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We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2013 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2013 Orioles Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy Daniel Moroz from Camden Crazies.

1) Jason Hammel was a nice free agent surprise for fantasy owners in 2012 as he put up 113 strikeouts in 118 innings last year around a knee injury.  Now that he should be 100%, what are your expectations of him?  Could he replicate his success last year but over 180 innings for 2013?

Hammel has never reached 180 Major League innings in a season before, so I wouldn’t bet on him to start now. Three years in the 170s before 2012 means he could approach that level, certainly, but it might be safer to expect 160 or so (he is another year older, after all). On a rate basis, 2012 probably a career year for Hammel. If he keeps using the two-seamer next year he should be able to suppress the long-ball well enough (and his walk rates was relatively normal last year), but his jump in strike-outs came along with career best velocity marks. Replicating that seems unlikely (if possible), but I wouldn’t necessarily expect him to fall all the way back to his career mark (from 8.6 K/9 to 6.7 K/9). I don’t think Hammel’s the same guy he used to be, and with his new repertoire he could be a solidly above average starter (if not a #1 or #2 guy on a fantasy staff).

2) Chris Davis finished in the top 10 in the AL in two major stats: HRs with 33 and K% at 30.1%.  In fact, of the people last season with a K% over 30%, Davis was the only player to hit above .250 as he hit a robust .270.  Do you think his batting average can be sustained or do you expect to see some regression from Davis in 2013?

Probably some regression, but maybe not a huge amount. Though Davis K’s a ton, he’s consistently posted strong BABIPs (last year’s .335 was exactly matches his career mark). If his home run totals fall off a bit (his HR/FB rate was a career best 25%), then that’ll drag his batting average down some, but the dude is strong and hits the ball awfully hard. As down as I was on Davis heading into 2012, if all you’re looking for is home runs and a batting average that won’t completely kill you, I think he can provide that in 2013. There is potentially more downside risk than upside risk if opposing pitchers figure him after his full season, but it may be worth noting that he did pick things up in the second half of last year.

3) Manny Machado is exciting to us fantasy baseballers because he’s a great young prospect and having a short MLB track record allows for us to dream big.  In fact, we have already gone out and said we like him with a Manny Machado sleeper post.  What are your expectations for Manny and should we be looking to draft him in 2013?

As exciting of a prospect as Machado is, he’s still only 20 years old and a decent amount of his actual value right now is going to be with the glove. Though he did have some nice plate appearances in the Majors last year and showed solid plate discipline in the Minors, I’d expect some growing pains if he’s the O’s starter at third-base in 2013 (as looks likely). A Hanley Ramirez is something nice to dream on, he’s probably still a ways away from that level. Maybe repeating his 2012 MLB line with a few more walks and a little less pop (more 15+ homers than the 20+ his numbers would pro-rate out to). Perhaps a few steals, but I wouldn’t go overboard there given that the Orioles were dead last in the Majors in stolen bases last year (and they attempted fewer thefts than 25 teams had successful steals).

4) Keeping with the theme of great prospects, we’re excited about Dylan Bundy this year as well.  We think he could be up as early as June and will be fantasy relevant almost immediately.  Is this an unreasonable mindset to have?  What do you expect from Dylan Bundy for the 2013 season?

If the Orioles are sitting where I’d expect them to be in the standings (5th place; maybe 4th if one of the other AL East teams bombs), then pushing Bundy to the big leagues might not seem as necessary (especially with the extensions Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette got, and them not being desperate to keep their jobs). If Bundy’s absolutely tearing it up in the Minors and a rotation spot is open, perhaps we see him mid-season. More likely though, I’d expect maybe he gets a cup of coffee later in the year as a precursor to 2014. As is, the O’s have a number of other young pitchers that they might want to cycle through the rotation first, to see if they’ll stick longer term (Chris Tillman, Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz, and Steven Johnson should probably all get plenty of starts). Whenever he arrives, as good of a prospect as Bundy is, expecting a pitcher to come up and pitch exceptionally well in the AL East is asking a whole lot.

