Baltimore Sports Report has their weekly Birds On The Wire podcast up – Birds On The Wire – Episode 17. You should check it out because those guys are awesome, but also because Matt Sadler did a quick interview with yours truly. Matt was nice enough to send along some questions beforehand, so I jotted down a few notes (available for your perusal below).
Daniel, you are a numbers guy. What percentage of your opinions is formed by numbers versus “gut feeling”?
“Gut feeling” can be an immediate reaction, or an emotional reaction.
I’ve been doing this kind of statistical analysis for long enough that my immediate reaction is to think about things using the numbers. My emotional reaction doesn’t have much to do with the formation of my opinions. As a fan, I like having Miguel Tejada back. That doesn’t necessarily mean it was a good move.
Let’s go through the Orioles off-season acquisitions. Throw out the money and contract length- Did the Orioles improve themselves at Starting Pitching with Kevin Millwood? 1st Base with Garrett Atkins? 3rd Base with Miggy?
All of those guys improve the team. Millwood is better than the 5th starter (David Hernandez or Jason Berken) by 1-2 wins. Tejada is better than Mora by ~ 1 win. Atkins isn’t great at 1B, but he’s better than Huff or Aubrey/Wigginton by ~0.5 wins. They did get better, but not by a lot.
Who do you predict to make the biggest step forward this year for the O’s?
Tillman wasn’t that good last year, so if he can up his strike-out rate a little and get the longballs under control he would take a step forward even as just an OK starter. Wieters, if he can walk more and utilize his power more, can go from just being good for a catcher to just really good overall, and set himself
Who do you predict to make the biggest step backwards for the O’s?
Nobody really over-preformed on the team last year, but Millwood won’t repeat his shiny ERA or almost 200 IP from Texas, Tejada is getting old, Bergesen will probably pitch about as well but his ERA won’t look quite as good, and Roberts is a 2B on the wrong side of 30.
Who in the O’s minor league system gets you giddy and why?
Zach Britton. A left-handed starter who has upped his strike-out rate every year and gets a ton of groundballs is a pretty good recipe for success. How he does in Double-A this year will be a big test, but if he can improve his control then I think he’ll start to get more attention. Maybe I’m higher on him than I should be, but I realy love groundball pitchers.
The interview online didn’t have that last question (it was asked and answered – the minors aren’t especially my thing though), and instead was replaced by a surprise question about what I do and why people should come to the blog (a perfectly reasonable thing to ask). That was meant with a long, rambling, not very good answer (break things down, statistical analysis) which the guys were nice enough to edit to make me seem a little less dumb. Always nice talking baseball with them, and I look forward to seeing then at the Yard this season.