Several notes, as the Royals wrap up their first week of baseball with a 4-3 record.
I have noticed several defensive lapses in the team, notably on the right side of the infield. Willie Bloomquist starting in right field could not have helped, and (although I, unfortunately, did not see it) Captain Grit slid early for a baseball and let the ball bounce behind him last Saturday evening. The Royals obviously ended up losing that game 6-1, so any defensive (or pitching) lapses did not particularly prove costly. Bloomquist's error also did not cost the Royals any runs in that particular instance. However, it is worth noting that Mike Jacobs has already committed one error and has not exhibited exactly ideal range even for a first baseman the first month into the season. This is cause for concern, and the defensive metrics still believe Billy Butler could perform slightly more adequately than the man with the amazing chin-hair.
Over on Royals Review, I proposed beginning a community project where us fans merge heads and estimate - as scientifically as possible - how many runs particular defenders cost the Royals throughout the season. As the various defensive metrics, as well as basic defensive statistics like error total and fielding percentage, are still highly questionable, I wanted to encourage the blogosphere to keep attempting to reach that zen where we can ultimately quantify defense in terms of runs allowed vs. runs cost - and by doing so gauge how important defense truly is when evaluating a ballplayer. It seems that on the back of any baseball card, on any baseball website, or even on websites such as Fangraphs, defense is highly overlooked and is often taken for granted. Such an oversight takes place among casual and diehard fans, and traditional and new school-oriented fans alike. Bringing defense to among the forefront of baseball discussion: one of TRT's goals for 2009.
Below are some various statistics worth chewing on as we proceed into the second week, and hopefully winning our second series of the season against the Cleveland Indians this evening at Kauffman Stadium.
Category: Total (League Rank [T means Tie])
HR: 4 (13/14)
BA: .198 (14/14)
OBP: .275 (14/14)
SLG: .566 (14/14)
RS: 18 (14/14)
OPS+: 56 (14/14)
SB%: 66.7% (T10/14 the break even point is roughly 72%, according to Baseball Prospectus)
F%: .992 (2/14)
E: 2 (T10/14)
Ugh - I know these are faulty statistics. Anyone want to provide defensive efficiency ranking totals or something of that nature?
ERA: 3.05 (1/14)
K: 65 (1/14)
BB: 22 (4/14)
ER: 21 (2/14)
Obviously, the pitching and offense are two different stories. I was surprised the Royals had only made two errors thus far in the season. With several gaffes by Aviles, Jacobs, and Bloomquist, I'm surprised we didn't have more. It just proves how faulty that statistics is, in general. Whatever improvements Kevin Seitzer was supposed to make clearly haven't been made, yet. And I understand pitching coaches aren't terribly significant - and most are probably only minimally significant - at the Major League level. Pitching coaches are, and I happen to be a rather fervent fan of ours, Bob McClure. Although that might have been because he lived directly across from me last year.
I digress. No wOBA, no tRA, no fancy statistics this time around.
For those who are wondering, I'm helping compile summaries and synopses for the website Left of the Foul Pole, the new 610 Sports AM website dedicated to the Royals. I'm helping out most significantly with the game summaries, whereas Greg Schaum and Robert Ford compile the Blue Collar Plays of the Game, the Hot and Cold Players of the Game, the Diamonds in the Rough, and more.
Call into the postgame show sometime. It is on 610 Sports immediately following the game.
Let's grab a 'V' for victory, tonight!