The Royals starting pitching has been remarkably improved this season. In the AL they have the 3rd best RA at 3.83. In 2012 it was 10th at 4.60. Another way to look at it is the to compare the Game Score for each of the first 23 starts in 2012 to 2013. Game Score was invented by Bill James show how valuable each start was. A score of 50 is average. Here are the value ranked best to worst.
The starters average 2013 Game Score is 8.5 points higher than 2012. The starting pitching has been a strong point for the team.
Facts from Bill James Handbook
Normally I don't read or look at the Bill James Handbook. The data is available online and no new insight is in it. I was given a copy for free (someone else found it useless after buying it) and looked through the 2012 leaderboards. Here are some interesting 2012 season tidbits.
- Royal reliever led the AL in intentional walks with 32. Individually, Tim Collins led relievers with eight. Holland was 3rd with seven and Herrera was tied for 4th with 6. I am not sure what to make of it, but it seems Ned may be looking for late inning match ups. Or maybe the relievers just had to pitch a ton more innings since the starters were abysmal. The relievers have only issued 1 intentional pass so far this season.
- Billy Butler jumped back to 10th in the majors for grounding into double plays with 20. He was 31st in 2012 with 16. Both are huge improvements from 2010 when he led the league with 32.
- Billy Butler was only one of 2 players (other was Miguel Cabrera) was was in the top 10 in AVG at home and away. Most of the other other leaders were helped or hurt my huge home park factor. Rangers (Beltre, Murphy) and White Sox (Konerko and Rios) littered the home list while the away list is filled with Angels (Trout, Hunter, Kendrick).
- Mendoza was 7th highest AL starter with a 1.9 GB/FB ratio. Bruce Chen was on the other end of the spectrum. He had the 2nd lowest at .7 GB/FB
- Francoeur was the 3rd lowest in the league for driving in runners in scoring position at 24.8%. Butler on the other hand was 8th highest at 40.5%
Ex-Royals as Coaches
A recent issue of Baseball America had all the minor league coaches. Here are the ex-Royals I noticed (I am sure there are some I missed)
Carlos Febles - Manager - Greenville (Red Sox, Low A)
U.L. Washington - Hitting Coach - Greenville (Red Sox, Low A)
Storm Davis - Pitching Coach - Daytona (Cubs, High A)
Eli Marrero - Manager - Goodyear (Reds, Rookie)
Abraham Nunez - Hitting Coach - Burlington (Royals, Rookie)
Mark Davis - Pitching Coach - Surprise (Royals, Rookie)
Doug Mientkiewicz - Manager - Fort Myers (Twins, High A)
Jose Rosado - Pitching Coach - Tampa (Yankees, Rookie)
Morgan Burkart - Hitting Coach - Fort Wayne (Padres, Low A)
Kyle Snyder - Pitching Coach - Bowling Green (Rays, Low A)
Wade Davis, Probably Not a Starter
Wade Davis just doesn't seem to not be cut out as a decent starter. His 2012 move to the bullpen didn't lead to good 2013 results. Here are his ERA and FIP values from 2010, 2011 and 2013 when he was a starter.
2010: 4.07, 4.79
2011: 4.45, 4.67
2013: 5.55, 4.84
The FIP values don't even differ by 0.2. So far this season Wade Davis looks to be the starter he always, a crappy one.