Friday Notes Reviewed by Momizat on . Lots going on outside the baseball world with some weird stories, but inside baseball, things are pretty quiet with the exception of the World Baseball Classic Lots going on outside the baseball world with some weird stories, but inside baseball, things are pretty quiet with the exception of the World Baseball Classic Rating: 0
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Friday Notes

Friday Notes

Lots going on outside the baseball world with some weird stories, but inside baseball, things are pretty quiet with the exception of the World Baseball Classic roster being announced yesterday. The Royals Caravan is beginning here this week and will travel to all sorts of places over the next couple weeks, so make sure to check if they’re coming to your area to get an opportunity to check that out. I’ve never been to one, but I’ve heard it’s a great opportunity to meet and greet with some players, management and others that is actually a really good time. Without further ado, let’s get to the notes.

  • You may have noticed that Salvador Perez is on the Venezuelan roster for the WBC, and a few people have asked me if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. My take is that with Miguel Montero also on the roster, Salvador Perez will probably be catching less and putting less stress on those knees than he would in Royals camp. I think it’ll be a great opportunity for him to get to play with guys like Montero, Miguel Cabrera and Felix Hernandez to up his game even more. Plus, it’ll be nice to see him in a little stronger competition that early in spring training. The only downside for me is he’ll be out of Royals camp while I’m in Surprise, but I suppose worse things have happened.
  • We talked with Robert Ford of 610 Sports on this week’s podcasts, and one of the topics that came up was that of the fifth starter. One thing that perplexes me and perplexed Clint was why Luis Mendoza isn’t getting more play for the Royals fifth starter job over Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar. He was the best of the three last season, and I think he has a good chance to be the best of the three again based on what we saw out of him in the second half (throwing to Salvador Perez almost exclusively). I know the Royals believe he’s the best suited to the bullpen, and I’d agree with that, but that’s just not the way you build your team. I think it just magnifies the poor decision to tender Hochevar a contract at all. We’ll see. Maybe he’ll get every chance in the world and the only reason we hear all the talk about Hochevar and Chen is because they’re trying to trade them. If not, though, I just don’t think that’s a good decision to relegate him to the bullpen so quickly.
  • I think I’ve talked about this before, but it’s a slow news week, so we’ll have to deal with it. You may have noticed that Jeff Francoeur is being written down in pen to be the Royals right fielder on Opening Day and beyond. At this point, it’s not worth the hand wringing that it provides because it’s going to happen whether we like it or not. Amidst all the questions guys like Bob Dutton and Robert Ford are receiving comes the answer that he won’t be able to hit like he did last season and keep his job. My question, though, is who is going to replace him? The closest thing to a big league ready outfielder is David Lough, and I don’t think he’s good enough. You could start Lorenzo Cain in right and Jarrod Dyson in center, but while that might be an improvement, it’s still not enough (though damn fine defensively). If what Dutton and Ford are saying is true and the Royals will replace Francoeur if his performance dictates, then we’ll be looking at a trade in late May to fortify the Royals lineup.
  • One name I’ve mentioned before and will probably mention again is Juan Gutierrez. The Royals really like him, so don’t be surprised if he breaks camp in the bullpen for the Royals. You may remember him from his time with the Diamondbacks. He was average at best, but he has absolutely electric stuff who I could see giving the Royals a Robinson Tejeda (when he was good) type of season if healthy. He was named pitcher of the year in winter ball and I just think he has a very good chance of making the team. Probably the second best chance of all guys not currently on 40 man roster behind Miguel Tejeda.
  • I think it’s interesting the Royals have no apparent Mike Moustakas contingency plan. It’s not that I expect bad things or injury out of him, but he did have a pretty lingering knee injury last year, and I wonder if things would have been different had he gone on the disabled list and let it get better. If that happens this year and he maybe learned from his mistakes and does go on the DL, who is around to step in. I suppose Miguel Tejada is the answer, but other than him, you’ve got AAA guys like Rey Navarro, maybe Christian Colon and then there’s Brandon Wood. I just don’t think any of them can cut it. This is one of the glaring weaknesses the Royals may encounter. They just have very little depth outside of the bullpen, so if anything happens to their starting nine, the dropoff in production at most positions could be really harmful for a team that even the most optimistic projections have at the very edge of the playoff race.
  • I’ve mentioned my upcoming spring training trip, but if any of you will be out there in early March, let me know and hopefully we can meet up and chat for a bit. I’m looking forward to my trip. It’s one every baseball fan needs to at least try to go on at some point in their lives.

Follow me on Twitter @DBLesky

About The Author

I never had a chance. I was born into a family who loved baseball and the Royals, so I accordingly love baseball and the Royals. I just so happen to love to write also, which makes writing about the Royals for this site something that makes me happy each and every day. When I first started blogging, a fairly well known baseball writer told me to only do it until I'm unhappy doing it, but I don't see that coming any time soon.

Number of Entries : 730

Comments (7)

  • mmeade17

    I think a Gordon-Dyson-Cain outfield could be pretty formidable. If Gordon does what he can do and Cain can put up somewhere in the neighborhood of .280/.330/.430, which is very possible, then this outfield will work. Dyson is worth so much running the bases and fielding that he doesn’t need to be a Silver Slugger. He had nearly a .330 OBP last year in 330 PA and was worth 1.6 WAR. Double it to extrapolate to a full season, and he’s worth 3.2 WAR. That’s rough math, but it’s also possible. If Dyson can put up something like .265/.330/.340, steal 65 bases and play incredible defense, he will be 1) much better than Francoeur 2) a capable everyday center fielder.

