Originally posted on Camden Crazies  |  Last updated 5/24/12

When the Orioles drafted Xavier Avery in the second round in 2008, I wasn't terribly excited. "Fast" plus "Raw" usually indicates (hopefully) a 4th outfielder to me, and Avery's minor league numbers - .266/.328/.363 overall - didn't exactly dissuade me from that view. Actually seeing him in Baltimore though, I've been pleasantly surprised and somewhat impressed.

Batting Avery in the lead-off spot because of his speed seemed like a poor idea, but - though he's probably not one of the team's better hitters - he's at least showed a nice approach there. Beyond walking at an above average 10% of his plate appearances, Avery has shown a relatively patient approach and a decent level of pitch recognition. His rate of swinging at pitches outside the strike-zone is better than league average - it was outstanding (~18%, I believe), but regressed somewhat with the Boston series (now ~26%). In that area, the questions are (1) is that legit - will Avery continue to display a patient approach, and (2) as pitchers learn more about him, will his relative lack of power mean that they can just pound the strike-zone (thus limiting his walks, even if he does remain patient)?

Avery hit just 18 home runs in over 2,000 career minor league plate appearances, but five of them did come this year. Additionally, he has driven some balls pretty deep as an Oriole - not all of his 5 extra-base hits (4 doubles, 1 triple) are due to stretching singles. If he can continue to do that, pitchers might need to respect him a little more.

Another key is keeping his on-base percentage up by getting the bat on the ball. For a non-power hitter, Avery struck out a fair bit in the minors (~23% of his PA). In the majors so far that's down to 16%, even though his contact rate is a little worse than the average. I can buy a high BABIP from the speedy Avery - even if it doesn't stay at .333 - but if he goes back to striking out over 20% of the time, it'll be hard for him to hit for enough average to maintain an above average OBP if (when) his walk rate falls off some.

At 22 years old, Xavier Avery has shown an above average bat (.273/.347/.409) since being pressed into action due to injuries (Reimold and Chavez). I'm not sure how good of an outfielder he is at this point - he seems to cover a lot of ground, without taking the best routes sometimes - and he adds at least a little bit of value on the bases (75% success rate in the minors; 2 for 3 in the majors so far). I'm not ready to anoint him as the O's starting left-fielder once everyone is back, but there's at least a fair chance he can outplay Endy Chavez at this point, which is more than I would have said a couple month ago (though it's probably best for Avery to continue playing every day in the minors, instead of sitting on the bench most days in Baltimore).

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kevin Love responds to Draymond Green’s ‘annihilation’ trash talk

Spike Lee deletes Instagram post saying Kaepernick signed with Seattle

Errol Spence is the real deal, takes down Kell Brook

Indians reveal Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field

Report: Jerry West considered rejoining the Lakers before they hired Magic Johnson

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

The NHL is thinking about hosting an outdoor game in Nashville

Michael Vick in talks to retire with Falcons

Hall of Fame pitcher and former U.S. Senator Jim Bunning passes away at 85

Roger Goodell to speak at Rams event, tickets start at $550

Ohio State hails itself as the ‘fastest team in college football’

Get a look at Shia LeBeouf as John McEnroe in Borg/McEnroe movie trailer

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 5/26: Bring on the Finals

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

The 'More like Whiffer, Texas Ranger...amirite?' quiz

Stanley Cup Final: A David vs. Goliath matchup that's not as lopsided as it may appear

Manu Ginobili gave life to the San Antonio Spurs

The Rewind: Vince Carter's graduation day celebration that wasn't

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Kicking It: East is East, and West is West

Three Up, Three Down: Some surprises way out (NL) West

The 'Let's go to the videotape!' quiz

Why the Indianapolis 500 is called 'the greatest spectacle in racing'

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker