Due to a European vacation that was nothing like a Griswold family trip, it's been a full two months since we last checked in on the Shadow Royals. For those unfamiliar with what the "Shadow Royals" means, this past off-season RoyalsRetro oversaw a week-long SBNation-wide simulation in which team site scribes and Royals Review regulars played the part of General Manager for each of the 30 Major League clubs. I took the reins of the Royals with the roster as it stood at the conclusion of the 2012 regular season and went forward from there.
For those curious as to how the exercise played out, the write-up at the conclusion of the sim can be found here.
Writing this introduction without having crunched any numbers of any sort, I suspect that the real Royals' torrid final two months have tipped the scales rather favorably in their direction. When last we checked, the real Royals had an advantage in average unadjusted WAR of 22.65 to 21.35, though once adjustments for differences in playing time had been made the Shadow Royals had a 23.5 to 22.65 advantage. The other key difference between the two squads is the fact that the Shadow Royals were constructed under the assumption that payroll would be capped at $70MM (the simulation was conducted over the first week of December before the Myers/Shields deal). The Shadow Royals had a payroll of $69.1MM while the real Royals' payroll sat at just a shade under $81.9MM, a difference in $12.8MM. Finally, due to the natural limitations inherent in having the simulation occur for only the off-season, the Shadow Royals were unable to address needs mid-season via trades. This is where the real Royals have an advantage, especially given the fact that the admittedly bad Rickie Weeks went down for the season on August 7th, leaving an inactive hole on the roster that cannot be entirely filled internally by non-replacement-level talent.
Without further ado, here are the real Royals and what their season looked like:
And the pitching:
The Real Royals offense totaled 22.4 fWAR and 23.8 rWAR, and their pitching staff added 19.9 fWAR and 15.0 rWAR, bringing the team's total fWAR to 42.3 and rWAR to 38.8, good for an average of 40.55 WAR.
With that out of the way, here is how the Shadow Royals shaped up:
And the pitchers:
The Shadow Royals offense totaled 25.5 fWAR and 24.4 rWAR, and their pitching staff tossed another 11.7 fWAR and 9.1 rWAR, bringing the Shadow Royals total unadjusted fWAR to 37.2 and rWAR to 33.5, an Average of 35.35 WAR.
Now with these unadjusted totals, there are some glaring issues when trying to compare the teams. For starters, the Real Royals amassed 6,070 plate appearances and 1448.1 innings pitched. The Shadow Royals, on the other hand, totaled just 5,779 PA and 1041 IP, a discrepancy of 291 PA and 407.1 IP.
While a lazier approach would suit me just fine, I am going to try to be as honest in adjusting these totals as possible.
Since the biggest offensive adjustment in terms of total value will come from Wil Myers, I do want to be sure to be faithful to the total amount of plate appearances that Royals outfielders had this season. The Real Royals had 2,045 PAs from Gordon, Cain, Francoeur, Dyson, Lough, Maxwell, and Bonifacio (25 PA as a CF). As stated in previous entries in the series, Wil Myers would have been called up on April 24th, Super Two status be damned. The Royals played 50 games between then and his actual call-up date, and Wil Myers was getting called up to play. This means Wil Myers would have played 138 games for the Shadow Royals, adding an estimated 212 PA to his season total, bringing it to 585 PA. Unfortunately that bring the Shadow Royals outfielders collective plate appearance total to 2,301 a difference of 256 PA which have to come off of David Lough's season total, as he's clearly the odd man out in this outfield picture. David Lough loses 76% of his value, dropping him to 0.6 fWAR and 0.6 rWAR, a loss of 1.8 fWAR and 2.1 rWAR. The playing time adjustment for Wil Myers increases his value by 157% to 3.8 fWAR and 3.1 rWAR, a gain of 1.4 fWAR and 1.1 rWAR. [For the record, I could have left things as they were in the outfield and the total PAs would have been 2,089, calling for a nominal adjustment, but one that wouldn't be nearly as penurious to the Shadow Royals total WAR, but that would have been disingenuous of me as avoiding Super Two was never the plan with Myers. Furthermore, I think David Lough's value is artificially inflated by defensive value that is not likely representative of his true talent level in the field, but that is neither here nor there.] That is a net loss of 0.4 fWAR and 1.0 rWAR after adjusting the outfield plate appearances.
Moving on to the infield, the Braves were inexplicably platooning Chris Johnson with Juan Francisco early in the season. Johnson was healthy all season, so it seems safe to assume a difference in usage getting him up to 155 games and 598 PA, an increase in value by 109%, bringing his fWAR to 3.1 and his rWAR to 2.2, a gain of 0.3 fWAR and 0.2 rWAR.
