Today I'm going to look at what I believe to be the single most important statistic for each player I believe will be on the 25-man Kansas City Royals' roster at the start of the season. I try not to repeat any statistic, which makes it a bit harder. I did not exactly accomplish my goal of no repeats, but I came close.
This idea was inspired by similar posts over the years at another blog which I frequent. It is one of my favorite posts every year and I figured I would share here. Hope you enjoy.
Salvador Perez - The Royals need to get more slugging from their starters and Salvador Perez is one of the starters than can do that. in 158 PAs in 2011, his slugging was .473. In 305 PAs in 2012, his slugging was .471. Last year, in 526 PAs it dropped to .433. It will be his second full season in the majors, and my important statistic for Salvador Perez is getting his slugging back over .450.
Brett Hayes - Brett Hayes has 375 major league plate appearances and 5 separate minor league seasons with around that many or more PAs. While his personal goal should be to have a lot of those, as a fan of the Royals, they're hoping that he can be a capable back up at a position in which the Royals should be completely set - as Perez may be my second favorite catcher to watch not only in this state, but in this league. My important statistic for Brett Hayes is under 100 plate appearances due to Perez's good health and consistent production.
Eric Hosmer - Eric Hosmer has been very inconsistent as a player. He really needs to improve in his consistency. There are a lot of ways I would like to go with this one, but I think what would most show consistency is this: My important statistic for Eric Hosmer is for him to become a 20-20 first baseman. (20 HR/20 SB)
Billy Butler - Billy Butler can hit. That's all he can do. To be a DH in this league, he needs to add pop to his bat as well. In 2012, Butler nearly got to 30 homers. This past year, he just got 15. He needs to get back up to the 60 extra base hit plateau, but more importantly: My most important statistic for Billy Butler is to have another 25+ HR season.
Omar Infante - Omar Infante was brought on to end the cycle of suck that has been the Royals' second base position for quite some time. Since 2002, 8 Royals have 600 or more PAs; none have hit over .300, one has had an OBP of over .350, 1 has had a slugging higher than .425, 2 have had wRC+'s over 100 - better than average hitter. My important statistic is for Omar Infante to have a wRC+ over 100 this season - as he was at 117 last year. He probably will not hit .300, nor will he have a .350 OBP, nor will he have a .425 slugging, but in this age of the pitcher, those may not be needed for a wRC+ over 100.
Alcides Escobar - Alcides Escobar was maybe the one shortstop in the league that hit worse than Pete Kozma last year. He was horrendous. In 2012, he was a bit below average, but better than the average shortstop, and earned a contract extension. My important statistic is for Alcides Escobar to get on base at a .300 rate or higher.
Mike Moustakas - Mike Moustakas has not proven he can hit major league pitching - and is worse than that against lefties. Moustakas needs to hit righties incredibly well this year because the Royals have traded for Danny Valencia to hit lefties for Moose at third. My important statistic for Moose is a .750+ OPS v. RHP.
Emilio Bonifacio - If everything is going right for the Royals, Emilio Bonifacio will be a super-sub. He will back up second base, third base, possibly shortstop, possibly center field, possibly a corner spot, possibly play some DH. My important statistic for Emilio Bonifacio in 2014 is 5 - that is the number of positions he hopefully gets to play this year because that will mean everyone else is doing their job.
Danny Valencia - Danny Valencia - whether Dayton Moore will admit it or not - was brought on to pound LHP at third base. My important statistic for Valencia this year is to hit LHP to a tune of an .850 OPS or higher.
Alex Gordon - Alex Gordon has been the Royals' best position player for the last 3 seasons now - although last year's statistics were down from the previous two. He simply did not hit as well or field as well. He dropped from an average of 6.05 fWAR over the previous two seasons to 3.4 fWAR last year. My important statistic this year for Alex Gordon is to get back to being a 5 fWAR player.
Lorenzo Cain - When was the last time Lorenzo Cain played an entire season? He hasn't in the majors. My important statistic for Lorenzo Cain is 130+ games played.
Norichika Aoki - Norichika Aoki is a high BABIP season away from going Ichiro on the major leagues. His bat should be one that plays well in Kauffmann Stadium. My important statistic for Norichika Aoki is for him to have a .333 BABIP or higher and have a fantastic season.
