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#1 Tucker Blair

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 01:08 PM

Blog I wrote on Antonelli earlier this month. Duquette has mentioned on various occasions that he wants high OBP guys, and I think in the long run Antonelli could fit that bill.

Analyzing Matt Antonelli
The Orioles made a curious move this off-season when they signed infielder Matt Antonelli to a major league contract. The former first round pick of the San Diego Padres has only 65 major league plate appearances in his career. So what reason(s) could the Orioles possibly have to sign a guy like Antonelli to a major league deal?

Antonelli started out his career with fairly strong numbers in the lower minors with the Padres. His first season he had a line of .286/.426/.360 with a .331 BABIP and a .388 wOBA in Low-A Ball. His second season he raised the bar even higher, posting a .307/.404/.491 line in 629 plate appearances between High-A and AA Ball. It seemed that Antonelli was well on his way to becoming a very productive major league infielder.

Unfortunately for Antonelli, his stock fell through the roof in 2008 when he posted a line of .215/.335/.322 with a .248 BABIP and .305 wOBA. Antonelli also battled injuries, and to make a long story short, fell off the map in terms of prospects. It seemed that at age 26, he might have run out of time to show he could still play at the major league level, until the Nationals gave him a minor league deal to prove his worth.

Antonelli did not disappoint. He posted a .297/.393/.460 line with a .342 BABIP and .377 wOBA in 2011 at AAA for the Nationals. It was nothing short of the promising resurgence that he surely was looking for. It was strong enough to land him a major league deal with the Orioles.

Some may wonder why the Orioles would give a struggling prospect a major league deal after one good season in AAA at age 26. If you look at his career minor league numbers though, his .373 OBP shows that he could potentially be a solid addition to any club. If Antonelli is fully healthy, it would not be a stretch to say that he could provide the Orioles with the asset they are indeed looking for. Not only can he get on base at a reasonable clip but he has the track record proving it. If you take out the seasons where was injured (2008-2010), he has a .402 OBP. His career numbers are rather exceptional for a low-risk signing, although he does not provide much power or stolen base potential at this point. He can also play multiple positions such as 3B, 2B, SS, and OF. He most likely will get playing time at 3B and 2B, but it is never a bad thing to have multiple position eligibility. Overall, Antonelli is exactly the type of player the Orioles need to take a risk on. They are not going to be contending anytime soon, so they need to take fliers on former big-talent guys such as Antonelli. He may never be more than a bench player at this point, but he still provides the Orioles with a low-risk/high-gain potential.


*Credit to Fangraphs and Baseball Reference for the statistics*


http://entoriole.blogspot.com/
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#2 Can_of_corn

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 02:21 PM

I am hoping he can replace Roberts at 2nd and in the leadoff position. I would rather have Andino as a super utility guy considering the odds that Hardy misses a chunk of games at short.

Well I hear Linda Ronstadt is looking for a guitar player.


#3 Tucker Blair

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 03:13 PM

I am hoping he can replace Roberts at 2nd and in the leadoff position. I would rather have Andino as a super utility guy considering the odds that Hardy misses a chunk of games at short.


I would too honestly. I think they are going to have Andino open up as the starting 2B though just because he has the most experience there and was semi-productive last season.

But I wouldn't be surprised to see Antonelli get 2-3 starts a week at 2B and 3B. When a RHP is on the mound, Andino and his .243/.308/.339 against RHP probably wont cut it

#4 weams

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 09:06 PM

Nice blog post Tucker. Thanks.
A nervous breakdown divided into nine innings.

#5 Sanfran327

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 01:57 PM

I like the idea of keeping Andino in a reserve spot, too, but what if Hardy never goes on the DL, and Antonelli becomes productive this year? Then you've essentially given Andino a demotion, when he probably earned a full-time role last year. Can you guarantee him three starts a week at each of his IF positions?

#6 Tucker Blair

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 02:36 PM

I like the idea of keeping Andino in a reserve spot, too, but what if Hardy never goes on the DL, and Antonelli becomes productive this year? Then you've essentially given Andino a demotion, when he probably earned a full-time role last year. Can you guarantee him three starts a week at each of his IF positions?


It's a tough decision, no doubt. I think the Orioles will try to move players around a lot, and get everyone involved.
Antonelli may not necessarily play second 2-3 times a week, but he could get a game at second on monday, and a game at third on thursday, or something along the lines of that.

Even if Antonelli is playing 2-3 times a week, that still leaves Andino most likely getting 5 games a week at 2nd. And that is counting Hardy as staying healthy.

I am assuming Betemit will DH more than play the field

#7 Sanfran327

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 02:49 PM

I like the idea of keeping Andino in a reserve spot, too, but what if Hardy never goes on the DL, and Antonelli becomes productive this year? Then you've essentially given Andino a demotion, when he probably earned a full-time role last year. Can you guarantee him three starts a week at each of his IF positions?


It's a tough decision, no doubt. I think the Orioles will try to move players around a lot, and get everyone involved.
Antonelli may not necessarily play second 2-3 times a week, but he could get a game at second on monday, and a game at third on thursday, or something along the lines of that.

Even if Antonelli is playing 2-3 times a week, that still leaves Andino most likely getting 5 games a week at 2nd. And that is counting Hardy as staying healthy.

I am assuming Betemit will DH more than play the field


That's a good plan, and I have no problem with it at all, but keeping players on a rotation has not been a strength for the O's over the last few years. I'm pretty tired of seeing the JV squad out there every Sunday afternoon, so if they can play the bench players throughout the week without making it happen all in one game, that would be ideal.

I suppose that maybe their plan is to try to limit the number of days where they're "weakening" their starting lineup with bench players by playing them all at once, but when you only win 70 games a year, it would appear that your bench players aren't that far behind your starters in many cases to begin with. Finding a productive rotation is important, and many good teams find a way to do that without losing a beat.

#8 Tucker Blair

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 02:54 PM

I like the idea of keeping Andino in a reserve spot, too, but what if Hardy never goes on the DL, and Antonelli becomes productive this year? Then you've essentially given Andino a demotion, when he probably earned a full-time role last year. Can you guarantee him three starts a week at each of his IF positions?


It's a tough decision, no doubt. I think the Orioles will try to move players around a lot, and get everyone involved.
Antonelli may not necessarily play second 2-3 times a week, but he could get a game at second on monday, and a game at third on thursday, or something along the lines of that.

Even if Antonelli is playing 2-3 times a week, that still leaves Andino most likely getting 5 games a week at 2nd. And that is counting Hardy as staying healthy.

I am assuming Betemit will DH more than play the field


That's a good plan, and I have no problem with it at all, but keeping players on a rotation has not been a strength for the O's over the last few years. I'm pretty tired of seeing the JV squad out there every Sunday afternoon, so if they can play the bench players throughout the week without making it happen all in one game, that would be ideal.

I suppose that maybe their plan is to try to limit the number of days where they're "weakening" their starting lineup with bench players by playing them all at once, but when you only win 70 games a year, it would appear that your bench players aren't that far behind your starters in many cases to begin with. Finding a productive rotation is important, and many good teams find a way to do that without losing a beat.


I am in total agreement. I think that is why Duquette made it a point to get some depth on the club. Our bench is a lot better than is was last year (on paper at least). I read something today about where the bench would probably add 40 runs more than last years bench (I believe it was Camden Chat).

#9 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 12:17 PM

If Antonelli winds-up getting a near full-season of ab's as the starting 2nd baseman (Roberts bought out?, Andino used as reserve UTI), what production would you expect from him?

#10 SportsGuy

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 12:24 PM

If Antonelli winds-up getting a near full-season of ab's as the starting 2nd baseman (Roberts bought out?, Andino used as reserve UTI), what production would you expect from him?

If he gets a full season, I have to think its because he is performing well....Something like 270/335/420...in that area.

#11 SteveA

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 02:15 PM

I agree that we have added flexibility. But Buck hasn't seemed to show any inclination to use the flexibility. Maybe I'm spoiled growing up watching Weaver, but a manager should be able to use his full 25 man roster, finding spots where each guy's talents are maximized.

And I haven't seen that from Buck. He seems to like to get a set lineup and go with it. Bench guys are bench guys. Bullpen guys have specific roles.

