2020 ZiPS Projections: Kansas City Royals

After having typically appeared in the hallowed pages of Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections have now been released at FanGraphs for eight years. The exercise continues this offseason. Below are the projections for the Kansas City Royals.

Batters

The Kansas City Royals are in the middle of one of the weirdest rebuilds I can remember. Rather than go the full teardown route or spend money aggressively to maintain a competitive team, they found a Third Way. This Third Way, unfortunately, doesn’t consist of either spending money, winning, getting younger, or developing a good farm system. It’s different, I’ll give them that.

The Royals have several players of value in the starting lineup, though it’s mostly of the short-term variety. Whit Merrifield’s as solid a player as there is on the team, but moving him to center field to solve a positional crunch that just doesn’t exist — Nicky Lopez can just as easily play third, and Maikel Franco isn’t particularly interesting at this point — strikes me as too cute by half. The Royals using left field as the Official Alex Gordon Left Field Emeritus Position is less concerning; while it prevents the Royals from getting a full look at Brett Phillips or Bubba Starling, and Gordon is unlikely to be a contributor, I see little reason to hope Phillips or Starling will ever be either.

An optimist would say that moving Merrifield to the outfield for Nicky Lopez is a better idea than moving Merrifield to the outfield for Chris Owings. That’s progress, I guess.

Jorge Soler will be just fine as the designated hitter and ZiPS thinks Salvador Perez won’t miss a beat, returning to his usual combination of good defense, good power, and the plate discipline of me finding an all-you-can-eat tacos offer. Adalberto Mondesi is the one performer in the lineup who is both very good and still in his prime years. Hopefully, the Royals ink him to a long-term contract given that he may be the only player in the lineup with real value in five years.

Pitchers

The top of the rotation is one of the roster spots that will keep the Royals as a 90-loss team instead of one challenging the Tigers or the Orioles. ZiPS is downright optimistic about Brad Keller long-term, seeing him carving out a long career as a No. 2 or 3 starter. Jakob Junis is a better pitcher than his 2019 performance, though we’re still likely talking about a serviceable pitcher who throws 170 innings or so of boringly effective innings. Danny Duffy ought to be adequate, but I’ve grown just as pessimistic as ZiPS has about him getting to where he was a few years ago; while he never relied on a big fastball to punch out batters, he’s lost a couple ticks on his heater, and that’s been just enough to make his secondary pitches all look less effective.

ZiPS is much less excited about the bullpen. The computer sees some regression from Ian Kennedy, who the Royals dangled a bit at the trade deadline last year. The Royals reportedly did not want to eat any of the Kennedy or Duffy contracts and shockingly did not find a suitor willing to bowl them over for either.

After Ian Kennedy, Scott Barlow, and Tim Hill, the quality of the relievers drops off rather precipitously. ZiPS still likes Richard Lovelady, but the Royals seemed only grudgingly willing to try him last year and I’m skeptical that this is an organization that will look kindly on his FIP (4.16) rather than disapprovingly at his ERA (7.65). Lovelady may surface with another organization at some point.

Prospects

In the 2019 update, my colleagues Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel ranked the Royals’ farm system as 26th in baseball. Kansas City’s 2020 rank is not out yet, but if ZiPS is any indication, that number’s not likely to change all that much. And remember, the 2019 update did include Bobby Witt Jr., so the first rounder’s presence won’t be enough to singlehandedly save the farm.

Witt’s a bit too early in his pro career for ZiPS to really have a feel for; a computer projection system’s many wonderful uses does not include projecting players with 37 professional games after being drafted out of high school. Given his age and position, Witt did enough to fit at the end of the upcoming ZiPS Top 100 Prospects, but that ranking probably won’t be particularly meaningful until we have more data. Similarly, ZiPS doesn’t yet have a feel for Kris Bubic, though naturally, Bubic isn’t anywhere near Witt’s equal as a prospect.

Who ZiPS does like, even if the error bars are huge, is Brady Singer, who convincingly passed the Double-A test in his first go-around. The computer has him in the same tier as Touki Toussaint, Justus Sheffield, and Spencer Howard in terms of his future production. Jackson Kowar’s long-term projections also see him as a viable fourth or fifth starter.

