Update on O’s DH vs NL P (4/21/2013)
In the time that has passed between the initial O’s DHs vs NL Pitchers post, the Orioles have played three games. In those games, the designated hitter position has been filled by Steve Pearce and Adam Jones and has gone 4 for 11 with 2 doubles and a home run. This production has catapulted the Orioles from being 12th (of 16) to 6th by measure of Runs Created per 100 plate appearances (RC100). Pearce et al. are poised to overtake the Nationals’ pitchers, but they likely remain at least a week behind catching up to Giants and Reds with another week or two to manage to get to the top of the heap.
Yes, it is possible for the DH position to sustain a level of performance near what we have witnessed the past three games. That would close the gap quickly, assuming that Brewers and Reds pitching realize they are not as accomplished at hitting as they have shown. However, that three game performance would make the Orioles’ DH position arguably the best in baseball this year. I think you would be hard pressed to convince yourself that Steve Pearce and the gang qualify as elite hitters.
At 4.2 RC100, the team still stands 34% below the worst Runs Created in history (6.4), the 1981 Minnesota Twins (208/268/278). One thing to remember as well is that Runs Created does not take the run environment into effect. In other words, the formula does not consider things as simple as park factors and the level of offense represented in that era. So the 1981 Twins 6.4 RC100 was accomplished in a run environment that has an average AL OPS of .693 where 2013 has been at .721 (2012 was .731). As you can see, 1981 was a bit more depressed in terms of being a run environment. Perhaps a truer mark of ineptitude would be the 2001 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s 7.0 RC100 mark with an AL OPS of .762.
The list as of the morning of April 21st, 2013: