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Old 07-14-2013, 09:41 AM  
gblowfish gblowfish is offline
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Grading the Royals at the Halfway Mark

I was thinking about this after last night's game. The Royals are about where I figured they would be, under .500 but slightly improved from last year. Here's my mid term grades on the players and manager, feel free to flame away:

Position Players:

Hosmer C-: Horrible opening stretch, didn't start to hit at all until Brett got ahold of him. Defense is a little above average, but lack of power is a major problem. Still tends to have a big looping swing and strikes out way too much.

Johnson D+: Only hits against Tampa Bay. Too bad we only play them one more time this year. Good baserunner, adequate defensively. OK as a utility guy, too weak on offense to be a legit starter.

Escobar C-: Offense has regressed this year. Very streaky hitter. Will hit in clutch sometimes, but has trouble moving runners when in the #2 spot. Has had defensive lapses, makes a hard play then boots an easy one. May be he needs more days off, grind may be getting to him.

Moose F: Except for Francoeur, biggest liability in the lineup in first half. Mind numbing how bad this guy has been on offense. King of stranding runners. Sultan of swish, Prince of the Pop Up. Once we start the fire sale, send his ass to Omaha and let him think about it. Needs to come to camp in better condition. He looks doughy, and it's hurt his defense this year. Not getting to balls that he used to reach, slow on the bases, when he manages to get on. All in all a horrific season from a guy GMDM was counting on.

Gordon: A-: Great start, has tailed off over the last month. I would say Alex is the best defensive left fielder in baseball. He is really that good. Offensively, he has not been the kind of all star go to guy that he should be. He has his moments, like the grand slam in Detroit, and he has his moments, like striking out on a slider in the dirt with the tying runs on in the eighth and nobody out. He is one of the few starters we have that you can say is a legitimate big time major league player, and he's still growing and maturing. All in all, he's had a good first half.

Cain C: He has stayed healthy. That's good. He strikes out a lot. A really lot. That's bad. He is a very streaky hitter. He can go weeks doing nothing, then he can tear the cover off the ball for a couple days. Outfield defense has been pretty good, except for the ball he booted in the last Oakland series that cost us the game. If he can walk more, cut down on the strikeouts, he'll be a good reliable center fielder.

Lough B: Should have broke camp as our starting RF if it wasn't for GMDM's boner for Frenchy. Very good defensive player, good contact guy, doesn't strike out a lot. Hustles. Needs work on his base running skills. For a late call up, he has played very well and improved our outfield.

Dyson B-: Before he got hurt, he was leading the team in slugging. Great base runner, when he can get on. Bit of a defensive liability, less than average arm and takes weird routes to the ball. Has trouble in pressure situations moving runners or making contact. Stood and looked at strike three Friday night to end the Cleveland game. Ankle injury slowed his progress. Good fourth outfielder, and a premier pinch runner for Fat Boy.

Perez A-: Salvy would get an "A" as our first All-Star Catcher in ions except for a couple of things. One, he has not hit for as much power as we should get from a guy his size. Second, he lollygagged when grandma kicked off. Thought he took way too much time away, and while he was gone, the team floundered. He calls a great game, has one of the best throwing arms in baseball, and is a great quarterback for the pitching staff. You can tell the pitchers love his blocking ability behind the plate. Dude should be an all star for years to come if he can stay healthy. Ned may need to give him some days off during the dog days. Very well deserved All Star pick.

Butler B-: A down year compared to last year in power and average. Butler needs to get in better condition. He looks out of shape, worse than Moose. Slower than he should be, he's bordering on Harmon Killibrew at age 40 slow. Walks a lot, but has been pressing here over the past couple weeks and has had some killing oh fer days. He also needs to cut down on the K's, and work in the off season to drop about 15 lbs and muscle up. He could be a young Jim Thome if he really worked at it.

Reserves:

Tejada B: Has played very well for a 39 year old. Has given the Royals everything they expected and then some. Flexible, can play second and third, and never looks confused at the plate. Wish he was ten years younger.

Getz D-: Played pretty well in April, actually hit a home run in Atlanta, then did his typical swirl down the toilet bowl, and finished by not executing bunts before being sent down for Gio. We should probably trade him out of the organization, because he's never going to get any better. Move on to the next contestant.

Gio D+: I want to like this guy, I really do. He hustles, reminds me of a young Chuck Knoblach. But every time he rips in up in Omaha, we call him up, and he just shits the bed. He killed it his first day up in Minnesota, and has gone oh for every game since. When you get your chance you have to make something out of it (see David Lough). If he doesn't come around in the second half, I say get him out of the organization and look elsewhere.

