So How Good Would the Royals All-Decade Team Be? Part 1: The Lineup

There was a recent story on the official site announcing the all-decade team. The selection panel was the following: Art Stewart, Denny Matthews, Mike Sweeney, Mike Swanson (VP of broadcasting) and Dick Kaegel.

Looking through their selections, I wondered just how good the all-decade team would be if assembled together.

So here's the list:

C- John Buck: Buck hit .235/.298/.407 over six seasons in KC. Offensively, his best numbers actually came last season, when he hit .247/.299/.484 as an afterthought. Defensively, if were are to delve into the mysteries of catcher defense and game calling, I'd consider him average. Some strengths, some weaknesses. Nothing special.

1B - Mike Sweeney: Sweeney hit .304/.375/.507 as a Royal in the '00s, and posted a huge 2002, hitting .340/.417/.563 in somewhat limited action. One of the easiest selections for the team.

2B - Mark Grudzielanek: Grudz's three good years are a little bit lost in the annals of Royal history, due to the bad teams around him, the completely mercenary character of his time here, and the fact that many of us always wanted him traded and he never was. Still, he hit an impressive .300/.339/.412 over three seasons. Not bad for a second baseman. 

SS - Angel Berroa: Well, here it is. The selection chose Berroa, and I'm not sure they had much of a choice. Berroa just ate up so much time, and TPJ hit so unbelievably poorly that he's not a fashionable alternative. So yea, the "all-decade" SS for the Royals is a sub-replacement player. Berroa hit .263/.305/.384 as a Royal in the '00s, with horrible defense. Somehow, he did hit .287/.338/.451 in 2003. I think I would have gone with Rey Sanchez.

3B - Joe Randa: Randa hit .283/.336/.422 during his years as a Royal in the '00s. His defensive stats, where you can find them, are all over the place. Insanely good in 2004, terrible afterwards. During his early '00s Royals heydey, he was always talked about as a good defensive player, and he hit .291/.348/.452 during 2003. He was overlooked to an extent back in the day (for a beloved "good guy" white player that is) but now he'd be one of the team's best position players.

OF - David DeJesus: DeJesus wore them down. That's all I can think. DeJesus never really had a peak, but cranked out a .286/.358/.425 line over the decade. His best season was possibly 2008, .307/.366/.452. Not a real star for the outfield, but he'll give the Royals good defense and a little bit of everything at the plate.

OF - Jermaine Dye: In terms of the '00s, Dye wasn't a Royal for very long. He hit well in 2000, and was traded in-season to Oakland. If you remember, Dye had struggled in 2001, then hit well upon arriving in Oakland. For some reason the B-R cumulative stats feature is wonky when a guy gets traded, but roughly, his 2000-1 line, as a Royal, was about .300/.360/.500, thanks mostly to that monster campaign in 2000. Early 00s Dye was probably still passable afield, but he got so bad later (after a number of injuries) I'm not sure how good to consider him. Nevertheless, with DDJ and the next guy also in the OF, I'm not too worried.

OF - Carlos Beltran: Just a great all around player. From 2000-3 Beltran hit .286/.355/.486 with great defense. Along with Sweeney, one of the no-brainer picks for this list.

DH - Billy Butler: An interesting choice, depending on how you view the DH on an imaginary team. Butler has hit .291/.346/.451 as a Royal, not immediately preferable to Rauuuuul's .291/.347/.492, with more speed and probably better defense. You could also DH Dye, and plug in Damon, who hit .327/.382/.495 in his one year with the team that decade. If we're considering Dye, I think I'd rather have Damon's overall game, and have an absolutely awesome OF with DDJ-Beltran-Damon. Emil Brown's .279/.340/.428 isn't quite good enough, but I think he's a nice way of showing how Butler is nevertheless something of a default or highly presentist choice.

Using the Lineup Analyzer on Pinto's site, I've got that lineup producing between 4.9 and 5.2 runs per game. Lets split the difference, and be slightly positive towards the manager of the decade Tony Pena, and say that team scores 5.1 per game. That comes out to 826 runs.

Wow, that's ok, but still not actually that super. Why so low?

1) Angel Berroa & John Buck: their .305 and .298 OBPs are bad on a normal team, and they help drag down the run production of our 00s Royals dream team. Think how many times those guys are stranding Randa to end the second?

2) Generally low OBPs all around: Randa and Grudz, at .336 and 339 aren't killing you with those OBPs, but they also help prevent take the team to a higher level. Butler and DeJesus are slightly better, but still not full-fledged assets offensively (remember I took Butler's average, not just his 2009).

3) A good but not great core: so that leaves Sweeney, Dye, and Beltran as the team's real core. That's really nice, but it actually happened in real life, or almost did, and it wasn't world altering. All three of those guys are slugging around .500, as opposed to a real murderers row that would have a guy at .550 and maybe another at .600.

and maybe most importantly

4) The Royals have been really bad. The Royals actually had a number of strong offensive teams at the beginning of the decade. In 2000 the Royals scored 879 runs (5th in AL), in 2003 they scored 836 (4th in AL), for example. (Now granted, the K was playing much more offensively those years.) But the Royals have been really weak offensively for awhile now. The totals would be higher if I used everyone's best year, but really, what's more representative of Angel Berroa, for example? The one good year, or the four other bad ones? If anything, the numbers could be lower, if we adjusted for park effects, which give Randa, Dye, Sweeney, and Beltran nice boosts.

Next up the pitching staff.

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