The Royals are light when it comes to that fun category of Random Relief Pitchers Who Might Be Useful When the Rays Sign Them, but they do boast Tyler Zuber as a solid entrant. Zuber doubled his swinging strike rate in his second stint at High-A, going from 8% to 17% and earning a promotion to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where he remained effective. And unlike a lot of minor league relievers of this type, Zuber can comfortably hit the mid-90s and doesn’t suffer any serious command issues.

One pedantic note for 2020: for the WAR graphic, I’m using FanGraphs’ depth charts playing time, not the playing time ZiPS spits out, so there will be occasional differences in WAR totals.

Ballpark graphic courtesy Eephus League. Depth charts constructed by way of those listed here.

Batters – Standard
Player B Age PO PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS
Whit Merrifield R 31 CF 690 637 88 183 39 6 14 64 42 116 24 9
Jorge Soler R 28 DH 561 485 73 124 24 0 33 81 66 156 3 1
Salvador Perez R 30 C 431 406 44 101 20 1 21 62 14 89 1 0
Adalberto Mondesi B 24 SS 497 461 62 115 22 8 14 63 23 141 42 7
Hunter Dozier R 28 RF 574 517 69 130 32 4 24 76 52 153 4 2
Nicky Lopez L 25 2B 563 514 62 135 20 5 5 41 39 59 11 5
Matt Reynolds R 29 SS 409 364 46 88 22 3 7 34 40 98 5 2
Alex Gordon L 36 LF 530 471 57 115 22 1 11 52 43 104 6 2
Cam Gallagher R 27 C 286 260 27 64 12 0 6 25 19 48 0 1
Brett Phillips L 26 RF 484 420 55 84 13 7 14 46 56 169 16 2
Nick Dini R 26 C 317 290 36 70 14 0 9 30 16 59 7 2
Erick Mejia B 25 SS 578 529 59 124 22 5 5 43 38 121 17 8
Ryan O’Hearn L 26 1B 538 475 59 107 27 2 21 64 55 141 1 0
Jecksson Flores R 26 SS 469 423 44 98 17 2 6 35 26 82 14 5
Kelvin Gutierrez R 25 3B 441 406 42 96 13 4 7 37 29 108 12 3
Maikel Franco R 27 3B 522 479 54 119 23 1 18 69 37 76 0 0
Meibrys Viloria L 23 C 421 383 33 86 18 1 7 34 30 107 1 1
Ryan McBroom R 28 1B 535 486 60 118 25 1 16 52 38 139 2 3
Humberto Arteaga R 26 3B 470 443 42 107 15 2 4 30 17 76 8 5
Gabriel Cancel R 23 2B 532 492 55 109 28 1 13 55 27 145 13 4
Erich Weiss L 28 1B 287 263 29 59 14 3 6 28 20 73 3 1
Adam Moore R 36 C 202 187 18 37 6 1 4 14 13 66 0 0
Andrew Susac R 30 C 177 156 18 31 7 0 5 17 18 53 1 1
Freddy Fermin R 25 C 309 287 31 65 11 0 5 26 16 56 1 2
Travis Jones R 24 1B 378 332 38 72 12 2 5 26 26 107 16 8
Nick Heath L 26 CF 424 381 40 77 11 4 5 26 35 145 34 11
Blake Perkins B 23 CF 518 456 52 91 16 4 8 34 51 139 16 9
Khalil Lee L 22 RF 532 472 55 101 20 3 8 41 49 164 34 11
Chase d’Arnaud R 33 2B 349 316 36 66 13 2 7 29 26 97 10 3
MJ Melendez L 21 C 444 404 39 65 20 3 14 48 32 200 5 6
Brewer Hicklen R 24 LF 458 415 48 84 14 3 13 41 30 163 22 11
Dairon Blanco R 27 CF 447 417 39 87 14 9 5 32 24 141 21 9
Emmanuel Rivera R 24 3B 538 507 51 123 23 3 7 46 22 97 5 4
Bubba Starling R 27 CF 434 405 43 85 18 1 8 32 23 118 7 2
D.J. Burt R 24 LF 402 357 36 73 12 3 3 23 34 109 22 11
Sebastian Rivero R 21 C 347 321 27 62 13 1 4 23 14 94 1 2
Taylor Featherston R 30 SS 408 375 37 69 11 3 10 35 21 165 5 3
Kevin Merrell L 24 SS 460 432 39 95 15 5 2 27 20 111 15 6
Elier Hernandez R 25 LF 458 429 38 88 18 2 5 31 19 128 5 5

