Royals All Speed, No Power

Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE

But it is the stadium's fault.

Yesterday, the Royals hitters broke out with two home runs. Also, they stole three bases. They have been stealing quite a few more bases than home runs they have hit. It is a strength of this team, too bad it isn't a strength of a good baseball team.

Fact time

  • Royals 2013 rank in stolen bases: 1st (115)
  • Royals 2013 rank in HRs: 28th, last in AL (90)
  • Ratio of HR/SB: .78 (only 2013 team under 1.0)
  • League average HR/SB ratio: 1.78
  • Detroit's HR/SB ratio: 5.17
  • Looking at the last ten seasons, the Royals 2013 ratio is the 6th highest (San Diego in 2011 were at .54)

The Royals have speed. Jarrod Dyson (25 steals). Alcides Escobar (15 steals). Lorenzo Cain (12 steals). Chris Getz (11 steals). Eric Hosmer (10 steals). Emilio Bonifacio (8 steals).  And some how Elliot Johnson had 14 stolen bases. Hell, I didn't even know he got on base 14 times. Must have been some pinch running for Butler.

The previously listed players hit a total of 27 HR versus 95 stolen bases. Remove Hosmer from the group and it is 12 home runs and 85 stolen bases. These light hitters have account for about 1/3 of the team's 2013 PA. Basically, the Royals played three equivalent player every day who would hit 5 HR with 34 SB in 600 PA. The Royals aren't hitting home runs not because of Kaufman stadium, instead they have valued speed over power.

Steals aren't  necessarily bad, but they aren't nearly as valuable as home runs. Using FanGraphs Run Values, a home run is worth 2.09 runs while a stolen base is worth 0.2 runs. That is correct, it takes ten stolen bases to be the equivalent runs of a single home run. The Royals home runs have accounted for 188 runs this season and the stolen bases, 23 runs. Stolen bases don't even come close to making up the difference.

Another consideration will bring the stolen base value down even more. Every time a runner is caught stealing, the team loses possible runs. In 2013, a team loses .386 runs for each player caught stealing. For the Royals, it works out to 9 runs. So the league leading 115 SB and 23 caught stealings has created 14 runs. It takes just seven home runs to have the equivalent value to all the stolen bases the team has accomplished. For example, former teammates Francoeur, Johnson and Tejada added more value with their eight home runs than all the stolen base have.

I am sure the team will continue to tout our their league leading stolen base numbers. It would be nice if the team would give up some of those fast, non power players for a few with the ability to hit it over the fence.

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