I'm going to go ahead and preface this by saying this is hardly comprehensive. Honestly, I was just doing some casual research while trying to think of the next witty Will Smith joke and found some info I wanted to share - but then I got tired and this probably will not even be coherent.
Anyway, is Dave Eiland doing anything?
As we know, Eiland was hired on as the pitching coach in October. He replaced longtime vagabond Bob McClure, who was sentenced to purgatory because the Royals could not throw strikes.
So, of course, the Royals now throw strikes, because we have Eiland.
- Strike percentage in 2012: 61.64 percent
- Strike percentage in 2011: 62.08 percent
Through my exhaustive research, I've deduced that good teams throw strikes (poorly constructed tables and more parenthesis to follow):
Best five teams by winning percentage (team, win percentage, percent of pitches that are strikes):
- Los Angeles Dodgers ...... .682 63.33%
- Baltimore Orioles............. .622 63.49%
- Texas Rangers ............... .600 63.48%
- Tampa Bay Rays ............ .600 62.98%
- Washington Nationals ..... .591 64.27%
Worst five teams:
- Chicago Cubs ................ .341 61.72%
- Minnesota Twins ............ .349 62.78%
- San Diego Padres .......... .356 61.67%
- Colorado Rockies ........... .372 60.64%
- Kansas City Royals ........ .395 61.64%
Not that those numbers are surprising. And while the difference may be only two pitches per 100, over the course of a game that may be three. That could be the difference between a walk, leading to a baserunner that can advance in a myriad of ways and a pitcher tossing from the stretch or just losing his sh*t entirely a la Hochevar.
So what's different than a year ago? Technically, we have improved in the league rankings overall, but that's deceiving (more shoddy tables below with arbitrarily selected statistics that are best suited to sway you toward a specific opinion):
BB% 9.6 (25th in MLB) 8.9 (27th)
BB/9 3.71 (25th) 3.45 (28th)
K/BB 1.97 (26th) 1.94 (29th)
BABIP .308 .299
FIP 3.88 4.27
WHIP 1.41 1.41
GB/FB 1.24 1.19
Obviously, that grouping of statistics skims the surface of the discussion, at best, but it's a place to start the debate. We see maybe a few improvements, maybe a bit of bad luck, but overall, much of the same.
One might argue that Eiland has had to work with guys such as Vin Mazzaro, Nate Adcock, Luis Mendoza and the Fresh Prince due to injuries, at times, to Felipe Paulino, Danny Duffy and Jonathan Sanchez. But those three guys that have missed time are all pitchers that have struggled with walks/command. I can't imagine three Dirty Sanchez starts would really boost the stats the other way.
A year ago, McClure had guys like Jeff Francis and Kyle Davies. Francis didn't walk many guys at all, and Davies wasn't atrocious in that department. But he also had worse BB versions of Tiny Timmy and Paulino. I don't know if it evens out, but I don't think McClure was blessed with demigods, either. Did a blend of Matt Treanor, Brayan Pena and a dash of Salvador Perez behind the plate really outdo Quincy and Pena?
Is Eiland a poor pitching coach? I don't think the above stats prove that. He's had a bit more than half a year to work with the staff. Potentially, he's establishing a program not only at the MLB level, but in the minors, as well, that will reinvigorate the tossers. But maybe he's not. Maybe McClure was not the problem.
So has Eiland done ... anything?