The Baltimore Orioles Trade for Ryan O’Hearn

Ryan O’Hearn has spent the entirety of his MLB career with the Royals

The Baltimore Orioles have acquired former Kansas City Royal Ryan O’Hearn in exchange for cash. While O’Hearn can play both right field and first base, he will presumably act as the backup first baseman to enter Spring Training. O’Hearn will replace Tyler Nevin on the 40-man roster after the deal that sent Nevin to the Tigers.

After Trey Mancini was dealt to the Astros in 2022, the O’s were suddenly left needing cover for everyday 1B Ryan Mountcastle. Underwhelmed by the performances of utility man Tyler Nevin, the Orioles signed Jesus Agúilar upon his release from the Marlins. At the end of the season however, Aguilar was allowed to walk meaning that O’Hearn is not only a replacement for Tyler Nevin, but for Agúilar as well. In his time with the O’s Agúilar posted a slashline of .224/.240/.306 and in total slashed .235/.281/.379 for the 2022 season.

At the same time, over in the AL Central, O’Hearn slashed .239/.290/.321; very comparable numbers. However, O’Hearn provided plus value in other ways. According to Baseball Savant, O’Hearn is in the 48th percentile for sprint speed while Agúilar is in the 2nd percentile for sprint speed. Additionally, while their defensive value is similar, O’Hearn provided +1 OAA at 1B last year, while Agúilar posted -1 OAA. Similarly, O’Hearn’s fielding percentage at 1B was perfect last year, while Agúilar committed four errors and had a fielding percentage of .992.

When compared to Nevin, O’Hearn may be an even bigger upgrade. Nevin had a dreadful year at the plate in 2022, slashing .197/.299/.261. Similar to Agúilar, Nevin is also a significantly below average runner; his sprint speed is listed in the 14th percentile by Baseball Savant. However, defensively, he posted identical numbers to O’Hearn: +1OAA at 1B and a perfect fielding percentage.

The acquisition of Ryan O’Hearn is perfectly representative of the Orioles strategy this offseason of making low-profile moves at positions of need that should subtly improve the team.

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