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FanGraphs Power Rankings: The Beginning of the Offseason

The hot stove is set to simmer while teams take stock of their roster situations and the free-agent market. That means it’s the perfect time to see how each team stacks up against each other. Because these rankings are entirely data driven (based on the Depth Charts projections), there will be some wonky placements, particularly for teams that had significant players leave via free agency earlier this month. Think of these as a glimpse at which teams are close to being ready for 2023 and which teams might have a lot of work to do before thinking about next season. We’ll run these power rankings a couple of times during the offseason as a way to check in on how teams are shaping up heading into Opening Day.

A reminder for how these rankings are calculated: first, we take the three most important components of a team — their offense (wRC+), their pitching (a 50/50 blend of FIP- and RA9-, weighted by starter and reliever IP share), and their defense (RAA) — and combine them to create an overall team quality metric. For these offseason power rankings, I’ve used each team’s projected stats based on their Depth Charts projections which are entirely powered by the 2023 Steamer projections at this point. I’ve also used the projected fielding component of WAR that appears on our Depth Charts projections as the defensive component for each team in lieu of RAA.

Tier 1 – Ready to Compete
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Fld Team Quality
Braves 93-69 105 88 85 -0.7 170
Rays 92-70 109 94 97 1.2 168

With a young core locked up for years and very few holes on the roster, the Braves are essentially ready to run everything back in 2023. The biggest departure so far is Dansby Swanson; outside of him, Atlanta’s entire starting lineup and rotation will be returning in 2023.

The Braves’ biggest hindrance to improving their roster this offseason is their payroll, which is already butting up against the competitive balance tax. If they want to bring in a new shortstop or re-sign Swanson, they’ll either have to blow past the luxury tax threshold or find creative ways to cut costs. That appeared to be the reason behind trading away Jake Odorizzi last week. And with Vaughn Grissom’s strong rookie showing, there might already be a Swanson replacement in the organization anyway.

It’s surprising to see the Rays this high in the rankings, but their deep and flexible roster means they have few gaps to fill, and some good projections for their young core puts them already ahead of some of their closest division rivals. More importantly, the players they did lose to free agency all have in-house replacements already established or close to debuting — a big benefit of their robust development pipeline. That depth is a double-edged sword, however. Facing a 40-man roster crunch ahead of this week’s Rule 5 roster deadline, Tampa made four trades just in the last week, though none of them had much impact on the overall projections. Read the rest of this entry »

Rangers Go Bargain Shopping for Pitching With Trade for Jake Odorizzi

Jake Odorizzi
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers spent more than half a billion dollars in new free-agent contracts last year — by far the largest outlay in baseball — and wound up losing 94 games anyway. But while it was not a successful year by any stretch of the imagination, many of those long-term deals set the foundation for the roster as Texas attempts to exit a long rebuilding cycle. And with a solid, if expensive, core to build the lineup around, it isn’t hard to see where the major holes on the roster are: the pitching staff. Last year, the Rangers allowed 4.59 runs per game, 23rd in the majors, and their starters put up ERA- and FIP- marks of 119 and 111, respectively. With Jon Gray essentially the only established option written in pen for the rotation, they have a lot of work to do this offseason.

To that end, the Rangers acquired Jake Odorizzi from the Braves in exchange for Kolby Allard on Wednesday. Atlanta will be covering $10 million of Odorizzi’s $12.5 million salary in 2023 after he exercised his player option prior to being dealt. The unique two-year deal that he signed with Houston in 2021 included a number of performance bonuses and escalating clauses that pushed his player option from a base of $6.5 million to the current $12.5 million salary the Rangers will pay. Those escalators also increased the size of the buyout on his option from $3.25 million to $6.25 million. By meeting all of the thresholds and maxing out his potential salary, his decision to exercise his option became an easy decision. To make things even sweeter, his player option for ‘23 also includes a number of performance bonuses that could increase his total salary to a maximum of $15.5 million.

Odorizzi will be joining his sixth organization in his 12th season as a big leaguer. Over the last two years, he’s posted a league- and park-adjusted ERA (104) and FIP (107) just a hair over league average across 45 starts and 211 innings. These past couple of seasons have been a bit of a disappointment after what seemed like a breakout season back in 2019, when he put up career-bests in FIP, strikeout rate, and WAR. Unfortunately, a host of minor injuries cost him most of the shortened 2020 season and have prevented him from pitching a full season since then. Last season, with a healthy starting rotation full of better options, the Astros traded him straight up for Will Smith (the reliever) at the trade deadline. Read the rest of this entry »

How Should the Astros Approach Bryce Harper?

Bryce Harper
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

When the Astros face the Phillies in the World Series on Friday, they’ll have their hands full with a team that’s in the middle of a miracle run to the final round of the playoffs. And while Philadelphia’s lineup has plenty of potent hitters in it, if the Astros want to win their second championship in franchise history, they’ll need to have a solid plan to deal with the hottest hitter of the postseason: Bryce Harper.

Just to review: Harper has reached base in all 11 games he’s played in this postseason and collected seven multi-hit games, 11 extra-base hits, five home runs, and a 1.351 OPS that would stand as the eighth best in a single postseason in MLB history. The game-winning home run he hit in Game 5 of the NLCS is already the stuff of legends, earning him NLCS MVP honors.

That we’re seeing Harper at the height of his powers comes as somewhat of a surprise; this season hasn’t been easy for him. An elbow injury suffered in early April relegated him to designated hitting duty for nearly the entire season. An errant fastball from Blake Snell fractured his thumb in late June, costing him two months on the injured list. He wasn’t his normal self after returning from that stint on the sidelines: In 151 plate appearances from August 26 through the end of the season, he posted a meager .227/.325/.352 slash line, good for an 83 wRC+. Read the rest of this entry »

Verlander Shines for Astros in Game 1 Victory

© Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

One of the storylines of this postseason has been the amount of rest — or lack thereof — each team is getting due to the new expanded playoff schedule. While the first round bye generated plenty of gripes from fans of the top teams in the National League, the Astros and Yankees had no such trouble advancing despite sitting out the Wild Card round. The American League teams even had an extra day off during the Division Series, but a couple of rain delays created scheduling chaos for the Yankees and Guardians. The Yankees entered the Championship Series having played three straight days over the weekend; they traveled from New York to Cleveland without the benefit of a travel day in the middle of that stretch. Then the second rainout of that series forced them to play on Tuesday, the day before the ALCS was scheduled to begin.

It’s understandable, then, that the Yankees began the third round of the playoffs looking a little weary. Their batters wound up striking out 17 times, while the contact-heavy approach of their pitchers led to their staff notching just two strikeouts. The Astros, on the other hand, hadn’t played since their 18-inning thriller in Seattle and had the benefit of kick off the series with their rotation stacked exactly the way they wanted. With New York’s fourth best starter lined up against Justin Verlander, the odds were never going to be in the Yankees’ favor, even if they had been well rested.

After allowing 10 hits and six runs in his Game 1 Division Series start, Verlander was looking to bounce back in just his second playoff start since 2019. Despite posting career-bests in ERA and FIP during the regular season — likely earning him his third Cy Young award — some of his peripherals weren’t as strong as you might expect. His strikeout rate was the lowest it’s been since 2017, the same year he was traded to Houston from Detroit. Instead of blowing batters away with his fantastic fastball and deadly breaking stuff, he used pinpoint command to curtail nearly all hard contact against him. Read the rest of this entry »

What Were the Mariners Thinking With Robbie Ray Move in Game 1?

Robbie Ray
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Hindsight is always 20/20, a truism that is acutely felt after a particularly heartbreaking loss. It’s one ringing true in the heads of Mariners fans who witnessed a Game 1 victory in the AL Division Series slip through their fingers yesterday. Ben Clemens had the game recap, but I wanted to hone in on the final, decisive at-bat in the bottom of the ninth. More specifically, I want to try to answer the question in the headline: what were the Mariners thinking when they brought in Robbie Ray to face Yordan Alvarez?

On the surface, the move looks defensible. Paul Sewald had gotten the first two outs of the inning but had allowed two baserunners to reach to bring Alvarez to the plate. Why not bring in the lefty to gain the platoon advantage? Seattle even thought this very situation through in the lead up to this series. After the game, Mariners manager Scott Servais explained how that plan came to be:

“It was something going into the series where we were at, looking at our rotation, where we were going to head, and talking with Robbie about using him out of the bullpen as a bullet, so to speak, for that type of scenario. Bringing in a lefty against Alvarez, although Alvarez is one of the better hitters in the league … I looked at it in the seventh inning and said, ‘Hey, this could happen.’ So that was the plan going in.”