Batters – Advanced
Player BA OBP SLG OPS+ ISO BABIP RC/27 Def WAR No. 1 Comp
Whit Merrifield .287 .334 .433 106 .146 .333 5.6 2 2.9 Ken Griffey Sr.
Jorge Soler .256 .351 .509 130 .254 .307 6.5 0 2.9 Jason Thompson
Salvador Perez .249 .283 .458 96 .209 .270 4.7 6 2.1 Ed Herrmann
Adalberto Mondesi .249 .285 .423 89 .174 .330 5.0 4 2.0 Juan Samuel
Hunter Dozier .251 .321 .468 110 .217 .312 5.4 -2 1.5 Lou Clinton
Nicky Lopez .263 .319 .350 82 .088 .289 4.1 7 1.4 Chris Getz
Matt Reynolds .242 .321 .376 89 .135 .313 4.3 0 1.1 Bobby Scales
Alex Gordon .244 .321 .365 86 .121 .292 4.2 7 0.9 Gary Ward
Cam Gallagher .246 .303 .362 80 .115 .282 3.8 4 0.8 Gary Bennett
Brett Phillips .200 .295 .364 78 .164 .295 3.9 10 0.8 Chris Dickerson
Nick Dini .241 .292 .383 81 .141 .275 4.1 -1 0.4 Chris Stewart
Erick Mejia .234 .287 .323 66 .089 .295 3.3 7 0.4 Alfredo Amezaga
Ryan O’Hearn .225 .309 .423 96 .198 .275 4.6 -1 0.4 Eric Valent
Jecksson Flores .232 .282 .324 64 .092 .275 3.3 7 0.4 Pat Osborn
Kelvin Gutierrez .236 .290 .340 71 .103 .306 3.6 5 0.3 Gary Varner
Maikel Franco .248 .303 .413 92 .165 .262 4.5 -4 0.3 Joe Crede
Meibrys Viloria .225 .284 .332 67 .107 .294 3.3 2 0.2 Lance Jennings
Ryan McBroom .243 .303 .397 88 .154 .308 4.2 1 0.0 Alejandro Freire
Humberto Arteaga .242 .271 .312 58 .070 .284 3.0 10 -0.1 Casey Smith
Gabriel Cancel .222 .269 .362 69 .140 .287 3.5 2 -0.2 Greg Thissen
Erich Weiss .224 .283 .369 75 .144 .288 3.7 3 -0.2 Larry Barnes
Adam Moore .198 .252 .305 51 .107 .282 2.6 2 -0.3 Frank Charles
Andrew Susac .199 .282 .340 68 .141 .265 3.2 -3 -0.3 Henry Blanco
Freddy Fermin .226 .270 .317 59 .091 .265 2.9 0 -0.4 Fausto Tejero
Travis Jones .217 .302 .310 68 .093 .305 3.2 3 -0.5 Tom Lombarski
Nick Heath .202 .270 .291 53 .089 .312 3.0 3 -0.5 Kimera Bartee
Blake Perkins .200 .283 .305 60 .105 .269 2.9 3 -0.6 Duane Singleton
Khalil Lee .214 .298 .320 68 .106 .310 3.5 1 -0.6 Jessie Reid
Chase d’Arnaud .209 .275 .329 63 .120 .278 3.2 -3 -0.6 Dave Matranga
MJ Melendez .161 .228 .329 49 .168 .268 2.2 5 -0.7 Lee Evans
Brewer Hicklen .202 .270 .345 65 .142 .297 3.1 4 -0.8 Mark Davis
Dairon Blanco .209 .253 .321 55 .113 .303 2.9 4 -0.8 Eric Reed
Emmanuel Rivera .243 .277 .341 67 .099 .288 3.3 -1 -0.8 Ricky Bell
Bubba Starling .210 .257 .319 55 .109 .276 2.9 1 -0.9 Matt Bokemeier
D.J. Burt .204 .273 .280 51 .076 .286 2.6 3 -1.4 Jarod Rine
Sebastian Rivero .193 .231 .277 37 .084 .260 2.0 0 -1.4 Alex Sutherland
Taylor Featherston .184 .241 .309 48 .125 .295 2.4 -3 -1.5 Jake Wald
Kevin Merrell .220 .256 .292 49 .072 .292 2.7 -3 -1.5 Ivan Ochoa
Elier Hernandez .205 .246 .291 45 .086 .280 2.3 -4 -2.8 Matt Bokemeier

