Part of a cool, efficient, season preview series at Beyond the Box Score. Worth checking out, if for no other reason than to read R. J., a relatively "neutral party," re: the Royals (he's a Rays guy, and yes, from before last season), basically echo three things I beat into the ground this whole offseason. What are those three things? You'll have to read to find out...
I finally published another highly anticipated article on quantifying the "Little Things" at Driveline... Features my usual Mechian efficiency in getting to the point, but if you want to understand this spreadsheet I've linked here, you should at least take a look at it... That's right, Jose Guillen really did do something. That's what he's getting 3/36 for -- not getting on base, or playing defense, or being able to hit right-handed pitching, but doing the "Little Things." Royal #2 is shocking, but maybe not so much when you think about what this stat means. I actually did the Royals calculations a while before I started writing for Driveline, and it turned into this... which ended up a lot longer and more inconclusive than I had hoped, but maybe it will go somewhere. I hope that if you find it interesting, you'll discuss the conceptual side of things over there, although I'm willing to learn here, too. If nothing else, it prominently features a classic example from the late 70s-early 80s Royals dynasty. And just for the record: +0.43 -0.03 +0.06 Figure it out.
Nothing's more fun than a link to a spreadsheet! Weeell.... On the heels of crazy posts from everywhere and every angle on the Crisp-Ramirez trade, replete with the usual overheated rhetoric, anger, objective analysis, dubious appeals to authority, and demands to pledge allegiance Sluggerrr, I decided to take a break and do some actual work. Just kidding. Actually, I went back to a "project" I started a while back and then set aside for home brewing total player value. Other people do it better, but there is a certain joy from doing something oneself. It all started when I realized that UZR had Emil Brown as a good defender in 2005 and 2006. You can read how I used what stats where in notes to linked spread sheet. I used UZR for the most part because I had access to those stats. It would be nice to use Dewans, but only the leaders/trailers are posted publicly. For some 2007 players and all 2008, I had to go elsewhere for stats. This started out as a chance for me to try "total player stuff" and see how good or bad Emil Brown really was in 2005 andn 2006. In that connection, at one point I posted yesterday or the day before that Emil Brown had been better than Jose Guillen 3 of the last 4 years (2005-2008 is the time frame of this stuff), and thought it was true based on my original calculations. It turns out he was only better 2 of the last 4, though, after I included outfield arms and prorated positional adjustments and replacement levels. Still, the comparison is quite interesting... Check out those totals. This isn't "projective" on its own and isn't meant that way, although the stats could be, of course, used as part of a projection. Keep in mind that these stats are all gathered from elsewhere and combined as objectively as I could according to principles accepted by respected analysts. OF arms aren't available from THT for 2008 yet. You can disagree with stats (like the defensive stuff), but I did the best I could with what I could find out there for free. Also included: 2005-2008 comparisons of KCs current (as of this writing!) top 4 OFs, an enjoyable "after-dinner" mint for KC fans, and, of course, an Ultimate Showdown for entertainment. I hope you enjoy this little spreadsheeted march through recent history half as much as I (absurdly) did. Update: Here's what Tango says WAR/year generally indicates as far a player quality (although it's clear some GMs don't get it: 0 replacement level/out of the majors 1 bench player 2 average player (might be closer to 2.5 for Al position players) 3 above average player 4 very good player 5 great player 6 one of the best players in the league
Very exciting news. I'm sure you've been following along with baited breath as I report the Royals' team and (some) individual results anyone else could find as David Pinto reports the results of his play-by-blay defensive metric, Probabilistic Model of Range (PMR) on his blog, Baseball Musings. I took a break because the news for the Royals wasn't particularly interesting or good... Until now: According to PMR, in 2008 the Royals had the best left field defense in the major leagues! The Royals won first by making 368 plays in left against an expected ~353 plays. That's 15 extra plays, or about 9 runs above average. Congratulations to Dayton Moore, Trey Hillman, and the rest of the gang. It has to be the new guys and attitude they brought in, right? Let's see what PMR has to say about the Royals qualified individual performers in left field: David DeJesus, while he didn't have a great year in center, was the second best LF in the majors by ratio. While in left field, DDJ made 136 plays against an expected ~122. That's 14 plays, or about 11 runs, above average. Keep in mind that's in part-time duty. So if he does have to move to LF, for whatever reason, assuming Tango's positional adjustment differences between CF and LF, DDJ at this rate would be worth as much or more than if he played an average center field. Mark Teahen, having been put in his third position in three years, was seen by many to have struggled in left, at least at first, but he apparently didn't qualify for PMRs rankings here, although he did play right, where he was also a plus defender according to PMR in relatively little playing time. If he can keep that up in the corners and even return to his 2007 levels of offense, I really do think the Royals will have an average starter out there, even if his more subtle skills (baserunning, defense) mean that fans will never really accept that. Teahen was about +3 runs in limited time in right, so that would be about +5 or +6 over a full season. Last but not least, the man who unselfishly let Teahen return to right field (and I mean that in all seriousness), fiery team RBI and Spiritual Leader Jose Guillen. In his short time in left, JoGui was about minus three plays below expected. In right, he was about 4 plays below expected. That's unfair, of course, because he also spent plenty of time at DH, so given a full season in the corners, I'm sure PMR would have had him between minus 12 and minus 20 like everyone else. In any case, say it with pride: ROYALS WIN (pmr 2008 lf team rankings)!!!! ROYALS WIN (pmr 2008 lf team rankings)!!!! ROYALS WIN (pmr 2008 lf team rankings)!!!!
