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siberian khatru
03-03-2005, 09:52 AM
Take a break from the FA frenzy for a sec.

http://www.robneyer.com/robrany.html

Rob & Rany on the Royals


WEDNESDAY, FEB. 23

Rob: Still trying to regain my equilibrium after watching the Jayhawks lose to Iowa State -- in Lawrence -- and thought writing about the Royals might help…

You saw, I’m sure, Bob Dutton’s article in the Star about Ken Harvey. Here’s my favorite quote…

“I just laugh at it. I've seen other guys come through the organization and have the same thing happen to them. So I feel like it's my turn to go through it. I don't feel I have the same admiration here this year from some people that I had in the past. As to why, I don't know. Who understands a lot of things the Royals do?”

That’s Ken Harvey, completely ignoring the simple fact that he has never, not even once, put up the kind of numbers expected from a major-league first baseman in this new century.

Here’s my second-favorite passage from the article…

We pushed Harvey to the max,” manager Tony Peña said. “There was a time when he was very tired, but he was the only one who was swinging the bat well. If we had taken him out, given him a couple of days' rest, he would have been different. We didn't have that luxury.”

Reading that, you might reasonably think that Harvey played in 150 games, and racked up 600 at-bats.

He did not. Instead, the numbers were 120 and 456. Yes, “Grimace” was perhaps less than 100 percent healthy last season; according to Dutton, there was a strained oblique muscle and a sprained right knee. The problem is that Harvey’s about to turn twenty-seven, and he’s never, not even once, done anything to earn an everyday job in the major leagues.

I’m going to keep going, because there are still a lot of Royals fans who haven’t accepted this basic truth. Here are the last four seasons, with two of them translating Harvey’s minor-league stats to major-league performance:

OBP Slugging
2001 .329 .436
2002 .301 .418
2003 .307 .408
2004 .329 .421

Folks, this is who Ken Harvey is. He might be a little better next year, he might be a little worse. But that decent first half in 2004 was little more than a sample-size fluke, and all the wishing in the world isn’t going to make Grimace much better than a big purple character designed to sell chocolate shakes.

If the Royals get some sense and go with 11 pitchers, Harvey can play once or twice per week, against left-handers. But if they stick to their plan to keep 12 pitchers on the roster, then Harvey must be traded or sent to Omaha. Because the man flat can’t hit right-handed pitching.

Rany: The sky is blue.

Pigs don’t have wings.

The temperature in hell is greater than 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

I realize the above sentences are neither surprising nor particularly interesting, but neither is the fact that we’re wasting bandwidth to point out that Ken Harvey can’t hit. Some things are self-evident.

Some things should be self-evident. If I may borrow an old line from a friend of ours, the Royals have never been the kind of organization that would allow themselves to be intimidated by something as trivial as common sense.

Since being promoted to Double-A in 2001, Harvey has provided only one piece of statistical evidence that he’s capable of anything more than a 750 OPS. And that piece of evidence consists of a .479 average in the Arizona Fall League, which was only made possible with the generous support of ballpark effects, low-caliber pitching, and (most of all) small sample sizes.

So yes, the bloom left this particular rose a long time ago. Unfortunately, the Royals put blinders on to Harvey’s performance an even longer time ago. I mean, it’s not exactly breaking news that the guy doesn’t have 40-homer, or even 20-homer, power. It’s not a revelation that he’s an extremely impatient hitter, and it’s not even a revelation to the Royals, given that they seem to be at least paying lip service to the importance of plate discipline the last few years. His defense looks only good in comparison to Sweeney’s; as Jeff Passan of the Star put it to me recently, “The Royals think that if Harvey gets the chance to play everyday at first base, he can be average.” Doug Mientkiewicz, he’s not.

So the only skill that would justify his status as an everyday player would be an ability to hit enough singles to challenge for a batting title. Harvey hit for great averages in college and in the low minors, but last year’s .287 was actually his highest average above Double-A.

It’s as if the Royals decided to freeze their impression of him on June 3rd, when his average stood at .379. He had finally proven what they had known all along – he could hit for a mean average – so why bother adjusting that opinion to reflect the fact that, from June 4th on, he hit .230 with 6 homers and 16 walks?

At least they’re going through the motions of claiming that Pickering has a chance to beat out Harvey for a job. That’s awfully charitable of them, given that Pickering was one of the best hitters in their lineup from the moment they called him up last August. Here’s what PECOTA thinks the two will do this season:

Ken Harvey: .268/.323/.428
Calvin Pickering: .272/.400/.543

I find it particularly amusing that Pickering is projected to hit for a higher average than Mr. Ducksnort.

And don’t even get me started on the absurdity of carrying 12 pitchers…

shakesthecat
03-03-2005, 10:03 AM
Here.