5) Baltimore made the playoffs in 2012 despite having an extremely narrow run differential of +7.  Looking forward to 2013, what’s the most likely headline we’ll see about this Orioles team?
A) Jake Arrietta shakes the unlucky pitching label (6.20 ERA in 2012 with a 3.65 xFIP in 2012) and becomes a solid #2 pitcher for the Orioles?
B) Brian Roberts – who has played in only 115 games since 2009 – plays in 140 or more games this year?  And can you say yes to this without laughing?
C) Adam Jones has an even bigger season in 2013 and gets into the top 3 for AL MVP voting?
D) Buck Showalter shows off his mad scientist skills, frankensteining McClouth & Reimold into one player.  Nolanate Reimclouth goes on to hit 25 HRs and steal 20 bases and makes the All-Star team.
E) After a rough start to the year, the Orioles have Ray Lewis guest coach for a while and Matt Wieters begins to do the Ray Lewis dance before every home game, leading Baltimore to a second half surge into the playoffs.

I still have faith in Arrieta, and he could certainly be the O’s #2 pitcher (or even #1 if Hammel takes a step back). That said, while some of his 2012 issues are probably partially (or mostly) bad luck – .320 BABIP, 14.5% HR/FB rate, 57% LOB rate which was the lowest in the Majors – he did struggle mightily with men on base. If that works itself out than he’s an average (or better) starter. I think this is the most likely of the offered potential headlines.

Laughter is definitely not the right emotional cue for his question. I stopped counting on Roberts again going into 2012, and that we was even able to take the field last year impressed me (his presence much more so than his performance). Even if he could play 40 games (which I doubt, let alone 140), I’m not sure he’s good enough at this point to merit it (in those 115 games, he hit just .244/.308/.340). Really unfortunate string of events for Roberts and the Orioles, but second-basemen going into their mid-30s aren’t exactly the most reliable group to begin with.

The Top 3 in the AL MVP voting is probably right out unless the O’s make the playoffs again (unlikely), even if Jones does improve upon his 2012 season. In most respects, he was the same guy he had been; the only real other issue is the power. Though his HR/FB was a career high, I don’t think it’s necessarily as much of a fluke as some people do. Even more so than the increase in home runs, Jones upped his doubles by around 50% over previous years – that indicates to me that we might not see a huge drop-off in the power department. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t run quite as (as happens as players age), but there is the potential for some more RBI opportunities if Nick Markakis is back healthy batting above him in the line-up. And if he can actually maintain some semblance of plate discipline for more than a few games at a time, he really could improve some over 2012.

I’m a huge Nolan Reimold fan, and Nate McLouth certainly did well last year (in an Orioles uniform – he hit .140 before the Pirates let him go). If both guys are healthy (that’s a big if), I could see a top end of 25/20, sure. If it’s a straight platoon though, then McLouth (the lefty) is going to get most of the starts and that cuts into the power numbers some; maybe 20/20 would be better (or, more realistically, 17/15 or so). I’d be more inclined to just make Reimold the primary starter as long as he’s able, to see what he can do (at 29 years old, time for him to establish himself as a Major League starter is running out).

Maybe it’s not fair of me, but the hardest thing to picture in my mind from that scenario was actually Wieters doing the Ray Lewis dance.

29 Responses

  1. Jack Full of Hate says:
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    to my Saturday surprise, Sky wrote an article. Now I won’t feel so lonely in my mom’s basement today

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Ha most of these team previews have been out there for forever, just haven’t been posted. Has she brought down the milk and cookies yet?

      • Jack Full of Hate says:
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        @Sky: yoohoo and peanut butter on top of ritz crackers, she wants to limit my sugar intake, says I get too hyper and then crash. Wants to limit my afternoon naps. “mom, leave me alone i’m talking to sky…..he is real and not a Nigerian prince….no he doesn’t want my social security number…..of course i want the crusts cut off”

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          I was thinking there should be a fantasy baseball Nigerian scam email.

          Dear Fantasy Beneficiary,

          We have the please to inform you that your fantasy team needed us help. Please forwarding your login for your team and your banking companies that we assist you and the making best team. Our Nigerian Prince is please to be your service.

