Tuesday, June 28, 2011

6 man rotation

I've touched on this on twitter, but not here, I actually have no problem with the Royals making this move. Well that's not quite true, I do have an issue with who the 6th starter will be but overall I think it's an acceptable compromise since its goal is to keep Danny Duffy on the roster.

A 6 man rotation, for however long it lasts (I doubt it lasts remainder of the year), will do much in reducing Duffy's innings. He threw only 62.1 innings last year and I would hope they wouldn't want him making 30+ starts this year. He has 15 right now between Omaha and Kansas City.

The compromise unfortunately also involved Kyle Davies. I'm not really sure what else they need to see out of him, he's 27 years old and sporting a career low 52 ERA+. 2008 is becoming more and more of a distant memory, it's time to move on. Seeing him pitch every sixth day instead of every fifth is the only bright side to his return.

Odd decision by Yost

Down 1 in the 9th inning Ned Yost had to pinch hit for Greg Holland, with his choice of three players he inexplicably picked Jarrod Dyson (.185/.313/.185) over Mitch Maier (.317/.440/.439) and Wilson Betemit (.286/.343/.407). It was the wrong move whether it would've worked or not but, surprisingly, it didn't.

Dyson only exists in the Royals realm because of his speed not because of an ability to get on base. Ned might have been thinking that if Dyson could get on and steal second, then he could score on a single by Cabrera (who in fact did single) and he would still have Maier and Betemit on the bench should the game go into extra innings. I hope he wasn't thinking that because that's just crazy, I mean, prolonging the game should always be the first priority. But we've seen him do things before that suggests he worries more about potential moves should they tie a game rather than actually, you know, tying the game.

Dyson is a fun little weapon, when used correctly of course - unfortunately that's a qualifier Yost completely forgot last night.

As for the rest of the game, I found Josh Duggan's analysis at Royals Review to be pretty much spot on.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Getz comps

As Johnny Giavotella continues to rake and Chris Getz continues to, um, not, I thought I'd take a look at Getz's baseball-reference similar batters to see how many career plate appearances they received. Getz is at 922 and counting. I believe at bats are incorporated into similarity scores, so if he keeps playing he'll eventually get some new company but here's who he's rooming with right now.
  1. Les Burke - 581
  2. Alberto Gonzalez - 762 (active)
  3. Dee Phillips - 626
  4. Barney McLaughlin - 766
  5. Jack Lewis - 761
  6. Doc Gautreau - 935
  7. Jay Partridge - 702
  8. Hank Schenz - 575
  9. Wilson Delgado - 601
  10. Johnny O'Brien - 906
All these guys had less than a thousand PAs for a reason with that reason being, of course, that Ned Yost wasn't their manager.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Yost on Davies

“But when you’ve got guys like Kyle Davies and Bruce Chen, two guys who are pretty important to your 
starting rotation, you can’t just move them out."  Ned Yost

Chen I'll give him, but Davies, I'm not sure how to respond to so idiotic a statement.  Of course you can move Davies out, simply because he's one of the worst pitchers in baseball history. And he's not shown that he's getting better either. I really wish somebody would point Yost to baseball-reference.com so that he can see that a lot of what he says is purely insane. I mean there's no way that he can believe this garbage, is there?

And that's what it is, garbage. Since 1901 there have been 1,461 pitchers throw at least 700 innings, among those:

Only four have a lower ERA+.

Player ERA+ IP
Mike Kekich 73 860.2
Kevin Jarvis 74 780.2
Jay Hook 75 752.2
Phil Ortega 75 951.2
Kyle Davies 77 747.2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used

Only sixteen have a worse WAR.

Player WAR IP
Bill Bailey -6.3 1084.1
Gus Dorner -5.8 910.1
Mike Kekich -5.8 860.2
Kevin Jarvis -5.6 780.2
Elmer Myers -4.8 1102.0
Fred Mitchell -4.4 718.1
Randy Lerch -4.2 1099.1
Jimmy Jones -3.7 755.0
Wade Blasingame -3.6 863.2
Les Sweetland -3.4 740.2
Happy Townsend -3.4 1137.2
Don Black -3.1 797.0
Hal Gregg -2.9 827.0
John D'Acquisto -2.8 779.2
Kaiser Wilhelm -2.7 1432.1
Mal Eason -2.7 942.1
Kyle Davies -2.4 747.2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used

Only twelve have a higher WHIP.

