I don't like to make strong definitive about things because I feel like I have a fluid opinion (except when it comes to Hunter Dozier). I try to remain open minded about things and look at the full picture. Whether it is people, things, and especially sports, making a definitive statement can come back to haunt you just weeks later, but I'll make one anyways.
The past two weeks have changed the course of this Royals team, season, and fan-base. On July 29th the Royals were 53-52. One game above .500 and five games behind the Detroit Tigers for first in the AL Central. Their playoff odds stood at 11.2% and their division odds at 4.6%. Today (August 11th), they stand at 48.2% for the playoffs and 29.6% for the division.
The past two weeks has changed the season we had written off for the most part. Royals fans are always searching for hope, generally in earnest, and it looked like another lost season. As a prospect lover I thought "well another season with a good to decent draft pick." As a Royals fan it can be heart breaking to suffer this despair year in and year out. I don't think any fan-base is as tortured by constant yearly hope then futility as Royals fans are. When Pirates fans had a winning season in 21 years I was happy for them, but another shameful streak still remained. One that extended 28 years and had an entire generation, myself included, never knowing the feeling of see their baseball team compete in playoff baseball.
I think most of us would have been ecstatic with breaking the ceiling and getting to the coin-flip game last year. I'm sure any of us would have been willing to take a division series sweep/drumming if it meant that for one October our TV sets and attention wasn't clicked off after game 162.
The past two weeks have shaped this Royals in a hopeful, exhilarating, and what we all pray fruitful season.
I won't rant anymore, but rather I'll show you what had driven these past two weeks.
Alex Gordon: 171 wRC+ .326/.380/.587 0.8 fWAR
Jarrod Dyson: 128 wRC+ .381/.381/.429 0.5 fWAR
Lorenzo Cain: 127 wRC+ .333/.390/.417 0.5 fWAR
Nori Aoki: 125 wRC+ .282/.391/.385 0.4 fWAR
Alcides Escobar: 94 wRC+ .318/.348/.364 0.2 fWAR
Billy Butler: 129 wRC+ .292/.306/.521 0.2 fWAR
Jeremy Guthrie: 15 IP 6 K/9 1.20 B/9 1.20 ERA 2.20 FIP
Yordano Ventura: 19 IP 9.47 K/0 3.79 B/9 2.37 ERA 2.98 FIP 0.5 fWAR
Jason Vargas: 9.1 IP 9.64 K/9 0 B/9 8.68 ERA 0.99 FIP 0.5 fWAR
Wade Davis: 6.2 IP 14.85 K/9 1.35 B/9 0.0 ERA 0.28 FIP 0.5 fWAR
James Shields: 23 IP 4.70 K/9 1.96 B/9 1.17 ERA 4.00 FIP 0.4 fWAR
Greg Holland: 8 IP 12.38 K/9 3.38 B/9 1.13 ERA 1.51 FIP 0.3 fWAR
Danny Duffy: 17.1 IP 7.79 K/9 5.19 B/9 3.12 ERA 4.06 FIP 0.3 fWAR
Hitters - fWAR AL rankings for the past 14 days (91 qualified):
#5 Alex Gordon
#21 Lorenzo Cain
#24 Nori Aoki
#43 Alcides Escobar
#52 Billy Butler
Two in to ~20%, three in the top ~25%, four in the top ~45%, five in the top ~57%
Starters - fWAR AL rankings for the past 14 days (86 qualified):
#10 Jeremy Guthrie
#17 Yordano Ventura
#18 Jason Vargas
#28 James Shields
#33 Danny Duffy
Three in the top ~20%, four in the top ~30%, five in the top ~40%
Relievers - fWAR AL rankings for the past 14 days (84 qualified):
#2 Wade Davis
#3 Greg Holland
#18 Kelvin Herrera
Two in the top ~5%, three in the top 20% of relievers
The Royals have had a majority of their players in at least the top half of the performances for the past two weeks.
Same criteria but in the past week:
Hitters (103 qualified)
#3 Alex Gordon
#10 Billy Butler
#20 Nori Aoki
#43 Mike Moustakas
#47 Lorenzo Cain
#48 Sal Perez
#59 Alcides Escobar
Starters (79 qualified)
#4 Yordano Ventura
#8 Jeremy Guthrie
#9 Danny Duffy
#16 James Shields
#21 Jason Vargas
Relievers (84 qualified)
#3 Wade Davis
#21 Kelvin Herrera
#22 Greg Holland
All five starters turned in top 20 performances for the week. Three top 10 hitters and a three top 20 relievers.
And finally I'll present to you the playoff odds changes using projection and season-to-date method from the first day of baseball, first of every month, and today.
Royals playoff odds by month. A true roller coaster pic.twitter.com/SXpAjnoJHS— Shaun Newkirk (@Shauncore) August 12, 2014