The first round of 2012 Orioles projections takes a look around the starters in the infield (plus DH). A few of these players probably won’t get as many plate appearances as I attributed to them, but it shouldn’t take too huge a difference.
Matt Wieters (C):
525 PA, .270/.337/.446, +5 fielding, 4.0 Wins Above Replacement
There’s some mild concern that Wieters won’t be able to maintain the power production he showed last year – he went from 11 homers to 22 – but a plus hitting Gold Glove caliber catcher is very valuable. He’s the team’s best player, and he could very well beat this projection and turn into a star player.
Chris Davis (1B, 3B, DH):
575 PA, .248/.297/.414. -4 fielding, -0.2 WAR
Frankly, if Davis is this bad then I have a hard time seeing him getting this much playing time. I’m assuming he’ll get every chance to produce though. Lots of K’s, poor defense, and not nearly enough walks or homers to make up for it. Replacement level players should be freely available – no reason to give up assets to acquire them.
Robert Andino (2B, SS):
550 PA, .258/.315/.348, +2 fielding, 1.0 WAR
If Andino can walk 8% of the time again and post an above average BABIP, then he could push closer to 1.5 wins. Better as a utility infielder than as a starter, but given the way the roster is currently constructed he’s probably the team’s top second-baseman.
Mark Reynolds (3B, 1B, DH):
625 PA, .218/.320/.460, -10 fielding, 1.4 WAR
There will be a lot of strike-outs, homers, and walks. If Reynolds gives back close to 30 runs with the glove again, he’ll be a replacement level player. Hiding him at DH once in a while will help.
JJ Hardy (SS):
500 PA, .259/.310/.427, +5 fielding, 2.6 WAR
I’d be very, very surprised to see Hardy hit 30 home runs again, but he doesn’t need to to be a valuable player. I hope the plate discipline numbers come around though, and that he stays healthy.
Wilson Betemit (DH, plus filling in some places on the infield):
550 PA, .255/.327/.408, -2 fielding, 0.5 WAR
If Betemit repeats his .391 BABIP from last year, that would be great. If Buck picks his spots with Betemit a little better, then his rate stats should be better (though I’m not sure he’ll be more valuable, since it’ll be in less playing time obviously). Nice to see someone who will take a walk, but I still don’t get the two years.
So that’s six guys, totaling just 9.3 WAR. By comparison; Alex Rodriguez in 2007 – 9.8 fWAR. Wieters is good and Hardy is solid, but the rest of the group, well, partially explains why this is a last place team. And the youngest player from the “also-rans” – Davis – is probably the worst of the bunch.