data for the stat that covers two-thirds of a game rather than the stat that covers one-third of the game.

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    • Bill says:

      I agree. We’re missing something. They’ve done this three years in a row. Maybe the we’re undervaluing defensive contributions or maybe it’s due to a deliberate move to pursue low strikeout/weak contact pitchers in order to save money.

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    • LibertyTerp says:

      There’s nothing amiss. The Orioles have amazing defense, especially with Machado and Hardy. That’s why Orioles pitchers ERA is always lower than their FIP. FIP is “fielding independent”, and the O’s have awesome fielding.

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  12. Bill says:

    The Orioles have the best record in the division over the past three seasons. 400 games is a lot of games. It seems like it’s too big of a sample to write the results off as luck. They must be doing something to continually outperform their projections. Maybe it is just extraordinary luck, but I wonder if Duquette is exploiting some market inefficiency that hasn’t come to light yet. I know, so I think I’ll just attribute their success to the magic of the Cartoon Bird and enjoy the games.

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  13. Patrick says:

    Dan Duquette is exactly what he was in Boston. He was an underrated judge of talent when he was with the Red Sox; he consistently found AAAA guys with a good year or two in them, and his big ticket free agent signings were excellent. On the other hand he lacked the organizational skills to develop a first class farm system. In Boston his teams were consistently good — if flawed. Many of those teams would have won this year’s AL East.

    In Baltimore he won’t have the ability to buy high end free agents, but he does have a number of cost- controlled high draft picks to make up for it. Unless the Yankees can spend their way or Red Sox can develop/spend themselves into 95 win teams (both are very possible) I think the O’s will contend at least until Machado/Bundy/Gausman hit free agency.

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    • tz says:

      This.

      Pearce is the O’s version of Troy O’Leary. As long as Duquette churns enough guys into the roster with an opportunity to make that step upwards, they’ll be fine.

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  14. Michael says:

    But the infallible WAR gods picked BAL to finish last!!

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  15. Dave Cameron says:

    Attention angry Orioles fans: the gap between your ERA and your FIP is based on timing, not defense. You can see this clearly in the value section of the pitching leader boards. Remember that runs allowed is basically FIP + hit prevention + sequencing, and we break down how a team is doing in each of those three variables. The Orioles:

    FIP WAR: +5.5 (26th)
    BIP WAR: +1.6 (8th)
    LOB WAR: +4.1 (1st)
    RA9 WAR: +11.3 (7th)

    A team’s sequence-neutral pitching and defense can be measured by just adding FIP-WAR and BIP-WAR together. The Orioles defense, by holding down the team’s BABIP, has contributed almost two extra wins, and is helping the team outperform their FIP. But it’s not the main reason. That’s the timing of events, the LOB WAR, where the Orioles are again leading the league.

    If you want to argue that the Orioles have an inherent skill that allows them to strand baserunners, go right ahead. But that’s the argument you have to make. It’s not the defense.

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    • santorumforpresident says:

      No anger here, Dave. Just trying to point out this is 2.5 years of them outperforming FIP and trying to determine why. I ventured the guess it was based on the defense. You say its not mostly explained by defense, but partially. Thanks for some clarification.

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    • Alex says:

      Is it accurate to say that LOB WAR is comprised of something like (in order):
      – Luck
      – Decrease in ability to pitch from the stretch
      – Manager’s decision making re bullpen moves
      – Double play turning ability?
      – Ability to hold runners (eg people not running on a strong catcher, or not “taking on” a CF’s arm)

      Has anyone looked into whether any of these can actually combine to a significant % of the luck term?

      As someone else said: “The Orioles have been in the top 10 of LOB WAR for the past three years. Call it luck if you will but that’s ~400 games of them being above average at stranding runners.”

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      • Steve says:

        Perhaps here is where a manager’s moves can affect win pct. Would be interesting to see where Showalter’s teams over the years rank in LOB WAR.

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      • tz says:

        Just taking a quick look, the O’s rank #1 in DP runs saved (+7) and are 3rd in OF “ARM” runs saved (+8).

        Right now, the O’s ERA-FIP is 0.48 over 848 1/3 innings, or a 45 run difference. So the “defensive” part of the LOB run component accounts for 15 of those runs.

        The O’s also have a higher HR/FB ratio than average. Using xFIP instead of FIP accounts for 0.13 runs/9, or 12 runs to date. That leaves 45-15-12 = 18 runs that would safely be attributable to LOB for 2014.

        For the previous 2 years, the defensive part of the LOB wins is not as clear-cut:

        2014 +15 runs on DP+OF ARM
        2013 +11
        2012 -5

        In short, because of how the FIP WAR, BIP WAR, and RA9 WAR are defined, LOB WAR is a balancing item that on average works out to the impact of sequencing on runs allowed. The last two items Alex listed can account for a measurable part of LOB WAR that may be sustainable rather than luck. I think the O’s defensive talent level for turning DPs and OF arms is above average, though closer to the +11 runs/162 games level of 2013 rather than the blistering pace thus far in 2014.

