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September 21, 2011

Andino gaining nugget status

Robert Andino, a Showalter nugget

There may be no player on the Orioles that gives manager Buck Showalter more pride than Robert Andino.

It was at Showalter’s suggestion that Andino was promoted last September after being taken off the club’s 40-man roster in March 2010.

Andino was out of options this year, but he made the team based on a strong spring and an endorsement from Showalter.

And Andino, a second-round pick of the Florida Marlins' in 2002, has seized the opportunity presented to him.

Because of Brian Roberts’ concussion, Andino was thrust into a starting role. He has started 73 games at second, 24 at short, 19 at third and two in left field. In 131 total games, he is hitting .269 with a .333 on-base percentage, four homers, 32 RBIs and 58 runs scored.

Modest numbers, but especially solid for a guy who wasn’t claimed by any team last year.

Andino’s 27 now, and Showalter thinks he is starting to realize his talent. He said hitting coach Jim Presley, who had Andino in Florida, and Brian Graham, the organization’s coordinator of minor league instruction, have said the same thing.

“This is the best stretch [Presley and Graham] have seen with consistency,” Showalter said. “And you can just tell the confidence he is playing with on both sides of the ball. Even running the bases, his leads are different, his body language is different.”

Andino had the key hit in Tuesday’s 7-5 win over Boston, slapping a three-run liner into right field against Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon in the eighth.

A few months ago, maybe Showalter would have pinch-hit for Andino in that spot. But no longer.

“Sitting back here, I couldn’t imagine many guys I’d rather have in that situation,” Showalter said.

Posted by Dan Connolly at 12:19 AM | | Comments (31)
        

Comments

Looks like Brian Roberts is out of a job. GO GET 'EM, ANDI!

Andino has made himself into a good player through hard work and deserves credit for doing so. With Roberts likely gone for good and the jury still out on Ryan Adams, he'll be a solid for us next year.

It's coming together for him and I would not be overly surprised to see him become a 15-75 guy while not only playing second, but also moving around the infield in general Michael Young-style.

When Andino came to bat with the bases loaded, my wife said, "Boy, I wish he would hit a home run."

I said, "You're wishing with the wrong guy at the plate. But having said that, I think he will give a good at bat."

It was better than just a good at bat. It was a professional at bat. Of course, getting the good results was a bonus, but it was a well-deserved bonus.

My wife and I haven't whooped and hollered like that at an Oriole game on TV or in person in a long time. The second half of that game was fun. (Didn't see the first half due to tennis.)

And it wasn't just Andino. Gosh, I hope we get a proper GM early in the off-season and do something productive. Of course, it might be wasted hope given how everything is done in the brick building at the Greek Ruins at Camden Yards.

As much as I like Andino, he is a perfect example to illustrate the glaring problems with Orioles' player recognition & development.

The Orioles will NEVER compete with the AL East teams as long as the Andinos are playing full time on the O's.

On Tampa, Boston, NY or Toronto Andino would be a utility guy at best - getting minimum starts.

He has played in 131 games for the O's this season. That's one less than Wieters with half the production. A good year for Andino. A bad year of production at whichever position he fields.

The Orioles need to set the bar higher. Trotting Andino or Hudson or Angle or Davis onto the field everyday is as silly as having Hunter, Vandenhurk, Simon, or Jackubauskas being in the starting rotation.

Lets face it. The other AL East teams had more AAA players stuck in AA this year as the Orioles had AAA players playing at the major league level.

I'm not the negative-nancy type, but this is a joke to me. I've seen all year that Showalter loves Andino, but I can't figure out why. To me, he's just another Felix Pie.

He's got some raw athletic ability - and I think that shows up in the field quite well. At the plate, he's a mess. No power. 260 hitting all singles is not something to tout. Worse, much like Pie, he has issues with being in the game mentally.

Anyone remember a few weeks ago where he botched sacrifice bunt attempts in several games consecutively? Including bunting a ball foul with two strikes? Either he was instructed to do so - which shows a lot of confidence in letting him swing the bat - or he was out on a very silly limb himself. In his latest 'great stretch' his numbers are almost identical to what they've always been - average BA, low OBP, low SLG... lots of silly decisions.

Yeah, but what are the odds that the Orioles are going to make Andino a full time player, or even give him another extended look next season? He played at a similar level when Izturis's appendectomy allowed for a month's worth of starts a couple years ago. For his reward, a ticket to the minors.

I don't think Andino won't make a good bench player since he seems to need consistent playing time to find his rhythm. If history is any indicator, he'll wind up riding the bench for the first two months next year, then get a spot start where he goes 0 for 5 at the plate.

