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Recapping the Numbers Watch with Amber Theoharis

2918_medium_mediumWay back on March 30th, Orioles "sideline" reporter Amber Theoharis blogged about "blind faith," then tried to convince you that the results of blind faith were, in fact, logical. Even though she had said, "Sometimes people have to choose to believe in something even when rationality tells them it’s not possible."

She also said that we should focus on the word "choose," which is odd considering she said people HAD TO make that choice. That's not very democratic, Am-bear.

But aside from her rather off-kilter ramblings, she made some statistical projections that she was confident in. She brought the world of scouting into the process, hoping to give everyone in scouting a bad name, I suppose, saying, "Any baseball scout will tell you, they are all very realistic numbers for these respective players."

They weren't realistic. And weren't we supposed to be considering this all blind faith, anyway? Wasn't it supposed to be the result of magic and luck and us NEEDING to make that choice so that we'd have a purpose to LIVE?

Oh, what a world.

Amber Sez: What if Millar, Ramon Hernandez, Nick Markakis, Aubrey Huff and Luke Scott all hit 25 home runs?

Millar hit 20, with a .717 OPS, .255 EqA and a -0.3 VORP. So basically all he did was pop a few home runs and walk a few times, batting .234/.323/.394, which is an atrocious year for a starting first baseman. Millar needs to go. That can't be done again if this team seriously thinks they're rebuilding and loading up for the future.


Ramon Hernandez struggled through a horrendous first half (.237/.284/.378) but hit eight of his 15 homers, which shows you, along with Millar, that Amber basing success on home run totals and pitching wins was probably a really bad idea to begin with. He hit seven more in the second half, and was much better at the plate, going .285/.341/.446 after the All-Star break. Most of that power, though, was used up in July, where he hit five home runs and slugged .554. In August and September, he slugged .379 and .352, respectively. Hernandez wound up with a 10.2 VORP (sixth-best on the team) and .252 EqA. He could have been worse. For the money, he should have been better.


Nick Markakis came in with 20 homers, a full five short of Amber's hope, but 25 for Markakis isn't an outrageous bet, and he also lost a few homers, probably, by walking 99 times and posting a .406 on-base percentage, which anchored his 49.9 VORP and team-best .310 EqA. Though he doesn't meet the raw total, I believe this should be counted as a win for Amber. Markakis, minus a few homers, had a better year than I expected he might, and if he hits like this for 10 more years (not a stretch, really), and sticks around for all that time (might be a stretch), then you're looking at one of the 10 greatest Orioles to ever lace 'em up. Big demands! It's not a demand.


Amber obviously gets a point from Aubrey Huff, the first legitimate big bat, middle of the lineup home run threat this team has had in years. Huff came in with a team-best 58.4 VORP and placed second in EqA (.307) to go along with 32 homers and a .552 slugging percentage. The last Oriole to slug .550 or better was Melvin Mora in 2004, and before that, Eric Davis in 1998. Big year for Huff, big win for Amber and her mystery scouts.


Luke Scott hit 23 homers and was perfectly confident, but we did overrate Luke Scott a little bit. He hit .257/.336/.472 in left field, which has been a black hole for years. The league average EqA is always .260, and Luke came in at .278. He had some horrible cold stretches where it seemed like he couldn't hit anything, but streakiness also helped him during hot streaks, so it's a give and take. I'm giving Amber a point on this one.

3-for-5 -- a solid first round, though Millar and Ramon were both glorious in missing the mark, like aiming for the apple and arrowing the young man square in the eyeball.

Amber Sez: What if Melvin Mora, Adam Jones and Brian Roberts hit 15-20 dingers?

Look, I'm giving Amber her point on Melvin Mora, but Melvin Mora's 2008 is one of those times where I will go, "The statistics can certainly be misleading." This guy MURDERED us in the first half of the season, hitting .232/.300/.385. Again, 11 of his 23 homers came in the first half, so big whoop on home runs sometimes. In the second half, he scorched the league at a .376/.417/.656 clip, which would be big numbers for ANYONE in baseball. So, at 36, Melvin wound up with a year that got him back to 2005 numbers, if hardly 2003-04 numbers. But if you expect that Melvin Mora is going to be a positive contributor down the line, there's a baseball team in Washington I'd like to sell you.


Adam Jones hit nine home runs with a .252 EqA and 8.9 VORP. This does not merit a point, nor does it merit much further discussion. He will get better. Remember early in the year when he literally could not hit a Major League breaking ball? Unlike Kosuke Fukudome, who is significantly older and significantly higher-paid, Jones made some adjustments.


Brian Roberts hit nine home runs and had a great season (.295 EqA, 50.6 VORP, .296/.378/.450, 51 doubles, 40-for-50 on stolen bases), but this does not get a Home Run Point. It gets a good player point, sure, but I gave her Markakis in a situation close to this and Luke Scott out of the goodness of my stupid, dorky heart. She's not getting Brian Roberts.


Amber Sez: What if Guthrie wins 15 games, and Adam Loewen and Daniel Cabrera win more than 10? What if George Sherrill proves to be the shutdown closer the Orioles have missed since B.J. Ryan left for free agency?

Nope, nope, nope, aaaaand, nope. Guthrie won 10 games. I'd be nice and give her Guts because he had a good season, but that would be giving the idea of wins being the important pitching statistic merit, which I will not do. Guthrie did not win 15 games. He did not come close to winning 15 games.

Adam Loewen won 0 games, because he sucks, and Daniel Cabrera won eight, because he sucks, too. 0-for-3 on the starters.

George Sherrill was a lot of things, but "shutdown" was not one of them. The man's ERA was 4.72. 0-for-4 total on the pitchers.

Amber's Final Tally: 4-for-12 (.333) overall. That'll get you in the Hall of Fame.