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Pessimists, Optimists: who has a better case?


Ven6

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Some people complain about the lack of any significant moves this offseason. We were in the ALCS, time to put the pedal down, invest and finish off the still woozy AL East while we have the chance.

Some others defend DD's typical depth moves and non-exciting pick ups as just the tinkering we need since we're coming off a 96-win season and getting back some significant healthy, able bodies.

Still others just see the world through orange-colored glasses and say "Go O's!" knowing this team will be competitive and hopefully "give us a chance to roll the dice in October" as Buck says. This crowd tends to be more fun to hang with, BTW.

So since our big losses were to the offense (Miller was only a 2-month rental), I wanted to put down how this team performed by position and then see who clearly has a better case, the Optimists or the Pessimists.

So in 2015 would you take 2014's offense from which position?

The Catcher position? .678 OPS featuring a .287 OBP. The Optimists for 2015 are off to a strong start.

2014 1B production was good for the 5th ranking in the AL with a .221/.316/.441/.757 slash line. Not bad, actually. But do note it was propped up by a .939 OPS from Pearce at first, accounting for a third of the ABs (Davis hit .701 in 379 ABs). The Optimists have a case here, too.

At 2B, we had a whopping .618 OPS from Jon Schoop, mostly. Good for 13th out of the 15 AL clubs. Stand down, Pessimists, stand down.

2014 3B saw the O's deliver a .250/.300/.401/.701 slash line. Manny gave us a .755 OPS in 327 ABs. Smart money is on the Optimists again.

Over at short, JJ's tweaked back was behind a team .687 OPS (.268/.311/.376). The Pessimists point out it was good for the 5th best performance at SS in the league. The Optimists sorta point and say 30, 22, 25, 9? Something tells me they expect more pop from a healthy JJ, and are happy with the D even if they don't get it.

The outfield is where things get interesting.

In LF, 2014 got a .828 OPS thanks to Nellie. Good for the top-ranked LF production in the AL. But a closer look at the numbers shows De Aza (.888 OPS), Pearce (.825) and even Delmon (.761) contributed to the overall output. Lough was terrible and brought the numbers down, of course. The Optimists then go in for the kill: Nellie only logged 226 ABs in left and the left-over trio above combined for 254.

Jones owned CF, and gave us the 4th ranked output there. The overall .762 OPS was down from his personal numbers thanks to Lough, again. Even Pessimists would have trouble predicting we do worse in CF.

In Right comes another surprise. We ranked 3rd with an .762 OPS which is hey, wait. That's what we got out of CF where our star player plays. The reason isn't that Nick was much better in context of the league than we all thought. It was that Pearce and Nellie got enough ABs in RF to make a difference, and killed the ball when they did. So more of Pearce, no Nellie but then add Snider who had a .776 OPS, and hit .880 after the all-star game. The Optimists probably have RF, too.

At DH, we got a .796 OPS in 2014 and that was most definitely delivered by the big bat of Cruz. The Optimists are expecting some combo of Pearce, Snider, Delmon and possibly Wieters to match that, but it's hard to agree with them here. The most likely drop-off in production should be at DH (I'm looking at the .332 OBP alone and it's hard to imagine hitting that, much less the .464 slugging to boot).

So my own wrap up has the Optimists clearly taking C, 2B, 3B, and probably taking 1B, SS and RF.

The Pessimists clearly lay claim to DH and probably take LF.

CF is a push.

The Optimists will point out that they have many positions where they can improve over last year significantly and therefore have a better chance of "making up" for the drops at DH and LF. They would also note that in LF three of the players who contributed to last year's good numbers are still on the roster, and a fourth, Lough, had a great second half after his concussion symptoms subsided.

Gee, can you guess which camp I'm in?

Luckily Spring is here, P & C's are reporting soon and this can all be settled on the field, in the AL East and all summer.

Now pass me those orange-colored glasses, I have a "Go O's!" chant to start.

