Friday, July 28, 2006

What is Dayton Doing?

As today's trading deadline nears, I thought I might take a quick look at Dayton Moore's first real action since he sent J.P. Howell to Tampa Bay for Joey Gathwright.

To the uneducated observer, the motivation for Moore's moves may be hard to pin down, but I'm guessing that after he took over as general manager, he did a google search on the Royals farm system and found a page that looked like THIS.

What that list shows is that the best pitcher the Royals have drafted over the last ten years is probably David DeJesus, whose 7 outfield assists this year show the kind of velocity and accuracy that Jeremy Affeldt can only muster when he isn't allowed to pitch more than one inning at a time.

And so, Moore has jettisoned a couple of middling veterans (Tony G and Everyday Elmer) and one of our most oft-injured pseudo-superstars (Mac the Ninth) for the following collection of live arms:

Odalis Perez - 126, 127 ERA+ in '02 and '04. Needed out of LA in a bad way.
Blake Johnson - 3.33 ERA in A ball last year. 4.92 this year.
Julio Pimentel - Over a K an inning in A ball this year.
Jorge de la Rosa - A good track record in the minors. Hasn't put it together in the bigs yet.
Tyler Lumsden - Basically, J.P. Howell (A better ERA, but fewer strikeouts).
Daniel Cortes - A strikeout pitcher who's still learning the strike zone.

Hmm... seems like Moore thinks the team might need some pitching.

The Gathwright acquisition was mostly about defense (he also draws quite a few walks) and the Gotay for Keppinger swap was pretty much a crap shoot move. All of the trades from the past week have had one clear goal: improve the rotation in next year and 2008.

With big boppers like Billy Butler, Justin Huber and Alex Gordon waiting in the wings, this may be an exciting team to keep track of in the next couple of years.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Devil Feels a Draft

Last night, Angel Berroa was given two free passes by Ervin (not "Magic") Santana.

I don't want to overplay the magnitude of this information, but it was perhaps the worst pitching performance against the Royals ever.

Seriously, how do you walk Angel twice? Don't you know his stats? Last night's two unintentional walks now represent twenty-two percent of his total for the entire year!

I mean, if you think you're on the verge of walking Berroa a second time in one game, don't you just plunk him instead? He gets hit by pitches all the time. Nobody would suspect that. I say you groove one right between the rib cage and the hip. A nice soft breaking ball that puts him on base and saves your reputation.

Ervin? Are you listening to me?

In other news, the Royals traded Ruben Gotay to the Mets for Jeff Keppinger. Both players have put up similar career numbers, but Keppinger is a little bit older, so I don't really know what the point of this trade is.

Probably the biggest news in Keppinger's past is that he was included in the trade that sent Kris Benson from Pittsburgh to the Mets and unleashed the Anna Benson publicity firestorm upon the world. No word yet on whether Keppinger is married and if his wife is a semi-attractive publicity whore.

I guess we all can dream.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Joe Torre is an Idiot

Let's get one thing straight: I hate the Yankees. It's been hardwired into me since I was a kid and the annual Royals/Yankees tilt in the postseason was something people expected.

However, there is one Yankee player I will root for with gusto the remainder of this season: Aaron Guiel.

Guiel deserves to play for a winner. To play on a team where he'll rack up RBIs and runs scored because everybody surrounding him is a future hall of famer.

I wish Aaron nothing but the best in his new opportunity with the Yanks.

Today was Guiel's third game with the pinstripes and through the first seven innings he went 2 for 2, with a walk and a home run.

Than, according to Yahoo! the following happened:

- A. Rodriguez singled to left 
- M. Thornton relieved J. Contreras
- J. Posada singled to left, A. Rodriguez to second
- B. Williams walked, A. Rodriguez to third, J. Posada to second
- A. Phillips hit for A. Guiel
- B. McCarthy relieved M. Thornton
- A. Phillips struck out swinging

What the hell!

A man is killing the ball and comes up with the bases loaded. He's playing in a stadium built for left-handed hitters, and you pull him for some dude hitting 250/277/405?

Joe Torre is an idiot. That righty/lefty match up he put so much effort into creating evaporated as soon as the White Sox made a pitching change.

Aaron Guiel earned the chance to drive in some runs in that at bat.

Man... why am I writing about the Yankees?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Winning Baseball? What!?!?

With the All Star break approaching, I thought I’d take a quick look at the improvement our lovable Royals have made.

To do this, I’m going to take a look at the Pythagorean Record of the team, which is based on runs scored and runs allowed. (For a further explanation of the formula, please click here and here.)

For those so interested, I’m using the ^1.83 model.

Currently, the team’s pythag winning percentage is 37%, which puts them on pace for just over 100 losses this season.

However, on a month by month basis, the boys in blue have made incredible strides towards becoming a respectable team.

Month  Pyth %
April 28%
May 29%
June 46%
July 59%
July’s results are of a negligible sample size, but the improvement for the month of June is certainly encouraging. That’s a 75-87 team over the course of the season, which is far from fantastic, but much closer to the league-average expectations many of us had heading into the season.

The chart below shows the winning percentage as a ten game rolling average.

Man, did April and May suck.

A 4-0 loss to the White Sox on April 19th had the Royals looking at a 14% winning percentage over the previous ten games. That’s a 23-win season. That’s beyond bad.

Luckily, the schedule requires teams to actually play the rest of their games. By May 2nd, the team seemed to have turned things around, posting a ten game pythag percentage of 43% despite losing to Detroit 4-1.

This being the Royals, though, they promptly lost 14 of their next 18 games and hit another low point on May 23, playing like a 30-132 team (18%) and losing to Detroit 8-5.

Thankfully, all has not been lost. From that point forward, we have seen a steady climb to mediocrity with a high point of a 65% pythag record over a ten game stretch from June 16th through the 27th (capped off by a 9-8 victory at Cincinnati).

Heading into the All-Star break, the Royals have managed to impersonate an above average major league baseball team. Over the last 30 games, the numbers say the Royals should be winning 53% of the time. That’s an 86-76 ball club only needing a few more pieces to contend.

That’s a team that’s fun to root for.

Enjoy Pittsburgh, Mark Redman.