I'd like to see him manage and take advantage of flexibility, but all I see is bench guys are bench guys who don't play until there's an injury.

#12 Tucker Blair

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 03:04 PM

I agree that we have added flexibility. But Buck hasn't seemed to show any inclination to use the flexibility. Maybe I'm spoiled growing up watching Weaver, but a manager should be able to use his full 25 man roster, finding spots where each guy's talents are maximized.

And I haven't seen that from Buck. He seems to like to get a set lineup and go with it. Bench guys are bench guys. Bullpen guys have specific roles.

I'd like to see him manage and take advantage of flexibility, but all I see is bench guys are bench guys who don't play until there's an injury.

To be fair, he really has not had that priviledge of flexibility in years past. Our bench has been near worst in the league.
But I agree he usually likes his set lineup. But the way the team was built last year, it was kind of going to be like that regardless of the manager

#13 SteveA

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 03:44 PM

To be fair, he really has not had that priviledge of flexibility in years past. Our bench has been near worst in the league.
But I agree he usually likes his set lineup. But the way the team was built last year, it was kind of going to be like that regardless of the manager


Well, if by the way the team was built, you mean that Vlad was promised a spot in the lineup every day regardless of performance, I guess so. I still think he could have found ways to get Pie or Reimold at bats before Scott's injury forced the issue. You should be able to find a game or two every week to put each bench guy in the lineup somewhere.

#14 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 07:58 AM

I understand Showalter proclaiming Andino as the frontrunner for 2nd, will be interesting to see what Showalter thinks about Antonelli's defense during camp.

#15 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 06:59 AM

Antonelli has a blog ( http://www.matthewantonelli.com/ ) where he will be posting some of his thoughts from Spring.

#16 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 07:53 AM

Camden Crazies:http://www.camdencra...lli-chavez.html

Matt Antonelli (IF):

425 PA, .243/.327/.352, -4 fielding, 0.6 WAR

"I might like him more than most, but when OBP is all you bring to the table you need to be really good about it to be valuable. There are worse back-ups, of course."

#17 Tucker Blair

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:17 AM

Camden Crazies:http://www.camdencra...lli-chavez.html

Matt Antonelli (IF):

425 PA, .243/.327/.352, -4 fielding, 0.6 WAR

"I might like him more than most, but when OBP is all you bring to the table you need to be really good about it to be valuable. There are worse back-ups, of course."


Always good work by Dan.
I agree with a lot of what he says. I have a few projections very close to his. We differ a little on a few players but that's expected from projections!

I think he could be dead on with Antonelli. I expect him to play quite a bit, but I'm just not sure how many AB he truly gets.

#18 JeremyStrain

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:55 AM

A couple years ago I was really pushing if we were trading Roberts to send him in a package including Antonelli. I've always liked him, and I think he's one of those guys that overcomes some bad breaks and busts out when he gets enough playing time.

This situation reminds me of Guthrie, where it was dicey if he was going to make the team or not, he made it out of the pen, but then got moved to the rotation and never looked back. I think if they handed Antonelli the starting 2B job and he stayed healthy he'd prove to be better than league average.
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#19 NCRaven

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 12:22 PM

This situation reminds me of Guthrie, where it was dicey if he was going to make the team or not, he made it out of the pen, but then got moved to the rotation and never looked back. I think if they handed Antonelli the starting 2B job and he stayed healthy he'd prove to be better than league average.


In my perfect world (along with the cavalry finally arriving to beat the Indians - the Cleveland one, you know) Antonelli would earn the starting 2B job, with Andino and Flaherty forming a righty/lefty super utility combo, and Teargarden and Chavez filling out the bench. Assuming Reimold and Davis lay firm hold on LF and 1B, that leaves Betemit as the primary DH.

This allows us to stash Nick Johnson, Adams and Tolleson at AAA, along with fringy guys like Beerer and Richardson. This would provide more depth on the bench and at AAA than we've really had in some time. And, just realized that I really have given up on Bell ever playing regularly for the O's.

#20 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 09:33 AM

Flaherty makes the team to start the year, and Antonelli heads to Norfolk. I still would not be surprised to see Antonelli end the year with more ML ab's.




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