Friday, September 29, 2006

Finishing Off the Season

Now that the team has “achieved” the 100 loss plateau, I suppose it’s time to recollect on the season.

I will be getting married in a week, so I wish to purge myself of these trifling, depressing thoughts before a few weeks in Tahiti with my new wife set my mind straight and get me ready for next year.

To start with: a few tables for you.

Diff G W L W%

1 38 14 24 36.8%
2 34 17 17 50.0%
3 19 6 13 31.6%
4 18 8 10 44.4%
5 16 6 10 37.5%
6 11 5 6 45.5%
7 8 0 8 0.0%
11 5 0 5 0.0%
8 4 2 2 50.0%
10 3 1 2 33.3%
13 2 0 2 0.0%
9 1 0 1 0.0%

This is the Royals’ record depending on the difference in final score. As you can see the team has played more one-run games than any other kind and has only managed to win 36.8% of the time.

Don’t read too much into this. If they just flipped a coin at the start of each game to determine a winner in the close contests, then our boys would have gone 19-19 and still been 35 games under .500 at this point in the season.

What I find most interesting is that the team has played in more games decided by 11 runs than eight. They’ve been blown out by seven eight times and crushed by THIRTEEN twice!

Imagine where we’d be if the team didn’t at least put up a fight in those two, four and six run contests?

Now… where to lay the blame?

This next chart is taken from Baseball Prospectus’s VORP numbers, short for Value Over Replacement Player. This number is designed to give you an idea of how many runs a player is worth above or below the average AAA journeyman who may or may not be playing first base for the Yankees tonight.

Player   PA   AVG   OBP   SLG   VORP   VORP/PA
German 313 326 420 455 25.1 .080
Teahen 439 290 357 517 29.3 .067
DeJesus 533 292 362 433 24.0 .038
E. Brown 583 287 358 455 28.0 .036
Grudz 586 297 331 409 19.2 .033
Stairs 262 261 352 429 6.3 .024
Guiel 59 220 339 460 1.3 .022
Mient 361 283 359 411 7.0 .019
Shealy 210 280 338 451 3.7 .018
Graffy 250 268 346 409 3.6 .014
Sweeney 242 240 339 409 2.6 .011
Costa 251 271 301 403 1.0 .000
Buck 403 244 306 397 -8.0 -.002
Sanders 358 246 304 425 -2.5 -.007
Gathrght 245 249 319 315 -4.7 -.019
Berroa 488 235 260 337 -15.6 -.032
Bako 167 209 261 229 -13.3 -.080

Using my mad math skills, I have taken the VORP of each player with more than 100 plate appearances and divided it by the number of PAs to see who produces the most value per time at the dish.

(Okay, so I cheated and kept Guiel in there just because he was my favorite player and I want the front office of the team, who I KNOW read this, to see what value they just dumped for nothing.)

What’s encouraging is to see a few of the younger guys at the top of the list. Teahen and DeJesus are going to be the cornerstones of a very good offense over the next couple of years. It is obvious that German has been woefully underused, but who knows, maybe he would have lost some effectiveness from the wear and tear of playing everyday.

There is, of course, an obvious sink-hole at catcher, but Buck has a mean-looking goatee and since he’s got the balls to take on Elvys in a fight, I say his gumption is worth the eight runs he’s given to the enemy this year.

And then there’s Berroa. Ahh, Angel. You’re going to make some mad cash in the coming seasons and my hope is that you’ll be doing so while striking out in picturesque Coors Field or a nice, homey place like Wrigley. If Dayton Moore isn’t prepared to eat your salary (and I mean ALL of it) this off season in order to trade you for some kind return value, then I hope he at least makes you go to Mike Sweeney’s back doctor for some off-season training advice.

I won’t show you the pitching numbers. I think we all know how that story goes.

Maybe Roger Clemens will take $12 Million from us next year to pitch in the games we play against the Rangers.

Maybe Zachary has his head on straight, and maybe Hochever is worth the year out of organized ball.

Maybe Elvys can keep the ball down, and maybe Joe Nelson is for real.

Maybe I’ll be so happy in Tahiti that I never come back and start learning the rules of soccer or cricket or whatever it is they play out there, and I find a new team to obsess over.

Nah… if moving to LA hasn’t killed the Royals fan in me (and Lord knows the losses haven’t), then I guess I’ll always be thinking about the maybe.

Have a good off-season, everybody.