The Mariners aren’t strangers to game planning around Alvarez, having faced him dozens of times in the regular season during his career. Not that it’s done them much good: he has a career .305/.385/.597 (166 wRC+) slash line against Seattle in 179 plate appearances. You really can’t game plan around Alvarez, either; he’s one of the best hitters in the league and was one of the two best hitters in baseball this year. And it’s not like gaining the platoon advantage is much of an advantage anyway, given his impossibly small career platoon split: a .404 wOBA versus right-handers and a .406 wOBA against left-handers. His career strikeout rate against southpaws is even a few points lower. Read the rest of this entry »

After Friday’s Sprint, Guardians Win Marathon to Advance to ALDS

© Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

A day after playing the fastest postseason game since 1999, the Rays and Guardians combined for a game more than twice as long, lasting 15 innings and four hours and 57 minutes. Dominant pitching was the name of the game as both teams were held scoreless until the 15th inning — the longest scoreless postseason game in major league history. The decisive blow came when Oscar Gonzalez blasted a Corey Kluber cutter deep into left-center field for the walk-off win.

Between the two teams, 16 different pitchers combined for 39 strikeouts, eight walks, and 11 hits. They threw 432 pitches, 68% of which were strikes. Just 15 of the 58 balls in play were hard hit. No matter how you slice it, it was simply a masterclass in modern pitching by both teams:

Guardians-Rays Game 2 Pitchers
Player IP H BB K Whiff% CSW%
Cleveland Guardians
Triston McKenzie 6 2 2 8 26% 29%
James Karinchak 1 0 1 0 25% 20%
Trevor Stephan 1 0 0 2 33% 33%
Emmanuel Clase 1 0 0 1 33% 35%
Nick Sandlin 0.2 0 1 1 40% 21%
Eli Morgan 1.1 0 0 2 25% 32%
Enyel De Los Santos 1 1 1 0 17% 23%
Sam Hentges 3 3 0 6 35% 46%
Tampa Bay Rays
Tyler Glasnow 5 2 0 5 42% 35%
Pete Fairbanks 0 0 2 0 0% 27%
Jason Adam 2 1 0 2 31% 33%
Drew Rasmussen 1.2 0 0 2 0% 38%
Garrett Cleavinger 1.1 0 0 4 60% 47%
Shawn Armstrong 1.1 1 0 3 40% 39%
Brooks Raley 1 0 1 2 56% 41%
Corey Kluber 1.2 1 0 1 10% 27%

Read the rest of this entry »

Everything Goes to Plan for Mariners in Game 1 Shutout of Blue Jays

Luis Castillo
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

If there were an ideal blueprint for the Mariners’ first playoff game since 2001, it would have included dominant pitching, good defense, and just enough offense to come away with a win. They executed that plan to perfection on Friday afternoon, defeating the Blue Jays, 4–0, in the first game of their Wild Card Series matchup. Luis Castillo was in complete control over his 7.1 innings pitched, folk hero Cal Raleigh hit a two-run home run in the first inning, and Andrés Muñoz slammed the door in the ninth.

The formidable Blue Jays offense never threatened to break through against Seattle’s flame-throwing duo, who scattered seven hits throughout the game; Toronto’s only extra-base hit came with two outs in the ninth inning. A pair of two-out base hits put runners on first and second in the third and again in the fifth, but Castillo escaped those jams with ease.

It was a bit of an atypical start for the right-hander, who struck out just five Blue Jays, three of them coming in the seventh inning. Toronto’s batters had the fifth-lowest strikeout rate and the seventh-lowest chase rate in the majors this year; they’re a difficult bunch to whiff. Instead of mowing down the opposition with swings and misses, Castillo pitched to the edges of the strike zone, content to let opposing batters reach for pitches. The result: tons of weak contact. He allowed 22 balls to be put in play with an average exit velocity of just 82.6 mph and only six registering as hard hit.

