2010 In Review: Third Base

Miguel Tejada – .269/.308/.362, 40 R, 16 doubles, 7 HR, 39 RBI, 428 PA

Tejada was signed in the offseason to be a stopgap at third base until Josh Bell was ready to take over. Unfortunately he failed to produce much, his power continuing to decline. He was never one to take many walks and with his on base percentage so reliant upon his batting average, that took a dip as well. Surprisingly his transition from shortstop to third base went pretty well. Aside from some inconsistency, his arm strength helped him out. The Orioles traded him to the San Diego Padres a couple days before the trade deadline for minor league pitcher Wynn Pelzer. Pelzer is a potential future bullpen arm while Tejada helped the Padres make a playoff push, falling just short. He hit .268/.317/.413 with 10 doubles and 8 homeruns with San Diego, slightly better than what he did with the O’s. He also returned to shortstop for a time.

2011 Prognosis: Tejada will be a free agent again this offseason. I don’t see the Orioles signing him again. That ship has sailed. He probably did enough to get a starting job at either shortstop or third base somewhere next year but it won’t be in Baltimore. Maybe the Padres will re-sign him if they liked what they saw in him enough over the last couple months.

Josh Bell – .214/.224/.302, 15 R, 5 doubles, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 161 PA

Bell entered the 2010 season as one of the Orioles top prospects but now that the seasons over hes barely hanging on to his prospect status. He started off slowly at AAA Norfolk with a .661 OPS in April and .780 OPS in May. He bounced back and posted a .840 OPS in June before getting a three week trial on the big league roster when Miguel Tejada had a minor injury. He didn’t play much and was sent back down to Norfolk for a week until the rosters expanded in September. Overall he hit .278/.328/.481 with 25 doubles, 13 homeruns, and 50 RBI in AAA. The power was ok for that park but for some reason his strikeout to walk ratio plummeted after a solid rate in 2009. That continued at an extreme rate in his time with the Orioles. He struck out 53 times over 161 plate appearances with only two walks. He had one game where he hit two homeruns but other than that he didn’t even show much power with the O’s. The only positives were that his performance against left handed pitchers, which he had struggled with previously, improved to a decent rate. Also his defense showed signs of being solid. He has a very strong arm but needs to work on the accuracy of his throws. He could also stand to lose some weigh to improve his range.

2011 Prognosis: Bell needs to use the offseason to get in shape and learn from his experiences at the major league level. He seemed nervous pretty much the whole time he was with the Orioles so maybe its just a case of getting comfortable and letting his talent take over. I still think he has potential but the Orioles can’t afford to wait for him anymore. He’ll most likely start 2011 at AAA Norfolk where he’ll need to continue his development and hope for a call up at some point. I’d like to see him be more patient at the plate and improve his strikeout rate. If his performance continues at 2010 levels next season he’ll be looking more like a AAAA player with an upside of bench player. Needless to say 2011 will be a big year for Bell.


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