Robert Andino came into the season looking to be one of the team’s back-up infielders. Injuries (JJ Hardy, Cesar Izturis, Brian Roberts) opened up spots though, and that allowed Andino to more than double his career total of plate appearances (adding 511). He took advantage too, by starting off the year hot (.382 wOBA the first month) and still ending up hitting non-terribly (.305 wOBA) despite his BABIP dropping off (from .417 in April to .311 overall).
Andino didn’t display much pop, as usual, but cut his strike-out rate to 16% (his contact rate was a career high 85% – solidly above average) while also upping his walk rate to 8% (he showed more patience at the plate than he had previously, and didn’t expand the zone too much). Those two factors helped keep his OBP at a slightly above average level, despite on overall line that didn’t look too impressive (.264/.327/.344). That isn’t awful production from someone playing second, third, and short almost every day (while seemingly not hurting the team defensively anywhere), which is how Andino ended up 5th on the O’s in position player fWAR with 1.8 (bringing his career total to… 1.7). He also led the team in stolen bases with 13 (out of 16 attempts).
Given that he was unexpectedly called into regular duty, getting close to league average play from Andino seems like one of the few pleasantly surprising outcomes for the Orioles in 2011. It doesn’t seem likely that he’s going to develop into a starting caliber player, but having decently above replacement level production (with some versatility – he started two games in left-field as well) on the bench certainly isn’t bad.