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Sending A Mystery Package To Fergie Jenkins… It is early Friday morning and I am going to try to knock out a few errands beofre I go to work today. The weekend is going to be super-busy and I won’t … Continue reading →
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There appears to be a large amounts of positive buzz surrounding the Kansas City Royals defense this off season. Multiple articles have been written to praise the Royals defense, while other stories referencing the Royals pitching staff make sure to compliment the defenders. Below is a sample of quotes I pulled from writers talking about the Royals defense.
(The Royals) see their defense as being as good as any in the American League.Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/10/06/3850839/royals-only-real-offseason-priority.html#storylink=cpy
Rick Porcello, for instance, would be a much better fit in front of the Royals' athletic defense than he is in Detroit.
There's a lot to be said for Kansas City's defense. Mostly because less is being said about it.
The Royals soon could become the first team in the history of the Gold Glove award, which started in 1958, to have five winners on the same team.
All of the articles taken together paint the picture that the Royals have a defense that is the toast of the league. While the Royals have some nice defensive pieces and could improve their defense from last season, it is pretty much impossible to claim that the Royals had an elite defense last season; on the contrary, Kansas City played below average defense last year. Furthermore, having a good defense should not be used as an excuse to justify pitchers Dayton Moore acquires this off-season, especially since the Royals will not likely field a high-quality defense next season.
Below is a table of the Royals' defensive statistics last season, some traditional, same advanced.
The statistics suggest that the Royals were below average to awful last season, depending on which statistics you want to use. Ironically, the more advanced UZR and Plus/Minus suggest the Royals were better than the more traditional Fielding Percentage and Defensive Efficiency claim.
I tend to trust team defensive statistics more than I trust individual defensive statistics. It's still important, however, to examine the Royals as individuals to see misconceptions between perception and reality, as well as to search for improvements.
A few thoughts about the Royals individual defensive statistics:
When I talk to people who are proponents of this "Royals have a great defense" myth, they like to point out how dominant the left side of the field performed. Even if granted this dubious claim, these same proponents do not enjoy to acknowledge how terribly the right side of the infield played last season.
While I believe the Royals will have a better defense this season than last season, it's not likely to be a significant improvement. It seems reasonable to project the Royals to have an average defense in the American League next year, but that is probably at the higher end of an accurate projection. The starting lineup will mostly look the same in April, so it's foolhardy to assume they will suddenly make a leap to become a great defense.
Furthermore, the Royals should not believe that their defense will off-set some the of the weakness in their starting rotation. If anything, the Royals needed starters last season that could hide some of their defensive deficiencies. Acquiring low strikeout starting pitchers that rely on their defense is a risky strategy for any team, but is an outright foolish one for a team that doesn't own a good defense.
The Royals cannot bank on having a strong defense next season; based on last season's statistics, they should assume the defense will be below-average and hope that it turns out average. Anyone who believes the Royals had one of the best defenses in the American League last year is basing their opinion on hype and wishful thinking rather than fact.
The Miami Marlins have filled their manager position, having hired former Marlin Mike Redmond as their latest manager in their continual search for the best candidate to lead this team long-term. As for filling out Redmond's staff, the team has begun by hiring their newest hitting coach, former New York Yankees great Tino Martinez, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.
Tino Martinez has been hired as #Marlins hitting coach.— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) November 8, 2012
Martinez played for four different major league teams in his time in the bigs, most famously the Yankees but also including the Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, and Tampa Bay Rays. He was a career .277/.341/.471 (.350 wOBA) hitter and racked up 33.0 FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement (fWAR) and 25.1 Baseball-Reference WAR (rWAR) in his career.
Martinez joins incumbent bullpen coach Reid Cornelius and incumbent third base coach Joey Espada in Redmond's current regime. Also on the coaching roster is longtime infield coach Perry Hill, who is returning to reprise his previous role with the team. According to the Sun-Sentinel's Juan C. Rodriguez, the team is not planning on hiring a second hitting coach to the staff.
#Marlins have no immediate plans to follow trend of adding a second hitting coach to major league staff.— Juan C. Rodriguez (@JCRMarlinsbeat) November 9, 2012
The Marlins have yet to replace their pitching and bench coaches following the firing of Ozzie Guillen and most of his staff. Expect word on those positions in the coming months, but know that it is unlikely the Marlins are holding these positions in high priority at this point.
On August 14, 1971, Bob Gibson was masterful as he and his Cardinals teammates battled the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Defeating the team by himself, Gibson did what everyone knew that his talents could offer. Allowing no hits to a very talented Pirates … Continue reading →
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