Let's hope Pickering lights up ST so much, Baird and Pena have no choice but to either send him to Omaha of find some sucker to make a trade for him.

ChiTown
03-03-2005, 10:15 AM
I am not a Ken Harvey fan at all. 1b should hit for power and drive in runs. I'd rather have the Royals trade him for some minor league prospects vs having him on an already crowded 1b position.

Sure-Oz
03-03-2005, 10:18 AM
harvey blows, he cant even get out of the way of a ball.

beavis
03-03-2005, 10:19 AM
Here.

Let's hope Pickering lights up ST so much, Baird and Pena have no choice but to either send him to Omaha of find some sucker to make a trade for him.
I really don't understand their thought process sometimes. Sometimes I think Baird has too much scout in him, and ignores the obvious. Harvey is an average fielding first baseman, that hits for no power, and is streaky at best for average. With the complete lack of power in the lineup, I don't know why they don't give Pickering a chance.

Iowanian
03-03-2005, 10:21 AM
The badnews Royals aren't going to have a chance at winning 20 games until Buttermaker gets serious about coaching them fundamentals and Kelly agrees to play outfield.

siberian khatru
03-03-2005, 10:23 AM
The badnews Royals aren't going to have a chance at winning 20 games until Buttermaker gets serious about coaching them fundamentals and Kelly agrees to play outfield.

I'm worried about Amanda's elbow. If we have to rely on Stein ... :shake:

Sure-Oz
03-03-2005, 10:23 AM
Pick gave us a legit power threat, id rather have him in thn harvey easy.

shakesthecat
03-03-2005, 10:28 AM
I really don't understand their thought process sometimes. Sometimes I think Baird has too much scout in him, and ignores the obvious. Harvey is an average fielding first baseman, that hits for no power, and is streaky at best for average. With the complete lack of power in the lineup, I don't know why they don't give Pickering a chance.


Some of the things I've read lately are saying Pick will get a chance.
May just be lip service, but I hope not.

Pick worked his arse off and is reportedly "down" to about 280.

I know what Grimace can do over a full season. Not much.
I'd like to find out what kind of numbers Pick can put up with 500+ AB's

KevB
03-03-2005, 10:29 AM
I really don't understand their thought process sometimes. Sometimes I think Baird has too much scout in him, and ignores the obvious. Harvey is an average fielding first baseman, that hits for no power, and is streaky at best for average. With the complete lack of power in the lineup, I don't know why they don't give Pickering a chance.

Baird said that for every two runs Pickering creates offensively, he lets in a run. Sounds like a 2-1 win to me. Seriously, Harvey is average at best as a 1B....why does Baird think it's such a dropoff to Pick? They're both terrible, as is Sweeney. That being the case, why not put the guy in who'll drive in runs and get on base?

Pitchers have caught up to Harvey, as his swing has multiple holes in it. He actually does an amazing job of making contact with such a terrible swing, but he doesn't hit the ball hard often enough.

Cochise
03-03-2005, 10:30 AM
I like Harvey, but realize he's a AA-AAA player. It's a rebuilding mode, you're going to have guys like this in your lineup.

That being said, a little moderation here. Mike Sweeney suddenly became one of the best right-handed hitters in baseball at age 25 after putting up Harveyesque numbers before that.

No, there are probably not 3 other big-league teams for which Harvey would be playing 1B. But he's only like 25, and has been good at times. He hit .287 last year, he could become a good hitter. And, I agree that it should be in Omaha. Unfortunately the level of offensive talent in KC is just low right now.

siberian khatru
03-03-2005, 10:31 AM
Pitchers have caught up to Harvey, as his swing has multiple holes in it. He actually does an amazing job of making contact with such a terrible swing, but he doesn't hit the ball hard often enough.

Dude's all about grounding singles into the hole at short.

WilliamTheIrish
03-03-2005, 10:43 AM
No plate dicipline.
Doesn't draw BB's.
doesn't have power #'s to justify position.
Doesn't run.
Doesn't move laterally. At ALL.

Reminds me of when the Blue Jays had Danny Ainge playing 3b.

Bil James would describe Ainge in two words in the Baseball Abstract:

"Dribble, Dribble."

KevB
03-03-2005, 10:50 AM
Dude's all about grounding singles into the hole at short.

It was uncanny during last year's first half, how many times he'd roll over on a breaking ball and hit a weak grounder between SS and 3B.

beavis
03-03-2005, 11:08 AM
Baird said that for every two runs Pickering creates offensively, he lets in a run.
I read that comment too, and it's complete bs. He'd have to be committing 50 errors a year at first base for that to be true. I understand that defense is important, but when it leads to a lineup full of .250 hitters...