Filling in the Baltimore outfield with speed


Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

This past week the Orioles lost two outfielders to free agency when Nelson Cruz went to Seattle and Nick Markakis went to Atlanta. With that being said, a new off-season priority has arisen: figuring out who will play in left field and right field for the 2015 season. While many rumors have been swirling about the Orioles trading for outfielders, the solution may be found from within Baltimore’s own clubhouse.

Arriving to the team late in 2014, Alejandro De Aza has all the ability to be the team’s starting left fielder. Defensively, De Aza has maintained a.983 fielding percentage in 232 games played in left field. His speed gives him an advantage in that he can get a quicker jump to the ball and track down balls faster as well.

Offensively, De Aza is a career .268 hitter with 164 extra-base hits and 189 RBI in seven years. His speed is especially beneficial when on base. He is 79-115 when attempting to steal bases which is rarity on the Orioles roster because the team mainly prefers power over speed. De Aza is the type of ball player who will get you 8 home runs each season, but will also get into scoring position with around 20 doubles and seven triples.

De Aza could be a good lead-off hitter for the Orioles and will almost certainly have a starting spot come Opening Day of the 2015 season.

For right field, the Orioles have a couple options, but the best one I think could be found in David Lough.

Although Lough only played in 112 games, he did show some promise in 2014 both on offense and defense. He batted .247/.309/.385 with 13 extra-base hits and 16 RBI. He too has tremendous speed like De Aza which made him an excellent option for manager Buck Showalter to use as a pinch runner in late-inning situations.

Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Lough also appeared in late-innings as a defensive substitution for left fielder Nelson Cruz. Whether he flew through the air like Superman to make a catch or scaled the left field wall like Spider-Man to rob a home run, many fans would have thought Lough had super powers with some of the catches he made last season.

Again, like De Aza, Lough’s speed allowed him to close in on fly balls that other outfielders could not get to in time.

In his three years in the Majors, Lough has played 83 games in right field with a .993 fielding percentage.

If you give Lough more at-bats and put him in the lineup more regularly, his batting numbers will improve. An outfield of De Aza in left field, Adam Jones in center field, and Lough in right field could be a financially friendly option for general manager Dan Duquette and Showalter to take that will not cost money or top prospects either.