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Royals Rumblings - News for August 21, 2015

When do we raise the "outperformed PECOTA" flag?

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for August 21, 2015

Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus explains to Andy McCullough why the Royals outperformed their PECOTA projection this year.

Miller admitted he felt apprehensive about the projection for the Royals and anticipated a backlash. He huddled with analyst Rob McQuown, who oversees the system, to double-check the math involved. "Here’s the basic problem with assessing the 2014 Royals and projecting the 2015 Royals: Individually, the players didn’t play that well last year, and individually they didn’t project to play well in 2015," Miller wrote in an email to The Star. "In 2014, they overcame that by (take your pick) getting lucky, being constructed to outperform individual performance, or just being on some next dimension genius plane that baseball analysis isn’t hip to yet."

A brief analysis of the team’s statistical performance last season verifies Miller’s explanation. Among the nine starters in the Opening Day lineup, only Cain and Alex Gordon classified as above-average hitters, according to the advanced metric OPS+. The Royals espoused their belief that players like Cain, Hosmer and third baseman Mike Moustakas would flourish this season. But projection systems do not account for sentiment.

Lee Judge contradicts Ryan Lefebvre and says that asking pitchers to catch pop flies is harder than you think.

Ryan’s correct; pitchers ought to be able to catch pop flies, but time has shown running them off the play and letting a position player make the catch is a wise policy. But with the bases loaded, first baseman Eric Hosmer was playing back behind the runner and had a long run to the ball. Hosmer was checking Hochevar’s position — Luke was under the ball — but Hochevar was looking around for help; you’re not going to let me try to catch this thing, are you?

If you’ve never stood under a mile-high pop fly, I’m here to tell you catching them is harder than you think. Big-league players make it look easy, but the ball does not come down in straight line; it’s spinning like crazy and that means it curves as it descends. Working as a team, Hochevar and Hosmer managed to let the ball drop between them — but it really didn’t matter.

Alex Gordon will begin his rehab assignment Sunday in Omaha.

Gordon expects to alternate between designated hitter and left field during his first few days with the Storm Chasers. He is scheduled to begin playing only five innings at a time in the field, before graduating to longer assignments. Gordon hopes he can come back before the rosters expand on Sept. 1. "It all depends on, because I haven’t played in a game, it’s my feedback, it’s how I feel," Gordon said.

Sam Mellinger writes about an unusual guest at the Royals 1985 World Series reunion - umpire Don Denkinger.

The call should not have mattered this much. If you watch the old broadcast, Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog argues for, maybe, 45 seconds. The announcers don’t bring it up again. The umpire missed a call. So what. The Royals had a runner on first base with nobody out. The Cardinals still led. Worrell had been dominant. The Cardinals didn’t need to crumble. But they did....

The World Series did not end that night. The next day was game seven, and Denkinger worked home plate. That had already been planned. He really was a good umpire. Herzog came out to argue a call, and told Denkinger they wouldn’t be there if he’d been right the night before. Denkinger told Herzog they wouldn’t be there if the Cardinals hadn’t been hitting .120 in the Series.

"That’s when he called me a name, and I ran him,"

Johnny Cueto is reportedly "open" to the idea of pitching for the Red Sox someday - or whoever pays him a boatload of money.

Carson Cistulli at Fangraphs wonders if Wade Davis throws the hardest cutter in baseball.

ESPN says the Royals and Chiefs combine to make Kansas City the best-dressed sports town.

Ten years ago yesterday, the Royals snapped their franchise-worst nineteen game losing streak.

Rusty Kuntz did not make the trip to Boston due to a sinus infection. Pedro Grifol will man first base coaching duties.

The Giants acquire outfielder Marlon Byrd.

Why is Arizona's offense so good?

Mike Trout is a meteorological geek.

The New Yorker explores the lawsuit filed on behalf of minor league baseball players alleging unfair wages.

Former NFL player Chris Borland does not think the game of football can be played safely.

Your primer to WWE's "SummerSlam."

How to save the family farm in the 21st century.

England will test roads that actually charge up electric cars.

Protecting students from ideas they don't like is bad for education and bad for mental health.

Universal Studios made the most money any studio has made this year, without the help of a superhero movie.

Your song of the day is The Standells with "Dirty Water."