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Free Nate Orf

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Offline  Free Nate Orf
#1

Posted: May 02, 2018, 6:32 PM Post
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I am not a fan of gritty battlers who really don't contribute that much. However, I am becoming a fan of Nate Orf - and am wondering if he might be our 2B by season's end (barring a trade).

Orf has hit well the past two seasons - .320 in 2017 and .373 thus far in 2018. Of course, batting averages get warped in the thin Colorado air, and looking at Orf, he has benefited. However, if you look at his road numbers, he hit .288 last year and .294 in 2018. Not huge numbers, but not bad either.

As a note his AAA splits in 2016 were big - .185 on the road and .377 at home. It was his first exposure to AAA and Colorado Springs, so I'm not sure if that played a role in the discrepancies.

Positives

- From reports I've read, he plays solid defense at 2B and 3B. He lacks range to play SS. Has also played OF - but the exposure there is limited. 2B is his best position.
- He's a smart, gritty battler.
- He hits for a solid average, and has shown improved contact.
- Does not have big splits - so he's not really a platoon candidate.
- Walks at a solid rate (around 10-11% for his career) and doesn't strike out that much (around 13-15%).
- Cheap

Carson Cistulli at FanGraphs does his 'Fringe Five' report (finding fringe gems in the minors) - and this just came out a couple of weeks ago:

This now represents at least the third separate season in which Orf’s name has appeared among the Five. And, actually, he has exhibited signs of improvement since his first appearance, having lowered his ground-ball rate last year while still retaining his above-average contact rates. His translated defensive numbers continue to suggest that he’s an asset afield, as well. Through 48 plate appearances, he has recorded walk and strikeout rates of 6.3% and 10.4%, respectively, indicating that his control of the plate remains strong.

https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-fri ... pects-104/

Weaknesses

- Little power
- At 28, he's not going to change much
- Little upside
- Should not play SS unless absolutely necessary
- Success at Colorado Springs brings some of his numbers into question
- Counsel might fall in love with him and give him way too many chances if he flops

Conclusion

In the end, Orf offers something that the Brewers have lacked at 2B (outside of Walker's short tenure last season) - stability. He is about as unsexy of a player there is. But if his bat could transition to the majors, he might be able to be a .270-280 hitter with an OBP of .340-.350. Add in solid defense, and he could be a stabilizing option at 2B for the Brewers.

I also think this could help the overall infield defense. One thing about having lots of guys playing - it forces players to adjust constantly to the guy next to them. I realize these are professionals, and it isn't that big of deal, but players next to each other 140 times a year can develop a better feel for how things work from a defensive perspective.

In the end, the best option would be to simply give Orf the 2B job if no on really steps up (unless a trade is made). He's never going to hit 20 HR or steal 30 bases or win a gold glove. But he might be able to provide a solid on base type bat at a position that has floundered the last few years.


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Offline  Re: Free Nate Orf
#2

Posted: May 02, 2018, 6:39 PM Post
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Was just thinking the same thing - both he and Kyle Wren.

Cut Sogard, add Orf to the 40 and then add him to the pitcher-hitter-roster-maximization shuttle.


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Online  Re: Free Nate Orf
#3

Posted: May 02, 2018, 7:17 PM Post
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Location: Madison, WI
What are the chances that Orf is above Blanco and Saladino on Stearn's depth chart?

I don't have anything against Orf. Always been intrigued by him as I think he got two 2017 mentions in the "Fringe Five" report that reilly refered to above. And there he is again within the first month of the 2018 season. There is reason to believe that he could fit in two of the biggest holes on the ballclub, leadoff hitter and second baseman. We can talk about Colorado Springs all day, but Orf was putting up pretty solid OBP numbers prior to getting to Colorado Springs.
2013 = Helena = .448 OBP
2014 = Brevard County = .388 OBP
2015 = Biloxi = .378 OBP
2016 = Biloxi/Colorado Springs = .357 OBP
2017 = Colorado Springs = .397 OBP
2018 = Colorado Springs = .460 OBP
That's pretty impressive. Worst seasonal OBP of .357 and 2nd worse is .378. So far in the minors the OBP is .388 and that is with well over 2000 plate appearances. 258 walks and only 318 strikeouts. As far as not having pop in the bat, at this point I would say who cares. Brewer's priority should be finding a guy that can hit in the leadoff spot and get Cain's RBI potential out from being behind Arcia and a pitcher in the batting order. If they could find a second baseman who could OBP .350, then I don't see why slugging limitations would even matter because he'd probably be leading off.

Unfortunately, Stearns didn't put him on the 40 man roster this past off-season and to me that speaks volumes. And after that he went out and acquired Blanco and Saladino. I'd love to see Orf get his shot, but all the moves indicate that Stearns doesn't see Orf as a major league player. Hopefully I'm wrong and Orf will get his chance in a Milwaukee uniform.


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Offline  Re: Free Nate Orf
#4

Posted: May 02, 2018, 8:20 PM Post
Posts: 11733
Orf has had to produce at every level. It's easy to overlook guys who are 5'9". He's no Altuve, but the guy can hit and deserves a shot.


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Offline  Re: Free Nate Orf
#5

Posted: May 02, 2018, 9:24 PM Post
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I take him over Sogard


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Offline  Re: Free Nate Orf
#6

Posted: May 02, 2018, 9:30 PM Post
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The main issue with Orf is that he is not a SS. That really limits his usefulness as a utility guy. A utility 2B/3B position is filled by Perez at this time - making Orf redundant.

If the club parted ways with Sogard, they would need to use Villar as the back up SS if they wanted to call up Orf. Not the best - or worst option. Or the easier thing would be to bring up Dubon to take Sogard's place.

