Numbers add up for Brady, Devo Stats decent when lost time factored

September 04, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

OAKLAND, Calif. -- It was as inevitable as it was unreasonable that Brady Anderson and Mike Devereaux would be measured this season by what they did last year. That's the nature of the baseball business: What have you done lately.

The two Orioles outfielders won't come close to duplicating their production of a year ago for several reasons, not the least of which was a stint on the disabled list for both. But the bottom line is that it was unrealistic to expect Anderson and Devereaux to match their career years.

Perhaps Orioles manager Johnny Oates expresses it best. "You put those kind of years back-to-back and you're starting to talk about superstars," said Oates.

Neither Devereaux nor Anderson is a superstar. That doesn't mean Devereaux isn't capable of hitting 24 home runs and driving in 107 runs, as he did a year ago. Or that Anderson can't again steal 53 bases, hit 21 home runs, drive in 80 runs and score 100.

What it means is that it's not unlikely Devereaux and Anderson will reach all of those plateaus in the same season. Which leads to a question: How do you measure the years Anderson and Devereaux are having?

One logical suggestion is to substitute this season's performances for 1992, when Devereaux and Anderson had career years. At the current pace, Devereaux would finish with 15 home runs and 75 RBI, while Anderson would total 13 home runs, 64 RBI, 22 stolen bases and 85 runs scored.

By factoring in time missed while on the disabled list (23 games for Devereaux and 20 for Anderson) the projections work out to 18 homers and 90 RBI for Devereaux, 16 homers, 75 RBI, 26 stolen bases and 97 runs scored for Anderson. Either set of numbers would appear to be at least reasonably acceptable for either player under normal circumstances.

But this has hardly been a normal year for the two outfielders. "Strange," is Anderson's one-word description of his year to date. His most noticeable drop-off has been in stolen bases, and it is only now that he seems to be running at peak efficiency.

"I had a little tendinitis in my knees," said Anderson, who took a .256 batting average into last night's game with the A's. "But since the All-Star Game they've been a lot better. Really, they were all right before, but when you're a base stealer, a half-step can be a big difference.

"This year has been a little different than a year ago. It seemed last year that I was around .280 for a long time -- I remember one stretch where it seemed like I was .282 every day. It wasn't until near the end that I fell into the .270s [he finished at .271]."

Devereaux had a .276 average to go with his other career-high numbers. If there has been a significant difference for him, it has been the absence of one streak and the presence of another.

The center fielder did not have a stretch like the 2-for-40 he went through prior to delivering two hits and a key two-run homer in Thursday night's 4-3 win over the Angels. "And I haven't really had a hot streak," said Devereaux. "I can't look back to a point where I was really hot."

But Devereaux refuses to let himself get drawn up into any comparison between this year and last year, especially in view of his time on the disabled list. "We're in a division race, and the only thing I'm concerned with is doing whatever I can to help," he said.

"It's a little late in the year to pressure myself with last year. And there are other circumstances that cause you to get those numbers."

Oates said that nobody could actually predict what his two outfielders would do this year. "There's not enough data," he said. "I've got enough data on Junior [Cal Ripken], but there's not enough on Brady and Devo in terms of what statistics you can expect.

"The big thing with Brady is runs scored. Going into the season, you'd hope he would score 100 and that Devo could drive in 100. If that happened, then you'd figure we would contend."

Anderson and Devereaux are not going to reach those, and some other, numbers. But the ones they've put up so far, especially in view of time lost while on the disabled list, are in line with reasonable expectations.

The chances are strong that what you're seeing this year is about what you can expect to get from Anderson and Devereaux in the immediate future. In a normal, meaning healthy, year they most likely can be expected to perform somewhere between the levels of this season and 1992.

L Which, all things considered, is a good level of production.

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