Sunday, August 22, 2010

YUUUUUUU-NEEEEEEE!

This is an article I was sort of hoping I wouldn’t have to write, and I’m still not sure needs to be written now.

But in light of Yuniesky Betancourt’s recent hot streak, which coincides with the birth of his first child*, I think the time is right.

*: It seems like half the players on the club have had children this season. And it seems like they’ve all played exceedingly well afterwards**.

**: Maybe Manny Ramirez was on to something when he was caught using fertility drugs as a performance enhancer.

Over an 11-game stretch from August 3rd to 18th, Betancourt was 16-for-38 (.421) with five homers. Even after an 0-for-4 performance on Thursday, as I write this he’s hitting .267/.287/.422 for the season. His .422 slugging average would be a career best, and his 12 homers are already a career high. His OPS+ of 91 is a hair’s breadth behind his career-best of 93, set in 2007, when he hit .289/.308/.418 for the Mariners.

There’s no denying that Yuni is having a better season that most people, yours truly included, expected. But I will say that the recent fawning over him is a bit much.

Nothing grates me more than the line, which I’ve seen repeated in a bunch of different media outlets, that Betancourt is leading the Royals in home runs. I hate to be a stick in the mud, people, but HE’S NOT LEADING THE TEAM IN HOME RUNS. Jose Guillen is. Just because Guillen was designated for assignment doesn’t mean his homers don’t count. (And the fact that Guillen was DFA’ed, despite leading the team in homers, should tell you not to put too much stock in that accomplishment.)

Still, if you want to give credit to Betancourt for ranking second on the team in homers, as a shortstop, go right ahead. Just don’t forget to point out that along with his 12 homers, he also has exactly 12 walks. He might lead all current Royals in homers, but he also ranks dead last on the Royals in walks (among player with more than 150 PA). Betancourt has drawn a walk in just 2.8% of his plate appearances; the only Royals with a lower walk rate are either 1) pitchers or 2) Jai Miller, who has batted once.

So please, people, keep things in perspective. Betancourt has shown some pop, yes. That doesn’t make up for the fact that of the 145 players who have batted 400 or more times this year, he ranks dead last in walks drawn. Every other player has walked at least 18 times.

Never forget: power is nice, but OBP is life. Betancourt’s .287 OBP ranks third from the bottom among those same 145 players. That’s not an inconvenience, or a blemish on an otherwise sterling stat line. That is the single most important offensive statistic in the game, and Betancourt’s performance in that category is beyond awful.

So if we can agree that Betancourt, while a surprisingly good hitter this season, is nowhere near the best hitter on the ballclub, I’ll agree that he’s been a much better player than I expected him to be.

No analysis of Betancourt is complete without an evaluation, or perhaps a humiliation, of his defense. His glovework, or lack thereof, was the single biggest reason analysts like me panned the trade for him. His defense also represents a flashpoint in the minor skirmish that still takes place at times between statheads and scouts. (Or at least Royals scouts.) At the time the trade was made, the Royals were comfortable saying that Betancourt was at least an average defensive shortstop. Meanwhile, every 21st-century defensive stat evaluated Betancourt’s defense as among the worst, if not the worst, of any everyday shortstop in the majors.

Specifically, the defensive metric of choice at Fangraphs (Ultimate Zone Rating, or UZR), which graded Betancourt’s defense as exactly average in 2005 and 2006, ranked him 4 runs below average in 2007, 11 runs below average in 2008, and an amazing 17 runs below average in 2009. The defensive metric favored by Baseball Info Solutions gave him similar scores: dead average in 2005 and 2006, then -7, -13, and -19 over the next three years.

There’s been a lot of talk this season that Betancourt’s defense looks better, at least to the naked eye. I would share in that assessment; at least 2 or 3 times this year I’ve seen him make plays on balls headed up the middle that he wouldn’t have reached last year. Of course, in each case they were grounders that a good defensive shortstop would have gobbled up like candycorn before throwing onto first for a routine play, but in Betancourt’s case, he was only able to reach them by lunging for them, snaring them into his glove in a full dive, then getting to his feet before nipping the runner at first.

In other words, he’s looked better. He hasn’t looked good. And the numbers back that up. UZR ranks Betancourt’s defense as 7 runs below average so far; BIS is even less charitable, ranking his defense 14 runs below average already. A third defensive metric, Total Zone, ranks Betancourt’s defense as dead average this year after being 12 runs below average last year.

Defensive metrics are imperfect, and so it is best to take a look at multiple different measures to get the most accurate picture. Averaging these three different metrics together, and we can estimate that Betancourt was 16 runs below average last year, and 7 runs below average so far this year. Again: he’s better. He’s still not good.

Nonetheless, he can make a pretty play in the hole, as he did in the ninth inning to preserve victories on back-to-back nights earlier this week. His supporters will point to plays like those as proof that the numbers can’t be right. To which I say: we’ve been down this road before.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…a shortstop with a solid defensive reputation, but brutal defensive numbers…a shortstop who makes the highlight reels with dazzling plays in the hole but who is an absolute sieve on balls hit to his left. Sound familiar? It should, since I just described Derek Jeter.

I think the battle over Betancourt’s defense is the war over Jeter’s defense writ small. Betancourt moves well to his right, has a strong arm, and can make the flashy play from the hole. But he simply has no range to his left. He’s a little more mobile this year, but it’s still a problem, and there’s no reason to expect it to get better.

