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So, You Think You're A Contender

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It's a Cardinals-Red Sox World Series and it was not all good chemistry and grit that got them there. A crazy thing called 'runs' seems to be the biggest factor.

Brian Kersey

Statistics do not tell the total story of why teams are successful or not and, round these parts, the definition of success is up for debate as well.  Without delving into advanced sabermetrics, or sabermetrics at all, and without mentioning managers or chemistry or grit or, hell, defense, we can still see that the 2013 Royals have a lot of work to do to turn the 2014 Royals into a possible World Series team.

The St. Louis Cardinals won 97 games and there they are, thumbing their noses in what is surely some sort of grotesque fashion at those of us who follow the team from the other side of Missouri.   Back in the World Series...again..with a lineup that features six of their draft picks and a rotation that is Adam Wainwright and a bunch of young, talented arms that the Cardinal organization mostly developed themselves.

Notable basic numbers:

  • Seven Cardinal regulars posted on-base percentages of .339 or above.  If they played in the American League, Mat Adams would likely have been their DH and he posted a .335 on-base percentage while slugging .503.
  • Speaking of slugging, five (six if you count Adams) Cardinal regulars slugged over .450, but no one hit more than Carlos Beltran's 24 home runs.  By the way, John Jay led St. Louis with a grand total of 10 stolen bases.
  • All told, the Cardinals scored 783 runs, best in the NL, despite being 13th in home runs and last in stolen bases.  They were, by the way, first in doubles, first in on-base percentage and ended up third in slugging
  • Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly, Michael Wacha, Trevor Rosenthal, Seth Maness and Kevin Siegrist are all 26 years old or younger.  They combined with Wainwright and Edward Mujica to allow a total of 596 runs, 5th best in the NL.
Now, how about the Boston Red Sox?
  • Seven regulars got on base at a .338 or better clip and that does not count Jonny Gomes at .344 or Mike Carp (.385).
  • Every single regular player (you can use Gomes or Nava as the third outfielder, it doesn't matter), slugged over .400.   Six of them slugging .440 or better.  Sure, they play half their games in Fenway, but still....
  • Boston was first in on-base percentage, first in slugging and, not surprisingly, first in runs scored with 853.
  • The Red Sox pitching, built predominately via a deep bank account, was 6th in runs allowed:  giving up 656.
And your Royals?
  • Two regulars had on-base percentages above .330.  TWO.
  • Two regulars slugged .433 or better.  If you are willing to count David Lough as a regular, the Royals did manage to get five regulars over the .400 mark in slugging.
  • Kansas City was 9th in on-base percentage, 12th in slugging, last in home runs and 12th in doubles.   The ballpark will never allow Kansas City to post gaudy home run numbers up and down the lineup, but 12th in doubles?  In the end, the Royals scored 648 runs:  11th best in the American League.
  • The Royals, of course, were number one in runs allowed (the good number one), giving up just 601 runs.  All but 9 games were started by pitchers who were 27 years old or older and the Royals best four starters were all at least 30 (two of those are now free agents).
Kansas City had a nice year.  A year in which they scored 47 more runs then their opponents.  Boston has a run differential of +197.  The Cardinals were +187.

That previous paragraph pretty much says it all, doesn't it?