Orioles Position Player Report Card At The One-Third Mark

At the just recently passed one-third mark of the season, the Orioles sat at a very disappointing 15-39 (now 16-41). Things aren’t going near as well as expected in Bird Land, though I think fans wouldn’t be feeling so bad about the team if Andy MacPhail hasn’t said before the season that they were now being judged on wins and losses. In any case, it’s not a bad time to stop and grade out how well the individual players are doing, because in large measure that’s what really matters when you’re so far under .500 anyway.

I usually don’t like the report card type scoring, but decided to go with it for ease of summation by grading on a curve based on expectations for each player. Disregarding playing time for the purpose of the grade, I pro-rated the Wins Above Replacement from the pre-season projections to the player’s current number of plate appearances, and compared to their actual FanGraphs WAR (which doesn’t include base-running, but it’s not a big deal).  Then I assigned a grade based on overall production, pre-season expectations, luck, and maybe whether or not the guy is being paid $4.5 M.

First up are the position players, with just those having at least 75 PA being formally graded. Adjusted batting lines use the procedure found here, though now I wish I had just held off on posting that altogether. Each subsequent adjust line incorporates the noted feature, so the final one adjusts for BABIP, HR/FB%, BB%, and K%.

Orioles position players overall have accumulated just 0.7 WAR, while at the one-third mark the community projections would have had the team – though a different assortment of players – at about 7.3 WAR. That’s terrible, and deserving of an F grade. I might be inclined to swing that up to something in the D range given the injuries, but it’s still really bad.

Matt Wieters: C
2010 WAR: 0.5
Projected Pro-rated WAR: 1.2
Defense: +1 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS, from +/-)
Batting Line: .240/.314/.337
Adjusted from BABIP of .292 to xBABIP of  .300: .249/.323/.348
Adjusted from HR/FB of 8.7% to HR/FB of 9%: .249/.322/.349
Adjusted from 9.3 BB%, 23.4 K% to 8 BB%, 19.1 K%: .263/.326/.365
Pre-season Projection: .287/.351/.454
Updated Rest of Season CHONE Projection: .282/.349/.443

He’s not hitting the ball with authority enough to get his average up, or in the air enough to get the power numbers up. Also chasing more pitches out of the strike-zone (relative to both last year and the league average), while swinging at fewer in the strike-zone. Still young; still talented; and CHONE still thinks he’s going to hit.

Garrett Atkins: F
2010 WAR: -0.9
Projected Pro-rated WAR: 0.1
Defense: -2.4 runs UZR, -4 DRS
Batting Line: .209/.261/.287
Adjusted from BABIP of .257 to xBABIP of  .290: .235/.285/.319
Adjusted from HR/FB of 2.3% to HR/FB of 5%: .239/.288/.348
Adjusted from 6.5 BB%, 20.9 K% to 7.2 BB%, 17.8 K%: .250/.305/.363
Pre-season Projection: .264/.333/.423
Updated Rest of Season CHONE Projection: .251/.312/.393

Didn’t think he’d hit near well enough to justify his contract, but he’s been oh so much worse than even pessimistic expectations. Probably done as a player, given the wOBA progression: .410, .368, .337, .291, .247.

Ty Wigginton: A
2010 WAR: 1.3
Projected Pro-rated WAR: 0.2
Defense: -4.9 runs UZR,-10 DRS
Batting Line: .283/.367/.544
Adjusted from BABIP of .284 to xBABIP of  .299: .290/.373/.552
Adjusted from HR/FB of 25% to HR/FB of 15%: .274/.359/.456
Adjusted from 9.6 BB%, 19.4 K% to 8.8 BB%, 19.9 K%: .268/.351/.450
Pre-season Projection: .267/.324/.431
Updated Rest of Season CHONE Projection: .272/.332/.466

Wiggy’s gotten a chance to play due to Roberts’ injury, and even with the poor defensive numbers he’s still on pace to set a career high in WAR (3.2) if he keeps getting plate appearances, as well as in the home run department (13 already, with a career high of 24). He’s been one of the team’s best players so far, and one of the relatively few actually good ones.

Miguel Tejada: C+
2010 WAR: 0.2
Projected Pro-rated WAR: 0.7
Defense: -0.3 runs UZR, +4 DRS
Batting Line: .259/.299/.368
Adjusted from BABIP of .262 to xBABIP of  .283: .276/.315/.389
Adjusted from HR/FB of 7% to HR/FB of 7.5%: .275/.315/.392
Adjusted from 3.7 BB%, 7.5 K% to 1.4 BB%, 4.6 K%: .285/.309/.404
Pre-season Projection: .296/.335/.438
Updated Rest of Season CHONE Projection: .291/.327/.428

Looks like he’s taken to third-base pretty well, and he’s doing about what one would think at the plate – swinging at everything and making a lot of contact. Miggy’s got the 9th highest swing rate in the majors at 54.4%, and the 9th in contact rate at 92.6%. All that swinging (including at over 38% of balls) and contact means that Tejada never walks, which is going to keep his OBP down even when his batting average comes back up (it’s only as low as it is due to BABIP issues).

Cesar Izturis: D
2010 WAR: -0.4
Projected Pro-rated WAR: 0.3
Defense: -0.7 runs UZR, +1 DRS
Batting Line: .225/.288/.254
Adjusted from BABIP of .250 to xBABIP of  .296: .261/.321/.293
Adjusted from HR/FB of 0% to HR/FB of 1%: .262/.322/.303
Adjusted from 6.3 BB%, 10.6 K% to 5.1 BB%, 8.4 K%: .269/.321/.310
Pre-season Projection: .259/.302/.336
Updated Rest of Season CHONE Projection: .253/.303/.324

The lack of offense – even by Izzy standards – is due pretty much entirely to a low BABIP. I’d like to see some better defensive numbers though (yes, yes, small sample size).