All that weak contact allowed Castillo to be efficient with his pitch count: He never threw more than 20 pitches in a single frame and cruised into the eighth inning. He ended up throwing 108 pitches in the game, 30% of which were called or swinging strikes. Plunking George Springer in a 1–2 count with one out in the eighth proved to be Castillo’s end, but Muñoz entered and retired Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. en route to a five-out save. His only blemish was a two-out double by Matt Chapman in the ninth. Read the rest of this entry »

FanGraphs Power Rankings: 2022 Playoffs Edition

The expanded postseason field made for a distinct lack of drama as the regular season wound down. Most of the field was set by mid-September, with just a few races lasting into the final weeks of the season. But the board has been reset in the postseason. With the new Wild Card round set to begin today, here’s a look at the 12 teams in the playoffs and how they stack up against each other.

A reminder for how these rankings are calculated: first, we take the three most important components of a team — their offense (wRC+), and their starting rotation and bullpen (a 50/50 blend of FIP- and RA9-, weighted by IP share) — and combine them to create an overall team quality metric. New for this year, I’ve opted to include defense as a component, though it’s weighted less heavily than offense and pitching. Some element of team defense is captured by RA9-, but now that FanGraphs has Statcast’s OAA/RAA available on our leaderboards, I’ve chosen to include that as the defensive component for each team. Since regular season records don’t matter in the playoffs, I’ve removed the factors for win percentage and expected win percentage from the calculations.

Tier 1 – The Favorites
Team Record wRC+ SP- RP- RAA Team Quality World Series Odds
Dodgers 111-51 119 82 77 8 188 14.9%
Astros 106-56 112 82 78 23 184 18.0%

Despite winning 111 games during the regular season, the Dodgers’ World Series odds sit below the Astros — and the Braves too! On paper, they have a juggernaut of a team, but their deep roster is more suited to the grueling pace of a long regular season. During a short series, that depth is wasted to a certain extent. The other reason why the projection systems are discounting their chances is some uncertainty in their pitching staff. Los Angeles won’t have Walker Buehler this postseason, and Dustin May could miss the Division Series. That means leaning on Tyler Anderson and Tony Gonsolin to make critical starts. Both had phenomenal regular-season numbers, but the projections don’t fully trust them as top-tier starters, and Gonsolin only just returned after a month-long absence due to a forearm issue. There’s also some uncertainty in the bullpen, as Craig Kimbrel lost his ninth-inning role during the final month of the season. It’s never a good sign when a team enters the postseason with high-leverage roles in flux.

The Astros have fewer questions to work through. They ran away with the best record in the American League en route to their sixth consecutive playoff appearance, and the only player they’ll be missing from their roster is Michael Brantley, who injured his shoulder in June and will be sidelined until next year. To replace him, Houston acquired Trey Mancini from the Orioles at the trade deadline, though he hasn’t been able to replicate his previous success in his new digs, with a mere 77 wRC+ as an Astro. The pitching staff is once again led by Justin Verlander, who missed the team’s last two October trips. Lance McCullers Jr. will likely play a significant role as well. He injured his forearm during the 2021 postseason and was sidelined for the majority of the regular season but made eight solid starts down the stretch. Read the rest of this entry »

NL Wild Card Series Preview: Cardinals vs. Phillies

Albert Pujols
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 season was the year to break long-standing playoff droughts. The Mariners ending their two-decade stretch of futility got the bigger headlines, but the Phillies closed out their own decade of suffering by clinching the NL’s final Wild Card berth on Monday. It didn’t come easy — under the previous playoff structure, they would have missed out on the postseason by two games — but the expanded field gives them an opportunity to make some noise in October. Their opponent will be a familiar one: the Cardinals, who eliminated the Phillies in a hard-fought Division Series the last time they were in the playoffs.

St. Louis hasn’t had to weather a lengthy playoff drought since the 1970s, qualifying for the postseason for the fourth consecutive year and winning its second division title in that span. The Cardinals also posted their third 90-plus win season in that period, with the shortened 2020 season as the only outlier. More remarkably, they haven’t finished below .500 since 2007, with 10 postseason appearances in those 15 years. As far as consistent competitors go, the Cardinals are essentially an October staple.

