Myriad O's Thoughts: Cobb's season; Davis' run total; players moving on - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Myriad O’s Thoughts: Cobb’s season; Davis’ run total; players moving on

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

I’ll start with the most painful observation. It’s what is called a comparative attention-grabber in those crazy sports journalism circles.

Through eight starts in 2018, Alex Cobb, who signed a four-year, $57 million deal with the Orioles, is 1-6 with a 7.32 ERA.

Through eight starts in 2017, Ubaldo Jimenez, who once signed a four-year, $50 million deal with the Orioles, was 1-2 with a 6.52 ERA.

Oh boy.

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Jimenez actually never posted an ERA at or above 7.32 ERA last year after May 1 (his ERA peak from that point forward was 7.26 on June 23).

All things are relative, of course; 2017 was the final year of Jimenez’s terrible contract. Cobb is only eight starts into his Orioles’ deal.

No one expects Cobb to be Ubaldo-like (or Ubaldo-Lite).

And, frankly, Cobb’s nightmare beginning in orange and black could be traced to his first three outings before Wednesday night’s disaster in Chicago in which he allowed six runs on eight hits and two walks to the White Sox in 3 2/3 innings. All of that damage came in innings three and four.

Prior to Wednesday, Cobb had a 3.38 ERA in his previous four starts in May after posting a 13.11 ERA in his three April games.

Those three early starts can be dismissed as rust-covered since Cobb signed late in the offseason and didn’t have a true spring training.

And, for now, you can dismiss Wednesday’s outing as a blip, one of those bad days that all pitchers have.

The guy is a good pitcher and was looking the as-advertised hurler this month until he landed in Chicago.

I don’t expect this to be Ubaldo 2.0. But, understand, for comparative sake, at this time last year, the terrible, awful, no-good Jimenez had a better ERA than Cobb does now.

Davis isn’t scoring at a near-record pace

There are so many numbers that demonstrate how terrible of a start this has been for Orioles first baseman Chris Davis.

In 178 plate appearances, he’s hit .154 with a .230 on-base percentage and .253 slugging percentage – which would all be career lows, by far. He’s struck out 65 times, that’s a 37 percent strikeout rate compared to an eight percent walk rate.

His hard-contact rate is down, his ground-ball rate is up, pretty much all the numbers that you would expect to point to poor performance are there.

But here is the old-school, counting stat that stunned me, one that almost seems like it is impossible given all his at-bats so far.

Davis has played in 44 games this season, and he has scored eight runs. Eight. He has been to the plate 178 times, and only eight of those have resulted in touching the plate on the way back around. And four of those were on his own homers. He scored zero runs in the five games in which he led off.

Now, it’s not surprising Davis hasn’t scored a bunch. He’s not getting on base – though he has reached first 40 times — and he’s batting in the lower half of an order that doesn’t produce a lot of key hits. This is a reflection not only of Davis’ year so far, but the Orioles’ lack of production, of course.

But still, only eight runs scored in more than a quarter of a season? That’s really hard to do.

In comparison, Mark Trumbo hits in about the same spot in the order as Davis – fifth or sixth – and has batted half the amount of time this year due to injury. And Trumbo already has scored 10 runs. Tim Beckham hasn’t played since April 23 and he has the same number of runs scored as Davis.

Another stunner: Davis has yet to score more than once in any game this year.

Again, there are many better indicators to point to Davis’ woes. But none seem as stunningly bad as a 162-game pace of 30 runs scored in a season.

Consider there have been only six players in baseball history that have had at least 500 plate appearances and have scored 30 runs or fewer in a season (the most recent was Miami’s Adeiny Hechavarria in 2013; before that you have to go back to 1978). Only California’s Leo Cardenas in 1972 had 600 plate appearances with 30 runs or fewer scored. He touched the plate only 25 times.

Castoffs finding jobs

Earlier this month, three players opted-out of their minor league contracts with the Orioles: Alex Presley, Michael Saunders and Josh Edgin.

Now, all three have new minor league homes. Presley signed with White Sox on Wednesday, joining Saunders with the same organization while the Washington Nationals agreed to terms with Edgin.

