Royal Rumblings (11/26/13)

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Did Brett and Grifol ruin Cain?

Lorenzo Cain

Yesterday, at FanGraphs I was wrote about Cain's 2014 fantasy forecast. I would like to highlight here a mid-season change in his batted ball profile.

First, here are Cain's month-by-month stats. I am going to completely ignore September when he was obviously playing hurt and hit only .185/.214/.259 .

Month GB/FB LD% GB% FB%
Mar/Apr 3.0 21.2% 59.1% 19.7%
May 3.1 25.4% 56.3% 18.3%
Jun 1.3 27.1% 40.7% 32.2%
Jul 1.1 22.6% 39.6% 37.7%
Aug 0.9 11.5% 42.3% 46.2%


With his batted ball mix, a drastic change can be seen between May and June when the Royals changed hitting coaches. I looked around the interwebs for any comment on a new hitting approach, but I could not find any mention of one. Cain went from a groundball hitter to more of a flyball hitter. The change destroyed Cain's production by limiting his good trait, speed, and exposing a bad one, power. Cain is at his best when he hits line drives or ground balls and turns them into hits and particularly extra base hits. He has no power (6% HR/FB ratio, career .114 ISO), so I don't get why he tried to hit more fly balls.

The change killed his batting average. Here is the breakdown from before and after the hitting coach change.

April and May: .282/.344/.388
June to August: .240/.304/.337

All of decline is from this average. Flyballs, which aren't home runs (which Cain doesn't hit), turn into outs. Around 30% of all groundballs go for hits. If a player can't hit home runs, don't try to. Hopefully in 2014 the Royals look at turning Cain back into a ground ball hitter.

Why was Kottaras was designated for assignment?

From Dick Kagel and kcroyals.com:

"He did a lot better than I thought he would do," manager Ned Yost said. "He was always touted as an offensive guy with some pop that could come off the bench and hit a home run for you, but he received the ball far better than I thought I he would. He called great games, he spent a lot of time developing a game plan with our starters every time he caught. He just did a fantastic job. He was a very solid player for us."
But the numbers game caught up with him.

"Hayes did a good job [at Triple-A Omaha], and our scouts liked Pena," Yost said. "Sometimes these decisions get tough."

Not sure what Yost is dancing around. Now off to Bob Dutton's take at the Kansas City Star.

So why Kottaras?

One top club official responded by rubbing his thumb over the tips of his first two fingers.

Money.

Yep, we knew it.

Top 20 Prospect List

Clint Scoles gives us his top 20 Royals prospects. Here are his top 5:

1. Kyle Zimmer
2. Raul Mondesi
3. Miguel Almonte
4. Hunter Dozier
5. Jorge Bonifacio

Overall, no real complaints. His ranking of Almonte is one of the most aggressive I have have seen. Additionally, he gave us a few names to watch

Daniel Rockett -  Hard playing college kid who excelled in the Pioneer league but will need to dispel off field probs.
Humberto Arteaga - Smooth fielding middle infielder who could handle SS if the path clears.
Samir Duenez - Big bat potential that will need to continue to work on defense and body otherwise bat has to probably carry too much weight.

Noel Arguelles - Worst AA pitcher?

He was close, but a couple of other pitchers, Brody Colvin and Arenio Leon, may have been actually worse. Here is how the trio performed (min 60 IP in AA, 221 total pitchers).

Name Team Age IP K/BB Rank ERA Rank FIP Rank
Brody Colvin Phillies (AA) 22 77.1 0.67 221st 6.40 220th 6.19 220th
Arcenio Leon Brewers (AA) 26 71.1 0.71 220th 5.68 206th 6.12 219th
Noel Arguelles Royals (AA) 23 71.1 0.83 219th 5.93 201st 5.37 204th

Gotta give a shout out to those sub-1 K/BB ratio pitchers.

Mike Montgomery sighting.

Robbie Knopf at RaysColoredGlass.com looks at how the Rays are starting to turn around Mike Montgomery.

In nine appearances and 14 innings pitched, Montgomery allowed just 4 earned runs on 12 hits, striking out 14 while walking just 4. ... It was a small sample size, Montgomery was as dominant as we had seen him in years. It wasn't jsut results either. Montgomery stayed at 92-93 MPH and hit as high as 95 MPH with his fastball and started doing a better job locating it down in the zone. He threw two different breaking balls, a curveball and a slider, and both showed flashes of being swing-and-miss pitches. ... The biggest takeaway from Montgomery in the Arizona Fall League was that his pitchers looked crisper and he did a better job locating them.

Not really a surprise at all.

Note: MiLB.com covered Montgomery also and here is their bland take.

No more Chad Durbin

I am still mad at Muser for ruining Durbin's arm early in career with some insane pitch counts.

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