Saturday, June 26, 2010

And now a Buck/Kendall comparison

Miguel Olivo is having a pretty good year, he's batting .296/.357/.522 and he's thrown out 54% of the runners attempting to steal. But still, good riddance. John Buck is another story because he is the one I wanted the Royals to keep. I just didn't understand their insistence upon finding another catcher. I still don't, and I don't get all the love they've heaped on Jason Kendall this year either. Right now though  it appears the Royals made a mistake in not keeping Buck as he is having a very good season.

YearAgePAH2BHRRBIBAOBPSLGOPS+
Kendall362826512024.258.321.30672
Buck2921353131238.269.305.518121
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com

This season is par for the course for the aging Kendall, he had a 74 OPS+ in 2008 and 72 in 2009. Buck is still showing some upside, last year he had a career best 103 OPS+, though it was just in 202 PA's. And the great defensive advantage that Kendall supposedly has just hasn't materialized. Kendall has 9 errors, now I'm not an expert on catchers defensive stats but that seems like an awful lot. Buck meanwhile has just 1 (in about 120 less innings). Kendall has 3 passed ball, Buck again with just one. They both have caught 24% of base stealers.

I didn't get it then, I don't get it now. Kendall playing everyday is up there with my other 2010 irritations which include ignoring Ka'aihue, punishing Gordon, and abusing Meche. The signing then and now was a mistake and unfortunately we get to watch it play out for another year and a half. Lucky us.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

This Gordon nonsense has gone on long enough

Alex Gordon is now hitting .367/.492/.646 in 199 plate appearances for Omaha and yet there is no rush by Royals management to get his bat back to KC. Yost doesn't want Gordon to come up and sit which is kind of silly if you think about it since Yost is the guy who fills out the lineup card. I imagine Yost is the only manager in the game who would play Podsednik over Gordon. It appears they are waiting for the trade deadline when Podsednik, DDJ, and Guillen could be gone before promoting him. (I doubt Guillen gets traded, no GM in baseball values RBI's as much as Dayton Moore.) Gordon had a .342 OBP in his earlier KC stint, only three players (DDJ, Butler, Maier) are doing better. Before you start with sample size I know 38 PA's is small but it was large enough to get him demoted.

He needs to come up right now and play left field every single day. Trade Pods, release Pods, I don't care. Heck, keep Pods and release Bloomquist, it's not like he's doing anything to help the team. I know the spork has a reputation as a ballplayer* but it just so happens he is batting .194, the very same average that earned Gordon a ticket to Omaha.

*Calling a guy a ballplayer is about the lamest compliment a manager can give. News flash, they are all ballplayers, that's why they're on the team. And yet people act like it's the highest praise a player can receive. I guess another unwritten rule in baseball is when you have nothing nice to say about a guy call him a ballplayer. This only works in baseball, I mean nobody is complimenting Nathan Byrne by saying "now that guy is a new media manager". You never hear  "Nick Wright is a talk show host" meant as praise. Nick actually gets called a lot of things which I don't understand because he is a hundred times better than his vexatious competition. And I'm not just saying that because he once appeared here.

Gordon's last plate appearance for KC was on May 1st, here is what a couple guys blocking him have did since then:
NamePAHRRBISBBAOBPSLG
Callaspo1723191.256.273.402
Podsednik17821510.259.297.346

Now I've never made secret that I'm a huge Callaspo fan but I never saw the wisdom in handing him third base over Gordon. Okay what's done is done, Gordon is now an outfielder and Moustakas is the long term answer at third. Well look at those numbers by Podsednik, pathetic and yet he bats leadoff nearly everyday.

It just doesn't make sense to keep him in Omaha anymore, the team is not going to win this year so they should stick their 26 year old outfielder in the lineup and bench any one of the guys who won't be on the team next year. It really is that simple.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Luke Hochevar's greatest hits

Luke Hochevar and I have a weird player/blogger relationship. I sponsor his b-r page but when I write a positive post he pitches poorly, I ignore him and he's lights out. Lately I have left him alone and he's been money on the mound. So despite my inner voice screaming at me to leave well enough alone I thought I'd do a Luke post. His last four starts he has 3.19 ERA in 31 innings with 28 strikeouts and just 6 walks. His last start he had a season high 10 strikeouts in seven innings, and despite giving up just one run he got stuck with the loss (this is called getting Greinke'd). What amazed me about that start was that according to his game score of 69 it was his third best start of the year and seventh best of his career. I thought it would've been higher but six times in his career he has had a game score of 70 or better (his greatest hits, if you will).

DateTmOppRsltApp,DecIPHRERBBSOHRPitStrGSc
2009-09-18KCRCHWW 11-0 SHO9 ,W 9.03001501057685
2009-06-12KCRCINW 4-1 CG 9 ,W 9.0311131805779
2010-05-20KCRCLEW 9-3 CG 9 ,W 9.04332711077572
2009-06-29KCRMINW 4-2 GS-7 ,W 7.02004201026271
2010-04-07KCRDETW 3-2 GS-8 7.2500120895770
2009-07-25KCRTEXW 6-3 GS-7 ,W 7.053201311127670
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used

It really seems like he has turned a corner, which I think I've said before (like a dozen times). He has pitched at least six innings in nine of his twelve starts so at the very least he has graduated from the Jeff Suppan School of Eating Innings. His ERA on the season is an unimpressive 4.74 but if you toss out just one start his ERA drops to 3.78, which is impressive (for a Royals starter not named Greinke anyway, well not the current Greinke but you get my point). And really the 3.78 is more indicative of his 2010 performance, he is in the process of breaking out but because of one disastrous start it's hard to tell.

