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Game thread CXLVI - Royals at Red Sox

With two weeks left in the season, the Royals are still making questionable roster moves.

Edward Olivares watches his home run leave the playing field Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Good afternoon. Before we get to the matchups I wanted to mention the roster move the Royals made earlier today. Edward Olivares is finally returned from the IL. That’s good! Before he got hurt this year, he was hitting well and his defense isn’t going to get any better if he doesn’t play. Unfortunately, to make room on the roster for Olivares the Royals chose to demote first baseman and outfielder Nick Pratto back to Omaha.

Pratto was struggling a bit at the big league level, it’s true. Still, it seems unlikely that he has much more work to do at the AAA level. The simplest way for him to improve would be for him to reduce his strikeout rate. But that’s been a problem throughout his career. Going back to AAA and seeing worse pitchers doesn’t seem likely to significantly impact things. Pratto also had the second-highest ISO on the team, behind only Salvador Perez. So it’s not like he wasn’t finding some successes, too.

Meanwhile, fan-favorite punching bags Ryan O’Hearn and Hunter Dozier are both still on the big league roster. It’s true that neither of them is striking out as often as Pratto but it’s also true that between them they’ve hit one home run (Dozier, July 31) since Pratto was promoted - and in more combined total at-bats. Nick Pratto has been worth -0.3 fWAR since his promotion, which isn’t good, but Hunter Dozier has been worth an astonishing -1.4 fWAR over the same period. Dozier now has a career negative fWAR despite his excellent 2019 campaign.

It’s safe to say at this point that Nick Pratto might have a future on this team while Dozier and O’Hearn should not. But the latter two will finish the year on the big league roster and Pratto will not.

As for the matchups, Brady Singer is pitching today, so that bodes well for the Royals. The Red Sox are sending out Rich Hill. Hill is in his 18th season at age 42. He has a 2-2 career record against the Royals with an ERA of 5.76. He made two starts against them last year and gave up six runs in ten innings. He can be beaten.