Having burned right through July, 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.
As I've explained in the past entries in the series, the stats looked at herein are just a quick and dirty way to look at things. My intent is solely to give you an idea as to how the two teams measure up. For the sake of imperfect but easy comparison, we'll look primarily at both measures of WAR while attempting to make 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, 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 had totaled 16.7 fWAR and 16.5 rWAR. Now 104 games into the season, the offense has earned 12.6 fWAR and 16.4 rWAR, and the pitching has earned 10.7 fWAR and 5.6 rWAR. Combining the position players and pitching, the real Royals have totaled 23.3 fWAR and 22.0 rWAR, good for an average of 22.65 WAR.
So how do Old Man Duggan's Shadow Royals compare? See for yourself.
And the pitchers:
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. At the end of June, the Shadow Royals' offense had collected 11.7 fWAR and 12.3 rWAR with the pitching staff chipping in 4.9 fWAR and 4.3 rWAR, totaling 16.6 fWAR and 16.6 rWAR and an average of 16.6 WAR. With the July totals in, the Shadow Royals' position players have racked up 15.4 fWAR and 16.8 rWAR while the pitchers have chipped in 5.6 fWAR and 4.9 rWAR, giving us an unadjusted total of 21.0 fWAR and 21.7 rWAR, or an average of 21.35 WAR.
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. He's since been traded to the intradivisional rivals, the Racists, so he'll start accruing stats again.
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 started getting some playing time in San Francisco in June and July but went on the 15-day DL with left knee bursitis on July 27th.
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.
The biggest potential difference comes from Wil Myers, who would have gotten called up roughly thirteen weeks ago. Instead, he crushed in Durham for seven of those weeks. The injury to Westbrook opened up one spot in the rotation for Bauer/Odorizzi. Chen would have moved from the back of the rotation to the pen, though Bauer has been anything but solid and would likely have been sent back down this past month.
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 1.5 fWAR and 1.7 rWAR, an increase of 0.4 and 0.5, respectively.
On the Myers front, there is less volatility than before since we've got a better idea as to what his contributions would have been than a month ago. In an ideal world in which Myers was still a Royal 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 3.1 fWAR and 3.1 rWAR, a gain of 1.8 and 1.8 WAR, respectively.
By the same token, it's hard to imagine David Lough getting more than one-quarter of the playing time that he's gotten, whittling his value down to 0.5 fWAR and 0.6 rWAR, a loss of 1.3 and 1.6 WAR respectively.
For the position players, those are the only substantive changes to player value I can make at this time.
On the pitching front, Chen would have been used in the rotation until Bauer and Odorizzi were ready to come up. Through June his estimated usage had been 55 innings pitched. Given Bauer's struggles to throw strikes in AAA-Columbus, it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect Chen to have gone back to the rotation. Adding his actual usage for July to his estimated total at the end of last month, his adjusted innings total would be 88.1. 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 170%, his value increases to 0.7 fWAR and 1.9 rWAR, making for gains of 0.3 and 0.8.
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 by the end of June. We'll call it an even eight since they'd 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 through the end of June. With's Bauer's inability to strike anyone out in the minors in July, we'll assume that he's the one who headed back to the minors in July, and cap the damage done to the Shadow Royals' WAR through June.
For Odorizzi, it's hard to say that given his dominance in Durham that he wouldn't have stayed in the bigs through July. He had eight theoretical starts through June. He had five starts in the minors, bringing his total starts for the Shadow Royals to 13. His totals come to 0.3 and -0.7, good for a gain of 0.2 and loss of -0.5, respectively.
Mendoza would have been out of the rotation when Odorizzi came up. If we have him starting for his first eight starts or so and then heading to the pen, he'd likely be sitting right around 60 IP. That would put him at 0.4 fWAR and -0.6 rWAR, with a loss of -0.1 and a gain of 0.3 respective wins.
It's mostly pointless to try to adjust Will Smith's totals, who'd have been used strictly as a LOOGY, especially since Wesley Wright is already on the team and he's done little in the way of WAR accumulation. Even doubling his usage only equates to a gain and subtraction of 0.1 fWAR and -0.1 rWAR.
Louis Coleman, however, was going to be used heavily. Both pitchers would have factored in much more heavily to the Shadow Royals plans than they have been used thus far. Coleman would have been used roughly as much as any of the real Royals middle relievers. Extrapolating his usage to roughly 40 IP, his adjusted usage WAR totals would be 0.8 fWAR and 2.0 rWAR, gains of 0.6 and 1.5.
In looking at the total adjustments in prospective usage differences, there would be an added 1.6 fWAR and 2.7 rWAR bringing an adjusted team total to 22.6 fWAR and 24.4 rWAR, good for an average of 23.5 WAR or 0.85 WAR better than 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 had a start in which it looked like his velocity might be back, made two more starts before getting shut down for a month on June 8th, and then came back in July with the results on the field being underwhelming; 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 as his high pitch counts have been getting him run before getting through the sixth in all but one start; Hernandez has now played 36 games in Idaho Falls with a .341 wOBA and 96 wRC+ as an 18-year-old in a league where the average age is 20.6; Jason Adam is sort of striking batters out in Double-A, but he's getting hit around a lot, and his ERA is 7.33 for the month of July; Christian Colon is doing little to shed the label of "disappointment' with his .309 wOBA and 79 wRC+ in Omaha, though his last month has been a bit better; Sulbaran still appears to be terrible, having earned a demotion to the Carolina League this past month; 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 -0.4 fWAR and -0.6 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 but was optioned back to Frisco to figure things out.
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, and Ventura was the only meaningful prospect dealt in the simulation.
Clearly, Myers has been killing it, which helps a ton.
At this point, there is a small quantitative 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).
Chris Johnson and Wil Myers are golden gods.