As the 2008 season begins, much has already been written about the Kansas City Royals. As such, Iâ€™m going to do an abbreviated â€œWho are these guys?â€ preview, focusing on the players who are most-likely to contribute to the team on a daily basis, with a little love given to those who made the opening-day roster (sans catcher Matt Tupman, who we know is getting replaced by Miguel Olivo four games into the season when his suspension is done).
Each player will be followed by three sets of numbers â€“ Batting Average/On-Base Percentage/Slugging Average for their career, the 2007 season and the Marcel projection for the 2008 season.
More info about the Marcel projections can be found here. Stats are from Baseball-Reference.com and projections are from FanGraphs.com.
Here we go.
Car: 237/297/408 OPS+ 82
â€™07: 222/308/429 OPS+ 90
Johnâ€™s career OPS by month:
If Buck can keep from stepping in that hole he seems to find every July and August, the Royals may have a legitimate big-league backstop this season.
Car: 239/275/405 OPS+ 76
â€™07: 237/262/405 OPS+ 72
Miggy may get some time in the outfield this year, most likely against lefties, whom he hits to the tune of 291/319/524.
Billy Butler â€“ 1B
Car: 292/347/447 OPS+ 105
â€™07: 292/347/447 OPS+ 105
Calling Butler an infielder is a bit of a stretch, but Buddy Bell (a six-time Gold Glover who should know) did say Billy had soft hands. The slugger from Florida will play a little first, but will most-likely end up as a full-time DH by the end of the season.
Mark Grudzielanek â€“ 2B
Car: 289/331/395 OPS+ 90
â€™07: 302/346/426 OPS+ 100
Grudz returns for another season league-average performance. A solid second baseman, Grudzielanek won a gold glove in â€™06 with the Royals. He should anchor a solid infield defense once again (at least on the days that Butler isnâ€™t playing first) and will keep the position warm for prospect Alberto Callaspo.
Tony Pena Jr. â€“ SS
Car: 264/282/354 OPS+ 65
â€™07: 267/284/356 OPS+ 66
The former managerâ€™s son was a revelation at short after what I like to call â€œthe Berroa years.â€ While hardly adequate at the plate in the age of A-Rods and Jeters, TPJ manages to put the ball in play often enough to make his spectacular play in the field enough to keep him right at replacement level value.
Alex Gordon â€“ 3B
Car: 247/314/411 OPS+ 87
â€™07: 247/314/411 OPS+ 87
Considered the future at third base since he was drafted, Gordon overcame a difficult start to his big league career to post solid numbers in the second half last year.
A lot has been written about his current skills and potential, so Iâ€™ll just add this from my experiences seeing Gordon come to the plate in Anaheim and at spring training in Surprise: the dude looks severely stoned in his press photo. I mean it. The red eyes, shaggy hair and â€œare you taking my pictures for realâ€ smile. Baked to the bone, Iâ€™m telling you.
Look, Iâ€™ve been to Nebraska. Thereâ€™s not a lot to do there. I donâ€™t blame him if heâ€™s growing a little something in his apartment on the Plaza. Man, does he have a pretty swing, though.
German has been the uber-utility man for a few years now and has a career on-base percentage of 373. Callaspo had some personal issues in Arizona, but hit like mad in the minors and is looking for a fresh start in KC. Gload is steady with the bat like Grudz, and will probably spend some time at first, outfield and designated hitter. Letâ€™s just hope he stays out of the four hole this year.
Car: 282/358/415 OPS+ 102
â€™07: 260/351/372 OPS+ 89
A lot of people (myself included) pegged DeJesus for a breakout season in â€™07. Didnâ€™t happen. He lost a little something, but did manage to play in 157 games, a career high. Letâ€™s see if the center fielder can bring his production up and stay on the field this year.
Car: 274/325/447 OPS+ 101
â€™07: 290/353/460 OPS+ 116
The Mets go Carlos Santana. The Tigers got Miguel Cabrera. The Yankees re-signed Alex Rodriguez. Kansas City picked up Jose Guillen and quickly made Mike Sweeney only the third highest paid Royal ever.
Guillen is not a bad player, but he alone is not likely to be a savior for the teamâ€™s offensive woes any more than Emil Brown was. However, if Butler and Gordon continue to impress, Guillen should be a solid bat along with them in the line up.
