2011 Royals By The Numbers
• I noticed early in the season that Alcides Escobar was on pace to set a new low in win probability added (WPA) for not just the Royals but all of baseball history since 1950 (as far back as WPA has been figured by Baseball Reference). He had a hot streak out of nowhere in June that saved him from that record. The hot streak also lead to a lot of talk about Escobar having figured things out at the plate, and that narrative seemed to carry through the rest of the season. But Escobar actually turned right back into a pumpkin after June. His -4.8 WPA is second worst in Royals history, and the fifth worst in the last 62 MLB seasons:
• Here are the final records for Royals starting pitchers if you give them a “win” for a quality start, positive WPA, or above average game score:
• The outfield trio of Alex Gordon, Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur was a major highlight through the year. This was only the third year in team history that the three most used outfielders achieved 2.0 rWAR or more. The combined rWAR of 11.8 is third best by a Royals OF trio, only behind 1999 and 2000:
• The Royals position player of the year is no-doubt, 100% slam dunk Alex Gordon. And that’s not just by the numbers. I watched the team all year, and Alex was clearly the man. Ryan Lefebvre said this week that Francoeur was the team’s MVP thanks to the witchcraft that Francoeur performs in the clubhouse that made the Royals such an incredibly awesome, 91 loss team this year. If the voters feel that way and do not recognize Alex’s season, I may go mental.
• The team pitcher of the year is much tougher to call. For me it comes down to Bruce Chen and Greg Holland, and they are so completely different it is hard to compare them. Pitch for pitch, there’s no contest. Holland was stinky filthy in his 60 IP. But Chen performed his magic act for 155 innings. They are both deserving.
2011 was just the fourth team with an above average OPS+ and subpar ERA+. It also happened in ’72, ’79 and ’90, and the 2011 squad had a higher OPS+ than any of those teams, making them something of an outlier: