Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What Meche did

Meche's 2007 season was the best year a KC starter has had in the last 10 years. You have to go back to 1997 to find a pitcher who had an all around better season than Meche did last year. And that pitcher, Kevin Appier, was one of the best in baseball from 1990-1997

His 216 innings were the most since 2002 (Paul Byrd, 228)
His 3.67 era was the lowest since 1997 (Kevin Appier, 3.40)
His 156 strikeouts were the most since 1997 (Appier, 196)
His 128 era+ was the highest since 2003 (Darrell May, 130)

So here are the top 5 seasons by a KC starter in the last 10 years (162 min IP)

1. Gil Meche 2007 (9-13 3.67 era 128 era+ 216 IP 156 K's)
2. Darrell May 2003 (10-8 3.77 era 130 era+ 210 IP 115 K's)
3. Jose Rosado 1999 (10-14 3.85 era 130 era+ 208 IP 141 K's)
4. Paul Byrd 2002 (17-11 3.90 era 127 era+ 228.1 IP 129 K' )
5. Brian Bannister 2007 (12-9 3.87 era 121 era+ 165 IP 77 K's)
Honorable mention:
Zack Grienke 2004 (8-11 3.97 era 120 era+ 145 IP 100 K's)

And here are the 5 worst:

1. Jose Lima 2005 (5-16 6.99 era 63 era+ 168.2 IP 80 K's)
2. Zack Grienke 2005 (5-17 5.80 era 76 era+ 183 IP 114 K's)
3. Mark Redman 2006 (11-10 5.71 era 82 era+ 167 IP 76 K's)
4. Brian Anderson 2004 (6-12 5.64 era 85 era+ 166 IP 70 K's)
4. Darrell May 2004 (9-19 5.61 era 85 era+ 186 IP 120 K's)
Dishonorable mention:
Chris George 2003 (9-6 7.11 era 69 era+ 93.2 IP 39 K's)

It's amazing that all these guys were allowed to pitch that many innings. In fact, Redman was KC's pitcher of the year in '06. I guess Leo Sweetland and the 1930 Phillies were ahead of their time.

Santana traded

The Twins have finally traded Johan Santana. This is good news for KC fans as Santana has a 12-3 lifetime record vs the R's. Minnesota is getting some decent prospects but nothing earth shattering. If the Mets sign Santana to an extension then this is probably a steal for them.

So long Johan.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

What Will Meche Do?

Two should things be obvious to anyone reading this blog, I love baseball-reference.com and I love Gil Meche. I was looking at his top 10 comps (similiar players through age 28) and I started wondering how they all performed at age 29. So after a few seconds of research (thank you br) here are the results. (Except for Pineiro and Marquis who are, in fact, the same age as Meche.)

Todd Stottlemyre
age 28: 11-12 4.84 era 90 era+ 176.2 IP
age 29: 7-7 4.22 era 114 era+ 140.2 IP

Stottlemyre was a decent pitcher before age 28 but a better one after. His two best strikeout seasons came at ages 30 and 33. If Meche puts up the numbers that Stottlemyre did at 28-32 then I will be pleased.

Matt Clement
age 28: 14-12 4.11 era 105 era+ 201.2 IP
age 29: 9-13 3.68 era 120 era+ 181 IP

Clement's age 29 season is the best of his career and it looks an awful lot like Meche's age 28 season. After regressing at age 30 Clement has been battling injuries ever since.

Jason Schmidt
age 28: 13-7 4.07 era 106 era+ 150.1 IP
age 29: 13-8 3.45 era 112 era+ 185.1 IP

Like Stottlemyre and Clement, Schmidt also improved the next season. From ages 28-32 he was one of the best pitchers in baseball, a true #1 starter.

Willard Nixon
age 28: 9-8 4.21 era 110 era+ 145.1 IP
age 29: 12-13 3.68 era 108 era+ 191 IP

Nixon was done by age 30. We at Royally Speaking do not like this comp.

Joey Hamilton
age 28: 7-8 6.52 era 75 era+ 98IP
age 29: 2-1 3.55 era 143 era+ 33 IP

Injuries ruined a potentially nice career for Hamilton. By age 28 he was pretty much done and was out of baseball before his 33rd baseball.

Dustin Hermanson
age 28: 14-13 4.45 era 97 era+ 192.1 IP
age 29: 1-1 7.77 era 59 era+ 22 IP

Injuries derails another Meche comp. Hermanson did have a great year as a reliever in 2005 but age 28 was his last as a full time starter.

Steve Trachsel
age 28: 8-18 5.56 era 81 era+ 205.2 IP
age 29: 8-15 4.80 era 104 era+ 200.2 IP

Trachsel became a reliable and consistent innings eater. I would probably be pleased if Meche matched his career but I'm betting that he will end up with better numbers. Trachsel has always been a mid-rotation type of pitcher and that was fine for him but Meche has better stuff.

Jack Wilson
age 28: 12-6 5.08 era 89 era+ 157.2 IP
age 29: 4-13 5.03 era 82 era+ 116.1 IP

Like Nixon, Wilson was done by age 30. His best years were from ages 24-26.

So what does all this prove? Not a thing, Meche is just as likely to become the next Nixon as he is the next Schmidt. Half these guys had their best years before age 28 and the other half had their best years after. Based on the small sample size of one year I would say Meche is in the Stottlemyre/Schmidt/Trachsel area more so than the others.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Baseball-Reference.com sponsorship

Baseball-Reference.com is the greatest website. Ever. End of Discussion. For years I have wanted to sponsor one of their player pages (Freddie Patek in particular) and I finally have. Royally Speaking is the proud sponsor of the Gil Meche page. I was quite surprised that he didn't have a current sponsor considering how well he pitched last season and while he wasn't my first choice I am still thrilled.

