Tag Archive | "John Olerud"

Fun With Royals Comps

Baseball-Reference.com has a list at the bottom of player pages called “Similar Pitchers/Batters” that shows the top ten similar players based on a system created by Bill James. I love the idea behind the similarity scores, but the implementation leaves a lot to be desired. RBI is used as a comparison while OBP is not, and there is no era adjustment. Just a reminder of the obvious point to not read too much into the lists; it is really just a fun toy. But now that the lists have been updated to include the 2011 season, let’s see what the lists have to say about some key Royals players:

• Before the 2011 season, I did a little exercise examining the numbers put up by Billy Butler‘s comparable batters through age 24. I averaged the seasons put up by his comps, which before last season included John Olerud, Kent Hrbek, Nick Markakis, Chet Lemon, Carlos May, Delmon Young, Carl Yastrzemski, Ellis Valentine, Tony Horton, and Keith Hernandez. Those comps ended up projecting a similar season to what Billy actually did in 2011. Here is the average age 25 season by those players compared to Billy’s:

Since Billy followed his comps closely, there was not a lot of turnover among his top ten similar batters this off-season. Off the list are Chet Lemon, Ellis Valentine, and Tony Horton, replaced by Don Hurst, Steve Kemp and Ben Grieve. I have calculated the average age 26, 27, 28, and 29 seasons using the updated comps, shown in the tale below. The age 21-25 seasons shown are Butler’s actual numbers, and the totals at the bottom add together Butler’s actual career to date with the projected age 26-29 seasons. The last line shows where the totals would rank in Royals history right now:

The games played by his comps decrease quite a bit from what Billy has done the last three seasons. Hopefully as a dedicated DH Billy can keep playing 150+ games a year. Even if Billy “only” follows the path of his comparable hitters and stays in KC, he should be around the seventh best hitter in team history when the contract is up, with the possibility of some more productive seasons after that.

Eric Hosmer has played a grand total of 128 games in the majors, so his comps mean even less than most. Keeping that in mind, it is still a kick to see three Hall of Famers on his list, and that one of them is, um, Willie Mays. Of course, Delmon Young is on there too. The eight retired players on Hosmer’s list put up a 125 OPS+ for the rest of their careers.

Alex Gordon‘s career to date has been so up-and-down and injury-riddled that I do not put any stock in his list. One exception is Larry Hisle, who was a very similar hitter before Alex’s age 27 season in 2011, including ups and downs and trips to the minors, and had a similarly big year at age 27. Hisle is an encouraging comp because he continued hitting at a high level for the next four seasons, only to be stopped by injury. In my mind, health is the only barrier to Alex continuing as a premiere hitter for many years to come (even if another year like 2011 is unlikely).

Bruce Chen’s comps pitched an average of three more seasons with an ERA+ of 99.

Luke Hochevar’s list does not offer any encouragement in the form of a starter who turned a corner after a similarly inauspicious career through the age of 27. I still have hope that Luke figured something out in the second half of 2011 that will allow him to become a decent starter, but the odds are stacked. Interestingly, Hochevar’s top comp, Jose Mesa, never started another game after age 27—but he closed out 632. There have been many games where Hoch cruises for three, four, five innings only to fall apart…he looks a lot like a reliever those days.

Danny Duffy‘s career is too young for his comps to have any meaning, but one of the names on his list, Jesse Burkett, started like Duffy and ended up in the Hall of Fame. Something tells me Duffy will not be converting to a left fielder and posting a 140 OPS+ over 16 seasons like Burkett did though.

Aaron Stilley also blogs here and tweets here.

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Kansas City Royals 2011 Fantasy Preview

The season is quickly coming upon us and here at I-70 Baseball, we want to give you a sneak peak at the fantasy outlook for both teams. Here is a look at the Kansas City Royals in 2011.