          • Jack Full of Hate says:
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            @Sky: after reading a lot of the questions in the comments i think that might help many razzballers.

            I havent actually read any of your team previews, does that make me a bad internet friend?

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              @Jack Full of Hate: If you read them, you’d be the first. That includes the editors.

              • Jack Full of Hate says:
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                @Sky: I just skimmed and here is my two cents. I only like Jones and the Macho Man. I don’t trust the staff nor the fact they pitch in the AL EAST. Hammel still makes me scratch my head and it would have been interesting to see how he pitched down the stretch. James MCDonald looked like the second coming of something good and died a miserable second half death. Your science experiement is great, Nolanate Reimclouth, which brings up Reimold, he looked like he was going to break out last year, but how can you break out if you always break down. He is a watch list at best and someone to snag if he heats up, but relying on him is not a good idea.

                I’m trying the less is more approach this year. Read razzball, keep it simple and go on what I know, head and gut. I get tired of all the number guys quoting fan graphs in here. I say if you are so damn good at numbers then why are asking grey who to take in the first round and kissing his ass over the pairing article for the first two rounds. Hey dumbass it’s called common sense, go look it up at fan graphs and see what they say.

                • Sky

                  Sky says:
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                  Agree for the most part. Chris Davis still interests me because of the power there and there being a real lack of someone to replace him in the lineup. Still a 30 HR guy but definitely not a .270 guy.

                  In terms of pitching, I’m with you. Unless Hammels falls to me really late – like SP 6 or 7 late and he might – I just don’t trust the Orioles organization and how they handle their pitching staffs. They always seem to have great prospects but none of them materialize into much. For me, I draft pitchers either based on experience or on how well the organization has groomed previous arms. Young Cardinals arm? Sure, I’m interested. Young Orioles arm? Name one that’s been successful in the last 5 to 7 years and then we’ll talk.

                  I’ve had my eye on Reimold since like 2008 but each time he gets going, he falls apart. Unless it’s a deeper league, I’m not even putting him on my radar at this point.

                  Though I agree instinct and simplicity is important, that fangraphs stuff should at least be there to back up some beliefs. Though it’s true no one should base any/all moves solely on stats, so it is true that it can tell you about overvalued/undervalued a lot better than what the surface stats can. Like back to Davis, I think he’s really going to disappoint people drafting him this year. I’d rather just wait for Chris Carter in the nether regions of the draft and get similar production with way less risk associated with the pick if I can help it.

                  • Jack Full of Hate says:
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                    @Sky: I have looked at numbers but when I dork myself out too much i start second guessing what I see. I have always relied on looking for number patterns, studying years of a players splits, batting order positions, manager tendancies and creating my own formulas for probability scenarios. Like when I use to play in XBH leagues, I would always be looking at a hitters doubles and figures out what the XBH/AB’s and XBH/H ratios. I would take this and use it as potential RBI’s and Runs based on who was behind/ahead in the order, more opportunity means more potential. If you land on 2nd then you have a good chance of scoring a run and/or hitting someone in. without revealing all my backyard tricks, I have never intentionally finished below third, one year i tanked at the end to get a better draft spot after a rash of late season injuries and two teams playing out of their skulls.

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      Yeah, that’s even further than I’m willing to go. I focus on the skill stats for the most part as a way to view value. For example, I’m big on K:BB ratios for pitchers. Though it doesn’t necessarily give you strikeout pitchers, per se, but its a way to see how good a guy is with controlling his stuff. Anibal Sanchez was at 3.48 while Cueto was at 3.47. Both he and Cueto have similar peripherals yet Cueto has a ranking of 61 in yahoo and 64 at ESPN while Anibal is at 144 and 137, respectively. So I could honestly get a Cueto type 100 picks later in the draft…sign me up.

                      Overall, I lean heavy on the stats to find lucky/unlucky just to see if there’s any value to be had there in the way of trading in the first couple of months and of course heading into a draft. I don’t typically do much in terms of looking from the lineup/team perspective like you do but I could see where that would be a good exercise.

