Talking about defense, RISP, averages vs. lefties and more

Manager Buck Showalter has expressed concern over the Orioles’ defensive decline and it will be addressed in the offseason and spring training.

I’m not sure how the roster can be adjusted with so many positions appearing to be set.

Adam Jones has graded poorly in center field if you peruse the defensive metrics - his ultimate zone rating (UZR) the past two seasons is -10.1 and -13.3 - but I haven’t been given any indication that he could move to a corner spot. Not yet, anyway.

Trey Mancini and Austin Hays are the favorites to break camp next spring as starters in the outfield. Manny Machado, Tim Beckham, Jonathan Schoop and Chris Davis compose the infield if no changes are made.

The club’s .984 fielding percentage this year ranked 16th in the majors. Their 94 errors were tied with the Cardinals for 15th-most and were 14 more than they committed last year and 17 more than their 2015 total.

Castillo-Throws-Black-Sidebar.jpgChance Sisco and Caleb Joseph could share the catching duties if Welington Castillo declines his $7 million option, becomes a free agent and the Orioles pass on negotiating a longer-term deal. Sisco has improved his work behind the plate.

“I feel really comfortable back there,” he said. “Just trying to put a good throw down there to second or third base, wherever they’re trying to run, and give us the best shot to throw them out.”

* The Orioles ranked third in the majors with a .287 average with runners in scoring position, finishing behind the Astros (.294) and Nationals (.290) and ahead of the Rockies (.285). They’re the only team in the bunch that didn’t play past the regular season.

Beckham was 17-for-34 with five doubles, a triple, two home runs and 18 RBIs after joining the Orioles.

In larger sample sizes, Jones batted .361 with runners in scoring position, Mancini .340, Schoop .338, Machado .310 and Castillo .308.

Davis hit .237, Mark Trumbo .234, Seth Smith .220 and J.J. Hardy .219.

* It didn’t get much attention over the course of the season, but the Orioles’ improvement against left-handed pitching is noteworthy.

Davis didn’t have the stats in front of him during our recent conversation, but he mentioned how much better the Orioles fared versus opposing southpaws. And he was right, so to speak.

The past struggles were a hot topic at the Winter Meetings and concerns grew as the Red Sox traded for Chris Sale. They already had David Price, Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez.

The Orioles ranked 10th in the majors this season with a .264 average against lefties. They hit .234 in 2016 and .240 in 2015.

Castillo did his part to spin the splits by batting .344. Schoop hit .300, Mancini .293, Joey Rickard .279 and Trumbo .272. Schoop posted a .243 average against lefties in 2016 and Trumbo batted .173.

Jones improved his average from .218 to .260, but Machado’s average dipped from .329 to .269.

* As a member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA), I had the honor this month of voting for the American League Most Valuable Player. The ballot must contain 10 names, making it the most challenging of the awards.

Rookie of the Year, with only three names required, would have been much easier. Especially with Aaron Judge one of those names.

I’m not allowed to reveal my ballot until the winners are announced, but feel free to give me your Top 10.

Five Orioles have been selected as MVP (well, four since we’re counting Cal Ripken Jr. twice).

1964: Brooks Robinson
1966: Frank Robinson
1970: Boog Powell
1983: Cal Ripken Jr.
1991: Cal Ripken Jr.

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