Posted on 17 June 2011.
• Your vocab word of the day: gallimaufry.
–noun, plural -fries. Chiefly Literary.
1. a hodgepodge; jumble; confused medley.
2. a ragout or hash.
Used in a sentence: I hope you will enjoy my below gallimaufry of Royals thoughts.
• I pay no mind to a pitcher’s win-loss record anymore, but I have lately been thinking how it is kind of nice to put every start into a “good” and “bad” bucket. We just need a better measure. A modern day pitcher’s record if you will. I am not all the way on board with quality start as a measuring stick, but it has some merit. A couple of other measures I like are win probability added (WPA)
and game score
. If the idea of a “good” start is to give your team a shot at winning, WPA seems like the best measure since it literally reflects if the starter gave his team a better or worse chance. A WPA “win” would be a positive WPA in a start. Game score is from Bill James and applies a rating to every start based on innings, hits, strikeouts, walks and runs allowed. 50 is an average start, so a game score “win” would be any score greater than 50. Here is how every Royals starter looks with these different records, and the three records combined into an average on the right:
talk about a confused medley
If you can work through that mess of numbers, you might notice that the records do not look very good. However, before getting hurt, Bruce Chen continued to somehow find ways to be effective. He is wily I tell ya.
• Pitching continues to be the huge question mark in Dayton Moore
‘s process. Rob Neyer wrote about that recently
, saying “The Process
will work only if the organization’s homegrown hitters are accompanied by homegrown starting pitchers. And in that regard the jury is still very, very much out.” Danny Duffy
and Mike Montgomery
are both struggling with their control and John Lamb
just underwent Tommy John surgery. Relying only
on homegrown starters is a tough hill to climb. The Royals may have to hit big on an impact starting pitcher through trade or free agency before they are ready to win the AL Central.
• There is a bizarre strain of under-appreciation of Billy Butler from some Royals fans. Sam Mellinger took a look at these weirdos in a recent column. I suppose Billy is a nice litmus test for how fans see the game. If you judge Billy only by your eyes, you might see a slow guy who does not hit as many homers as you would hope. If you like old-school numbers, you might think he does not get enough RBIs. If you blend your eye with more telling numbers, there seems to be no denying that the Royals have one of the best DHs around. My fellow I-70 writer Troy Olsen, aka KCRoyalMan, is quoted in Mellinger’s column saying, “Need more doubles and HRs. Too many singles worthless singles. Clogs bases.” First of all, “clogging the bases” is the idea of batting. It means you did not make an out. Second of all, asking Billy to hit more doubles is sort of like asking Babe Ruth to hit more home runs. Here are the MLB leaders in doubles from 2009 to present:
1. Billy Freaking Butler 112
2. Robinson Cano 102
3. Evan Longoria 100
4. Ryan Braun 99
5. Miguel Cabrera 97
5. Matt Holliday 97
When you think of doubles, think of Billy Butler. When you think of Billy Butler, think of doubles. When you think of the best DH so far in 2011, think of David Ortiz. When you think of the second best DH so far in 2011, think of Billy Butler. When you think of what is wrong with the Royals, think of just about anything else before Billy Butler.
• It is only seven games, but I am borderline giddy about Alcides Escobar‘s recent hot streak with the bat. Eyeballs and defensive metrics agree that he is ridiculously good in the field. Some fans think that excuses him from having to hit at all. I am not one of those fans. For me, it means he only has to hit a tiny bit. Which he was not doing. He was hurting the team with his bat more than he was helping with the glove. But this hot stretch shows he at least has a few hits in him. And that is all the Royals need from him in order to have one of the best shortstops around.
• The specter of Jason Kendall‘s return continues to loom over the season. When the Royals make room for him by moving Brayan Pena or Matt Treanor, this team will immediately become worse. Pena and Treanor have been a surprisingly decent duo behind the dish, hitting a little bit (or in Treanor’s case, walking a lot) and playing fine defensively. With one glaring exception from Pena, they have done a great job blocking the plate on plays at home, and both seem to have a strong throw to second. I cannot imagine Kendall has anything left in his bat or throwing arm after decimating his shoulder last season, and I cringe at the idea of having to watch him try to hit on a regular basis again. I do not deny that having his experience around may have some benefit. If the Royals want to draw on his knowledge, then great—hire him as a coach. Just please do not let him actually play as a Royal anymore.
• The Royals have not played up this aspect of Tuesday’s “Retro Night” promotion, but according to ballpark emcee Tim Scott, the game will be presented with “No music, no KCrew, no emcee, no contests, (and) retro video board.” How great does that sound? If that is not enough, it will also be Mike Moustakas‘s home debut.
• After his customary hot start, Jeff Francoeur is staying true to himself by falling apart at the plate. wOBA by month:
It is past time for him to move down in the lineup.
Aaron Stilley also writes about Kansas City baseball here and on the Twitters.