Team Overview: Phillies vs. Cardinals
Overview Phillies Cardinals Edge
Batting (wRC+) 107 (5th in NL) 114 (3rd in NL) Cardinals
Fielding (RAA) -32 (14th) 17 (3rd) Cardinals
Starting Pitching (FIP-) 87 (2nd) 102 (9th) Phillies
Bullpen (FIP-) 91 (4th) 101 (8th) Phillies

The Phillies’ route to their Wild Card berth wasn’t a straight one. They wandered through the first two months of the season, posting a disappointing 21–29 record, which led to the dismissal of manager Joe Girardi on June 3. But after that, they went 64–46 under interim manager Rob Thompson, the fourth-best record in the NL over the rest of the season. All that success during the summer came despite losing Bryce Harper for a significant chunk of the year. He fractured his thumb on June 25 and returned on August 26 but never truly regained his MVP form, with an 84 wRC+ over the final month and change of play.

With its superstar on the shelf, a number of Philadelphia’s veteran sluggers stepped up to lead the offense. The biggest contributor was J.T. Realmuto. As Michael Baumann covered a week ago, the veteran catcher carried the load with a 162 wRC+ in the second half, accumulating the third most WAR in that time behind Aaron Judge and Adley Rutschman. Despite his slow-ish start, Realmuto wound up posting career bests in wRC+ and WAR. Then there was Kyle Schwarber, who led the NL in home runs with 46, a surprise given his similar slow start to the season; he hit just 11 homers in the first two months of the season but exploded in June with 12 and added 23 more over the next three months.

The other big free-agent deal the Phillies handed out over the offseason hasn’t worked out as well. After posting a 122 wRC+ over the last five seasons, Nick Castellanos couldn’t find his footing in Philadelphia, slumping to a 95 wRC+, his worst year at the plate since 2015. His biggest problem was a bad case of chasing breaking balls off the plate, leading to big issues making authoritative contact. His barrel rate and hard-hit rate fell to career lows, resulting in a dismal .392 slugging percentage.

But we can’t talk about the Phillies without talking about their defense. Put simply, it’s bad. It’s not a surprise either, considering that Schwarber and Castellanos occupy the corner outfield spots. The only positive contributor in their starting lineup is second baseman Jean Segura, who graded out as a +4 in Outs Above Average this year. The Phillies’ biggest issue, though, isn’t making mistakes; they actually committed the fourth-fewest errors in the majors this year. Instead, they simply let too many batted balls find the grass, which significantly hurt their ability to prevent runs from scoring. It’s a big reason why their pitching staff posted a top-10 FIP in baseball but a team ERA that was just 18th.

Leading said pitching staff is Aaron Nola, a quiet contender for the NL Cy Young award this year. One major reason why is that the righty was able to cut his home run rate to just 9.8% this year, a huge improvement over his career rate of 13.2%. He also posted a career-low walk rate this year while still maintaining his big strikeout totals. He’ll be on the mound for Game 2 of this series. To open, the Phillies will turn to Zack Wheeler. He followed up a career year in 2021 with a season nearly as good, though he pitched 60 fewer innings. The health of his forearm was a big question mark through the end of the summer, but he managed to make it back to the mound in late September and posted three good starts to finish the regular season. If the series goes to a Game 3, Philadelphia will likely turn to Ranger Suárez, a quality starter in his own right but not up to the level of Nola or Wheeler.

Where the Phillies will lead off with their two aces, the Cardinals enter this series with less established options up top.

Cardinals Starting Rotation
Player K% BB% HR% GB% ERA FIP
Adam Wainwright 17.8% 6.7% 8.1% 43.2% 3.71 3.66
Miles Mikolas 19.0% 4.8% 11.9% 45.0% 3.29 3.87
José Quintana 20.2% 6.9% 5.3% 46.4% 2.93 2.99
Jack Flaherty 19.8% 13.2% 11.8% 41.7% 4.25 4.97
Jordan Montgomery 21.8% 5.0% 13.0% 47.6% 3.48 3.61

Ordinarily, it would be hard to imagine a Cardinals playoff series without Wainwright, but given how the final month of the season went, manager Oli Marmol may opt for hiding his veteran righty.

Cardinals Starters in September
Player IP K% BB% ERA FIP
Adam Wainwright 28.2 9.4% 8.0% 7.22 4.37
Miles Mikolas 34 22.0% 6.8% 2.38 3.73
José Quintana 33.1 23.1% 3.3% 0.81 1.88
Jack Flaherty 28 21.6% 10.4% 3.86 4.40
Jordan Montgomery 33 23.4% 6.4% 4.36 3.90

Wainwright allowed a whopping 23 runs in his six September starts, and his strikeout and walk rates both took a turn for the worse. That performance has likely pushed him out of the picture for a Wild Card start; at best, the Cardinals could hand him the ball on an extremely short leash and have Montgomery or Flaherty ready on standby if things go south quickly.