Car: 274/340/429 OPS+ 100
â€™07: 285/353/410 OPS+ 98
Teahenâ€™s numbers took a step back last season as he learned how to play a few outfield positions and a little first base. Considered one of the better base runners in baseball, Marky Mark also showed off a canon arm in right.
The canon has been moved to left, but Teahen will likely be jerked around from left to right to first to DH in order to keep his head spinning whilst he also attempts to pull the ball more at the plate.
Car: 266/333/314 OPS+ 71
â€™07: 307/371/342 OPS+ 88
Joey Gathright is fast and he can jump over cars and the occasional Japanese pitcher. His skills at getting on-base have been quite good for a while, and his goal this season is to steal 60 bases. A quick look at his minor league numbers shows that he was a much better thief there than in the majors.
Letâ€™s see if new manager Trey Hillman gives him the green light more often that Buddy Bell did.
Pitchers always seem to have more questions than answers going into the season.
Can Meche keep up his solid stuff? Can Grienke stay sane? Will Bannister stave off regression to the mean? Who is John Bale? Why is Brett Tomko being given $3 million to make my stomach churn every fifth day?
Joakim Soria â€“ Closer
A few new faces in the bullpen this season. A few familiar culprits.
Soria looks like another Mariano Rivera in the making. Gobble should be a solid LOOGY again. Ron Mahay will beâ€¦ letâ€™s just say interesting. Nunez and Ramirez both bring the heat, and Yabuta is a Japanese import likely to fall somewhere between Dice-K and the crappy version of Hideo Nomo (who we happen to have on â€œthe DLâ€ right nowâ€¦ wink, wink-nudge, nudge).
Iâ€™ve seen 76 wins thrown about most often as the realistic best-case scenario for this yearâ€™s Royals squad. A definite improvement over last year. Still not quite ready to compete with the big boys in the division.
As I am an eternal optimist, I think Iâ€™ll push my predicted finish to 86 wins. In contention for a large part of the year, but falling just short of the postseason in a very competitive American League Central.
Itâ€™s easy to forget that the Royals played very competitive baseball for a long stretch last season. Using Poznanski-like math skills, I showed at the halfway point of the season how the team had a chance to win as many as 79 games.
Of course, the team faltered late in the year and finished five games off of their Pythagorean record of 74 wins. I say that if the teamâ€™s true talent level last year was that of a 74 win team, and the core players are back and almost all are expected to show improvement, then a .500 record is no great stretch of the imagination.
Letâ€™s play ball!
If published reports are to be believed, the Kansas City Royals have decided to continue the fine pharmaceutical heritage that began with Ewing Kauffman by signing outfielder Jose Guillen to a 3-year, $36 million deal on Tuesday.
The potential steroid suspension aside, are the Royals spending David Glass’s new found money wisely? How about some charts!
Below are two charts showing Guillen’s On-Base Percentage (OBP) and Slugging Average (SLG) by age. The difference between the top chart and the bottom chart is that Guillen’s partial years have been removed (in ’99, ’01, ’02 and ’06, Jose appeared in fewer than 100 games for the season).
By removing the partial seasons, we can see that the Dominican fellow has followed a pretty standard career path, peaking at age 27-28 in the power department while maintaining some positive growth in the ability to get on base.
Walks as a percentage of plate appearances:
Again, Guillen has shown an improved eye at the plate over the course of his career.
Extra base hits as a percentage of hits and plate appearances:
Here is where it gets sketchy for the Royals. At first glance, Guillen appears to have a somewhat erratic ability to hit the ball hard when he makes contact, but overall looks like he is trending upward.
However, when you remove the years most likely to be affected by small sample size blips, he begins to look like any typical player. In terms of full-season ability, Guillen’s power potential seems to have peaked when he was 27.
The Royals have just “fixed” their middle order power problem with a guy who looks to be on the decline in terms of hurting the baseball over the next three years.
The good news is that while Guillen now becomes the highest-paid player in team history, his contract is not exorbitant in the current market. Three years is a short enough time frame that Kansas City can cut their losses if Guillen fails to find rejuvenation in the fountains at Kauffman stadium.
