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How Soon for Reimold and Wieters?

It’s still too early to say, but Andy MacPhail dropped what I’d call a hint.

In Dan Connoly‘s piece about how badly the bottom of the order is faring (some depressing stats in there), MacPhail offered the following:

“We’re a little disproportionate now; we’re a little top heavy,” club president Andy MacPhail said. “I’m pretty confident that we have the internal options to address that, either with the guys we currently have or the other options that are available internally. It’s one of those issues that we’re keeping an eye on, and we’re mindful of how we can address it as we go on.”

It doesn’t take a wild leap of logic to read between the lines. Nolan Reimold is in full “all your International League pitching are belong to us” mode down at Norfolk, and Felix Pie is doing nothing. Matt Wieters isn’t off to the hot start we all expected, but nobody doubts his ability to succeed on this level.

MacPhail is very smart with his comments to the media. In a case like this, I would have expected something more along the lines of “we’re aware of the struggles at certain positions, but we’re confident the guys we have will come around.” I don’t think he puts it the way he did unless organizational thinking on the matter is fairly advanced.

Or, in other words, the changes might happen sooner than we thought.

9 comments to How Soon for Reimold and Wieters?

  • Andrew

    Another interesting note is tonight’s epitomizing performance from David Hernandez against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees:

    9 K 2 BB 1 HBP 2 HR 5 IP

    The K/BB rate is fantastic, but it’s pretty typical Hernandez to be homer prone, and if he can’t be more efficient with his pitches, he will never be a long-term starter in the major leagues.

    You can’t take anything away from any one performance, but this is David Hernandez in a nutshell: too many pitches, too many fly balls, tons of strikeouts.

  • Andrew

    My favorite thing about May 1st is all of the “looking back at April” stuff you see about baseball, as if April can tell you much of anything. As I type this, Baseball Tonight is going over the April Cy Youngs and MVPs and whatever. It’s wonderful in it’s sheer vapidity.

    So let’s look back at the April in Baltimore. First, the good news. The Orioles are ninth in baseball in offense (116 runs scored, or 5.27 per game). All of the griping about the bottom of the lineup, while justifiable, can be partially allayed by the obscene BABIPs (Zaun is at .128, Pie at .194, Wigginton at .224, Izturis at .242) which means all four of those guys should improve as their luck comes back into equilibrium.

    Also, Jamie Walker has been real good – 4 IP with 4 K and 0 BB. Not to mention Danys Baez coming out of nowhere to be productive (11/2 K/BB in 12 IP).

    Now then, the bad (and there’s a lot to go around): The Orioles are the very worst in baseball at making the other team not score (144 runs scored). Part of that is the horrific defense (-11.3 UZR – worst in baseball), with Huff (-3.5), Wigginton(-2.4), Markakis(-1.5), Izturis(-1.1), and Jones(-0.5) leading the charge. That the defense is this bad is really quite surprising, no? You have to expect that it will get better as the season wears on, but it’s something to keep an eye on. If the Orioles had at least not given up any unearned runs, they would be sitting at 127 runs, which would probably have given us at least 1 more win. The defense has been atrocious.

    As great as the top hitters have been (and they have been AWESOME: .456, .439, and .406 wOBAs), there are doing it with as much good luck as the bottom three have had bad luck. Jones has a .400 BABIP (20 LD%), Nick .435 (24.7%), and Brian Bob .395 (25.6%). The silver lining is that Jonesy is walking in 10% of his plate appearances (up from 4.47% in 2008). But these guys are coming back to earth, and the offense is going to sputter when they do.

    Now, the pitching. Guthrie’s Three True Outcomes are all trending negatively from his career numbers. We already know Eaton and Hendrickson are useless, but without Guts it is literally Koji and Pray for Snowji. We need to see more of Bergesen, but the GB% is a shiny 61.1%, which I will gladly accept from him if he can do that for 5 more months.

    And that is your sabermetric report on April 2009 in Baltimore. My Most Important Thing: Tighten Up the Defense, and the pitching will look much much much much much much much much much better.