One of Jarrod Dyson/Justin Maxwell - My guess is that this spot will go to Maxwell because 1) Dyson may have an option and 2) this team needs hitting. Maxwell hit so well after being brought over from the Astros that they have to give him another chance this year. For the first time in Maxwell's career, he hit right-handers well. My important statistic for Justin Maxwell this year is to hit RHP to the tune of at least a .700 OPS. If Dyson is the one that gets the call, my important statistic for Jarrod Dyson is for him to have an 80% SB rate this season.
James Shields - Since we're talking about production here, my important statistic cannot be a contract extension, but that'd be it if I could. Shields needs to continue to perform like an ace, but more moreso - My important statistic for James Shields is to stay healthy and pitch 34+ games in 2014.
Jeremy Guthrie - Jeremy Guthrie had a fairly charmed season last year, yet might need to have a better season for the Royals to even match last year's win totals. My important statistic is that Jeremy Guthrie needs to allow 95 or less runs in 210+ innings this season.
Jason Vargas - Jason Vargas was signed this offseason to eat innings for the Royals. Assuming he doesn't get hurt, I see no reason that he won't eat innings. The thing he needs to do is eat good innings. That will require him to keep a low walk rate. My important statistic for Jason Vargas this year is to walk less than 2.5 people per 9 innings.
Danny Duffy - Danny Duffy needs to be in the rotation this year and needs to stay there. In 2011, he threw 147 1/3 innings. In 2012, he threw 27 2/3 innings before blowing out his elbow. In 2013, he came back with 93 1/3 professional innings. He needs to get to the 150 innings mark this year and for all of them to be in the majors. My important statistic for Danny Duffy are those 150 innings.
Yordano Ventura - Yordano Ventura has the potential to be an absolute STUD. The Royals may very well need him to be so this season. I don't believe he'll go incredibly deep into games, but when he's called up, he needs to make good on his potential (promise) as a player. My important statistic for Yordano Ventura is a K:BB over 3.0 in his rookie season.
Wade Davis - My important statistic for Wade Davis is going to depend on whether he is a starter or reliever in the majors. With any luck, he will be a reliever this year along with the next guy on the list. My important statistic for reliever Wade Davis is a K/9 over 10.
Luke Hochevar - Similarly, Luke Hochevar needs to keep blowing people away in the pen. The biggest difference I saw between 2013 as a reliever and previous seasons as a starter was Hochevar's confidence. I don't really know how to tell confidence in statistics, but I can try. Hochevar's fastball as a starter sat around 92-94 typically. In September 2013, Hoch was averaging over 97 mph per fastball. He was simply letting it fly and not caring about getting grounders, but just blowing people away. My important "statistic" for Luke Hochevar is for him to "let it fly" again in 2014.
Greg Holland - Greg Holland had one of the best relief seasons in history in 2013. It was why many people were clamoring to trade him after the season - he is unlikely to pull it off again. My most important statistic for Greg Holland this year in order to best replicate 2013 is for him to have a K:BB over 4 again.
Kelvin Herrera - Kelvin Herrera has a fantastic right arm. He simply needs better luck. My important statistic for Kelvin Herrera to have a HR/9 under 1.00 again this year. He never had a HR/9 above 1 in the minors. He gave up 1 in 2 innings in 2011, then only 4 in 84 1/3 innings in 2012, but then 9 in 58 1/3 last year. Sheesh!
Louis Coleman - Louis Coleman is a great pitcher in his own right. He has never gotten the opportunity I believe he deserves. My most important statistic for Louis Coleman this year is to pitch in the 7th-9th innings at least half of the time he pitches - or at least 20 shots at getting a hold/save.
Aaron Crow - Aaron Crow had a horrendous season last year, by his standards. His K rate has dropped each year in the league, his BABIP is rising each year, and confidence in him is fading. 2012 was his best year and that was his year with the best control he has shown in the majors. My important statistic for Aaron Crow this year is for him to have a BB rate of 4.0 per 9 innings or less.
Tim Collins - Tim Collins is at his best when he is aggressively throwing strikes. My important statistic for Tim Collins is for him to throw strikes 2/3 (66.7%) of the time.