That said, I’d still rather see them go after Miguel Cabrera.
After sticking it to the Red Sox, the Kansas City Royals prepare for a showdown with evil next week. But, before the Yankees come to Kauffman stadium, the boys in blue must first vanquish the front-running Detroit Tigers in the Motor City.
Ivan Rodriguezâ€™s ninth inning homer must be avenged!
Month by Month
Thanks to the hard work of people like Sean Forman, hacks like me can find stats like this almost instantly:
W L RS RA WP
April 8 18 99 132 .308
May 11 17 112 159 .393
June 15 12 145 117 .556
July 7 6 74 56 .538
Courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com
God, I love the internet.
As you can see, the Royals have turned into a winning ball club over the last two months. The results for July are difficult to judge, as the team hit a lucky stretch playing in Boston against two of the Beantownerâ€™s lesser pitchers.
Playing on the road against the division leaders and then against a New York team that smells blood in the water should be a truer test of the progress the team has made.
Thanks to the internet age, pretty much every major leaguer can count on his name coming up in a trade rumor about this time of year. Both of my dead grandmothers have been linked to talks with the Cubs about a mid-level prospect.
The fact is, only Octavio Dotel is likely to get any serious scratch back for the Royals this season.
Dotel has a 3.15 ERA in 20 innings with the team this year, and it looks like bringing him back is not an option. If Dayton Moore can flip the Dominican for some top-level farm help, then his one-year contract will have been worth the gamble.
A quick refresher on some common stats I use.
AVG â€“ Batting Average. Most people are familiar with this metric.
OBP â€“ On Base Percentage. This takes into account walks and hit-by-pitches to give a better look at ability to get on base.
SLG â€“ Slugging Average. This accounts for a playerâ€™s power by giving credit for each base reached with a hit. 1 for a single, 2 for a double, etc.
Currently, the American League is batting 269/340/419 (AVG/OBP/SLG).
Here is how some of the young players on the Royals stack up:
Billy Butler â€“ 348/400/580 since being called up June 20th
Alex Gordon â€“ 303/358/434 since the first of June
Mark Teahen â€“ 366/487/548 with runners in scoring position
Joey Gathright â€“ 315/390/370 before being sent down when Reggie Sanders came of the disabled list
Reggie Sanders is 377/450/623 on the season. AVAILABLE NOW!!! DIRT CHEAP!!!
Of course, Reginald is a career 267/343/489 hitter, which is nothing to sneeze at, but lends one to believe his current numbers may not hold up.
On the pitching side, there are several players to be excited about.
Brian Bannister â€“ 3.87 ERA Ambriorix Burgos, whom the Royals traded straight-up for Bannister before the season, has put up decent numbers with the Mets as a reliever, but is currently on the disabled list.
Joakim Soria â€“ 1.98 ERA Donâ€™t forget, this guy through a perfect game in winter ball. Hereâ€™s hoping he wonâ€™t be relegated to the bullpen forever.
Jimmy Gobble â€“ 2.67 ERA Itâ€™s easy to forget that Gobble is only 25 years old. His splits are heavily favored against left handed batters, but thereâ€™s something to be said for finding a role for a player who failed to meet expectations with regularity over the last four years.
Kansas City Royals come out of the All Star Break with a ton of momentum and a killer schedule. A few minor moves this week show that General Manager Dayton Moore may be warming up to be a player as the trade market heats up this month.
All Star Game
The Royals sent their $55 Million Man to San Francisco to represent this week. Mr. Meche’s line:
Good work, Gil.
For a rundown of recent Royals in the mid-summer classic, check out Royals Review.
Perception vs. Reality
Now at the halfway point of the season, let’s take a look at how the main players have compared to their pre-season projections.
