Wednesday, January 27, 2010

All decade disaster team

There have been several decade retrospectives floating around so I thought I'd do one too but with a twist, mine is a team of players who had no business putting on a Royals uniform. You know what I'm talking about, players whose signing made you wince and then whose performance made you sick. These are just my opinions and you may disagree (and maybe rightfully so since there was plenty of suck to choose from) but I think some of them would probably be a consensus pick as worst Royal of the decade.

C - Benito Santiago
Signed as a free agent after the 2003 season he was 39 years old on opening day. An injury cut short his season and he was eventually shipped to Pittsburgh for Leo Nunez.
Year
PA
HR
RBI
BA
OBP
SLG
OPS+
2004
189
6
23
.274
.312
.434
91

1B - Ross Gload
He could have been a useful bench player capable of providing value as a pinch hitter or backup first baseman but he instead would set career highs in PA's two years in a row.
Year
PA
AB
HR
RBI
BA
OBP
SLG
OPS+
2007
346
320
7
51
.288
.318
.441
98
2008
418
388
3
37
.273
.317
.348
78

2B - Tony Graffanino
This one might be just me but I never took a liking to Graff. I realize he wasn't awful but I just couldn't stand watching him play.
Year
PA
HR
RBI
BA
OBP
SLG
OPS+
2004
314
3
26
.263
.332
.335
74
2005
217
3
18
.298
.377
.393
107
2006
250
5
32
.268
.346
.409
94

SS - Neifi Perez
He was Tony Pena Jr. before being Tony Pena Jr. was cool.
Year
PA
HR
RBI
BA
OBP
SLG
OPS+
2001
220
1
12
.241
.277
.302
49
2002
585
3
37
.236
.260
.303
44

OF - Chuck Knoblauch
He was so bad for KC that his career ended at the age of 34. I'm still trying to figure out why he was ever signed by the Royals to begin with.
Year
PA
HR
RBI
BA
OBP
SLG
OPS+
2002
336
6
22
.210
.284
.300
50

OF - Juan Gonzalez
Another player signed during that stellar offseason after the 2003 season. He was brought in to replace Raul Ibanez because KC didn't want to give Raul that third year, sigh. Juan was gone it seems just as quickly as he arrived. His bat speed was considerably slower than the year before and frankly he just never seemed like he was ever interested.
Year
PA
HR
RBI
BA
OBP
SLG
OPS+
2004
138
5
17
.276
.326
.441
96

OF - Terrence Long
I had actually repressed the memory of him ever playing for KC. Man that 2005 outfield was brutal.
Year
PA
HR
RBI
BA
OBP
SLG
OPS+
2005
489
6
53
.279
.321
.378
87

SP - Sidney Ponson
It amazes me that Moore thought KC could contend with Ponson starting the season as the #4 guy in the rotation. Ponson wasn't merely bad, he was apocalyptically bad.
Year
W
L
ERA
IP
BB
SO
ERA+
WHIP
2009
1
7
7.36
58.2
25
32
60
1.773

RP - Albie Lopez
The league hit .383/.468/.692 off Lopez in 2003. He gave up 29 earned runs in his final 11 innings and 16.3 hits per nine for the year, he actually makes Ponson look like Greinke.
Year
W
L
ERA
IP
BB
SO
ERA+
WHIP
2003
4
2
12.71
22.2
17
15
39
2.559

I didn't have a third baseman because I don't think that position was ever dreadful during the decade.

So these are my picks, who do you think were the decades worst?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Freddie Patek Forever


I've mentioned before that Freddie Patek is my all time favorite player. He had just completed his first season in Kansas City the year I was born and as it turned out it would be his best season. He was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates with Bruce Dal Canton and Jerry May for Jim Campanis, Jackie Hernandez and Bob Johnson. Being small for my age I immediately related to him when I was old enough to follow the Royals, which was around 1975. Patek played for the Royals from 1971-1979 and put together a solid enough career that he was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame.


In that time period he led the American League with 336 stolen bases (Bert Campaneris was second with 294, more on him later). His numbers matched up well with other shortstops in that time span and he was rewarded with three all star game selections.

