Now that month number three is dead and buried, it's time to check back in on the Shadow Royals from the SBNationwide off-season simulation that RoyalsRetro lorded over last winter. Just as the real life Royals have had their ups and downs so, too, have the Shadow Royals.
The stats looked at herein are just a quick and dirty way to look at things. This is far from perfect analysis, but it will give you a loose sense of how the teams measure up. For the sake of imperfect but easy comparison, we'll look primarily at both measures of WAR while making sense of things.
And the pitching:
For the sake of easiest comparison between the two teams, we shall look at cumulative Wins Above Replacement. Through the first 24 games of the season, the Royals actual roster had netted a total of 7.0 fWAR and 6.6 rWAR. That is good for an average of 6.8 WAR. At the 52 game mark the Royals roster had totaled 9.7 fWAR and 9.7 rWAR. As of game 79, the real Royals offense has totaled 9.6 fWAR and 11.6 rWAR, while their pitching staff has raked in a cool 7.1 fWAR and 4.9 rWAR, bringing them to a total of 16.7 fWAR and 16.5 rWAR or an average of 16.6 WAR.
So how do Old Man Duggan's Shadow Royals compare? See for yourself. Position players:
And the pitchers:
For those keeping track at home, the Shadow Royals had 6.2 fWAR and 4.3 rWAR for an average of 5.25 WAR through the first 24 games. At the end of May, the Shadow Royals had netted 9.1 fWAR and 7.5 rWAR for an average of 8.3 WAR. Now that we've reached the end of June, the Shadow Royals' offense has collected 11.7 fWAR and 12.3 rWAR with the pitching staff chipping in 4.9 fWAR and 4.3 rWAR. That makes 16.6 fWAR and 16.6 rWAR and an average of 16.6 WAR without making any adjustments for playing time. For those keeping track at home, that's the same as the real Royals.
There are obvious theoretical usage differences between the two teams. On the pitching staff alone, Chen would have been in the rotation to start the season before assuming a role in the bullpen to make room for Odorizzi or Bauer, though neither player would have been able to have been called up until at least mid-May due to burnt service time at the end of last season. Will Smith would likely have been in the Majors for the most of season, so the Shadow Royals would have been relying on him as a second lefty out of the pen. In real life, Marc Rzepczynski was optioned to Triple-A at the end of April, so he's not recording any stats for the Shadow Royals, though I don't know that I'd have been so quick to demote him, as his peripherals were not exactly awful.
Jake Westbrook made his way to the DL with an elbow issue after his May 8th start and stayed there until his June 14th start. He's being paid $1.0MM in the simulation (the Cardinals are paying the rest of his 2013 salary). There is a $1.0MM buyout on a $9.5MM mutual option for next year, so while the prospect of Tommy John Surgery looms in the near-distance, the financial burden is nominal on these Shadow Royals were he to go under the knife. Westbrook's injury likely added another couple of starts to Chen's run that was on a timer anyway.
For those who forgot (read: all of you), Blake Wood was also retained in the simulation. He is counting his money on the 60-day DL,making $507K as he rehabs, though he is throwing in the minors right now for Cleveland.
Tony Abreu and Nathan Adcock were kept on the 25-man roster and never left town. Abreu finally started getting some playing time in San Francisco, so his role as utility infielder on the Shadow Royals is starting to mean something, although
Additionally, the Shadow Royals would have been relying upon three replacement level players who still haven't made it up from the minors, making it a bit difficult to compare the two teams fully. For the purposes of totaling the WAR, I just left their values at zero, but even if they averaged 0.1 Wins apiece that would increase the WAR total by roughly half a win when factoring in the guys from month one who also sat in the minors. Also, playing time for Jarrod Dyson would have increased over the first three weeks or so, as he was going to bridge the gap in the beginning of the season.
The biggest potential difference comes from Wil Myers, who would have gotten called up roughly nine weeks ago. Instead, he crushed in Durham for seven of those weeks. Other than that, most of those players could be expected to be roughly replacement-level. The injury to Westbrook opened up one spot in the rotation for Bauer/Odorizzi. Chen would move from the back of the rotation to the pen to make room for the other. Both would be up full time at this point.
In the interest of trying to approximate values of players who were used differently in their 2013 season to how they would have been on the Shadow Royals, I've attempted to extrapolate WAR adjustments based on increased playing time for certain players.
Since the plan for the beginning was to call up Wil Myers at or around the end of the three-week mark of the season, Jarrod Dyson would likely have gotten an extra 14 starts. Using the approximate plate appearance per game of three for Dyson, as he'd likely be batting near the bottom of the order, that puts him at roughly 14 more full games at 42 more plate appearances. If one applies increase in playing time to Dyson's existing value, he'd have been worth 1.0 fWAR and 0.7 rWAR, an increase of 0.4 and 0.3, respectively.
On the Myers front, there is a lot of volatility as we're dealing with a two-week sampling. In an ideal world in which Myers was still a Royals and a theoretical world in which I were running the show, Myers would likely have been called up on April 24th. Myers would have missed 50 Royals games between then and his actual call-up on June 18th. That would put Wil Myers at 1.0 fWAR and 0.5 rWAR, a gain of 0.8 and 0.4 WAR, respectively.
