Improvement Chances for Hitters on the Royals

SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 12: The Kansas City Royals stand attended for the National Anthem before the spring training game against the San Francisco Giants at Surprise Stadium on March 12, 2012 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

A week or so ago, I looked at how much of a breakout Alex Gordon's 2011 season was compared to similarly projected players. Tom Tango just recently released his 2012 Marcel projections so I decided to take a look at the chances of each hitter on the Royals improving this season.

To determine breakout percentage, I took all similarly projected players since 1980 and examined how they did the next season. The similar player were with 1 year of age of the hitter and had a projected OPS withing 10 points. Also, I set the player reliability, or percentage of projection that is player's stats versus the league average stats (regressed amount), to +/- 0.05. Further more, I removed players that had less than 100 PAs from the improve, same, and decline columns to limit those with small sample sizes. I did find the % of these players for reference. Since I have finally lulled you to sleep with stat speak, here is the data:

Name Projected OPS Age Reliability Actual OPS > 0.020 of Projected OPS Actual OPS within 0.020 of Projected OPS Actual OPS < 0.020 of Projected OPS Players (>100 PAs) Players (total) % < 100 PAs
Billy Butler 0.830 26 0.87 38% 24% 38% 58 59 2%
Eric Hosmer 0.814 23 0.70 20% 27% 53% 15 15 0%
Salvador Perez 0.807 22 0.40 50% 0% 50% 2 2 0%
Alex Gordon 0.800 28 0.81 27% 17% 57% 166 170 2%
Jeff Francoeur 0.744 28 0.86 35% 22% 44% 133 136 2%
Lorenzo Cain 0.742 26 0.38 33% 15% 52% 27 45 40%
Johnny Giavotella 0.715 25 0.44 63% 15% 22% 27 47 43%
Mike Moustakas 0.713 24 0.60 27% 23% 50% 22 25 12%
Mitch Maier 0.689 30 0.74 33% 19% 48% 69 90 23%
Brayan Pena 0.679 30 0.67 30% 17% 53% 47 67 30%
Yuniesky Betancourt 0.663 30 0.85 38% 17% 45% 42 44 5%
Alcides Escobar 0.657 26 0.82 60% 25% 15% 20 22 9%
Chris Getz 0.639 29 0.79 75% 18% 7% 28 32 13%


  • Teams definitely value experience. Cain and Frenchy both have similar projected OPS and the % improvement and decline. The players like Cain don't reach 100 PAs (40%) as nearly as many times as those like Fracoeur (2%).
  • Bad hitters, that have a high reliability, get to stay in the majors at fairly decent clip. After looking at the players similar to Betancourt, Escobar, and Getz, they were all catchers or middle infielders. If took me a while to get all of the above numbers and was too lazy to run them again. The next time I run something similar, I will definitely take positions played into account.
  • Marcels may not regress established bad hitters to the league average enough. Both Getz and Escobar have a decent chance of improving this season based on players with similar values in the past.
  • Salvador had only two player that were similar to him, Matt Kemp and Asdrubal Cabrera. I can live with that.
  • Hosmer's list of comparables, on average, performed less than their projections. Since he was good at such a young age, I figured the list would be filled with a some good to great names. The player comps are actually either good players, ones that flamed out quickly or Derek Jeter: Eric Chavez, Russell Martin, Pete Incaviglia, Carlos Lee, Jason Kendall, Wily Mo Pena (x2), Derek Jeter, Juan Encarnacion, Jose Cruz, Mel Hall, Rafael Furcal, Edgar Renteria, Carlos Febles and Chris Davis.
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