*Patek compared to some other shortstops 1971-79
PlayerAVG/OBP/SLGSB'sASG'sOPS+WAR
Patek.241/.309/.32133637816.6
Concepcion.270/.325/.37321069526.7
Campaneris.251/.308/.31929458225.6
Belanger.228/.305/.28211517125.4
Bowa.264/.301/.32522757316.2
Russell.268/.307/.34710128414.6
Burleson.273/.323/.3625538413.3
Dent.252/.300/.323181769.2












In 1971 Patek hit .267/.323/.371 with a league leading 11 triples. He finished second in stolen bases, sixth in runs, ninth in hits and his 97 OPS+ was tied for second among all major league shortstops (Leo Cardenas 107). His 3.8 WAR would be a career high (in comparison Yuniesky Betancourt is at 2.2 FOR HIS CAREER!!!!). All of this resulted in him finishing sixth in MVP voting, in their brief history this was the best Royal finish until Amos Otis scored third place in 1973.


Also that year Patek became just the third shortstop in AL history (Ray Chapman 1917, Campaneris 1966) to have 10+ triples and 45+ stolen bases in the same season, he is also the last. Campaneris interestingly enough accomplished this feat with Kansas City A's. It's funny the more research I did on Patek the more Campaneris's name would come up. Besides having this in common they also tied for the AL lead in stolen bases in the 1970's with 336 (Patek played for the Pirates in 1970) and they both played for the California Angels during the 1980 and 1981 seasons. Maybe I'm easily fascinated but I find this, well, fascinating.

He followed that with a pretty dismal 1972 season but rebounded the following year and pretty much became the player we remember. In 1974 he finished eighth in the league in walks with 77, which surprised me. Its still stands as the franchise record for shortstops, in fact only five times has a KC shortstop walked 50 or more times with Patek recording three of those seasons (1973 54, 1976 50). He led the league with 53 stolen bases in 1977 while posting career highs in doubles (26) and RBI's (60).

He saved some of his best for the playoffs, in three American League Championship Series he hit .306/.327/.510 with 11 RBI's in 14 games. After the 1979 season Patek and the Royals parted ways and he headed out west to play for the Angels. On June 20, 1980 he had his best game ever, he became the first shortstop since Ernie Banks in 1957 to hit three home runs in a game. One could argue this unofficially ushered in the era of offensive shortstops, look at this chart tracking games with shortstops with multi-home run games.

Decade2 HR3 HR
60's540
70's290
80's571
90's936
00's1648








That game came right in the middle of a very impressive twenty game stretch. From June 10th to June 30th Patek hit .355/.375/.566 with 4 home runs and 19 RBI's. He was pretty much done as a player after that stretch, he hit .185 the rest of the 1980 season and had just 48 plate appearances in 1981. But he will always be remembered as a Royal and still ranks in the top 10 in several categories.

StatRank
Stolen Bases3rd (336)
Games7th (1245)
PA's7th (4867)
Runs7th (571)
Hits8th (1036)
Doubles8th (182)
Triples10th (41)
Walks6th (413)










Friday, January 22, 2010

Rick Ankiel

Surprisingly I don't hate this signing. Ankiel's 2009 season was a disappointment (76 OPS+) but in 2007 and 2008 combined he hit .270/.334/.515 with 36 home runs in 653 plate appearances. His 3.4 WAR in 2008 is almost equal to Jose Guillen's WAR in his career (3.8). While this move could be a prelude to a DDJ trade it could also mean the Royals are willing to eat the 12 million dollars Guillen is owed for 2010. That would actually be smart baseball. Guillen is not good (I know, I know, that's grass is green sky is blue obviousness. Sorry) and his mere presence on the 25 man roster hurts KC's chances of playing any sort of winning baseball. Ankiel isn't a world beater but I gotta believe that he is better than Guillen.

There is also the possibility that Guillen moves to DH, which would destroy my dream of a Kila/Fields platoon. This would also probably mean that Callaspo is all but gone (which I think he is anyway). Right now I'm envisioning a Pods/DDJ/Ankiel outfield with Anderson stealing rightfully taking away at bats away from Podsednik as the season advances. Maier, I still believe, will not make the team.