This is the underbelly of the Dan Duquette philosophy of throwing players against the Warehouse wall and hoping some stick. There really was no room at the big league inn for any of the three, and so they have gone elsewhere.

I would have liked to have seen Edgin get a shot, because good left-handed relievers are hard to find. But the Orioles have been OK in that spot with Richard Bleier, Tanner Scott and Donnie Hart getting looks, so it made sense for Edgin to move on.

They were all worth a shot. Now all sides have moved on.

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47 Comments

47 Comments

  1. bickel57

    May 24, 2018 at 9:51 am

    I will have to give Cobb a pass for the whole season. This offense is so bad he would have to pitch a shut out every game. As far as Davis goes it is time to park his butt on the bench. He can become a late inning defensive replacement. I noticed 2 of them just sign with a team just as bad as the Orioles hoping they can get to majors. I don’t think Saunders has it anymore. He didn’t bat over .200 in the minors and he is not hitting with the White Sox minors either.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 24, 2018 at 11:59 am

      You have to wonder when every day play — or mostly anyway — ends.

  2. Steve Cockey

    May 24, 2018 at 10:13 am

    Did anyone else see Palmer’s postgame comments on Davis last night? Some pretty strong words.

    • LenSakata

      May 24, 2018 at 10:19 am

      What did he say?

      • Gibbyx

        May 24, 2018 at 10:24 am

        He said essentially that Davis was making no effort to fix whatever is wrong. He said he doesn’t see any adjustments to Davis’ batting (not changing his hands, not changing his stance). Also flat out said he doesn’t believe the reports that Davis was working hard to fix things in spring training

      • Steve Cockey

        May 24, 2018 at 10:27 am

    • Dan Connolly

      May 24, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      The beauty of Palmer is he says what he wants. He’s Palmer. I know some people don’t like him as an announcer. But I think he is fantastic.

    • Steve Cockey

      May 24, 2018 at 12:18 pm

      Completely agree. I love him.

    • PA Bird Lover

      May 25, 2018 at 11:59 am

      Dan you are absolutely correct while saying some fans do not like Palmer in the booth. For me, I truly enjoy what he has to say. Anyone listening has to come away knowing more about pitching than prior to that particular game. I have often thought he would do wonders as a coach.

  3. LenSakata

    May 24, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Buck should be fired for batting Davis 5th. An automatic out in middle of the lineup.
    Play Gentry and bench Davis (Mancini or Trumbo or even Pedro on first). It will be an upgrade offensively and no loss on defense

    • Gibbyx

      May 24, 2018 at 10:26 am

      I don’t think Buck should be fired, but agree Davis should be the nine hole batter if he’s in there. Os should see if Davis is willing to accept a Minor league assignment to figure it out….I mean he’s getting paid either way

    • Booged and Powelled

      May 24, 2018 at 11:41 am

      Len we put up with your anemic plate appearances while you were here so cut the big fellow some slack 🙂

    • Dan Connolly

      May 24, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      Good point. Sakata never hit 53 in a season. Or in a career.

      • Booged and Powelled

        May 24, 2018 at 12:03 pm

        id be surprised if he had 53 hits

      • ubetonit

        May 24, 2018 at 10:10 pm

        and neither will Clueless, 53 in a season, going forward

  4. Wisconsin O's Fan

    May 24, 2018 at 10:19 am

    I’m not real worried about Cobb… yet.
    The minor league losses are not worrisome.
    But Chris Davis is a problem… His performance is hurting the whole team. I understand he’s a solid fielder at 1B, but that doesn’t make up for his complete lack of productivity at the plate. The O’s pitchers need run support, and the numbers don’t lie… Chris Davis offers next to nothing in that department.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 24, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      Hard to argue with the sentiment.

  5. Orial

    May 24, 2018 at 10:25 am

    That was as disappointing a start last night by an Orioles pitcher as there has been this year.WAS looking like a Gausman,Cobb tandem to count on. Spring Training?–not an excuse anymore,overrated–certainly hope not. Manny is the only good thing about this team( maybe Gausman) right now and he’ll soon be gone.My God. Is there a point to where Davis can just be outright released? This can’t continue for the teams sake.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 24, 2018 at 12:02 pm

      I’d argue that Bundy’s seven batters, seven runs, no outs wins the disappointing race in 2018. I don’t see a release. Money is way too deep.

