Guerrero brings what Orioles lacked

Our weekly statistical review of MLB moves focuses on notables who joined the AL East.

Vladimir Guerrero

GuerreroHow does Vladimir Guerrero have the potential to help the Baltimore Orioles? Let’s take a closer look.

Guerrero boosts the Orioles in multiple areas in which they were deficient last season. Baltimore slugged .358 against left-handed pitching, fourth-worst in baseball last season and the team’s worst since 1988.

In adding Guerrero, Derrek Lee and Mark Reynolds, the Orioles netted three players whose combined slugging percentage vs lefties last season was .495. Guerrero slugged .536.

In all three spots in the lineup (DH, first base, third base), the Orioles have a player whose numbers vs lefties were better than the primary player used by Baltimore last season.

Longest Average HR
2010 Season (Minimum 25 HR)

The top 10 hitters in average home run distance among MLB's biggest boppers. These homers are measured in "true distance," which is defined as the distance of the home run, measured as if it landed at field level.

The other thing that comes with Guerrero is that Baltimore gets the same version of Guerrero when there are runners in scoring position as when there aren’t.

Guerrero has hit .300 or better in those situations in 12 of the last 13 seasons. His .321 batting average with runners in scoring position is a near match for what he hit in those situations last year (.320) and his career batting average overall (.320).

The Orioles hit .246 with runners in scoring position last season, fourth-worst in baseball.

Guerrero also figures to maintain his power in a hitter-friendly park.

While Rangers Ballpark was slightly favorable to right-handed batters over the last three seasons, with a home run park factor of 114 (according to The Bill James Handbook), Camden Yards is even more friendly, boosting homers for righties by 21 percent in that span, tied with Coors Field for the fourth-highest mark in the major leagues.

Lastly, though this won’t necessarily impact wins and losses, Guerrero still possesses a “wow” factor to his home run hitting. According to data compiled by our video review crew for Hittrackeronline.com, Guerrero averaged a distance of 408.14 feet per home run. That was 12 feet better than the big league average and eighth-best among the 47 players with at least 25 home runs in 2010. New teammate Reynolds ranked second.

-- Mark Simon, Katie Sharp, Derek Czenczelewski

Ramirez/Garcia battle worth watchingManny RamirezRamirez

The moves of Freddy Garcia (New York Yankees) and Manny Ramirez (Tampa Bay Rays) to the AL East increase the likelihood that the two will face off for the first time since 2006.

Ramirez has been Garcia’s kryptonite. A check of Baseball-Reference.com shows Ramirez has the highest OPS (1.559) and slugging percentage (1.042) among batters Garcia has faced at least 20 times (including postseason).

Ramirez has three homers, two doubles and a single over his last six at-bats versus Garcia, though they may go five years in between meetings.

--Katie Sharp

Reyes an unusual lefty in 2010

New potential Boston Red Sox lefty Dennys Reyes had some of baseball’s most unusual splits last season. Typically a lefty specialist, Reyes had far better success against right-handed hitters (.177 opponents batting average) than lefties (.307).

Dennys Reyes

ReyesThe discrepancy was wider when looking only at when contact was made. Within the small samplings faced by a lefty reliever, right-handers hit .418 when making contact, lefties just .193, both numbers out of sync with major league norms.

Reyes may have caught a couple of breaks against right-handers. Inside Edge, which tracks every major league pitch, has its video scouts chart “well-hit balls.” It is an opinion-based rating, but with parameters emphasizing line drives and long fly balls.

Right-handers who had a "well-hit ball" against lefties got a hit 66 percent of the time last season. But against Reyes, they were 6-for-16 (.375). Three or four more hits would have significantly impacted his numbers.

Reyes faced 75 right-handed hitters last season and did not allow a home run, third-most among lefties in the major leagues.

--Mark Simon