Admitting you have a problem is Step One, and it would be nice if the Royals acknowledge that Betancourt has an issue. Prior to the 2009 season, the Yankees and Derek Jeter publicly acknowledged that his Gold Glove reputation aside, he could stand to work on his lateral movement, and he focused his off-season exercises with that specific flaw in mind. As a result, Jeter – at the age of 35 – had arguably the best defensive numbers of his career.

That’s a textbook case of a team using statistics as a tool – not as the end-all and be-all, but as a tool – to make their team better. I don’t expect the Royals to acknowledge that Betancourt’s defense is still subpar. But it’s not too much to ask that they acknowledge that his defense could be improved. He’s clearly made some strides this year, but he just as clearly has a ways to go.

Alright, enough dancing around the main point of this article. I’m not prepared to concede that we were wrong about Betancourt. He’s put up some nice power numbers, but we’re still talking about a bad defensive shortstop with a .287 OBP. The Royals are on the hook for $3 million of his $4 million salary next year, plus a $2 million buyout of his 2012 option. That is to say, the Royals will pay him $5 million in 2011. As well as he’s played this year, if Betancourt was put on the trade market after the season, does anyone really think there would be any interest in him? Unless the Royals kicked in some money, I’d say no. Which is to say that even now, even with the Mariners paying some of his salary, Betancourt’s contract has no value.

And I still won’t concede that we were wrong about Betancourt, because everything I know about the situation at the time was that the Royals didn’t have to pay the price that they did. The Mariners were desperate to get rid of him. The Royals could have had the Mariners pick up more money, or do the deal without including Dan Cortes. (Cortes, by the way, was finally moved to the bullpen by Seattle a few weeks ago – a move that was long predicted – and has been dominant in that role: in 13 innings out of the bullpen in Double-A, he allowed just one run and struck out 20, and since being promoted to Triple-A he’s allowed one run in four innings.)

But if I’m not prepared to concede that we were wrong, I am prepared to concede that Dayton Moore was right. Moore was frank about the reason he made the trade at the time: that he didn’t see Betancourt as an All-Star player, but that he was better than anything the Royals had on hand, and the money the Royals would have to pay him was perfectly reasonable for an everyday player.

I hated the trade as much for what Betancourt represented – a giant middle finger to those of who believe that statistics matter – as who he was. But if you take the personal feelings out of the equation, the fact is that Moore was, generally speaking, right. Betancourt has been unquestionably better than the alternatives the Royals had on hand. This is an indictment of Moore’s work, that three years after he was hired the Royals were still forced into hoping that Tony Pena Jr. would hit, or that no one would notice that they were actually starting Willie Bloomquist at shortstop on a regular basis.

If the Royals had not traded for Betancourt, they would once again be petitioning the federal government to declare the area between second and third base a disaster zone. Jeff Bianchi, the one prospect in the system who might have been big-league ready, tore his elbow in spring training. Mike Aviles came back faster than expected from Tommy John surgery of his own, but he hasn’t shown nearly the fielding chops he did as a rookie. The Royals likely would have gone out of the system to find a stopgap anyway, and they would have been hard-pressed to find a player that would have matched Betancourt’s 1.3 Wins Above Replacement this season.

(Quick aside: how much of the credit we’re giving Betancourt should be reflected onto Kevin Seitzer? When you consider the talent the Royals had in the lineup at the beginning of the season, it’s a miracle that the team has even hit as well as it has. Jose Guillen, given up for dead, had an above average OPS+ before he was let go. Scott Podsednik, who had hit .270 just once in the last four years, hit .310 before he was traded. David DeJesus had the best numbers of his career before he got hurt. Wilson Betemit is having one of the great half-seasons in Royals history. And Betancourt has been more than tolerable at the plate. If only he can get Kila to hit…)

I don’t think the Betancourt trade is going to go down in the books as a win for the Royals in a strict accounting sense. The Royals gave up a potential quality reliever for the right to slightly overpay a below-average shortstop. But in a strategic sense, the trade is looking more and more like a small victory. In 2010, at least, Betancourt has done everything the Royals expected him to do. Good for him, and good for them.

As you know, I’ve taken a much softer stance towards Moore this year, for a variety of reasons, primarily the farm system, but also out of recognition that almost every GM makes dumb decisions occasionally, and that it’s not fair to judge Moore in a vacuum. On that note, as hard as it is for me to believe that he’s won this round, as a Royals fan I’m happy that what looked like Moore’s signature move of incompetence instead has me looking like the fool. I’m happy to play the fool this time around, if it means having a GM who might not be the fool I thought he was.

Then again, I was right about Mike Jacobs. And Kyle Farnsworth. And overworking Gil Meche. And Jose Guillen. And Horacio Ramirez. And Jason Kendall. And…

Addendum: As I put this post to bed, the Royals have just completed an epic double-header with the White Sox, a double-header which didn’t start until 6:10 PM, featured a pair of extra-inning games, and was briefly delayed due to a power failure. And it was one of the best days of Yuniesky Betancourt’s career. In the opener, he cost the Royals early with a defensive misplay, but made up for it and then some in the 7th inning, hitting a game-tying, two-out grand slam. It was his third grand slam of the season, which not only tied for the major-league lead but also tied the all-time Royals’ single season record held by Danny Tartabull. He came up again with the game still tied in the ninth, with two out and nobody on, and doubled. He did not score then, but in the 11th, he batted again with two outs, this time with the winning run on third, and delivered the walk-off single.

