Sunday, July 31, 2011

Notable July 31st transactions

With the deadline a few hours away it certainly looks like Moore is intending to stand pat. I'm not so sure that's a bad idea. If all he is being offered is players who'll be longshots to make it to KC then he'd be trading just to be trading. Cabrera and Francoeur have been much better than expected so addition by subtraction wouldn't apply, unless you think Lorenzo Cain can match or exceed their offensive numbers. Chen and Francis have been more than serviceable and aren't blocking anyone except Mazzaro who, let's face it, just isn't very good. So I could see Moore standing pat with good reason today. 


I was on b-r's historical transaction page today looking at some of KC's past moves on July 31st. Here are a few of the more interesting and/or terrifying.


2007
The Kansas City Royals traded Octavio Dotel to the Atlanta Braves for Kyle Davies.


Remember the Dotel rumors when everyone thought KC was going to land a real prospect? It didn't happen and this trade wasn't well received by fans at all. 


2001
The Kansas City Royals traded Rey Sanchez to the Atlanta Braves for Alejandro Machado and Brad Voyles.


Six days prior KC completed the infamous Dye/Perez trade so Sanchez became expendable. Sanchez was one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball.


1999
The Kansas City Royals traded Kevin Appier to the Oakland Athletics for Jeff D'AmicoBrad Rigby and Blake Stein.


Sigh. The return KC got for the best starting pitcher in team history was underwhelming to say the least. Neither D'Amico (13.1 IP, 56 ERA+) or Rigby (29.2 IP, 53 ERA+) amounted to much. Stein had a 123 ERA+ after the trade, and showed flashes of potential the next couple of years, but ultimately his time in KC is regarded as a disappointment. Stein, interestingly enough, was part of the haul Oakland received for Mark McGwire two years earlier.


1993
The Kansas City Royals traded Jon Lieber and Dan Miceli to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Stan Belinda.


Lieber was a 2nd round pick the year before and would go on to win 131 career games, including 20 in 2001. He posted a 103 ERA+ in nearly 2200 innings while Belinda pitched 76.1 uneventful innings for KC. It's safe to say this wasn't one of the finer trades in team history.


The Kansas City Royals released Dave Stieb


I'll be honest here, I don't remember KC ever signing Stieb, but apparently they did the month before. This is only notable because he was one of the best pitchers in the 1980's. He must have been recovering from injury because he didn't appear in one game.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dan Quisenberry and the Hall of Fame

Baseball’s Hall of Fame has been the subject of massive debates ever since its creation. There are players who have been undeservedly inducted and there are players who were worthy but inexplicably shunned anyway. It’s all politics of course, as baseball writers have voted with their hearts rather than their heads too many times. The various committee’s over the years - tasked to right some of the writers wrongs - sometimes failed miserably and eventually led to a situation where Bill Mazeroski is a Hall of Famer but Frank White isn’t. You’ll be hard pressed to find two players as similar offensively and defensively as Mazeroski and White. Not that I think White should be inducted mind you, at least not while Bobby Grich and Lou Whitaker, two of his more deserving peers are on the outside looking in. While White’s candidacy rests solely on Mazeroski, Dan Quisenberry is another story. His omission is one of the writer's greater sins. In 1996, his first year of eligibility, he received just 3.8% support (same as White) and was removed from the ballot the following year. To remain he would have needed to be on at least 5% of the ballots. It’s a mystery why Quisenberry was so lightly regarded because the numbers were there. During his six year peak from 1980 to 1985 he was arguably the best pitcher in baseball. Of the 120 pitchers to toss at least 600 innings in that time frame he was first in ERA+ (165), first in WHIP (1.087), first in saves (212) and sixth in brWAR (21.1, he was the only relief pitcher in the top 11). He finished in the top 5 in Cy Young voting five times and probably should have won the award in 1983. His career only lasted 12 seasons, which I suppose may have given some voters pause. But that didn’t stop them from electing Bruce Sutter, a statistically similar relief pitcher from the same era whose career also lasted only 12 seasons.


Player ▾ brWAR ERA+ SV WHIP
Sutter 25.0 136 300 1.140
Quisenberry 24.3 147 244 1.175


Provided a future committee deems him worthy Quis definitely wouldn't be the worst pitcher there. His 147 ERA+ is tied for fifth all time so he would actually be among the best.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The pine tar game

Today's the anniversary of the infamous pine tar game. I'm sure most are familiar with it, but if you're not, you can read about it here or see a clip of it here.

Or you can just watch The Baseball Bunch reenact the at bat.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Highest single season SO/9 rates by left-handed starters in Royals history

Play index doesn't differentiate between starting and relief appearances so I set the criteria to players who started in 60% of their appearances with a minimum of 10 starts.

Rk Player SO/9 GS Year Age IP
1 Danny Duffy 7.47 11 2011 22 59.0
2 Bill Butler 7.25 29 1969 22 193.2
3 Jose Rosado 6.96 25 1998 23 174.2
4 J.P. Howell 6.69 15 2005 22 72.2
5 Jorge de la Rosa 6.66 10 2006 25 48.2
6 Darrell May 6.51 21 2002 30 131.1
7 Odalis Perez 6.45 12 2006 28 67.0
8 Bruce Chen 6.29 23 2010 33 140.1
9 Jim Rooker 6.14 22 1969 26 158.1
10 Glendon Rusch 6.13 27 1997 22 170.1

Friday, July 22, 2011

Team Billy

One of the more inexplicable storylines being played out this season is the hostility a section of the fanbase has directed at Billy Butler. Most of this is due to his low RBI total (which is just ridiculous) and for his inability to hit a home run every single at bat. In one of my many twitter rants on the subject I mentioned that Billy's numbers mirror George Brett's at the same page (by the way, if you're on twitter and are part of Team Billy then you need to be following this guy, he's driving the bus). I wasn't the only one who noticed, Michael Engel has a fantastic post on the two at Kings of Kauffman that brings the point home extremely well.

Here's the money quote:
If George Brett were playing today on this Royals team, what would people say?  Would they say the same things – that he can’t hit for power, that he can’t drive in runs like so many others?  He seemed to do alright power-wise as he got older.  The batting average and doubles stayed around, while homers increased here and there.  Brett never tried to hit homers.  His approach was to drive the ball, and if it cleared the fence, all the better.
Entering his age 25 season Brett's career high in home runs was 22 and his career high in RBI's was 90. Both are similar to Butler's 21 and 93. Then look at Brett's numbers at age 25 compared to what Billy is projected to finish with this season, based on his current production.


2B HR RBI BA OPS+
Brett 45 9 62 .294 123
Butler 40 10 65 .287 123

I'm not saying Billy is as good as Brett, I don't think Michael is saying that either, but the similarities in the two categories that Billy continually gets blasted on is striking and should give the haters pause.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Betemit dealt, Cabrera on deck?

As expected, Wilson Betemit has been traded. The return was what you'd expect for a seldom used utility infielder, meaning not much. I think it's apparent that KC drove down Betemit's value (which to be fair, may not have been all that much to begin with) by relegating him to pinch hitting duty. He had a 129 OPS+ as a Royal in 541 PA's, so he can obviously hit, but Moore backed himself in a corner by surrendering whatever leverage existed. The bigger news is that Mike Aviles has been called up to take Betemit's spot on the 25 man roster, this will hopefully lead to some bench time for Getz.

The players KC received from Detroit are likely just organization filler but Cruz is young enough that a future spot in the Royals bullpen isn't out of the question.

Antonio Javier Cruz - 19 years old
Year Age Tm Lev W L ERA G GS SV IP H BB SO WHIP H/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2009 17 Tigers FRk 3 2 3.03 15 6 1 38.2 27 32 31 1.526 6.3 7.4 7.2 0.97
2010 18 3 Teams A-A--Rk 2 1 3.13 24 0 0 37.1 34 20 28 1.446 8.2 4.8 6.8 1.40
2010 18 Tigers Rk 0 0 7.20 5 0 0 5.0 5 4 3 1.800 9.0 7.2 5.4 0.75
2010 18 Connecticut A- 0 1 2.08 9 0 0 13.0 10 6 12 1.231 6.9 4.2 8.3 2.00
2010 18 West Michigan A 2 0 2.79 10 0 0 19.1 19 10 13 1.500 8.8 4.7 6.1 1.30
2011 19 West Michigan A 2 6 3.11 22 10 1 75.1 68 28 58 1.274 8.1 3.3 6.9 2.07
3 Seasons 7 9 3.09 61 16 2 151.1 129 80 117 1.381 7.7 4.8 7.0 1.46
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

Julio Alberto Rodriguez - 21 years old
Year Age Tm Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG
2007 17 Tigers FRk 39 149 137 17 36 9 0 0 29 6 12 .263 .297 .328
2008 18 Tigers FRk 49 184 157 21 41 11 1 0 29 14 15 .261 .348 .344
2009 19 2 Teams Rk-A+ 40 138 128 12 26 7 0 1 12 4 11 .203 .243 .281
2009 19 Tigers Rk 38 131 121 11 24 7 0 1 12 4 11 .198 .240 .281
2009 19 Lakeland A+ 2 7 7 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .286 .286 .286
2010 20 3 Teams A--A+-A 82 322 298 28 74 14 2 3 28 12 44 .248 .285 .339
2010 20 Connecticut A- 52 205 189 19 51 10 2 1 14 10 32 .270 .317 .360
2010 20 West Michigan A 2 8 8 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 .250 .250 .250
2010 20 Lakeland A+ 28 109 101 9 21 4 0 2 13 2 11 .208 .226 .307
2011 21 Lakeland A+ 66 246 226 20 64 11 1 1 27 10 28 .283 .325 .354
5 Seasons 276 1039 946 98 241 52 4 5 125 46 110 .255 .302 .334

The Phillies are reportedly kicking the tires on Melky Cabrera. He would bring back a far more substantial return than Betemit, given his production and contract status. Anyone acquiring Cabrera would control him through next year, so if a team believes his 2011 numbers are legit, KC could end with a nice prospect.