                  • Jack Full of Hate says:
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                    @Sky: the team/lineup is a big deal for me. some managers couldn’t manage their way out of a wet paper bag(Dusty) and other are good in real life and a clustf**k(Madden, Scossia) for fantasy. BABIP and K/BB are always staples but thats about it. I don’t care how many almost or just barely homeruns a dude hits, If he hits 22-26 per year than thats what I go by. Park factors only matter if the guy is a fringe player, if it boosts a pitcher, or a guy signs with a new team and could hurt his totals.

                    I had this argument last year with Awesomeous Maximus about LUCK, not Andrew, and I say no matter how much work you do, if you don’t have luck (injuries and BABIP) then you don’t win. I have always kept my eye on the bigger picture, for example, every year I watch guys at the top make great FA add’s while the guys dealing with injuries can’t make those because they are filling holes instead of fishing for who’s next or jumping all over hot schomatos. They, in my opinion, were lucky they didn’t have injuries to fill so they could grab guys a lot of other players people knew about but couldn’t add because there was no space. Last year in RCL it killed me, between the high picks underperforming and injuries, when the guy who was first in my league just plucked dudes I couldn’t grab because I only had the one DL spot. As my dad always says, it;s better to be lucky than good.

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      Oh sure I agree with you there. Unless you’re a few key guys, I don’t get psyched about drafting a Rays player because of that unless its a really deep league. Your initial eval with the XBH stuff was just an area I don’t go.

                      Agree that luck is a huge factor when it’s all said and done. But as you pointed out, you don’t finish any lower than 3rd when you’re competing. That type of track record says for as much luck gets in there, skill and evaluation plays out in the long run. I’d say in baseball this holds very true due to the length of the season

                  • Jack Full of Hate says:
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                    @Sky: @Sky: the team/lineup is a big deal for me. some managers couldn’t manage their way out of a wet paper bag(Dusty) and other are good in real life and a clustf**k(Madden, Scossia) for fantasy. BABIP and K/BB are always staples but thats about it. I don’t care how many almost or just barely homeruns a dude hits, If he hits 22-26 per year than thats what I go by. Park factors only matter if the guy is a fringe player, if it boosts a pitcher, or a guy signs with a new team and could hurt his totals.

                    I had this argument last year with Awesomeous Maximus about LUCK, not Andrew, and I say no matter how much work you do, if you don’t have luck (injuries and BABIP) then you don’t win. I have always kept my eye on the bigger picture, for example, every year I watch guys at the top make great FA add’s while the guys dealing with injuries can’t make those because they are filling holes instead of fishing for who’s next or jumping all over hot schomatos. They, in my opinion, were lucky they didn’t have injuries to fill so they could grab guys a lot of other players people knew about but couldn’t add because there was no space. Last year in RCL it killed me, between the high picks underperforming and injuries, when the guy who was first in my league just plucked dudes I couldn’t grab because I only had the one DL spot. As my dad always says, it;s better to be lucky than good.

  2. bigbear says:
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    B-Rob has squared up the ball much better this spring than he ha s in the past 3 years. IF he stays healthy, I expect better number than the triple slash Moroz provides.

    I expect more out traded of Bundy too. I imagine Buck still rolodexes his way through the 4 & 5 spot like last year to begin the season. If the I’d are in 4th+ place, then there’s no reason not to bring up Bundy.

    The only other player who interests me in deeper leagues is Tillman.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Yeah, B-Rob is a deep league interest but I’m personally probably avoiding him/ignoring him even there. Just too much bad history.

      It’ll be interesting to see if Dylan gets a shot regardless of record. Honestly, if he has nothing left to prove he should be with them at some point this year.

      I don’t know about Tillman. The ERA last year was nice but his peripherals (career 6.14 K/9 rate and 4.79 xFIP) doesn’t really excite me. I’m personally keeping my eye on Arrietta there as he had the opposite going for him last year: 6.20 ERA but a 3.65 xFIP and an 8.56 K/9. Just feel there’s more fantasy potential there than what Tillman has to offer.

