Don’t Get Too Excited

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The re-signing of Mike Moustakas has given Royals fans some hope.  However, we need to keep in check our expectations for this year.

 

Every year I have a conversation with my dad about how if the Royals can do this or if the Royals can do that then we could see a good team in Kansas City this summer.

At the end of every conversation, my dad says “Son, they’ll go as far as their pitching will take them”.

When the Royals announced that they were re-signing Mike Moustakas to a one-year deal worth far less than if he had accepted the qualifying offer, my interest peaked.  Could the Royals put together a good season?  Then my dad’s voice came into my head,

“Son, they’ll go as far as their pitching will take them”

The return of Moustakas gives the Royals some much needed protection for Salvador Perez.  Jorge Soler may have been able to provide that, however, until he can prove he’s going to hit for power with consistency it’s a moot point (one of the “ifs”).  With Moustakas, pitchers will be forced to give good pitches to Perez because they have to worry about Moustakas on deck.

 

However, with the addition of Moustakas, the lineup still looks something like this (and I would do this with pencil, because, it’s bound to change):

  1. Jon Jay, CF
  2. Alex Gordon, LF
  3. Whit Merrifield, 2B
  4. Salvador Perez, C
  5. Mike Moustakas, 3B
  6. Lucas Duda, 1B
  7. Jorge Soler, DH
  8. Jorge Bonifacio, RF
  9. Alcides Escobar, SS

 

 

It may not look bad on paper, however, if you dig deeper you can see the flaws.

Player

2017 WAR

Career WAR

Alex Gordon

0.1

32.7

Salvador Perez

2.5

19.3

Jon Jay

1.1

13.1

Mike Moustakas

1.8

11.4

Alcides Escobar

0.0

10.7

Lucas Duda

1.1

6.9

Whit Merrifield

3.9

5.5

Jorge Bonifacio

0.5

0.5

Jorge Soler

-1.4

-0.3

Your best player, by Wins Above Replacement, is Whit Merrifield with a WAR of 3.9 in 2017.  After that, only Perez had a WAR above 2.0 and only five had a WAR above 1.0.

Let’s look at their projected stats:

Player

ABs

Runs

Hits

Doubles

Triples

HRs

RBIs

SBs

Average

Jon Jay

403

60

109

21

2

5

36

4

.270

Alex Gordon

455

56

103

19

2

14

49

6

.226

Whit Merrifield

506

71

141

29

4

14

63

21

.279

Salvador Perez

472

56

122

24

1

23

69

2

.258

Mike Moustakas

464

63

125

24

1

26

69

1

.269

Lucas Duda

400

52

93

25

0

24

60

1

.233

Jorge Soler

249

32

60

12

1

9

32

2

.241

Jorge Bonifacio

370

54

97

16

1

17

44

3

.262

Alcides Escobar

542

62

137

25

4

7

50

10

.253

The Royals will have some pop in the middle of the order, however, they don’t have a lot of speed and not a lot of players who can put the ball in play.  That was the staple of the 2014 and 2015 Royals and that just isn’t there anymore.  Even with the re-signing of Moustakas, this is a sub-par lineup with many holes in it.

==

While the hitting looks bad, the pitching (which is key to any playoff contender) is far worse.

Your starting five will be this:

  1. Danny Duffy
  2. Ian Kennedy
  3. Jakob Junis
  4. Jason Hammel
  5. Nate Karns

Let’s look at the WAR of these guys.

Pitcher

2017 WAR

Career WAR

Ian Kennedy

0.5

15.0

Jason Hammel

1.2

13.9

Danny Duffy

3.3

13.5

Nate Karns

1.0

3.2

Jakob Junis

1.3

1.3

Let’s look at their 2018 projections.  *TRIGGER WARNING* Viewing this may cause some to have a mild to severe meltdown.

Pitcher

IP

W

L

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA

Danny Duffy

144.0

9

7

63

44

135

18

3.94

Ian Kennedy

156.0

7

11

80

58

143

30

4.62

Jakob Junis

102.0

8

4

49

32

92

15

4.32

Jason Hammel

167.0

10

10

86

51

144

25

4.63

Nate Karns

86.0

5

3

42

34

87

13

4.40

Translation, our rotation is Danny Duffy and a bag of onions.  There is no longevity in these starters and that will hurt an already stretched thin bullpen.

Speaking of…

The bullpen is decimated.  It seems like an eternity since the Royals dominated with the likes of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland.  A bullpen that also was complimented by the likes of Luke Hochevar, Ryan Madson, and the long relief effort of Chris Young.

The Royals still have Herrera, though he is coming off the worst season of his big league career.  They also have Brandon Maurer, who has good stuff yet no control.  After that, you’re looking at guys like Kevin McCarthy, Brian Flynn, Trevor Oaks (who also is competing with Karns for the fifth spot in the rotation), and Eric Skoglund.  With the Royals, no lead will be safe.

==

As much as I like the signing of Mike Moustakas, he won’t add enough wins to compete with Cleveland and a much improved Minnesota.  Third place will be the high-mark for a club who is in rebuild mode.  How soon the Royals will be able to compete again will hinge on how well they scout and draft this June as well as mining Latin America for talent.

For those of you who are new here, the Royals are going back to losing for a few years.  At least, this time, we can see that the process does work.

**UPDATE** As I was writing this Jorge Bonifacio was suspended for eighty games for use of performance enhancing drugs.  That means you’ll see more of Paulo Orlando. 

Buckle up Royals fans.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

 

 

 

 

 

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Christopher Till

Author: Christopher Till

Christopher is a lifelong Royals fan who loves long walks on the beach, sunsets, and trips to #DongTown. He also loves writing about the Royals (pants optional). Ian Kennedy once ruined a perfect game Chris had going (though, to be fair, Chris' pitch came before the game with nobody in the batter's box). His favorite Royals' memory is sitting in Section 401 with his daughter when Salvador Perez laced a line drive past Josh Donaldson to win the 2014 American League Wild Card Game.

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