While I’ve been gone, the Royals have gone on a rollercoaster of ridiculousness, waffling from 1st place to last place and now, as of tonight, back to .500. I haven’t been able to keep up as much with the team as I graduated from school and started a fantastic new job. However, today I’d like to revisit some of my earlier posts of the season to check up on any predictions I made.
First, regarding xK% from my last post. The Royals currently have a 17.4% K%, which is hardly different from the 17.6% K% from my previous post 1 month ago. I imagine the Royals will continue a K% like this into the rest of the season. I predicted the Royals K% would decrease a bit more than it has. So, I wasn’t entirely wrong, but I wasn’t really correct either.
Second, regarding Alcides Escobar. His K% is still below career values, and he is still making contact a bit more than previously in his career, but his BB% dropped like a rock. Given his still high O-swing%, his BB% is likely down to stay. When I wrote about him last, his BABIP was .300, right around his career value. Currently, his BABIP is at .268. His batting average and on-base percentage are correspondingly way down. I have to hope that it’s due to poor luck, but his batted ball distribution suggests a BABIP lower than .300 is in order. I predicted he would continue an acceptable level of offense, and he hasn’t. I was wrong.
Third, regarding Mike Moustakas. His IFFB% is still really high, and his FB% is still really high, and he’s still really bad. I predicted that if his batted ball distribution didn’t change, he wouldn’t improve. And he hasn’t. Omaha is where Moustakas should be, unfortunately.
Fourth, regarding the starting rotation. The starters for the Royals have accumulated 4.2 fWAR, good for 17th in the league. The starters have a 3.67 ERA, good for 7th in the league. Why the difference? FanGraphs’ fWAR is based on walks, strikeouts, and home runs, and the Royals have been giving up plenty of home runs while their K% has decreased significantly from earlier in the season. I think the main reason for the difference is the Royals’ defense. Bob Dutton of the KC Star ran an article talking about the Royals defense. Concerning the Royals, what the management and PR people tell us generally doesn’t agree with advanced stats for one reason or another. This year, we’re told the Royals have a fantastic defense. This year, the advanced stats agree. The Royals defense is excellent this year, which likely explains the extra run prevention not accounted for in fWAR. The rotation is top 15 right now, which is what I predicted.
Fifth, regarding Ervin Santana. Santana is relying on his wicked slider so far…I’m sure you’ve seen how it seems to freeze hitters this year. His slider is so good that it’s masking his weaker fastball. Santana’s fastball velocity is back to what it was last year, but his command is better than last year. As long as his slider continues to be ridiculous, all Santana needs is good command with his fastball, and he should continue to be good enough. I predicted that Santana would need to rely on his secondary stuff to get by, and he seems to be doing exactly that.
Finally, regarding home run predictions. Billy Butler’s HR% is far lower than last year’s and much closer to 2011, but it’s even lower than 2011. Alex Gordon’s HR% is about where it was last year. Moose is bad, and Hosmer has confused everyone. I was right about Billy and wrong about Moose and Gordon.