Ladies and gentlemen, whe week four poll results are in. I am currently unsure as to how to access blog readership at Blogger, but a plentiful amount of you have participated in my weekly polls. I now have 10 followers, and I suspect that more and more people are tuning into the statistical and scouting analysis and yet more incessant babbling that takes place once every few days. I digress.... but in the latest poll, I asked you how you felt Dayton Moore has performed as General Manager - overall - throughout the first 2 1/2 years of his tenure.
A+: 0 (votes)
To calculate the average score, I simply used a 1-13 scale, with '1' being F and '13' being A+. I then multiplied those coefficients by the number of votes used for that particular grade (coefficient). I then divided by the number of total votes to obtain the average score.
The average score was '7.8', which is roughly a C+ or B-, depending on how you round. If you round up, the score is above 7.75, which is roughly between a C+ and B-. Because there were far more scores in the upper tier, I decided to round up to a B-. Overall, followers of The Royal Treatment believe Moore has performed slightly above average.
Several months ago, I might have agreed with this score. However, I now feel that Moore can effectively be deemed no better than an average General Manager. He's probably a C-caliber G.M., at this point. His strengths have, unfortunately, been outweighed by his weaknesses thus far. However, if his successful 2007 and 2008 drafts (in my opinion) can eventually manifest at the MLB level, churning out two or three prospects every season, then the opposite effect will take place. Although I feel some of the low assigned grades - one F, D-, D, and D+ - are too harsh, I feel one can make an argument for anywhere between a C- and B that I would eventually agree with.
Below, I have outlined several of his strengths and weaknesses, and the degree of significance, 1-5, for each of those strengths and weaknesses.
- Scouting and player development. He has hired arguably excellent player development team in J.J. Picollo, Scott Sharp, and Mike Arbuckle, proving that even small-market organizations can attract names of formerly prominent organizations such as Arbuckle. The latter was instrumental in building the successful Phillies teams of recent time. Picollo had experienced sucess with the Braves and seems to be building a solid Minor League nucleus.
- Bullpen and starting pitching evaluation. Although this has cooled somewhat recently, with the acquisition of players such as Ponson, re-acquisition of Horacio Ramirez, and Kyle Farnsworth, he seems to understand the concept that bullpens can be built and rebuilt successfully season after season, using different personnel. He has clearly won the Dotel-for-Kyle Davies trade of June 2007. The Meche signing, thouigh uncompromisingly bold, can be deemed a success, thus far. We have gained relief help from unexpected and unglamorous places, such as the Rule 5 draft (Soria), trades involving Players to be named (Ramon Ramirez), and 1-year rehabilitation contracts (Octavio Dotel).
- Understanding and application of building organizational depth. Hiring a quantity - as well as quality - of players is important, as players often become sidelined with injuries throughout the course of the grueling 162-plus game baseball season. Also, Minor League signings, participation in the Rule 5 draft, and Spring Training invitees have been plentiful on his part. After all, there is almost no downside to Minor League and cost-controlled acquisitions, unless there is a significant opportunity cost with implementing those signees in the incorrect fashion (such as with Sidney Ponson).
- Offensive/position player talent evaluation. Tony Pena. Ross Gload. Jose Guillen. Mike Jacobs. Possibly Willie Bloomquist. All near-replacement caliber players who have received significant playing time under Dayton Moore's tenure. Also, in the first 33 innings of the Royals baseball season, we have scored a grand total of 7 runs. Through the first three games of the season, the Royals drew only one more walk than last year. The Royals have placed near last in the last three seasons in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and home runs. We went through epic stretches in 2007 and 2008 where the offense did nearly nothing. Moore must improve in this area, which is as important as pitching and much more important than defense (although it is arguably whether the area is more important than both combined).
- Understanding of replacement value. Bill Shanks, the author of the book Scouts's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, once proclaimed proudly that Moore did not, in fact, know what VORP (Value Over Replacement Player), a Baseball Prospectus statistic, meant. Now, VORP has become slightly outdated, in my opinion, because of statistics such as WAR which evaluate a player on both offense and defense (VORP evaluates solely on offense), but Moore has demonstrated through numerous acquisitions that he does not emphasize on-base percentage and other plate patience statistics such as pitches per plate appearances and not making outs nearly as proficiently as he should. Many of his trades and acquisitions have involved getting players with little ability to get on-base. Scout's Honor was essentially a reply to the book Moneyball, written by Michael Lewis in 2003. Scout's Honor implied that there are multiple ways to build successful ballclubs, and that Moneyball was essentially not all it was hyped up to be. Shanks is correct in that there are multiple ways to build a successful ballclub. However, I happen to believe that it is easily the most successful route for a small-market ballclub. I could literally write about this for days, but let's stop here.
5 (would be smaller in other markets)
- Inability to demonstrate keen understanding and implementation of sabermetrics and statistics. See above. It's fairly obvious that Moore does not fully implement fielding metrics, on-base percentage, among other unconventional statistics.
5 (although a '10' or '20' would also be applicable scores)
- Overemphasis of High School pitchers in the draft. A rather small flaw, in comparison. However, what's with the abundance of High School pitchers in early rounds? Draft them in later rounds, as high school pitchers are still so difficult to project at early stages. Rany and Rob Neyer have written about this.
Keep in mind this list is far from incomplete. More is entailed in managing a ballclub than simply those philosophies. Some of his strategies can be deemed 'neutral.' In other words, they aren't necessarily strengths or weaknesses.
I believe Moore has, overall, made strides to build the organization from reportedly below expansion franchise-caliber to the respectable franchise that it is now. He has built the Minor League system and scouting and player development departments through successful drafts and simply hiring the best connections. He added a Minor League affiliate in the Burlington Royals. The organization has expanded its Latin American and overseas influences (hiring teenage Korean and South African players over the offseason). However, he has much work left to do at the Major League level. It remains to be seen whether he is the General Manager who can push the Royals into a contender, let alone a consistently competitive franchise. He has misallocated much money, already, despite convincing Glass to finally open his pursestrings and act like a dedicated owner.
Any thoughts on Moore's job performance thus far, or any reaction to my comments or explanations for your grades?
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