Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The lineup, Meche, and Gordon

That eternal lineup tinkerer is at it again, per Dutton:

The genesis of the switch is Hillman’s desire to move Callaspo higher in the lineup.
“I don’t like waiting until the sixth or the seventh slot to get his bat up there,” Hillman said. “So I’m going to look at him (at) three. I don’t want David at two. I want David one or three. I want Pod one or two. I’m going to start tinkering with that a little bit.”

This works for me, in fact I proposed DDJ/Pods batting 1,2 here. I didn't expect him to move Callaspo to third but I don't mind that either. He is absolutely raking in spring training, say what you will about his defense but the man can hit. A top four of DDJ/Pods/Callaspo/Butler suddenly looks like a legitimate top half of a major league batting order.

In the same article we learn that Meche may miss his first start of the regular season. He doesn't seem concerned but usually by the time a player starts to worry it's usually too late. Isn't that right Mike Aviles? I know this gonna start some Sweeney-like bashing on him but remember that he did have two healthy above average years before injuries began to do him in. (And we can lay some of his problems last year at the feet of Trey Hillman.)
In a different article Dutton informs us that Gordon will miss the start of the regular season enabling the Royals begin the season with Callaspo at third base.

The decision enables the Royals to dodge, temporarily, a potentially sticky personnel situation. Gordon’s injury creates a regular spot at third base for Alberto Callaspo, who now projects as the No. 3 hitter in the lineup.

I saw this coming, in fact I think most Royals fans did. My initial analysis turned out to be spot on.

It wouldn't surprise me if he begins the season on the disabled list allowing Alberto Callaspo to start at third in his place. If there really is indeed a battle at second base this would allow DM and Trey to get a longer look at Chris Getz.

This was the obvious and correct move so I applaud them for recognizing it and not attempting to rush Gordon back onto the field.

Now if I could've just seen the Jayhawks collapse......

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saberhagen, Appier, and Greinke

I think it's safe to assume that the debate over the best starting pitcher in franchise history now includes three players instead of two. Zack Greinke has muscled his way into the conversation joining Bret Saberhagen and Kevin Appier. I still believe Appier has the overall edge but Greinke is closing fast. Appier had an ERA+ over 120 eight years in a row, Greinke is at three right now. Saberhagen never did it two seasons in a row due to his weird even year jinx.

NameWLERAGGSIPHRBBSOERA+WHIPH/9BB/9SO/9WAR
Saberhagen110783.212522261660.112633110931281.1348.41.85.937.3
Appier115923.492872521843.213863414581301.2508.13.17.144.1
Greinke50533.73177136888.0942257501201.2699.12.37.620.4

Right now I think they should be ranked:
1. Appier
2. Saberhagen
3. Greinke

Another dominant season and Greinke could surpass Sabes for the second spot. Here are their best three year stretches (by ERA+).

NameYearsWLERAIPBBSOERA+WHIPH/9BB/9SO/9WAR
Saberhagen1989-199141232.71593.21164161461.0717.91.86.316.9
Appier1992-199440222.86602.02124811581.1617.33.27.220.4
Greinke2007-200936252.97553.21435311491.1968.42.38.615.9

I have a feeling that those who believe Sabes holds the top spot tend to focus on his two Cy Young awards and World Series ring more than on his actual numbers. Impressive achievements for sure but not deciding factors, at least in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, I do believe Sabes had some great numbers and some fantastic seasons, I'm not trying to take anything away from him. I just don't give him extra credit for pitching in a more nostalgic era.

Greinke has a ways to go to catch Appier, perhaps three more dominant seasons, but is there anyone who doesn't think he will? I really think it all depends on how much longer he remains a Royal which I hope is for a long, long time.

Friday, March 12, 2010

BIPs

Normally this time of year I have plenty to write about but for some reason I'm drawing blanks. So since I feel compelled to actually post something and am absolutely bored right now I thought I'd offer some boredom induced projections (BIPs, insert Bip Roberts joke here). Nothing groundbreaking going on here and no research, just gut feelings (JGFs isn't as catchy).

POSNameHRRBISBBAOBPSLG
CJason Kendall2386.249.320.325
1BBilly Butler24901.295.365.505
2BAlberto Callaspo4525.310.361.425
SSYuniesky Betancourt8452.260.305.380
3BAlex Gordon217515.270.355.468
OFDavid DeJesus10627.285.351.430
OFRick Ankiel16556.248.297.405
DHJose Guillen8410.255.310.383
OFScott Podsednik35032.277.336.375
INFWillie Bloomquist22215.273.323.340
INFJosh Fields11440.245.309.430
OFBrian Anderson6287.257.326.384
INFChris Getz44721.274.329.378
CBrayan Pena5310.285.338.432

I don't know, am I too optimistic on some of them? Too pessimistic? They all seem reasonable in my opinion. I may project pitchers later this weekend, that is unless something more interesting comes up.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Gordon out 3-4 weeks

According to Robert Ford the Royals will be without Alex Gordon for the next 3-4 weeks due to a thumb fracture. He apparently suffered it in yesterdays game against the Rangers. It wouldn't surprise me if he begins the season on the disabled list allowing Alberto Callaspo to start at third in his place. If there really is indeed a battle at second base this would allow DM and Trey to get a longer look at Chris Getz.

The lesson learned from last season is don't rush players back on the field until they are healthy. A DL stint and minor league rehab assignment is how they should handle Gordon if he's not ready to go on opening day. After missing most of last season he really needed these spring training plate appearances and if he can't get them he may start off slow yet again (he has hit just .229/.333/.366 for his career in the seasons first month).

Gordon has battled an assortment of injuries in his brief career and has spent 114 days on the DL the last two seasons with thigh and hip problems. Gordon had a mini-breakout in 2008 (109 OPS+) when he hit .277/.392/.496 in that seasons second half but hasn't been healthy since. He is of course one of their keys to the seasons but also one of their biggest question marks.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Catching up

Late last year my laptop died and I was forced to use my phone for online browsing and email. It's a G1 so that's what it was made for but it made my posting here somewhat complicated. Android does have a blogger app but it was too clumsy to deal with so I posted whenever and wherever I got a chance (one time, I kid you not, I wrote a post in my parents basement). Around this time I received an email from Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times who was promoting his book Evaluating Baseball's Managers, 1876-2008. Chris attached the sections for former Royals managers Jack McKeon and Whitey Herzog which I promised to download and read when I bought a new laptop.....then proceeded to forget all about it.

That is until I recently stumbled upon James Bailey's review of the book for Baseball America. (By the way you should check out Bailey's site Hardball Cooperative, there are some seriously talented writers there.) Luckily I had saved his email and so I promptly read what he sent me three months ago. And I enjoyed it, even though the Royals are only slightly mentioned. This is a worthwhile read and something I think all baseball fans will enjoy. Bailey gives a pretty thorough review so I recommend checking that out if a book about managers interests you. And if it doesn't I'm sure there is another book about the 1975 Cincinnati Reds coming any day now.
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Daniel Shoptaw, Cardinals blogger and the Grand Master of the BBA, recently emailed me and a few other Royals bloggers some few questions for his Playing Pepper series. You can check it out here. We all pretty much think alike which didn't really surprise me, Royals bloggers all seem to be on the same page which is kind of cool.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Amazing

"In my mind it’s been an amazing off season for us based on what we were going to be able to spend.” Dayton Moore, 810 AM

a·maz·ing  –adjective
causing great surprise or sudden wonder

I wonder why Moore thinks Kendall can still be productive.
I was surprised when he signed Anderson since he already had Maier, a player with the same skill-set.
I was surprised when he signed Podsednik since he already had signed Anderson.
I wonder why he felt compelled to sign Ankiel after signing Anderson and Podsednik.

It really was an amazing offseason.