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The Orioles continue to struggle in the corner outfield spots

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The Orioles went into the year with a plethora of platoon options for left and right field. However, none of those options have worked out as the offense has come crashing back to earth in May. If the team is looking to contend they will have to increase the production from their corner outfield spots.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

After dropping a series to the last place Miami Marlins and managing only two runs in their last 22 innings the Orioles are now 19-22 on the 2015 season. Going into the season the Orioles had many options to replace the vacancies left in the corner outfield spots. Yet, while having many options can be a good thing you also need to have good options. Depth is useless if your depth sucks. The combination of Alejandro De Aza, Travis Snider, Steve Pearce, David Lough, and Delmon Young have provided little in terms of production at the plate. The gory totals are in the below table.

Position AVG OBP SLG OPS wRC+ WAR
Left Field .204 .272 .320 .591 65 -0.1
Right Field .303 .353 .394 .747 106 0.5

A whopping 0.4 WAR between the two corner outfield spots for the Orioles to date in 2015. The right field numbers do not look as bad at first, they are between 16th and 18th in the league for pretty much every category in the table above. However, those less than gaudy numbers are buoyed by Travis Snider and Alejandro De Aza hitting very well in the few plate appearances they have happen to had in right field. Left field is as ugly as you'll see. They rank in the bottom five league wide in each of the categories in the above table.

Right field has been largely held down by Delmon Young who struggles in the field and at the plate against right handed pitching. Left field has for the most part been manned  by Alejandro De Aza who is nothing special in the outfield and is quickly losing the ability to make contact at the plate.

It is clear that if the Orioles want to contend this year they are going to have to get more production from their corner outfield spots. The problem is that no one player has stepped up and shown they deserved more playing time. The Orioles gathered five players who are good if used in certain roles and only deployed in certain situations and the team is currently asking those players for too much.

The options currently on the roster do not give much hope. David Lough has not been able to crack a regular starting job in his time in Baltimore. With two hits yesterday maybe he will get a bit more time to see what he can do. He does bring plus plus defense to the table. Travis Snider has a patient eye at the plate, but he has yet to show the promise he did in the second half of last year for Pittsburgh. Lastly, Steve Pearce who probably presents the best chance for some production on the roster, but he has been thrown into second base because of injuries and he has lost playing time due to poor performance.

That really leaves whatever is left in the minors. A trade could be possible, but teams do not really look into trading until after the draft and even then most deals are not done until July. The Orioles need some production right now.

Chris Parmelee

Parmelee's name has been showing up more and more lately. Both Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter have mentioned his name in press settings within the past week. Brought in on a minor league deal this spring he has been absolutely killing AAA pitching. He has hit .323/.396/.449 this season. The most interesting part are his splits though. He has a .606 OPS against lefties and a .975 OPS against right handed pitching. Furthermore, he has a road OPS of 1.050 and a home OPS of .495. I guess Harbor Park is not for the southpaws.

Parmelee is a former first round pick (drink, for those of you playing the Dan Duquette drinking game) who is more of a first baseman than an outfielder. He can play in left field, but he cannot be depended upon to make the tough plays. As the splits show, he is probably a starter only against a right hander. Parmelee is probably the most sensible option to infuse some offense into the team now. Again, if deployed in situations where he can succeed, he can be a good player.

Henry Urrutia

Another lefty, Urrutia has struggled at Norfolk to start the season, but has had a better May at the plate. He is currently hitting .254/.325/.324 on the season. Uruttia still shows the same problems he did the last time he was in the majors. He cannot hit for power and is not that great of a defender. Still, he has options and can easily be added to and taken away from the roster. He has no discernible splits other than that he is hitting a little better at Harbor Park than on the road, which is a little strange. All Uruttia really gives the Orioles is another name and most likely little else.

Dariel Alvarez

Alvarez, a righty, coming off of a solid year in AA and AAA has struggled thus far in Norfolk only hitting .227/.257/.337. Some of that could be a little bit of bad luck with only a .231 BABIP. He too is a platoon candidate hitting much better against left handers (.737 OPS) than right handers (.530 OPS). Alvarez is said to be a plus defensive outfielder with the range to the play the corner spots and a cannon of an arm. He gives the Orioles a little younger and less proven option at the major league level, but he has yet to show he can handle even AAA pitching. With the chops to play the outfield it makes some sense to give him a shot, but again the Orioles may need to look elsewhere to solve their woes.

Nolan Reimold

Reimold has hit .278/.340/.382 to start the year at Norfolk and has come on strong lately hitting .378 in his last ten games. The elder statesman of the bunch has no split issues so he would not kill the team with late inning reliever match ups.  However, he is 31 with a history of neck and back injuries. Playing him everyday may be pushing him harder than he needs. He plays left field well enough to not be a burden. He gives the team a little speed as well and a decent lead off option. Not to mention he is a favorite of our fearless leader Mark Brown, what other reason could the Orioles need to bring him up?

***

One thing the Orioles could do is call up Christian Walker and have him man first base and move Chris Davis to the outfield, but that may be asking too much from everyone and Walker is not without his own split issues. Parmelee represents the most likely of the options to join the team with De Aza getting the boot. However, one has to wonder if shuffling around the same cards is going to give the Orioles a better hand. Duquette has done it before and maybe it can be done again. The Orioles need to solve their outfield issues sooner rather than later and the in house options are currently leaving a lot to be desired.