Royals Rumblings - News for December 19, 2014
David Hill at Kings of Kauffman is relieved that it turned out Dayton Moore had a plan after all.
However, Moore obviously had a plan of attack. Instead of going out and forcing the issue, bringing in players at more than the market would bear for that type of pitcher, Moore waited. His patience was rewarded, as he filled the Royals need for a power bat, bringing in both Kendrys Morales and Alex Rios. While they may not have been the best players last season, there is certainly reason to hope for a bounce back 2015 campaign.
That same patience has allowed Dayton Moore to help fill out the rotation. After seeing pitchers such as Justin Masterson, Ervin Santana and Brett Anderson fly off the shelves, Moore brought in Edinson Volquez at a reasonable two year, $20 Million contract. Again, Volquez may not be the most exciting name in free agency; however, should he be able to harness his stuff through working with Dave Eiland, he could prove to be a bargain.
David Lesky at Pine Tar Press has already begun looking at how the Royals will improve in 2015.
To me, the Royals improvement should come from a couple places where I don’t know if they can be worse. I’ll start with the position that you probably wouldn’t expect, and that’s catcher. I’ve talked about this before, and I’m certainly not the only one to talk about this, but Salvador Perez is too good too play as many games as he played in 2014. The Royals simply can’t afford to let him play that often and wear down like he did in 2014. We’ve been over this before, but Perez hit .283/.329/.437 before the All-Star break. It was more than obvious what happened to him as the season wore on. Can you imagine what kind of an impact he would have had if he had played maybe 10-15 less games down the stretch, but maintained that triple slash line? I’m not sure the Royals believe Kratz is the answer for 40 games per year, but if he’s not, they still need to find someone who is because Salvador Perez for 120 games is far more effective than Salvador Perez for 145 games. I think the Royals have figured that out, so there’s improvement right there.
Robert Arthur at Baseball Prospectus looked at good and bad fastball hitters, and found that Lorenzo Cain and new Royal Alex Rios are two of the best at hitting breaking balls that are bad at hitting fastballs.
Not every hitter is so steady, which reflects some combination of random variation and genuine change in skill levels. One hitter whose change looks genuine is Lorenzo Cain (circled point at the bottom of the above graph), who went from an above-average score in 2013 to nearly the bottom of major-league regulars in 2014. That didn’t prevent Cain from having a career year at the plate, supplementing his brilliant defense with roughly average offense (TAv of .269). But that middle-of-the-road offense came on the back of a severely elevated BABIP (.380), while his walk rate tumbled from 7.5 percent to 4.8 percent from 2013 to 2014. While it’s always safe to bet on BABIP overachievers to come back to earth, I predict that the rebound is going to be especially tough if Cain doesn’t rediscover his discipline against fastballs.
Comedian Jay Mohr thinks the Royals won the James Shields/Wil Myers trade.
But what does Joe Rogan think?
Gorgeous George is taking a tour of the AL Central.
Dayton Moore will be inducted into the Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame. Not for the Alex Rios deal.
Two things Matt Kemp and my nana have in common - they both have arthritic hips, and they both don't play for the Padres.
Grant Brisbee looks at the four teams who have been surprisingly quiet this off-season.
Nathaniel Grow of Fangraphs looks at how normalized U.S.-Cuban relations might impact baseball.
Wesley Morris of Grantland lists his top movies of 2014.
More lists! The top ten memes of 2014. Where is "everybody will improve"?
Your song of the day is The Beautiful Girls with "Girl, Lately Things Have Been Changing."