It’s time for installment number three of the Optimism vs BaltimoREALITY series. So far we’ve looked at Matt Wieters and Chris Davis, now let’s examine second base — the weakest position on the Orioles roster 🙁 — Yup, I just used a frowny face. Deal with it.
I’m still hearing a little bit of optimism at this position. Let’s take a look.
Roberts is a two time All-Star that is only three seasons removed from a .283/16/30 line. He’s had plenty of time to get healthy over the last three seasons and looks like he’s ready to go this season. Roberts has the chance to be a leadoff hitter for a playoff caliber team, and will have some huge bats behind him. Even if Roberts returns to 3/4 of the player he was, he could be in line for a pretty good bonce back season.
Nope. Roberts has played 59, 39, and 17 games each of the last three seasons. He’s entering his 35 year old season, which means he’s way passed his prime. During the last three season that Roberts was fully healthy his average declined from .296 to .283 to .278. An average of .278 is officially not hitting for average. What would make anyone think that a guy who hasn’t even played a full season worth of games in the last three years would be able to bounce back and hit for average? I don’t care where he hits in the order, he’s not going to sniff .290 ever again.
What about the power? He had surprising power for his size for a few seasons. He peaked at 18 and hit 16 in his last full season. At an injury prone age 35, he wouldn’t be able to hit 10 if he were allowed to get 6 at bats every game for the entire season. Don’t count on power.
How about speed? This is where the majority of his value came from. Considering the amount of injuries he’s had, I wouldn’t expect him to be a very good runner anymore. This leads me to defense. Will there be some rust? Of course there will be. Which means his elite defense will fall into the mediocre category. So with mediocre defense, no power, and limited speed, what value does he have? He has enough value to platoon at second base with Alexi Casilla.
And that’s if he makes it to the 60 games played mark. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one either. There will be no bounce back for Brian Roberts. Unless you consider a bounce back a part time player with a DL stint or two.
He will provide excellent defense for the Orioles and fill in if Brian Roberts has to miss any time. He also provided 21 stolen bases last season and should be able to run well for the Orioles.
The stolen base part? Nope. Casilla played in 106 games last year. That was his career high. If Roberts isn’t on the field, Casilla will be expected to play more. This is a red flag for injury. An increase in games played for a utility player in his 7th professional season can’t be a good thing. Furthermore, these numbers are far too low to ever want on the field for more than 106 games. A career .250 hitter? A season high 7 home runs? A 50 RBI high? Any guesses what his highest stolen base total is?
The answer is 21. Which means he over performed last year in that category. The odds of him getting there again? Not good.
Sure Casilla will add pretty good defense, but at what cost? Very poor offensive numbers is the cost. But it’ll all be okay if he’s Robert’s backup right? As I stated above, Roberts won’t play enough to have a backup. The reality is that neither of these guys are the answer at 2B. I’m not so sure that a platoon between the two would necessarily work either. What other options are there? Ryan Flaherty isn’t an everyday starter. How long until Jonathan Schoop is ready? He’s the long term answer. Perhaps we will see him this season, but his .266 minor league average doesn’t scream that he’s ready yet either. Second base is a mess. And that’s the BaltimoREALITY.
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