Where does the Orioles’ depleted infield rank in the league?

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries have decimated the O's infield recently. Where would the current group rank in the league?

Due to the injuries to J.J. Hardy and Manny Machado, the O's have been featuring a lineup that includes Steve Lombardozzi at 2B, Ryan Flaherty at SS and Jonathan Schoop at 3B. These three players were supposed to compete for the job, and yet they are starting at the same time now because of injuries. The three of them, hitting 7th, 8th and 9th in the lineup, must be one of the worst combinations at these positions in the league. Is it possible for any other team to be worse at these positions than the Orioles have currently?

I pulled the depth charts from Fangraphs, which uses the average of Steamer and ZiPS projection to estimate the production each team will receive from each position. I extrapolate Lombardozzi's, Flaherty's and Schoop's projection to 700 PA to put them on the same scale as the projection of other teams. Here are the results:

Rank

Team

2B

SS

3B

Sum

1

Rays

4.4

3.3

6.3

14.0

2

Mariners

4.7

3.1

3

10.8

3

Rockies

1.2

5.9

3.3

10.4

4

Nationals

2.6

3.4

3.6

9.6

5

Indians

3.3

2.2

3.9

9.4

6

Rangers

1.4

3

4.6

9.0

7

Red Sox

4.3

2.7

1.9

8.9

8

Padres

2.9

2.3

3.6

8.8

9

Athletics

1.6

2.5

4.6

8.7

10

Orioles

1.1

3.3

3.5

7.9

11

Dodgers

1.3

3.9

2.6

7.8

12

Mets

1.4

1.3

5

7.7

13

Cardinals

2.2

2.4

3.1

7.7

14

Diamondbacks

2.8

1.7

3.1

7.6

15

Giants

1.4

2.2

3.8

7.4

16

Braves

1.4

4.6

1.3

7.3

17

Pirates

2.5

1.7

3

7.2

18

Reds

2.7

2

2.5

7.2

19

Angels

2.7

2.5

1.9

7.1

20

Brewers

1.5

3

2.5

7.0

21

Phillies

3.2

2

1.3

6.5

22

Blue Jays

0

2.7

3.7

6.4

23

Royals

1.9

1.5

2.3

5.7

24

Tigers

3.6

0.2

1.8

5.6

25

Cubs

1.3

2.2

1.7

5.2

26

White Sox

1.5

2.1

1.4

5.0

27

Astros

1.7

1

2.3

5.0

28

Yankees

1.1

1.2

1.7

4.0

29

Lombardozzi/Flaherty/Schoop

0.9

1.4

1.3

3.6

30

Twins

1.5

0.9

0.9

3.3

31

Marlins

1.5

0.3

0.9

2.7

As you can see, the O's are pretty high on the list. The O's are projected for the tenth most WAR produced from these three positions despite the reduced playing time of Hardy and Machado. However, we are not interested in the version of the O's infield with Hardy and Machado. We want to know how the current group compares to the rest of the league.

Surprisingly, Lombardozzi, Flaherty and Schoop would not be the last in the league. The Twins and Marlins would both receive less production from these three positions. The Yankees, featuring a payroll close to $200 million, are only one spot higher on the list than the Orioles' trio. None of these three teams has an above-average player at any of these positions. The Yankees have former Oriole Brian Roberts, Derek Jeter and Yangervis Solarte as their primary starters. The Twins start Brian Dozier, Pedro Florimon and Trevor Plouffe, while the Marlins start Derek Dietrich, Adeiny Hechavarria and Casey McGehee. It's not unlikely that the only names you have heard of are Roberts and Jeter. Yet they are 75 years old combined and have notable injuries recently, so their performances lag far behind their reputations at this point.

It seems implausible for any team to feature a worse trio at 2B, SS, 3B than the Orioles have in the past few games, but the Twins and Marlins are doing exactly that. Even the Yankees are only marginally better than the Lombardozzi/Flaherty/Schoop trio. The O's are not in as terrible a situation as I thought, and it could only improve once Hardy and Machado return to the lineup.

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