As you may recall we did a little exercise around here at about the three week mark of the season to see if we could predict which early season results we could expect the Royals to see continue for the entire season. We’re past the official half-way mark now and we’re too the unofficial mark so let’s check in and see how we are all doing and see if we’re ready to change our positions, yet.
Jason Vargas looked like a Cy Young candidate
At the time Jason was the third-most valuable starter in major league baseball. He’s now worth 2 fWAR, according to FanGraphs, which makes him the ninth most valuable pitcher in the AL despite the fact that he just had his worst start of the season in a game the Royals still won against the Mariners. He has also made his first All-Star team at age 34.
At the time I recommended you sell the stock, despite being a big Vargas fan. That means I look kinda dumb right now. He’s even further from winning a Cy Young now than he was then, but he might still get some low-place votes which makes him technically a contender.
The question now becomes, was Wednesday’s start the beginning of the wheels falling off or just a blip in what will go on to be an excellent season? I hate to do this again, but I still have the same opinion I did then: Jason seems primed for one of if not the best season of his career, but when it all comes down to it I think he’ll finish shy of Cy Young contention. Continue selling.
Eric Hosmer was hitting ~60% of his batted balls directly into the ground
At the time Eric was a dead-weight in the middle of the lineup and he has always hit a lot of ground balls. I told you to expect him to continue to hit stupid numbers of groundballs. He didn’t. His season rate is now much closer to his career rate and stands at 54% which means he’s hit a even fewer than that since we last checked in on him.
At this point it seems unlikely Eric will finish the season with a ground ball rate near 60% after reducing it this far, even if he goes into another slump. Go ahead and sell this one now.
The Royals rotation was on pace to crack 1000 IP
OK, OK. Yeah. This was never a real possibility and now that Ian Kennedy and Danny Duffy have both missed time and Nate Karns seems likely to be out for the year there is absolutely no chance of this happening. If you kept this sell it now because it’s already worthless.
The Royals were near the bottom in total offense
The Royals were the third worst offense in baseball by team wRC+ back in April. I said that they’d probably stay near the bottom for most of the year. They are now the fifth worst team after having a couple really torrid stretches. Expect similar returns going forward.
The Royals pitching staff was giving up less than a home run a game
For reasons I cannot fathom now I suggested it was possible for the Royals to maintain this pace, despite having a large number of noted fly-ball and home run-prone starters and long relievers. The Royals have now allowed 93 home runs in 85 games. Despite dropping Chris Young and promoting some strong sinker ball relievers in Scott Alexander and Kevin McCarthy you should expect them to give up lots of home runs if for no other reason than baseball is currently on pace to shatter the league-wide home run record set back in 2000. Drop it like it’s hot if you haven’t already.
Mike Moustakas is still on pace to break the franchise home run record
Back in April he was on pace to hit 54. Last I heard it was something more like 45-50 now, but that’s still plenty to break it as early as mid-August. Buy and cling to this like it will pay for your kid’s college tuition.
Joakim Soria was looking really good
He’s still looking pretty good. Buy buy buy!
Lorenzo Cain was on pace to steal 60 bases
I said to sell it because Lorenzo is not getting younger and frequently gets hurt. He hasn’t had any injuries that we know of, but after stealing 6 bases in the first 3 weeks of the season he’s only stolen 9 since then. He’s now pace for more like 25-30 stolen bases which seems, if anything, still too high. Especially since he’s stopped getting on base. Sell sell sell!
Totaling up the predictions it looks like I’m still on pace to be 5-3. That’s a .625 winning percentage. I’ll take it! How did everyone else do?