Pete Orr

The reasons for the lefthanded-hitting Canadian making the team are more evident than those for Bernero, but he doesn’t look a whole lot more qualified to me. Orr’s career minor league line is .265/.317/.340. Last year he hit .320, which garnered him a lot of attention, but it was one of the weakest .320s you’d ever see. In 460 AB, he hit only one homer. He walked only 20 times, putting up a .349 OBP. He slugged .404 because he had 16 doubles and 10 triples, but even that’s not that impressive and is more of a tribute to his legs than his bat.

Orr made the team because of the trade of Nick Green, but it’s clear that the Braves wanted to give him every chance. He played the most games and had the most at-bats of any Braves player this spring, hitting .254; he’s a lot more likely to hit .254 than .320 on the major league level. I assume that he’ll be used to backup Giles at second and as a pinch-runner, with Betemit backing up at third, and short depending upon the situation (Betemit if they’re behind, Orr if they’re ahead). He has to be a better shortstop than Betemit, but that’s not hard. Orr can also play the outfield and serves as the Braves’ fifth outfielder, but if he’s getting any significant playing time out there they’re in big trouble.

If Orr lasts the season — well, I’d be surprised, but if he does — I’ll guess that he’ll play 80-90 games but only about that many ABs, most of his games serving as a pinch-runner for the first baseman or catcher, a few starts coming when Giles is hurt, plus some PT late in blowouts. Nick Green is a slightly better player because he has more power, but the difference isn’t that great and is unlikely to matter one way or the other. If Orr were really a .300 hitter, he’d be a useful pinch-hitter in the mode of Lockhart in his better years. His low walk totals and nonexistent home run power mean that he’s not going to be a regular for any significant time. He’ll be a crowd favorite without actually pushing the Braves to a championship.

Pete Orr Career Statistics

14 thoughts on “Pete Orr”

  1. Mike Mordecai might be a better comparison except Mordie didn’t switch hit…

  2. Did you see where Alex Sanchez is out 10 days due to the new roids rule? Who will be the first Braves busted? I am going with Jordan, but I will be pulling for the league to bust Gryboski.

  3. I don’t mind having a guy to use primarily as a pinch runner and to spell starters in blowouts. With two platoons and betemit we’re not taking any lose withregards to pinch hitters by giving him a spot.

  4. Grst, I’m not sure I follow your logic about not taking a loss on pinch hitting because of two platoons plus Betemit. With two platoons, that reduces, not increases, the number of pinch hitters available. If, as has been Cox’s pattern, he brings LaRoche / Franco & Langerhans / Jordan in whenever the opposing manager switches pitching hands, then the other won’t be available to pinch hit for the pitcher or in other key times for someone other than a pitcher.

    Unless LaLob’s Little Lad has more or less won the 1B job, it seems to me that the pinch hitters for the pitcher in non-double switch situations, will be, in order an unproven youngster (Betemit), a proven bad hitter (Perez) and a pinch runner (Orr).

    That seems like a very weak bench to me.

  5. Bama, good to see you. I don’t think Bobby does the early switch the way he used to. Howser caught him with that in the playoffs in 1984 (?) and Bobby has slowed that down.

    I think over time, LaRoche sees more LHPs and Franco is the main pinch-hitter. I think Orr is a better option than Green and is probably not a bad 25th guy, but it would be nice to have an extra bat on the bench.

    Orr actually hit more HRs in spring training than he did last season.

  6. You too 50#. How are things in Minnesota?

    The Cox / Howser ALCS was in 1985. And I agree that Cox is much less of a push-button platoon manager than he was then and in his first years in the second Atlanta go-around. And I too think that LaRoche will get more ABs vs. LHP in ’05 than he did in ’04. If my expectations come true, Franco, a pretty darned good pinch hitter, will get a larger portion of that role.

    And I, for one, love having one of the last two players still active who was in the Majors when I was in High School, as our #1 pinch hitter. Makes me feel young to think back to the Von Hayes deal!

    But last year, it was virtually automatic – lefty came in, Adam hit the bench. If that is the case again, or if Langerhans gets similar treatment, it is a bench that goes from very limited offensive firepower to virtually none.

    Note that I won’t complain about platooning ‘Hans — I think that is a good way to break in any non-superstar prospect — but doing so, especially with a 12 man staff, does have a serious drawback.

  7. Is there an old school Braves fan who’ll comment on the comparison of Ichiro’s disdain for walks when compared to Ralph Garr?

  8. I don’t follow your logic at all. Having platoons means you essentially have players capable of starting on your bench. How does that reduce your pinch hitters? You’re point is based entirely on an assumption that is not proven, that the platoons won’t be used to pinch hit. Judging from how Julio was used last year I just don’t think that will be the case. If Jordan is starting why would Cox not use Langerhans as a pinch hitter late in the game? Your argument just doesn’t hold water to me.

  9. Grst, if you are platooning, you don’t just platoon to start the game. The majority of times Franco / LaRoche played last year, they didn’t just pinch hit, they came in to play 1B. While double switches account for some of it, a very large chunk of the times, they were hitting for one another. If they are hitting for each other, it reduces the times they can hit for the pitcher or in other pinch hitting opportunities.

    Having platoons means you essentially have players capable of starting on your bench.

    No. It means that you have a player capable of starting against opposing handed pitching. While I suspect that LaRoche may be able to hit lefties sufficiently to break out of the platoon role, platooning is done to hide weakness, not to hide a strength.

  10. I’m sure I wasn’t very clear. Let me try again.

    If Jordan is starting why would Cox not use Langerhans as a pinch hitter late in the game?

    Jordan has shown, over many years, that he is far superior versus lefties than against northpaws. If Jordan starts, but the opposition switches to a righthander, Cox should (assuming a close game) switch to Langerhans when that slot comes up in the order. If you use Langerhans to pinch hit for Joe Generic Pitcher, and Brad Lidge, Eric Gagne, or Trevor Hoffman come on, platoon player Jordan is nearly useless.

    By having a player with a clearly defined weakness (e.g. Jordan versus RHP) a team creats a need to be addressed. Doing so shortens the bench because you need to burn a pinch hitter and defensive replacement. And you are doing so by having to pinch hit for a LF (or in LaRoche’s case a 1B) one of the positions at which a team is expected to generate offense while reserving the PH for the pitchers slot.

    That doesn’t mean that platooning is bad — it is a good way to build a solid position out of spare parts — but that it has its own build in limitations. And those limitations are exacerbated by the 12 man staff.

  11. I am not worried about our bench. I don’t think it is as strong as it was last year, but remember we have Julio!

  12. I have a man-crush on Julio Franco.

    Franco was once traded for Von Hayes. Hayes was in the top ten in MVP voting in 1986 and has been out of baseball for 13 seasons now. Von Hayes is 8 days younger than Franco.

    Franco played several years with Joe Carter. Carter won the 1993 World Series with a dramatic home run and has been an announcer now for 7 years. Carter is 1 year younger than Franco.

    Another teamate was Orel Hersheiser. Hersheiser had his famous shut out streak in 1988 and is retired now. Hersheiser is a month younger than Franco.

    Franco placed second in the AL RoY voting in 1984. That same year, an Atlanta pitcher Craig McMurtry was second in the NL RoY voting. Craig left the game in 1990 … and is more than a year younger than Franco.

    Twenty years ago, Willie McGee was the National League MVP. Old goggly-bobbly headed McGee, twenty years ago. McGee is younger than Franco.

    That same year, Don Mattingly won the AL MVP, despite the Yanks brilliance of the late 90s, the last NYYer to win the individual hardware. Mattingly is three years younger than Franco.

    Three years ago, after a long and moderately distinquished playing career, Mike Scioscia won the World Series as the Angels skipper. Scioscia is a few months younger than Franco.

    Terry Francona won last year’s World Series with the BoSox. Francona played alongside Franco … and is a year younger than Julio.

    Remember Oddibe McDowell? McDowell, a highly touted prospect for the Rangers, had a wonderful half season for the Braves in 1989 as a 26 year old for whom big things were still expected. Oddibe has been gone for more than a decade. He is four years younger than Franco.

    Julio Franco’s first all-star game was in 1989. On that team was Bo Jackson. Bo knows he is four years younger than Julio.

    One of Atlanta’s worst trades was giving up the farm for Len Barker. Brook Jacoby was one of those players traded. Jacoby was an All Star in 1986, but has been out of the game since 1992. Brook Jacoby is a year younger than Franco.

    Ken Caminitti was Franco’s immediate predecessor as the Braves 1B when Julio came back from Mexico. Caminitti would be five years younger than Franco if he hadn’t died and you can’t get any older than dead.

    When Franco was born, Dwight Eisenhower was President and black and white children couldn’t go to school together in Atlanta. When Franco was born, Sputnik hadn’t been launched and Fidel was a rebel in the mountains. When Franco was born, the Dodgers were spending their first year in LA and the Giants their first in San Fran.

    Julio Franco makes me feel young!

  13. I just don’t see our bench as being a real issue, it’s well above average thanks mostly to the presence of Julio Franco. Good post.

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