It’s been a tough day at the office for Orioles manager Dave Trembley. He already made one tough decision, picking David Hernandez over Chris Tillman for the final spot in his rotation, but he made another notable one later in the afternoon, naming Felix Pie as his Opening Day left fielder over Nolan Reimold.
Reimold is batting just .231 (9-for-39) with one home run and three RBI this spring while Pie is batting .393 (11-for-28) with two home runs, three RBI and two stolen bases. Trembley insists that the decision wasn’t about production, but only to protect Reimold, who is slowly working his way back from surgery on his left Achilles’ tendon.
“This is not a slight on (Nolan) Reimold, but this is the right thing
for Reimold. He’s not 100 percent. You think I’m going to go ask him to
bust his butt on turf?” Trembley said.
The Orioles are set to open their season against the Rays in Tropicana Field, so it appears he is taking the prudent approach.
For those worried about Reimold losing the grip on the job that was seemingly his, remember that Pie’s struggles in the first half last season are what brought Reimold to the majors in the first place. It’s possible that Pie could blossom into the star he was long ago hyped to be — and his second half last season at least hinted at that possibility — but I’m expecting the two outfielders to split playing time until Reimold is at full strength.
If you are old enough and lame enough as I am, you may have lurked around on sabermetic message boards in the 1990s. If you did, you may have heard of Sherri Nichols, who back in the day, was a significant contributor to the advancement of statistical analysis, particularly defensive analysis.
While it’s probably better that not everyone is as old and nerdy as me, the downside of it is that most people haven’t heard of Nichols and know nothing about her contributions. That changes today with Ben Lindbergh’s excellent analysis of Nichols and her work over at The Ringer, which I recommend that you all read.
The short version: Nichols is the one who planted the seed about on-base percentage being valuable in the mind of Baseball Prospectus Founder Gary Huckabay, back in the late 80s. She’s also the one most responsible for the rise of zone-based defensive metrics in the 1990s, such as Defensive Average, which she created and which served as the basis for other such metrics going forward. She also played a critical role in the development of RetroSheet, which collected almost all extant box score and play-by-play information going back to the turn of the 20th century, thereby making so much of the information available at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs possible. A key contribution there: making the information free and available to everyone, rather than closing the underlying data off as proprietary and either charging for access or keeping it in-house like some recent data collectors have chosen to do. Ahem.
A larger takeaway than all of Nichols’ contributions is just how loathe the baseball community was to listen to a woman back then. I mean, yeah, they’re still loathe to listen to women now, as indicated by the small number of women who hold jobs in baseball operations departments, but back then it was even worse, as evidenced by Lindbergh’s stories and Nichols’ anecdotes.
A great read and a great history lesson.