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Old 12-11-2012, 09:59 AM  
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2013 Kansas City Royals Repository Thread

Proposed 2013 Slogan: Tigers: They're what's for dinner
Actual 2013 Slogan: Come to Play
A better, more accurate, or alternative slogan: All in, no panic, we promise.

Dayton Moore has pushed all his chips in and is riding on King/Jack suited, hoping it comes together, he gets some good luck, and he hits the nuts by the river card. There's potential, oh yes, there's potential. There's also risk.

At the midway point, Dayton is left counting on the river card. The flop and turn didn't help him, and he's looking at the Tigers holding a pair of Queens and the Indians holding a pair of 9s. His 2013 plan hasn't failed - yet - but the odds are not in his favor.

Burning questions updates below.

Burning Questions for 2013:

1) Will the improve rotation be improved enough? Does James Shields pitch like a fringe No. 1 away from Tampa Bay? Does Ervin Santana pitch to his highest upside in his walk year? Can Jeremy Guthrie build on his strong performance as a Royal in 2012? Can Wade Davis bring his new mentality- and velocity - back to the rotation?

Midseason check-in: Yes, the rotation is certainly improved enough. Shields has pitched like a fringe No. 1 and Santana is having his best season. Guthrie has horrible peripherals but has continued to perform well at his home park and eat innings on the road. Davis brought neither his kick-ass mentality or improved velocity back to the rotation and is in Luke Hochevar/Hiram Davies territory.

2) When will Luke Hochevar be shown the door?
Midseason check-in: It appears, never, at this point. Hochevar has been solid in non-leverage situations, though pretty much every time he has been used with men on base in an inning, it has been a disaster.

3) Does Hosmer bounce back?
Midseason check-in: It took some time, but Hosmer's performance from June 1 on is probably the most encouraging thing about the 2013 season so far.
4) Can Moustakas hit for a whole season like he did in the first half of 2012?
Midseason check-in: Nope. Moustakas was god-awful, then great for about 3 weeks, then god-awful again. He has been better since he started working with Brett and Grafol but still has a long way to go.
5) Who regresses?
Midseason check-in: Welp, Alicides Escobar is not a surprising name here (though Yost's stubborn insistence on hitting him second is ridiculous). Billy Butler is a surprise. He isn't having a terrible year - still contributing a lot to the offense - but he's not hitting for the average or power he has displayed over the past several years.
6) Who plays 2B?
Midseason check-in: A whole bunch of people, and not that great. Gio is at least getting a shot, though he once again is not doing much with it.
7) Can Jeff Francoeur be at least replacement level, rather than epic horrible level?
Midseason check-in: Hahahahahahahahahahaha
8) Will Dayton Moore survive to see 2014?
Midseason check-in: Outlook uncertain. Probably still around, unless the team completely tanks in the second half and he does something foolish. My guess - he sacrifices Ned Yost this offseason and gets one more shot with a new manager in 2014.
9) Will Danny Duffy come back healthy? And if he does, is he the same, better or worse?
Midseason check-in: Yes. Velocity looks the same, and it looks likely he is the same guy as before.
10) And the big one: Has KC added enough to run down the big-money Detroit Tigers?
Midseason check-in: Doesn't look like it, does it?

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Old 05-05-2013, 01:59 AM   #3586
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Today's game will decide if the Royals can sweep the ChiSox as Shields is pitching on Monday.
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Old 05-05-2013, 05:08 AM   #3587
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Great piece about Alex Gordon. Had almost forgotten about his early struggles.


http://www.kansascity.com/2013/05/04...was-worth.html

Posted on Sat, May. 04, 2013
For Royals, Alex Gordon was worth the wait
By SAM MELLINGER
The Kansas City Star

The Royals’ best player and example of what they’re trying to do was once their worst player and example of why they never won. This is easy to forget sometimes, now that Alex Gordon is a star. The story of where the Royals have been and where they might go is also Gordon’s story.

