40 or so games in, O’s Offense Below League Average

In our last post, we asked what’s gotten the Orioles to .500ish 40 games into the season. We’ll start by taking a look at the offense.

There are a lot of ways to evaluate hitters. A lot of them are flawed at best (batting average) or wrong as hell at worst (RBI totals), so let’s instead consider some more telling statistics.

  • The Putrid – Oriole batters are clearly not the most patient lot. They’ve walked a pathetic 140 times, good for 12th out of 14 teams in their league. This is also where the club’s 69 doubles rank as well. Total bases – who needs ‘em? Not Buck’s Birds, who are 11th in the league in this category. Their on-base percentage isn’t as appallingly bad, but it ain’t great shakes either at .315 (10th overall). 5 of the starting 9 grade out as below league average in many offensive respects of the game, led by now-DL’d Brian Roberts, he of the 69 OPS+. (I hated writing that sentence . B-Rob is by all accounts a good guy, a fan favorite, and for several recent seasons was the only reason to watch the O’s, but after a blistering start he’s been ice-cold.)
  • On the bright side – well, the bright side doesn’t exactly bring a blinding glare. The Orioles’ OPS+ as a team is 95 (100 is league average). They have hit 42 home runs, good for 8th in the American League – again, squarely in the  middle of the pack. They’re also in the also-ran neighborhood in total runs scored (9th), and despite the presence of what’s left of Vladimir Guerrero on the roster, they aren’t completely whiffing up the joint, only clocking in at 9th in overall strikeouts. Matt Wieters is off to a nice start, and may be on his way to living up to his much-hyped prospect status. It hasn’t yet gotten him close to dethroning Atlanta’s Brian McCann as the best catcher in all of baseball (more on that in a future post), but there are a great many teams who would love to have the switch-hitting Georgia Tech product in their battery.

So there it is. Whatever has gotten the O’s within sniffing distance of .500 at this early juncture of the season, it isn’t the offense, which in some respects is among the cellar of the American League and in others is doing what you’d expect of a squad of AAAA-type players.

What say ye, legion of loyal commenters? Is this about what should have been expected, or can it largely be attributed to bad luck, along with some injuries and/or poor production from the likes of Derrek Lee, Brian Roberts and others? Perhaps Luke Scott’s valiant attempt to discredit President Obama’s birth certificate is too great a distraction for him?

…eh, don’t all weigh in at once.

Tomorrow we’ll see how the pitchers are doing. Get excited.

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