Tag Archive | "Five Royals"

Kansas City Royals Power Rankings

Welcome to a new feature on I70 Baseball, the Royals Power Rankings. Each week we’ll rank the top five Royals in 2013 with a heavy emphasis on their performance in the past seven days. Just moments ago, Alex Gordon topped a 4-1 week with a walk off hit in the tenth inning. The club now sits at 17-10, on pace for 102 victories. As awesome as Gordon’s hit was, the week belonged to Lorenzo Cain, who continues to be the best hitter on the club in 2012.


#5 James Shields- Big Game James was brought in to be the ace and I seriously doubt the Royals thought his 3.00 ERA would rank third on the starting staff more than a month into the season. Shields picked up a victory off his old team with a gutsy performance on Tuesday night. After surrendering two runs in the first, Shields proceeded to pitch six shutout innings and notch his second victory of the season. It was the third time this season Shields has pitched 6+ innings and given up two runs of less.

#4 Alex Gordon- Sunday’s big hit aside, it was a rough week for the Royals’ left fielder. Gordon was 3/23 on the week before his 10th inning stroke and saw his average slide from .337 to .303 this week. Still, he leads the team with 20 RBI and is tied for the team lead in both home runs (3) and doubles (6)

#3 Jeremy Guthrie- The performance of the week goes to Guthrie for his complete game shutout of the White Sox on Saturday night. Guthrie completely owns the Sox, and has now gone a club-record 17 straight starts without a loss. Guthrie hasn’t given up a run in his last two starts.

#2 Ervin Santana- The official stats will tell you that Ervin Santana didn’t even pitch last week, but of course we all know that’s not true. Santana continued his dominance on Thursday afternoon before a snow out erased his efforts. To say Santana has been great this year would be underselling it. He’s struck out 31 batters in 36 innings and sports a 2.00 ERA.

#1 Lorenzo Cain- Cain was one of the biggest question marks heading into the 2013 campaign and so far he’s been incredible. He leads the club with a .341 average and didn’t do anything to hurt that this week. We was 8/20 with five runs scored and five RBI on the week (including the only two RBI in the team’s 2-0 win on Saturday night. Through five weeks Cain has been the best player on the team and one of the best in the league.

Honorable mention: Bruce Chen- Chen picked up his second victory of the season with two shutout innings against the Rays on Wednesday night. Chen has now made five appearances out of the pen without allowing an earned run. Perhaps more impressively, he’s struck out 11 batters in only 9 2/3 innings.

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To Start Or To Relieve: Wade Davis

James Shields was the “big name” in the Shields/Wade Davis trade, but the success or failure of the trade hinges on Davis. Shields is the Kansas City Royals’ ace, but he’s a free agent after the 2014 season. Whether he pitches well or not, it’s likely he’s gone after two years. However, Davis is under team control until 2016. The Royals believe Shields will improve the team now. As for Davis, the Royals believe he will develop into a two or three starter and be a part of the starting rotation the next few seasons.


This spring, the Royals plan to give Davis every chance to make the starting rotation as their 3-4-5 starter. From 2009-2011, Davis started 64 games for the Tampa Bay Rays. But last year, Davis stayed in the bullpen, appearing in 54 games. During Spring Training, the Rays gave Davis a shot as their fifth starter, but he lost out to Jeff Niemann. And when Niemann went down with a broken ankle, the Rays promoted Alex Cobb to the starting rotation, leaving Davis in the bullpen.

So is Davis a better starter, or a better reliever? Let’s see what the stats say:

2009 3.72 6 6 36.1 15 1.266 8.2 0.5 3.2 8.9 2.77
2010 4.07 29 29 168.0 76 1.351 8.8 1.3 3.3 6.1 1.82
2011 4.45 29 29 184.0 91 1.375 9.3 1.1 3.1 5.1 1.67
2012 2.43 54 0 70.1 19 1.095 6.1 0.6 3.7 11.1 3.00
4 Yrs 3.94 118 64 458.2 201 1.315 8.6 1.1 3.3 6.7 2.04
162 Game Avg. 3.94 44 24 171 75 1.315 8.6 1.1 3.3 6.7 2.04
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/20/2013.

Davis prefers a starting role, but his stats say he’s a better reliever. He had a much lower ERA, and over nine innings gave up fewer hits and struck out more batters. However, he did walk more batters over nine innings, which isn’t good if you’re a reliever. And with the Rays talented starting rotation last year, Davis stayed in the bullpen.

But how does Davis as a starter compare to the 2012 Royals starting rotation? Here’s the stats of the top five Royals starters:

1 Bruce Chen* 5.07 34 34 191.2 108 1.367 10.1 1.5 2.2 6.6 2.98
2 Luke Hochevar 5.73 32 32 185.1 118 1.419 9.8 1.3 3.0 7.0 2.36
3 Luis Mendoza 4.23 30 25 166.0 78 1.416 9.5 0.8 3.2 5.6 1.76
4 Jeremy Guthrie 3.16 14 14 91.0 32 1.132 8.3 0.9 1.9 5.5 2.95
5 Will Smith* 5.32 16 16 89.2 53 1.606 11.1 1.2 3.3 5.9 1.79
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/20/2013.

If you take Davis’ worst year, 2011, he had a better ERA than the Royals rotation, save Jeremy Guthrie and Luis Mendoza. The Royals rotation had more SO/9 than the 2011 Davis and except for Mendoza and Will Smith, the Royals rotation had a better BB/9 ratio than the 2011 Davis. If Davis was in the Royals starting rotation last year, he would likely be the number three starter behind Guthrie and Mendoza.

So what does this mean? Well, Davis is a good middle of the rotation starter, but is a better reliever. If Bruce Chen and Mendoza regress, Luke Hochevar pitches like Luke Hochevar and Davis pitches like he did in 2010, he’ll be in the starting rotation. But if Chen, Mendoza or Hochevar have a great Spring Training, Davis might end up in the bullpen.

But that’s not likely, despite what happens this spring. The Royals will give Davis every opportunity to make the starting rotation, just to show the Shields/Davis trade wasn’t a bust like some Royals fans and pundits think it is. If Shields and Davis are starters, the trade doesn’t look bad. The team got two quality starters to improve their rotation. But if Shields is a starter and Davis is a reliever, then the trade looks like the Royals got an ace for only two years and another bullpen arm in an already strong bullpen. Not bad, but not that good either.

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