Duffy makes his return, but should it be in the bullpen?

13567238_1105993649460171_8571168920219214904_n

The Royals, one night after blowing a chance to end the Indians historic winning streak, snapped it at 22 games with a 4-3 win Friday Night. They lost again yesterday. The Twins, meanwhile, lost both nights, and the Royals (73-75), trail the Twins for the No. 2 Wild Card by four games with 13 games left. Today, with a chance to split the series against the lava-hot Indians, Ned Yost has his most talented starting pitcher Danny Duffy returning from the DL (his second stint) for the first time since August 26. With his return, Yost will employ a 6-man rotation. Ian Kennedy, who missed his last start (shoulder fatigue) will re-enter. Duffy (8-8), who haw started 21 games, posting a 3.78 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 131 innings, will be on a pitch count of 60-65 pitches to not “aggravate” the injury. Much like 2013, needing a minor miracle to make the playoffs, I have to pose the question…why even put Duffy in the rotation. Or…why even pitch him at all? Duffy, who pitched a second bullpen [Read more...]

2017 Chiefs 53-Man Roster Projection, 2.0

excellent-kansas-city-chiefs-wallpaper

Ahead of tonight's third preseason game, this is our second preseason installment of projecting the Chiefs 53-man roster. QUARTERBACKS (3): Alex Smith, Patrick Mahomes, Tyler Bray In: Bray There is no question up to this point that this is still Smith’s team. With Mahomes now moving up to second team, we think Bray will now make the team as the third teamer, instead of Mahomes as the third teamer and someone not yet on the roster as the backup Practice Squad candidate:  Joel Stave RUNNING BACK/FULL BACK (5): Kareem Hunt, Spencer Ware, C.J. Spiller, Charcandrick West, FB Anthony Sherman We were leaning to West as the odd man out if the Chiefs kept just three backs, but he turned out a 100-yard effort on just seven carries in the 30-12 win over the Bengals. Yes, it was against a lot of guys that will get cut. But, it was also behind an OL full of guys that will get cut. With Spiller continuing to turn back the clock, we think both will make it and Andy Reid will break camp with 4 [Read more...]

With 6-player trade, Dayton Moore signals the Royals are “going for it” (as they should)

MooreYost

The Royals won their sixth straight last night, 5-3 in 12 innings, thanks to Salvador Perez (20) and Mike Moustakas (29) back-to-back DONGS – marking the first time in Royals history they’ve had three straight games hitting back-to-back HR. They’ve peaked at four games above .500 (51-47) for the second time year (44-40). In between, the Royals lost seven of eight and were the ongoing “buy or sell” debate – what the Royals SHOULD do, and what they WILL do – raged on; “look at their record!” “But, look at the standings!” But that question was answered by Dayton Moore yesterday, as minutes before the first pitch of the 9-game road trip, news broke that the Royals acquired pitchers Ryan Buchter, Trevor Cahill and Brandon Maurer from the Padres in exchange for pitchers Matt Strahm, Travis Wood (!!!) and minor-league bat Esteury Ruiz. The Royals also sent $7.2 million to the Padres just to get rid of him. It’s not a flashy deal, but it is meaningful. First, as we recently wrote, the Royals [Read more...]

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?

vargasoooo

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?

IMG_5572

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

DCTpml5V0AAH0pi

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?

PhotoGrid_1494899750653-1-11

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...]