And then, in the nightcap, he batted in the ninth with the Royals down a run, and Mitch Maier on third base – and once again lined a single up the middle to tie the game. The Royals gave up the go-ahead run in the tenth, and lost because they couldn’t find a way to get Yuni to the plate one more time.

The most surprising thing about his performance, though, was this: in the second game, at nearly 1 in the morning, with Betancourt representing the Royals’ final hope in the ninth – I was able to root for him unabashedly, with no mixed feelings at all. I’ve put my reservations behind me, and learned to embrace Yuni, warts and all. He’s not my kind of player. But he’s still my player. And he’s a better player than I ever thought he’d be.

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was at both games tonight, and like you I am not a Yuniesky believer.

But there was something about those at bats tonight. They were freaking magically amazing. I wasn't even drinking!

And another thing I agree with you about. Please, please, pretty please Seitzer work your magic with Kila! He might actually be part of our "future"!


Jeff

Nathan said...

Jeff, from the MLB.com condensed game it looked like Humber pitched well and was sabotaged by awful infield defense (not just Yuni though he missed his share of plays). What did you think? His stuff looks pretty, but the stat line isn't.

GregN said...

Well, the White Sox have a habit of making guys like Yuni look like all-stars. Would Nick Punto exist without them?

OT:
Was there any explanation locally for starting Friday's game? Especially with last night's decimation of the Sox bullpen, burning a starter Friday looms large in the "race".

(Respectfully visiting Sox fan here.)

Anonymous said...

Rany you are the best. Ironically I bump into Bill James every once in s while at the grocery store. I do not find many of the new age stats interesting. Makes for uncomfortable small talk. Bill James analysis Accurate, yes, interesting no.

*Some say the stats proliferation is driving younger fans away from the game.

I do like how you integrate stats while explaining the meaning.

From Jump Street I liked Yuni. He passed my rudimentary fan eye test. I listened to all heaping horror stories coupled with the fact the Mariners dumped "Betsy" (a little Hillman humor) like a week old carp, so I had my doubts.

I never saw the train wreck SS Yuni people were telling me to see.

Yet, there he was in 09, better than anything we had. This year, it was easy to cheer for him.

To me at least Moore, Sietzer, Guillen? or maybe his wife. Somebody got into his head. Simply put...... Yuni realized to end the constant criticisms he needed to work at his game. Clear to me he put in a great deal of time last off season.

Must have said this 100 times over the past season........why do people keep saying he's the worst starter in baseball? Evan at the games I hear many more cheering for him.

Yuni seems to stay healthy, can play SS at times seems to upgrade his game to the situation, has some power, is not a problem in the clubhouse. In fact looks popular in the dugout from the fan view. He also seems to like it in KC. If, and a big IF he improves and begins to walk next year, we have a nice SS to plug in for the next few years.

Can we say this about CF, RF, Catcher, 2b, starters 2-5?

Tony said...

If Yuni's .286 obp is on life support, what does that make Moustakas' .290 obp in Omaha?

I'm all for Yuni's success but an over looked consequence of this season's success is that it just means one more year before teh SS part (Bianchi) of "The Process" makes it to KC.

Billy Ludlow said...

When stating a player leads a team in a certain category, most understand the difference from guys on and off the team. Yuni is the current leader in homeruns for the Kansas City Royals.

Don't let your hatred shine through so much, Rany.

Bryan said...

GregN-

The line I heard was that it was an umpire's decision. Once it is game time, the decision is entirely in the hands of the umpires and they made the decision to start the game.

I am not saying I buy that explanation. There has to be some kind of monetary explanation but that's what I heard. I would be pissed if I was a Sox fan too.

Nathan-

I only watched on TV, but I though Humber pitched a pretty good game, stats be damned.

Anon-

"Some say stats are driving the younger gen. away from the game."

Wow.

The statistics give a new and different way to enjoy the game. They take nothing away from the game. If anyone wants to just watch the game and not look at the stats that is fine. How could the proliferation of stats drive anyone from the game. I would counter that for every one person driven away, if that is possible, there are numerous people drawn to the game because of the stats. I don't have a stat to back that up, but I will work on it.

Tony-

I would say small sample size on Moustakas. But part of the reason I say that is because I want him to be up here to start next season so bad. It is concerning. Hopefully he figures it out in the next two months, because I swear I am not going to opening day if he doesn't make the roster.

Rany- I can't believe you wrote that before last night. Great timing. Great points too. He has been better than expected, but still pretty dreadful, especially on defense.

My biggest point of contention with Yuni defenders, and Ryan LeFebvre seem to be the biggest one, and I mostly like Ryan even if he does need to spend some time learning about clutchiness and defensive stats, is when Yuni makes a play where he lunges and gets someone out. "Oh that is such a great play. How can anyone say he is the worst shortstop in baseball." Easy, 1, that should have been an easy play that Yuni made into a very difficult one, 2, Yuni does not take more than one step to his left. Sometimes its pretty embarrassing how far to the SS side of the bag a ball is and how far away from the ball Yuni is on a ball hit up the middle. and 3, He absolutely does not walk and has the poorest plate discipline of anyone in the big leagues. He does not move runners over. He does not have the ability to situational hit. I swear if I was pitching I would throw the first two pitches in the dirt to him. Very rarely is it that he doesn't swing at either the first or second pitch.