Kottaras C-: The good stuff: He walks a lot and will hit you a homer every once in awhile. Very calm at the plate, hard to rattle. Bad Stuff: Can't hit over .200, weaker defense than Salvy -that would be true for whoever Salvy's back up was- and tends to allow pass balls or wild pitches at very inopportune times. Still, he's better than Bryan Pena. If he could just add about 40 points to his average….

Frenchy F: Seven Million Dollars down the dumper. Guy has a great smile, should be popular with the fellahs in San Francisco.

Starting Pitching:

Shields B+: Guy has been everything advertised. Not his fault we don't score any runs for him. Sometimes starts slow and gets behind early, but he is a battler. Reminds me of Dennis Leonard in his heyday. Dude hates to lose, wish we could transfuse his character into the rest of the ball club.

Santana B: Innings eater, still gets bit by the long ball. Over the past couple weeks seems to have lost his focus, maybe because of all the trade talk. Has been great at times, certainly better than anybody else behind him in this list of starters. Wouldn't be surprised to see him traded to the National League by the deadline.

Guthrie B: Has been a reliable decent starter, last night grooved a meatball for a cheap grand salami, but usually does a good job pitching out of trouble. Has been more good than bad, and with better offense, could have three or four more wins. He's our only opening season rotation starter with a winning record.

Davis C: Started out pretty well, but this guy is a long reliever posing as a starter. He's a lot like Chen or Mendoza, not consistent enough to be a reliable starter, but pitches good enough to hang around on the roster, as his ERA is now pushing six. Hopefully his spot in the rotation will be taken by Duffy soon.

Mendoza C-: I think he's tired. He pitched in the World Competition before spring training, so he hasn't had a long rest for awhile. When he's on, he's very good. When he's off he gets his ass handed to him in a hurry. A month rest in the bullpen might be exactly what the doc ordered.

Chen C: Goes to show you if you're left handed, you can hang around in the bigs for a long time. Pitched well against Cleveland on Friday, but was lucky he didn't get pounded. You can't throw letter high middle in 85 mph fastballs for long and survive in the bigs. He's getting near the end of his run, we should probably trade him before the deadline. Can't see him in next years plans.

Relief:

Crow C: This guy is under achieving for where he was picked. We're paying him a shitload of money for 1/3rd of an inning in the seventh. Too unpredictable, has the stuff to win, but can't seem to harness his control.

Hoch C-: Same thing as Crow, way under achieving for where he was picked. This guy soils himself at the first sign of pressure. Pitches great if you're ahead or behind by four runs. But bring him in when you need a stop or a hold, and you're ****ed. I'd try to trade him by the deadline, he's never going to be anything but what he is now, which is a big chuck of chicken shit and dead payroll.

Collins C-: Good start, but the midget has been getting pounded lately. Same drill as last year. Sometimes he looks great, sometimes he can't get anybody out. Tends to overthrow and walk guys at critical junctures. Needs to focus and command his stuff. He's got great attitude for a reliever, he just can't back up the attitude often enough to be reliable.

Gutierrez D+: When he comes in, Ned has raised the white flag. Looks like CC Sebathia's little brother, except he can be hit with ease. He's just a warm body holding down a spot.

Coleman C+: Should have broke camp, but Herrera took his spot. Has pitched well when given the opportunity, but last year got rocked in the second half. We'll see how he does in August.

Herrera D: Guy has the stuff to be a big time closer. Can throw the ball through a brick wall. But when a major league hitter times his fastball, it tends to leave the park. Often. He's still young, needs to harness his control and pitch smarter. He'll be OK, just needs more time to mature.

Joseph and Smith Incomplete: Not enough time up yet to evaluate fairly.

Holland A: Should have made the All Star Team. Had a couple of rocky outings in April, but has been lights out since. Everything you could ask for in a closer. Number of K's is outstanding, one of the best hard sliders in the American League. Give this guy a raise.

Manager:

Ned C-: Well, Ned has personally cost us about four or five games this year with stupid managing, but all managers have a few clunkers. He has kept us within the tail lights of Detroit up till now, but we'll probably fade to double digits after the break. Ned is pretty much Buddy Bell. He's not going to ever be a top drawer manager. DMGM will probably give him one more year, because DMGM has one more year on his contract. They'll either both survive together or jump off the cliff together, depending on what happens in the second half.

Last edited by gblowfish; 07-14-2013 at 09:59 AM..
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:10 AM   #16
Demonpenz Demonpenz is offline
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:13 AM   #17
Bowser Bowser is offline
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Bottom line: They're better, but still not good enough.

