A couple of good articles written over at Fangraphs have not been directly related to the Royals, but some nice parallels can be drawn to the current Royals team.
Dave Cameron did a great job in this article answering some questions that Buster Onley had on the WAR values of players at different positions. These differences were brought up here at RR a couple of days ago when I asked in a poll who had more WAR in their career so far, Billy Butler or Alex Gordon. Only 10% of the fans guessed the correct answer that Alex (9.3 WAR) had accumulated 3 more WAR over his career than Billy (6.2), even though Billy has over 500 more plate appearances than Gordon.
Here is a quick look at the Runs each has created in the various categories of WAR (basically 1 Win = 10 Runs):
|Playing Time (Replacement)
As it can be seen, Billy has been the better hitter and gets credit for playing more. On the other hand Alex has played more difficult positions while running and fielding better.
The penalty for playing 1B may seem high, but Billy is just not one of the better 1B in the league. Looking at 1B WAR since 2007, he ranks 22nd in total WAR. He is not even in the top half of the 1B over that time frame. Even though he is a better than league average hitter, he is a below average 1B.
In this article, Steve Slowinski, looked at K% levels that drag down a player's ability to be productive at the major league level. Currently there is no one on the major league team that has levels in the mid 20's for K%, but Jarrod Dyson could be kept out of the majors if he continues to K at his current rate.
Jarrod has struck out at rate of 16% while in the minors, but while in the majors the level is at 25%. We can probably assume that he will probably strikeout some where between those two numbers, so his K% for the majors will probably be around 20%. If he strikes out 20% of the time, he is giving way 1/5 of his at bats. The only way for him to be productive is if he puts the ball in play as much as possible since he has zero power. If he has a league average BABIP (.300) and Walk Rate (10%) and the K% of 20%, he would have a batting average of 0.240 with no power behind it. That just won't cut it in the majors.
I am not sure if he is working on his contact skills in AAA this season (10% K%), but he should if he ever wants to be more than a pinch runner in the majors.