Now I realize he'll get shelled in his next start but I wanted to throw him some props anyway, he's been fun to watch even if the team he plays for hasn't been.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Brett Eibner

Brett Eibner is an intriguing pick. He was a two way player in college but the Royals intend to use him as an outfielder. This is in contrast to this scouting report that said his future is on the mound, and in fact his playing outfield was preventing him from reaching his full potential. If his power is legit I like him as an outfielder. While the Royals farm system has plenty of prospects on the mound and in the infield there aren't any high upside outfielders in their system (Alex Gordon could be but who knows). I asked John Klima from Baseball Beginnings his thoughts on Eibner and he was kind enough to answer.

"Eibner is a long body type with raw power. His secondary tool would be his arm, but as a position player, he would lack the speed or mobility for anything other than RF. I would prefer to try him with the bat first. I saw a very brief look on the Cape and thought he will need to prove that he can make consistent contact in order to bring his power in. He would profile as an AL-corner-DH type and a No. 4-6 bat if he becomes what they want him to."

Like Colon his arrival should coincide with Moustakas & Co so you gotta think Moore is expecting the Royals to be contenders in 2012/2013. I certainly am.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Christian Colon

I know next to nothing about Colon but from what I've read he's a polished player and close to MLB ready. The question will be if he can stick at shortstop, if he can't the Royals may have overreached but we won't know that for a few years. From here I'll defer to the experts:

Royals Prospects - Royals 2010 #1 pick Christian Colon SS Cal State Fullerton
Baseball Beginnings - Scouting Report: Christian Colon, INF, Cal State Fullerton
PNR Scouting  - 2010 Scouting Reports - Christian Colon

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Jordan Shipers

Ross Martin of the St. Joseph News Press has an interesting story up about LHP Jordan Shipers, a Bethany, MO native who didn't  pitch in high school because they didn't have a team. Here's a couple small excerpts:

Shipers’ repertoire of pitches includes a fastball that usually ranges from 88 to 92 mph and tops out around 93, a circle changeup, spike curveball and slider. He prides himself on being a strikeout pitcher.

“I’m a low-contact pitcher. I don’t like people to hit the ball,” he said.
And he can use any pitch in his arsenal to induce Ks.
“It depends on the day. Usually, it’s my curve,” he said. “Well, slider’s pretty good, too.”
*********
Shipers now works with advisors — including former Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Dan Evans and Kansas City Royals’ Cy Young Award winning pitcher Bret Saberhagen — to help him through the draft process. It’s been fast-moving during the past 10 months.

The article says he's expected to go somewhere in the first five rounds (Greg Schaum believes he'll go 4-6) and I would think that KC has to have significant interest, just due to him living in their backyard. Baseball Beginnings compares him to former Royal Mike Magnante, which may not excite anyone but Magnante did finish with a 110 ERA+ in 12 seasons. You can click on the Baseball Beginnings link to see some game footage and here is a bullpen session I came across on youtube:



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Well depending on who you believe the Royals may or may not have a pre-draft agreement with University of Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal. I could dig this. He's a switch hitting catcher with power and patience plus is expected to stick at the position, yeah I definitely could dig this. Coming out of college his arrival would coincide with Moustakas and company and maybe, just maybe he'll wipe the Jason Kendall era from our collective memory.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Joyce, Denkinger, and replay

I cringe every time an ump makes a bad call because I know what's coming next, a reference to Don Denkinger's blown call in game 6 of the 1985 World Series. And yesterday there were a lot of them due to Jim Joyce costing Armando Galarraga a perfect game. There has been, of course, a tremendous amount of outrage and calls to overturn the play were rebuffed today (wisely) by Bud Selig. And here is where my annoyance set in because those against setting an overturn precedent suggested that the Denkinger's call could be reversed thus making the St. Louis Cardinals the 1985 world champions.

But not so fast my friend.

The plays were similar but there is one enormous difference overlooked in this train of thought:
The Denkinger call happened with zero outs, not two. In fact, there was only one out when the winning run scored. Anyone comparing the two plays, just because they were both wrong, is being idiotic and lazy. Here's how the inning played out:

Jorge Orta reaches base via the blown call
Steve Balboni singled
Jim Sundberg tried to sacrifice the runners but failed miserably, Orta is thrown out at 3rd
After a passed ball Hal McRae is intentionally walked
Dane Iorg then comes through with the biggest hit of his life

Now then, the only out was a failed sacrifice so it takes a pretty broad assumption to suggest that the Cardinals would've won if the call had been correctly, because we just don't know. Also there was one more game to play so the Cardinals still could have won the series, had they showed up. I think many people remember this call taking place with two outs in game 7 but that clearly is not when it happened.

If the Joyce call spurs MLB into enacting replay then in my opinion it will be worth it (but I'm not a Tigers fan or related to Galarraga). I've read a few suggestions on the best way to incorporate it but here's how I'd like to see it:

  • All plays but balls and strikes would be subject to review.
  • Each manager gets to review one play (right or wrong) per game, so they would need to use it wisely.
  • If a call is not overturned the manager who requested the review is ejected, there has to be a consequence for being wrong.
  • The 9th inning and beyond all close plays are reviewed automatically.

I know the puritan police will fly into an uproar but come on, this isn't your grandfathers national pasttime. Expansion, the DH, interleague play, and the importance of the all-star game has made this a decidedly different game than was played 50 years ago. That's just fact. And if replay adds a few minutes to a game, so be it, better that calls are right.

Technology exists to make the games better, MLB would be wise to use it.