Pitching, Defense, Three-Run Homers: How do the current Orioles stack up?

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Buck Showalter - Spring Training

July 10, 2013

Pitching, defense, and three-run homers. It's a phrase synonymous with Earl Weaver and the Orioles franchise he helped make great. Does it still apply?

Clearly, the O's pitching isn't anywhere near the level of those Weaver-led teams. 

Defense is another story. Tbe emergence of Manny Machado and the resurgence of Nate McLouth have helped make defense a Baltimore trademark once more. The O's have the fewest errors in the majors and baseball's best overall fielding percentage. 

What about those three-run homers?

First, let's establish the baseline. Weaver took the Orioles helm in 1968 and managed his first full season in 1969. The O's went to three consecutive World Series from 1969 to 1971, winning one. During that period, their percentage of three-run homers increased each season before dropping in 1972.

Here's the breakdown:

1969: 175 home runs, 20 three-run homers, 11.4 percent of total

1970: 179 home runs, 22 three-run homers, 12.2 percent of total 

1971: 158 home runs, 22 three-run homers, 13.9 percent of total

1972: 100 home runs, 11 three-run homers, 11 percent of total

The Orioles set the current team record for home runs in 1996 when they hit 257, 24 of which were of the three-run variety. That works out to nine percent. The following year, the O's totaled 196 home runs, 18 of which were three-run homers. Again, that's nine percent.

So two of the best Orioles teams of recent vintage, including the heaviest-hitting outfit, fell off the Weaver pace for three-run homers and dipped below the 10 percent level.

Under Buck Showalter, the O's are closer to living up to Earl's three-run homer legacy. Here's a breakdown of the three years when Buck has started the season as O's manager.

2011: 191 home runs, 21 three-run homers, 10.9 percent of total

2012: 214 home runs, 25 three-run homers, 11.6 percent of total

2013: 121 home runs, 14 three-run homers, 11.5 percent of total 

So three-run homers are back in fashion in Baltimore, as is defense. Now if we could only get that pitching in order. 



Great stats!

Submitted by nerdcav (not verified) on Fri, 2013-09-06 18:51.

I love this article - so many times I get down on perceived performance, when the stats tell a different story. The truth is in the numbers. Where do you get the three-run homer stats? I'd love to see how the boys are stacking up at this point in the 13' season. Thanks!


Submitted by Roar from 34 on Sun, 2013-09-22 16:20.

I compiled the numbers on my own by going back through the splits provided on Baseball Reference. I don't know anywhere that has them as a single category. I wish there were; it would have made this post much easier. Thanks for reading and replying.

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