With Rickie Weeks having gone down (thankfully, for this exercise) on August 7th, the Shadow Royals were without their second baseman for what was nearly the last two months of the season. Since both the Shadow Royals and Real Royals would have drawn from similar pools of infielders to fill out the total plate appearances at second and third, we'll look at the total PAs for each position. Even after Johnson's 50 PA adjustment, the Shadow Royals pool of 2B/3B PA totals just 1,176 compared to the 1,351 that the Real Royals got from Moustakas, Bonifacio (less the 25 PA as a CF), Tejada, Johnson, Carroll, Giavotella, Getz, Ciriaco, and Falu. To make up for the remaining 155 PA, we'll first look at Tony Abreu. While he was injured in August and thus was unable to take the playing time vacated by the injured Rickie Weeks, he was healthy in September, so we'll add another 40 PA to his September total (he had 62 in actuality). This brings about a 127% increase in playing time on the season, increasing his fWAR and rWAR by 0.1 apiece to 0.4. There are still 115 PA to go around, but those look to be divvied up between Johnny Giavotella and Irving Falu, both of whom were replacement level and have no bearing on the overall WAR totals. Since the Shadow Royals were unable to address their needs via mid-season trade (though it stands to reason that they'd have looked long and hard at Bonifacio when he was claimed off waivers and traded to the Real Royals, given the timing of the trade so closely correlating to when Weeks went down), this is really all that can be changed in the infield.
Moving on to the catching side of the equation, the Real Royals got 681 PA from their catchers while the Shadow Royals had just 537, a difference of 144. When the Shadow Royals filled in their depth chart, they were content with whichever Triple-A catcher made the 25-man roster out of Spring Training. Manny Pina was listed as a placeholder but was ultimately interchangeable with Adam Moore. Since Brett Hayes was a waiver claim from Florida in the 2012 off-season, he isn't eligible to be a Shadow Royal. Though this seems a bit unfair given the extreme volatility of the adjustment I'm about to make to Moore's very small sample of a real season, I got screwed on the Lough adjustment, so I'm going to roll with it. If we give those 144 PA to Adam Moore, it increases his value by 1409%--dammit, I can't in good conscience do this; it would increase his fWAR to 2.8, which is patently absurd. Instead, it probably makes the most sense to increase his WAR on a scale of increase in games played. His games played total increases by 480%, bringing his fWAR up to 1.0 and rWAR up to 0.5, an increase of 0.8 fWAR and 0.4 rWAR.
After these modifications, the Shadow Royals have an Adjusted WAR from their offense of 26.3 fWAR and 24.1 rWAR.
On the pitching front, when trying to assess who would get those roughly 407 IP, the conversions are a little easier. It's safe to say that the following pitchers' usage would not have changed either on account of health, effectiveness, or a real life usage more or less in line with what the Shadow Royals would have needed them for: Holland, Norris, Dempster, Duffy, Herrera, Mendoza, Westbrook, and unfortunately Trevor Bauer.
Starting at the top of the list and moving down, the first pitcher to discuss is Bruce Chen. Through July, it was estimated that he'd have thrown 88.1 IP. He threw another 69.1 IP from that point on, giving him a total 157.2 IP, 36.2 IP more than he had this season and a difference in usage of 130%. This brings his fWAR up to 1.8 and rWAR up to 2.2, an increase of 0.4 fWAR and 0.5 rWAR.
With just over 370 IP left to redistribute, we move down the line to Louis Coleman. Coleman never would have been in the minors for the Shadow Royals. He threw 46.2 IP in the minors, so we'll add that total to his Major League total, which brings him up from 29.2 to 76.1 IP, a 261% increase in usage. When adjusted, his adjusted fWAR is 1.8 and rWAR is 3.1, an increase of 1.1 fWAR and 1.9 rWAR.
There are now 324 IP to account for, and we turn our attention to Will Smith. While he may have had a few long relief appearances for the Shadow Royals, he most likely would have been implemented in a way not unlike the real Royals used him in the final month of the season. In September, Smith threw 9.2 IP. Given this usage, it would make sense that he'd have logged about 60 IP on the season, an increase of 26.2 IP or 180%. His adjusted fWAR is 0.9 and rWAR is 0.2, an increase of 0.4 fWAR and 0.1 rWAR.
With just over 297 innings left, we move to Jake Odorizzi. Given the service clock mishandling at the end of the 2012 season, it was going to be until the middle of May before he could be called up. From May 15th to the end of the season, Odorizzi threw 117.1 IP plus another 18 in the minor league playoffs, 105.2 IP more than he had in Tampa and a 456% increase in usage at the Major League level. This makes his adjusted fWAR 1.4 and rWAR 1.4, an increase of 1.1 each.
The difference in innings between the Real Royals and the Shadow Royals now sits at 191.2, and we will skip past Bueno for the time being, turning our focus to Marc Rzepczynski. "Scrabble" threw 44.0 IP in the minors for St. Louis this season, so we'll add the 44.0 IP to his total, bringing it to 74.2 IP, an increase of 243%. His adjusted fWAR is 0.5 and rWAR is 1.0, an increase of 0.3 fWAR and 0.6 rWAR.
