Monday, September 17, 2012

Odorizzi

With just a few weeks left in the season the Royals finally decided to call up Jake Odorizzi (or Ody, as he's soon to be called by Ned Yost). The 22 year old right-hander had a successful season splitting time between Northwest Arkansas and Omaha.

YearTmWLERAGSIPBBSOWHIPH/9BB/9SO/9
20122 Teams1553.0325145.1501351.2528.23.18.4
2012Northwest Arkansas423.32738.010470.9746.42.411.1
2012Omaha1132.9318107.140881.3518.83.47.4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table

But now that he's got the call when will he get the ball? From the article linked above:

“He won’t start against any contending clubs,” Yost said. “We’ve got two series against Cleveland. We might start him at the end of this week here in one of those games against Cleveland.”

Well there you go. In a misguided and hilarious attempt to protect the integrity of the Al Central race Yost has decided it wouldn't be right to start Odorizzi against the White Sox and the Tigers. It's hilarious and misguided because of two pitchers he will start against them - Bruce Chen (76 ERA+) and Luke Hochevar (76 ERA+). 

Odorizzi will make his first start September 23rd against the Indians. Waiting until Sunday means his next start will fall on September 28th, also against the Indians. (Of course that's if he gets a second start, this is the Royals we're talking about.) A possible third and final start would fall on the season's last day against the Tigers, but if neither Chicago or Detroit has taken care of business by then, Odorizzi would presumably get bumped.

It's difficult to evaluate players in September because of expanded rosters, so you take such evaluations for what they're worth, but if I had a choice between sending Odorizzi against teams battling for first place or one battling for fourth, well, I know which I'd choose. It's disappointing that Yost feels differently.

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I made a guest appearance on the most recent Pine Tar Podcast. We talked a little about the year thus far and about what to expect this off season. I had a great time talking to Clint and David so be sure to check that out.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bringing Back Hochevar

The first two paragraphs of Bob Dutton's latest column will not be a pretty sight to those of you hoping to see Luke Hochevar non-tendered or traded this winter:
Let there be no doubt: the Royals remain bullish in their belief that right-hander Luke Hochevar can be a productive cornerstone in their rotation for years to come despite his ongoing inconsistencies in a disappointing season.
General manager Dayton Moore dismisses the suggestion the Royals might walk away from Hochevar, who is again eligible for arbitration, after the season. Manager Ned Yost barks “absolutely” when asked if Hochevar can be part of a championship rotation.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/09/10/3807643/royals-are-convinced-hochevar.html#storylink=cpy
I think it's safe to say that the Royals front office learned nothing from the Kyle Davies fiasco. They complimented Davies' talent at every turn, and gave him every opportunity to succeed, but the results never matched his stuff. Davies had a 77 career ERA+ when Dayton Moore finally gave up on the right-hander. 77, coincidentally, is Hochevar's ERA+ this year. To show how little he's come, in his first full season, back in 2008, Hochevar posted a 78 ERA+.

He gets dogged for being inconsistent but that's not exactly true. He's never had an ERA+ above 87 in any season, so you see, he is consistent, consistently bad. Davies, to his credit, actually hit 107 once. The only good thing I have left to say about Hochevar is that he is a reliable starter. You can be sure he'll take the mound every fifth, and there is some value in that, maybe not much, but some. The problem is he's not reliably good and has no business anywhere near the front of a rotation.

The main problem with the 2012 team has been the starting pitching. Bruce Chen is under contract for next year and, like Hochevar, is also sitting on a 77 ERA+. Bringing both back is a clear signal that Moore has no interest in seriously upgrading the rotation. The only pitcher in the current rotation that I want to see in next year's is Jeremy Guthrie and he may be pitching himself out of the Royals price range. It's time to part ways with Hochevar and wish him luck in the National League.
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Brett Myers has had a solid year but he has been absolutely demolished by the Royals. In 5 appearances totaling 3.1 innings they have hit .720/.704/.920 against him. He's faced 27 Royals, 18 have got hits and 12 have scored (32.40 ERA). His game logs tell the humorous tale.
Date Tm Opp IP H R ER BB SO
2012-06-18 HOU KCR 0.2 8 5 5 0 0
2012-08-08 CHW KCR 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
2012-08-18 CHW KCR 1.0 4 4 4 0 0
2012-09-08 CHW KCR 0.1 3 1 1 0 0
2012-09-09 CHW KCR 0.1 3 2 2 1 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool

I don't understand why Robin Ventura brought him into a scoreless game in the 10th inning Sunday, but to be honest, I don't understand a lot of the things Ventura has done this year.
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Don't look now but Johnny Giavotella is starting to hit. He's batting .298/.353/.404 over his last 14 games. In an even smaller sample size he's batting .318/.423/.500 in September (7 games). And Sunday he became just the 12th Royal in history to walk 3 times and steal 2 bases in a single game. 


Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt BB SB
1 Joe Foy 1969-05-30 (2) KCR NYY L 4-5 3 2
2 Freddie Patek 1975-04-15 KCR OAK W 4-3 3 2
3 Amos Otis 1975-05-01 KCR CAL W 11-10 3 4
4 Amos Otis 1975-05-25 KCR BAL W 9-1 3 3
5 Hal McRae 1976-06-01 KCR OAK W 5-2 3 2
6 Amos Otis 1976-06-20 KCR CLE L 8-11 3 2
7 Frank White 1979-04-27 KCR CLE W 15-7 3 2
8 Amos Otis 1979-06-03 KCR MIL W 6-1 3 2
9 Lonnie Smith 1985-07-01 KCR OAK L 3-4 3 2
10 Bill Pecota 1988-09-25 KCR CHW L 5-6 3 2
11 Willie Wilson 1988-09-25 KCR CHW L 5-6 3 2
12 Jay Bell 1997-09-27 KCR CHW W 10-4 3 2
13 Carlos Beltran 2004-04-20 KCR CLE W 15-5 3 3
14 Coco Crisp 2009-05-05 KCR CHW W 8-7 4 2
15 Johnny Giavotella 2012-09-09 KCR CHW W 2-1 3 2
His major league career has thus far been a disappointment, so  even though the sample sizes are indeed small, they are still encouraging.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Chen'd

Bruce Chen's latest masterpiece sent me to baseball-reference.com's play index to see where his chentastic outing places him in the annals of Royals history. The Chencinnati Kid gave up 3 home runs yesterday which means:
  • He has now allowed 3 home runs in 8 of his starts as a Royal. This places him in a third place tie with Brian Bannister for the most in KC history. Dennis Leonard (10) and Kevin Appier (9) top the list but Chen has achieved this feat in 9.1% of his starts. That is much higher than Leonard (3.3%) and Appier (3.2%).
  • He has become the fourth Royal to have four 3+ HR games in a season. Darrell May (2004), Paul Byrd (2002) and Chris Haney (1996) comprise the rest of the club. Unless he's shut down he'll have the opportunity to put up a five spot. C'mon Chen!
  • He became the seventh Royal, and first since Bannister in 2008, to give up 3+ home runs in consecutive starts. Three bad pitches in his next outing and he'll be the first to allow 3+ in three straight starts.
  • The 31 home runs he's allowed this season is the eighth most in Royals history. May's club record of 38 set back in 2004 is in serious jeopardy.
Stop the chensanity, please!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Best Finishes In Royals History

If you're dreaming of an epic finish that will see the Royals to an 81-81 record, stop, and dream of this instead. They need to go 21-8 to finish at .500 and history says that is not going to happen.

Here are the best 29 game finishes in team history and as you can see they've only hit 21+ once.
Year W L
1977 23 6
1978 20 9
1975 19 10
2008 19 10
1984 18 11
1987 18 11
2011 17 12
1985 16 13
1996 16 13
1969 15 14
1971 15 14
1983 15 14
1986 15 14
1993 15 14

A 16-13 finish will give them a final record of 76-86, which would be the best of the Dayton Moore era. Year six.

The Curse Of Lew Ford

Not many people are aware of what transpired on September 9, 2000 but the fate of two franchises were turned on that date. That what the day the Minnesota Twins acquired Lew Ford.

Before the Ford trade the Royals more than held their own against the Twins. From 1969-2000 KC went 232-222 against Minnesota, but since, have gone just 81-138. Even though Ford wouldn't make his debut until 2003 the trade paid immediate dividends. After going 5-7 against the Royals in 2000 the Twins won 13 of the 19 times they met in 2001.

On June 16, 2003 Ford faced the Royals for the first time. He replaced Torii Hunter in the 7th inning and, of course, doubled in his first at bat. He would hit a 3 run home run in the 8th inning and add a walk in the 9th. The Royals were up 8-0 when Ford entered the game but wound up needing to win the game in walk off fashion. He hit .417/.533/.750 in the four game set and was well on his way to becoming my least favorite player.

For his career, which is somehow still going (screw you Baltimore!), Ford has put up a .295/.377/.481 line against the Royals. I wasn't shocked to learn that he has more home runs against the Royals than any other team (ditto runs and RBIs). That sounded about right.

The Twins are happily chugging along in last place this year but the unholy Ford taint that remains has allowed them to go 10-5 against the Royals. If you want to blame organizational philosophy, fundamentals, players, coaches or whatever else floats your boat for Kansas City's weak play against the Twinkies, then fine, do that. I blame Lew Ford.

He is my Newman.