Royals Rumblings - News for August 13, 2014
Rob Arthur at Fox Sports takes a look at what Dale Sveum has done since taking over as hitting coach and finds he seems to have diagnosed the right problem, but the problem hasn't been fixed.
Let’s get things straight then: Royals hitters were doing terribly. Dale Sveum figured out why (or at least part of the reason why). Dale Sveum presumably attempted to repair the Royals problem, and failed. The Royals started hitting much better anyways. You can’t predict baseball.
In retrospect, the Royals hitters appeared primed for regression to the mean. Even in Butler’s groundball-happy state, he wasn’t truly a .619 OPS batter. Similarly, Mike Moustakas was no .537 OPS slap hitter. They’d both experienced runs of bad luck, which caused them to fail, which in turn caused Ned Yost to fire the previous hitting coach and replace him with Dale Sveum. Despite Sveum’s accurate and specific dissection of one of the Royals’ problems, all he had to do for the offense to improve was to sit back and watch. Eventually, their luck would turn, and it did.
With that said, the Royals really do seem to have a problem with swinging at low pitches. Just because they have had an offensive resurgence under Dale Sveum’s watch doesn’t mean that they aren’t still drastically underperforming their projected talent levels. No matter how good their young pitching is, come playoff time, they’ll need to score some runs, and grounders probably won’t be able to do it.
Sam Mellinger thinks there is no way Eric Hosmer gets Wally Pipp'd out of his first baseman's gig when he returns from injury.
There is no chance that Yost will do anything other than put Hosmer back at first base as soon as he is allowed by law.
I do believe that there is a correlation between Butler playing first base and him hitting better. There are a lot of other factors involved, too, but that’s a big one. Still, you can’t justify turning your Gold Glove first baseman into a DH because Butler seems to hit better when he plays the field. Get creative if you have to, but Butler is being paid $8 million this year to hit. He needs to hit.
With Willingham, he becomes a strong right-handed bat off the bench, which is something the Royals have been wanting for quite some time. This team has been desperate for offense all year, and they could be in position to have Josh Willingham come in off the bench. That’s not bad.
How have the Royals managed to win with such an unimpressive offense? Clutch. Hitting.
A fun fact for you: the Royals are 63-53, while the Cubs are 50-66. Yet, their respective BaseRuns records are 56-60 and 57-59. In real life, the Royals might go to the playoffs, and the Cubs are looking ahead to 2015. In an alternative life that strips out sequencing, they’re just a couple of mediocre teams trying not to fall asleep for the final six weeks. What I’m absolutely not saying is that the Cubs have played as well as the Royals. They haven’t! The Royals have been clutch, and the Cubs have been unclutch. But the teams probably aren’t as different as they look in the standings. Good sequencing is a positive, but it’s also not really a skill.
Fangraphs still thinks the Tigers have the easier schedule if you look at projections, because they don't have to face the Tigers.
The Tigers have an advantage over the Royals comparable to the Nationals’ advantage over the Braves. The Royals, in turn, have a projected advantage over the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Mariners, so for them it’s good news and bad news. Or, probably, it’s not news, since they’re unaware of this post, but while the Royals would love to surprise everybody and claim the Central for themselves, I’m sure they’d be more than happy to settle for a one-game playoff. Not, like, if they were given a choice, but such a choice will not be presented. To my knowledge there’s no such thing as a baseball genie.
But then there's this.
Yordano Ventura, Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland combined to post an average fastball velocity of 96.5 mph and an average overall velocity of 94.2 mph. That’s the second fastest average pitch velocity in a game this season, surpassed only by a July 4 game between the Royals and the Cleveland Indians, in which the Kansas City pitchers averaged 94.3 mph.
Jason Adam is a local kid, so it probably hurts to be dealt away from the Royals, but he looks forward to pitching at the K someday, just for the Twins.
Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk loves the Royals defense and bullpen, but is not ready to call them a dynasty quite yet.
I did an interview with our sister site at Athletics Nation. My Ned Yost limerick is TIMELY.
Ned Yost is a manager that's
Always looking to add some more bats
When Moore didn't provide
At the deadline, Ned sighed,
"I guess I'll DH Erik Kratz!"
The Omaha World-Herald profiles Whit Merrifield who is absolutely tearing up the Pacific Coast League with a .366 batting average.
Malcolm Bronson was once a Royals minor leaguer, who has decided to try to make professional sports on the other side of the parking lot, with the Chiefs.
The Sung Woo Dog. Kim Chi, burnt ends, and a fried egg on a hot dog? Count me in.
Why you should get to know your neighbor. They might be a fellow Royals fan!
A look back at Robin Williams best roles. Williams certainly could be hit-or-miss with his comedy, but his peaks were so unbelievably high, and perhaps the most lasting memories of him are the roles where he transitioned into drama. He will definitely be missed.
Here come the Royals to crash the post-season party. Your song of the day is OK Go with "Crash the Party."