Royals Rumblings - News for September 16, 2015
In his Twitter Tuesday, Sam Mellinger looks at the historically bad five-start streak Johnny Cueto is going through.
The numbers are outrageous. The league is hitting .390/.411/.675 against him, meaning he is turning the average American League hitter into the 1980 version of George Brett. He has given up eight home runs in 124 at bats, which is a higher percentage (6.5) than Bryce Harper at the plate this year.
If you want to find a bright side, he has four walks and 20 strikeouts over 26 1/3 innings, and depending on your level of devotion to BABIP, he is getting extremely unlucky. I mean, exTREMELY unlucky: An average of about 30 percent of balls in play typically fall for hits. Cueto, over his career, has beaten the average. He’s been at 27.8 percent. But since the trade, with presumably the best defense he’s ever had behind him, 34.6 percent of balls in play are dropping for hits. Over his last five starts, that number is 41.7 percent.
If nothing else, you could reasonably expect his performance to improve based on nothing more than his luck evening out.
Craig Brown finds that September failure does not help post-season success, but its not an absolute barrier either.
Twenty teams made the World Series in the last ten years (math!) and only three of those twenty had losing Septembers and only one, the 83-79 2006 Cardinals, won the championship. Now, I should not be so greedy, given my adult life pretty much began with the 1985 World Series and was followed by a barge fulls of crappy baseball, but just making the playoffs this year is not really a big deal for me. I can live with getting to the World Series and losing, but I will feel like 2015 is something of a disappointment if the post-season ends for Kansas City before that.
Jesse Spector of The Sporting News writes that the Royals are not panicking.
"Last year, we had to fight through all of September, because we were down and we had to find a way to get that wild card," said Kansas City outfielder Lorenzo Cain. "This year, we’ve got a nice lead, but we understand that we have to go out and continue to play hard. … I don’t feel any complacency on this team. We’re all big league ballplayers and understand what we need to do each and every day. It’s a grind, but we’ve got to find a way to continue to win down the stretch so we can actually get a few days off here and there to rest our bodies."
Sam Miller at Baseball Prospectus looks at how PECOTA missed the mark with some Royals players.
So, Hosmer and Moustakas outperformed their projections by a bunch, but then Omar Infante and Alex Rios and Sal Perez and Christian Colon and Alex Gordon underperformed theirs. But there's one huge gap there, between the projected value and the actual value of Lorenzo Cain. In fact, almost the entire difference between the Royals' lineup projection and lineup reality can be attributed to Cain emerging as an MVP candidate. This is effectively the fourth consecutive season that Cain has improved as a Royal, and given his backstory -- he took to the game later than most, so later development makes some sense, even after he was a fairly mediocre 27-year-old -- this might have been foreseeable. Of course, you can find an exception for almost every player if you want to; PECOTA, wisely, prefers consistency. Players like Cain, who have unique development paths, sometimes make us pay for that.
Danny Duffy has one of the most inconsistent curveballs in the game, according to this Fangraphs study by Eno Sarris.
In his chat session, Andy McCullough lists his predicted post-season roster, a list that does not include Alex Rios, Omar Infante, or Terrance Gore.
No post-season for Kyle Zimmer.
NWA plays in Texas League finals tonight, but Kyle Zimmer has been shut down. He is healthy, team says. Finished year w/ 2.39 ERA in 64 IP.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) September 15, 2015
A lawsuit challenging minor league wages as a violation of labor laws was tossed out of court.
Jonathan Papelbon had some harsh words for his former Phillies teammates.
Dave Studeman at Hardball Times asks "what is a MVP"?
Jesse Spector of The Sporting News thinks its time for radical realignment in baseball.
The Pope is on a baseball card.
Forbes values the Dallas Cowboys at $4 billion, the most valuable sports franchise in the world.
Grantland answers your NHL training camp questions.
The University of Texas is looking for a new athletic director.
How Americans really spend their money.
Actor Terrance Howard does not understand math, which is far from the worst thing about him.
Taco Bell is serving wine and tapas in Chicago.
Your song of the day is Tupac with "Guess Who's Back"