Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Kansas City Royals HiV LOB, Frame Four

When we last checked in with the Royals offense, and had a gander at how well they were (or weren't) advancing base runners -- the HiV LOB, as you well know by now, is a brief look at hits versus runs, in a sort of remedial-statistics class, if you will -- we'd seen some concern in week one, some improvement in week two, and a touch of tepidness in week three. Tepidness was damn near the last thing you wanted to see for this Royals team as a four-game home stand against A.L. East-leading Toronto and a three-game tilt in Minnesota filled all seven days of Kansas City's fourth week in the season. How the boys in blue fared, after the jump.

Week Four

4/27 vs. TOR: 1-7( W); eight hits, seven left on
4/28 vs. TOR: 8-1 (L); six hits, eight left on
4/29 vs. TOR: 3-11 (W); 15 hits, seven stranded
4/30 vs. TOR: 6-8 (W); nine hits, seven left on
5/1 @ MIN: 5-7 (L); 10 hits, five left aboard
5/2 @ MIN: 10-7 (W); 15 hits, 11 left on
5/3 @ MIN: 7-5 (W); 10 hits, four stranded

The week's totals: 63 hits, 49 runs scored, 49 runners left on base. Compared to last week, the Royals generated almost 20 more base hits, more than doubled their runs across the plate, but also left a dozen more on the base path. Now, it stands to reason that the more base hits a team gets, the higher their LOB percentage will be, but logic also dictates that the more base hits you're generating as a team, the more runs you will score, and the more games you will win. In this fourth week of the season, KC averaged nine hits, seven runs per game, which is pretty darn good when you compare that to week one's totals, thus suggesting that the bats, as they say, were still waking up. Add to that that the Royals played seven straight, and came out of the full week with five victories.

This brings the season's totals to 204 hits, 119 runs, and 170 left aboard. The obvious professional sports-blogger thing to do would be to compare those numbers with other teams in baseball, but frankly, we (Editor's Note: By "we" I mean me.) don't care what other teams are doing, as long as they're not beating Kansas City.

This week's surge in power at the plate brings the Royals' on-pace-to-score likelihood up from 630 to 714 in terms of runs for the season. The one aspect to this feature we haven't examined is walks, and that's by design. Bases on balls, you could argue, are sort of a gift. At the same time, they're not. On the one hand, the pitcher isn't giving you anything good to swing at. On the other, you're disciplined enough at the plate to know not to swing at any of his crap. There's also the possibility that he's afraid of you because you've had success at the plate, so he's attempting to paint the corners while you're in the box. For the purpose of this feature, we're examining the success of Royals' bats putting balls into play, and then getting those runners home, and in doing so, we're looking at only hits. Obviously runs are affected by walks, though, so we'll look at them on a monthly basis.

In this first four-week period, 89 Royals batters have walked, which of course only makes the LOB percentage look worse if you try to factor in the total number of guys on base versus the number of runs scored. If, however, you value something like, say, winning games, then BBs work in your favor, especially for a club that could scarcely buy a walk in each of the last three seasons. So, view a walk how you will. We're simply going to view them once a month, and leave the extrapolations up to you.

(photo courtesy of John Sleezer of The Kansas City Star)