The 2014 Spring Training has been a good one for most of the regulars of the team. Of course one should not expect the ST performance to forecast how they are going to do in the regular season. If that were to be the case, we should have seen Jake Fox winning the Silver Slugger award in 2011 after hitting .333 with 11 HR’s in the spring look, but obviously it did not happen.
As we are heading towards the very end of the ST, it’s kind of hard to pinpoint a significant disappointment among the regular players, which is a good news. Players who have something prove in 2014 like Markakis (.943 OPS this spring), Cruz (.289/.372/.447), Schoop (1.050 OPS), Norris (2.65 ERA in 5 starts), Gausman (2.45 ERA, 13 K’s in 11 IP), etc. have had nice enough spring to erase some doubts. And then there are more assured guys like Chris Davis (1.285 OPS), J.J. Hardy (.278/.333/.417) and Tillman (15 K’s and 3 BB’s in 17.1 IP) who have performed nicely. Of course, Adam Jones is in a rut (.590 OPS) but there’s no reason to doubt that he’ll have another All-Star caliber season. There are few that have underperformed, here, in my opinion, is the biggest disappointment in the 2014 Orioles Spring Training.
Jemile Weeks - 2B
Jemile Nykiwa Weeks (one of the coolest middle names I’ve ever typed) was traded to the Orioles during the offseason on the deal that sent Jim Johnson to the Athletics. A former 1st-rounder with the Oakland Athletics, Weeks showed promise in 2011 as one of the top prospects with 122 wRC+ in AAA and .303/.340/.421 slash line in 437 PA’s . However, he fell apart in 2012 with 73 wRC+ and -0.5 fWAR and spent most of 2013 being mediocre in AAA. Orioles have not had a consistent performer at second base since the healthy Brian Roberts and they let him sign with the Yankees during offseason. O’s acquired Weeks with thoughts of him being involved in second base competition along with the likes of Ryan Flaherty and Jonathan Schoop. While the front office and the fans were hoping for the return of the former-1st rounder potential from Weeks, he (so far) ended up producing a Bergen-ian .506 OPS. While he is not that old at 27-years-old and could break out again, he’s looking far from his top-prospect heydays. With the addition of Steve Lombardozzi from the Detroit Tigers, the competition has not eased on Weeks.
Not Disappointed But Need To Watch: Ubaldo Jimenez - SP
Let it be known that I am not writing off Jimenez as a disappointment! Small sample size caveats definitely apply to him as he’s only thrown 15.1 IP and it is also Spring Training so he’s shaking off the rust. An .864 OPS against isn’t too encouraging but I could also bank on him showing a solid #2 numbers for the Orioles rotation once the season starts because ST statistics are meaningless. But because Jimenez has had inconsistent performances for last few years, it’s worth keeping more eyes on on how he is looking. But it’s not a huge concern (yet).
That being said, Spring Training statistics do not count and a lot of it exist to keep tab of how the players performed while they are getting back to seeing a daily Major League Baseball action. There are countless instances on how a player looked totally became contrarious to their ST performance and we shall see how the team performs for real as the 2014 ML season is in the horizons.