As Royals look to upgrade rotation, which arms should they target?

MooreYost

The Royals had the second-best rotation ERA through the month of April (3.38). They’re record stood at 7-16. Seven games later, they were 10-20. At this time, the popular thought was the offense would get going and the pitching would decline. That has rang true. The offense has been a Top 10 offense since, the pitching? On the decline. First, Nate Karns hit the DL after leaving a start with “forearm soreness” at Target Stadium in Minnesota on May 19. It was on the heels of a three-start stretch where Karns was a strikeout machine, fanning 29 in 17.1 IP Then, Danny Duffy hit the DL shortly after, stretching awkwardly at first base on a toss from Eric Hosmer on May 28, in what ended up being a 10-1 loss. He was expected to miss 6-8 weeks, but returned in just 35 days, because gnar. His first start back was super (5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 4 K, 2 BB in a 7-3 win at Seattle), and he was done in by the long ball on Sunday in a 5-2 loss to Clayton Kershaw (second-best strikeout total (9), but was [Read more...]

Grading the Royals first half

MooreYost

So far in 2017, as the offense goes, so do the Royals. The Royals had the second-best rotation ERA through the month of April (3.38), but it didn’t matter, thanks to miserable offense (ranking last in runs (2.7), and hitting (.210/.270/.336) and OPS .605), scoring 63 runs in their first 23 games tied for a franchise record (worst). They ended the month on a 9-game losing streak, dropping them to 7-16. Seven games later, they were at their low mark of the season, 10-20, and were still scoring a league-worst 2.73 runs per game. The .333 win percentage paced to a 54-108 season. Fifty-one games later, the Royals are now at 41-40 – an 82-80 pace. Not good enough o reach the playoffs, but from where they were, it is impressive. The 31-20 mark since the 10-20 record paces out over the course of a season as 100 wins. The Royals have maintained it for two months now. If they sustained it the rest of the way, the .620 win percentage over the final 81 games would equal a 50-31 mark. That’s [Read more...]

Jason Vargas, All-Star Game starter?

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Last night, Jason Vargas had his C-stuff (4 walks) and still allowed just two hits in seven innings, needing 100 pitches, in the Royals 8-1 win. It was his league-leading 12th quality start. He became only the second Royal with a 6-0 calendar month and it was his seventh straight win, improving to 12-3, tying Clayton Kershaw as MLB’s win leader. It was his seventh start allowing 1 ER or less. Not bad for a guy who made just four starts last season recovering from Tommy John surgery. The career year is coming at the right time for Vargas, who is in a contract year. And, for the Royals, who are in the final year of the Golden Age window. Vargas is a shoe-in as an All-Star. Can he START the All-Star Game? His (AL) ranks: Wins: 1st (12) ERA: 1st (2.22) Win pct: 2nd (.800) CG: 4th (1) IP: 7th (101.1) WHIP: 8th (1.12) Vargas’ main competition is Chris Sale. After a win today at Toronto on Canada Day, he leads the AL in IP (120.2), WHIP (0.90), strikeouts (166), ranks [Read more...]

Inside the Numbers: the Royals All-Star candidates…are they deserving?

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Today, Eric Hosmer moved into a first-place lead in the American League All-Star balloting, 50,000 votes ahead of second place Yonder Alonso and joining teammate Salvador Perez as those positioned to be voted into the 2017 All-Star Game. While it is certainly safe to say that All-Star and deserving is always a subjective thing, without looking into any stats, I think a case can be made for five position players. Let’s take a look if that is a credible claim. C Salvador Perez Perez is the only “qualified” catcher in the American League (to be qualified, a player must average 3.1 plate appearances a game). That said, one can still be qualified and suck. That is not the case for Perez, who is having the best offensive season in his career. His ranks: 1st in HR (14), Runs (29); tied, RBI (38) 3rd in SLUG (.521) 4th in WAR (1.4), OPS (.839) 5th in AVG (.286) 13th in OBP (.317) Defensively: 4th (3.8) Perez will get voted in as the catcher, again. And, his numbers back [Read more...]

Inside the numbers: The surging Royals offense = surging Royals

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As the offense goes, so do the Royals. The Royals had the second-best rotation ERA through the month of April, but it didn’t matter, thanks to miserable offense (ranking last in runs (2.7), and hitting (.210/.270/.336) and OPS .605), scoring 63 runs in their first 23 games tied for a franchise record (worst). They ended the month on a 9-game losing streak, dropping them to 7-16. Seven games later, they were at their low mark of the season, 10-20. The offense since, has improved. Not a coincidence that they’re 20-14 in the 34 games that followed, despite the starting pitching taking a step back (but the bullpen has improved), bringing them to four games below .500 for the first time since 7-11 – four games into the 9-game losing streak. In those 34 games, they’ve scored 170 runs, or 5 per game – nearly double what they were producing through the first 30 games (2.7). The Royals are in the midst of their best offensive stretch of the season. Yesterday, they missed scoring at least eight [Read more...]