Player WHIP IP
Les Sweetland 1.823 740.2
Claude Willoughby 1.803 841.1
Roxie Lawson 1.732 851.2
Sugar Cain 1.710 987.1
Russ Van Atta 1.693 712.1
Lou Kretlow 1.659 785.1
Chief Hogsett 1.646 1222.0
Jimmy Haynes 1.632 1200.2
Hub Pruett 1.627 745.0
Kevin Ritz 1.626 753.1
Jack Wilson 1.621 1131.2
Ken Chase 1.615 1165.0
Kyle Davies 1.614 747.2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used

I've said before, and still believe, that the rotation can get by with Davies or Hochevar but not both, and since Hochevar isn't going anywhere in the foreseeable future it would be madness to send Davies out there every fifth day again.

So that's probably exactly what will happen.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Freddie's big day

Freddie Patek had a lot of great games with the Kansas City Royals, but the best game of his life came as a member of the California Angels, and it happened thirty-one years ago today. On June 20, 1980 Patek hit 3 home runs and drove in 7 in leading the Angels to a 20-2 spanking of the Red Sox. He also had 4 hits and scored 4 runs. That game came smack dab in the middle of 20 game stretch that saw Patek hit .355/.375/.566 with 19 RBI's. It looked like a career renaissance for the little guy but he hit just .185 the rest of the season and was essentially done as a player. His 92 OPS+ in 1980 was the second best mark of his career and probably can be owed entirely to his career day on June 20th.

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Alcides Escobar continues to impress at the plate. I seem to be writing a lot about him lately, which is plenty fine with me. In his last 12 games, he has at least 2 hits in 9 of them, and is batting .512/.543/.744 in that period with 7 extra base hits and 6 stolen bases. He really is doing a little bit of everything. 

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The surging Twins have taken over 4th place, which means the Royals now occupy the basement in the AL Central. 

Rk Tm W L W-L% GB R RA
1 CLE 39 31 .557 --- 4.4 4.2
2 DET 39 33 .542 1.0 4.6 4.3
3 CHW 35 38 .479 5.5 4.2 4.2
4 MIN 31 39 .443 8.0 3.8 4.6
5 KCR 31 41 .431 9.0 4.5 5.0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

I think it's okay to assume they are going to be sellers at the trade deadline. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's Escobar's world

Alcides Escobar had 3 more hits last night giving him his fifth consecutive multi-hit game. He also has an eight game hitting streak. Here is some of what he's done lately:
  • Last 5 Games - .632/.650/.895
  • Last 8 Games - .552/.567/.724
  • In June - .353/.365/.451
He's been doing a little bit of everything as he has 5 doubles and 3 stolen bases in his last 5 games, and of course he is still playing outstanding defense. For the year his on-base percentage is up to a season best .276, he's raised it a whopping 39 points during his hitting streak.

Only two shortstops in team history have had a longer multi-hit streak than Escobar's 5. Freddie Patek had 8 straight multi-hit games in 1971 (the year he finished 6th in MVP voting) and Angel Berroa had a 6 game streak in 2005.

Here are the longest streaks by shortstops this year (Tulowitzki is good, really good).

Rk Strk Start End Games H 2B 3B HR RBI SO SB BA OBP SLG Tm
1 Jose Reyes 2011-05-24 2011-05-29 6 14 3 2 0 2 0 2 .519 .536 .778 NYM
2 Alcides Escobar 2011-06-10 2011-06-15 5 12 5 0 0 3 0 3 .632 .650 .895 KCR
3 Emilio Bonifacio 2011-06-09 2011-06-13 5 11 4 1 0 2 7 0 .524 .565 .810 FLA
4 Troy Tulowitzki 2011-06-08 2011-06-12 5 11 2 0 2 12 3 0 .500 .542 .864 COL
5 Brendan Ryan 2011-05-22 2011-05-25 4 9 1 1 0 3 0 0 .563 .563 .750 SEA
6 Ryan Theriot 2011-05-15 2011-05-18 4 8 1 0 0 3 0 0 .500 .556 .563 STL
7 Jhonny Peralta 2011-05-06 2011-05-09 4 8 1 0 1 4 3 0 .471 .500 .706 DET
8 Troy Tulowitzki 2011-04-11 2011-04-14 4 10 1 0 4 8 1 0 .625 .700 1.438 COL
9 Jose Reyes 2011-04-03 2011-04-07 4 8 2 0 0 0 1 2 .400 .400 .500 NYM
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/16/2011.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Top prospects lead the way

Last night Royals fans saw something they hope to see a lot of as four of the players that are considered to be instrumental to the franchise's revival led them to a victory over the A's.