  6. JParsley

    May 24, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Davis continues to impress. His average iower than the amount of his contract. I have never seen someone struggle so much for so long

    • Dan Connolly

      May 24, 2018 at 12:02 pm

      But no one is gonna hit 161 million.

      • ubetonit

        May 24, 2018 at 10:14 pm

        Too bad they can’t tell Clueless “the check is in the mail”

  7. Booged and Powelled

    May 24, 2018 at 11:38 am

    I think two things are always important …getting paid and being remembered (Davis) 🙂

    this season reminds me of 1988 even though Eddie and Cal were there

    anything particularly rosy happening in Oriole land these days?

    nope

    • Dan Connolly

      May 24, 2018 at 12:03 pm

      Well, Machado. But, yeah.

      • Booged and Powelled

        May 24, 2018 at 12:11 pm

        Dan how would you feel if Manny and the gang were staying as in signed long term(with or with out Davis in a perfect oriole world or circumstance) would we be good for the near future of competing in the East ?

        for me it kinda puts this mess in perspective with yanks improving so much…im not sure we could get 85 wins in the best of scenarios

        pitching is still a major drawback especially in this division yet it is the key IMO to success

    • Dan Connolly

      May 24, 2018 at 12:52 pm

      If Machado and Schoop were around long-term I think this is a potential playoff team annually, given some other additions/fixes. But, yeah, that puts them at 85 or so. But potential playoff team and one that gets there and Keeps going isn’t always the same

  8. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    May 24, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    I still think Cobb is a good signing. He has solid pitching mechanics unlike Ulbaldo. His curveball was not sharp – hanging in the strike zone. They teeded off on it one a 3run hr. I think he will bounce back and string together solid starts.

    Davis’s performance and body language shows the complete frustration he experiencing. This is a lost season for him with no end in sight.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 24, 2018 at 12:52 pm

      I don’t disagree with either point.

  9. Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

    May 24, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    I feel like Palmer’s revelation regarding Davis should be bigger news than it is. He’s basically calling Davis out as a liar. I don’t know how this could be ignored given the circumstances of Davis’ production, the ongoing insistence about how hard he’s working, and Jim Palmer’s largely revered and respected status in the Oriole family.

    I have no reason not to believe Palmer. The two MASN bloggers are whistling dixie while looking the other way.

    Dan, I’m hoping you could step in and ask the questions that need to be asked, and shed some light as you always do.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 24, 2018 at 2:14 pm

      Zoey, I don’t think it’s been shoved under the rug. Im not in Chicago but I know the Sun has a piece in which Coolbaugh details how much they worked together in the offseason — and basically says they talked mental part of the game but there were very few face to face sessions. So that’s not how it was initially characterized in the spring. Which is what Palmer alluded to/said. But I guess you could interpret “working together” to include talking in the offseason. I’m not sure what more light there is to shine. But I’ll certainly consider my thoughts on it.

  10. Bancells Moustache

    May 24, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    Just when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, you get pulverized by what was essentially the Toledo Mud Hens and your most legendary pitcher says the highest paid player on the team is pretty much full of s**t. Good grief.

    I’m going to go watch the St. Michaels Saints defend their state title this weekend in Aberdeen. Some would say their Manager Brian Femi is the best baseball mind in the state of Maryland not named Showalter. Perhaps we’ve sold ol’ Brian short…

    • Dan Connolly

      May 24, 2018 at 2:19 pm

      Hey, BaltimoreBaseball.com will be there. Mike Mills on Friday. And Sean Naylor on Saturday. Look for their reports this weekend.

