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Entries in Baltimore Orioles (38)

Friday
Jul192013

Francisco Rodriguez now an Oriole

When the Milwaukee Brewers signed 31-year-old Francisco Rodriguez to a minor league deal worth approximately $2 million to $2.5 million back on April 17, fans were unsure of what to expect from the veteran reliever who posted a 4.38 ERA and 1.33 WHIP with the team in 2012. The move, however, was justified by the fact that the team's bullpen struggled in the first month of the season to the tune of a 3.96 ERA and .394 opponent slugging percentage, both of which ranked in the bottom half of NL bullpens in April.

Fast forward three months later, and Rodriguez -- who was jobless on opening day -- has become one of the best late-inning relievers in baseball, pitching as effectively as he did during his historic 62-save 2008 campaign with the Los Angeles Angels. His trade-market value rose to the point that yesterday the Baltimore Orioles acquired him for minor league infielder Nick Delmonico.

Orioles vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said, "Nick Delmonico shows a lot of promise as a hitter, but the major league club needed a little more depth for our pitching staff to accomplish what we want to accomplish this year."

He's a perfect 10-for-10 in save opportunities this season, boasting a 1.09 ERA, 1.054 WHIP and strikeout rate of 26.8% while holding opponents to a .198/.274/.291 slash line over 24.2 innings of work in 25 appearances. Back in 2008, he posted an ERA of 2.24 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 26.7 percent strikeout rate while limiting opponents to a .216/.314/.316 line.

K-Rod - Comparing 2008 and 2013

 

2008

2013

Swing%

40.2%

44.2%

In-play%

37.2%

36.9%

Chase%

22.4%

23.8%

Called-strike%

33.4%

40.%

 

  • Rodriguez has induced more frequent swings this season than in 2008.
  • Opponents are putting fewer pitches in play this season than in 2008.
  • Opponents are swinging at more pitches out of the strike zone this season than in 2008.
  • Rodriguez is throwing more pitches for called-strikes.

Rodriguez 2008 and 2013 pitch frequency

Rodriguez's pitch frequency over both seasons doesn't reveal a prominent change in approach at first glance, but there are a few alterations worth noting:

  • Rodriguez has placed his offerings in the outer half of the zone at a 59.9 percent rate this season, a considerable increase from his 51.5 percent in 2008.
  • Rodriguez has located his offerings in the lower half of the zone at a 52.2 percent clip this season, up from his 50.8 percent in 2008.

Combining Rodriguez's elevated frequency of pitches located on the outer and lower portion of the strike zone, we find that he is among the best relievers in baseball this season in commanding his stuff to that area of the zone.

Comparing Rodriguez's down-and-outside pitch frequency between 2008 and 2013

  • Rodriguez's zone rate on low-and-away pitches this season is 37% compared to 27.3% in 2008.
  • Rodriguez's called-strike rate has jumped from 21.9% in 2008 to 32.4% this season. 

What does this mean for the Orioles?

Rodriguez's 2008 season was one of the most dominating campaigns a late-inning reliever has ever put together.

This season, he's managed to best many of the statistics and rates that he posted in 2008, a product of his command of low-and-away offerings and some luck as exhibited by his .259 BABIP (the league BABIP is .291). While his fastball speed has dropped from 92.2 in 2008 to 91.0 isn't that significant, it is bordering on not very fast, so his command, which he has shown thus far, must remain excellent particularly since he's now a flyball pitcher having given up 25 in 97 PA.

Friday
Jul052013

How Chris Davis is Crushing the Record Books

Chris Davis has crushed a major league-leading 32 home runs already this season, leaving him just one clout shy of matching his 2012 total and putting him in prime position to break the Orioles' single-season home run record, set by Brady Anderson (50 HR) in 1996. Somewhere, Earl Weaver is smiling. How has the Rangers castoff maintained a homer pace that would make him the first batter to go deep 60 times in a season since Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa in 2001? Here's a breakdown of how Davis is breaking down opposing pitchers.

  • Davis wastes little time once he's in the batter's box, swinging at far more first-pitch offerings (39%) than the major league average (26%). That aggressive approach is paying off, as he's tied with Miguel Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion for the most first-pitch homers this season (8).
  • When he does get behind in the count, Davis is no longer an automatic out -- he has 13 homers in two-strike counts. That leads the majors, and it's not even close (Cabrera is a distant second, with eight HR in two-strike situations). Davis' 13 HR in two-strike counts already tops his ten hit in 2012 and nearly matches his combined total from 2008-11 (14).
  • Hard stuff, soft stuff -- it matters little to Davis, who's crushing every pitch type known to man. He has 17 homers against fastballs and sinkers, six against sliders, four versus curveballs, three on changeups, and one apiece on a splitter and a knuckleball. Has anyone tried throwing him an eeuphus pitch?
  • Davis also doesn't seem to care whether he has the platoon advantage, as he's tied with Jay Bruce and Carlos Gonzalez for the most home runs hit by lefty hitters against lefty pitching (seven). That matches his HR output against left-handers in 2012.
  • Davis has been an all-fields slugger, actually hitting more combined home runs to left field (8) and center (10) than to right field (14). We're barely halfway through the 2013 season, yet Davis has nearly cranked double-digit home runs in every direction. To put that into perspective, the only player with ten or more homers to left, center and right field in 2012 was Cabrera.

Davis' home run spray chart

 

  • On a related note, Davis has done most of his damage on pitches thrown to the middle (14 HR) or outer third (15 HR) of the plate. If the 6-foot-3, 230 pound behemoth has a weakness, it might be on inside pitches that require him to extend his arms. He has three homers and is slugging .347 on inside stuff, compared to an .829 slugging percentage on middle pitches and a .794 mark on outer-third offerings.

Davis' slugging percentage by pitch location

Tuesday
Jun252013

What has Adam Jones been doing since he's not walking?

"What has Adam Jones been doing since he's not walking?" Sounds more like a David Letterman sketch than a baseball analytic article.

On May 18, Jones was facing the Tampa Bay Rays at Camden Yards 

  • He homered his first time up.
  • He grounded out his second and third times up.
  • But in the bottom of the 6th, he walked off Alex Torres.
  • He singled in the 9th, in a losing cause. 

That was the last game he drew a walk

Since then, Jones has played 35 games.

He's come to the plate 149 times.

He's had 147 AB with one HBP and one sac fly.

He's gotten 41 hits, good for a pretty good .279 batting average and a pretty sad .282 OBP.

He's had eight doubles and nine homers, good for a .517 slugging percentage.

He has whiffed 28 times, an 18.8% strikeout rate.

  • He has seen 531 pitches - 390 strikes, 140 balls.
  • He has seen 3.35 pitches per plate appearance.
  • He's had three balls on him just seven times, which may be the most remarkable of all the stats.
  • He has swung and missed on 89 pitches (26.3%).
  • He's had 51 called strikes (26.6%).
  • He's put 120 pitches in play (35.4%).
  • He has chased 271 pitches out of the strike zone (47.2%). He swung at 260 pitches in the zone.
  • He struck out on 17 pitches out of the zone and 11 in the zone.
  • He's gone full six times.
  • He's had a 3-1 count twice and they followed his only two 3-0 counts. 

The Bottom Line

The Orioles are 19-16 in the Adam Jones 35 walkless game streak.

In the eight games this season that Jones has drawn a walk, the O's are 6-2.