ALDS series preview: Orioles vs. Yankees

Did anyone think the Orioles would be in the playoffs? Did anyone think the O's might actually pull off the AL East division win? Well, they're in the playoffs and they very nearly won the AL East. The O's essentially replaced the Red Sox so the AL East still had 3 very good teams as it has for the last several years. How good are they? I don't really know. They're better than they're pre-season projections, but not as good as they played this year. That's about all I've got.

Can they beat Yankees? You bet. These aren't the same Yankees we're used to seeing every season. In 2011 Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner each had more than 5 fWAR. CC Sabathia did too. Granderson and Sabathia each had 7.1 fWAR. Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez each chipped in 4.3 fWAR.

This year, Robinson Cano's 7.9 fWAR makes him a stronger MVP candidate than Miguel Cabrera. He was also the only position player on the Yankees who had more than 4.0 fWAR. Sabthia led the pitchers with 4.8. In 2011 the Yankees had an impressive 4 players with more than 5 fWAR and 2 of them were over 7. Only Cano topped 7 this year and nobody else topped 5.

This year's team had only 5 players who had 3 or more fWAR. Future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter had a very solid season at this age as he added 3.2 and Nick Swisher had 4.0. Hiroki Kuroda had 3.9 and only he and Sabathia produced more than 1.9 fWAR.

So this isn't the same type of team we've seen the Yankees play in October with year after year. They're older and not as good as they once were. Still, they have some fantastic talent that I really enjoy watching. Robinson Cano is one of my favorite players in the game. Sabathia is a workhorse and he's a good one. Ichiro is now a Yankee so that makes it even better. I even like Jeter. I miss Mariano Rivera and while the Yankees didn't actually miss him that much this season thanks to Rafael Soriano, replacing his post-season success will be a very difficult task. 9th inning leads in the past weren't anything to fret over. That won't be the case this offseason.

For the Orioles, Adam Jones was worth a team best 4.6 fWAR. Jones is what Felix Pie could have been if things worked out for him. A low walk guy with some pop. This year though, Jones hit for a lot of power, still didn't walk much and even despite a below average UZR was damn productive. Matt Wieters was next with 4.1 fWAR though he only had a 106 wRC+. JJ Hardy's 77 wRC+ managed 2.8 fWAR thanks to more than 10 UZR. Chris Davis (2.1) was the only other position player with more than 2 fWAR. Only Jason Hammel (2.9 in 116 innings) and Wei-Yin Chen (2.2) had more than 2 fWAR among Orioles pitchers.

Storylines you may or may not care about

Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter.

The Orioles are actually in the playoffs. No joke.

Brad Pitt is not the GM of either of these teams.

Projected Lineups

Orioles

Yankees

Rotations

Yankees: CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes

Orioles: Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez (nothing else announced)

Statistics

  • wRC+: Yankees 113 (1st), Orioles 95 (11th)
  • FIP- (SP): Yankees 98 (4th), Orioles 106 (7th)
  • FIP- (RP): Yankees 85 (4th), Orioles 86 (5th)
  • UZR: Yankees -10.8 (10th), Tigers -26.5 (12th)
  • DRS: Orioles -13 (11th), Yankees -22 (12th)
  • BsR: Yankees -0.3 (8th), Orioles -4.4 (11th)

Using Oliver, SG has calculates the Yankees have a 55-60% chance of winning the 5-game series. That's about what I'd think. I think the Yakees have the advantage in this series, but I just don't know how much of one.

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