Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Will To Lose

Remember all those times we joked that Ned Yost would rather lose than use Greg Holland in a tied game on the road? Even though it didn't work out, we applauded Yost's use of Holland on opening day. Maybe, just maybe, it signaled the dawn of a new Ned. It was a nice dream but, after last night's brutal loss, the Royals' skipper served up a dose of reality.
He also added that he's got "confidence in everybody down there". Maybe he shouldn't. It was fine to bring in Louis Coleman to face Nelson Cruz. Coleman has struck out 31% of the right-handed hitters he's faced in his career and has held them to a .191/.281/.355 line. He's fared less well against left-handed hitters. They now hit .243/.324/.442 against him while striking out 21% of the time. When Nick Markakis came to the plate it was time to bring in Holland. He's been tough on hitters of both persuasions, .216/.275/.315 vs RHB, and .192/.278/.281 vs LHB. But the game was tied, and Ned wasn't going there. The Royals lost but at least Holland wasn't wasted in non-save situation.

Knowing Ned, he'll likely reverse course and do the opposite the first chance he gets. The damage has been though. The Royals lost a game because Yost didn't really want to win. That may be a snarky and simplistic interpretation but I don't care. Kansas City fans deserve better than what's being forced upon us. The Royals haven't been to the playoffs since 1985 but management, and the team's broadcasters, continually criticize the impatience of the fanbase. They honestly believe that negativity on twitter affect the play on the field. That's just crazy, right? They sell us that garbage even though each season we are told this is the year they are going for it. Yes I'm impatient and I earned that impatience the hard way. Want me to lose that impatience? Then try to win them all and give me some postseason baseball.

Try to win them all, Ned. Try to win them all.

*********

A small, but vocal, segment of the fanbase are rejoicing in Billy Butler's struggles. They have been saying since 2009 that he's a terrible hitter and they now feel this is their I told you so moment. It's all just so ridiculous. Here's where Butler ranked in OPS+ from 2009-2013 among American League hitters with 2000+ plate appearances:

Rk Player OPS+ PA From To
1 Miguel Cabrera 171 3370 2009 2013
2 Jose Bautista 148 2669 2009 2013
3 Joe Mauer 143 2672 2009 2013
4 David Ortiz 142 2821 2009 2013
5 Evan Longoria 138 2911 2009 2013
6 Robinson Cano 137 3429 2009 2013
7 Shin-Soo Choo 133 2375 2009 2012
8 Josh Hamilton 130 2746 2009 2013
9 Carlos Santana 130 2101 2010 2013
10 Adrian Beltre 129 2987 2009 2013
11 Edwin Encarnacion 129 2335 2009 2013
12 Mike Napoli 129 2369 2009 2013
13 Billy Butler 128 3370 2009 2013
That's pretty good and really shows the ignorance of the anti-Butler cult. Since all he does is hit, they say it's his job to hit 30 home runs every year (even though no hitter in team history could manage that). I say since all he does is hit then it's job to get on base. Here's where he ranks in on-base percentage in the same time frame:

Rk Player OBP PA From To
1 Miguel Cabrera .419 3370 2009 2013
2 Joe Mauer .410 2672 2009 2013
3 Jose Bautista .384 2669 2009 2013
4 Shin-Soo Choo .382 2375 2009 2012
5 David Ortiz .379 2821 2009 2013
6 Kevin Youkilis .379 2167 2009 2013
7 Billy Butler .372 3370 2009 2013
It gets even more ridiculous when they hold up Hal McRae as the DH Butler should be. It's ridiculous because that's who Butler has basically been. Want proof? Cool, let me provide it. Here are the career 162 game averages for both hitters:

Player G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
McRae 162 626 561 73 163 38 5 15 85 50 61 .290 .351 .454 .805 123
Butler 162 672 601 71 178 39 1 18 89 62 97 .296 .362 .454 .816 120

Butler may well be in decline. His body type suggests that will happen sooner rather than later. If that is true, though, it doesn't erase the last five seasons. So no, weirdo, you don't get to say I told you so, because for five years you were wrong.

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