This is worth remembering especially now, as so much of the Royals’ hopes depend on Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer making the same journey.

Gordon’s story includes the Royals once being a day away from sending him to Omaha. It includes entire batting practice sessions without a single ball hit over the wall. It includes misguided accusations of him not caring enough, which made everything only worse, a man trying too hard anyway and then gripping the bat even harder. It includes him switching positions because nobody had any other ideas.

Look at Gordon now. He might be the best corner outfielder in the American League. He signed long term for maybe 60 percent of what he could have had on the open market. He is a homegrown star in an organization that can’t win without them. He is the biggest success story for a franchise desperate for more.

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever experienced in sports,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore says. “Watching him transition to the major leagues and what he went through … he maintained his steadiness, his work ethic, his positive approach and belief.”

Gordon came to the Royals a 21-year-old college kid. He is now a husband and a father, not yet 30 but older than most of his teammates. He has grown up here, from a shy kid into one of the sport’s best all-round players. His path might also serve as a guide to the Royals’ present and future.

Alex Gordon is blessed with the talent of a star and work ethic of a grunt. The Royals selected him second overall in the 2005 draft, and the George Brett comparisons were just too obvious. They both played third base, Gordon’s brother is named after Brett, and the Hall of Famer himself once said he was “honored” by the link.

The story was irresistible. Gordon received a standing ovation before his first at bat. That’s about when the trouble started. He was hitting .172 in June of his rookie year, the team all but deciding to send him to the minors before a four-hit game in Cleveland. After that, injuries and pressure and not enough protection on bad teams.

In 2010, The Next George Brett looked more like The Next Clint Hurdle. The Royals were desperate. They told Gordon to switch from third base to left field. He took it without ego, told the world he planned “to dominate,” and the world responded with mostly laughter.

Since then, advanced metrics say he has been the best corner outfielder in the American League.

“He’s everything to us,” catcher Sal Perez says.

“We look up to him on the field, in the clubhouse, out of the clubhouse, everywhere,” center fielder Lorenzo Cain says.

“When Alex speaks, they listen,” manager Ned Yost says.

Baseball respect is earned largely through production and work ethic, and in those terms Gordon is unimpeachable. He is obsessive about his workouts and meticulous about what he eats. He goes years between sodas and bites of cake.

His teammates have seen a resilient steadiness in the face of disappointment, a bonus baby turned into a callused star. Former hitting coach Kevin Seitzer helped unlock Gordon’s talent, and what we’ve seen since is a bankable anchor in the Royals’ lineup. He worked his way into a four-year, $37.5 million contract before last season, and has since outperformed it.

He is their best leadoff hitter, and the best No. 3 or 4 hitter too – whichever spot Billy Butler isn’t in. An entirely disproportionate number of the Royals’ biggest hits this season have been Gordon’s – a double that ignited the rally in Philadelphia, a late single that tied it in the home opener and a grand slam that sealed it in Detroit.

The Royals are a much improved team mostly because of starting pitching, but they wouldn’t be in first place without Gordon pushing them – the team leader or co-leader in hits, runs, RBIs, doubles, triples, and home runs entering Saturday’s game.

He is, like Perez says, everything to this team. Whatever they need. This is a good thing to remember when thinking about what they need from some of his teammates.

Entering Saturday, Mike Moustakas has played 261 big-league games and is slugging .388. That’s not good enough. Many have wanted him benched or sent down. Eric Hosmer has played 303 big-leagues games and is slugging .404. That’s not good enough, either. Many have wanted him benched or sent down, too.

Alex Gordon was slugging .405 through his first 408 games – again, not good enough. The Royals were within a few at-bats of sending him down as a rookie. They wondered if his confidence was shaken, if a change wouldn’t do him some good. Then he had four hits one night in Cleveland, and plans shifted. They were patient, even when everything on the field told them not to be.

