Baltimore: Sac Fly City

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Matt Wieters (Sarasota 2014)

May 7, 2014

Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy each had a sacrifice fly in Tuesday night’s 5-3 victory against the Rays, which left the Orioles tied for fifth in the American League in the category. Sac flies felt unfamiliar to me, as I tend to think of the O’s as a team that has trouble delivering the runner from third with less than two outs. I did a little digging to learn more.

I must have 2012 on the brain when it comes to sac flies. That’s the year the O’s finished last in the American League with 30 sac flies, 13 less than the league average. Otherwise, O’s players have delivered more than their fair share of sac flies regardless of whether you’re talking all-time history or recent history.

Two Orioles players are at the top of the career leader board for sac flies: Eddie Murray leads the way with 128 and Cal Ripken Jr. ranks second with 127. 

Meanwhile, Bobby Bonilla posted the third-most sac flies in a single season in 1996. Bonilla’s 17 sac flies for the O’s fell just two shy of the all-time record of 19 that Gil Hodges established in 1954.

Finally, O’s players have led the A.L. in sac flies for two of the last three seasons: Matt Wieters was tops in the Junior Circuit with a dozen sac flies last season, the same total that Adam Jones reached to lead the league in 2011.  

As a team, the Orioles have largely been in line with the league average for sac flies in recent seasons, with 2012 being the exception.

2013: Ranked 8th with 45 sac flies, tied with the league average. 

2012: Ranked last with 30 sac flies, 13 less than the league average. 

2011: Ranked 9th with 43 sac flies, two less than the league average. 

2010: Ranked 7th with 45 sac flies, tied with the league average. 

2009: Ranked 8th with 46 sac flies, tied with the league average. 

2008: Ranked 8th with 48 sac flies, one less than the league average. 

Baltimore is Sac Fly City. I wouldn't have guessed it.

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