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The Plate Discipline Debacle in Baltimore

Aug 9, 2005

When Orioles GM Jim Beattie was hired a couple years ago he gave an interview to the great Orioles Hangout site. In that interview he stated the following, which at the time gave me much to be excited about for the future of the time:

We’re going to emphasize it more. We’re going to build our teaching philosophies around certain principles both in plate discipline and on base percentage that we did in Montreal. You can’t win certain awards unless you have that part of your performance for that particular time. You emphasize these things, you enforce them, and you reinforce them with your awards and with everything you talk about with the players.

Ahhh yes, just as they preached in Montreal. Let’s see about that.

Jim Beattie was hired in 1995 and quit at the end of the 2001 season. In that time, the Expos’ team OBP per year looked like the following:

Year          OBP     Rank
1995         .314     29th
1996         .322     28th tie
1997         .310     29th
1998         .305     29th
1999         .319     29th tie
2000         .326     29th
2001         .319     28th

Weird, it would almost seem as if they were not preaching the virtues of OBP at all!

Nah… that’s crazy talk.

Let’s take a look at how the Orioles’ system is currently doing in the realm of plate discipline and OBP (courtesy of OH’s John Wilt):

Baltimore: 24th out of 30 in walks Ottawa: 14th out of 14 Bowie: 6th of 12 Frederick: 7th out of 8, one walk ahead of 8th Delmarva: 5th out of 16 Aberdeen: 10th out of 14 Bluefield: 8th out of 10

Hmmm, that is strange indeed. It appears that even after promising a seemingly elaborate system of reward based on OBP the Orioles system has quite possibly gotten worse since Beattie came on board. With the movements both toward and away from the Orioles of players like Ramon Nivar and Jack Cust respectively, it seems that perhaps Mr. Beattie was just blowing smoke. In addition, with the aggressive philosophies of both Miguel Tejada and Terry Crowley as cornerstones of the offensive styles, it would almost seem as if perhaps Mr. Beattie was flat-out lying.


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