Moustakas and Hosmer are the pillars of an organizational wave of talent in the same way that Gordon and Butler once were. None of their careers began the way they wanted, but then, exceptions like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper have warped what typically happens with young ballplayers.

The Royals did send Butler down for about a month during his second season, but that was less about his performance and more about knocking some immaturity off a 22-year-old.

This is a different Royals organization now, one outwardly focused on wins over development. That changes the arithmetic around Moustakas and Hosmer. There are no guarantees about what Moustakas or Hosmer will become. No certainty of how long it will take to find out. But if you believe in the talent, you stick with the player.

Gordon’s story is that lesson.

To reach Sam Mellinger, call 816-234-4365, send e-mail to smellinger@kcstar.com or follow twitter.com/mellinger. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com.

© 2013 Kansas City Star and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved. http://www.kansascity.com
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Old 05-05-2013, 06:15 AM   #3588
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:38 AM   #3589
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:41 AM   #3590
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http://www.royalsreview.com/2013/5/3...act-percentage

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Royals hitters and contact percentage

It's still too early in the season to make big, sweeping claims about the Kansas City Royals and how they will do this season, all though that certainly isn't stopping people. If you want to make predictions about how the Royals will perform this year, it's important to use data that is already reliable, like how often a hitter makes contact at the plate.

Contact% is a useful statistic early in the year because it is one of the first hitting statistics that stabilizes over a small sample; it only takes around 100 plate appearances for a hitter's contact percentage to become stable. That does not mean hitters cannot change their contact rate over the course of the season, but it does mean that we can use the data available after 100 plate appearances to project how the players will perform for the rest of the season.

Only Alex Gordon and Alcides Escobar have crossed the 100 plate appearance threshold for Kansas City this season, but almost all of the Royals top-nine hitters are close. Billy Butler's 99 plate appearances are still useful when determining reliability, as 100 plate appearances isn't some magical threshold where data becomes reliable.

The table below lists Royals hitters 2013 Contact%, then compares it to their contact rate from last season:

Player 2013 PA 2013 Contact % 2012 Contact % Difference
Billy Butler 99 87.3 82.5 4.8
Chris Getz 71 86.8 92.9 -6.1
Alcides Escobar 112 86.7 81.6 5.1
Salvador Perez 93 84.6 90.8 -6.2
Lorenzo Cain 94 83.3 74.7 8.6
Mike Moustakas 91 82.1 77.9 4.2
Alex Gordon 114 77.9 80.1 -2.2
Eric Hosmer 88 77 81 -4
Jeff Francoeur 96 67.6 80.3 -12.7



The data looks nice, but isn't particularly useful without some interpretation:

- Billy Butler looks absolutely poised for a monster year. His increased Contact% coupled with a jump in his BB% suggests that the designated hitter has improved his plate approach this season. Butler's .ISO and BABIP currently sit below his career average, so his batting average and slugging will likely improve as the season progresses. His current triple slash line is .278/.414/.430, so any improvement is just gravy.

- Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain both look more comfortable at the plate this season and both have boosted their Contact% so far this season. Neither hitter is likely to post above-average walk rates, so making contact and avoiding strikeouts will be particularly important skills for both

- On the flip side, the drop in contact rate experienced by Salvador Perez and Chris Getz is problematic despite the fact that both still own above-average contact rates (league average is around 79%). High contact rates have fueled Perez's success at the major-league level, so the drop in contact and rise in strikeouts is going to hamper the young catcher's success at the plate more than others.

Getz's only skill as a hitter is his ability to make contact. He wasn't even an average hitter with a 93% contact rate, so the decrease in contact only makes him less useful than before. It was a fun couple of days when some people decided to pretend that Getz was anything other than a replacement player masquerading as the Royals starting second baseman, but that phenomena appears to be over.

- Alex Gordon is fine. He is striking out a little more so far this season, but it has yet to impact the outfielder negatively at the plate.

