The Baltimore Orioles are enjoying an off day Thursday before beginning a three game series in the Bronx against the New York Yankees, so we thought we would take a look at each of the active Orioles players and see how their 2014 is shaping up compared to their career averages. We begin with part 1, the O's position players.
We have broken the article down into three sections: above average, average and below average. What we are doing here is looking at each position player's numbers in 2014, and comparing those to what their overall career numbers are to see what kind of year they are having in 2014. Just because someone may fall in the average category, it does not mean that they are not having an above average year when compared to all of MLB, it means their 2014 numbers are falling in line with their overall career numbers. Some of them may surprise you, both good and bad.
While many people prefer to get the bad news first, we swapped it today as we are going to give you the good news first as we look at which position players are performing above their career averages.
- Steve Pearce – Arguably the hottest hitter in the lineup right now, Pearce is having a career year as he has already set a career mark for home runs in a season with five this season. He is currently hitting .324 with a .377 on base percentage, .552 slugging percentage, and a .930 OPS. Want to know how much better he is performing than his career numbers? Pearce's career average is .249 with a .325 OBP, .399 slugging percentage, and .723 OPS.
- Nelson Cruz – When you have 22 home runs at this point in the season it is pretty hard to imagine that you are not performing above average, which is the case with Cruz. He is on pace to set a career mark in home runs and reach the 100 RBI plateau for the first time in his career. His current .299 average is 29 points higher than his career average and both his OBP (.367) and OPS (.969) are well above his career numbers of .331 OBP and .835 OPS.
- Nick Markakis – This one may surprise you to find him here and not in the above average category, but what people forget is that 2013 was a well below average year for Markakis and in 2014 he has returned to his normal self. Markakis is currently hitting .300, which is seven points higher than his career average of .293 and his .358 OBP this season is just slightly lower than his .360 career OBP. His power numbers in regards to home runs and doubles are pretty much on par for his career numbers.
- Adam Jones – By being in the average category here shows how good of an offensive player Jones has truly become as 85% of players in Major League baseball would love to have the numbers that Jones' does at this point in 2014. Jones is hitting for a higher average at this point (.290) than his career number of .280, but his .312 OBP is nine points lower than his .321 career OBP. His power numbers are right on point with his career marks and simply put, Jones is having another solid year at the plate and continues to show his ability to consistently produce at the plate.
- Delmon Young – Although a platoon player, Young is keeping his numbers right around his career marks, although if their was a slightly above average category, Young would probably fall in there. He is hitting 13 points higher this season than his .283 career average and has an OBP eight points higher than his .316 career mark. In addition, he is also performing slightly better than his career numbers for slugging percentage and OPS.
- Ryan Flaherty – Here is one that also signifies what this article is about as Flaherty's numbers are pretty bad, but he is in the average category because he is right around his career marks. Flaherty is hitting .219, which is just one point below his career average and his .288 OBP is slightly above his .281 career mark. If there were a slightly below average category, Flaherty would have fallen there due to his slugging percentage of .316 being so much lower than his .365 career number and his OPS also being much lower at .604. He stuck in the average category though because he is pretty much on pace with his career averages in hits, runs and doubles.
- JJ Hardy – Arguably the biggest surprise on this team in an unfortunate way in 2014. Hardy, while hitting for a much higher average (.289) than his career mark of .261, practically every other offensive category is way down for the will be free agent at season's end. Hardy's OBP, despite the much higher average, is just five points higher than his career mark of .313 and his slugging percentage (.356) and OPS (.673) are much, much lower than his career marks of .424 and .737 respectively. Of course, the obvious shock is that Hardy has yet to hit a home run this season in 63 games played, which is almost unbelievable considering he has hit at least 22 home runs in each of the past three seasons and has been a consistent 20+ home run guys throughout his career. His 15 RBI are also well below the pace of his career numbers, and even more shocking is the fact that he has made eight errors already at shortstop, including seven this month, which is not something you expect from a two-time Gold Glove shortstop.
- Manny Machado – Beginning the season on the DL and not being able to take part in spring training appears to have had a big effect on Machado as he well below his career marks across the board. He is hitting .229 with a .280 OBP, .331 slugging percentage and a .612 OPS, which compared to his career marks of a .270 average, .304 OPB, .417 slugging percentage and .722 OPS are obvious at how poorly he is doing at the plate thus far in 2014. He has looked better over his last seven games, but the O's need him to begin to figure it out at the plate.
- Chris Davis – He is not in this category because he is not on pace to hit 53 home runs again, that would have been unfair of anyone to expect, and his 12 home runs are just slightly below his career average pace, but it is his other numbers that are hurting him. Davis, while having a slightly higher OBP than his career mark, has a .436 slugging percentage and a .771 OPS this season, which is much lower than the .506 slugging percentage and .833 OPS figures he has for his career. His eight doubles this season are also at a much lower pace than he has had over the course of his career.
- David Lough – Much like Flaherty and Machado, Lough does not have a long career to compare 2014 to, but he has been pretty dreadful at the plate this season. He is hitting .182 with a .262 OBP, .282 slugging percentage and a .544 OPS, which none of those numbers are anywhere close to his career numbers of a .256 average, .297 OBP, .370 slugging percentage, and .667 OPS. His five stolen bases have already tied a career high.
- Nick Hundley – Although he has only played 10 games for the Orioles since being acquired from the San Diego Padres, we are looking at his numbers for the entire 2014 season and Hundley is not having a good campaign. Hundley is below his career numbers across the board as he is hitting .226 with a .237 OBP, .290 slugging percentage, .527 OPS, one home run, seven RBI, and three doubles. Over his career, Hundley is a .237 hitter with a .293 OBP, .384 slugging percentage, and a .678 OPS.
As you may have figured out, there are two current position players that are not mentioned in Jonathan Schoop and Caleb Joseph and that is because they are rookies and have no real career numbers to compare 2014 to. We are sure that both players would tell you they feel like they should be doing better at the plate however.
Of course the obvious part in this whole article is how many players are currently on pace to have below average seasons, which is mind boggling, but if you think about it, this may be a good thing for the Birds.It is hard to fathom that the five current Orioles position players will all continue below their career averages and the team is still just three games behind the AL East leading Toronto Blue Jays.
Part two will be coming later today as we take a look at the pitchers and how they are stacking up compared to their career numbers.
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