Royals Rumblings - News for February 17, 2016
Sam Miller at Baseball Prospectus explains why PECOTA is so down on the Royals.
First, I’ll note that I had the Royals winning 86 in that poll-the-staff exercise. I’ll tell them that our staff generally feels a lot more optimistic about the Royals’ chances than PECOTA does. I’ll say that most systems like the Royals’ defense more than ours does, and that most observers praise the Royals for things (like a great clubhouse, great advance scouting) that PECOTA doesn’t account for (though, if they’re consistent and valuable factors, they should be showing up in players’ stats and thus influencing their projections; whatever.) I'll allow that the Royals have a pretty mediocre starting rotation, that the bullpen after Wade Davis isn't all technically all that special, and that it's a fun lineup (that provides great defense) but there are three or four holes in it. I might mention that the Royals' deviant projection last year wasn't especially unusual; some team or another is shockingly high or low every year, but a combination of factors set the Royals projection up to be spotlighted when it went wayward. I’ll say that PECOTA follows a series of guidelines that work pretty well in the aggregate, but that there are unknowns that are just as unknown to it as they are to any of us. I’ll say that PECOTA can’t do much more than take an incredibly unpredictable sport and make it a little bit more predictable. It’s not fate. Obviously.
Russell Carleton at Baseball Prospectus wonders if the PECOTA projections actually fueled the Royals last year.
But maybe PECOTA rage really is to blame for the Royals' World Series win. It’s easy to dismiss the narrative that a team won because they were fueled by "No one believed in us!" We’ve been conditioned to treat all of that as taurine feces, but there’s something to be said for it. There might be a team that looks at the press early on in spring training, realizes they are getting very little respect from the papers and starts talking about that in the locker room. Whether it’s true or not is irrelevant. If enough people believe it, then the perception becomes reality. Within that frame, no one believes in that team and this is a great insult. If everyone buys into that narrative, though, then you’ve created a mostly closed system where that narrative can reinforce itself. We are all bound together by the fact that we need to prove to everyone that we are better than they think.
Dave Schoenfield ranks the Royals as the fourth-best team in baseball.
I still hear the Royals referred to as a young team. This is wrong. They had the third-oldest lineup in the AL in 2015 (weighted by playing time) and the oldest pitching staff. But their key players are in their primes and last year they played with a chip on their shoulders. Before Game 1 of the World Series, Moustakas was still complaining about the preseason predictions. This year, they’ll be out to prove the doubters wrong once again. We know they’ll play defense. We can assume the Soria/Herrera/Davis trio at the back end will lock late-game leads. I’d like the offense better if the Royals had a second baseman, but they should score enough runs. And Yost has that devil magic. The Royals win the AL Central.
Dave Cameron at Fangraphs ranks the Ian Kennedy signing as one of the worst of the off-season.
t’s easy to see why the Royals saw Kennedy as a fit for them; a strike-throwing flyball pitcher fits well in a front of an elite defense, and the team certainly needed to add rotation depth if they were going to keep themselves in contention in the AL Central. But the price remains shockingly high. When you factor in the surrendered draft choice and the value given to the player through the opt-out, Kennedy cost as much as Mike Leake, a demonstrably better pitcher who also happens to be quite a bit younger, and who wasn’t exactly a bargain himself. Or, put another way, Kennedy signed for more money than John Lackey and J.A. Happ got between them; I’d rather have either one without even factoring in the cost.
Keith Law ranks the top ten Royals prospects (INSIDER).
Six Royals made Baseball America's top 100 right-handed pitchers prospect list.
Anthony Castrovince at Sports on Earth writes the Royals have the third-best lineup in baseball.
Dan Szymborski has his ZIPS 100 top prospects list (INSIDER) but no Royals are featured.
Fangraphs' KATOH system ranks the Royals farm system as 20th-best in baseball.
Mike Bates at MLB Daily Dish looks at the weirdest PECOTA projections.
Grant Brisbee looks at the three most confusing teams in baseball.
Nick Stellini at Beyond the Boxscore wants to talk about baseball in different ways.
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