Pitchers – Standard
Player T Age W L ERA G GS IP H ER HR BB SO FIP
Brad Keller R 24 11 11 4.54 30 30 172.3 172 87 21 70 128 4.60
Jakob Junis R 27 10 11 4.80 30 29 167.0 176 89 29 48 152 4.69
Danny Duffy L 31 8 8 4.70 25 25 138.0 139 72 22 48 125 4.59
Mike Montgomery L 30 6 6 4.40 35 15 100.3 105 49 12 37 77 4.52
Brady Singer R 23 8 9 4.92 26 26 139.0 153 76 20 46 100 4.78
Jackson Kowar R 23 7 9 5.11 25 25 130.3 143 74 20 52 96 5.06
Ian Kennedy R 35 3 2 4.04 61 0 62.3 57 28 9 21 67 4.01
Daniel Tillo L 24 7 9 5.33 29 24 121.7 138 72 12 72 62 5.39
Richard Lovelady L 24 4 3 3.99 53 0 58.7 59 26 5 22 49 3.90
Jesse Hahn R 30 4 5 5.10 17 15 72.3 77 41 9 40 57 4.96
Scott Barlow R 27 3 3 4.26 63 0 69.7 62 33 9 38 83 4.24
Tim Hill L 30 2 2 4.20 63 0 60.0 60 28 7 22 53 4.23
Andres Sotillet R 23 5 6 5.13 31 11 94.7 108 54 13 39 59 5.14
Jorge Lopez R 27 6 7 5.24 37 16 111.7 119 65 17 44 95 4.80
Tyler Zuber R 25 4 4 4.18 45 0 51.7 50 24 6 21 48 4.23
Holden Capps L 25 3 3 4.55 35 2 59.3 65 30 7 19 40 4.53
Marcelo Martinez L 23 6 8 5.51 26 20 116.0 132 71 24 41 82 5.67
Heath Fillmyer R 26 5 6 5.48 31 21 108.3 119 66 17 50 77 5.35
Josh Staumont R 26 4 5 5.29 41 15 83.3 76 49 10 70 93 5.21
Stephen Woods Jr. R 25 5 7 5.51 20 16 85.0 89 52 9 62 66 5.40
Kevin McCarthy R 28 3 3 4.56 64 0 71.0 77 36 8 26 46 4.53
Braden Shipley R 28 5 7 5.52 29 16 104.3 117 64 19 43 81 5.37
J.C. Cloney L 25 4 6 5.57 25 16 105.0 124 65 21 32 64 5.65
Glenn Sparkman R 28 5 7 5.62 27 21 123.3 147 77 21 34 78 5.08
Greg Holland R 34 2 2 4.61 47 0 41.0 37 21 5 27 43 4.64
Jake Newberry R 25 3 3 4.70 52 0 61.3 61 32 7 32 53 4.65
Jake Kalish L 28 6 8 5.50 27 10 108.0 128 66 22 29 71 5.49
Conner Greene R 25 5 8 5.65 32 17 108.3 118 68 12 77 74 5.58
Gabe Speier L 25 3 3 4.93 53 1 69.3 71 38 9 34 59 4.81
Andrew Beckwith R 25 2 2 4.86 36 0 53.7 58 29 5 25 34 4.75
Randy Rosario L 26 2 2 4.88 52 0 59.0 65 32 7 25 41 4.71
Yunior Marte R 25 3 4 4.88 47 0 66.3 66 36 9 39 61 5.05
Wily Peralta R 31 3 3 4.94 48 0 47.3 50 26 6 27 38 5.06
Kyle Zimmer R 28 3 4 4.98 66 0 47.0 47 26 5 35 42 5.14
Jonathan Dziedzic L 29 4 6 5.83 23 13 83.3 96 54 14 40 50 5.75
Trevor Rosenthal R 30 1 2 5.35 39 0 33.7 31 20 3 30 40 4.90
Foster Griffin L 24 6 10 6.01 25 24 127.3 152 85 27 56 85 6.06
Scott Blewett R 24 6 10 6.04 23 22 113.3 135 76 22 54 70 6.06
Eric Skoglund L 27 4 7 6.27 20 19 97.7 121 68 23 32 57 6.21
Andres Machado R 27 3 5 5.91 39 6 77.7 89 51 15 36 56 5.79
Grant Gavin R 24 3 5 5.82 41 0 51.0 51 33 10 32 53 5.71
Arnaldo Hernandez R 24 6 10 6.18 26 24 125.3 152 86 24 53 69 6.00
Zach Lovvorn R 26 6 9 6.16 28 13 102.3 124 70 18 49 60 5.91
Ofreidy Gomez R 24 6 11 6.33 27 21 118.0 137 83 23 67 81 6.22
Alex Klonowski R 28 5 9 6.57 21 15 97.3 114 71 20 37 50 6.15
Gerson Garabito R 24 6 11 6.59 25 25 125.7 148 92 25 77 80 6.50
Chance Adams R 25 4 7 5.97 29 0 107.0 118 71 20 56 90 5.67