Projected Starting Lineup & Stats

3B Mike Aviles .287/11/60 – 12 SB

CF Melky Cabrera .263/7/45

1B Billy Butler .310/18/93

DH Kila Ka’aihue .255/20/75

RF Jeff Francoeur .260/12/65

LF Alex Gordon .264/18/67 – 10 SB

C Brayan Pena .273/5/30

2B Chris Getz .262/2/30 – 17 SB

SS Alcides Escobar .270/5/50 – 22 SB



3B Mike Moustakas .290/17/45

IF Wilson Betemit .265/13/55

OF Mitch Maier .265/5/40

OF Lorenzo Cain .290/5/47 – 30 SB


Starting Rotation:

Luke Hochevar 8 W 4.62 ERA 125 K 1.41 WHIP

Jeff Francis 9 W 4.35 ERA 108 K 1.37 WHIP

Kyle Davies 8 W 4.85 ERA 125 K 1.55 WHIP

Bruce Chen 8 W 4.39 ERA 120 K 1.40 WHIP

Vin Mazzaro 6 W 4.47 ERA 90 K 1.46 WHIP



SU – Robinson Tejeda 3.60 ERA 60 K 1.33 WHIP – 15 Holds

Closer – Joakim Soria 2.27 ERA 72 K 1.05 WHIP – 42 SV

What to Watch For:

Will Billy Butler’s power ever develop? If so, then he will quickly become one of the more coveted first basemen in fantasy circles. If not, you still have a guy who is a lot like John Olerud. He will have a great average and knock out 15-20. First base has plenty of options and winding up with Butler could be a nice place to be given his possible upside. Alex Gordon has moved to left. If you are still waiting for the superstar then you need to look elsewhere. That being said, with the attention now seemingly deflected away from him, Gordon might settle in and become a decent fantasy option. Mike Moustakas may begin the season at AAA, but he would be worth snatching the minute he is called up. The youngster enjoyed a breakout season last year (36 HR in AA & AAA combined) and looks to be in the majors soon.

Who to Stay Away From:

Is there a starting pitcher on this team you’d want to own? We might as well go ahead and say, “Stay away from them all”. The only one that might help in desperate times would be Jeff Francis. If he can recover some of his old form, he’d be a decent spot starter or back end option. However, you should really just steer clear of the whole situation.

Key Additions: Key Subtractions:
Alcides Escobar Zach Greinke
Lorenzo Cain Yuniesky Betancourt
Jeff Francis David DeJesus
Gil Meche

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BBA Recommends Alomar, Blyleven For Hall Of Fame


Second baseman Roberto Alomar and starting pitcher Bert Blyleven were named today as the recommended 2011 Hall of Fame class by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

Alomar, who is on the ballot for his second year, and Blyleven, looking at his fourteenth time, both finished just shy of the BBA’s recommendation in 2010 at just a fraction under the 75% threshold. As was the case last year, both Alomar and Blyleven received the same amount of votes from the BBA membership in 2010, but this time it was enough to push them into the recommended status.

Both players received 117 votes out of the 154 ballots cast, resulting in a 75.97% approval rate. Again echoing the vote taken at the end of 2009, shortstop Barry Larkin was the third man in the balloting, missing selection by being named on just 70.78% of the ballots.

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance’s vote has no impact on the official vote taken by the Baseball Writers of America and the members of the Hall of Fame. However, the BBA has been often a predictor of awards granted by the writers, matching their selection in fourteen of the sixteen major awards in the last two postseasons combined.

The final voting results are as follows:

Roberto Alomar, 75.97%
Bert Blyleven, 75.97%
Barry Larkin, 70.78%
Jeff Bagwell, 62.34%
Edgar Martinez, 59.09%
Tim Raines, 54.55%
Mark McGwire, 44.16%
Lee Smith, 38.96%
Alan Trammell, 35.71%
Don Mattingly, 33.12%
Larry Walker, 31.17%
Fred McGriff, 27.27%
Jack Morris, 25.97%
Rafael Palmerio, 20.78%
Dale Murphy, 16.23%
Dave Parker, 12.34%
Harold Baines, 10.39%
Kevin Brown, 9.09%
John Franco, 7.14%
Tino Martinez, 5.19%
John Olerud, 5.19%
Al Leiter, 4.55%
Bret Boone, 3.90%
Juan Gonzalez, 3.90%
Marquis Grissom, 2.60%
Benito Santiago, 1.30%
Bobby Higginson, 0.65%
Charles Johnson, 0.65%
Kirk Rueter, 0.65%
Carlos Baerga, 0.00%
Raul Mondesi, 0.00%
BJ Surhoff, 0.00%

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was established in the fall of 2009 for the purpose of fostering collaboration and communication among bloggers from across baseball. The BBA has quickly grown to its current membership of 256 blogs, including some of the most prominent blogs on the internet, spanning all major league teams and various other general aspects of the game.

More information about the BBA can be found at their website, www.baseballbloggersalliance.com, or by contacting the founder and administrator of the organization, Daniel Shoptaw, at founder@baseballbloggersalliance.com.

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