For Orf to get a chance you're going to have to see a major injury (such as Perez) or a big house cleaning of our middle infielders - Villar, Sogard - and maybe Perez. That would open some doors to some more serious roster re-jiggering (which I don't see at this time).


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Offline  Re: Free Nate Orf
#7

Posted: May 02, 2018, 9:54 PM Post
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I have confirmed that Nate Orf wishes to free Nate Orf.

https://twitter.com/youknowandthat/stat ... 38946?s=21


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Offline  Re: Free Nate Orf
#8

Posted: May 02, 2018, 10:06 PM Post
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A utility 2B/3B position is filled by Perez at this time - making Orf redundant.

At a career 254/280/387/667, drop Hernan for Orf then. Leave up Phillips and drop Sogard.


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Online  Re: Free Nate Orf
#9

Posted: May 03, 2018, 6:17 AM Post
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I have absolutely no problem with Orf getting the call. I think he's got much more upside with the bat than Sogard, and while he may not have the positional flexibility Sogard has, Perez could conceivably fill in at SS in the event of an Arcia injury, and Dubon or Saladino could be up with the big club within 12 hours.


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Offline  Re: Free Nate Orf
#10

Posted: May 03, 2018, 7:29 AM Post
Posts: 11733
reillymcshane said:
The main issue with Orf is that he is not a SS. That really limits his usefulness as a utility guy. A utility 2B/3B position is filled by Perez at this time - making Orf redundant.

If the club parted ways with Sogard, they would need to use Villar as the back up SS if they wanted to call up Orf. Not the best - or worst option. Or the easier thing would be to bring up Dubon to take Sogard's place.

For Orf to get a chance you're going to have to see a major injury (such as Perez) or a big house cleaning of our middle infielders - Villar, Sogard - and maybe Perez. That would open some doors to some more serious roster re-jiggering (which I don't see at this time).


Perez is a competent shortstop. Counsell didn't hesitate double switching out Arcia for Perez twice this week. If there's an injury, they still have both Dubon and Saladino on the 40 man. Orf is needed to boost the offensive production at 2B and it's not like he couldn't play SS in a pinch. He has logged 119 innings professionally at SS without committing an error.


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Offline  Re: Free Nate Orf
#11

Posted: May 03, 2018, 10:03 AM Post
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I do not for a second trust Colorado Springs numbers but he can't be worse than Sogard.

"Dustin Pedroia doesn't have the strength or bat speed to hit major-league pitching consistently, and he has no power......He probably has a future as a backup infielder if he can stop rolling over to third base and shortstop." Keith Law, 2006


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Offline  Re: Free Nate Orf
#12

Posted: May 03, 2018, 10:29 AM Post
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I think we can all agreed to be suspicious of Colorado numbers, but in terms of OBP Orf has done this at every level.


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Offline  Re: Free Nate Orf
#13

Posted: May 03, 2018, 10:37 AM Post
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Orf has a career 125 wRC+ in AAA at Colorado Springs. Meaning he's been 25% better than average in terms of offensive production adjusted for park and league factors. He's a good hitter.


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Offline  Re: Free Nate Orf
#14

Posted: May 03, 2018, 10:42 AM Post
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Yea, CS numbers are inflated for every player. Using that as a basis for promoting someone would mean you would never promote a player from CS.

My guess, and it's only a guess, Orf would produce almost identical numbers to what Villar is doing so far this year if he played regularly. In the case of Villar, he has proven more upside than this at the MLB level. Orf, I Just don't see an OPS over .700- .710 or so.

Guys like him, Wren, Cooper, etc. have value though, and it always amazes me some team out there doesn't trade for them. We're talking about guys who are probably slightly below replacement level, but they can be had for almost nothing and plug a hole for a couple seasons.


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Offline  Re: Free Nate Orf
#15

Posted: May 03, 2018, 11:01 AM Post
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CheezWizHed said:
A utility 2B/3B position is filled by Perez at this time - making Orf redundant.

At a career 254/280/387/667, drop Hernan for Orf then. Leave up Phillips and drop Sogard.


You can do this as long as you are okay with Villar playing SS as you have cut Sogard/Perez who is filling in there right now. Personally, I'm not sure Phillips belongs on the big league club. He's Keon Broxton. Hole in his bat.


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Offline  Re: Free Nate Orf
#16

Posted: May 03, 2018, 11:10 AM Post
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homer said:
I do not for a second trust Colorado Springs numbers but he can't be worse than Sogard.

That's why I quoted his road numbers extensively in the original post. I think beyond the CS numbers there's some interesting stuff.


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Offline  Re: Free Nate Orf
#17

Posted: May 03, 2018, 1:58 PM Post
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homer said:
I do not for a second trust Colorado Springs numbers but he can't be worse than Sogard.


THIS.

Maybe his numbers are inflated, and maybe he can't play SS (though as others have stated Perez can and Villar could in a pinch).

IMO, he can't possibly be worse than Sogard. Sogard is still living off one crazy hot month almost a year ago. He's been almost laughably bad this year. It's time to cut bait and give someone else a shot.


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Offline  Re: Free Nate Orf
#18

Posted: May 03, 2018, 2:08 PM Post
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Forget utility, give him a shot at 2B job.


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Offline  Re: Free Nate Orf
#19

Posted: May 03, 2018, 3:57 PM Post
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The folks at brewcrewball must have read this thread:

https://www.brewcrewball.com/2018/5/3/1 ... econd-base


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Offline  Re: Free Nate Orf
#20

Posted: May 04, 2018, 12:24 PM Post
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I think Counsell likes having the extra lefty bat around (even if that bat isn't hitting), so that is going to make it harder for Orf to find a spot.

Unless Orf can match defense with Perez at 3B, I don't see him supplanting him on the roster either.


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