Thursday, September 29, 2011

Salvador

He had an unexpectedly awesome rookie season. Just a year prior he was a 20 year old catcher hitting .287/.322/.476 in high A and at the time his rookie season looked a good two or three years away. A hot start to the next season, however, accelerated his timeline and late in the summer he found himself having his way with big league pitching, hitting a healthy .345/.357/.490 in 154 plate appearances. But enough about Pablo Sandoval, let's talk about Salvador Perez.

It's hard not to notice the similarities of the two players. Last year for high A Wilmington Perez hit .290/.322/.411 as a 20 year old. He split time between NW Arkansas and Omaha this season before being promoted to Kansas City where he would finish an impressive rookie campaign with a .331/.361/.473 triple slash line.

Here is the direct comparison between the two rookie seasons.
Player PA 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS+ brWAR
Sandoval 154 10 1 3 24 4 14 .345 .357 .490 118 0.9
Perez 158 8 2 3 21 7 20 .331 .361 .473 129 1.1

Positional comparisons end at the big league level since Sandoval was moved off catcher almost immediately but offensively they were pretty similar. Sandoval has gone on to become a force at the plate putting up a 130 OPS+ since his rookie season. Now I can't really see Perez matching that but I can see him matching someone else who came out hitting out of the gate.

Since 1970 nine players in their first season have hit .330 or better in 150+ plate appearances. It's an odd mix of Hall of Famers, flash in the pans and solid, if not spectacular, contributors.

Rk Player Year BA PA
1 Rennie Stennett 1971 .353 165
2 Luis Salazar 1980 .337 183
3 Wade Boggs 1982 .349 381
4 Frank Thomas 1990 .330 240
5 Bret Barberie 1991 .353 162
6 Bill Mueller 1996 .330 228
7 Ichiro Suzuki 2001 .350 738
8 Pablo Sandoval 2008 .345 154
9 Salvador Perez 2011 .331 158
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used

I don't think he'll put up numbers like Boggs, Thomas, Suzuki and Sandoval going forward but I don't think he'll tank like Stennett, Salazar and Barberie either. That leaves us with Mueller who finished his career with a .291 average and 109 OPS+, numbers attainable by Perez though truthfully I don't think his batting average will be that high.

Realistically Perez will earn his keep with his glove and arm. He's been so good on offense that I almost forgot that he picked two runners off base in his major league (side note - it happened in the game that the Rays scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 9th to win, sorry Boston). It seems likely that Perez will never hit .330 over the course of a full season but his approach at the plate was impressive enough that I believe he will flirt with .300 a few times. I also expect that he'll have a few seasons where he hits .250 with an on-base percentage south of .300, I guess basically I expect him to be Mike Aviles.

He's just 21 and has only 158 career plate appearances so I realize I'm getting way ahead of myself here but the season's over and everyone knows that the offseason is the domain of speculations and projections.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Least Favorite Day Of The Year

If Opening Day should be a federal holiday then the final game of the season should be a national day of mourning. The day the regular season comes to an end is probably my least favorite day of the year because for the last two and a half decades it has meant the end of baseball in Kansas City. (Hopefully that changes sometimes in the next few years.)

The end of this season is more depressing than usual because the Royals have played pretty good ball the last couple months. Of course I realize 2011 has to end before meaningful baseball can be played in 2012 but that doesn't make it any easier.

Friday, September 23, 2011

20/20

Rk Player Year HR SB
1 Amos Otis 1978 22 32
2 Bo Jackson 1988 25 27
3 Bo Jackson 1989 32 26
4 Carlos Beltran 1999 22 27
5 Carlos Beltran 2001 24 31
6 Carlos Beltran 2002 29 35
7 Carlos Beltran 2003 26 41
8 Jeff Francoeur 2011 20 22
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used

With his 20th home run tonight Jeff Francoeur became just the fourth Royal in history to post a 20/20 season.

Anyone who says they saw this coming is a liar.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Teaford

Before Francis was signed and Chen was brought back I was campaigning for Everett Teaford to land one of the rotation spots. To be fair I didn't mind the Francis and Chen signings because I felt they could be serviceable innings eaters, which they have been. But now I wonder if the 2012 team wouldn't have been best served by giving Teaford 30 starts this year just to see how he'd do. He has looked good in relief and he tossed 5 shutout innings in his first major league start yesterday (true it was against the Mariners but it still counts as a major league start). His two appearances prior to his start he pitched 3 and 2.2 innings and gave up a combined 1 hit and 0 runs.

I imagine he is a longshot to make the 2012 rotation, unless Moore fails to land another starter via trade or free agency. If Adcock starts the season in Omaha - like many expect - Teaford would be a natural to inherit his long relief/spot starter role.