Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Kansas City Royals HiV LOB, Weeks 12 & 13

When I first began the crunching of the numbers, I anticipated having a thing or two to point to in the moments of the long season that weren't exactly going right. Now, this is Royals baseball, and Kansas City baseball fans know far too well that anything can happen, I just didn't anticipate that most everything would happen. We're but one week away from the mid-point, though, and things are a few losses away from miserable. We'll have a look at the typical stats for this feature after the jump, and because we're into self-loathing, we've even thrown in an extra gem. You know, if you're into that sort of thing. Your hits versus left-ons, a click away.

Week 12

6/23 @ HOU: 2-1 (W); six hits, six left on
6/24 @ HOU: 4-3 (W); 12 hits, 12 stranded
6/25 @ HOU: 4-5 (L); six hits, five left on
6/26 @ PIT: 3-5 (L); seven hits, five left
6/27 @ PIT: 2-6 (L); seven hits, four left
6/28 @ PIT: 3-2 (W); eight hits, five left

Totals for the week: 46 hits, 18 runs scored, 37 base runners stranded.

Not very good. And really, the thing about closing out this four-week period is primarily hitting. It's just not happening enough. Not anywhere near enough. Plopping one double-digit hits game in the mix of a six-game spread in which you have six-eight base hits an evening isn't even going to win you a 'Well, but.' Now, the fact that you took your runs scored, and more than doubled that number with the number of guys left on the base paths is just plain ridiculous. The other factor to consider, since it's the close of the period, is walks.

In the second period of the season, the Royals generated 77 walks. That's 12 fewer than in the first segment, which isn't awful, but it's not good, either. What, then, would you say is awful? The Royals drew 50 walks in this, the third four-week period of the season. Fifty. As you might imagine, their 216 BBs on the season is second-to-last in the American League, a mere cat hair ahead of the Seattle Mariners, who, for the record, have some 35 more hits, and a slight edge in runs, over the Royals. For hit totals in the league, the Royals are also one mark from the bottom, just over Oakland. When it comes to runs scored, they're dead last, looking up at the A's, the Mariners, and, obviously, everyone else.

So, in essence, there isn't much reason to examine the hits versus the stranded runners, because if you're not hitting yourself on base better than anyone, and everyone is better than you at getting aboard via walks, then what's the point of examining your ability to get guys home? You don't have guys to bring home. The few that you do, you're leaving out there, more or less.

Week 13

6/29 vs MIN: 2-4 (W); 12 hits, 12 stranded
6/30 vs MIN: 2-1 (L); eight hits, nine left
7/1 vs MIN: 1-5 (L); 12 hits, nine left
7/2 vs CWS: 1-4 (L); six hits, two left on
7/3 vs CWS: 0-5 (L); six hits, six left on
7/4 vs CWS: 2-4 (W); seven hits, four left
7/5 vs CWS: 3-6 (W); 14 hits, nine left

Totals for the week: 65 hits, 29 runs, 51 left on. The good news (sort of) is that the Royals fell only one game shy of making the two-week run a .500 affair. For the season, however, things still look grim in the standings, and things aren't looking much better in terms of the total numbers that we analyze in this feature. They are, at this point, as so: 679 hits, 333 runs plated, and 670 left aboard. That last figure averages out to 8.375 men left on base per game.

I think I've said it before, but the second two numbers should elevate a bit when the first one does, and week 13 was no exception for KC. It goes without saying that the trifecta of good hitting, good pitching, and good defense will bring you success in baseball. The Royals pitching staff has been inconsistent; when the rotation's decent, the bullpen struggles, and vice versa. Defensively, this team has, at times in 2009, toyed with ineptness. This leaves hitting, which, we've already noted, has been sub-par at best. That means that getting runs home, on the few occasions when you do have base runners, is absolutely crucial.

In conclusion, your (to date) American League left-on-base percentages:

1) Los Anaheim: .6718
2) Tampa Bay : .6869
3) Cleveland : .7003
4) Boston : .7062
5) Detroit : .7069
6) Texas : .7107
7) Baltimore : .7133
8) New York : .7134
9) Oakland : .7172
10) Minnesota : .7191
11) Toronto : .7192
12) KC Royals : .7343
13) White Sox : .7359
14) Seattle : .7496

No surprise there, that the two best small-ball clubs in the Angels and the Rays leave fewer runners on the bags than anyone. The White Sox are a bit of a surprise there, but Kansas City is not. They're only .054 percentage points away from being the league's worst LOB club.