OPS Curr Proj Diff
Gthrght 796 665 19.70%
Buck 872 739 18.00%
Pena 668 573 16.58%
Grudz 749 709 5.64%
German 768 745 3.09%
DeJesus 783 786 -0.38%
Butler 767 786 -2.42%
Teahen 765 810 -5.56%
Gload 681 817 -16.65%
Gordon 679 834 -18.59%
Brown 608 781 -22.15%
ERA Curr Proj Diff
Soria 2.21 6.21 64.41%
Riske 2.21 4.36 49.31%
Gobble 2.70 5.17 47.78%
Banny 3.71 5.84 36.47%
Meche 3.54 4.90 27.76%
Peralta 3.64 4.50 19.11%
Dotel 3.50 4.17 16.07%
dlaRosa 5.16 5.55 7.03%
Greinke 4.63 4.76 2.73%
Perez 5.68 4.75 -19.58%
As you can see, the pitching staff has blown away the projections so far this year. There will most certainly be a regression to the mean for most of these pitchers, but the staff has already proven to be a bigger strength than most people expected.
The offense is a more of a mixed bag. John Buck has been in breakout mode for most of the year, still hitting for power even though his average has gone down. Tony Pena Jr. will most certainly come crashing back to earth, but the rest of the batters should be able to improve their stats as the second half rolls along.
The GM started the trading season with a couple of minor moves, but both will affect the big league roster soon.
Aside from his pending charge for felonious assault, Roman Colon has put up decent stats in the minors and with Atlanta and Detroit. Out of options, he will need to be put on the 25 man roster next week.
Colon was used as a starter often early in his minor league career. One has to wonder if a few more bad outings by some of the team’s lesser starters will put him in the prime scoring card location soon.
Jason Smith has already taken over the role of utility infielder on the team since being picked up from the Diamondbacks organization earlier this week.
Aside from a good season at AAA Colorado Springs last year, Smith has been exactly what you’d expect from a journeyman utility player.
Having swept the California Angels of Southern Antiqua, the Kansas City Royals look to the Chicago White Sox, a team that is one bad weekend away from taking over the cellar position the Royals have held for so long.
As this weekend will mark the halfway point of the season, let’s take a look at some of the notable stats from the first 79 games.
Offense & Defense
Mo RS RA OPS ERA
Apr 3.8 5.1 700 4.32
May 4.0 5.7 699 5.27
Jun 5.4 4.5 730 4.30
The offense has shown dramatic improvement in the last month, while the pitching has come back strong after an off month in May. Even the defense has stepped it up from the first month of the season, with only 5% of runs allowed being unearned in June, compared to 17% in April.
Reggie Sanders will probably end the season as the team leader in OPS (On-Base Percentage + Slugging Average) as long as his sore hammy keeps him on the disabled list. These are the top three players looking to take over his 1.059 showing.
Even better for the Royals, the hot hands in June all look to play a significant role in the team’s future.
Joey Gathright has been getting on base at a .446 clip since his call up on June 6. While he does only have three extra base hits, the speedster has also stolen five bags while only getting caught once.
From a pitching standpoint, the relief staff has an overall ERA of 4.06 compared to the starters at 4.95.
A look at June ERA shows that while the bullpen has really been heating up, the rotation still needs some serious work.
DL Rosa 6.41
Gil Meche has slipped a little, but still looks like a win for Dayton Moore, while Brian Bannister has held his own.
De La Rosa is a fantastic pitcher to have if the game were still being played without stadium lights (a 3-0 record in day games); Odalis Perez is looking a lot like the devil, and Scott Elarton can stay in Omaha forever as far as I’m concerned.
Winners & Losers
Thanks to the wonderful stats over at Fangraphs (track a game live and see how your emotions look in a line chart), we can see who has contributed the most to the Royals wins and losses this year.
The stat Winning Percentage Added (WPA) gives credit for every play made that increases or decreases a teams chance at winning a game. As such, it puts greater importance on plays made late in a game, where the outcome of the game becomes more certain.
Most observers believed that Kansas City getting a reliable bullpen would be a sign of the apocalypse. No four horsemen yet, but keep your eyes peeled.
After some poor outings as a starter, Zack Grienke has ratcheted up his WPA by getting some big strikeouts as a reliever. Soria has been an absolute steal for the team, and one wonders if they shouldn’t begin stretching him out to be a starter like Minnesota did with Johan Santana.
The two guys who have hurt the team most have one distinct difference: fielding. While TPJ may flail away at the plate like a tee baller facing the high school kids, he has flashed some pretty good leather this season, something that isn’t accounted for much in these numbers.
Scott Elarton just stinks. One good outing in AAA will not convince me otherwise.