February 23rd edit:
I now sponsor the Justin Huber page also.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Best of the Rest: January

  • Baseball America has released their top 10 Royals prospects. They do excellent work and have a really top notch staff but I do disagree some with their rankings. I like Moustakas at #1 but I would rank Hochevar ahead of Cortes. Also, they need to quit with the projected lineups three years down the road.
  • Dayton Moore says Teahen and DeJesus need to produce this year. This is a make or break year for Teahen, he needs to return to 2006 form or this may be his last year in KC.
  • Alex Gordon is hoping for a better season. Hillman plans to bat Gordon seventh this year which just baffles me. With Buck batting eighth and TPJ batting ninth why would any right handed pitcher in his right mind give Gordon anything to hit?
  • Joe Posnanski claims KC is winning the Santana race. Is there a better sportswriter in America better than Joe? Is there one even close?
  • Mike Sweeney won the Hutch award for his off the field causes. Saying Sweeney is a classy guy is like saying the sky is blue or the grass is green.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Really? Brett Tomko?

When I heard that KC had signed Tomko my first thought was of this classic SNL skit. I don't understand this move but then when I read this little paragraph form KC's home page it all made sense: "But the Royals prevailed, primarily due to a barrage of phone calls from general manager Dayton Moore, pitching coach Bob McClure and Hillman." They have all lost their freaking minds.
Maybe it was the 5.55 era or the 1.50 whip or that stellar era+ of 80 or just maybe they thought it was still 1997. Well whatever the reason the signing has an Elarton feel to it. I know teams like to have a veteran presence but this move is just absurd. Odalis Perez had an era+ of 84 last season and we all remember how bad he was.

~One of Tomko's comps at age 34 is Jamie Moyer, I can't believe Moyer has won 230 games. At age 33 he really figured things out. From ages 23-32 he won in double figures only twice, had an era under 4.00 twice , and had only one season with era+ over 120. From ages 33-44 he won in double figures eleven times (in twelve seasons and won 20 twice), had an era under 4.00 seven times , and had an era+ over 120 six times. ~

Maybe Tomko will prove me wrong and have a good year but I really doubt it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

KC's Big 3

Ok now that you are done laughing hear me out. Gil Meche, Brian Bannister, and Zack Grienke are the best 123 punch KC has had since the 1980's (man I loved Bret Saberhagen). I mean they clearly are not Mulder/Hudson/Zito but they are good, very good.

Meche - 128 ERA+
Bannister - 121 ERA+
Grienke - 127 ERA+

Care to guess how many teams last season had three pitchers with 100+ innings post an ERA+ above 120? How about ONE, thats right the Kansas City Royals. The Angels came close ( Lackey 151, Escobar 134, Weaver 117) and the Cubs almost had four (Lilly 122, Zambrano 118, Hill 119, Marshall 119).

Zack Greinke 7-7 3.69era 122IP 106K/36BB

I know Greinke split time between the rotation and the pen but after posting a 2.33 era in his final 5 starts he may finally be harnessing his talent. Greinke became a power pitcher after his demotion and had a better K rate as a reliever (53.1IP/55K's) but when he rejoined the rotation he still was bringing the heat (34IP/31K's last 7 starts vs 34.2IP/20K's first 7 starts).

Prediction: 16-10 3.15 era

Gil Meche 9-13 3.67era 216IP 156K/62BB

If Meche had gotten any kind of run support he could have won 18 games and people may be taking him more seriously. The Royals scored 4 runs or less in 11 of his 13 losses. He was solid though for KC and the lack of run support didnt seem to frustrate him. I expect Meche to be even better this year and hopefully the bats will come around.

Prediction: 14-8 3.30era

Brian Bannister 12-9 3.87era 165IP 77K/44BB

Bannister seems the most likely to regress mainly due to his low K rate. But he is a smart pitcher with great control so we will see how it goes this year.Bannister made strong case for ROY but a 7.30 era in his last 5 starts doomed him.

Prediction: 10-14 4.20era

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Good Times are Coming

It is remarkable to me how active it is in the Royals section of the blogosphere. There are so many good blogs about our favorite team that I wasn't sure if I should start one. The amount of KC blogs almost seems disproportionate to the fan base.
I have been a Royals fan all 36 years of my life. I remember the good times and the recent times. Something is happening in Kansas City, something that hasn't happened in a while. People are getting excited about a team that has finished in last place four straight years. This team is right on the verge of being relevant again and that is why I started this blog. This is my way of being a part of it. I know it sounds corny, and it probably is, but I don't care. I can't not be a Royals fan, it's just a part of who I am. I have never blogged before but I have been very opinionated on message boards so I figure there's probably not much of a difference.
So I'm going to post on here a few times a week about my team. Here are a few things about me you should know.

1. I am not a writer so there are going to be grammatical errors but I'll try to keep them to a minimum.

2. I am not a stathead. I do like stats but I prefer the actual ones a player puts up as opposed to mathematical formulas. ( My apologies to Bill James, who I do like.)
I have no use for win shares, vorp, warp, or anything with a Q in it. I'm not criticizing anyone who do like those stats I'm just not one of them. Now the exceptions I have to this rule are ops+ and era+. I do like those now that I have educated myself on what they mean.
**Side note to statheads, if you are in a message board debate and you use a stat but can't explain what it means then you should immediately stop using that stat until you understand it better.**

3. I am going to focus solely on the Kansas City Royals. I'm not going to do prospect reports or a draft report. Other bloggers do this and they do it better than I possibly could.

Thats about it, I hope everyone who visits my blog enjoys what they find.