Pitchers – Advanced
Player K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BB% K% BABIP ERA+ ERA- WAR No. 1 Comp
Brad Keller 6.7 3.7 1.1 9.3% 17.0% .287 99 101 2.2 Milt Pappas
Jakob Junis 8.2 2.6 1.6 6.6% 21.0% .304 94 107 1.6 Joe Johnson
Danny Duffy 8.2 3.1 1.4 8.1% 21.0% .295 96 105 1.5 Kent Mercker
Mike Montgomery 6.9 3.3 1.1 8.4% 17.4% .301 102 98 1.2 Danny Coombs
Brady Singer 6.5 3.0 1.3 7.5% 16.3% .303 91 110 1.2 John Denny
Jackson Kowar 6.6 3.6 1.4 8.9% 16.5% .301 88 114 0.8 Don Welchel
Ian Kennedy 9.7 3.0 1.3 8.0% 25.5% .293 111 90 0.5 Shigetoshi Hasegawa
Daniel Tillo 4.6 5.3 0.9 12.6% 10.8% .301 84 119 0.5 Charlie Haeger
Richard Lovelady 7.5 3.4 0.8 8.6% 19.1% .305 113 89 0.5 Mike Duvall
Jesse Hahn 7.1 5.0 1.1 12.1% 17.2% .305 88 114 0.5 Don Schwall
Scott Barlow 10.7 4.9 1.2 12.3% 26.9% .303 105 95 0.4 Clay Bryant
Tim Hill 8.0 3.3 1.1 8.4% 20.2% .301 107 94 0.4 Dave Tomlin
Andres Sotillet 5.6 3.7 1.2 9.1% 13.8% .304 87 114 0.4 Bob Kline
Jorge Lopez 7.7 3.5 1.4 8.9% 19.2% .305 86 117 0.4 Jason Standridge
Tyler Zuber 8.4 3.7 1.0 9.3% 21.3% .299 107 93 0.3 Jerry Reed
Holden Capps 6.1 2.9 1.1 7.3% 15.3% .304 99 101 0.3 Seth Morehead
Marcelo Martinez 6.4 3.2 1.9 7.9% 15.8% .296 82 123 0.2 Jerry Garvin
Heath Fillmyer 6.4 4.2 1.4 10.2% 15.7% .298 82 122 0.2 Joaquin Andujar
Josh Staumont 10.0 7.6 1.1 17.7% 23.5% .303 85 118 0.2 Clay Bryant
Stephen Woods Jr. 7.0 6.6 1.0 15.3% 16.3% .304 82 123 0.2 Mike Torrez
Kevin McCarthy 5.8 3.3 1.0 8.3% 14.7% .300 98 102 0.2 Dale Murray
Braden Shipley 7.0 3.7 1.6 9.1% 17.2% .304 81 123 0.1 Kevin Hodges
J.C. Cloney 5.5 2.7 1.8 6.8% 13.7% .299 81 124 0.1 Jerry Augustine
Glenn Sparkman 5.7 2.5 1.5 6.2% 14.3% .309 80 125 0.1 Dave Borkowski
Greg Holland 9.4 5.9 1.1 14.7% 23.4% .294 97 103 0.1 Jim Lindsey
Jake Newberry 7.8 4.7 1.0 11.6% 19.2% .298 96 105 0.0 Gary Ross
Jake Kalish 5.9 2.4 1.8 6.1% 14.9% .303 82 123 0.0 Clyde Wright
Conner Greene 6.1 6.4 1.0 14.9% 14.3% .305 79 126 0.0 Blue Moon Odom
Gabe Speier 7.7 4.4 1.2 10.9% 18.9% .301 91 110 -0.1 Philip Barzilla
Andrew Beckwith 5.7 4.2 0.8 10.2% 13.9% .301 92 108 -0.1 Bob Miller
Randy Rosario 6.3 3.8 1.1 9.5% 15.5% .307 92 109 -0.1 Jim Crawford
Yunior Marte 8.3 5.3 1.2 12.9% 20.1% .300 92 109 -0.1 Joe Hudson
Wily Peralta 7.2 5.1 1.1 12.4% 17.5% .306 91 110 -0.1 Don McMahon
Kyle Zimmer 8.0 6.7 1.0 15.8% 18.9% .304 90 111 -0.1 Sarge Connally
Jonathan Dziedzic 5.4 4.3 1.5 10.4% 13.1% .298 77 130 -0.2 Mike Kekich
Trevor Rosenthal 10.7 8.0 0.8 18.4% 24.5% .322 84 119 -0.2 Matt Young
Foster Griffin 6.0 4.0 1.9 9.6% 14.5% .303 75 134 -0.4 Mike Maroth
Scott Blewett 5.6 4.3 1.7 10.3% 13.3% .302 74 134 -0.4 Justin Sturge
Eric Skoglund 5.3 2.9 2.1 7.2% 12.9% .301 72 140 -0.5 Eric Knott
Andres Machado 6.5 4.2 1.7 10.1% 15.7% .302 76 132 -0.5 Preston Larrison
Grant Gavin 9.4 5.6 1.8 13.6% 22.5% .297 77 130 -0.6 Pete Sikaras
Arnaldo Hernandez 5.0 3.8 1.7 9.2% 11.9% .301 73 138 -0.6 Bobby Howry
Zach Lovvorn 5.3 4.3 1.6 10.3% 12.6% .307 73 137 -0.7 Steve Fischer
Ofreidy Gomez 6.2 5.1 1.8 12.1% 14.6% .302 71 141 -0.8 Chuck McGrath
Alex Klonowski 4.6 3.4 1.8 8.4% 11.3% .287 68 146 -1.0 Scott Nielsen
Gerson Garabito 5.7 5.5 1.8 12.9% 13.4% .300 68 147 -1.1 Jason Standridge
Chance Adams 7.6 4.7 1.7 11.4% 18.3% .305 75 133 -1.4 Brandon Sloan