147.2 IP are on the board, and we move to Donnie Joseph. Joseph threw 54.2 IP in the minors this year. When added to his Major League total of innings, he has 60.1, an increase of 1132%. This makes his adjusted fWAR 1.1 and rWAR 3.4, which I'd love to take, but Joseph being more valuable than Ervin Santana on account of the fact that he didn't allow a run in 5.2 IP is absurd. While I should probably hold fast to something more consistent in its methodology, I'll just carry over his adjusted fWAR to his adjusted rWAR, so his adjusted fWAR and rWAR is 1.1, an increase of 1.0 fWAR and 0.8 rWAR.
And now there are 93 IP to divvy up. I know I said earlier that Herrera's numbers weren't going to get adjusted, but there are only so many players I can adjust with ease. Herrera threw 18 IP in the minors this year. This brings his season total to 76.1 IP, an increase in usage of 131%. This makes his adjusted fWAR 0.8 and rWAR -0.3, an increase of 0.2 fWAR and decrease of -0.1 rWAR.
With 75 IP left, our attention turns to Francisley Bueno. A pre-existing internal option--one who I'm not exactly crazy about--the innings need to get eaten up by somebody, but if we give them all to Bueno, it skews things a bit too much, as he was likely too valuable in a short stint to not throw things off too much. Bueno threw 67.2 additional innings in the minors, and while we run into the same issue with him that we did with Joseph (he allowed no earned runs in a handful of innings in the Bigs), we can adjust his fWAR with ease and apply it to rWAR as well. In total, Bueno threw 76 IP, but for the sake of the exercise let's credit him with 38.1 IP, an increase in ML-usage of 30 IP and 460%. This brings his adjusted fWAR to 0.9 and rWAR to 0.9, an increase of 0.7 fWAR and 0.4 rWAR.
That leaves 45 IP to get thrown Everett Teaford's way. As Teaford, who threw 95.1 IP in the minors, was replacement level, there is no need to make any further adjustments to the Shadow Royals' WAR total.
In adjusting the Shadow Royals playing time and WAR on the pitching side, the Shadow Royals pitchers have thrown in an adjusted 16.9 fWAR and 14.4 rWAR.
In total, the Shadow Royals had an adjusted fWAR of 43.2 and an adjusted rWAR of 38.5, an Average of 40.85 WAR.
While I'd posit that there is at least as much volatility in the defensive measures David Lough is helped out by as there is in the extrapolation of value particularly as applies to the relievers adjusted (mostly Bueno and Joseph), the adjusted WAR for the Shadow Royals was 0.3 WAR better than the Real Royals. Given the inexactitude of the exercise of adjusting these totals, the teams were essentially equal.
Well, one was put together with a budget under $70MM, $12.8MM less than the other. Furthermore, that very same team with the payroll 84% that of the other also managed to build that team while holding onto Wil Myers.
In the wheeling and dealing of the simulation, the Shadow Royals dealt off minor leaguers Yordano Ventura, John Lamb, Mike Montgomery, Elier Hernandez, J.C. Sulbaran, Jason Adam, Christian Colon, and Robinson Yambati. There was a considerable amount of derision regarding the departure of Ventura, and this could be debated yet again. I still don't feel that shipping him off at that juncture wasn't a case of selling high. The deal for Norris also saw the Astros taking on Jeff Francoeur, whose salary weighed too heavily against the less flexible salary figure I was working from. Elier Hernandez was the only other prospect who saw his prospect star rise this season, but it was in his second go-around in the Pioneer League, so he's still very much a lottery ticket, though one who signed a very large bonus as a Latin American amateur free agent.
It also looks more and more likely that shipping off Tim Collins, Aaron Crow, and Mike Moustakas were the right moves, even if Crow netted Weeks, who was terrible. Trevor Bauer (who was the other half of the return for Moustakas and Collins along with Chris Johnson) had a brutal season and can't throw strikes, but the book isn't totally closed on him.
Westbrook was only guaranteed $2.0MM (the Cardinals were picking up all but $1.0MM of his 2013 salary, and there's a $1.0MM buy-out for 2014, which would surely get bought out), so his struggles cost next to nothing (unless you love Christian Colon). Dempster's 2013 was definitely worrisome, but Weeks's injury all but guaranteed that his vesting option for 2015 won't kick in, so the big ugly contracts could be worse. To be fair, that payroll was added on assuming that there would be a little more payroll flexibility in 2014 with the new national TV contract money, the thinking being that an $85MM payroll would likely be approved by the Glasses at that point.
I would still contend that I like the way this team is set up more than the Real Royals, and I was unable to externally address any roster issues that arose.
What did y'all think?