World Series Champion Pitching: How They Did it.

The Royals have all of their young position players in place. You can see the offensive potential in this young line-up. As of this writing several Royals have multi-game hitting streaks. Several players are approaching 20 home runs. That is a low number. Go look how many times in recent seasons a Royals hitter has approached it. I’m not worried about the Royals scoring runs this season, or in the future. In fact they are second in the AL Central in runs scored.


What is a concern is the starting pitching. Not only has the pitching on the Royals lived up to their expectation of getting knocked around. The prized prospects in the minors have lost a lot of their luster this season. I discussed this back in June. Starting pitching is rightfully expensive weather you give up prospects like the Cleveland Indians, or acquire through free agency. I was glad to see Dayton Moore discuss this with Bob Dutton in The Kansas City Star. While David Glass has shown some willingness to open the wallet since the arrival of Moore, I don’t see him laying out $100 Million for CJ Wilson.

Obviously the least expensive way to acquire starting pitching is to develop it through your minor league system. Last years San Francisco Giants won the World Series by doing this. But that got me thinking. That’s just one season. Let’s look at past World Series Champions and see how their pitching staffs were assembled. I’m only going to list the top five starters for World Series Champions starting with the 2000 Yankees. I will separate these starting pitchers into three categories: developed (draft + amateur free agent signings), traded, or free agency. Andy Petite presented an interesting situation. He was drafted by the Yankee’s but signed an extension before free agency. These situations will be treated as drafted because they never hit the open market, thus theoretically being signed below market value. Plus, the Royals have shown a willingness to do this in the past with starting pitchers. Like Zack Greinke. Let’s take a look.

2000 New York Yankees:
1. Andy Petite, developed, salary $7,000,000
2. Roger Clemens, trade (99), salary $6,350,000
3. Orlando Hernandez, developed, salary $1,950,000
4. David Cone, free agent (99), salary $12,000,000
5. Denny Neagle, trade (7/00), salary $4,750,000

Totals: 2 were developed, 2 through trades, 1 free agent. Total Salary: $32,050,000

2001 Arizona Diamondbacks :
1. Curt Schilling, trade (7/00), salary $6,500,000
2. Randy Johnson, free agent (98), salary $13,350,000
3. Brian Anderson, drafted (ED 97), salary $4,125,000
4. Robert Ellis, free agent, salary NA
5. Miguel Bautista, free agent, salary $400,000

Totals: 3 free agents, 1 through trade, 1 developed. Total Salary: $24,375,000*

2002 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim:
1. Ramon Ortiz, developed, salary $575,000
2. Jarrod Washburn, developed, salary $350,000
3. Kevin Appier, trade, salary $9,500,000
4. Aaron Sele, free agent, salary $7,166,667
5. John Lackey, developed, salary $350,000 (estimated)

Totals: 3 developed, 1 through trade, 1 free agent. Total Salary: $17,941,667

2003 Florida Marlins
1. Carl Pavano, trade (7/02), salary $1,500,000
2. Brad Penny, trade (7/99), salary $1,875,000
3. Mark Redman, trade (1/03), salary $2,150,000
4. Dontrelle Willis, developed, salary, $234,426
5. Josh Beckett, developed, salary, $1,725,000

Totals: 3 through trade, 2 developed. Total Salary: $7,484,426

2004 Boston Red Sox
1. Curt Schilling, trade, salary $12,000,000
2. Pedro Martinez, trade but signed a big money extension, salary $17,500,000
3. Tim Wakefield, free agent, salary $4,350,000
4. Derek Lowe, trade, salary $4,500,000
5. Bronson Arroyo, developed, salary $332,500

Totals: 3 through trade, 1 developed, 1 free agent. Total Salary: $38,682,500

2005 Chicago White Sox
1. Mark Buerhrle, developed, salary $6,000,000
2. Freddy Garcia, trade, salary $8,000,000
3. John Garland, developed, salary $3,400,000
4. Jose Contreras, trade, salary $8,500,000
5. Orlando Hernandez, free agent, salary $3,500,000

