In the words of Ice Cube "today was a good day" I am lucky enough to live in a neighborhood that has a lot of social events. Today was one I could not pass up. Our neighborhood put on a Talkin' Baseball w Current Royals front office members Dean Taylor, Art Stewart, John Wathan, Bill Pecota and Royals beat writer Dick Kaegal. All of them are residents of my neighborhood and I have a feeling this will be a yearly event.
The afternoon started off very nice, with friendly neighbors and other residents breaking bread together. It was a very light atmosphere that was filled with old stories. Lots of the older faces wanting to relive the glory days.
My impressions of the front office and the Royals did changed a little today.
First the Royals, after today I can tell that they really like to hire friends and long time co-workers. John Wathan is on his 4th stint, Dean Taylor his 3rd, Art Stewart is been around since Lou Gehrig, and Bill Pecota seems like another former player turned front office guy. I just really got the impression that they like familiarity and comfort in the office and for that matter on the field. I think this tradition started with Mr. Kaufmann. Seemed liked they were always mentioning one of their daughters or wives who either ran the draft or royals charities. Not to mention their own experiences of being in Kansas City.
Dean Taylor - Seemed like a a very nice guy, but very old school. we had a very interesting conversation which i will talk about later.
Art Stewart - People were in awe of him. He is a living legend. (I even won an autographed book from him "the Art of scouting")
Bill Pecota - Seemed like the whipping boy, lots of funny jokes at his expense
John Wathan - Very funny guy who made jokes about being fired after winning 92 Games
Dick Kaegal - Not sure about him, he seemed a bit detached from the event. I don't think he is someone i would enjoy being around to much
They let us ask questions on question cards, and had some of their own that wanted to discuss. Some of this you will find very interesting.
Dean ran the whole show while the others sat at the table and answered questions. I am just going to hit the highlights so I can get to the god stuff
Dean - "48% of challenge calls have been over turned, and the Royals lead MLB in overturned calls with 17"
Dick - " hates replay and thinks it is fun to see the manager argue with ump, hates the length of game"
John - agreed with dick hates length of game, but maybe he would have managed more had replay been in effect
Bill - doesn't mind the long games and thinks it is important to get it right
Art- says its a mixed bag. some good, some bad
Art - told story of him shooting his bow and arrow in clubhouse and then hanging a mountain lion head above his locker
John - threw his very first BP at Kaufmann and says he wore out the fountains
Bill - best athlete that he ever saw
Dean - he broke their workout equipment because he was so strong
Dick - had a stuttering problem and after baseball help thousands of kids with that issue.
on not drafting Albert Pujols.........
Art - he was not looking at amateur players during this period for the royals
John - was new to the position and recommended they draft him in 7th round
They talked about the pine tar game, and some other Brett stories, but it was mainly light stuff.
OK now on to the good stuff. I posed three question of which two got answered.
I asked Dick Kaegal about his hall of fame vote....... (which he voted in Lee Smith and Jack Morris over, Frank Thomas, McGriff, Schilling, Mussina and others)
His reply was that you don't always look at stats, that you have to look at the person and ask yourself "does he deserve to be in the hall of fame" and "did he help his team" He said I voted with my heart, because I want more time to assess those other players.
He got a lot of aww's from the women in the crowd, but I felt his answer lacked any reality. Voting with your heart would put a lot of non deserving nice guys in the hall.
I then asked Dean Taylor this question which got a huge response from the crowd. "what are the Royals doing to keep up with the evolution of advanced statistics?"
He replied "This is a very important question, We have really been upgrading ourselves in this area. We currently have a staff of 5 full time and 1 intern. Included in that is a Director and developer."
He also said statistics is only one of 5 ways that evaluate a player. those being salary, health, mental, stats, scouting. All of those 5 are given equal weight."
Then he said this. "We are not the Oakland A's, we are not going to use stats and stats alone to evaluate a player. Then he joked stating that perhaps they should given Oakland's record.
After the event I went forward to talk privately with Dean, this is when things got interesting
I asked was Jin Wong still in the analytic department " he told me he never was, but maybe over saw it. (this confuses me because i could of sworn i read an interview with him a few years back on this site)
I asked if they develop their own metrics with their developer " he said they did
I asked do they study the Oakland and Tampa Bay models, He said that they do not openly share anything they do. However they do know that Tampa is moving more toward non-ground ball hitters to counter everyone using shifts
We talked minor league predictors and touched on Wil Myers. I told him I try to never get excited about a player until he reaches year 3 or beyond and can hit, because pitching starts to adjust after the first year.
He agreed and said that is the thing people don't understand. There is no advanced scouting in minor leagues and he was not surprised that Myers struggled late last year and early this year.
The last things I asked about was Hoch, Him and John Wathan both said they didn't know if he will be back but if he is at a much lower rate
The last thing we talked about was my opinion that they needed to trade Holland, He said that is something that is on the table, however they are unsure if Davis can close.
I finished by saying it would be a shame to not get anything for him like what happened with Soria
Well there it is. nothing earth shattering but some very good stuff. Forgive my grammatical errors, I am throwing this up quickly but will edit later