And to end this long comment, I too hope that Kila finds it. He needs to relax and let the game come to him. If he could walk every third at bat or so like he did in Omaha he would be incredibly valuable.

GregN said...

Thx, Bryan.

Anonymous said...

Bryan - read the rule book, it's the ump's call. There's no extraneous money involved. Mous has less than one full season of experience in advanced minor league play. Just because he tore up a total hitter's league (Texas League) doesn't mean he's close to the bigs. Even with the small sample size, I would rather see guys make the transition up once they've actually earned it. At least you should have plenty of free time one day this coming April. I can't tell whether Ryan is being sarcastic or believes when he talks about our current SS, but I do know he and Frank are paid by the Royals to do Royals broadcasts. Even if the team stinks and has stunk for years, if I'm the owner, I don't want these guys in the booth running down my players. Just telling it like it is, and like it is probably gets old when there's this much regular losing, demanding some sort of positive spin. Sometimes the subtle tones in Frank's voice tells you what the expert in the booth really thinks.

I can't agree more with Rany. OBP is definately the lifeblood of the game. If you are on base, then you ain't out. If you're out, then there are only 26 of those left now, maybe less. This is the most difficult hand-eye game on the planet. Don't give up outs... anywhere!

btw... i'm posting anonymous because my brain has finally reached the saturation point of usernames and passwords.

Anonymous said...

rany the turncoat bastard has a new daddy- Dayton. Now he has a new new uncle- uncle yuni. Good lord rany.....you freaking suck as a writer and are a miserable human being.

Bryan said...

Anon-

You could at least give me credit for getting it right about the umpires. Thanks for the reference point of the rulebook.

My point is that with all of the money and all of the different interests in the game, it would seem that someone, somewhere, would have the ability to influence whether or not the game starts. Whether that is someone with the Royals, as in Mr. Burns aka David Glass, someone with television or someone with MLB, I find it hard to believe that a decision that affects so many is entirely left in the hands of the umpires. Maybe it is. Maybe those black helicopters aren't UN helicopters either.

I would agree that Moustakas needs to be in the minors for longer, but I am so ready for this process to take hold, I am willing to say that I want badly for him to be the starting third baseman on opening day. I would think that would say that he has progressed to where he is ready for that promotion but it would be asking a hell of a lot for him to make that jump. Just me as a fan, I am ready to see someone with potential rather than Betemit, Betancourt, Kendall, Blanco, Bloomquist, etc.

I will probably be free on a Monday in April. Want to have lunch?

I hear you on Ryan and Frank. And I think they are the best team the Royals have had in the booth in some time. I hear Ryan bash the statheads quite a bit, and he does seem to really like Yuni, but overall he does a good job in a not easy situation. It has to be hard to witness that much losing and stay positive.

And Frank is great. I selfishly hope he stays in the booth, although I think he would probably make a pretty good manager. I have followed the game quite a while, and I learn a lot about the game listening to Frank. He is truly a pleasure to listen to. And I know it is not easy for him to not just blast some of these guys from time to time.

I am not sure how anyone could question the OBP observations. You gotta score runs. You gotta get on base to score runs. Getting on base is the only way to prevent outs.

Right there with you on the passwords. We need to start a group in protest of the proliferation of the password.

Thanks for the conversation on a Sunday morning where I am not feeling all that great and am camping out in front of the computer in hopes I start feeling better soon.

Anonymous said...

Rany,
Love your posts. Don't, however, break your arm patting yourself on the back for predicting Jacobs, Farnsworth, et al...
Up until this year you've disliked every trade and free agent pickup of the Dayton era. Doing so enables you to subjectively declare every move a bust unless the acquired player FAR exceeds expectations.
I remember hearing you on 810 before this season. The free agent I heard you repeatedly lobby for was Rich Harden.
Hindsight is easy, as is criticism, predicting the future is hard. Dayton seems to be as good as any at the latter.

Bryan said...

And to the second Anon.

You pour pretty much time and energy into slamming Rany.

Why?

Isn't there something better you could do with your time?

Emjoy a book, smell some flowers, take in a movie, but for the love of God, leave the rest of us alone who enjoy Rany, and want to come here and have a pleasant conversation and not see the drivel you spout. You add nothing. Leave us alone. Please.

Bryan said...

That definitely wasn't meant for the third Anon. You bring some valid points and make some legit criticisms that Rany would probably agree with, ergo the reason he has softened up a bit.

Second Anon could learn from you. If you want to criticize go ahead, but do it in a way that adds something and not nonsensical bullshit drive that any five year old could do.

There I am done. I am moving to the couch to take in the game.

kcghost said...

Yuni had his career day yesterday with three top drawer two-out clutch hits. He'll always have that to look back on when he talks to his grandkids.

Other than that, he till sucks.

Anonymous said...

Bryan- the first, second, and third Bryan. First, you're a douchebag. Second, Rany is a piece of shit turncoat who is he biggest bandwagoner in the history of sports. Fuck him and fuck you.

Harry Balczak said...

The dude that posted above me is a complete douchebag and needs to get a life. Who cares if Rany doesn't bask Dayton Moore as much as he used to? Who are you anyway, Trey Hillman?

Anonymous said...

