Tuesday, December 30, 2008

LHP's 1988-2008 (min. 162 IP)

Player  Record IP K/BB ERA ERA+
Jose Rosado
 10-14 208 141-72 3.85 130
Darrell May
 10-8 210 115/53 3.77 130
Charlie Leibrandt 
13-12 243 125/62 3.19 126
Chris Haney
10-14 228 115/51 4.70 106
Jose Rosado
8-11 174.2 135/57 4.69 101
Jose Rosado
9-12 203.1 129/73 4.69 99
Floyd Bannister
12-13 189.1 113/68 4.33 93
Darrell May
9-19 186 120/55 5.61 85
Glendon Rusch
6-9 170.1 116/52 5.50 85
Brian Anderson
6-12 166 70/53 5.64 85
Mark Redman
11-10 167 76/63 5.71 82

I can't believe Redman was an all-star.
I miss Rosado.
Leibrandt in 1989 misses this list by one inning. Good thing because it was bad (76 ERA+).
The 2004 team (besides Anderson & May) also included Jimmy Gobble's 89 ERA+ in 148 innings. Worst Royals team ever.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Best LHP in KC history

Kevin Appier and Bret Saberhagen are hands down the two best starting pitchers that have ever played for the Royals but they were both righthanded so who was the best lefty? It's widely acknowledged that Paul Splittorff is the best left handed starter in Royals history but is that really accurate? He is the all time franchise leader in wins and innings which shows he pitched at a high level for a long time but his career 101 ERA+ is really underwhelming.

*Trivia question - What pitcher holds the single season Royals record for strikeouts by a lefty?*

Another name that jumps out is Larry Gura, only Splitt had more wins by a LHP. You also have to consider Danny Jackson and Jose Rosado but since they each totaled less than 800 innings we'll toss them out. It may surprise some people to know that Bud Black has the tenth best ERA+ among all KC pitchers, that certainly shocked me.

But in my opinion the best LHP is Charlie Leibrandt. His 116 ERA+ is tied for first among LHP's (with DJ) and his 1985 season was the best in Royals history by a lefty.

5 best seasons by a LHP:
1) 1985 - Leibrandt 17-12 2.69ERA 154 ERA+
2) 1978 - Gura 16-4 2.72 142
3) 1980 - Gura  18-10 2.95 137
4) 1987 - Leibrandt 16-11 3.41 134
5) 1981 - Gura 11-8 2.72 132

Looking at Gura having three of the top five seasons and you see why I tossed out DJ & Rosado, they simply didn't pitch long enough in Royal blue. Gura's final two seasons as a Royal (83 & 78 ERA+) really brought down his numbers and while it's likely that Liebrandt numbers would have come down had he stayed with KC it should be noted that he had three good seasons with the Braves from 1990-92 (127, 112, 110).

So here are the top four:

Player Record Innings ERA ERA+
Leibrandt 76-61 1257 3.60 116
Gura 111-78 1701.1 3.72 107
Spittorff 166-143 2554.2 3.81 101
Black 56-57 977.2 3.73 112

Only three lefty's in franchise history have struck out 150+ hitters in a season - two of them did it in 1987 (DJ 152, Leibrandt 151). The other is the answer to the trivia question, Bill Butler struck out 156 in the Royals inaugural season (1969) and that appears to be unbreakable as only seven Royals have struck out 130+ with Rosado's 141 in 1999 the most recent.

So the soft tossing lefty is not a recent development for the Royals, it seems to be a franchise philosophy dating back to the beginning. Which I guess is why Horacio Ramirez was not only given 1.8 million dollars but also a spot in the rotation. Some habits are hard to break.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

 1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
       14 “ Glory to God in the highest,
      And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Luke 2:1-20 (NKJV)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

40+, 20+, 90+

I can sort of see why some people look at the 42 doubles, 20 home runs, and 97 rbi's and conclude that Jose Guillen had a good season in 2008. In fact only six players in the American League went 40+, 20+, 90+ in those three categories and the last Royal to do it was Carlos Beltran back in 2002. One thing I didn't realize was that George Brett only did it twice and that caused me to look at Guillen's season in a whole new light. Mike Sweeney also did it twice as did Hal McRae and Jermaine Dye - and in KC history that is it.

Forty years, six players, ten seasons.

Now I'm not suggesting that Guillen was as good as the others because he wasn't as he was the only one to do it and be below league average (96 OPS+). He also had the lowest AVG/OBP/SLG of the ten but still it is actually impressive that he accomplished something that had only been done nine times in franchise history.

Player Year 2Bs HRs RBIs
McRae 1977 54 21 92
Brett 1979 42 23 107
McRae 1982 46 27 133
Brett 1988 42 24 103
Sweeney 1999 44 22 102
Dye 1999 44 27 119
Dye 2000 41 33 118
Sweeney 2001 46 29 99
Beltran 2002 44 29 105
Guillen 2008 42 20 97

Looking at the ten seasons stacked on top of each other (thanks to baseball-reference and its awesome play index) and it becomes easy to see why other people considered 2008 a bad year for Guillen. Here is where Guillen ranked in other stats in the ten seasons above:

  • AVG - 10th
  • OBP - 10th
  • SLG - 10th
  • BB's - 10th
  • K's - 3rd
  • Runs - 10th
  • GiDP - 1st
  • OPS+ - 10th
  • OPS - 10th (by over 100 points!)
Of the 272 times its been done since 1901 only Guillen and Corey Hart (also done in 2008) have an OPS+ below 100 (96 for both, man look at Harts season; .268/.300/.459 45 2Bs, 20 HRs, 91 RBIs, 27/109 BB/K. He and Guillen were almost identical in '08). Only Khalil Greene in 2007 had a worse OBP (.291 in 2007) and nobody but Guillen had a SLG under .450, so yeah the criticism was justified in some instances.

But despite all that I believe Guillen will rebound next year, I know that .264/.300/.438 line screams mediocre but in his last four full seasons before 2008 he was quite good. He OBP'd .353, .338, .352, .359 in those years so I think it's more than possible (and actually very likely) that Guillen puts up something in the .285/.345/.450 neighborhood.

That's not worth 12 million dollars though so I'm sure the critics will still be out in full force in 2009.