Some things have to play out for this move to make sense but for once Moore seems to have did okay.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Is it my imagination or are the 2010 Royals starting to resemble the 2009 White Sox?

Yeah I know, the title is a bit snarky and the joke has been played out. Still you have to admit that acquiring four players from a 79-83 team is a bit curious - especially since all four had an OPS+ below 100.

Player
PA's
AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS+
Podsednik
587
.304/.353/.412/98
Getz
415
.261/.324/.347/74
Fields
268
.221/.301/.347/68
Anderson
210
.238/.322/.319/67

I know this blog has been filled with negativity since last summer so I'll try to attempt some optimism starting with the Chicago foursome. Looking at each I can see why Moore targeted them. Podsednik brings speed, Fields power, Anderson and Getz defense. If used right I can see Fields having a good year. He should start at DH every time a LHP faces KC. In 218 major league at bats versus lefties Fields has hit .285/.356/.580, against right handed pitchers it falls to .206/.280/.348 in 528 PA's. Now if Moore is imaginative to promote Kila Ka'aihue he could be Fields platoon partner. He hit .250/.403/.476 versus right handers last season for Omaha. Now I'm no mathmagician or prognosticator but I gotta believe those two could easily top the .209/.281/.374 line KC received out of the DH position in '09.

After the Podesednik signing it appears Anderson is destined to be a late inning defensive sub this year, most likely for Jose Guillen (well in theory, Hillman doesn't often make the most likely move). Maier is probably gone.

I think right now Getz is the starting second baseman with Callaspo either being traded or moved to DH. I don't believe his edge in defense makes up the gap in offense but I could be wrong. If he can approach his .286/.362/.380 line with above average defense then I don't imagine anybody will mind Callaspo getting the boot off second.

These moves could potentially pay off (Fields and Getz in particular) if Moore and Hillman play it smart, and that's what I'm hoping for.

Friday, January 8, 2010

It just keeps getting better

So it appears that signing Brian Anderson didn't prevent Moore from getting Scott Podsednik after all. Podsednik did have a decent season in 2009 (.304/.353/.412 30 SB's) but during 2006-2008 he batted .256/.322/.353, which is probably more suited to Moore's tastes. There's not an awful lot to like about this signing because it will mean less playing time for Mitch Maier and Anderson. I mean why see what you have in a couple players in their late 20's when you can have a 34 year old roaming centerfield? Are they long term answers in centerfield? Probably not. Is Podsednik? Definitely not! Especially since the last season Podsednik was any everyday centerfielder was 2004. Moore once again shows a total disregard for the present.

I understood trading for Getz & Fields and signing Anderson, there might be some upside, but Podsednik and Kendall baffle me.

Sheesh!



Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hall thoughts - Dawson & Appier

First off, congratulations to Andre Dawson for being elected to the Hall of Fame. Now I don't have the issue a lot of the more sabr inclined have with his inclusion though I agree that Tim Raines was more deserving. Dawson had a combination of power, speed, and defense that was rare for his time. I certainly don't believe that he is lowering Hall standards. My feeling is that if there is room for Brooks Robinson (.267/.322/.401/104 OPS+, 16 GG's) then there is room for Dawson (.279/.323/.482/119 OPS+, 8 GG's), I know some will disagree and that's just fine.

Second I think it's a disgrace that only Dawson was elected. In my opinion Blyleven, Alomar, Larkin, Martinez, and McGwire were all worthy. The BBWAA continues their inevitable descent into irrelevancy.

Lastly I was somewhat amused by the twitter conversations where people were trying to guess which Royals homer voted for Kevin Appier. I've already posted where I stand on Appier, I don't think he belongs but let's not act like he was some league average shlub who had no business getting at least one vote. Here are some pitchers in the Hall with an equal or lower ERA+ than Appier's 121.
Don Drysdale 121
Warren Spahn 118
Gaylord Perry 117
Phil Niekro 115
Steve Carlton 115
Fergie Jenkins 115
Nolan Ryan 111
Don Sutton 108
Catfish Hunter 104

ERA+ isn't the end all, be all of stats but it gives a pretty good indication of how effective a pitcher was and Appier was pretty good.