This time a week ago, things were still on track for the baseball season to begin as scheduled, though it seemed like only a matter of time until some kind of postponement was announced. The start of the season has been delayed not once but twice since then. I don’t know who was the first person to say, “This week has been a crazy year,” but I feel it. If all the uncertainty has you feeling anxious, you aren’t alone, for what it’s worth.
Let’s think about something that doesn’t matter as much. Earlier this week, Baseball Reference announced that it had made some updates to how its Wins Above Replacement stat is calculated. Included among these changes were some updates on defensive value that stretched back to 2013.
Sidestepping for the moment how it’s kind of weird that WAR can just suddenly be different and those effects applied retroactively, this change has one Orioles connection: One of the guys who benefited the most from the different defensive measurements was former O’s second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who’s added about 3 WAR to his career total, an increase of almost 25% over where he was a week ago. He is among the top 15 gainers in bWAR from this update.
Schoop gained 1.0 WAR for 2016 and 1.1 WAR for 2017. That second one kicks him up to an impressive 6.3 WAR. It is too bad for the current Orioles rebuilding project that Schoop wasn’t playing like that in 2018, so that the team might have gotten a better minor leaguer than Luis Ortiz when they traded Schoop.
It’s also too bad Schoop didn’t have better teammates, particularly a better starting rotation, in 2017, but people in charge who are thankfully now gone decided instead to keep rolling with a rotation that included Ubaldo Jimenez (25 GS, 6.81 ERA), Wade Miley (32 GS, 5.61 ERA), and Chris Tillman (19 GS, 7.84 ERA). I’d take watching that rotation again over the current state of affairs.
Around the blogO’sphere
Learning more about Orioles before spring training ended (School of Roch)
Roch helpfully runs through the state of play before it all stopped, including the three Orioles who were probably headed for the injured list: Trey Mancini, Evan Phillips, and DJ Stewart.
Delay in start of 2020 season could hurt Orioles badly (Baltimore Baseball)
Rich Dubroff writes about the side effects of a truncated season for a team that wanted to be able to evaluate the performance of its prospects and young MLBers. It’s not one of the thousand worst coronavirus problems in the world, but whenever there’s baseball again, it will matter for the Orioles.
Five unanswered Orioles questions as coronavirus cuts short spring training (Baltimore Sun)
Number one, naturally, is whether the Chris Davis renaissance was for real. Hopefully his performance whenever there is baseball again doesn’t leave us forever wondering what might have been if his spring training could have continued uninterrupted.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
One lone former Oriole has a birthday today. Happy 46th birthday to 1996-99 pitcher Rocky Coppinger.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Declaration of Independence signer Thomas McKean (1734), explorer David Livingstone (1813), Wild West lawman Wyatt Earp (1848), thrice-failed presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan (1860), Chief Justice Earl Warren (1891), novelist Philip Roth (1933), actress Glenn Close (1947), and actor Bruce Willis (1955).
On this day in history...
In 1279, the Mongol Yuans, outnumbered 10:1, defeated the forces of the Song dynasty in the Battle of Yamen, leading to the end of that dynasty.
In 1863, a Confederate ship named the SS Georgiana was scuttled on its maiden voyage from Scotland after attempting to run the Union blockade. Its cargo was valued at over $1,000,000 at the time. Exactly 102 years later, underwater archaeologist E. Lee Spence, still then a teenager, discovered the wreck.
In 1918, Congress established time zones in America and approved daylight savings time.
In 1962, the Algerian War for Independence ended with Algerian independence. Elsewhere in the world, Bob Dylan released his first album, titled simply, Bob Dylan.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on March 19. Have a safe Thursday.