A groin injury hampered Sam Orr in his junior season at Biola University. He could have returned to Biola and fought to show that he was better than his junior numbers showed, but he decided instead, to accept the Phillies offer and start his pro career. As expected, Orr struggled at Batavia in his first season, but overall, the Phillies saw enough promise to challenge him with a promotion to Lakewood in 2005. It was a big jump for a kid out of an NAIA program, even though Biola is one of the more successful schools.
At the time he was drafted, the euphoria was magnified by the fact that the Phillies also drafted and signed Biola teammate Carl Galloway, who they took three picks after Orr in the 11th round. Galloway started his professional career in the Gulf Coast League, but joined Orr ten days later at Batavia. In 2005, while Orr started the year at Lakewood, Galloway was kept in extended camp until early May when he finally got the call to head for Lakewood. Later in the season, Galloway was demoted back to Batavia, while Orr stayed with the BlueClaws. Earlier this winter, Galloway was released and has decided to return to school to finish his degree. It's an interesting situation when you compare the stats of the two Biola Boys.
If you project Galloway's numbers over the same number of games, the comparison looks like this.
In other words, Orr wasn't that far ahead of Galloway in a lot of areas.
The Splits: In 2005, Orr (a left-handed hitter) hit .218 against right-handers and .238 against lefties. Orr hit 9 of his 12 homeruns and 17 of his 21 doubles against right-handers. In his short two-year career, Orr has hit right-handers at a .222 clip with 13 of his 17 homeruns against righties. Versus left-handers, Orr is a career .230 hitter.
Setting the Table: Orr certainly isn't your prototypical leadoff man, but his numbers in 2005 weren't bad when he was leading off an inning. When he stepped to the plate to start an inning, Orr hit .236 in 2005 a vast improvement over his .160 leadoff average at Batavia in 2004. Overall, that equals a .213 average.
Runners on Base: Orr is a career .247 hitter and upped his average with runners on base from .232 in 2004 to .253 in 2005.
Clutch Situations: The Phillies look at Orr as a player that they'll want to drive in runs. He has good power and has averaged 42.5 RBI per year in his first two seasons, which isn't bad. At Lakewood, Orr hit .308 (4-for-13) with the bases loaded and popped one grand slam. His numbers dropped in other situations though as he hit just .233 with runners in scoring position and .226 with runners in scoring position and two outs. In 2004, he had just three at bats with the bases loaded and collected one hit and fell to .250 with runners in scoring position, but hit a respectable .273 with runners in scoring position and two outs.
Strikeout Ratios: Since he's a power hitter, Orr is expected to strikeout pretty much. In his first season, he whiffed once every 3.4 at bats, while in 2005, he struck out once every 3.8 at bats. Not horrible numbers, but he hit a high of 12 homeruns in 2005 and will need to show a little more power as he moves up the ladder while keeping his strikeout ratios pretty steady. He's certainly capable of doing that.
Defense: Orr has been shaky with the glove. In 2004, he split his time equally between third base and shortstop and committed 23 errors. The Phillies had him playing primarily at third base at Lakewood and he struggled again defensively, making 36 errors and posting just a .913 fielding percentage. Addressing Orr's defense is something that the Phillies are likely going to have to take a look at this season.
The Bottom Line: Sam Orr has definite talent and you have to keep in mind that while Biola is a good school and one of the stronger baseball programs in the NAIA, they are still a small school and don't face the kind of opponents that the major programs do. That means that their players are going to be a little lesser equipped for success once they reach the pro ranks. That means that you have to be patient with players like Orr - as a side note, the Phillies should have probably been more patient with Galloway - who will take more time to adjust to the rigors of professional ball. Orr probably made the right decision to sign with the Phillies, because even a killer season at Biola last summer wouldn't have improved his stock all that much. Instead, he's been able to put two minor league seasons behind him and is all the better for it. Orr has to become a better fundamental player if he's going to truly succeed. His plate discipline, while not bad, has to get better. His power numbers have to increase and he must pull his average up by about 40 points. It certainly won't hurt his chances if he improves defensively either. Last year, Orr ranked at number 33 on the PhillyBaseballNews.com list of the Top 50 Phillies prospects. This year, he didn't show. It's likely that Orr will be back at Lakewood in 2006 and he'll need to put up more impressive numbers if he's to survive in the system.