A young offense is coming around, and the bullpen has been a revelation. Dayton Moore must continue adding to the starting rotation. That is the key to this team becoming a threat in the American League in the very near future.
Something happened to the Kansas City Royals bats around June first. I don’t know what it is, but after losing seven in a row, the boys in blue have pretty much taken Pythag out behind the woodshed the last few weeks.
The following chart has two lines:
The RED line represents the Royals running pythagorean record based on runs scored and runs allowed as the season progresses.
The BLUE line is a rolling ten game snapshot of their pythagorean record.
Basically, the blue line spikes whenever the team has a particularly good stretch of games (e.g. putting 17 runs on the board in the space of five days), and drops when they struggle (the aforementioned seven game losing streak).
The Royals are currently riding their second wave of sustained success. It’s good to see the team bounce back after that disheartening stretch in May, but the real key to sustained improvement lies in the moves General Manager Dayton Moore makes between now and the trading deadline.
Addition by Subtraction
Whoever kicked Scott Elarton in the ankle is this month’s MVP if you ask me. 2-3 with a 9.17 ERA in eight starts? I watched him pitch against the Cardinals the other night and I’m pretty sure I could have taken him yard, his stuff was so bad.
Despite Joe Posnanski’s push for a four-man rotation, the Royals have signed John Thompson to take Elarton’s place in the rotation.
The Royals opted for Thomson after choosing to keep Zack Greinke and Joakim Soria in the bullpen. They also resisted any inclination to promote any of their three top pitching prospects: Billy Buckner, Luke Hochevar and Tyler Lumsden.
While I’d like to see Grienke get another shot at the rotation, I’m okay with this move right now, as Zack seems to have found a groove coming out of the bullpen.
Thompson is your standard issue fourth starter, with a career ERA of 4.69 with four different teams. As seems to be the case with many of Moore’s moves, he had some success in Atlanta, going 14-8 with a 3.72 ERA in 2004.
I’m done with jokes about Mike Sweeney’s ailing back and annual trips to the disabled list. He will leave as one of the most productive hitters in Royals history and one of the most frustrating. I think big Mike’s heart really was dedicated to making the Royals a better team, but his body could not shoulder the strain.
Thus, young Billy Ray will be getting another chance to taste the bright lights and lavish buffets of big league baseball. The Royals have officially taken the glove away from their top prospect, but plan to give him an opportunity to impress with the stick.
Butler will pinch-hit the next five games and then DH every day until Sweeney returns. KC considered other players but Butler was the only option who was on the 40-man roster that could be called up and then sent back to Minors without passing through waivers.
Now that Alex Gordon is hitting like the hype (333/361/507 since June 1st), the Royals young offense may be exciting to watch the next few months.
All Star Voting
Personally, I’d like to see John Buck named as the Royals representative at the upcoming All-Star game. He has been the team’s most productive hitter, looks like a bad-ass with his new hair do, and maybe it would force the team to stop making their All Star split time with Jason LaRue.
As it is, the Royals will probably have to settle for one of their pitchers milling around the bullpen in San Francisco, waiting for the chance to serve up a Barry Bonds homer in front of the home crowd.
If that’s the case, then Jim Leyland would have to give Gil Meche his top consideration. Despite last night’s wobbly start, Meche has been everything the Royals could have hoped for so far this year, and thanks to his contract, he is a name some people might have heard of.
I could see Leyland giving the nod to David Riske. He’s go an ERA under three and was nice enough to serve up that game winning homer to Ivan Rodriguez on April 8th.
The Kansas City Royals decided to take a week off from playing baseball, reflect on the lives theyâ€™ve led and generally kill any positive momentum from taking eight of ten contests before their big slide.
How badly did the recent seven game losing streak suck?
Here it is in sparkline form (Black bars are games decided by more than two runs):
On May 23, the Royals stood at 19-28, on pace for 65 wins and looking like a team with a future.
After failing to play even a close game for a week, they had a 19-35 record and were once again staring down 100 losses.
We wonâ€™t examine the run differentials during the losing streak because some people read this blog over lunch.
On to the week that was.
Royals Authority has a nice breakdown of the Royals picks from the first day of the draft.