Mike Moustakas - who is having his way with big league pitching- had 2 hits, a walk, and 2 runs. Not only is he the first player in team history to have a walk and a hit in each of his first 4 career games, since 1919, he is one of only seven players to begin a career with that long of a streak. 

Rk Strk Start End Games H BB BA OBP SLG OPS Tm
1 George Shuba 1948-07-02 1948-07-06 6 10 7 .455 .586 .636 1.223 BRO
2 Glenn Gulliver 1982-07-17 1982-07-21 5 5 7 .385 .600 .462 1.062 BAL
3 Mike Moustakas 2011-06-10 2011-06-14 4 5 4 .385 .529 .615 1.145 KCR
4 Tony Taylor 1958-04-15 1958-04-19 4 4 4 .267 .421 .333 .754 CHC
5 Don Blasingame 1955-09-20 1955-09-24 4 5 6 .417 .611 .500 1.111 STL
6 Ted Beard 1948-09-05 1948-09-06 4 4 4 .333 .529 .667 1.196 PIT
7 Wayne Ambler 1937-06-04 1937-06-06 4 6 4 .500 .625 .667 1.292 PHA
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used

Eric Hosmer had 2 hits and a walk, he also scored and drove in a run.

Alcides Escobar continued his hot hitting with 3 hits, a run, 2 RBI's, and a stolen base. He now has four straight multi-hit games, that ties Butler and Gordon for the longest streak by a Royal this season.

Danny Duffy gave up 2 runs in 6 innings and was rewarded with his first career win. He walked 4 and struck out only 2, so there was some bad with the good. I hope he can get his command issues resolved after his expected demotion because a  6.2 BB/9 won't cut it at the big league level, or any level for that matter.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Talent Infusion

There were plenty of ways in which the selection of Derek "Bubba" Starling would have been the wrong one last Monday. But the way the deck fell, the Royals made the only choice that made sense, and that was to take the best position player left on the board. The fact that he grew up 30 minutes from Kaufman Stadium is just a bonus.

Bubba Starling is everything you want in a prospect. He has power, speed, and a strong throwing arm. He's performed well in high school showcases around the country. He's more than just a raw athlete trying to play baseball. This isn't to say he's without risk -- by definition every prospect is. But all things considered, it's hard to disagree with this pick. He won't sign until late in the day on August 15, which sucks, but that is the nature of almost all top picks these days.

With their next five picks, the Royals took five more players 19 or younger. This is what the Royals prefer to do -- raise prospects themselves to avoid the bad habits and injury risk of going to college.

In the second round, the Royals selected catcher Cam Gallagher from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Gallagher comes from a baseball background, his father played pro ball and his brother plays in the Dodgers system. He was considered a defense first catcher coming into the year, before his bat took a big step forward this year, which in turn took his draft stock way up with it. It's not at all surprising that the Royals grabbed a catcher this early in the draft with how thin the position is not just in the Royals system, but across baseball as a whole. Despite being a high school player, Gallagher should be a quick sign.

In the next two rounds, KC grabbed two high school pitchers that don't fit the prototype they have established the past few years. Both pitches stand around six feet tall, but that doesn't mean they don't have live arms. Bryan Brickhouse, from Texas, throws hard and has an excellent breaking ball, but will need to time to wiggle out issues with control and become a "pitcher." Smith is more polished, but doesn't have quite the same velocity, though he's touched 94 so the arm strength is there. What is common between these two is they both have strong commitments to high profile programs, North Carolina and Florida respectively, so they won't be quick signs.

In the fifth round, the Royals grabbed an infielder from Texas, Pat Leonard. His high school coach was a pretty good player, some guy named Craig Biggio. Leonard has big power from the right side but will need to move off shortstop as a pro, likely third base or left field.

Unlike last year with guys like Christian Colon and Kevin Chapman, this is not a class that will provide immediate dividends. But it certainly has a lot of upside, something that will be worth the wait.