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Orioles Lineup with Derrek Lee


larrytt

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Let's go ahead and jump the gun, and work out the new O's lineup, assuming we sign Derrek Lee. Assume we have no other major acquisitions. Most of the lineup is pretty much set, though you could choose Reimold over Pie if you want, or put Scott in LF with Reimold at DH, or possibly other variations.

Here's my projected 2011 Orioles Lineup:

1. Roberts 2nd S

2. Markakis RF L

3. Lee 1st R

4. Scott DH L

5. Reynolds 3rd R

6. Jones CF R

7. Pie LF L

8. Wieters C S

9. Hardy SS R

Reasoning:

Roberts and Markakis are our natural first two hitters, with their ability to get on base. Next come our three best power hitters. (These three have hit 182 HR the last two years, an average of just over 30/year each.) By batting Lee, Scott, and Reynolds 3-4-5, you alternate lefties and righties. (Lee has a much better on base percentage than Reynolds, so it's better to put Lee at #3.) We continue this with righty Jones batting #6, and lefty Pie at #7. (Reimold could win the LF job back, but we'll see.) Then we finish with Wieters and Hardy. There was some thought of putting Pie in the #9 spot, but if you do that, then opposing teams can bring in a lefty pitcher to pitch to Pie, Roberts (who's generally better lefty), and Markakis. So it's better to have a righty batting #9. And you don't want Wieters at #9 because his lack of speed would slog up the basepaths when we reach the top of the order.

The hope is that the 3-4-5 hitters really come through (hitting is contagious), while Jones, Pie (or Reimold), Wieters, and Hardy (see his 2007-2008 numbers - 50 HR, and .800+ OPS - and he's only 28) pick things up and become contenders to move up in the lineup.

Now let's look at some reality. The Orioles can't compete with $200 million payrolls if our players all play to expectations. Teams with smaller payrolls can only win if their players play WELL. This means we're assuming our players will play well, and so will do somewhat better than expected. If everyone does as projected, we could contend in other divisions, and play .500 in the AL East. But the whole idea is that we're hoping to play above expectations. This doesn't mean we're expecting MVP seasons from everyone, or that everyone will play better than projected, just that overall, the players will play well, and maybe someone has a breakout season. If they don't play well, we aren't going to do very well - it's that simple. If they do play well, who knows.

Gosh how we're going to miss Izturis, Atkins, and Josh Bell as starters!!! :)

(EDIT: As noted by Dipper9, Lugo as well! Yes, Bell to Izturis to Lugo to Atkins, these are the saddest possible words.)

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"Gosh how we're going to miss Izturis, Atkins, and Josh Bell as starters!!!"

Don't forget Lugo as well, who started most of the games while BRob was out.

This team may not be contending for the WS, but I don't see how anyone can say this team has not significantly improved over last year.

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"Gosh how we're going to miss Izturis, Atkins, and Josh Bell as starters!!!"

Don't forget Lugo as well, who started most of the games while BRob was out.

This team may not be contending for the WS, but I don't see how anyone can say this team has not significantly improved over last year.

No doubt, it's definitely improved. Now....if only Guthrie, Matusz, Arrieta, Bergesen and ??? can pitch a whole season the way they did the last 6 weeks of last year.

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Yes, very exciting stuff here. I would put Scott in LF and hope to DH Reimold (or sign Guerrero for DH). And of course, all of this depends on us actually signing Lee. That said, I like your lineup... a lot. And yes, AM has certainly upgraded the team this offseason. Especially if he lands Lee. THis is one of those line-ups where - if everyone stays relatively healthy and hits to potential - we could sneak up on some people.

On the other hand, it could suck mightily. A lot of things will have to go right:

- Roberts will have to come back strong and stay healthy after an injury-marred 2010 campaign, even as age creeps in

- Markakis will have to maintain his usual performance, and improve his power numbers a bit

- Lee will have to come back from an offseason injury, and return to career form... at 35

- Scott will have to repeat last season, and avoid slumps

- Reynolds will have to slow down the helicopter blades and stay well above the Mendoza line, while regaining his form, proving AZ wrong in trading him

- Jones will have to finally put together an entire season of consistent play, and avoid injury

- Pie will have to finally break out and prove he's an everyday player

- Wieters will have to break out and prove that he's more than a mediocre (at best) hitter and solid defender

- Hardy will have to bounce back, stay healthy for once, etc.

Obviously, it's not likely that every one of these things happen. But if 7 out of 9 do happen, we'll have a good offensive season, IMO. On the other hand, none of them could happen, and we'd have a horrible year, which we would blame on fickle fate, instead of the rather high-risk gamesmanship AM is engaging in (bringing in reclamation projects, etc.).