  3. Russ says:
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    Here’s a far off-topic question, but it’s one I need to ask I think. I’ve just been offered Mike Trout in exchange for Hanley Ramirez and Wil Myers. I’m a bit thin at 3B with Ian Stewart and Ryan Roberts being my lone guys behind Hanley but if I acquire Trout that makes Michael Bourn an expendable piece for me if I can find someone who needs a CF.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @Russ: Hey, we’re having some site issues so sorry if you get this twice. My two things about this trade: 1, does the Trout owner have a 3B that’s worth starting he’s willing to part with in the deal? Two, I don’t like making trades where I need to make a new one or else it doesn’t work. Do you have an interested party in Bourn and are they willing to go through with a trade?

      • Russ says:
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        @Sky: He’s got Middlebrooks and A-Rod, based on how things have turned though I’m not sure whether this will all go through. He’s holding it up in an attempt to get Chris Sale or James Shields off of me while adding Mark Buerhle to his end. If I ask for Middlebrooks do you think it’s worth relinquishing one of the pitchers? Thanks for getting back!

        As for Bourn, no one specifically interested at the moment but I’ve ID’d a few teams that look like they need a centerfielder who I think could be approached.

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          Hrm I don’t see my response here now. Sorry if this is a repeat but if he wants a pitcher he needs to give you Middlebrooks.

          • Russ says:
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            @Sky: Yeah I only see this 2nd response. Hope the site gets back to normal. I held fast on my pitching and told him Middlebrooks would be the price, he backed off and came back with the original deal (Myers/HanRam for Trout), all has settled!

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              You and me both…wanted to comment on this on my walk into work via the phone but couldn’t make a comment there!

              I’d still want to know what I could get out of Bourn before I make any moves. Stewart/Roberts is not a tandem I want to roll into the season with in a mixed league.

  4. Sky

    Sky says:
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    I still need to watch Sunny. My wife loves the league much to my surprise. Great show, though the actual fantasy side is a bit eh.

    Grey and I have pretty different tastes. If you want a funny sci-fi, I’m a fan of Iron Sky. Reading the premise you can probably tell whether of not its up your alley, though.

    Also a big fan of horror. The Pact was smart and well done.

    • Jack Full of Hate says:
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      @Sky: I prefer movies about whores, not horror movies….Pretty Woman gets me every time. *eyes start to gloss up*

      Sci-Fi funny, are talking Mystery Science Theatre or galaxy quest funny or funny cause its bad like body parts?

      Your wife is rad to the max. sunny is good the first 20 times then gets old quick. The league football stuff is whack. i love the season 2 premier when the stripper drops PPR and IDP on them and they have no idea what she is talking about. i was loving that stripper!

      • Sky

        Sky says:
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        Erin Brokovich must’ve had you calling mom then, ha!

        Sci-fi funny as in a satirical political commentary on current America. The Nazis flew to the moon after WW2 and haven’t been to the Earth since. A pseudo Sarah Palin is president. That kind of funny.

        Yeah don’t get me wrong, I love the league as well. I call my best friend in my baseball league Taco because he seriously is like that about fantasy sports even without pot. I told him to make his team name Password Is Taco.

        • Jack Full of Hate says:
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          @Sky: HILARIOUS, TACO, TACO…

          got any examples of those type of movies?

  5. gary says:
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    Big question for you, well at least in my opinion it is haha. I’m in a very competitive 12 team league and it’s also one of those long term ones we do every year.. My friend wants Wil Myers and I want Votto and we worked this out..

    My Hosmer ($1) and Myers ($1) for Votto ($19) and Sano (from Minny, $1).

    I know I win, but the fact that both Hosmer and Myers are a buck..we keep 16 and the rosters are reaaaaaally deep. The prices don’t really matter per say, just a preference of production now and for the next couple years. Don’t want to regret it ya know? What do you think? Thanks for any help my man!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I’d personally stay Hosmer there

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @mr baseball: Sorry, you did pass the test but I didn’t in getting back with you yesterday!

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