It does amaze me that we FINALLY get legit starting pitching for the most part, and our bats just go to sleep. Maybe we really are cursed by Denkinger.
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:19 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowser View Post
Bottom line: They're better, but still not good enough.

It does amaze me that we FINALLY get legit starting pitching for the most part, and our bats just go to sleep. Maybe we really are cursed by Denkinger.
Have our bats gone to sleep or is this normal for the Royals? Too lazy to do the research, but I wonder how our runs per game compare to the last 2 or 3 years? I'll bet there is not much difference? Our offense has always been erratic.
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:21 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 'Hamas' Jenkins View Post
Fielding Independent Pitching is a measurement of what a pitcher would do if you removed luck and defense from the equation, giving him league average luck on balls in play. It's an attempt to normalize for the pitchers who have good defense behind them, and who are riding good/bad streaks of luck in order to truly evaluate their worth.

xFIP adds in the league average HR/FB ratio to better normalize the measurement.

It works extremely well. If a pitcher has an xFIP higher than their ERA they are getting lucky. Lower and they are unlucky.


Further explanation:

Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) measures what a player’s ERA should have looked like over a given time period, assuming that performance on balls in play and timing were league average. Back in the early 2000s, research by Voros McCracken revealed that the amount of balls that fall in for hits against pitchers do not correlate well across seasons. In other words, pitchers have little control over balls in play. McCracken outlined a better way to assess a pitcher’s talent level by looking at results a pitcher can control: strikeouts, walks, hit by pitches, and homeruns.


A walk is not as harmful as a homerun and a strikeout has less impact than both. FIP accounts for these kinds of differences, presenting the results on the same scale as ERA. It has been shown to be more effective than ERA in terms of predicting future performance and has become a mainstay in sabermetric analysis.
Hamas: That is a fascinating formula for evaluating pitching. I think you need a NASA sized supercomputer and a slide rule to really figure that stuff, but back to your statement of "second worst starter in the league?"

Guthrie's line so far: 8-7 record on 19 starts, ERA is 4.25. Has given up 124 hits in 120 innings, has 43 walks and 58 Ks. He does lead the staff giving up 22 homers. But he does have a winning record, which is more than Shields or Santana can say. I'm not sure how that figures in to "next to the worst starter in the league."
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:23 AM   #20
Buehler445 Buehler445 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowser View Post
Bottom line: They're better, but still not good enough.

It does amaze me that we FINALLY get legit starting pitching for the most part, and our bats just go to sleep. Maybe we really are cursed by Denkinger.
This. Goddamn it. They've got some pieces to make some noise. I don't think they've got the talent to be World Series good, but they have enough to be playoffs good. Just hit the mother****ing ball.
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:23 AM   #21
Bowser Bowser is offline
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Originally Posted by Deberg_1990 View Post
Have our bats gone to sleep or is this normal for the Royals? Too lazy to do the research, but I wonder how our runs per game compare to the last 2 or 3 years? I'll bet there is not much difference? Our offense has always been erratic.
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Eh, maybe that's closer to the truth.

Who knows. Like I said, we finally get to where our pitchers keep us in games, and we can't figure out how to get runs. The hope would be that the hitters would want to support the quality pitching they're getting. I'm sure they do, but stop pressing. Shields had an ERA under 3 for the month of June and couldn't buy a win. Ridiculous.

They just aren't good enough yet to put it all together.
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:25 AM   #22
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The ****ing leadoff hitter for the Twins would lead the Royals in home runs if he were on the team. I don't even know his name, I just know he has more home runs than everyone on this team. That's laugh out loud worthy.

GMDM has assembled one hell of a national league lineup.
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:31 AM   #23
Al Bundy Al Bundy is offline
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The entire team gets a D. Mostly weighted down by Getz, Frenchy, Mistakeus and Davies tanking the season.
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:41 AM   #24
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Al Bundy: I guess it's a matter of the degree of stench you're used to. This team has at least been competitive at times. They're not buried in the cellar, their usual home over the past twenty years. They are maddeningly frustrating on offense, but pitch much better than in years past. So, although they now lose 4-2 instead of 8-4 most nights, at least they offer a sliver of hope most of the time. They usually come up about two clutch hits short of winning. So I won't give them a D so far, I'll give them a C. They're pretty much what we all figured they'd be back in April. Now, if they tank in the second half, a D would be more than fair.
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:48 AM   #25
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Great Thread, and thank youThank you for the write up. more than I am.
Hosmer C
Moose F
Billy D
Dyson D
Cain D
Lough B
Gordon A-
Salvy B-
Shields B
Santana B
Guthrie B
Davis F-
Herarra F-
Elliot Johnson D+
Gio D-
Escobar D-
Kotterous C
Ned Yost D-
Dayton Moore D-
Slugger D+
Toby Cook C
Denny Matthews C-
Rex Hudler F
Steve Phisoic F
Ryan Leveber C-
Jeff Blauser A+
Mustard B
Ketchup C-
Relish A
Crow D
Collins D
Hoch B
Holland A
Kuntz A+
Rodriguez D
Tejeda B-
Getz F
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:56 AM   #26
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Guthrie's low K rate and high HR rate have to catch up to him eventually. Mother****er has been dancing through rain drops this year.

