Royals Rumblings - News for October 2, 2015
Bruce Schoenfeld of the New York Times writes that Ned Yost has succeeded despite thumbing his nose at analytics.
That chemistry appears to have offset the construction of curious batting orders. Alcides Escobar, who has hit leadoff for much of the season, historically reaches base less often than the league average. The potent Alex Gordon was hitting sixth before he strained a groin muscle in early July. This in particular rankles the analysts. "Batting order is something a manager very clearly has control of," says Dave Cameron, the managing editor of the widely read website Fangraphs, "It's something Yost has done particularly poorly."
Yost dismisses such criticisms, but others in the organization feel compelled to respond. "We have information that the fans and analysts don't," says Yost's bench coach, Don Wakamatsu, who previously managed the Seattle Mariners. There, Wakamatus says, he occasionally put the slugger Russell Branyan at No. 4, the cleanup spot. "When I did, he'd break out in hives. But I'd put him at 2 or 5 or 6, and he was a world beater. Can the numbers account for that"?
Chris Young will pitch tonight less than a week after his father passed away with a chance to make the post-season rotation.
Young called the chance to play baseball this week a "welcome distraction." He thanked his teammates for their compassion and support. "Honestly, they picked me up the other day," Young said. "They made some great defensive plays. They told me, ‘We got you today. We’re winning this game. We got you.’ It meant so much to me."
Kendrys Morales left last night's game with quad tightness and is day-to-day.
Salvador Perez is also day-to-day with right thumb swelling.
Grant Brisbee wonders why predictions for the American League were so far off.
My reasoning for ignoring them before the season was twofold: The Royals hit 95 home runs last year, yet their postseason run owed a lot to well-timed dingers. It was a lot of fun, but it didn't seem sustainable. James Shields, reliable top-o'-the-rotation horse, was replaced by Edinson Volquez, one of the more erratic pitchers of his generation. The pitching was worse, the lineup was suspect, and we were talking about a team that juuuuuust squeaked into the postseason in the first place.
Why they were actually good
Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer followed the Alex Gordon development curve, becoming breakout hitters in the middle of the lineup, right as people were starting to dismiss their chances. The Royals took a shot on two bargain-priced sluggers, hoping that one would work out, and Kendrys Morales absolutely did. Volquez was solid, and Lorenzo Cain emerged as one of the better players in the American League.
With the benefit of hindsight, the biggest problem with the preseason predictions had to do with ignoring everything that was excellent with the 2014 Royals to focus on the red flags. The Royals had the best bullpen in the league, and they had the best defense in the league. Both of those things were still around in 2015. Considering the addition of Ryan Madson and the loss of Norichika Aoki, both of those things might have even been likely to improve.
Statcast says Lorenzo Cain is one of just eight true "five-tool players" in baseball.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that Lorenzo Cain is in the conversation for MVP, Ned Yost for Manager of the Year, and Omar Infante and Jeremy Guthrie are up for less prestigious awards.
Jeremy Guthrie expresses condolences to the families of the victims of the shooting yesterday in his hometown of Roseburg, Oregon.
Kendrys Morales is a nominee for "Comeback Player of the Year" for the MLBPA Player's Choice Awards, against Alex Rodriguez.
Does Ryan Lefebvre have magical powers of prognostication?
Oh, the chutzpah. Lee Judge now admonishes fans for being quick to judge a player, in this case, Paulo Orlando.
Former Royals pitcher Jeremy Affeldt is retiring, and here's what he won't miss about baseball, including showboating.
Commissioner Rob Manfred says Mexico could host an expansion team some day.
Jeff Sullivan says the Jays look good, but aren't a guarantee to win anything due to the fickle nature of the post-season.
Alex Remington at Hardball Times wonders why unwritten rules are disputed while written rules are ignored.
RGIII burns down Washington in the latest Breaking Madden.
FC Kansas City wins their second consecutive league championship with a win over the Seattle Reign.
The future home of the Royals championship parade, the Country Club Plaza, is for sale.
Two terrible women create "Peeple", the most horrible app ever, that allows you to rate people.
A Doctor Who spinoff is coming next year.
Andy Greenwald of Grantland makes peace with the five seasons of Homeland.