• Jul

    JJ Hardy's strange first half

    The first 81-games for JJ Hardy has been pretty strange statistically speaking. Defensively, he's been as steady as ever committing just three errors in 79 games at SS. He's second in the AL with a .992 FLD PCT behind Seattle's Brenden Ryan (.993 in 71 games) and 2nd in Range Factor per nine innings with a 4.87. He's on pace to be a 3.2 dWAR player this year which give him tremendous value to the team, especially since he's the shortstop.

    Offensively though, Hardy is becoming a wreck at the plate. I've been beating the drum for sometime now that he's not a number two hitter, but right now he's one of the least effective players in the AL in getting on base. Hardy's .269 OBP is tied for the second worse in the AL amongst qualifiers and his .665 OPS is tied for 16th worse in the AL. Not to mention he's grounded into double plays 23% of the time (runner at 1st with less than two outs) this year compared to 11% major league average. He's not only bad and getting on base, but he's a rally killer as well.

    I talked a little bit about this in a thread about a week ago, but looking at the data, it appears right-handers are pitching effectively away from him but lefties are busting him inside. It also appears that Hardy is not swinging much different than he did last year having very similar takes, swings, and whiff percentages to last year.

    The one thing he has going for him is his current BAbip which is a career low .245, and .031 off his career mark of .276. His LD% is up from 2011 (18.7%-16.4%) so he's hitting the ball just as hard.

    Basically the only thing that's down a bit is his walk percentage which is down to a career low 4.5%. Pressing could be a cause of the drop off from his career 7.3% rate.

    Overall, JJ needs to be more patient at the plate and start making adjustments better on how pitchers are pitching him. If his BAbip returns to his normal range he should have more productive second half, but then again, it's hard to imagine him being worse.

    Regardless, Buck needs to drop him in the order and take a little pressure off him by batting him 6th or lower. There is no reason to give extra at bats to one of the leagues worse OBP players in front of the team's run producers.

    Talk about it here.

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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.