By no means are we experts here at BSR, but that certainly doesn’t mean we lack strong opinions. From time to time, we ask a tough question to our staff and they give their hot takes. This is one of those times.
Today’s topic: “Fool’s Gold” – Which Orioles are playing way too well, and who is playing way too poorly to continue the way they are. Basically, who are you expecting to bounce back, and who are you expecting to crash back to Earth?
Brace yourselves. Here come the opinions!
Regression candidate: The Orioles player that is playing above his head this early in the season is Pedro Alvarez. Listen, I love El Toro as much as the next orange koolaid drinker for his contributions to the squad during his Orioles tenure. But he’s a 4-A player who really doesn’t bring glove to the park. Love his early season assistance, but can’t see him on the squad by June 1st.
Who improves?: Can Chris Davis be this awful…again? It’s easy to beat up the guy who is making the most bread on the team for his unproductive offensive production 11 games into a marathon of a baseball season. But besides the failed lead off experience, is he really the problem for this 4-7 team so far this year? When he gets hot-and he will- he legitimately can carry a ball club that is offensively inconsistent. If I had to pick a player who can only improve their production, it’s Davis for me.
Regression candidate: As much as I sang his praises on Episode 232 of Bird’s Eye View, I think Pedro Araujo is nowhere near as good as he looked against the Yankees this weekend. One can hope that he will turn out to be a Rule 5 steal, but what is more likely is that we complain later this season that he can’t be hidden on the roster because of the presence of Nestor Cortes Jr.. and the lack of options in the bullpen. I’d like to think that his ability to touch 92 on the gun, to hit his spots, and to not wilt on the mound at Yankee Stadium in Extra innings is meaningful. I’d love for it to be meaningful. But he’s my regression candidate.
Who improves?: Jonathan Schoop can’t be this bad forever, right? We said that about Manny Machado for most of the 2017 season, but the 2017 Most Valuable Oriole has looked way less valuable in 2017. Maybe it’s the BABIP Luck Dragon. Maybe he’s just missing – I hope so. But Jonathan Schoop is giving us next to nothing in the heart of the order. I choose to believe that he’ll find himself in the plate, and become a productive member of the supporting cast behind guys like Manny Machado and Adam Jones.
Regression candidate: I think Dylan Bundy is doing way too well. Bundy turned in his third straight quality start and fanned 10 Jays at Camden Yards last night.
Who improves?: Jonathan Schoop and Tim Beckham are doing way too poor. I see Schoop and Beckham breaking out eventually with Bundy falling back to earth just a little bit but hopefully not by much.
Regression candidate: Andrew Cashner has some good stats and some not so good ones. For example, he is on a 8.18 strike outs per 9 innings pace and is forcing swinging strikes on 8.4% of all pitches thrown, both of which are higher than his career average. He’s also stranding over 96% of runners he allows, which seems unsustainable. Fewer swings and misses may lead to more of those runners scoring.
Who improves?: Jon Schoop will become the Jon Schoop we were all expecting. So far, he is actually making contact at a higher rate than last year but his Batting Average on balls put in play (BABIP) is nearly 50 points lower. Expect him to make a little more hard contact and for some of his hits to fall. His offensive production will get back to normal.
Regression candidate: Araujo. I don’t think we should expect to see outings like his most recent in New York. More likely somewhere in between that and his showing in Houston. Inexperience is bound to show.
Who improves?: Jonathan Schoop. I expect him to return to 2017 form and help kick start the sputtering offense. In the 3-hole, he’s vital to preventing the streaky offense from continuing their early season struggles
Regression candidate: He’s my guy, but Craig Gentry is the guy who I think will cool off. In his very limited playing time, Gentry is robbing home runs on Opening Day, making game saving catches in Yankee Stadium and knocking in the GWRBI to close out a 3-1 series in New York. These just aren’t the things a 26th man on the roster continues to do, especially in a little over a week’s span.
Who improves?: Chris Davis. I know that pick is going to rise the ire of Orioles Nation, but Chris Davis will break out of this funk. Look I’m not talking the 2013 Chris Davis who hit .286, 53 homers, 138 RBI, I’m talking more like the .250 hitting, 35 home run hitting Chris Davis. As I post this, Davis is hitting .091, he’s gotta be better than that, right?!
Regression candidate: While I don’t expect him to light the world on fire like he did last season, I certainly see Tim Beckham improving. After last night, Beckham is slashing .196/.245/.304. While he made a few solid defensive plays, we’re still waiting to see the bat come alive. The only to go is up.
Who improves?: Manny Machado had another multi-hit night on Monday. That’s his fifth this season. I figured Machado would have a good year, he’s a free agent this winter after all (in case you forgot). But I don’t see him continuing on a .326/.415/.565 pace. That’s just monstrous.
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