'UZR ranks Betancourt’s defense as 7 runs below average so far; BIS is even less charitable, ranking his defense 14 runs below average already. A third defensive metric, Total Zone, ranks Betancourt’s defense as dead average this year after being 12 runs below average last year.'

OK, I get the hard offensive stats. Firm, solid and definitive. The interpretation of those facts is open for discussion but not the numbers themselves. But seriously, why do people try to quantify something so subjective as defense? Geez.

Rany said...

Alright, anonymous - you know which "anonymous" I'm referring to - you've had your fun. I've put up with your antics for a lot longer than I should have, perhaps, but I've always been inclined towards letting people speak their minds here.

But there are rules of decorum that apply even to message boards. If you want to criticize me, by all means, go ahead. But ad hominem attacks don't add anything to the discussion. Neither does using the same insults in every post I write.

Going forward, if you have something new and reasonably civil to say, I welcome your comments. Otherwise, I'm going to start deleting them. This message board belongs to all of my readers, and the vast majority of them have had enough of you.

Up and Atom said...

Is it too soon to start calling him the Yuni-Bomber. Sadly he is leading the team in home runs.

RC said...

Calling Rany a bandwagoner is absolutely hilarious. He is a ROYALS fan. Rany you only like them because they are 18 games under .500, 19 games back and haven't made the playoffs in 25 years!

Rany I do appreciate you wanting to have an open forum where people can post their thoughts but that guy is clearly delusional.

Michael said...

Rany, thank you. That guy is just obnoxious. He never adds anything to the discussion. It's like he's a 12 year old sitting at the keyboard with his friends saying "See how many cuss words I wrote?! Isn't that funny?!!"

He really just needs to grow up and get a pair and put his name to these posts instead of posting anonymously.

Anonymous said...

RC has a point that I have thought of but never posted. I grew up in the 50s rooting for the Phillies. I mean I rooted for Sparky Anderson as a player, for God's sake! But, they were still my team, as horrible as they were. You root for your team no matter how pathetic they are. Hope for the best, don't be downheartened by the worst. They're your team.

Anonymous said...

Rany,

As a fellow Royals fan and journalism major at Missouri State University, I wanted to tell you that I find your posts extremely well written, as well as entertaining. Keep up the good work my friend.

Anonymous said...

League Avg SS> Yuni > Tony Pena Jr.

RC said...

When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir? - John Maynard Keynes

Rany ha made his thoughts on Dayton very clear. Hell, even in this article he points out Major League decisions he has disagreed with and was right about. Even in the article where you decided to turn into a raving lunatic, he said that Dayton has very obvious shortcomings when in comes to making decisions at the big league level. The only one he has conceded has been Yuni and that wasn't much of a concession. BUT he also made it clear that all of the major league shutting of deck chairs is irrelevant in the grand scheme if the drafting and player development side of Dayton is successful. If you can't concede that Dayton has rebuilt the minors in three years, please leave.

RC said...

*shuffling

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't be real hard rebuilding the minors when you lose 95 games every year. Withthose draft picks you should be good in the minors by default.

Now with that advantage clearly out amongst baseball teams (importance of draft)- the Royals will have to be smarter at free agent decisions- something Dayton Moore has proven himself an absolute failure at.

Chance said...

Someone brought up a good point about Frank in the booth. I want to be delicate here, but damn...I cannot stand listening to the TV broadcast when Paul Splittorf is calling the game.

I know he had some kind of major medical problem, stroke, throat or tongue cancer, I don't know. I liked him very much as an announcer and even more as a player, but he can't do it anymore. Please, don't subject me to that anymore.

A bad Royals loss combined with Paul describing it is too much to endure. And, I like Frank better anyway, even if Paul could speak.

Sorry, but it had to be said. Now I will go burn in Hell.

Kyle said...

Yuni has been alot better than anyone expected this year. It has been fun to watch his hrs, since no one else on the team can hit them. He REALLY needs to work on moving to the left though. How can he be that bad?

The Royals have had top draft picks for alot of years now, but it has only been in the last few that they have actually done anything with them. Is that Glass finally opening up a little bit with the checkbook? Yes, maybe. Is that Moore and the scouting dept actually doing there job? Absolutely. But we know for a fact that who ever was in charge of the draft before did nothing right.

I am definitely ready for this "youth movement" to startup. I would love to see Mouse, Coleman, Collins, Hardy in the bigs to start next year. And Monty, Duffy, Dwyer, Hosmer, and Myers up by mid season. I know that is really rushing a few of them, but it is time.

Jcarter5 said...

Great read. My beef with Yuni haters is the inconsistency. If you're going to ride Yuni about his plate approach and discipline why not Aviles too. He gets a free pass and has 13 walks in 300+ PA.

RC said...

Where has Rany said that Dayton has succeeded at free agent acquisitions? Rany ranked Dayton 26th out of a possible 30 GMs with hopes that he would be higher due to draft and development. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. I'm sorry that you cannot see that Rany is both hopeful the current crop of minor leaguers will pan out and suspicious of Dayton's abilities to make major league moves.

As for censorship, this is Rany's blog. If you only come here to be negative without actually reading the content and thinking critically about it, he has every right to now allow you to sidetrack the discussion.

If you want to start www.daytonmooresucks.blogspot.com and post your anti-Dayton drivel, feel free. I doubt you will attract much of an audience based on the intelligence you have displayed here. Please prove me wrong. Until then stop projecting your hate of Dayton Moore onto Rany.

