Nelson Cruz has led the power show in Baltimore but are the Orioles worth the fantasy risk? The Orioles currently rank third with 88 home runs and only trail the Colorado Rockies and Toronto Blue Jays in the category. Much of the success is owed to Cruz, who the Orioles signed in the off-season to give them some pop at the designated hitter spot. Cruz currently sits in second with 23 home runs and only trails Edwin Encarnacion for the league lead.
The downside to the Orioles is the teams lack of production with runners in scoring position, on base percentage and the lack of patience at the plate. The team currently sits in the middle of the pack in both runs scored with 321 and on base percentage with a .319 marks. The other stat that is alarming for many fantasy owners is the team’s ability to take a walk. Currently the Orioles have 190 walks on the season and only lead the Kansas City Royals by one for the fewest in all of baseball.
As we continue to analyze the Orioles ability to be a key fantasy producer we jump to another offensive stat that not only hurts the team but fantasy owners. That stat is stolen bases something the Orioles rank dead last in with 19 stolen bases in 76 games. The negative side for the ball club is the ability to make scoring opportunities. The negative side for fantasy owners in daily leagues is the fact you don’t have the opportunity to earn two points per stolen base when you select Orioles on daily lineup.
The last stat to look at is how the team has produced with runners in scoring position over the past few games. The Orioles are hitting .191 with runners in scoring position over the past five games, picking up only nine hits in 47 at bats.
Now we all the negative around the team’s ability to score runs the team has a lot of positives to look at as well. Adam Jones and Nick Markakis each rank in the top 10 in hits, Cruz ranks second in home runs and third in runs batted in. The club has four players with at least 75 hits and three players on pace to hit more than 25 home runs.
The debate to use the Orioles might not be completely answered by the stats above, but if you take a few key pieces into consideration it might make you lean to using them. JJ Hardy hit his first home run on Saturday and Chris Davis is just hitting.221 on the season. Each of these two stars has the ability to produce at a higher rate in the second half of the season.