  11. deqalt

    May 24, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    This situation with Davis/Palmer is another reason why attendance over the past couple years has gone down even with them in the race. Fans do not believe in this team and now we find out that our most expensive player was not honest about this past winter. I am not a Palmer fan but I appreciate someone being honest about what is happening. It’s been a running joke everytime he struggles that he and Scott are “working on it”. Turns out there not! The Oriole fans deserve better. I have commented that even when he makes solid contact it looks different. This makes me really believe he was juicing before the big contract and once he got paid got off. Has never looked the same since. Chris Davis let the team down at a critical time with his first suspension for Adderall and thanks to Jim Palmer we are seeing the truth. Wake him up and send him to minors to “work on things”

    • Dan Connolly

      May 24, 2018 at 6:37 pm

      We’ve discussed this. You can’t send him to the minors. He could refuse the assignment and become a free agent. And that means the Orioles are paying $100 million more. And he could be playing against them at the minimum. That further crippled the franchise.

      • ubetonit

        May 25, 2018 at 1:12 am

        “And he could be playing against them at the minimum.” That presupposes that another team will put him in their lineup. The Orioles should fear facing Chris Davis and his 13 rbi’s ?? Really ?? Truly ??

    • bigdaddydk

      May 25, 2018 at 8:22 am

      Juicing doesn’t help a player make contact more frequently. It helps recovery from workouts and injuries. You might be stronger and faster, but you still have to make contact. And to do that you have to recognize pitches. Davis simply doesn’t recognize pitches, so he’s not making good contact. When I watch him, I see a guy who has no idea what’s coming. He’s fooled way too often. So much is mental, from where I’m watching. He’s guessing at pitches. I think he needs to spend some more time analyzing how he’s being pitched in order to have a better idea of what pitch is coming on different counts.

      • ubetonit

        May 25, 2018 at 9:30 am

        “And to do that you have to recognize pitches. Davis simply doesn’t recognize pitches, so he’s not making good contact. When I watch him, I see a guy who has no idea what’s coming.” Exactly. He’s Clueless.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 25, 2018 at 10:52 am

      Sure. Bring on THIS Davis in the opposing batter’s box. I get that. But remember he had a terrible 2014 and then bounced back to lead the league in homers again in 2015 (which led to the disastrous contract). Yes, he is older. But I can only imagine the hand-wringing in the warehouse and throughout all of Baltimore if the Orioles eat that deal and he succeeds elsewhere and the Orioles are on the hook for most of that salary through 2022 — and $42M more through 2037. He’s the Orioles to fix. At least until he’s determined fully unfixable. And at only 32, who knows if he is there yet???

    • Raymo

      May 25, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      I keep wondering if his prescribed medications are slowing his reflexes a bit. By the time he’s able to react to the pitch, it’s too late. He looks like he’s in a daze out there.

  12. jkneps63

    May 24, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Did Buck wake up this morning and think “Shucks, I should let Dylan throw 120 pitches today?”

    • Dan Connolly

      May 24, 2018 at 5:41 pm

      I think Dylan woke up and said I’m gonna be lights out today.

  13. Wade Warren

    May 24, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    Chris Davis has not been the same since MLB said no to Adderall and his suspension. Someone please prove me wrong. He is on another medication for A.D.D. but apparently it isn’t as good as Adderall. I am no doctor and know nothing about add but it has to do with concentration Chris looks like concentrating is not a plus.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 24, 2018 at 5:43 pm

      Keep in mind he said he was not using it during his 53 homer season. And he batted under .200 the year he tested positive for Adderall. So I dunno. But he does have a TUE now, so who knows if that has anything to do with it.

  14. PA Bird Lover

    May 25, 2018 at 11:54 am

    On Chris Davis. I believe Palmer’s criticism of the former slugger hit the nail squarely on its head.
    Davis, like so many other big money MLB stars, is having a mental letdown because deep inside he knows the paycheck will be there even if he strikes out 650 times.
    That’s a sad conclusion to an otherwise successful career.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 25, 2018 at 3:46 pm

      I think the concern so many have is that this isn’t the conclusion.

  15. 54orioles

    May 28, 2018 at 7:31 am

    Davis needs to see a shrink but so do most of us. The difference is he is raking in 20 million that could have been better spent.

    • 54orioles

      May 28, 2018 at 7:52 am

      I cut myself off before I was done……….I person with any real concern for the rest of the team would accept the demotion to work things out. This is the height of arrogance.

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