Compare Brian Roberts' 10$ million salary to Robert Andino's $421,500 salary. The O's should let them compete for the starting job at second base in 2012.

Maybe someone else would be willing to take on Brian's ongoing health issues.

I've come around to Andino too, he's been doing the job pretty consistently wherever Buck puts him. Not much power, but he has good at bats, and is improving in the field as well. I could live with him at 2nd, assuming Roberts is done.

I gotta laugh at Dennis' comments. The O's have - by FAR - the worst ERA in the majors, but there problem is that they give Andino a chance to play - and he wouldn't even be playing if Brian Roberts wasn't injured!

And guys like Angle and Hudson are playing only to see if they might figure in as future utility OFers. And of course you see what a guy like Davis can do in September - He may not be ideal, but he put up sci fi numbers in the minors and has potential.

Andino has improved defensively. He actually looks at home at 2B now; he is smoother and quicker when turning the double play than he was at the beginning of the season. I'd like to see him get on base more often but...
It is September, the month where you put the younger players to the test to see how good they are and to determine if they should be kept on the 40-man roster. Angle has made a case for himself. He has speed, and defense (though he hasn't adjusted to playing the Fenway walls.... even though his pitchers seem to be providing a lot of opportunity for him to field long hard hits off the wall), no power and a fair baseball instinct.. Pie has speed, defense (at times) and power, but seems to lack baseball instinct. And Pie costs ten times more than Angle. Hudson has speed and even less power, but I like the different dimension the two provide when they are both in the lineup ... Both Adams and (Blake) Davis have looked okay, but Adams is five years younger. What about Bell? He hasn't exactly dazzled.
The Orioles seem to have more fight than they did a month or two ago... maybe because they see the golf course at the end of the tunnel...

Andino has done an excellent job and appears to be getting better with each and every day. I don't think you can ask more of any player than to get better. Roberts age and health problems make him very questionable for next season and I'm certainly comfortable with Andino there. I wouldn't have said that lastseason or even earlier this season, but since the All-Star break, he's been one of the best clutch hitters on the team. I'll take a .270 hitter who hits over .300 with RISP anytime and I don't think that's beyond Andinio's capabilities. Just think what kind of a season Vlad or Lee would have had with .300 averages with RISP.

Robert Andino has been a very interesting topic on this blog over the course of the season. The sentiment has varied from positive to negative more so than any other player or team issue.

I personally like the guy and really hope that he succeeds. He's an emotional guy that plays hard.

That being said, the reality is that I think we know what we have with Robert Andino. He's on an upswing right now and he will someday again be on a down swing and fans will be wanting him out of town.

Andino should be in the running for utility infielder. But if the O's run him out as a starter next year, then they did not do enough in to address their needs in the offseason and we are looking at another 95 loss season.

Ruzious, re Dennis' comments: it just goes to show: just because someone is passionate about a particular subject, that's no guarantee they actually know what the heck they're talking about...

That double last night was one of the highlights of the season. I am really seeing these 7 games against the Red $ox was our World Series, and that was thrilling.

Still, as the Orioles try to rebuild and attain respectability, it is very important that they don't settle for small victories. Andino is precisely that sort of thing. He has been solid this year, a guy who doesn't make mistakes and who puts together nice at-bats. He has solidified his role as a utility infielder.

But he is not the player that Roberts is: it should be Brian's job in the spring if he's able to go. Similarly, Adams has some hitting potential that hasn't really been explored, and it is a failure of Showalter's not to have explored it a bit more. We know what Andino can do already.

Showalter's love for his favorites (and his tendency to doghouse others) has proved to be a problem in player development and evaluation this year, which after our cataclysmic slide should have become our #1 priority.

Think about the other 2B in the AL East: Pedroia, Cano, Zobrist, and Kelly Johnson. If Andino is our answer, we definitely are well in last place in that position.

To all of those who like Andino (even a little bit) but think he is at best a utility player, I would submit the possibility that like several other players currently succeeding in the majors, he is a late bloomer who is finally taking his step up.

Think of Bautista in Toronto. Yes, Andino is not a home run hitter (though he might hit 10 or more a year if his late blooming is correct), but in every other aspect of being a major league infielder, he almost there and shows the possibility of becoming a very good second baseman who can play short and third when necessary.

As to player development, Andino is the epitome of that bearing fruit, along with a little luck (Robert's injury) and a lot of patience.

It will be fun to see where this goes.

Andino is playing good ball so give him his due. Perhaps he is best suited as a utility player but he has answered the call and has done a good job. Let next year wait for the moment and enjoy how this guy is playing.

@Keith

I know this: Including this year, you and I have been to the same number of Orioles' playoff games the last 14 years - zero.

I know this: The 4 AL teams that are making the AL playoffs, as of today, are also the top 4 AL teams in runs scored.

I know this: The only team in the AL who has 14 straight losing seasons has the worst ERA, has given up the most hits, the most runs, the most earned runs, and the most home runs in the AL this year.

I know this: The Orioles have the worst AL team winning percentage in interleague play for the last 14 years so blaming the AL East for all their troubles doesn't hold water.

I know this: Baltimore is the laughing-stock of major league baseball.

Dan, I really think Andino's biggest at bat has gone entirely unmentioned.

His 13 (?) pitch at bat battle with Bedard made the four run inning third inning and the raid into the Red Sox bullpen so early possible.

That has to be the longest at bat of any Oriole this year and to get a single really keyed the third inning.

As I have already stated. If Roberts is crazy enough to attempt a return to the roster, it should be Roberts who would be required to win a job. Andino has earned is place as the Orioles starting 2B. If Roberts will not accept a back up role with team, the front office should look for a creative way to move him, as difficult as that would be.

Things to worry about for 2012, in order of importance:

Starting pitching

Relief pitching

DH/first base

Left field

Third base

Second base (which won't be worth worrying about if we eliminate the other worries ... or Roberts comes back healthy).

Andino is a bargain. Spend the big bucks on bigger problems.

Dennis in WV: Not all the teams in the AL East have better players at every position than the Orioles. For example, Andino would most likely be starting at SS for TB and possibly for Boston - both teams have had major issues at SS this season.

Dennis, you stated a lot of things that EVERYONE knows...don't have to be all that knowledgeable to state the obvious...but for something not as obvious, e.g., you initial comments about Andino, you certainly didn't present yourself as someone who knew what the heck he was talking about...

Bottom line is this. Andino has filled in admirably. More than anyone thought he would. And since the utility infield spot is difficult to measure in terms of what is acceptable production, I believe that he has been one of the few bright spots this season.

As to whether or not he will become a better ballplayer or has hit the ceiling in terms of overall ability remains to be seen.

I do know this. He has earned a place on this team for next year.

Where he plays and how much depends on what deals the O's make during the winter and his spring training production.

Good personal story for Andino, but on a competitor he would struggle finding a spot as a utility player.

Such is the state of the O's.

pjclark4-

I just looked on baseball reference and andino has been a 2.0 WAR player this year despite only playing 131 games. A WAR of 2+ denotes a typical starter, and needless to say we have a number of starters far below that thresold.

While it is true that Andino may never have been given a chance on a good team, his production this year has been consistent with that of a starter. Playing him over a AAAA type player (which I used to think we was) would have, theoretically, cost us 2 games this year.

he might well be the most improved oriole this year. He has become fairly solid and a better hitter and on base guy than I ever thought he would be. I see him becoming a super sub like mora started out as.

Talk about -- Rush to Judgement on Andino. Compare to Roberts;
2001& 2002 up and down to Rochester

2003 down & up to stay-26 years old
112 games, 5Hrs, 41 Rbi .270 avg

2004 27 years old Same age as Andino
159 games 4 Hrs,57 RBI, .273 avg

2005 breakout year
143 games, 18 Hrs,73RBI, .314 avg,
He never matched this because of a major injury at 1b an the end of year

So, Andino looks very good in comparison. He is now 27 years and covers more gouund that roberts and has a much stronger arm. Roberts was a no goi at shortstop.
Next year Andino owns 2b and will hit 20 Hrs

Prediction; The O's next GM will be;
Cal Ripken or
Buck Showalter

Probably Ripken

Having Hardy and Andino as the middle-infield is very exciting. Robert has a very fine glove, plus his base-running is superb. He seems to push himself to his limit, which is expanding. There appears to be up-side where we have found-money. Hopefully, he will continue to learn and improve, as the O's do the same. Let's get some starting pitching to go with Andino. Next year could be fun.

Brian's problems are from sliding head first in to first base and now 3b. That is the only way he can play so, he must retire. Otherwise, he's dead. Also, he will be 35 in October. Who has a 35 year old 2b man that is competitive? Only losers.

He is GONE! Unless we want another losing season. Maybe, that is what the O's want, It's Andinos job!!! Get out of the way!

Agree with last few posts--Andino is an exciting and smart player, in nice combo with Hardy. RA's obp exceeds all of tonight's starters but Nick. The guy is on a new trajectory now. He came up with the Marlins as a ss, touted as the next Alex Rodriguez and suffered for that. Adjusting to 2b has taken some time. Give Buck credit for helping him get focused and build confidence.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.


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