Dayton Mooreâ€™s focus was mostly on high school pitchers. Given that the roster he put together for this season is currently running neck in neck with Texas and Cincinnati for the worst record in baseball, I think itâ€™s fair to say that Dayton has a strong affinity for young boys.
RIP: Angel Berroaâ€™s Career.
While itâ€™s true that the hack master may clear waivers and put enough balls in play at AAA to get another call up, Iâ€™m still willing to put good money on Berroaâ€™s career with the Royals being over.
Joey Gathright was called up to replace the former rookie of the year.
Gathright has been an on-base machine at Omaha this year, getting on at a .456 clip. He has already stolen two bases in two games with the Royals, so it looks like Buddy Bell is planning to use his new toy often.
Joakim Soria has also returned from the disabled list. The plan for now is to have him set up closer Octavio Dotel, but if OD keeps putting 2.5 runners on for every save he gets, the young Mexican may soon find himself finishing ball games again.
The Hardball Times has a nice look at the big catcherâ€™s season so far. Conclusion: Buddy Bell is an idiot for sitting him two out of every five games.
The Kansas City Royals once again stunned the world by putting together another winning week. The overall record stands at 19-29, on pace for 64 wins, which still sucks but at least shows signs of improvement.
The last two weeks have seen the Royals go 7-3, giving them an 11-11 record for the month of May.
Most encouragingly, the bats of Alex Gordon and Ryan Shealy have both started to come around, while John Buck continues to play at an elevated level.
Bairdâ€™s Signature Trade
On June 24, 2004, the Royals, Astros and Athletics swapped some players in what was widely viewed as Allard Bairdâ€™s biggest move as general manager. Here is what the Carlos Beltran Trade looks like today:
Yr VORP VORP
05 17.6 0.7
06 68.5 26.9
07 19.0 28.1
Of course, Carlos has been putting those numbers up for the Mets, not the Astros, and at a significantly higher rate than what Buck and Mark Teahen are costing the Royals.
â€œGil Gaugeâ€ Replaces â€œMeche Meterâ€
Craig Brown at Royals Authority is going to use the classic â€œgame scoresâ€ stat to keep track of how Gil Meche is paying off for the Royals.
In my opinion, tonightâ€™s start is going to be a true barometer for Meche. The team covered his terrible start last week against Colorado by pulling out several comeback wins.
Unfortunately, getting spanked by Cleveland last night is the kind of thing that can turn a couple of good weeks into a bad month.
This is what your number one pitcher is required to do: Win games like tonight. Stop the bleeding and fast. Not just keep the team in the game, but shut down the opponent and let the offense know that they arenâ€™t required to drive in five runs in the late innings every night.
Meche can really put his stamp on the season by shutting down the Indians tonight.
Mike Sweeney has expressed interest in continuing his career as a catcher. Hey, stop laughing. I think heâ€™s serious. No, youâ€™re right. That is laughably ludicrous.
Club officials revealed plans for stadium renovations. Work will begin in the off season and the final product will debut in 2009. Among the plans are seats along the outfield fountains. I think this will be cool until the first strong wind starts blowing mist into the faces of a few wealthy patrons.
All Star voting is open. Next week, weâ€™ll take a look at who might be the Royals most worthy representative.
The Kansas City Royals are winners. Thereâ€™s just no other way to put it. Check out the week-by-week record.
4/2 â€“ 2-4
4/9 â€“ 1-5
4/16 â€“ 3-3
4/23 â€“ 2-5
4/30 â€“ 2-5
5/7 - 2-4
5/14 â€“ 3-1
It has taken seven weeks to make it happen, but the Royals are finally a winning ball club.
Million-dollar Gil has been earning his dollars so far. Take out his horrid start on April 7, his numbers look like this:
G IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
8 54.1 49 14 7 14 43 3 1.16
Even adding in those seven unearned runs only puts his RA at 2.33 over that period.
Last week, we pointed this out about John Buck.
Dates G AVG OBP SLG OPS
4/2 â€“ 4/20 14 429 529 893 1422
4/22 â€“ 5/10 14 175 286 300 586
Apparently, John reads this blog, because he went on a six game hitting streak with three homeruns and seven RBIs. Mr. Buck, duly noted.
Itâ€™s getting to that point in the season when a lot of players are shuffled between the big league roster, the minor leagues and the disabled list.