  • Greg

    It was/is important to take advantage of players like Pie who find themselves stuck in the depth chart struggle. Even if Pie doesn’t pan out and Olson does, I still won’t consider it a bad trade. At the very least, Pie bought the club a little time to put Nolan through the AAA ringer for a couple month of seasoning.

    I think a trade that makes sense to me is Pie for Brignac. Brignac has not been doing as well for the Rays as maybe they would like, and with Beckham coming up fast, I feel like the Rays could stand to part with him for some outfield depth. How excited could Tampa be with the Gabe duo out in RF?

    BTW, his numbers are deceiving right now, but Garrett Olson is not looking great in AAA Tacoma. His K/BB ratio is dangerously close to 1. It’s that and the 5+ FIP he’s rockin that doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

  • dan the man

    @Andrew – Your stat-crunching has left me feeling dizzy and empty inside.

    What is UZR? And why is Huff’s so bad? He’s played a great Millar-esque first base judging from the naked eye. Hasn’t really done anything to hurt the team defensively from what I can tell. Markakis has a couple of errors (unlike him) to start off, and Izturis has been far and away better than The Six of last year. I don’t really buy defensive stats, I guess, especially when the pitchers you have are getting knocked around so much and producing so many balls in play. With defense, our pitching would be better, yes, but with better pitching, I feel like our defense would look much better, too.

    Now keep in mind I’m not a stats guy so I have no idea what the hell I’m talking about.

  • neal s

    Yeah, I tend to glaze over those advanced stats. Not that I want to have the argument again about whether or not they have value, but they definitely don’t affect how I watch the game or what I see when I look at certain players.

    Although I do like VORP. Useful tool of analysis and quirky Star Wars alien.

  • neal s

    Meanwhile, the DC Cab threw four wild pitches last night to set a Nationals team record. Sounds about right.

  • rick

    I think the young guns are going to be up sooner than later. Pie simply looks overmatched, and the 3-5 starters are woefully inadequate.

    Wiggington, Izturis and Zaun for that matter have enough of a hitting track record to believe they’ll snap out of it, and begin to get their averages up.

    Pie, on the other hand, needs to OJT at Norfolk, though I understand he’s “out of options” which would leave the O’s vulnerable to lose him. . .if such is actually a loss.

  • dan the man

    I think June is a good bet to see somebody come up. It depends on how brutal May is. If we do alright, and Pie holds his own and Wieters still isn’t tearing it up, we might not see guys until after the All-Star break. But I think AM will start thinking about making changes in June. You can’t do anything after 1 month of baseball. After 2 months, you have a much better idea.

  • Andrew

    Look, about sabermetrics, I think what these stats do is prove what you already know. Like, we already know the defense has been less than acceptable, and we have these advanced statistics to prove it. I watch the gaes the same way you do, but there’s a bigger picture to consider. And if you have more information to ponder on, why wouldn’t you use it to evaluate what is going right and what is going wrong?

    So, here’s a quick rundown on some of the things I use (although I’m constantly learning more), for those of you who are lost:

    FIP – Fielding Independent Pitching. Voros McCracken discovered years ago that pitchers can only really control three things: strikeouts, home runs, and walks. So FIP measures those three things on an ERA-esque scale.

    BABIP – Batting Average on Balls In Play – literally the batting average just on balls that are hit and are not home runs. Impossible to maintain a low or high (.300 is about right), or you can also look at xBABIP, which is .120 + Line Drive Percentage (LD%).

    wOBA – weighted On Base Average. This measures every way the hitter gets on base and weights them according to each event’s run value over the run value of making an out. This is on a OBP-esque scale.

    UZR – Ultimate Zone Rating. Defensive metrics generally aren’t very good, but this is the best available (although The Fielding Bible is revolutionizing the science). If you really, really want to know the specifics behind UZR, look it up on Baseball Think Factory’s Primate Studies Discussion. It’s a good explanation. Why is Huff’s defense bad? Well, let’s remember that at first base, the defense doesn’t matter that much. Also, let’s remember that Huff is a DH – are you shocked that his range at first isn’t first class? I’m not.