Friday, May 6, 2016

What's happening in the Central

This MLB season is roughly 17% completed, which represents to me a large enough sample size to get a rough idea of where teams and players stand. I have previously taken a look at storylines to watch in the AL Central, and at this point in the season it seems that the White Sox are last year’s Twins, the Tigers are playing much better than last year, the Indians are yet again underachieving, and the Twins are really bad. The Royals fall somewhere in the middle of division, mostly because they have completely forgotten how to hit. To get a better idea of how each team ranks in the division, I took a look at some of the numbers, which are shown below (clicking on the table makes it larger):
From the table, you can see that the White Sox are the best team in the AL Central overall, and are winning games with pitching and hitting. In contrast, the Tigers appear to be made up of mostly good offense, the Indians are mediocre at everything, and the Twins are terrible at everything. The Royals are good at what they normally are: not striking out (although they seem to be striking out more this season) and playing good defense. In addition, the Royals’ pitching has been surprisingly good overall (with the exception of Chris Young, Kris Medlen, and Joakim Soria at times). If KC could only pick up their offense, they would likely be competing head-to-head with the White Sox. The Royals and Indians enter a big series in Cleveland this weekend, with the winner likely taking control of 2nd place in the AL Central (assuming the Rangers take care of the Tigers).

Today also represents the day that Eric Hosmer began his MLB career 5 years ago. An iconic day for the Royals, since in some ways it represents the beginning of the current core of players that helped lead KC to 2 consecutive World Series appearances. Hosmer typically crushes the Indians, so here is hoping we see more of that this weekend, along with his teammates helping him out for once...

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mo' money, Mo' problems

With yesterday’s drubbing by the Nationals, the Royals dropped to 14-13 on the season, putting them in 3rd place in the AL Central, 4.5 games back from the Chicago White Sox. Yuck. All this after winning the World Series then setting a franchise record for highest payroll this offseason.

Seems like Notorious BIG said it best when he rapped on his song Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems: “I don’t know what they want from me, It's like the more money we come across the more problems we see.” In the Royals’ case, the more money they spend, the more problems they see (even more comical in the Royals’ case is the fact that the song was released after Biggie’s death, implying that even upon dying, one faces more problems with the more money they have). Consider the following:
Leadoff man Alcides Escobar is hitting .261 with an on-base % (OBP) of .295, which is atrocious. He does lead the team with 7 stolen bases and is 2nd with 30 hits, but he is almost an automatic out when leading off a game, meaning that Mike Moustakas, who hits after Escobar, faces harder pitches to hit. He is making a career-high $5 million this year. Mo’ money, mo’ problems.

Speaking of which, Moose is only hitting .258 with an OBP of .314, and although he has 7 home runs, those 7 home runs have resulted in a paltry 13 RBIs. Moose does only have 10 strikeouts but is really only helping the team with his defense. Moose is making a career-high $5.6 million this year. Mo’ money, mo’ problems.
Behind Moose, Lorenzo Cain bats third. The best word to describe his hitting this season is terrible. He is batting a terrible .232, with a terrible 31 strikeouts. And the most terrible thing? HE DOES NOT HAVE A SINGLE EXTRA BASE HIT BESIDES 2 HOME RUNS. Absolutely stinkingly terrible. Cain is making a career-high $6.5 million this season. Mo’ money, mo’ problems.

After that is Eric Hosmer, the only bright spot on the Royals. He is gonna get PAID next year. No problems.
Kendrys Morales, the Silver Slugger winner as the best DH in the AL last season, has been horrid this season, batting .200 with only 20 hits, 2 home runs, and 8 RBIs. He has 24 strikeouts and has grounded into 5 double plays, which is only 2 fewer than the most in the MLB. Garbage. Morales is making a career-high $9 million this season. Mo’ money, mo’ problems.
Salvador Perez hits #6 in the lineup and is hitting below his career averages in everything. He does have 1 triple, but that is basically meaningless. Like Moose, Salvy is almost only contributing defense to the Royals. He is earning a career-high $2 million this season. Mo’ money, mo’ problems.
Alex Gordon bats after Salvy. Just about everyone thought Alex Gordon was a goner after the 2015 season. We were sure he would sign a $100 million contract in San Francisco or LA, and were pleasantly surprised with he stayed with the Royals for $72 million instead. He has responded to that contract by hitting .211 with the 5th most strikeouts (34) in all of baseball. To put it simply, he stinks, and is only contributing defense this season so far. And that contract he signed? He is making $12 million this year, slightly below the career-high $12.5 million he made last year. Mo’ money, mo’ problems.
After Gordon is Omar Infante, the much-maligned and weak-armed 2nd baseman that the Royals just can’t get rid of. Omar is actually doing better than last season, but technically a person in a coma could do better than Omar’s 2015 season. He does lead the team with 7 doubles but his defense has been terrible this season. He is making a career-high $7.75 million this season. Mo’ money, mo’ problems.
Finishing this pitiful lineup (minus Hosmer), is Jarrod Dyson. Dyson had a late start to this season due to an injury suffered in spring training. He is hitting like he is still injured, batting .244 with a slugging % of .293. He has essentially no power and is mostly contributing speed and defense to the Royals. Dyson is making a career-high $1.73 million this season. Mo’ money, mo’ problems.

I don’t feel the need to go over the pitchers and their contracts as I am already falling into a deep depression from writing this post. I am no expert on professional sports contracts, but looking at the Royals contracts (every regular Royals position player, including Hosmer, is making a career-high this season, with the exception of Alex Gordon), it seems that the players have run into more problems with the more money they have made. It’s time for them to earn that cash. Stop being complacent and flailing away at crappy pitches. And for every strikeout he has during home games, Alex Gordon should buy every fan in the stadium a hot dog or a beer to make up for making us watch him suck at the plate.  

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May the 4th be with you

In honor of Star Wars Day, and the fact that the Royals came alive last night by winning in walk-off fashion, I thought it would be fun to turn the team into Star Wars characters. Here is hoping that the Force remains strong with the team, and May the 4th be with you:

Gordo also says "May the 4th be with you":
Han SoLoCain hopes you never tell him the odds. Because if you do, he will deliver the game-winning hit in the bottom of the 9th, like he did last night.
Orlando Calrissian will make an agreement to keep the enemy out of Kansas City forever
Yoda Ventura pitch fire, he does
Ian-Wan Kennobi warns you not to be foolish today:
Darth Wader is not your father, but he will choke you out in the 9th inning