Royals Rumblings - News for November 6, 2014
Sam Mellinger writes the Royals may be coming around to the idea of having Billy Butler return to Kansas City.
Back in spring training, it was said to a club official that Butler did not fit the rest of the team going forward. The official’s response: "if he hits 30 home runs, he fits."
That didn’t happen, obviously. Butler’s production slipped for a second consecutive season, and his .702 OPS ranked fifth on a team that expected to be better offensively.
There is still a chance Butler fits into the Royals’ future, though it would be with a smaller role and salary than both sides figured as recently as two years ago. That the chance exists at all, however, is a testament to how quickly things can change in baseball.
The Royals may realize that their best option is to sign an eight-figure contract with a player they couldn’t give away three months ago.
Andy McCullough writes James Shields may be replaced by an old friend - Ervin Santana.
To sign Santana — or any player who turns down a qualifying offer — the Royals must sacrifice their first-round draft pick. This may be less of a deterrent for them than for other teams. The Royals will select 25th, their latest first choice since 1978. If Shields signs elsewhere, the Royals recoup a compensatory pick of their own.
Thus the Royals are poised to spend on a pitcher like Santana — if they so choose.
"We don’t want to do anything that is foolish," Moore said. "We want to make sure that we always maintain flexibility for the future to do things."
McCullough bounces some other names around like Francisco Liriano and Brandon McCarthy.
Keith Law says the draft is no crapshoot for the Royals and Giants.
Looking at their nine primary position players (below), five starters, and four relievers (the HDH trio plus the suddenly indispensable Brandon Finnegan), we see a quick trend emerging: The first round has really mattered to this year's Royals roster....
There's no way to draw a firm conclusion from looking at just two teams, and just subsets of their rosters at that. This all came from a comment I made on Twitter -- itself a poor medium for proving anything -- that the MLB draft wasn't a "crapshoot," as it's often called by people who probably shouldn't be talking about the draft anyway. Between 70 and 80 percent of first-rounders will typically reach the majors, a rate that seems to be improving as teams continue to refine how they handle teenaged arms, and the likelihood of landing a star in any particular draft drops quickly once you exit the first round.
Of the 36 players I somewhat arbitrarily defined as "core" players for these two teams, 10 were first-round selections, four came in trades involving first-rounders, one came in a trade for a second-rounder, and one player came from each of the third, fourth, and fifth rounds. Six more were signed as amateurs out of the Dominican Republic or Venezuela, a market that I'd describe more as a black box than as a crapshoot. Both teams got significant value from major league free agents, but their best players were all homegrown or acquired in trades for major prospects.
Joe Posnanski has thoughts about the Gold Glove and Fielding Bible Awards.
AL GG: Eric Hosmer, Kansas City.
NL GG: Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles
Fielding Bible: Adrian Gonzalez
Gonzales had a fantastic defensive year both by the statistics and by the eye-test and so was recognized by both groups. Meanwhile, I have to say that the Fielding Bible people were not impressed with Hosmer’s defense this year — he did not finish in the Top 10 among first baseman. I put him in my Top 10, but lower down. Hosmer is a pretty good case study for the difference between the Fielding Bible Awards and the Gold Glove. He is a guy who looks really smooth over at first, and he’s good at scooping balls out of the dirt, and he makes some nice diving plays, and he’s young and energetic and the sort of player you just want to give an award. But the defensive numbers consistently show him to be pretty average.
Baseball Prospectus' Russell Carlton evaluates managers and finds that although Ned Yost preaches contact, there may not be much of an effect.
Yost apparently doesn’t like his hitters to strike out or walk; instead, his philosophy seems to be "put the bat on the ball!" I checked to see if there was a correlation between each manager’s effect on walk rate and on strikeout rate. The result was a correlation of .001, or almost nothing… not even some random noise to push it up to .05 or thereabouts. So, being good at teaching walks does not mean being good at teaching to stay away from strikeouts.
Salvador Perez, Alcides Escobar, and Jeremy Guthrie will be part of the MLB contingent that travels to Japan to take part in a series against Japanese All-Stars. Because Sal hasn't played enough games this year.
The Star has some Kansas City-themed gift ideas for the holiday season. Get your Royals watches!
Ken Arneson lists ten things he believes about baseball without evidence. One, that sabermetrics ignores sequencing, the Royals magical elixir to success this year!
Order matters in baseball, because this automatic prediction mechanism has a strong recency bias. (A conscious prediction might not have a recency bias if truly rational, but how often does a batter perform a purely rational analysis at the plate?) The speed, location and movement of the most recent pitch will affect the brain’s automatic prediction of the speed, location and movement of the next pitch. The more recent a pitch, the more it affects the automatic system’s prediction for the next pitch.
Pitch sequencing, therefore, is at the heart of the very sport of baseball, yet it is woefully understudied in current public analysis, because our tools, based on a foundation of unordered sets, are woefully bad at processing and studying sequenced events.
There is a whole industry now dedicated to the statistical analysis of baseball using these set-based SQL tools. But SQL does not have a recency bias clause in its syntax that you can apply to a query. Because these tools don’t handle the ordered data well, they basically ignore The. Very. Core. of the sport: the sequencing battle between pitcher and batter.
Let me say that again: statistical analysis (that we in the public are aware of) takes the most important element of the sport, and ignores it.
Pitcher Brandon McCarthy had a quick retort to former infielder Ryan Theriot's claim that Moneyball doesn't work.
Did the Royals post-season run SAVE THE WORLD? This letter to the editor thinks it at least gave us respite from Ebola news.
The Dodgers have too many outfielders. We need an outfielder. Hmmm.
Alex Rodriguez allegedly admitted under oath that he used steroids.How am I supposed to explain that to my kids? National innocence robbed once again.
RIP former pitcher Brad Halsey.
Is Major League Baseball shutting out black managers?
The NCAA looks terrible again in the Penn State-Jerry Sandusky scandal, as these emails reveal.
You can now order your $11 Taco Bell order from your smartphone.
This review calls Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar" the "best and worst space opera you'll ever see."
Your song of the day is Alice in Chains with "Them Bones."