- While it's nice to see Mike Moustakas making more contact and a little discouraging to see Eric Hosmer make less, it shouldn't make a big difference for either hitter. Both hitters are currently walking at an above-average clip, which is especially nice to see from Moustakas, but neither hitter has hit for any power so far this season. How often the young corner infielders can drive the ball with consistency will be more important for their success this season than their Contact%

- Finally, Jeff Francouer. It seemed impossible that the nad-tapping rightfielder could be worse offensively in 2013 than he was in 2012, but there is a very real chance that ends up happening. Frenchy's 12% drop in contact has scary implications for his value moving forward. Francoeur is currently hitting 20 percent below league-average, and has a BABIP almost .50 points higher than his career average. Once his BABIP starts to regress towards his career rate, the drop in contact and increase in strikeouts will really start to be noticeable

Bob Dutton told us that the Royals are giving Francouer two months this season to prove his worth. Unless something drastic changes between now and June, I see a few articles in the future begging Dayton Moore to keep good on his promise to keep the rightfielder on a short leash.

Looking at the Contact% for Royals hitters reveals some positives and negatives. I would argue they trend more positive than negative, since Getz and Francoeur could theoretically be replaced if the team continues to win. It's not exactly a bold claim, but one a feel comfortable making.
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:29 AM   #3591
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Great piece about Alex Gordon. Had almost forgotten about his early struggles.
Cool.
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:12 AM   #3592
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Read all that to learn Frenchy is useless. Thank you Captain Obvious.
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:23 AM   #3593
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That was a great piece on Gordo.
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:31 AM   #3594
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Read all that to learn Frenchy is useless. Thank you Captain Obvious.
I hope the end of it is true where they say he could be replaced.
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:35 AM   #3595
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:43 AM   #3596
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I hope the end of it is true where they say he could be replaced.
Who's the star prospect outfielder that we have coming through the Minors? (Serious question btw)
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:56 AM   #3597
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Originally Posted by Simplicity View Post
Who's the star prospect outfielder that we have coming through the Minors? (Serious question btw)
Do you mean Jorge Bonifacio?

He's at A+ Wilmington. He probably will get a mid-season promotion to AA Northwest Arkansas, at most. He's still 1.5-2 seasons away.

Bubba Starling is actually hitting now and has cut his strikeout rate way down, which is good. But he's at LEAST 3 years away.

Those are the only really buzzy OF prospects they have.

David Lough is killing the ball at Omaha but really isn't a "PROSPECT."
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:59 AM   #3598
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:00 AM   #3599
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Originally Posted by duncan_idaho View Post
Do you mean Jorge Bonifacio?

He's at A+ Wilmington. He probably will get a mid-season promotion to AA Northwest Arkansas, at most. He's still 1.5-2 seasons away.

Bubba Starling is actually hitting now and has cut his strikeout rate way down, which is good. But he's at LEAST 3 years away.

Those are the only really buzzy OF prospects they have.

David Lough is killing the ball at Omaha but really isn't a "PROSPECT."
I'd say take a swing throwing in Bonifacio or Starling in maybe 2 or 3 games to see what he has if Frenchy is really really struggling, even Lough could come check in to see if he has anything to contribute.
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:01 AM   #3600
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I should be at the game on Mother's Day and the 26th.

Itching to get back to the K.
I'll be going to the August 6th game against the Twins, hoping that we are still in good contention for 1st place in the Central that late in the season.
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Simplicity must have mowed badgirl's lawn.Simplicity must have mowed badgirl's lawn.Simplicity must have mowed badgirl's lawn.Simplicity must have mowed badgirl's lawn.Simplicity must have mowed badgirl's lawn.Simplicity must have mowed badgirl's lawn.Simplicity must have mowed badgirl's lawn.Simplicity must have mowed badgirl's lawn.Simplicity must have mowed badgirl's lawn.Simplicity must have mowed badgirl's lawn.Simplicity must have mowed badgirl's lawn.
 
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