Kicking Rocks - Notes on Royals 3/15/12

Hey, I am one of the answers to the trivia question.

- Trivia question: How many players on the Royals 40 man roster have a last name that is unique to major league baseball? No other player in the history of the majors has/had the same last name? (answer at the end of article).

- Update on Sanchez's fastball speed from his second start after it was down substantially in his first start:

Range: 87 to 92 MPH
Average 89.2 MPH

Better, but not great. He only reached 92 once and it was the pitch Bruce took yard.

- The Royals are going to need their starting pitchers to have career season to make the playoffs. Here are the starting pitching WAR and IP values for the 8 2011 playoff teams and the Royals:

Team WAR IP
Phillies 25.8 1064
Brewers 13.1 992
Diamondbacks 13.0 1004
Cardinals 12.5 999
Rangers 19.8 994
Detroit 16.7 991
Tampa 13.8 1058
New York 16.7 979
Average 16.4 1010
Royals 10.4 943

To have a playoff caliber starting pitching staff, the Royals will need an addition 1 WAR and 10+ IP from each of their starters. Here is a look at the best seasons (combination of IP and WAR) for each of the projected starters. The Duffy-Paulino bump is to get them near 200 IP for the season.

Name Best Season WAR IP
Jonathan Sanchez 2010 2.4 193
Felipe Paulina 2011 2.5 139
Luke Hochevar 2011 2.3 198
Bruce Chen 2005 1.5 197
Danny Duffy 2011 0.6 105
Duffy-Paulino bump - 1.6 150
Total - 10.9 982

If the Royals' starters are 100% healthy and perform as they did in their best season ever, they still aren't as good as the worst pitching 2011 playoff team.

- With Perez being hurt, Brayan Pena, Max Ramirez and Manny Pina (once off the DL) will be filling in at catcher. Here are the 2011 league average triple slash lines for all catchers and projected ZiPS stats for each of the 3 replacements:

2011: 0.245/0.310/0.390
Pena: 0.2670.310/0.380
Pina: 0.227/0.316/0.326
Ramirez: 0.232/0.296/0.363

Pena's production looks to be what every team gets on average from their catcher. Pina and Ramirez look to be a step backwards.

- Here is a quick look at Aaron Crow's velocity from yesterday with his 2011 values for reference (2-seam fastball is his sinker):


4-Seam Fastball 2-Seam Fastball Slider
1st Inning 93.7 93.4 85.5
2nd Inning 92.3 91.0 85.0
3rd Inning 92.3 92.3 84.7
Average 92.7 92.5 85.0
2011 Values 94.9 94.6 85.6

His speeds are a little off, as should be expected from a closer converting to a starter. Also, his fastball speed dropped over 1 MPH from the 1st to 2nd inning. Again, it was only one start, but I wonder if his minor league struggles were because he couldn't maintain his velocity. Another pitcher to monitor this spring.

- Broxton's fastball was between 93 and 96 MPH yesterday. These values are consistent from his 2010 and 2011 seasons vice in the previous seasons when he averaged 97 MPH. His ERA from 2005 to 2009 was 2.92 (11.9 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9). His ERA from 2010 to 2011 was 4.32 (10 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9). The big guy isn't giving me a warm fuzzy just yet.

- Willy Aikens' book, Safe at Home, is due for release on May 1st.

- Trivia answer for players on Royals with a unique last name to MLB:

  • 15 total players on the Royals 40 man roster have a last name this is (can be) unique in MLB history.
  • 12 with MLB experience: Hosmer, Francoeur, Moustakas, Giavotella, Broxton, Mazzaro, Mijares, O'Sullivan, Teaford, Jeffress, Hochevar and Dyson
  • These 3, if called up, will be the first player with that last name: Verdugo, Arguelles and Lough
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