Each Wednesday, blogger Matt Vensel will highlight five statistics that really mean something for the Orioles.
one -- hits by
By his standards, Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy had a down year at the plate in 2012, batting just .238 with a .282 on-base percentage. A few months after he finished year season by batting .185 in six playoff games, Hardy is struggling down in Sarasota. With just one hit in 15 at-bats, Hardy is batting just .067, though three walks bring his on-base percentage up to .211. Hardy has typically swung the bat well in spring training, hitting .330 throughout his career. But his cold spring may become a concern if it continues.
Last week I wrote about how based on Fielding Independent Pitching rating,
Non-roster invitee Conor Jackson, a former first-round pick of the
Adam Jones won his second career Gold Glove award in 2012 (his first came in 2009), thanks in part to a robust highlight reel. But the statheads probably disagreed with his selection. Last season, Jones had an Ultimate Zone Rating of negative-7.7, which ranked 47th among center fielders who played at least 200 innings and 11th among the 14 guys who played more than 1,000, according to FanGraphs. That UZR doesn't deviate far from his three-year average of negative-6.6. There is the potential for error with this statistic, but it's a pretty reliable indicator of a fielder's range and defensive value. Gold Gloves are nice, too, though.
78 -- quality starts for the Orioles rotation last season.
The Orioles ranked 21st in the majors with 78 quality starts last season, but that had to be a big relief for the bullpen compared to what the club had done in previous years. From 2007 to 2011, the Orioles averaged 66 quality starts per season and three times had 60 or fewer. They got just 60 quality starts from the rotation in 2011, so getting 78 in 2012 was a nice bump. Another nice bump in 2013 will really help out their bullpen, which pitched very well last year.