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    • dkdc says:

      If I’m reading the definitions correctly, “LOB-WAR” really means “run prevention WAR not explained by FIP and BABIP”.

      Of that 4.1 wins of LOB-WAR, approximately 1.5 wins is the gap between FIP (which pegs O’s pitching as 11% worse than AL average), and xFIP /SIERA (which both peg the O’s pitching as 7% worse than AL average).

      The remaining 2.6 is a lot more than just sequencing, and it includes:

      Outfield Arm runs (0.8 wins according to ARM)
      Double play runs (0.7 wins according to DPR)
      Catcher SB prevention (zero wins according to rSB)

      So, we’re down to 1.1, which is some combination of

      a) pitcher ability to pitch better with runners on base
      b) effective deployment of relief pitching
      c) dumb luck

      I won’t try to calculate any of these, particularly (a), but there is reason to believe that the Orioles get some (b) given that the talent gap between their relief pitching and starting pitching is bigger than the league average, so they have more opportunities to bring in a fireman when their starter gets into trouble.

      I’m just an angry Orioles fan, but I think there’s good evidence that much of the run prevention we saw in the first half is repeatable.

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      • Kevin Krueger says:

        You don’t get to double count defense…its already factored into position player WAR. This issue at hand is strand rate, which has been shown to be rather inconsistent year-to-year. All 4.1 LOB-WAR has to be explained by the a/b/c you list.

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        • dkdc says:

          You’re misunderstanding what the 4.1 LOB-WAR represents.

          To get there, you start with 11.3 RA9 WAR, which is 100% of the Orioles actual run prevention to date.

          Subtract out the 5.5 FIP WAR, which is the K, BB, and HR-rates of the pitchers.
          Subtract out the 1.6 BIP WAR, which is how well the defense has done at preventing singles and doubles on balls in play.

          The remainder is the 4.1, which is most certainly more than just strand rate. It really shouldn’t be called LOB-WAR, it should be called residual-WAR.

          In the Orioles case, it’s pretty trivial to show that much of that 4.1 is due to things like a higher HR/FB rate than expected, and other defensive value not picked up in BIP-WAR.

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        • tz says:

          dkdc:

          I didn’t scroll down to read your analysis. This would have saved me a bunch of time putting together the same analysis that you did, and explained very well.

          And I wonder why I don’t have enough time to do all I want to ;)

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  16. Bat says:

    Emdash (or whoever), what does this mean in the comment you wrote?

    Doesn’t seem like the Orioles would be that interested in a starting pitcher without options for them to shuttle around. Murphy, maybe.

    Are you saying that any starting pitcher the O’s acquire needs to have options to be farmed out if necessary? If so, that doesn’t strike me as a factor in a July acquisition for the stretch run…I think the focus is on acquiring a pitcher that is better than one (or more) of your current pitchers and said “better” pitcher replaces the aforementioned “worse” pitcher?

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    • emdash says:

      You’re right, I left out an important phrase – a pitcher “like Bartolo Colon” without options. If they could get a real frontline #1 starter, options wouldn’t matter. But Colon’s a more marginal upgrade, so someone like that would need to have options for them to want him, I’d think.

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  17. Jose says:

    Intra-division records can be very deceiving; anecdotal, but the ’09 Yankees started something like 0 and 9 against the Red Sox, and the series stood at 9 – 9 at the end of the season.

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  18. FREDTERP says:

    Terence is spending a lot of time recently at the Thomas Johnson gym here in Frederick, Md. Terence has received interest from the Orlando Magic and San Antonio, Europe is also an option. Terence said he DID NOT receive an invitation to play in the summer league in LA from the Rockets! He would have gone. Orlando has discussed his availability in it’s Pepsi Pro Summer League, and he could join the team later this summer. Orlando is not loaded with small forwards. FREDTERP

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  19. Dflynn1162 says:

    The O’s record this year is exactly the same as it was this time last year. Yet, last year at this time we were 4.5 games back rather than 4 games up. So, I would say we are the same team as last year – its just that the rest of the division has collapsed

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    • Belloc says:

      With your reasoning, the Orioles are demonstrably worse than last year. They play an unbalanced schedule, with approximately half their games against division rivals. Since their division has “collapsed,” the Orioles should have improved their record considerably.

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  20. Trees says:

    Losing Ballfour seems like a plus now.

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  21. tz says:

    Are there any good rental catchers the O’s could pick up for the stretch?

    With Wieters’ injury, the O’s could do well with an upgrade from Joseph’s bat. Miguel Montero’s contract rules him out, and I wouldn’t trust Suzuki to keep hitting well, but what about Carlos Ruiz?

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