Go O's!

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"Gosh how we're going to miss Izturis, Atkins, and Josh Bell as starters!!!"

Don't forget Lugo as well, who started most of the games while BRob was out.

This team may not be contending for the WS, but I don't see how anyone can say this team has not significantly improved over last year.

Significant improvement could mean 75 wins.

This team should have a shot at the playoffs on Opening Day. Significant improvement in itself is not enough for me anyway...not in the 4th offseason since MacPhail has arrived.

The time for that was last season or the season before, this is the season to finally start to win.

Before the offseason started, this team had the potential to win more than 85 games with the talent and opportunity that was out there and they still do provided they make the proper moves...

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That's a pretty sweet lineup in the OP. Sign me up!

For mediocrity or slightly better? There is more the Orioles can do to strengthen that lineup with the players that are left out there via FA and trade. I would hope you'd expect more from the team than that...

Any lineup with a .718 OPS Pie in it and a batter with a .198 AVG hitting 5th is not "sweet" IMO...especially not for Jones, Wieters and Markakis.

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For mediocrity or slightly better? There is more the Orioles can do to strengthen that lineup with the players that are left out there via FA and trade. I would hope you'd expect more from the team than that...

Any lineup with a .718 OPS Pie in it and a batter with a .198 AVG hitting 5th is not "sweet" IMO...especially not for Jones, Wieters and Markakis.

Knock off the holier than thou BS, please.

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For mediocrity or slightly better? There is more the Orioles can do to strengthen that lineup with the players that are left out there via FA and trade. I would hope you'd expect more from the team than that...

Any lineup with a .718 OPS Pie in it and a batter with a .198 AVG hitting 5th is not "sweet" IMO...especially not for Jones, Wieters and Markakis.

Just face it. You have an agenda against AM and you have unrealistic expectations. This is a team that can improve its record by 15-20 games in 1 offseason and you are not satisfied.

Whatever.

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Just face it. You have an agenda against AM and you have unrealistic expectations. This is a team that can improve its record by 15-20 games in 1 offseason and you are not satisfied.

Whatever.

I have an agenda for winning baseball and don't accept medocrity.

They had last offseason to improve 15-20 games.

Anyway, I won't rain on the parade anymore...

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I have an agenda for winning baseball and don't accept medocrity.

They had last offseason to improve 15-20 games.

Anyway, I won't rain on the parade anymore...

Dude you are entitled to your opinion but don't run around here acting like we're somehow less than because we don't necessarily share it.

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It is definitely an improved lineup, but any attempt to put baseball players on the field would be an improved lineup. The lineup has a lot of potential, but like Trea says it could be a lot better. I'm not ready to anoint it, but the improvements are good.

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For mediocrity or slightly better? There is more the Orioles can do to strengthen that lineup with the players that are left out there via FA and trade. I would hope you'd expect more from the team than that...

Any lineup with a .718 OPS Pie in it and a batter with a .198 AVG hitting 5th is not "sweet" IMO...especially not for Jones, Wieters and Markakis.

1. Derek Lee is most like a 2.5-3.5 win guy, so let's just say 3.

2. Mark Reynolds is very similar: 2.5-3.5. So, 3 again.

3. JJ Hardy is a bit more of an enigma, he could be a 2 win guy or a 4 win guy. So, let's roll with 3 again.

Last year, we put up some pretty terrible numbers at 3B, SS, and 1B. The combination of Wiggy, Atkins, Bell, and Izturis really netted us probably a wash in terms of wins. Atkins, Bell, and Izzy for sure cost us wins (probably something like 2 wins), and Wiggy probably netted us about half a win or less at the corner spots. So, you're talking about 4 guys at 3 hotspots pretty much costing us 1-1.5 wins. Let's just say -1 wins.

Upgrading 3B, SS, and 1B (and assuming health) with the players above should net us anywhere from 7-11 wins. I like going with the mean, so that's 9 wins. If we look into what the positions cost us last year (-1), you're talking about a possibility growth of roughly 10 wins. If anyone has a breakout year, you're looking at 12 wins. If someone is injured or underperforms, probably 7 wins. Let's roll with 10.

The Orioles were 66-96. A 10 win improvement will not vault them into any playoffs, without a doubt. It won't even make them a .500 team. It'll make them a 76 win team for a record of 76-86. Not awful, but nowhere near contention in the AL East.

What other key cogs are we to look at?

