Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Dayton Can't be Done

The most famous Royals optimist out there, Rany Jazayerli, has hypothesized that the Jose Guillen deal is but one domino in a long chain of moves that General Manager Dayton Moore plans over this current off season.

It had better be.

According to Dan Szymborski’s early projections for next year, the best lineup the Kansas City Royals can produce in 2008 is this:
Name     P   Age  AVG  OBP  SLG  OPS
Butler dh 22 288 360 471 831
Gordon 3b 24 264 339 453 792
DeJesus cf 28 287 355 431 786
Teahen rf 26 279 351 431 782
Gload 1b 32 292 332 447 779
Guillen lf 32 262 327 432 759
German 2b 30 284 364 383 747
Buck c 27 232 301 394 695
Pena ss 27 270 294 354 648

Running the numbers through the lineup analysis tool on Baseball Musings, the most this lineup could hope to produce is 4.90 runs a game.

In 2007, the Royals averaged 4.36 runs a game.

If these projections were to hold true, the Royals would end up with approximately 89 more runs in 2008 then they had in 2007. The quick and dirty rule is that 10 runs equal one win, so let’s say that through the addition of Jose Guillen and the projected improvement of other young players, the Royals will be tacking on nine extra wins next year.

That would put them at 78 wins... 83 if you want to go by Pythagorean record.

83 wins will not get it done in the American League Central.

Dayton needs to do more.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Royals "Win" Bidding for Guillen

Eager to continue the fine pharmaceutical heritage that began with Ewing Kauffman, the Kansas City Royals signed outfielder Jose Guillen to a 3-year, $36 million deal on Tuesday.

The potential steroid suspension aside, are the Royals spending David Glass's new found money wisely? How about some charts!

Below are two charts showing Guillen's On-Base Percentage (OBP) and Slugging Average (SLG) by age. The difference between the top chart and the bottom chart is that Guillen's partial years have been removed (in '99, '01, '02 and '06, Jose appeared in fewer than 100 games for the season).

By removing the partial seasons, we can see that the Dominican fellow has followed a pretty standard career path, peaking at age 27-28 in the power department while maintaining some positive growth in the ability to get on base.

Walks as a percentage of plate appearances:

Again, Guillen has shown an improved eye at the plate over the course of his career.

Extra base hits as a percentage of hits and plate appearances:

Here is where it gets sketchy for the Royals. At first glance, Guillen appears to have a somewhat erratic ability to hit the ball hard when he makes contact, but overall looks like he is trending upward.

However, when you remove the years most likely to be affected by small sample size blips, he begins to look like any typical player. In terms of full-season ability, Guillen's power potential seems to have peaked when he was 27.

The Royals have just "fixed" their middle order power problem with a guy who looks to be on the decline in terms of hurting the baseball over the next three years.

The good news is that while Guillen now becomes the highest-paid player in team history, his contract is not exorbitant in the current market. Three years is a short enough time frame that Kansas City can cut their losses if Guillen fails to find rejuvenation in the fountains at Kauffman stadium.

That said, I'd still rather see them go after Miguel Cabrera.