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I think we made the same bad decisions that we did 2 years ago. After winning all those close 1 run games we did nothing in the off season and ended up having a down year. I think this year will be the same. We will finish 3rd behind Boston and Toronto. We will probably win between 80 and 82 games. Right around .500. I don't see us making the playoffs this year. Manny will get hurt again at some point during the year. Weiters will come back to earth with his offense after getting off to a hot start last year. And our pitching will be average. i truly believe that our pitchers overachieved last year and our offense won a lot of games. We did not replace Cruz's output and it is going to hurt us. Sorry for being a pessimist, but I just don't see us contending with this club.

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I think we made the same bad decisions that we did 2 years ago. After winning all those close 1 run games we did nothing in the off season and ended up having a down year. I think this year will be the same. We will finish 3rd behind Boston and Toronto. We will probably win between 80 and 82 games. Right around .500. I don't see us making the playoffs this year. Manny will get hurt again at some point during the year. Weiters will come back to earth with his offense after getting off to a hot start last year. And our pitching will be average. i truly believe that our pitchers overachieved last year and our offense won a lot of games. We did not replace Cruz's output and it is going to hurt us. Sorry for being a pessimist, but I just don't see us contending with this club.

He was asking for some data or head to head to analysis. I think we will have some surprises too. I did think the format predicts with data that this year's team will be similar to last season's. I don't think he was asking whether you or I are optimists or pessimists. He was simply laying out a few facts. There are others. And injuries can be some of them.

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I think we made the same bad decisions that we did 2 years ago. After winning all those close 1 run games we did nothing in the off season and ended up having a down year. I think this year will be the same. We will finish 3rd behind Boston and Toronto. We will probably win between 80 and 82 games. Right around .500. I don't see us making the playoffs this year. Manny will get hurt again at some point during the year. Weiters will come back to earth with his offense after getting off to a hot start last year. And our pitching will be average. i truly believe that our pitchers overachieved last year and our offense won a lot of games. We did not replace Cruz's output and it is going to hurt us. Sorry for being a pessimist, but I just don't see us contending with this club.

Boston is snowed in until July. If Toronto starts winning we will trade DD for a 10 win swing. Is Spring Training here yet?

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I think we made the same bad decisions that we did 2 years ago. After winning all those close 1 run games we did nothing in the off season and ended up having a down year. I think this year will be the same. We will finish 3rd behind Boston and Toronto. We will probably win between 80 and 82 games. Right around .500. I don't see us making the playoffs this year. Manny will get hurt again at some point during the year. Weiters will come back to earth with his offense after getting off to a hot start last year. And our pitching will be average. i truly believe that our pitchers overachieved last year and our offense won a lot of games. We did not replace Cruz's output and it is going to hurt us. Sorry for being a pessimist, but I just don't see us contending with this club.

A couple of things. First I think you are correct about 2012. The numbers in one run games were not sustainable and I think everyone knew it. It reversed and our record while still a winner, was not good enough for the playoffs. It is debateable however whether we should have done more or rather that the decisions made were bad. One thing that is difficult to explain, is that this will be the fourth straight year that the metrics don't like us. Now in 2012 one run games "explained" why the Orioles out preformed the expected metrics. 2013 and 2014 brought more of the same but now it the outperformance was explained as "lucky" and defense.

DD is on to something and maybe someone who has a better understanding of advanced metrics can help put a finger on it. But DD has claimed he would win since he arrived and he has done just that. He hasn't been perfect, to say the least. But something is going right if we end up being underestimated for he fourth year in a row and people have difficulty putting a finger on it.

And I'll take the over on 82. Not sure how I feel about Boston, but I just have a feeling Toronto will be behind us. For the record I say:

Orioles

Boston

Toronto

Tampa

Yankees ;) Couldn't help it. Tampa prolly down here Yanks in 4th.

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Mostly, it comes down to health.

I'm optimistic the starting position players will be healthier, not missing 270 games because of injury (plus suspension) as in 2014. But I'm pessimistic that the present six-man rotation will start 161 games like they did last season. In that vein, the question is, how well starters seven, eight, nine, etc., fare when they get their chance?

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