Anonymous said...

Good point jcarter5. On the other hand is it my imagination or has Aviles already starting to ride the pine?

Not sure a MLB team can have too many Yunii (plural) I miss Hillman is only one way. Perhaps we can employ him as the man in charge of nicknames for the Royals Organization.

I post a bit and never miss a Rany post. I too cheer Rany's decision to boink the obnoxious idoitic 4 day old sitting in 100 degree heat used tampon.

I've stated this often, Rany is a blessing for a Royals fan. My hope is Doc Rany keeps us informed for years to come.

Well as Skip Hillan would say......all have a goodnight from Anonymousee.

Major Woody said...

Alright, anonymous - you know which "anonymous" I'm referring to - you've had your fun... This message board belongs to all of my readers, and the vast majority of them have had enough of you.

It's about time! It's not censorship to shut down a cowardly bully, it's more like sanitation. This will make your blog even more enjoyable to visit, which is really saying something.

Will said...

Defensive stats aren't "subjective" at all. They may not be 100% reliable or 100% predictive, but they aren't subjective. Literary criticism is subjective.

I do wonder if Yuni for $4 million or whatever is really a better deal than TPJ at the minimum.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for Ranys next article: Bloomquist was a good signing and a really good hitter.

Michael said...

For the chump change that Bloomquist makes, you can't really say he's a bad signing. But he's not all that good offensively, so you can't really say it's a good signing either. He's a good 25th guy on the roster, since he can virtually play anywhere except pitcher and catcher.

Anonymous said...

At least Yuni has played well enough so that we can entertain the question: "Is Yuni as bad as we thought?" Nevertheless, Yuni is a bad player who is keeping the Royals from completing the search for a better, younger SS. I don’t understand how acquiring him and his contract (most of it) can be seen as a “win”, even in a strategic sense.

cfos said...

JCarter - It probably should be pointed out that despite the 13 walks, Aviles does have an OBP 35 points higher than Yuni and is not all that far behind in OPS+. He also has one thing Yuni does not - an actual, honest to goodness above average season on his major league resume.

That said, shouldn't the logic that the Yuni haters should also be down on Aviles also require the Yuni proponets to trumpet Aviles for the same reason: 'who else is going to play second any better?'

Yuni has more power, Aviles more OBP, neither is playing particularly good defense and the options behind them are limited. Aviles has not been that good this year, but then neither has Yuni.

Michael said...

Hopefully we won't have to worry about it much longer. Hopefully by midseason next year Colon will be up and still be playing short. Even if he has defensive limitations, as long as he's even an average hitter, he'll be an upgrade over both Yuni and Aviles.

Anonymous said...

Bloomquist "not all that good offensively"?

Lol. Understatement of the year. He's TPJ-esq. And the chump change is hardly chump change to the Royals. And Bloomquist starts the majority of the time- hardly the 25th man.

Anything else I can crush you with, Micheal?

Anonymous said...

Colon ready next year? Michael.....good Lord. What drugs are you on?

Obviously you are on a Dayton is perfect rant and have no sense of reality.

What's Daytons win loss record at the Major League level again, Michael? Even though Rany doesn't care about wins and losses at the Major League level, I do though. And his record is flat garbage. And he has ONE player drafted make the bigs. In FOUR years. They don't give out rings for a good farm system. Or I should say, a high rated system since a GOOD system actually, you know, puts players in the bigs. Something this system has not done to date.

Baseball at the professional level is about wins and losses. Anything else is an excuse. This Anti-Anti DaytonMoore movement is pathetic as his winning percentage.

Anonymous said...

Rany why does Dayton now have a free pass from everyone? No player he has drafted has made an impact. His FA signings are some of the worst in the business. And then there's his managerial hires......

Incompetence at it's finest. How many years or decades does this clown get before he is held accountable. 4 years.... And still absolute pollution in KC. And year 5 is universally thought to be lost even now. So a half a DECADE of 90+ losses and still Dayton is doing a good job.

I wish I worked for you Rany. I could be the worst employee ever, get a raise, and not even show up.

Antonio. said...

JCarter, Aviles doesn't cost a few million dollars, wasn't considered negative value when traded for, wasn't traded for (costing prospects that while not great, were decent enough especially considering that a lot of our minor leaguers were struggling at that time), and has had some measure of success and just a year ago was recovering from major surgery. Part of the reason he's been off since '08 would have to be chalked up to the injury. If you have major elbow surgery, doesn't it stand to reason that you're going to lose a lot of your ability and take some time to recover it?

Chance said...

So no one willing to go to Hell with me on the Splitt v. Frank White deabte?

Chance said...

DEBATE....sorry

Bryan said...

Chance-

I will.

I was the one who said I really liked Frank. I have to agree with you on Splitt. He is just plain awful. I mean I feel for him and all, I hope he is healthy and happy, but I don't enjoy listening to him.

Maybe I won't go as deep in hell with you because I can honestly say I never liked him. Even before his setback, I didn't like him on the Royals broadcasts and I particularly didn't like him doing college basketball. He comes across to me as arrogant and a know-it-all. Those qualities probably served him well as a big league pitcher, but not a quality I want in my broadcaster.

Michael said...

"Anonymous"

You have no historical perspective in your posts. Yes, wins and losses at the major league level are important, no one will deny that. But to change things around from where they were (even worse won-loss records and a horrible farm system) to where we want to be, it is going to take lots of time.

