Thursday, June 23, 2011

How Bad Are The 2011 Royals Starters?

Going by the things pitchers have the most control over (strikeouts, walks, hit-by-pitches and homers) the 2011 Royals starting pitching is on its way to being the second worst in franchise history, right up there with the dismal 2005-06 seasons. Here is a look at the best and worst starting pitching performances in franchise history by FIP- (lower is better):

source: Fangraphs

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Escobar's Hot Streak Visualized

Ever since my previous post about Alcides Escobar's historically awful start as measured by win probability added (WPA), he has gone on a hitting tear. In the last seven games, he is 14-for-25 with a walk and a line of .560/.577/.760. He has had a positive WPA in each game, and that game-by-game graph I posted comparing him to Neifi Perez's modern record for worst WPA season looks a whole lot better after Esco's hot week:

through 61 games compared to 68 games
Esco obviously won't be able to keep up this pace, but if he has come out of his terrible early season slump and can hit just a little, the Royals have a very special shortstop on their hands.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Escobar Entering Scary Bad Hitting Territory

Alcides Escobar's complete lack of hitting has been monstrously hurtful to the Royals chances of winning games. Neifi Perez's record -6.8 win probability added (WPA) in 2002 (worst in MLB since 1950, which is as far back as Baseball-Reference's WPA goes) is in jeopardy. After 61 games this year, Escobar is already down to a -3.2; after the same number of games in 2002, Perez was "only" at -2.0. At Escobar's current pace, he would finish the year with an unthinkable -8.5.

If the season ended today, Escobar would already own the fourth worst WPA in Royals history:

Rk Player WPA PA Year OPS+
1 Neifi Perez -6.819 585 2002 44
2 Angel Berroa -3.448 503 2006 52
3 Angel Salazar -3.437 332 1987 23
4 Alcides Escobar -3.218 234 2011 38
5 Greg Gagne -2.923 581 1993 89
6 Tony Pena -2.902 536 2007 68
7 Jason Kendall -2.832 490 2010 71
8 Cookie Rojas -2.828 409 197073
9 John Buck -2.818 430 2005 79
10 David Howard -2.805 485 199652
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used Generated 6/8/2011

The question that has to be answered is how much Escobar has to hit to justify keeping him in the lineup long-term. I don't have an exact answer for that, but I do feel sure he has to do better than this. I'm all for continuing to play him everyday for the rest of the year in the hopes the bat comes around just the slightest, because his defense is a marvel. But so far, that glove is paired with one of the most detrimental bats in history.