Orioles Hitters in June
The Orioles have shown remarkable consistency this season in their won loss record each month this season. During June, they went 16-12. This followed a 15-13 May and a 16-11 April. Their winning percentage has been between .536 and .593 each month of the season. They’ve had a winning record during each of the three months of the season so far despite a pitching staff that currently has the second worst ERA in the entire league at the moment at 4.44. Needless to say, the Orioles have been able to win so far this season because of their prodigious hitting. With that said, let’s take a look at how each of the Orioles hitters performed during the month of June.
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Matt Wieters’ most impressive statistic during the month of June might be his 25 games played out of a total of 28 for the club. His durability and ability to play almost every day are impressive in this day and age of catchers being rested frequently to conserve their legs. Wieters is actually on pace to play in 152 games this season, which would be a career high. It’s likely that the club could get better production out of Wieters if they are able to rest him more as the season goes along.
Wieters had his worst statistical month at the plate during June. Hopefully the All Star break gives him a chance to rest up and get ready to perform better over the second half of the season.
Chris Davis had another monster month in the power department with 12 big flies. His isolated power was phenomenal once again at .402 for during June, which led the league by a considerable margin. While his power production was once again superb, you can begin to see cracks in the armor when you look at his plate approach. He only walked 5.2% of the time while striking out in 35.3% of his plate appearances. However, when you’re hitting 12 home runs in a month you can get away with a less than pristine approach at the plate.
On the other hand, the big improvement that led to his break out was improved plate discipline and that certainly regressed during the month. He had an alarmingly high 18.7% swinging strike rate while swinging at 36.1% of pitches out of the zone. If he doesn’t revert back to the improved plate approach that we saw from him earlier in the season, we could see his batting average and on base percentages start to slip.
Flaherty’s line for the month looks good, but it was really the tale of the halves for him. From June 1 to June 17, he posted a line right in line with the rest of his Orioles career of .186/.222/.233 with only two extra base hits. From June 18 to June 30, he posted an incredible line of .452/.485/.839 with four home runs. There’s no doubt he was absolutely on fire during the second half of the month, but I’d prefer to see him perform over a larger sample before concluding that he’s found whatever it was that his offensive game was lacking. On the other hand, he did play fantastic defense throughout the entire month.
Casilla somehow slugged .619 for the month of June with just a 30% fly ball rate. That’s quite a feat, but probably not something he can pull off again. It’s amazing what can happen in small samples. Now that I think about it, maybe I should’ve left Casilla’s 25 plate appearances out of this analysis. But then we wouldn’t have gotten to see what will surely be his best monthly slash line this year. What a tough choice!
Hardy had a great month while accruing over a win above replacement during June alone. He was second on the team in home runs to Davis with five. His slugging percentage was far above the typical shortstop all the way up to .520. On top of that, Hardy posted his best mark in each of the triple slash categories so far this season during June. However, he’s still as pull happy as ever as 14 out of his 15 home runs have been pulled to left field so far this season. At some point a hitter just has to admit that he’s better off just trying to pull the ball. There’s no need for Hardy to even try to go the opposite way at this point.
Manny Machado had another great month at the plate as you see from the slash line above. His month was punctuated perfectly with a 3 for 4 performance including a double and his only home run of the month on Sunday night against the Yankees in front of a national TV audience. Including the double on Sunday night, he smacked 13 doubles during June giving him 38 on the year. Even with all of his success, there is room for improvement in his game. During the month, he only walked three times while striking out 24 times. If he shows some improvement to his plate discipline, we could see his production improve even more. That’s a scary thought considering he’s already one of the best players in the league.
Nate McLouth had a decent month at the plate, even though his numbers were brought down somewhat by increased exposure to left handed pitchers. After Steve Pearce went down, McLouth began to get starts against left handed starters as well. With Nolan Reimold out too, Buck Showalter shifted him out of the leadoff spot and into the 7th or 8th spot in the order. Despite the increased exposure to lefties, McLouth was able to maintain his incredible plate approach. He only swung at 23% of pitches outside the strike zone, and only missed 3.4% of the strikes he did swing at. These are truly impressive rates, which make me a believer in his continued ability to get on base at the top of the lineup.
Adam Jones easily had his worst month of the season so far. Incredibly, he managed to make it through the whole month without drawing a single walk and now hasn’t drawn a walk since May 18th. When you drill down into the numbers, it’s not that surprising. Considering he swung at 48.3% of pitches outside of the strike zone during the month, it’s hard to draw a walk. The only hitter that swung at more pitches out of the zone during the month was notorious hacker Alfonso Soriano. For the season, Jones has swung at the third most pitches out of the zone behind swing at everything hitters Pablo Sandoval and the aforementioned Soriano. He’s going to need to at least get back to his bad, but not awful control of the strike zone if he wants to get back on track.
In what is another example of how looking at RBI can lead to a faulty perception of a player’s performance, Jones managed to pile up 20 RBI in the month despite a .237/.248/.386 slash line. Jones had a much worse month than it appears on the surface. The stats that I’ve chosen to show you above illustrate the fact that Jones was pretty bad. You just have to look past his four home runs and 20 RBI’s to see it.
Nick was another Oriole that had his worst month at the plate this season during June. An OPS of .573 just isn’t getting the job done. Unlike Jones, Nick’s problems weren’t plate discipline related so I would expect him to go back to producing at around a league average rate shortly. I don’t see anything to really be concerned about with him. Players just have bad months sometimes and this is one of those instances. A 23% line drive rate for the month shows that he was still hitting the ball hard; the balls just weren’t falling in for him. Expect him to bounce back soon.
It’s a good thing Davis, Machado, and Hardy hit well during June, because Dickerson was another guy that really struggled during the month. Not even a .400 BABIP life preserver could save him from being swallowed up in the ocean. That’s what happens when a hitter strikes out in 40% of his plate appearances. For the year, he now has a 31 to 3 strikeout to walk ratio which is something he’s going to have to tighten up if he wants to keep getting playing time. His playing time will probably dry up dramatically when Wilson Betemit returns to the lineup.
Danny Valencia was surprising solid in a small sample of 39 plate appearances during the month. He slugged .500 while hitting three doubles and two home runs in his limited at bats. Brought in to be a lefty masher for the team, he surprisingly has hit three of his four home runs against right handed pitchers. However, he’s only batting .138 against right handed pitching despite the three home runs. Valencia is now slugging .508 on the season, but we shouldn’t expect that to hold up as his career high in slugging percentage is only .448.