Things That Went Wrong For The Royals In 2010: The Pitching Staff Was Terrible

I don't know if you are the same way, but when I think about the Royals, I just always think about the position players. This year was no different. We had the endless Kendall issue (or rather, the Endless Kendall Issue), the weird love for Yuni, the Gordon & Kila drama, etc. And then there was the fact that the Royals hit a zillion singles in 2010, and for a time led the AL in batting average. Nevermind that it still wasn't a good offense. Anyway, we dealt with all that. We didn't talk much about the pitching however.

Guess who has been the worst pitching staff in the AL?

Even prior to Sunday's debacle (in which the Royals allowed 12 runs) the team was already dead last in runs allowed per game. Now, part of that has been on the team defense, which has once again been bad. Through the weekend, the Royals had the second worst UZR number in MLB. (This is really a full post topic for another day.)

Here are the Royals stats for some of the basic categories, along with their AL rank.


Category
AL Rank
R/G
5.27
14th
ERA
5.02
14th
K/9
6.4
10th
BB/9
3.5
12th
H/9
9.8
14th
FIP
4.55
13th

As you can see above, the Royal pitchers haven't been helped by their defense (hence the high hits allowed total) but they also haven't helped themselves. The Royals don't strike many players out and they walk more than most. The collapse in strikeout rate is particularly interesting, given that the Royals were 4th in the AL in K/9 in 2009.

The Royals have had 25 pitchers appear for the team in 2010, the most in the AL. Twelve of those pitchers have pitched less than 40 innings for the team, and nearly all of those random dudes have been bad. Really though, outside of Greinke and Soria, everyone has been bad. Here are the FIPs for the guys who have pitched the most:


IP
FIP
Greinke
196.1
3.36
Davies
161.2
4.51
Bannister
126.2
5.51
Chen
113.2
4.58
Hochevar
81
3.96
Soria
59
2.62
Meche
53.2
5.80
Tejeda
52
3.73
Hughes
49
4.30

 

(For an explanation of FIP, click here.)

Essentially, the rotation has fallen apart past Greinke. Davies and Bannister have all but pitched themselves out of jobs, and Hochevar and Meche have been un-inspiring and or hurt. Bruce Chen hasn't exactly been good, but for being the definition of a replacement level player, he's been ok and eaten innings.

Really, 2010 has been a throwback year for the Royals. Hordes of guys have pitched, including a fair number of really obscure names. We've even had some near competence from a random retread (Chen) that's been kinda fun. It's like 2002 or 2006 all over again.

Around year two of the Moore regime, it looked like the Royals were close to building their rotation of the future. In a way, that did end up happening, the only problem was that Meche feel apart, Davies never stepped forward, and Banny proved to be a bad option. Similarly, since Ramon Ramirez, the Royals haven't truly pulled in a great bullpen arm to compliment Soria.

Really, what we're seeing in 2010 is the death rattle of Dayton's first rebuilding attempt. Meche couldn't make through much more than 50% of his contract before falling apart, Davies was just an arm after all, Banny was just a head. Thousands of guys have had a spin in the bullpen, and even the days of interesting live arms look gone. We're back to basics: Greinke & Soria and not much else.

So now, if the Royals want to make their run to glory in 2012, they're going to need to nearly completely rebuild the pitching staff in the next season and change.

Pitchers Reasonably in Place for 2012:

  • SP 1: Greinke
  • SP 2: Hochevar
  • SP 3: [unknown]
  • SP 4: [unknown]
  • SP 5: [unknown]
  • CL: Soria
  • BL 1: Tejeda
  • BL 2: [unknown]
  • BL 3: [unknown]
  • BL 4: [unknown]
  • BL 5: [unknown]
  • BL 6: [unknown]

Obviously, we all have ideas on who else will fill in those slots. Aaron Crow is out there, certainly. As is Mike Montgomery, Danny Duffy, John Lamb, Chris Dwyer, Tim Collins, and others. I don't even know if Hochevar should be listed as a certain thing at this point. I'm sure some of those guys will be up by 2012 and maybe one or two of them might be really good by 2012. And then after 2012, Greinke leaves most likely, so another will need to step forward.

Had Davies or someone else emerged, the Royals would be in a much better position. But that didn't happen.

For me, a negative, glass half empty, kinda guy, this goes back to the implausibility of the Royals competing in 2012.

As for 2010, good riddance.

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