Royal Rumblings (12/17/13)

John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

Two bunting second basemen.

Infante Comparables

I have yet to have chance to write on the Infante signing. First, I really like it. Four years was a bit long, but for $30M, it can be tolerable.

I decided to go back at look at comparable 2B and how they age. I looked at 2B who had between 6.1 and 10.1 WAR combined from their age 29 to 31 seasons since 1980. Then I looked at their performance the next 4 seasons.

I ended up with 19 players in all and here they are:

Name WAR PA
Tony Phillips 18.9 2633
Eric Young 8.1 2449
Mark Grudzielanek 8.0 1938
Mark Ellis 7.7 1885
Scott Fletcher 6.3 1447
Jim Gantner 5.3 2005
Ronnie Belliard 5.1 1366
Bill Doran 5.0 1421
Tom Herr 4.7 1905
Orlando Hudson 4.3 1296
Dan Uggla 3.9 1167
Fernando Vina 3.8 1798
Luis Castillo 2.6 1238
David Bell 2.2 1183
Johnny Ray 1.9 1011
Jose Offerman 1.3 1122
Damion Easley 1.0 1017
Chuck Knoblauch 0.0 936
Steve Sax -0.7 783

Considering each WAR cost between $6M and $7M now, he will probably break even with 4 to 5 WAR. The average was 4.7 WAR with the median value at 4.3 WAR. There is at least a chance of the deal working out.

2014 Royals Talent Level

FanGraphs is keeping track of the preseason talent levels on each team and in the free agent pool. I like the FanGraphs method of showing how much WAR is expected from each position. Currently, the Royals are projected to be the 5th most talented team in the league if the season started now. The ranking will continue to change as the last free agents, especially the starting pitchers, sign.

Butler and Gordon Aging

A few days ago I ran a fairly controversial piece on hitter aging at FanGraphs. Basically, I found hitters no longer improve once they reach the majors, instead their produce the same and then begin to decline between their age 25-26 seasons.

Aging_curve_wrcp_medium

While every player doesn't even come close to matching the curves, similarities can be seen with Alex Gordon and Billy Butler as they begin to decline. Here is the pair's change in wRC+ (link to explaination of wRC+).

Gordonbutler_medium

First, the Billy Butler has not really improved the past four seasons. I know people expected him turn into a true power hitter. Instead, he remained the same. After Alex's insane 2011 season (140 wRC+), his production has dropped as most hitters have done historically.

Bunts, Bunts Everywhere

The Royals are looking to solidify their 2013 AL bunt title in 2014 with the acquisition of Aoki. With Aoki, the Royals have 4 of the top 21 bunt happy players from 2013.

GordoNation Renamed?

A section of right-field seats was named the French Quarter because Jeff Francouer unfortunately defended there for a couple years. When, he was let go last year, the area changed names to GordoNation even though Gordon plays in left-field. Norichika Aoki will primarily playing right field in 2014, so assume the Royals are going to change section after Aoki (I personally don't think they will).What would you name the new GordoNation to?

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