Players are listed with their most recent teams wherever possible. This includes players who are unsigned, players who will miss 2020 due to injury, and players who were released in 2019. So yes, if you see Joe Schmoe, who quit baseball back in June to form a ska-cowpunk Luxembourgian bubblegum pop-death metal band, he’s still listed here intentionally.

Both hitters and pitchers are ranked by projected zWAR — which is to say, WAR values as calculated by me, Dan Szymborski, whose surname is spelled with a z. WAR values might differ slightly from those which appear in the full release of ZiPS. Finally, I will advise anyone against — and might karate chop anyone guilty of — merely adding up WAR totals on a depth chart to produce projected team WAR.

ZiPS is agnostic about future playing time by design. For more information about ZiPS, please refer to this article.





Dan Szymborski is a senior writer for FanGraphs and the developer of the ZiPS projection system. He was a writer for ESPN.com from 2010-2018, a regular guest on a number of radio shows and podcasts, and a voting BBWAA member. He also maintains a terrible Twitter account at @DSzymborski.

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sadtrombone
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sadtrombone

The Royals not trading Whit Merrifield is the big thing to fault them for. Everything else would more or less lock into place with some extra prospects in the farm system for him, and letting Lopez play 2nd base. Beyond that, they don’t really have anyone with else with trade value at the moment. Nobody is trading much for a guy with lousy defense like Jorge Soler even with the bat, and teams are probably skeptical about Keller/Junis/Dozier/Kennedy. Salvador Perez was hurt last year, and before that he was bad, and Duffy looks like he’s lost it. When nobody is going to give you anyone interesting for those guys, why bother trading them?

But Merrifield, man, that was a mistake.

mikejunt
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mikejunt

The Royals just clearly arent using the same information or framework for understanding baseball as the other 29 teams at this point and it’s hard to imagine them making progress until they do.