Totals: 2 through trade, 2 developed 1 free agent. Total Salary: $29,400,000

2006 St Louis Cardinals
1. Chris Carpenter, free agent, salary $5,000,000
2. Jason Marquis, trade, salary $5,150,000
3. Jeff Suppan, free agent, salary $4,000,000
4. Mark Mulder, trade, salary $7,750,000
5. Anthony Reyes, developed, $392,400
6. Jeff Weaver, trade (7/06), $8,325,000

Totals: 3 through trade, 2 free agents, 1 developed. Total Salary: $30,617,400

2007 Boston Red Sox
1. Daisuke Matsuzaka, free agent*, salary $6,333,333 *=His contract was purchased from the Sebu Lions as the highest bidder. For the purpose of this article we’ll call him a free agent signing because he went to the highest bidder.

2. Josh Becket, trade, salary $6,666,667
3. Tim Wakefield, free agent, salary $4,000,000
4. Curt Schilling, trade, salary $13,000,000
5. Julian Tavarez, free agent, salary $3,350,000
6. Jon Lester, developed, salary $384,000

Totals: 3 free agents, 2 through trade, 1 developed. Total Salary: $33,734,000

2008 Philadelphia Phillies
1. Cole Hamels, developed, salary $500,000
2. Jamie Moyer, trade, salary $6,000,000
3. Brent Myers, developed, salary $8,583,333
4. Kyle Kendrick, developed, salary $445,000
5. Adam Eaton, free agent, salary $7,208,333
6. Joe Blanton, trade (7/08), salary $3,700,000

Totals: 3 developed, 2 through trades, 1 free agent. Total Salary: $26,436,666

2009 New York Yankees
1. CC Sabathia, free agent, salary $15,285,714
2. AJ Burnnett, free agent, salary $16,500,000
3. Andy Pettitte, free agent, salary $5,500,000
4. Joba Chamberlain, developed, salary $435,575

Totals: 3 free agents, 1 developed. Total Salary: $37,721,289

2010 San Francisco Giants
1. Matt Cain, developed, salary $4,583,333
2. Tim Lincecum, developed, salary $9,000,000
3. Barry Zito, free agent, salary $18,500,000
4. Jonathan Sanchez, developed, salary $2,100,000
5. Madison Bumgarner, developed, salary $450,000
6.Todd Wellemeyer, free agent, salary $1,000,000

Totals: 4 developed, 2 free agents. Total Salary: $35,633,333

That’s a lot of information, but I hate to say this. It doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t know before looking at the numbers. If you put all of this into a spreadsheet, and take out Barry Zito’s contract, you can see the correlation between developing your own pitching as opposed to trading or buying it. There are 58 pitchers listed on the World Series Champions. 21 came from a teams farm system, 19 came from trades (most of the trades working out for the team who got the pitcher), and 18 free agents. Percentage wise there is no difference. World Series Champion staffs come from 1/3 farm system, 1/3 trades, 1/3 free agent signings.

What can we take from this as Royals fans? First the Red Sox and Yankee staff’s total salaries are equal to the entire Royals salary in 2011. The average salary is $28.5 Million and that does not take into account inflation from 2000 -2010, or inflation going forward. The Royals will have to spend more money to get pitching and retain their hitters.

Second, the 2010 Giants and 2002 Angels were the only team to have a staff with 3 or more system pitchers, and even then they were in the majors at least two years before the were effective. If the Royals were to have a pitcher like that they only have Danny Duffy, Nate Adcock, and maybe Felipe Paulino. Even if Montgomery comes up next year these pitchers are still a few years away.

It’s no secret that the Royals are going to try and develop as much pitching as possible. However, free agent signings and trades will be needed to get the required pieces. From looking at the numbers such a strategy has worked 4 out of the 11 years (02,03, 08, & 10). That’s 36%. Even if the Royals do everything right, and everything breaks right, this strategy only works 1/3 of the time. Landing a big time free agent would help this situation, but this is not the off-season to do it. But if that 36% works against the Royals note that buying your championship pitching staff only works 36% of the time too. Winning a World Series is hard. The Royals one World Series trophy did not come from their best team. Even if an organization does everything it’s supposed to do it still needs a lot of luck. I think it’s about time the Royals received a little luck.

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