Saturday, February 27, 2010

Batting leadoff

All the lineups Trey has teased us with have Podsednik batting first and DDJ batting third. They have nearly the same amount of career plate appearances so it's very easy to compare the two. I think a case can be made for both players though preconceptions about what a leadoff hitter is probably affects the result. DDJ is the better hitter, Pods is faster. Let's compare.

David DeJesusPA'sHRSBBAOBPSLG
Career totals34055644.286.358.425
Batting leadoff27265039.297.367.441
Leading off game60310.264.384.478

Scott PodsednikPA'sHRSBBAOBPSLG
Career totals353435266.277.340.381
Batting leadoff286530237.278.342.384
Leading off game6146.310.383.430
 
I think it's interesting that their OBP's are nearly identical when leading off a game and I could see where having a stolen base threat could give KC a chance at jumping out to an early lead. But a leadoff hitter doesn't bat just once a game, they most likely come to the plate four or five times everyday. So while Pods looks good in the first inning his production trails off after that. DDJ's does too but not by quite the same extent.
 
Something else to consider -
DDJ batting 3rd -  208 PA's .263/.325/.371
Pods batting 2nd - 331 PA's .296/.344/.385
 
Now those sample sizes are probably too small to mean anything or maybe their not, but it would appear that Pods is the same hitter if you move him to the #2 spot where DDJ doesn't exactly thrive batting third. Now I realize this has been an exercise in futility since Pods will bat leadoff but why not bat him second? They still have speed at the top of the order which is the whole point anyway. And he would be a better #2 option than Getz or Kendall. Now Kendall does have a .375 career OBP batting second but has only 14 PA's there the last three seasons, with good reason. His late career offensive decline has kept him from batting high in the order and thus depressing his numbers. Kendall batting second? Thanks but no thanks.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Kila prediction

Kila Ka'aihue will be traded. I don't think the roster as currently set up has a place for him and I can't see the sense in sending him back to Omaha.

Of course it's always possible they complete his Huberization and just sell him to a NL team. I think he would be productive in a DH platoon with Josh Fields but the Royals apparently feel otherwise. One year after hitting .314/.456/.628 with 37 home runs between AA and AAA Kila didn't even rate a September callup - despite receiving one in 2008. He is the reason why many felt the Mike Jacobs trade made less than zero sense and then when Jacobs went out and hit .224/.294/.384 as a DH it became clear to everyone Moore made a mistake. While Kila couldn't repeat his great 2009 season he did have a .392 OBP and for the second consecutive season walked over 100 times.

This year it looks like DH duty is falling to Bert Callaspo or Jose Guillen so Kila will continue his Jack Cust progression to the majors. Cust has a much more impressive minor league resume for sure but check out the age 25 seasons for both players.

PlayerHRRBIBB%BAOBPSLGOPS
Cust175515.7.235.358.433.791
Kila175718.3.252.392.433.825
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com

Cust didn't get a real opportunity until he was 28 but all he has done since then is put up a 125 OPS+. Now that's not to say Kila will be as productive, most likely he won't, but a guy who has OBP'd .456 and .392 the last two seasons deserves a chance somewhere. Unfortunately I don't think it will be in KC.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tejeda is more than a one month wonder

The final spot projects as a free-for-all battle that won’t likely be decided until the camp’s final week. Kyle Davies is out of options and is the early favorite. But swingman Robinson Tejeda will get a long look after a strong September. - Bob Dutton

A popular theory has been bouncing around Royals blogs and message boards this offseason that goes something like this; Kyle Davies had a great 2008 September but then a terrible 2009 season so therefore Robinson Tejeda's 2009 September is suspect and shouldn't be trusted. It's unwise to make assumptions based on six starts (which I admit to sometimes being guilty of) but it's also unwise to say because player A did this then player B will to. It's tempting to make connections like that but in the case of Davies and Tejeda is not even close to being applicable.

First let's compare the Septembers in question.
PlayerYearWLERAGSIPHRERHRBBSOWHIPH/9SO/9BB/9SO/BBAVG/OBP/SLG
Davies2008412.27531.2228817240.916.26.81.93.43.198/.246/.270
Tejeda2009312.84631.2151110320321.104.29.15.71.60.138/.271/.248

Do you see the difference? Davies SO/BB and BB/9 were simply unsustainable and in 2009 they fell back down to normal. Meanwhile Tejeda's SO/BB and BB/9 were right around his career averages (1.44 and 5.2) which means, at least in my opinion, there wasn't anything fluky about his performance. Davies also hadn't shown much as a starter in his career before that month which is where the next difference lies - Tejeda has.

Tejeda as a starter:
YearAgeTmWLERAGSIPERBBSOWHIPH/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
200523TEX332.871369.02235591.307.24.67.71.69
200624TEX554.281473.13532401.5610.13.94.91.25
200725TEX596.611995.17060691.7810.45.76.51.15
200826KCR101.8015.01321.003.65.43.60.67
200927KCR312.84631.21020321.104.25.79.11.60
Totals17184.5253274.21381502021.518.74.96.61.35
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com  (I love b-r's share feature)

2007 was ugly and  if you remove it his ERA drops to 3.41 in 179.1 innings. I realize that sample size is too small and spread out over too many seasons but I just wanted to point out that season somewhat perverts his numbers (see also Greinke, 2005), overall his career ERA drops from 4.53 to 3.81 in a more substantial 278.1 innings.

I never bought into Davies September as much as I bought into his 2008 season as a whole and I thought he was more than capable of repeating his 107 ERA+, I was clearly wrong. But I don't think I'm wrong about Tejeda as I firmly believe he can put up a sub-4.50 ERA in 30 starts.

Now who wouldn't want that from a #5 starter?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Treys lineup

Courtesy of Bob Dutton we got a sneak peek at one of Trey's projected lineups. Here is his batting order along with their 2010 CHONE projections:

PlayerPOSHRRBIBAOBPSLG
PodsednikLF434.275.336.368
Getz2B434.275.338.370
DeJesusRF1164.278.351.410
Butler1B1783.307.372.478
AnkielCF1759.241.296.415
GuillenDH1362.254.309.398
Gordon3B1454.267.353.435
BetancourtSS750.273.303.387
KendallC241.245.315.306

Not too much to pick at since we can obviously see it's a less than talented lineup, I don't care for their second best hitter to be batting seventh but I imagine that would change fairly quickly if Gordon does indeed turn out to be better than everyone but Butler. No Callaspo but Trey did say he would try and play him everyday - most likely between 2B, 3B, and DH.

But it was this little gem that caught my attention:

Hillman said he also still plans “to look” at Josh Field as a possible left fielder on occasions when facing a left-handed pitcher — particularly when playing in smaller parks on the road.

“You might see him in left and José in right in Chicago,” Hillman said. “And if I want to get a couple of more right-handed bats in the lineup, and Callaspo is in the infield, I might DH Brayan Peña. Something like that.”

Please don't. Guillen should have no reason whatsoever to pick up a glove this season and especially when the less-than-stellar-defensively Fields is in left field. Personally I'd rather see Fields DHing against left handed pitchers but I not sure that's likely as long as Guillen is on the roster. It really does seem, despite the black hole at the bottom of the order (Betancourt & Kendall), that Guillen really drags the lineup. When your DH is projected to have a .398 slugging percentage then maybe, just maybe, you might want to consider different options, other than your backup catcher DHing against lefties.