Royals Rumblings - News for February 19, 2016
Joe Posnanski writes about how the Royals continue to confound PECOTA projections.
It has become common to mock the projection systems because all they do is crunch numbers without considering the humanity of sports. But I don’t buy that. For one thing, numbers do reflect the humanity of sports. More, predictions based on gut feelings and observation are certainly no more reliable (and almost certainly LESS reliable) than the number systems. Lots of people around baseball thought the Royals were a fluke based simply on what they saw.
See, the future is tricky. True, I did pick the Royals to win the 2015 World Series five years before it happened (and I plan on never, ever letting anyone forget it) but more recently I picked the Carolina Panthers to destroy the Denver Broncos. This stuff keeps surprising us. That is the best part of sports.
The Royals had the best record in the American League last year even though they probably didn’t have one of the league’s 15 best starters. They had the best record even though the finished sixth in runs scored, 14th in home runs and dead last in walks. They had the best record in the league because they caught everything, and they hit in the clutch, and they won the close games, and they kept scraping together comebacks, and Wade Davis was Superman. That’s not an easy formula to predict.
New contract in hand, Ned Yost discusses his future.
"I didn’t want to push past (2018)," Yost said. "I’ll have to get to the point in ’18 and evaluate whether I want to continue doing it or not. But if we stay on the trend that we’re on now — you work so hard to develop a winner, it’s hard to leave when you’ve got the opportunity to win. And we feel like we’ve got that opportunity for the next three years."
Owen Watson at Fangraphs looks at Salvador Perez's inability to draw walks.
If we look at individual season walk rates going back to the start of the live-ball era (1920), we find Segura and Perez at the extreme end of the leaderboard among qualified hitters: in 2015, Segura tied for the 23rd-lowest walk rate since 1920 at just 2.2%, and Perez (with a walk rate of 2.4%) tied for the 40th-lowest mark. We could go into the hundredth decimal place to break some of those ties, but we won’t. We could even go further and factor in intentional walks, noting that Segura had two and Perez had four, but that seems unnecessary. We get the point: in relation to average full-time major league hitters, these two basically never walk.
The way both of them compensate for — as well as influence — their lack of walks is by contact ability: they both have below-average strikeout rates, driven by above-average contact rates both inside and outside of the zone.
Jeffrey Flanagan reports on the first day of camp.
And, of course, there was the always spirited first-base coach Rusty Kuntz barking out orders and shouting out "Player!" to every familiar face he saw.
"Must be that time of year!" one player barked back.
Jonah Keri ranks the Royals tenth in baseball and tops in the division in his power rankings.
Teams that (mostly) stand pat after winning it all tend to see significant declines the following season, and the projection systems see that happening with the Royals. But if you’re going to buck that trend, doing so with a core group of players in their 20s, and a high-contact offense/impenetrable bullpen approach that’s crushed expectations two years in a row, could be a good way to give it a shot.
Former Royals reliever Louis Coleman signs with the Dodgers.
Lee Judge looks at the strengths and weakness of each starting pitching candidate.
David Lesky at Pine Tar Press is glad to see baseball back, even with all its cliches.
Former Royals catcher Jeff Howell is trying to make the big leagues with the Rays as a knuckleball pitcher.
Dayton Moore is named one of the 21 most intriguing figures of spring training.
Salvador Perez reveals his post-season good luck charm.
Great news, Mike Aviles' daughter is now leukemia-free.
Pete Rose Jr. will manage the Wichita Wingnuts of the independent American Association.
Does baseball need a certain number of time outs to move the game along?
Should MLB consider a "one-pool" approach to spending on amateurs?
Longtime sports writer John Feinstein is not a fan of sabermetrics.
Former Chiefs player Jared Allen perfectly announces his retirement.
Bill Simmons announces his new site will be called "The Ringer."
Jon Bois' latest episode of Pretty Good is about the bodybuilding.com message boards.
Rio de Janeiro has given up trying to clean its water in time for the Olympics.
Despite spending billions, Wal-Mart has not caused a dent in Amazon's online sales.
Understanding how our brains process music.
The Simpsons plan on having a live segment on an upcoming show.
Your song of the day is The Beastie Boys with "Body Movin'".