Inside the Numbers: Is there anything that indicates the Royals COULD turn it around?

Royals General Manager Dayton Moore always says you can start to assess a team at the 40-game mark. At that point, the Royals, had one of the worst offenses in baseball and the fifth-worst record in baseball. Ten games (4-6) later, Memorial Day has come and gone, and not much has changed for the Royals. They’re offense is still one of the worst in baseball and owners of the AL’s worst record (21-29). Winners in just 21 of their first 50 games, the Royals .420 win percentage paces out to a 68-94 season. Not good and a far cry for what we thought was potentially possible in this the final year of the “window.” Add in that Danny Duffy just hit the DL, and it’s probably time to admit that’s it’s not going to happen this season, and, to quote a friend, it’s “time to put some players in the front yard and see who pulls over.” Even the most optimistic of optimist would have a problem shining this turn so far. Something they could say is the Royals have a winning record (21-20) if you take [Read more...]

Royals Roundtable: Do you believe in (Esky) Magic?

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Ned Yost took a trip down Memory Lane last Monday, desperate for the Royals and their league-worst offense by almost any and every metric to turn it around, inserted Alcides Escobar into the leadoff, hoping there was still Esky Magic leftover from 2014 and 2015 – if it was ever real to begin with. Since, the Royals have won six of seven – including a sweep of the Baltimore Orioles and their then-second best record in the AL – winning consecutive series for the first time this season and are in midst of their second four-game winning streak of 2017. In the process they’re scoring 5.3 runs a game – nearly doubling what they were scoring through the first 30 games (2.7). Meanwhile, Escobar has gone 7-31 (.226) with the same number as his OBP. Currently, he is hitting just .193, and getting on base at a .221 rate. Not good. Protoypical leadoff hitter, right? A real table-setter? This is nothing new for the Royals when Alcides Escobar is penciled in to the top spot of the batting order. [Read more...]

As Charles heads to hated rival, let’s remember his greatness in Kansas City

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Jamaal Charles is now a Denver Bronco. Let that sink in. The Chiefs all-time leading rusher (7,260) was released in February as a salary cap casualty – due $8 million after playing just 8 games over the last two seasons. His one-year deal is worth up to $3.5M in incentives, but a base salary of only $900,00 is a cheap risk/reward deal for Denver. There have been plenty mixed emotions from Chiefs fan – from wondering how anyone can play for their former rival, to wishing him luck because no ill will to a guy that wants a job, to ‘who cares, he’ll get hurt anyway.’  Any of them are understandable. For me, I held out hope that maybe he would return to Kansas City on an incentives-based deal similar to what he received in Denver, but it was clear any glimmer that would happen was gone when the Chiefs selected Toledo running back Kareem Hunt – trading up to get him – in the third round in draft. Running back is a young man’s position, and at Charles age (surprisingly only 30, but still [Read more...]

Kyle Zimmer can provide the boost the bullpen needs

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After the Royals fell to 2-5 with a dismal offensive performance in a 2-0 shutout on Monday – the Royals first Home Opener shutout since 1971, the Royals sent down a man who shouldn’t have even made the roster, Terrance Gore, to NW Arkansas after he made his only appearance of the season pinch-running for Salvador Perez in the ninth inning. Another roster move came down yesterday, with the struggling Matt Strahm sent to Triple-A Omaha. After his performance through the first week, his demotion should come as no surprise. He’s 0-2 with a 47.50 ERA and 7.50 WHIP so far in 2017 (1.1 IP in 3 appearances), after dominating hitters in 2016 to the tune of a 1.23 ERA, 1.09 WHIP in 22 innings last year. Command has been a major issue, as has twice as many walks this year. “I just need to stay on top of the ball,” Strahm said after Sunday’s loss, where he walked two in a row for a literal Astros walk-off in the 12th inning. “I see the problem, but I need to correct it.” Manager Ned Yost said [Read more...]

Projecting the 2017 Kansas City Royals

MooreYost

Like every year during the Royals Golden Age other than 2015, Vegas and any other notable outlet, has projected the Royals to finish in third or fourth place in the AL Central and below .500. Despite that, let’s make no mistake about, the Royals are contenders in 2017. After the Royals traded Wade Davis, we wondered if the Window to Win was still open. Then, Yordano Ventura tragically died and something happened – its like the Royals decided it was time to go all in. They signed Brandon Moss and former Cubs pitchers Jason Hammel and Travis Wood. They’re going for it! All part of the original core, Eric Hosmer, Mike Mosutakas, Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar could be gone after this year, but even if none of them return, the Royals are in much better shape in 2018 then we all anticipated at this time a year ago. But, for now, in their last year together, the Royals are primed to contend. How? Last year was a disaster for the Royals. Everything that could go wrong, did. But, despite [Read more...]