Opening Day: Orioles at Rays

The Rays lost some talent this off-season, while the Orioles added several players. Both teams should be trending towards each other this season, even if they still end up separated by 10 games. In any case, baseball is back! I’m not quite as enthused about the Orioles (as a franchise) as I was in previous years, but it’s truly exciting to see meaningful games again. Here are our Opening Day line-ups (with 2010 stats):


Batting Fielding fWAR
Ben Zobrist .238/.346/.353 8.6 3.1
Johnny Damon .271/.355/.401 0.6 1.9
Evan Longoria .294/.372/.507 11.1 6.9
Manny Ramirez .298/.409/.460 -5.7 1.6
Dan Johnson .198/.343/.414 -3.6 0.1
B.J. Upton .237/.322/.424 0.2 3.4
Matt Joyce .241/.360/.477 4.2 1.9
Reid Brignac .256/.307/.385 2.6 1.2
John Jaso .263/.372/.378 -2.0 2.5

That certainly isn’t the scariest looking line-up in the world, but there’s a fair chance they’ll have all nine guys post above average OBPs – and that goes a long way towards scoring some runs. Plus, the top four guys are probably better than the top of the O’s line-up. Somewhat unrelated, but Longoria might be more valuable (by WAR) than any two Orioles combined.

David Price:

2.72 3.42 3.83 8.1 3.4 43.7% 4.3

Price was very good last year, if not quite as Cy Young worthy as his 19-6 record may have implied. Here’s a PitchFX* graphic of his “stuff” from 2010. The size of each circle represent how often it was thrown, and the location denotes movement (from the catcher’s perspective, relative to a pitch thrown with no spin).

* Data isn’t perfect, but gives a fair idea I think.

Price’s main fastball is a hard four-seamer that will miss quite a few bats – as will his two-seamer, though it trades some velocity for a lot of tailing action. He uses the heater a lot, mixing in a bit of a sweeping curveball, a hard slider, and a change-up with more tail than sink. It might make sense for O’s batters to hone in on the fastball.


Batting Fielding fWAR
Brian Roberts .278/.354/.391 1.8 1.5
Nick Markakis .297/.370/.436 -5.2 2.8
Derrek Lee .260/.347/.428 2.1 2.0
Vladimir Guerrero .300/.345/.496 0.2 2.6
Adam Jones .284/.325/.442 -5.0 2.3
Luke Scott .284/.368/.535 -1.3 3.1
Mark Reynolds .198/.320/.433 1.7 2.4
Matt Wieters .249/.319/.377 5.0 2.3
J.J. Hardy .268/.320/.394 8.1 2.4

Scott is probably batting 6th because there’s a lefty on the mound (I had him 8th even), but then batting Reynolds below him doesn’t makes much sense. Plus Wieters (who has been much less effective against lefites) above Hardy. Anyway… there’s a very evenly distributed talent here, with no real stars. Funny how Reynold’s and Jones’ OBP and SLG numbers were so similar despite almost a 100 point disparity in batting average.

Jeremy Guthrie:

3.83 4.44 4.60 5.1 2.2 42.3% 2.3

Another year where Guthrie’s ERA beat his peripherals. At this point, we’d only be regressing his BABIP about half way to the mean, so I’d say his true talent is somewhere between that ERA and the xFIP.

Guthrie doesn’t really miss bats, despite his above average velocity. Maybe it’s the movement on his pitches that’s contributed to his low BABIPs though.

So, would anyone be interesting in putting this kind of thing together for the site before each game? I’ve got a spreadsheet set up to do it relatively quickly, and there’s room for exposition and commentary on the team and whatnot. If so, feel free to email

Stats: UZR, WAR, ERA, FIP, xFIP, K/9 & BB/9, GB%, BABIP, PitchFX