Well, a full season of Brian Roberts, for one. He netted us about 1.5 wins at 2B, and Ty probably got us about .5-1 win at 2B for a total of roughly 2.5. I don't think it's unfair to (assuming health) think that Roberts could put up a 3.5-4.5 win campaign in 2011. That's an improvement of 1-2 wins. Let's just stick with the average and say 1.5 wins. That's still only a 77-85 record (teetering on 78-84). Still 3 games under .500.

Where are the other wins going to come from?

Well, the areas of uncertainty that we have issues with are the following:

LF: Felix Pie is a guy with amazing skills who can't stay healthy or consistent with the bat. I think he's a guy that can put up a .750 OPS while playing great defense. He netted us nearly half a win last year, so him in left field could probably improve on that to a full win (assuming health, which is hard for Pie) or slightly more (1.5). So, let's say 1 win.

1 win out of LF is not going to get it done. Pie is going to have to be healthy the entire season and improve on defense (which he's done) in order to be of value to us in 2011. And he's one of my favourite players.

That leaves guys like Nolan Reimold. Can he bounce back? In 2009 he netted us roughly 1 win. His batting was phenomenal for a rookie, but his fielding made Pat Burrell look like Carl Crawford.

The issue in left field is quite simply this: we need a healthy Pie with a consistent bat or Reimold to come back with a vengeance. Best case scenario either way is an improvement of 2-3 wins assuming a breakout year for either. Worst case scenario is a marginal improvement of 1 win.

Needless to say, Reimold going in a tailspin last year really added uncertainty to an outfield which was supposed to be a strong suit. So, that vaults us to 78-79 wins for a something like 78-84 or 79-83. Still under .500. STILL not a competitor.

C: Matt Wieters. A lot of people anointed him the second coming of Joe Mauer. And he's failed to live up to those expectations. However, I still think he has a lot of growing to do (and will grow, as well). In his last 2 seasons, he's put up WARs of 1.5 and 2.3. People are estimating him to make a huge jump this year. I think he'll probably put up an OPS of around 800. If that's the case, you're looking at something like 3.5-4 wins assuming good defense. If that's the case, that's an improvement of 1-2 wins. So, something like 1.5.

If Wieters breaks out an puts up a 900 OPS season, you're looking at several more wins, but I'm not holding my breath for something like that in 2011. It's possible, but let's keep things realistic for the sake of this post.

An .800 OPS will most likely net him something like 4 wins. That's an improvement of 1.5-2. Let's stay with 1.5 Now, we're teetering on the .500 record.

With all that said and done, a .500 record is possible with just the upgrades we made at 3B and SS, and assuming Lee putting up a slightly above average year at 1B (and assuming we sign him). It also assumes Roberts being healthy.

It's not unrealistic from a perspective of Pie/Reimold giving us nearly 1 win. Because I think the 2 of them could do it. If either of them has a consistent year (Pie) or bounceback (Reimold), then that will be huge for this team.

Continued improvement from Matt Wieters is in the books, and I think most people think he'll at least improvement. Now, for an improvement of 1-2 wins? Not outlandish.

So what does this say? Assuming health and our acquisitions (as well as Luke Scott giving us something like 2-3 wins), we should be a .500 team give or take 2 wins.

What is going to make us a competitor? Our pitching staff.

Last year we scored 613 runs, but allowed 785. The 785 runs against is actually an improvement from 2009 when we allowed 876 (91 runs). It's actually the first time we allowed less than 800 runs since 2002 when we allowed 773. I think we need to keep lowering that number, and get us somewhere in the 700-720 range. If we can lower that even more (which will mean breakout years from a lot of guys), then you're looking at a serious competitor.

We'll need our pitching staff to continue their improvement from the last half of last year. That means:

Guthrie needs to have another consistent, strong season.

Matusz needs to continue improving (which I certainly think he will)

Bergesen needs to continue improving (which is certainly a possibility given him starting the season healthy)

It also means one of Arrieta or Tillman are going to have to step up their game. Jake is going to have to improve his SO total and drop his walk rate. Tillman needs to be consistent.

This pitching staff can go a long way with Guthrie, Matusz, and Bergy having a strong 2011. It'll be pretty amazing if a guy like Arrieta or Tillman can have a strong 2011, as well.

As always, it's going to come down to pitching. Our hitting will most likely be an average to slightly above average team in 2011, which is an improvement on a very lackluster 2010. But our pitching is what is going to need to hit on all cylinders for us to have a competitive 2011.

With that said, I expect us to be anywhere from a 78-84 win team in 2011.

Go O's!

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