Luckily, Mikolas and Quintana finished the regular season on strong notes; the latter, per Marmol on Thursday, will take the ball for Game 1, and the former will start Game 2, with Game 3’s starter TBD. Quintana hasn’t pitched this well since he was a member of the White Sox back in 2017 and has been even better since coming over from the Pirates at the trade deadline. Chris Gilligan looked at Quintana’s rejuvenation earlier this week and noted his transition from a pitcher who relied on strikeouts to one who induces tons of weak contact:

He has deployed his arsenal by throwing mostly outside the strike zone, elevating his fastball more and making hitters reach for curveballs and changeups. His 35.4% zone rate is the lowest in a full season of his career, around 10 percentage points lower than his typical early-career season, and the second-lowest among qualifying pitchers this year. And it’s working – he’s enticing swings on a career-high 36.2% of his pitches outside of the zone, the 10th-highest rate among qualifiers. … By drawing hitters outside the strike zone, he has significantly diminished the quality of their contact without conceding bases on balls with any sort of damaging frequency.

That leaves Montgomery, Flaherty, and Wainwright to start in a potential Game 3. Like Quintana, Montgomery holds the platoon advantage over some of Philadelphia’s more potent bats, and Flaherty’s stuff could play up in shorter outings if he were pushed to the bullpen. So the decision comes back around to what to do with Wainwright, and that’s not an easy one given how much history he has with the franchise, particularly in the playoffs.

Offensively, St. Louis has far less to worry about. Led by superstars Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, the Cardinals had the third-best offense in the NL, scoring 4.77 runs per game. After looking like an MVP candidate for most of the season, Goldschmidt slumped a bit in September, posting a 108 wRC+ over the last month of the season, which cost him a shot at the Triple Crown after he made a run at it through the summer. Arenado, meanwhile, bounced back from a disappointing first year in St. Louis to post the best season of his career. Those two provide a fantastic one-two punch in the heart of the lineup.

The biggest story in St. Louis, though, has to be the rejuvenation of Albert Pujols. He returned to the Cardinals for one last reunion tour after a slow and painful decline in Los Angeles but has defied time and age by becoming a key contributor as the team’s semi-regular designated hitter. He hit just six dingers during the first half of the season, but chasing his milestone 700th home run sparked a miraculous second half. He blasted 18 bombs after the All-Star break — only Judge hit more during that span — with all of his power peripherals taking a sudden turn for the better. I’m sure the Cardinals couldn’t have imagined their franchise icon leading them to the postseason again when they signed him back in the winter, but here we are.

As far as roster construction goes, these two teams found their success through very different means. St. Louis’s position group put together a cumulative 33.1 WAR, second in the NL and a testament to their quality production at the plate and phenomenal defense in the field. Philadelphia’s lineup can score runs in bunches, but the defense is atrocious. The team’s strength lies instead in a top-heavy rotation led by two of the best pitchers in the league. Also worth noting is that the Cardinals went 53–28 at home during the regular season, giving them the advantage at the outset. But these teams are more evenly matched than they appear on paper, which should make for some excellent baseball this weekend.

Brady Singer Is the Last Man Standing in Kansas City

© Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Very few things have gone according to plan in Kansas City this season. Yes, Bobby Witt Jr. made his major league debut alongside a number of other promising young position players, but the team is still on track to lose 97 games, their sixth consecutive losing season. After investing in a number of free agents prior to the 2021 season and taking a few small steps forward, the franchise has taken one giant leap backwards this year.

Their inability to break out of a rebuilding cycle that began after their 2015 World Series victory led to the dismissal of president of baseball operations Dayton Moore earlier this month. After guiding the franchise for 16 years, the Royals decided new leadership was required to push the team back into relevance. While Moore was sometimes ridiculed for his adherence to old school methods of roster construction and strategy, his track record should speak for itself. After taking the helm in 2006, he slowly rebuilt the entire organization, culminating in their championship season. Unfortunately, that success was short lived and the team slipped into another rebuilding cycle soon afterwards. Read the rest of this entry »