Well, we made it through the first couple rounds of the draft without any major missteps other than writing out our dance card backwards. I'd say it's safe to fire Dayton Moore now, as we kept hearing that the only thing worse than a draft run by Dayton Moore is a draft run by David Glass. Seriously, for the contingency plan where Moore was fired before Bud Selig waddled onto stage, I really hope the Royals organization had an idea of who would decide on the picks. Because at this point, a squirrel with an enormous bag of weed probably would have been an acceptable interim GM.
I'm not actually critiquing our draft strategy, I leave that to the amateur-prospect-educated section of this site's staff. On to the Pitching Staff Ups and Downs, because we're all really in draft mode anyway, to the point where even I don't really want to read a long lead-in (oh, and videos are NSFW):
James Shields - SP -
Ricky Nolasco is having one of those seasons where he puts up good peripheral numbers (K/9, B/9, HR/9, other things that FIP likes) and actually gets good results, the latter of which is somewhat atypical for him. Sadly for Nolasco, and even sadder for the Miami Marlins offense, he's only being given 2.31 runs per start, the lowest in MLB out of 102 qualifying starters. Shields is 81st in MLB, at a paltry 3.5 runs per game. What's more frustrating about that number than Nolasco's number is that everyone knew that the Marlins were going to be bad this year, and while everyone should have known that the Royals offense was going to stink, somehow that got by the front office.
As a result, we have Shields, in the first of his two years with the club (and I say that because I have no idea why anyone who's having the experience Shields is would ever sign an extension short of getting $20 million a year), pitching his butt off, and the Royals can't manage to win his starts. That's just super lame. Other notes on Shields - his strikeout, walk, home run allowed, and GB% percentage are all down very marginally from last year. It essentially adds up to the same very good pitcher, though.
Ervin Santana - SP -
While the above notes, and some of the other stats thrown out by the Royals fanatics this year, may lead you to believe that Shields has been the most-shafted by the Royals offense, he hasn't been, and it's not close. Remember how Nolasco was 102nd in MLB in run support? Say hello to Mr. 101. That's appropriate, given that a squadron of Dalmatians in uniforms could probably get on base better than the 2013 Kansas City Royals.
Santana still is giving up too many dingers, as well as benefiting from a LOB% of 84.9%, but I have to give him the nod for an up arrow based on the career-low walk rate of 1.51 per nine. You can cover up a lot of mistakes by not giving out free passes, and Ervin's been great at that this season. Now if only we could give him more than 2.45 runs per start.
Wade Davis - SP -
I see this video in my head every time Davis serves up another meatball. In terms of good news, his HR/FB is so high (17%) that it almost has to come down. I'm not sure that'd make him a major league starter, though. He getz a sideways arrow for having a quality start in the last month. That's how low the standard is for him these days.
Jeremy Guthrie - SP -
Still putting up some of the worst peripheral numbers among rotation regulars, as his strikeout rate of 5.03 per nine is incredibly low for the current K-heavy environment, and still scraping by in terms of actual on-field results due to an insanely high 85%. The last two seasons, it's been at 70%, and his career figure is 73.2%. At some point there's going to be a stretch where Guthrie gets pounded, and the brilliant Royals organization and the fans that have swallowed their excuses will wonder why. If his peripheral numbers reflected by his ERA, it'd be more obvious why he's below replacement level for the season according to some sites.
Luis Mendoza - SP -
His start against the Twins was pretty ugly, but he had actually continued his decent run of late before that, with only 4 runs allowed in the previous 16.2 innings. Yes, the St. Louis start was pretty shaky, and the one against the Angels required voodoo magic and nine GIDPs by Josh Hamilton, but the point is that Mendoza's gotten back to providing acceptable back of the rotation results, just as we expected. He's certainly done more to earn his paycheck than the two guys above him here.
Bruce Chen - RP -
He's still Bruce Chen, which makes the fact that he hasn't been scored on in about a month all the more entertaining. Still, it's hardly as if Chen's earned a more shutdown role in the 'pen, because he walked two batters each in his outings against St. Louis and Texas, and put both men he faced on base in the previous outing. The fact that he's only been used once in the last week signals that even Franky might have noticed his recent bout of Chenniness.
Luke Hochevar - RP -
Recently, in two games against the Angels, Luke started doing a thing called "allowing runs," which he hadn't been doing much of this year (other than when he's been put in with men on base already). Still, there's a lot that suggests, from what we've seen so far, that a career as a reasonably good reliever is salvageable. It shouldn't be that surprising, given that virutally every MLB reliever was once a starter at some level, but it still feels like beating the odds in regard to Hooch.
Greg Holland - RP -
In his last eight outings, Holland has allowed three hits, two walks, and zero runs while striking out twelve batters. On a related note, I love watching Greg Holland pitch. He's been in back-to-back games so I'm not sure if we'll get to see him tonight, though. If the Royals didn't already have a pretty good bullpen, it'd be worth wondering if Holland'd be up for a multi-inning role, that's just how good he's been since his rough start.
Kelvin Herrera - RP -
Relegated. Sorry, I've been reading too many Soccer articles.
Aaron Crow - RP -
Exploded on a Davis-like level against the hated Cardinals, and generally just didn't have a good two weeks. Crow's K/BB on the season is down to 10/7, which is decidely "blah" if not totally "blargh."
It's kind of hard for me to understand the presence of Gutierrez on the roster when there's already Crow, Hochevar, and, to a lesser extent, Chen, but it's not as if most MLB managers use extra position players well. And Franky's no exception. There's also the fact he was pitching decently until the Texas outing.
Louis Coleman - RP -
Not pitching particularly well since his call-up 5 baserunners in 4.1 IP, 1 K), but then again I can't really remember why the Royals left him in the minors in the first place. Oh right, we broke camp with about eleven starting pitchers and Wade Davis.
Tim Collins - RP -
Walking too many guys recently, but generally getting the job down. Fan fact - via Fangraphs' WAR, Collins has been worth as much as Davis...in 41.2 less innings.
Questions for the week:
1. Rate the Day One draft selections for the Royals? What's your overall grade for the draft?
2. Doesn't this video kind of remind you of the Kansas City Front Office?
This may mean nothing, but at the conclusion of this sentence, this post will have 1337 words!