I think it’s interesting to think about how happenstance success in a certain window set a few teams down the path of believing they knew better than this newfangled analytical BS, and it will take the Giants and Royals a very, very long time to climb out of the hole that created for them.

Phil
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Phil

Farhan Zaidi for the Giants is very analytical. Also, an expert at dumpster diving and finding above average players – Taylor, Muncy, Yastrzemski… wonder who it will be this year.

mikejunt
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mikejunt

Yeah and it took them 4 years to accept that reality.

The Royals haven’t yet.

Shirtless George Brett
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Shirtless George Brett

I think it’s interesting to think about how happenstance success in a certain window set a few teams down the path of believing they knew better than this newfangled analytical BS, and it will take the Giants and Royals a very, very long time to climb out of the hole that created for them.

The idea that the Royals (and giants or anyone) actually works/thinks this way is pretty silly IMHO. They all have robust analytic departments (yes, even the Royals) and likely dont make any kind of move without considering it from that angle.

In fact Moore straight up said that in an interview David Laurilla posted back in December.

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/sunday-notes-dayton-moores-royals-arent-the-flintstones/

The idea that a billion dollar professional MLB organization in the year 2020 has less understanding of the current baseball landscape than a FG commenter is pretty ridiculous.

sadtrombone
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sadtrombone

The Royals have actually had a pretty robust analytics department for a while now. I seem to recall they were particularly advanced with using analytics in advance scouting.

I think the real question to understanding the Royals’ mentality revolves around the near total opposition to dealing Merrifield, since virtually every other decision is defensible. Do they feel like if they trade Merrifield the rest of the fans will abandon the team? Do they think they are getting close to respectability/contention again? I would argue both of those are wrong, but you probably can’t blame a lack of analytics for either one.

Six Ten
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Six Ten

My understanding is the answer to the first question is “yes.” Moore has described Whit as someone for the fans to rally around. This suggests a major misunderstanding of how fandom works in MLB, but so it goes.

The Royals certainly talk like the answer to the second question is “yes,” too, but I think they feel like they have to say that publicly. I don’t believe they really think it; it would be pretty frightening if they did.

The thing that both would have in common, though, if both are “yes,” is not necessarily a lack of analytics. It’s a GM whose balance of his own instincts vs analytics is out of whack. Instincts still matter; sometimes the thing that doesn’t fit the pattern works out. Sometimes you’re anticipating a shift in trends that the data hasn’t born out yet. Still, you should rely on what your analytics team tells you way, way, way more often than not. And I think Moore gets this wrong.

Shalesh
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Shalesh

He just came off a 5-win season and had 3.5 years of control, so maybe the Royals were hoping for a 60 & a 50, much like the Quintana deal. I remember thinking he was worth more like 2 50’s & a 45+ and the Cubs were his only market, but they opted for Castellanos at a much lower price.

To make statements like the Royals and Tigers erred by not trading Whit or Boyd, you really need to know what they were offered. Boyd had 4 or 5 bad starts in a row before the ASB, so his value dwindled. Teams should try to trade players at the peaks of their value and with teams who are able to pay that price. Apparently that’s not obvious for FG commenters.

Six Ten
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Six Ten

The thing about Whit is: why would they get more for him now than they would have received a year ago? Yeah we don’t know what the return is, but he is going to be very old by the time the Royals are good again. He’s already 31! The peak of his value has come and gone!

To think the peak of his value might still be coming requires one to ignore the way prospects-for-rental trades have gone in recent years. Max team control and max reason to think the player will stay good for a while are rewarded. One-year (or even less) guys are returning very little. Old players whose team control won’t even be that useful are not returning much, either. That’s where Whit is.

So yes, the Royals should trade him at peak value. But that already happened. It’s too late. They should trade him ASAP because every six months his value is lower than it was before.

Boyd is 29. Boyd is where Whit was a couple years ago. Boyd should also be traded ASAP, for the same reason.

mikejunt
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mikejunt

I mean, are you familiar with Jeff Bridich?

RoyalsFan#14321
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RoyalsFan#14321

I guess both of those teams will have to rely on the fond memories of WS victories to get them through the night.

dl80
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dl80

Agree with you on everything. If Junis looks like even an average 3/4 starter at any point, they ought to take whatever they can get in terms of prospects