• May

    Hangouter Highlight Post Takes

    One of the best things about our community here at Orioles Hangout is the amount of outstanding posters who do a tremendous amount of interesting research on our Orioles. Over the years we’ve done Hangout Highlighted Posts or HHPs, and we still may do them on occasion, but I thought it would be interesting to put a few together in case you missed them.

    The unusual Orioles season so far

    (Why not start with one of our best posters Frobby? This post was in response in thread about the Orioles -31 run differential despite having a .500 record.)

    It has been kind of an unusual year so far. The Orioles haven't played a ton of close games.
    7-3 in one run games
    4-4 in two run games
    2-5 in three run games
    4-4 in four run games
    7-8 in 5+ run games
    3-4 in extra inning games

    We've had 4 walkoff wins, we've had 3 walkoff losses. We've had 2 games we blew in the bottom of the 9th, and won one game where we were losing in the bottom of the 9th. The bullpen has terrible stats, but we have only lost 3 games out of the 6 saves they've blown. We've caused the other team's closer to blow leads 5 times, but only won three of those (both times we didn't, it was Rivera who blew the save).

    We are 4-19 when scoring less than 4 runs, 20-5 when scoring 4 runs or more. We are 17-3 when allowing less than 4 runs, 7-21 when allowing 4 runs or more.

    We've lost games by scores of 13-1, 15-3, 13-2 and 17-5. That's a 46-run differential. In our four most lopsided wins, we won 11-0, 9-2, and a couple of 6-run wins. That's only a 30-run differential. So, there's half the reason we have a -31 run differential.

    Overall, I'd say we've been slightly lucky to have arrived at this point with a .500 record, but not as lucky as you might think just based on that -31 differential.

    Reynolds is a unique player

    (Poster Nite in response to Roy Firestone lamenting over Mark Reynolds’ strikeouts)

    He also has a .305 OBP which is amazing factoring his .200 avg. He takes a TON of pitches and is always working counts. So even though he strikes out a ton it's not like he goes down in 3 whiffs. Plus look at what he is doing compared to the rest of the team.

    R-22 3rd on team
    2b-11 1st on team (this is a team with Roberts and Markakis who are typically league leaders)
    HR- 6 Tied for 1st on team
    RBI- 22 3rd on team
    BB- 23 1st on team

    Plus as we have seen this week he's just starting to get a little hot. He plays a decent 3b to boot (yes 8 errors but has saved as much as he's booted imo)

    So with all of the strike outs, he's still able to find ways to be productive... Really is a unique player.

    (Tony’s Take: Reynolds also sees 4.25 pitches per plate appearance when the MLB average is 3.81. The only time I get a little upset with the strikeouts are when he's in a situation where making contact is more important than a home run. He still needs to be able to adjust in those at bats, but in most other situation, I could care less that he struck out vice any other out really. He's only grounded into 3 double plays which is less than Roberts, Markakis, Wieters, Lee, Guerrero and the same as Adam Jones. I'll take that strikeout over a double play any day.)

    Tillman’s improvements

    (Our own crstoner97’s post in response to post that Bergesen should keep the rotation spot over Tillman when Matusz comes off the DL)

    I think there is some truth here... however,

    Bergesen: 1-5, 5.64 era, 44.2 ip, 49 hits, 4 hr's, 13 bb's, 26 k's, .820 OPS against, 0.56 G/F

    Tillman: 2-3, 4.95 era, 43.2 ip, 51 hits, 2 hr's, 17 bb's, 30 k's, .758 OPS against, 0.72 G/F

    Tillman has improved his:

    K/9 6.18 in '11 vs. 5.20 in '10
    BB/9 3.50 in '11 vs. 5.20 in '10
    LD % 15.8 in '11 vs. 18.5 % in '10

    Tillman is throwing his Cutter 10.1% of the time, vs. 0% in '09.

    We've also had 4 National Writers in the last month all tell us they think Tillman should be the one to stay in the rotation.

    Gary Armida / FullCountPitch: “I like Tillman a lot, even if his total season doesn’t illustrate his talent. As you said, his strikeouts are improving and his control is following. That quote tells me that Tillman is learning how to be a pitcher. Pitchers make that next leap when they learn how to mix speeds. He can be 90 MPH most of the game and then dial it up to 93-94 when he needs to. I'd like to see him get a few more groundballs (0.86 GB/FB), but you can also point to a .331 BABIP, which is a bit unlucky. His last two starts have been impressive. He's pitched 11 innings, allowed 8 hits, 1 run, 6 walks, and struck out 7. He's also had 16 swing and miss strikes. He's only 23 years old. He's learning. They need to be patient. He could be their fourth ace.

    No, I don't think he should be removed at all from the rotation. He's 23 years old and has a legimitate shot of being a number two, possibly a number one starter in the future. Even if he falls short of that, he'll be an excellent number three. This year is all about development and experience for the Orioles. They can't stunt his growth.

    As for the six man rotation, I’m surprised more young teams don’t do it. It works for the White Sox because they really don’t have that one ace who should get the ball more than the others. The Phillies have Roy Halladay. Obviously, you want him on the mound every fifth day. For the Orioles, especially the 2011 version, I like it at least temporarily. It’s a good way to monitor innings and keep everyone learning at the Major League level in a starter’s role. But, someone like Brad Bergesen could help the tired bullpen in a swing role too. It’s something to consider, but the Orioles’ primary goals have to be to get their young pitchers to their innings, get them experience, and have them mostly free of restrictions next year. If a six man rotation can do that, they should use it.”

    Jayson Stark / ESPN: “My read is that Bergesen probably has the lowest ceiling, but he and Tillman both project as back-of-the-rotation starters down the road. So it all comes down to who’s pitching best when Matusz comes back. I’m not a fan of six-man rotations unless you need to do it to protect the health of one or two of your starters. I don’t see the point in this case.”

    Steve Goldman / Baseball Prospectus: “Tillman has given the Orioles just two quality starts in six tries, which is kind of a depressing ratio. Yet, as you point out, his peripherals are improved. His batting average on balls in play is .365 and his line-drive rate isn’t particularly high, so there is certainly an argument to be made that he should be allowed to hang around—particularly if the alternative is Bergesen, who is just rehearsing his eventual role as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.”

    Dan Szymborski / ESPN: "Tillman. Despite the first couple of starts, Tillman still has a lot of growing left to do as a pitcher and the AL East is a rough environment for a young pitcher. Bergesen is pretty much what he is, a 4th/5th starter, and probably isn’t going to learn much more at AAA."

    (Tony’s Take: Tillman has improved this season and honestly, I think he makes a decent 5th starter right now.  I’m not against Bergesen getting the 5th spot , but I‘d like to see how  his stuff works pitching out of the pen for awhile. I keep picturing that sinker getting some key double plays in the 7th or 8th inning.

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Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.