  • DownUnderFan

    One final stat for you…

    Hochevar had by far the worst ERA in day games at 9.64 in 11 starts. Makes you wonder why Yost kept sending him out (basically 1/3 of his starts were in daylight) when he struggled to get anyone out. However, there is more to this story.

    Royals might want to think about moving as many games as possible to night this year to help Hochevar and the team as they were 16-35 in day games (3rd worst in ML baseball).

    Can’t blame the hitting as the Royals averaged 4.19 runs per game and 264 average at night while going 4.13 runs per game and 265 average in the daytime.

    However, team ERA in day games was 5.15 versus 3.90 in night games. Good reason for going 16-35. You have to ask how there can be that much difference under the sun versus under the lights.

  • DownUnderFan

    More fun for you. Who had the highest 1st inning ERA. No not Hochevar. Technically it was Verdugo, but that was just one start. Next came Sanchez (surprised?) at 11.25 ERA. Then Teaford at 10.80 over 5 starts. Next, Luke at 7.59. Chen and Smith were also over 6 in the opening inning.

    Luke’s ERA by inning…1st = 7.59, 2nd = 4.83, 3rd = 5.64, 4th = 3.41, 5th = 6.58, 6th = 6.01, 7th = 6.94, 8th = 6.23. Luke’s only innings below 5 ERA were the 2nd and 4th. It really went downhill from the 5th on.

    Mendoza and Guthrie were the only regular starters with ERA’s under 4 in the first.

    Luke didn’t make it to the 4th on 3 occasions, the 5th = 6 times and the 6th = 12 starts of 32 total. He only made it through 7 innings on 11 starts or 1/3 of the time.

    In comparison, Chen made it to the 6th on 22 of 34 starts while Luke made it on 20 of 32 starts. In other words, Luke was no better than Chen even though Chen is not considered a strong pitcher past 5 innings.

    Bottom line, Luke has big problems starting the game and then again from the 5th on (3rd time through the order). Puts the 21 good starts listed in Kaegel’s story on MLB in a whole new perspective doesn’t it?

    ADDENDUM: The best 1st inning starter was Adcock who gave up no runs in 2 starts, the only one to do so. But his ERA as a starter was 6.14 so he fell later indicating he should stay in the bullpen with shorter stints. Amazingly, Adcock had a 1.32 ERA in relief and yet will no doubt start 2013 in AAA.

    Paulino and Duffy were next best after Adcock with 1 run in 6 and 5 starts respectively. Mendoza is best of the regulars with a 3.51 ERA in 25 starts.

  • DownUnderFan

    An interesting stat for you… Do you know what the Royals ERA was in the first inning of games in 2012.

    6.06 ERA. Only Boston and Minnesota were worse.

    The second highest was the 5th inning at 5.00, a full run less.

    That says a whole lot about the season when Royals hitters were constantly behind the 8 ball before they even batted around the first time.

    Think Eiland and Henry might want to focus on how to get out of the first inning without getting shelled in 2013 preparations.

  • DownUnderFan

    By the way, on the trip, I am very envious. Got to spend a week there last year and loved every minute of it. Actually found a room at the Holiday Inn Express so could spend all day every day at the fields. Have a great time. And say hello to Joel, Steve and Monty for me if you see them. Think they will remember ol’ DownUnder.

  • DownUnderFan

    Interesting thoughts, David. A few comments for you.

    Juan Gutierrez is already on the 40 man roster with no options. He will get every chance to make opening day. And should if he pitches like he did this winter.

    Tejada is penciled in as the utility infielder, including backing Moose. Its his position to lose and the only way he misses out is if he cannot hit his weight in spring training. Think he will get every chance and play a lot more innings than Irving or Tony.

    Francoeur will be the starting RF at least through April. He is in a no win situation though. If he fails, he gets released by June. If he succeeds, look for the Royals to dump him and his salary to another team by the all star break. By the way, how many times does Bob Dutton tweet it is the Royals decision – not his, before he blows up his IPhone?

    Finally, there is Luke, signed today at $4.56M. It is pretty much a fact that the 5th spot is Luke’s to lose. Yes, it should be Mendoza’s and he will probably inherit it about May, at least until Paulino or Duffy show up. But out of the box in April, it will be Luke. Moore and Yost have committed to him and like Francoeur, are unchangeable for whatever reasons.

    Kaegel made an interesting comparison in his article today. Luke had a 13.88 ERA in 11 starts with 5 or more runs and a 2.88 ERA in the other 21 starts where he allowed 4 or less runs. This indicates he was good 2/3 of the time. The problem is he was 1-10 in the 11 starts and 7-6 in the other 21.

    Change the stat to more or less than 4 runs (league standard) and it is very different. He had 15 starts of 4 or more runs and was 1-13 in those starts while going 7-3 in the 17 starts where he allowed 3 or less runs. That indicates that just under half his starts were below to well below average. Further, in 7 starts he allowed 7 or more runs. Even if he allowed just 5 runs in those starts (effectively lowering his ERA to 4.90 in the process), it would not have changed his record.

    Bottom line, the ERA is irrelevant. Until Luke or Ned can control his penchant for allowing more than 3 runs per start, Luke will struggle to win games even as a #5 starter. I include Ned because there is no way starters should be staying in once they gave up more than 4 runs. This happened to Luke no less than 11 times last season.

    I am one who hopes Luke finds solace in the back end of the rotation. I also hope if he struggle early, the Royals at least give him a couple of shots out of the bullpen before dumping him. But the reality is there is no place to hide now and if Luke wants to keep pitching in KC, he must produce. Or find himself hunting for a job like his predecessors Sanchez and Davies.

  • cpass

    I read somewhere (can’t for the life of me find it now) that Perez is expected to primarily DH during the WBC, so that should help alleviate injury worries.

    Irving Falu can fill in at 3B too, can’t he?

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