Baseball isn't like football or basketball, where you can go out and sign a bunch of free agents and turn around your franchise in one or two years. Unless you are the Yankees or another high income club, of course. The Royals are obviously not in that boat.

We have to do things more like the Rays, Twins, and Brewers have done it. Multiple years of drafting well and signing top international free agents, stocking the farm system and developing those players into future (cheap) stars. And every single one of those clubs went through many years of losing before the "Process" took hold at the major league level and started producing contenders.

Under Terry Ryan, the Twins took 7 seasons before they became winners. The Brewers process was done by Doug Melvin starting in 2002, and it wasn't until 2009 that they made the playoffs. The Rays took even longer than that to finally see all the fruits of their labor pay off.

So, historically speaking, 4 years isn't that long of a period of time to do what has needed to be done here for a very long time.

Anonymous said...

4 years is long enough to expect SOME improvement. That's almost half a decade dude.

Anonymous said...

95 losses in year FOUR. Year five more than likely a 90+ loss season. No hitter with 20 HRs. Starting catcher starting 95% of the games with a slugging percentage less than .300. For real.

For the love of God, Yuni Betancourt is probably the second best hitter on the team. Pitching injuries everywhere. ONE draft pick in FOUR years has made the majors and that one pick is a highly ineffective reliever.

I get that baseball takes longer than other sports. But Daytons performance as a GM has been abysmal. Maybe that changes with the farm but so far that vaunted farm system has produced squat.

Im not unrealistic to expect more than one ineffective reliever in the bigs in almost half a decade.

The Anti - Anti Dayton Moore movement makes me sick. Excuses everywhere- even from Rany. Bottomline is that in professional sports, wins and losses are the ONLY thing that matters. Excuses are everywhere and it's been past due for Dayton to put up or shutup. And so far, at this very moment, the talent level in KC is a bad as I've seen since 2005.

Does Daytons declining performance as a GM concern you at all? He has had 4 years to show improvement at the Major League level. That's enough. It's time for a change. Tampa did it. Worked for them. Dayton is unable to make enough (any?) good decisions at the major league level to win. Don't believe? Google his record with FA signings.

Anonymous said...

Dayton should be a scouting director NOT the general manager of a baseball team.

Michael said...

I don't have to google it. MLBTR has it in Excel spreadsheet form.

But free agent acquisitions don't mean squadoosh right now. You try getting a decent free agent to come to KC and see how you do. I can see your pitch now "Want to come to KC and lose lots of games? Oh, and we'll pay you less than the big market teams because that's all we can afford."

See, you have two things working against you in the free agent market. You have lack of affordability, and lack of recent success. One of those is tough to overcome, but having both is extremely hard. To get anyone of decent value, you have to WAY overpay them (Meche, Guillen, Farnsworth, etc.)

Bottom line, free agents will never lead this team to the playoffs. They may help get us there in the future, but guys like Hosmer, Montgomery, Myers, and Moustakas are going to be the ones to have to lead us there.

Michael said...

And as for only one draftee making the majors thus far, I can only assume that means you'd rather go back to the Allard Baird days of rushing everyone who shows some modicum of success to the majors as quickly as possible. Yeah...how'd that work out for us?

Anonymous said...

Michael- all I hear is excuses. Professional sports are a results driven business. Wins and losses in KC. How is he doing at that. This isn't little league.

Anonymous said...

Obviously the best FA won't come here. But:
Gload, Bloomquist, Horam, Guillen, Cruz, Kendall, Ankiel, Anderson(s), Bale, etc.....

It's almost like Dayton Tries to get the worst FA.

Anonymous said...

Great now we get Russian spam. Probably RC forgetting what site he is posting on.

Cody said...

Don't look now, Kila two homers and a double and two walks the past 2 days....
I think they should have started him lower in the order.

Can you believe Bloomquist hitting in the 3 hole today!!! Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

Bloomquist in the 3 hole. Only Rany and the Royal Corner idiots are ok with that. Sadly, his fluky game today will ensure more playing time for every managers favorite below replacement value utility man. Awesome. Even good things are bad for Royals fans.

Good news is Kila looks better. And he is without a doubt better at 1B than Billy. If Kila blows up it will present a very interesting dilemma for he Royals- how to fit Kila, Billy, Hosmer, and to some extend, C. Robinson and Meijia from Wilmington. I smell a trade.

Anonymous said...

Very real chance the next game will have Blanco, Kendall, and Blomquist at 1-2-3.....that would be unfortunate.

Anonymous said...

For all you Betancourt haters. It is very possible that Betancourt may lead the team in rbis with nearly 100 less plate apperances than Butler. It proves to me that OPS is over rated, if you can't drive in the run. All I want is for my Royals to score more runs than the other team. Butler doesn't get it. I don't care if you hit it hard on the ground. I want you to hit it where they aint.

Anonymous said...

So RBIs are a better tool for hitting evaluation than OPS? Lol, this should get good.

Anonymous said...

Chance.......I would give Anon 12:52's left nut to have Split do a written game blog for a million bucks a year, I like Split very much. It is in fact in my household at least it's uncomfortable listening when he does the games.

Bryan. I am still learning the new stats for baseball. Anything related to Royals baseball no matter what I love. My point is I've read and heard young ball fans are turned off to what seems to be so many many stats.