MAYBE he continues it the rest of this year. But that luck won't hold through two more years of that contract. Something's gotta give. And quite frankly, I'm not optimistic. This year is basically his 2009 year in Baltimore. He bounced back the next season, but will he do that at age 35?
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:57 AM   #27
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Wow, you guys are hammering Slugrrr....

On the broadcast, Denny is pretty much coasting on his seniority. I'm OK with that, dude has earned his stripes. Fever is excellent, and he takes no shit from Hud or Goldberg. Fizz is Bob Davis light, wallpaper paste bland. Who the hell is Jeff Blauser??? Hud is the anti-Frank, which is what the Royals Front Office wanted. He is the Badhdad Bob of the Royals, although his "Salvy in Pinstripes" comments may end up costing him his job next year. Rusty Kuntz FTW just because of his name. Rodriguez cost us a game by hanging David Lough out to dry. That new batting coach as been OK too.

And who puts ketchup on a hot dog???? F!!!
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:58 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gblowfish View Post
Hamas: That is a fascinating formula for evaluating pitching. I think you need a NASA sized supercomputer and a slide rule to really figure that stuff, but back to your statement of "second worst starter in the league?"

Guthrie's line so far: 8-7 record on 19 starts, ERA is 4.25. Has given up 124 hits in 120 innings, has 43 walks and 58 Ks. He does lead the staff giving up 22 homers. But he does have a winning record, which is more than Shields or Santana can say. I'm not sure how that figures in to "next to the worst starter in the league."
Here is the formula:

FIP = ((13*(Flyballs * League-average HR/FB rate))+(3*(BB+HBP))-(2*K))/IP + constant


As far as the metrics are concerned:

Shields and Santana can't control how many runs the Royals score. That's one of the reasons why wins and losses aren't considered a truly meaningful measurement of a pitcher's worth.

Look at Greinke's 2009, for example. If he were on a team like the 2009 Yankees he probably would have won 25 games.

When evaluating players you have to look at what they control. If a pitcher gives up a 420 foot flyball to dead center in Houston it's an out. If he gives up a 320 foot flyball to left it's a homerun. The second outcome was worse, but the pitcher likely made a better pitch.

Very similarly, someone giving up tons of line drives may be lucky enough to have those line drives get caught (Bruce Chen Friday night), but that doesn't mean that the 0 ER they gave up was a true measure of their performance. A broken bat single, a weak grounder to second, and a dying quail scores a run, but in all examples the pitcher induced weak contact.

Guthrie's terribleness stems from the fact that he walks a ton of batters, strikes out hardly any, it getting lucky on balls in play, and gives up a ton of line drives and fly balls, which translate into runs at a much higher clip than do groundballs.
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Old 07-14-2013, 11:02 AM   #29
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OK, I understand all that, but luck and defense are part of the reality of a game. Sometimes you get lucky, like Chen was Friday night. Sometimes your defense saves your ass. Guthrie has more K's than walks this year. His 22 homers is worst for starters, but Santana has given up 16, that's a lot too. Guthrie can give up fly balls in Kauffman, because you have to really clock one to get it out. I understand where your coming from, though. If he stays lucky, then great. Sometimes luck is all you need.
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Old 07-14-2013, 11:02 AM   #30
'Hamas' Jenkins 'Hamas' Jenkins is offline
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Pretty simple way to watch baseball:

If the batter hits a hard liner, it was a better AB than the guy who hits a 39 hopper through the hole, even if the second guy gets on, because statistically, the first guy is more likely to get hits and runs from that kind of contact.

Apply the opposite analysis to pitching, but factor in location of the pitch as well:

Crow's pitch to Bourn on Friday was a good pitch. The cement mixers that Chen had guys popping out on weren't. One guy was really lucky; one guy wasn't.
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