Here are some of the notable transactions from this past week.
5/10 â€“ Reinstated RHP Luke Hudson from the 15-day DL
5/13 â€“ Placed RHP Luke Hudson on the 15-day DL
Two innings, four walks and five runs allowed. Thanks for stopping by, Luke.
5/13 – Recalled SS Angel Berroa from Triple-A Omaha and placed INF Ross Gload on the 15-day disabled list with strained quadriceps.
The out machine is back. Here is how Angel Berroa and Tony Pena, JR stack up after 41 games.
YR AVG OBP SLG Fld%
TPJ 07 250 285 340 957
AB 06 238 248 331 969
Range stats are still an inexact science, but most scouts will tell you that Pena is getting to a lot more balls than Berroa would have. From an offensive standpoint, TPJ will keep the advantage as long as he keeps slapping those triples.
5/16 – Recalled 1B Ryan Shealy from his injury rehabilitation assignment and activated him from the 15-day disabled list; Optioned OF Billy Butler to Triple-A Omaha.
Itâ€™s being commented elsewhere that Billy Butler is getting the Justin Huber treatment, but I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s fair. The team called him up because he was ready and has been upfront about the fact he rode the bench to avoid injury as soon as they knew that he would be sent down when Shealy came back.
If Reggie Sanders isnâ€™t on the DL, I think Emil Brown is touring Triple-A facilities for some other team right now. Alex Gordon playing first base isnâ€™t anything we want to see for an extended period of time and putting Mike Sweeney there everyday is a ruptured disc waiting to happen.
Shane Costa can fight it out with Emil for the corner outfield spot until Reggie Sanders comes back, and it wonâ€™t be the organizationâ€™s top prospect getting sporadic playing time. I imagine Butler will be back sooner rather than later and at seasonâ€™s end, the average age of the Royals lineup will be sitting somewhere south of 30.
Rather than try to comment upon a week that saw the Kansas City Royals get outscored 34-11, letâ€™s just pull out some notable stats. These and many more can be found at Baseball-Reference, The Hardball Times and Fan Graphs.
Line Drive Percentage
Young Mr. Butler has been putting some good wood on the ball so far in his pro debut. Not shown is LaRue whiffing 38% of the time and Pena pounding 52% of his hits into the ground.
Plate Appearances / Outs
DeJesus 157 102
Pena 132 101
Pena has ended his at bats with an out as many times as DeJesus in 25 fewer chances. Expect that gap to widen over the next 127 games.
One thing to credit Buddy Bell, he has managed to get German into 26 of the teamâ€™s 35 games this year. Esteban has responded well after missing four straight games in late April, hitting 286/423/571 in the last nine games.
Just thought Iâ€™d point out that 1 out of every 4 times John Buck hits the ball in the air, it goes out of the park.
Of course, Reggie Sanders is on the disabled list and John Buckâ€¦ Wellâ€¦
Dates G AVG OBP SLG OPS
4/2 â€“ 4/20 14 429 529 893 1422
4/22 â€“ 5/10 14 175 286 300 586
Since forcing Buddy Bell to make him the number one catcher, Buck has gone back to hitting like John Buck. Unfortunately, Jason LaRue is hitting like my grandmother, God rest her soul.
Dates G AVG OBP SLG OPS
4/2 â€“ 4/20 14 229 309 292 601
4/22 â€“ 5/10 15 296 350 537 887
Itâ€™s good to have you back, Mike.
Winning Percentage Added (WPA)
Over the course of the season, these are the only hitters who have a net positive effect on the outcome of games.
De la Rosa .27
Soria gets high marks here because he pitches in the situations with the most leverage. Meche has been more than solid as a starter. Now, if we could only run him out there every day.
With Greinke joining Duckworth in the bullpen, there may be a chance yet for the Royals to close out a few games. Of course, if Luke Hudson continues to give up five runs every two innings, Ducky and Zack G may find themselves back in the rotation.
LD% vs. K/9
Meche 14.3% 7.4
Peralta 30.6% 8.5
Gil Meche is striking people out and keeping them from hitting the ball hard when they do make contact. Joel Peralta is striking people out, and providing a rocket launcher to opposing hitters when he doesnâ€™t.
Back next week with good news from the road.