Was talking with a scout recently, trying to gauge how the outside world looks at the Royals. I asked him if what he thought of Gordon, and he says, "Love him. We'd love to have him, what would it take?" Now, this scout works for a team with several young and established stars in baseball, so I joked that he could include those two stars. a low-level prospect, and the Royals would throw in Jose Guillen. It was a joke, obviously. I'm not sure the scout understood this. "No deal," he said, then he asked me where to find good Mexican food in Kansas City.Sam Mellinger
Unfortunately, the ranking concerns which major leaguer was playing "most out of position this year." Actually, Guillen is tied for first with Pat Burrell.
In a recent radio interview, Dayton Moore said that, despite the Royals' strong September, he was disappointed in the season, as he had the team projected to win 78-82 games. Maybe he is just...
This is an interesting article by Sky Kalkman at Beyond the Box Score. His idea is to understand defensive production on an RBI scale, "which even BBWAA members can understand." That's an excessive optimism, if you ask me, but commendable nonetheless. Kudos to you on your faith in your fellow humans, Sky Kalkman (and compliments on the killer name). I came across it a couple weeks back, but for various reasons held off posting it. Obviously, it doesn't have the season's final stats, but I'm sure things haven't changed dramatically. You can read the details for how he comes about doing it in the post. He is not recommending RBI as a way to evaluate players. Here are some notes of interest for those who follow the Royals, particularly given the well-documented defensive struggles of the team this year. No Royals are on the list of players who "gain" the most "RBI" from their fielding. On the list of those whose RBI are impacted most negatively by their defense: Alex Gordon: -23. The Smirk's defensive struggles have been much-discussed this year. UZR had him as the 3rd best defensive third baseman in the AL in 2007 (Gordon was at +4, Beltre +5, Inge +12). But the problems were real. Hopefully, he's at least somewhere between both seasons. I do think that Gordon will progress enough as a hitter that his bat will be an asset anywhere. Obviously, it would be best for the Royals if he could play 3rd. Ross Gload.: -23. OMG this disproves defensive statistics OMFG!!!111 Just kidding. Fortunately, defense at first doesn't matter that much and G-Load's bat totally carries him.* * Update by Pozterisk! To go along with Royals Review's acclaimed Andy Sisco and Mark Quinn Awards, I propose that Royals Review add a Gload Glove Award, given annually to the player whose primary reason for making the is ostensibly his great defense, but actually isn't good at that, or at the very least can’t possibly still be worth having around (let alone extending). Ross Gload would (naturally) win this year, although TPJ, from most reports, would have had a shot. In most organizations, and probably KC, too, the inevitable veteran catcher brought in will win (e.g., the Law of the Defensive Backup Catcher.), but every once in a while, an exceptional man like Ross Gload comes along and surprises us all. Thoughts? Jose Guillen: -24. Note that neither Adam Dunn nor Pat Burrell make the list. Bobby Abreu, whom Rany thinks the Royals should pursue, leads this list at -47. Kalkman also generates lists of players who, when defense is taken into consideration, are the most underrated and overrated by their RBI totals. On the underrated list: Mike 'Avilanche' Aviles. Was there ever any doubt? I realize that some people on here think that I "hate" Jose Guillen. He sometimes bugs me, but I think that I've also shown that I appreciate JoGui's (limited) offensive abilities and entertainment value. I do think the signing was a mistake. What really gets me going, however, is not JoGui himself but people defending his alleged "leadership," or who say that he's one of the Royals better players this season. Um, no, he's not even close. Every decent stat shows that he's been, at best, the 4th or 5th best hitter on the Royals, and maybe not even one of KC's top 10 players. But he leads the team in RBIs, so that must mean something! Sigh. Whatever. I'm not going to repeat the criticisms of RBI as a measure of offensive skill that go back to at least Branch Rickey. Most people do have at least an understanding of defense, though... With that said, the Royals can be proud that, when Kalkman posted this, one of their own did lead the majors in something. Tied in first (with Ryan Howard) among "MLB Players Most Overrated by their RBI Totals" is the Pride of Kansas City: 2008 All-Star Final Vote Candidate Jose Guillen.
Hello all. I'm on vacation again with a mystery wireless connection. I didn't want to take up a whole FanPost with this stuff, but I did want to update people on the Nicknaming situation (the link above is to my original post), as well as see where we wan to go with this. This is particularly relevant at the moment since Rany has finally come around and given a nickname to Butler. Congrats, I guess, to finally catching up, despite poo-pooing our own series. Shall we review the results so far? (If you weren't around or missed this whole thing, you might want to start by reading the original post linked above, then go through each of the following in order. 1) AVILANCHE. Mike Aviles, the subject of so much debate before his callup, was claimed by us long before the rest of KC got on the bandwagon. This is a good one, and it started here. 2) Hoagy Manwich, Team Baby Inspector. It's be initially witty, yet becomes less funny each time you hear it. "Hoagie/Hoagy/JoGui" won, and I think that's the base, but, as philofthenorth opined, the combination of several suggestions into "Hoagie Manwich, Team Baby Inspector" does sound like a Will Farrell or (shudder) Rob Schneider vehicle. And "Hoagie" is clever on many levels -- can be spelled without reference to Jose Guillen but still makes one think of him automatically, calls to mind his weight problems (and obliquely recalls "Manwich"), while also falling into/mocking the "A-Rod" boring nickname trend. 3) RamRam. This one is canonical, as I've heard that it's been used on broadcasts. It feels too easy, like we're running out of steam, but, hey, who am I to argue with the people? So that's where we're at. We've only got about two months before Rany does another one by fiat, and I admit that I don't know exactly where to take it next. I hope that people will use the comment space here to suggest 1) who to do next (that's what she said), and 2) nominate nicknames for the players that are left. Initially, I was hoping to do the bench players and "grinders" and avoid the "stars," and I still think that is more fun, in a way, but people can do what they want. Let's hear it! (And, yes, if people want to abandon this mission, I will resign myself to that, too.)
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