Nolan Reimold: D
2010 WAR: -0.3
Projected Pro-rated WAR: 0.4
Defense: -1.3 runs UZR, -3 DRS
Batting Line: .205/.303/.337
Adjusted from BABIP of .242 to xBABIP of  .277: .228/.322/.367
Adjusted from HR/FB of 7.7% to HR/FB of 10%: .225/.319/.362
Adjusted from 11.5 BB%, 24.1 K% to 9.3 BB%, 25.7 K%: .223/.303/.360
Pre-season Projection: .276/.355/.467
Updated Rest of Season CHONE Projection: .269/.347/.463

He was sent to the minors, where he’s hitting just .148/.224/.262 (though with a .140 BABIP). Not really sure what happened to Nolan. His contact rate dropped a little, but that’s entirely due to making less contact on pitches out of the zone. He was hitting strikes more often, though his line-drive rate was down to a very low 12.5%. I take it as a positive sign that he was still walking a decent amount, and I think he’ll hit again at some point.

Adam Jones: D-
2010 WAR: -0.1
Projected Pro-rated WAR: 1.3
Defense: -1.4 runs UZR, +1 DRS
Batting Line: .249/.271/.387
Adjusted from BABIP of .291 to xBABIP of  .289: .246/.268/.384
Adjusted from HR/FB of 10% to HR/FB of 10%: .246/.269/.384
Adjusted from 2.2 BB%, 21.7 K% to 3.9 BB%, 22.9 K%: .242/.279/.379
Pre-season Projection: .283/.338/.467
Updated Rest of Season CHONE Projection: .287/.333/.471

I looked at Adam’s problems recently, though it kind of amazes me that it doesn’t look like he’s even been unlucky. Terribly disappointing AND bad (unlike, say, Wieters, who has been disappointing but is at least providing some positive value).

Nick Markakis: B
2010 WAR: 1.2
Projected Pro-rated WAR: 1.5
Defense: -0.6 runs UZR, +1 DRS
Batting Line: .300/.397/.425
Adjusted from BABIP of .348 to xBABIP of  .303: .262/.365/.377
Adjusted from HR/FB of 5.3% to HR/FB of 8%: .268/.370/.404
Adjusted from 14.1 BB%, 17 K% to 13 BB%, 14.2 K%: .276/.370/.414
Pre-season Projection: .298/.373/.485
Updated Rest of Season CHONE Projection: .299/.378/.477

Those adjusted lines don’t look very good for Nick because of how much lower his expected BABIP is than his actual BABIP. For his career though, Markakis has a .329 mark and has never been below .314 (his rookie season). If we were to assume that xBABIP doesn’t work that great for him – much like it underestimates Ichiro – and set it at .329, then his final adjusted line would come out as .297/.389/.442. Love the walks, but there hasn’t been much power.

Luke Scott: B+
2010 WAR: 0.9
Projected Pro-rated WAR: 0.4
Defense: -0.4 runs UZR, +1 DRS
Batting Line: .271/.341/.536
Adjusted from BABIP of .298 to xBABIP of  .301: .274/.343/.539
Adjusted from HR/FB of 24.4% to HR/FB of 16%: .262/.332/.464
Adjusted from 9 BB%, 24.5 K% to 8.1 BB%, 24.9 K%: .256/.321/.458
Pre-season Projection: .263/.339/.479
Updated Rest of Season CHONE Projection: .257/.331/.469

Luke was done, washed-up, finished. He hadn’t hit since last year’s All-Star break. People wanted him gone. Then he goes on a tear and now has the second highest wOBA on the team. His plate discipline looks like it might be starting to go a little, as his rate of swings at pitches out of the zone has gone from the low to mid 20’s to almost 30%. I really like Luke, but I’d also really like to see him traded this season for a younger player.

Corey Patterson: C+
2010 WAR: 0.1
CHONE Projected Pro-rated WAR: 0.1
Defense: -2.2 runs UZR, +1 DRS
Batting Line: .247/.326/.403
Adjusted from BABIP of .314 to xBABIP of  .283: .223/.304/.375
Adjusted from HR/FB of 15% to HR/FB of 9%: .219/.300/.328
Adjusted from 9.2 BB%, 29.9 K% to 5.5 BB%, 24.9 K%: .226/.278/.336
Pre-season Projection (CHONE): .240/.278/.368
Updated Rest of Season CHONE Projection: .246/.290/.377

He’s pretty much a replacement level player, and his hot start didn’t change that. Hard to complain about his sparkplugness while it was working though.

Julio Lugo: D-
2010 WAR: -0.5
Projected Pro-rated WAR: 0.2
Defense: -0.4 runs UZR, -1 DRS
Batting Line: .214/.241/.214
Adjusted from BABIP of .273 to xBABIP of  .279: .216/.243/.216
Adjusted from HR/FB of 0% to HR/FB of 3%: .220/.247/.243
Adjusted from 3.4 BB%, 21.4 K% to 5.2 BB%, 21.3 K%: .222/.263/.245
Pre-season Projection: .255/.330/.360
Updated Rest of Season CHONE Projection: .251/.323/.345

His 3.4% walk rate would be a career low by over 50%. Previous low was 7.6% in ’07, with seasons of 11.1% and 9.9% since. Maybe that’s because he’s gone from swinging at or below 20% of balls to well over 30%. Some patience would be nice – makes him a replacement level player instead of below.

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So there you have it. Here’s a graphic of the grade distribution (dots added to help convey appropriate emotion given the “data”).