Michael said...

You want results? Ok, how's this...

Wilmington-31-27, half game out of first place in the second half.

Northwest Arkansas-77-51 overall. Won first half title, and is currently leading second half as well.

Omaha-73-59, 1.5 GB of first place.

Our top 3 affiliates all have a decent chance of making the playoffs (NWA is already there). These are the players that will be coming to the majors over the next year or two to hopefully lead us to the playoffs in the somewhat near future.

Anonymous said...

Results at the major league level, friend.

Anonymous said...

Funny how Burlington, IF, and others are left off. Convienent.....

Nathan said...

Wait, four years is almost half a decade? Dude?? Thank you for that deep insight. Completely negates the facts about the successful rebuilding processes in Minnesota and Tampa. I mean, four years. Dude!

Nathan said...

Why would young people, in particular, be turned off from stats? I'm a math teacher, so maybe I'm biased, but it doesn't seem to me that young people have any more aversion to statistics than older people do. If that's true, it's a sad thing. Math is really useful, and baseball is actually a halfway decent illustration of why.

Kyle said...

Minnesota, Tampa, and even the Yankees took more than 4 years to get to where they are. The Yankees of the 80s and the early 90s were horrible. The Twins of the 90s were horrible, and it took the Rays 12 years to get a winning team. It has been 25 years since the Royals have done anything, but to blame that on Moore is a little crazy.

Would you rather he had taken all college/major league ready talent since he started drafting in 2007, and rush all the HS kids to the bigs just to get a winning season in 2010. Rushing players does not work, see Alex Gordon. He might be starting to figure it out, but he will never be the next George Brett.

The FA signings have not been good, but the most of the trades have been pretty darn good. No one wants to come to KC, ask Torri Hunter. He took less money and less years than the Royals offered to go to the Angels.

Michael said...

Actually Kyle, he took a pretty similar contract to what the Royals were offering and went to the Angels because they gave him the better chance to win.

But, Anonymous, the reason those other teams were left off is because every single one of those players is at least 2-3 years away. The ones that will help us in the relatively near future are at A+ and higher. I honestly didn't even check the records for those other teams.

And again, results at the major league level are going to take more time than 4 years. If you can show me a complete rebuild job done in less than 6 years, I'll be surprised. And don't include teams like the 97 Marlins or the Diamondbacks of the early 2000's. Those teams went into severe debt and had to trade away every player of any value for next to nothing within a year or two. Those aren't complete rebuild jobs.

Anonymous said...

And you wouldn't trade away every player for a WS title? Of course you would. 4 years is more than enough to show improvement....so now we are giving Dayton 12years? Unreal what low standards and garbage Royals fans are conditioned to. A GOOD GM would be doing better. What happens after 10 years with no improvement?

Dayton has been given more leeway than anyone ever in KC. We deserve better than his crap. Keep being happy with guys like Bloomquist and Kendall- they are good in Daytons eyes.

Anonymous said...

The 2005 Witchita team was loaded witha future Cy Young winner, minor league player of the year, and Billy Butler. They won a championship. How's that working out for the Royals now?

Improvement at the MAJOR league level is all that should matter.

Kyle said...

Those 3 guys were it. There was no other "major league" talent in the farm system. I am not giving Moore a free pass, but it's not magic. He has had to start from the bottom up. When he took over the Royals were not spending any money in the draft or internationally. No players would come to KC in FA, and there were no trading chips.

I have not liked his FA signings, but other than the Nunez for Jacobs trade and the Howell for Gathwright trade, he has done pretty good at getting pieces back in trades.

I love this years trades. Collins is going to be Soria's replacement when he is traded to the Yankees. Will Smith and O'Sullivan would make really nice #4 or #5 starters. Blanco is a fast, diciplined, good defender to throw in the leadoff spot until D.Rob is ready.

Anonymous said...

And what has Dayton dine with the money in the international signings? Squat. Not a single success story. Dayton gets a free pass there too I'm sure.

Kyle said...

HAHA!!! Are you serious? We have a Dominican baseball team, full of young talented kids. That's just what they are though, kids. They were signed at 16-18 years old. The Royals hadn't done anything before Dayton, so yes a free pass for now.

Keep your eye on Cheslor Cuthbert, Yowill Espinal, Geulin Beltre, Justin Trapp, and several others. International signings are usually pretty young, so it will take just as long as the high school draft picks.

I'm sure you have been a Royals fan all your life, just like most of us. I would love to see a winning team, but Glass is not going to go out and spend 120 mil on a roster, so that we can get a World Series in 2011. It will take some time.

Chance said...

Dave Dombrowski turned the Tigers around in about three years. He way overspent for FA talent, like Pudge, but Pudge was good through the end of his contract. He also had as much money to spend as he wanted on draft picks, and he cleaned up when other teams wouldn't draft players like Porcello due to signability concerns.

Anonymous said...

One would think that if Dayton were the master drafter that some here think he is.....then in four years we would have seen more than one ineffective relief pitcher. But maybe my standards are too high!

Imagine this team without Bairds boys like Butler, Zack, and DDJ. Good lord Dayton is pathetic at baseball.

FAst Eddie said...

Babe Ruth wouldn't drive in 100 with Jason Kendall hitting in front of him.

Anonymous said...

No one needs Babe Ruth hitting behind Kendall- we have Willie Bloomquist.