By the same token, it's hard to imagine David Lough getting more than one-third of the playing time than he's gotten, whittling his value down to 0.4 fWAR and 0.6 rWAR, a loss of 0.8 and 1.1 WAR respectively.
I'll refrain from adjusting Chris Johnson's numbers, as it's hard to argue that his value would be bolstered by facing more righties, and switch-hitting utility infielders Tony Abreu and Irving Falu would likely have gotten some spot starts to keep them in the mix. Those are the only substantive changes to player value I can make at this time. As the season plays out and Myers actually accrues Major League service time, we can retroactively credit him with theoretical WAR in proportion with how he would have been used.
On the pitching front, Chen would have been used in the rotation until Bauer and Odorizzi were ready to come up. For the sake of ease, he'd likely have been used about as much as Mendoza for the first two months, and over the past month he has thrown 10 IP, so we'll estimate his totals rated out for 55 IP. Obviously, one would expect that he would have pitched a bit poorer as a starter than a reliever, but if we increase his usage by roughly 200%, his value increases to 0.2 fWAR and 0.8 rWAR, making for gains of 0.1 and 0.4.
With Bauer and Odorizzi having earned pointless service time last year, their call-up dates would have occurred at about the point in time that would have set them up in the rotation to have them each make seven or eight starts. We'll call it an even eight since they've each made four starts thus far, which would double their value. This brings Bauer to a whopping -0.6 fWAR and -0.2 rWAR, a loss of -0.3 and -0.1 on each. For Odorizzi, this is a little less penurious. His totals come to 0.2 and -0.4, good for a gain of 0.1 and loss of -0.2, respectively.
It's also mostly pointless to try to adjust Will Smith's totals, who'd have been used strictly as a LOOGY, or Louis Coleman's, who'd have been used more but hasn't recorded much in the way of WAR. Both pitchers would have factored in much more heavily to the Shadow Royals plans than they have been used thus far. It's not unreasonable to expect Smith to have been used at least twice as much as he has now, and Coleman would have logged roughly six times the innings he has thus far. If we were to extrapolate their differences in usage, there would be at least half a win gained in both measures of WAR, but since we're dealing with such a small sample for each, I'll refrain from going that far in the adjustments, though it would certainly help the Shadow Royals' cause.
In looking at the total changes in prospective usage differences, there would be an added 0.3 fWAR and -0.3 rWAR bringing an adjusted team total to 16.9 fWAR and 16.3 rWAR, good for an average of 16.6 WAR or exactly the same as the real Royals.
Over the course of the simulation, I also shipped off John Lamb, Mike Montgomery, Yordano Ventura, Elier Hernandez, Jason Adam, Christian Colon, J.C. Sulbaran, and Robinson Yambati in deals and signed Mitch Maier, Brandon Inge, Jesus Flores, and Kyle McClellan to minor-league deals for organizational depth.
For the sake of transparency: John Lamb finally had a start in which it looked like his velocity might be back, but only made two more starts before getting shut down on June 8th; Montgomery is still broken and did a DL stint earlier this season with a forearm issue, a harbinger of Tommy John surgery; Ventura is trying to acclimate to the PCL, but the adjustment hasn't been easy; Hernandez has now played eleven games in Idaho Falls; Jason Adam is finally striking batters out in Double-A, but he's getting hit around a lot and his K/BB is down 0.99 from last year in Wilmington; Christian Colon is doing nothing to attempt to shed the label of "disappointment with his .276 wOBA and 56 wRC+ in Omaha;" Sulbaran still appears to be terrible; and Yambati would appear to be a live arm but little else.
Inge had a clause in his contract that he had to be on the 25-man roster by June 1st. If he somehow made the team over one of the utility infielders (unlikely), he's been worth -0.2 fWAR and -0.4 rWAR. McClellan is the only other player who was signed for the purpose of organizational depth who has played in the Majors this season. He's been worth -0.2 fWAR and -0.2 rWAR in 9.1 IP in Arlington.
The Shadow Royals had a total payroll of $69.1MM, so $12.77MM less than the Royals payroll. With the insertion of Bauer, Myers, and Odorizzi into the lineup, it would be hard to argue that the Shadow Royals aren't set up much better for the future, even if the first two months were less kind to them as they were to the actual Royals.
A month ago, I said this of Rickie Weeks:
If there is one thing that's clear, Rickie Weeks has been an anchor on this team's production through the first two months. He only cost money and Aaron Crow, but he's been death to this team. I still think he can be a productive member of this team.
It didn't take long for him to shed the "anchor" label. Weeks caught fire in June killing the ball with a .469 wOBA and a 206 wRC+ while slashing .355/.429/.677 over 20 games.
At this point, there is very little difference between the two squads. One of them cost nearly $13MM less than the other, and there is less strain on the Shadow Royals' immediate future (though prospects were shipped off on the trade market).
Anyone want to talk shit about Bud Norris right now?