The April Royals reemerged this weekend in Chicago, and that was not fun to watch.
After Sunday's game BWJ's OPS was .677 (yawn) and MJ's was .659 (double yawn.) At least they're doing better than Dozier and Eaton and JBJ but that's a terribly low bar to clear. It seems particularly unlikely that BWJ will ever achieve an OB% above .300 for an entire season. Are we just going to have to resign ourselves to the idea that this is who and what they are at the MLB level, period?
Maybe we're not there yet but when exactly will we be there? That day can't be very far off. Of course there will be ups and downs but they may well average out to exactly what the numbers are now.
Is there any genuinely factual basis for assuming otherwise besides unadulterated hope?
In April I said I thought that BWJ would hit .265 to .280 most seasons. Now I'm beginning to suspect that I was grossly overoptimistic. Pratto and Vinnie are looking very encouraging but can't realistically hope to carry their own weight plus compensate for what BWJ and MJ aren't doing, except possibly in very short stretches.
Salvy and Duffy are definitely productive but are certainly closer to the end of their careers than the beginning. They may be even closer to the end of their time with the Royals, especially Duffy. Who else is there to carry the load? Yes I like Massey and Garcia (at least so far) but they can hardly be expected to carry the team the way Salvy has so many times before.
Perhaps 5 ER in 4 ⅔ IP is all we can expect out of Castillo or any "bulk guy" on this roster. I fully understand what the plan was on Sunday but I also understand this: once battle is joined, whether in military matters or in business or in sports, sometimes plans need to be modified. Sometimes they need to be modified A LOT.
We can only hope that Quatraro will soon prove himself willing and able to recognize this fact and to act on it. The quality and effectiveness of any manager's decisions depend to a significant extent on this, and that's not true just in sports.
This we know for certain: Hernandez, especially when he is "on" as he was on Sunday, is fully capable of throwing more than 27 pitches in a baseball game.
Replacing him so quickly with Castillo was a very poor decision regardless of what the plan was before the game began. When opposing hitters have proven themselves utterly helpless against your pitcher you should never remove him from the game, not unless there's an injury or significant risk of injury involved. And this isn't just the benefit of hindsight. I said so - LOUDLY and maybe a little profanely - at the time.
I only saw some of Sunday’s game too. Not really missing anything I see. I don’t see it with Castillo either. If we need to use him this year to get through some innings so be it…but I just don’t see the combination of stuff and/or location for his stuff. Someone has to throw…and I don’t mind the trade to find out. But he can’t be an answer next year.
Hernandez. More please. I actually wouldn’t mind 3 innings and/or one time through the lineup. No way the 7-9 hitters will be able to hit what he is doing right now I get why 2 innings…but that shouldn’t be set in stone. He’s proven he might not be the guy to go 5-6 innings. But he is a perfect guy to get you through the order once I think. He was the best pitcher in the game and an actual weapon.
I think I’ve said this already but I’m done with Olivares. It’s not happening. He can hit, but he’s such a tweaner. The one game I watched this weekend he doesn’t run out a grounder that was close to the line and then I watched him drop a (it was a tough play) ball in the outfield. Yes, it was tough, but this is also the major leagues. If it hits in your glove you need to catch it. The evaluation is over with him for me. I sure hope it is for the Royals as well. I get SOMEONE has to play to field a team….but come on with some of these guys already Royals. Dozier, JBJ, and Olivares particularly. But a team needs to be fielded….i get that.
This is a 100 loss team isn’t it?
A couple of musings (and as usual, David, great piece):
The White Sox pitching has been shockingly abysmal this season. The biggest culprit has been Lance Lynn. The back of his baseball card (well, except for that "born" part, because Father Time always wins in the end) indicates that he was due to turn it around. I wouldn't be surprised to see the White Sox still challenge for this division. Now what that means, I have no idea. Will it even take more than 80 wins to grab this thing?
I know the other day I expressed a little frustration with people who thought this season was about wins and losses, and now I'd like to backtrack a bit. I did a quick gaze at all the standings since 1998 and found that there have been 39 100-plus-loss seasons in the 24 full seasons since then. SIX of them belong to the Royals and nobody else has more than four (Pirates). At some point, the "evaluation" shtick gets old. I'm a degenerate, so I'll follow the Royals no matter what, but I have no call to criticize how anybody else does it just because it isn't what I'd do. They're the rational ones, not me.
I can’t shake the Carlos who in August of ‘21 was dominate in 5 1/3 against the mariners. I lost pretty much all hope for that guy coming back but here I am again lol. IMO if he’s not seen as a backend guy in the bullpen then why not let him start? Patience is probably key here and a few more appearances out of the pen can’t hurt but it is an evaluation year and I still think there’s a valuable starter there. Worst case scenario it doesn’t work out and he losses coincidence and can’t even return to his present form. In that scenario we’re down a replaceable bullpen arm...oh no
I know the offense hasn’t been good, but man I’ve still feel so much better about the offense than I do the pitching. The pitching has gone worse than I feared….and I had pretty strong fears about the rotation and depth going into the year. Singer and Lynch finding something would go a long way…but they need a win or two on the pitching side this year. Maybe that’s Hernandez…IDK. More than minor league wins would help let’s put it that way.
So. As a teacher this time of the year is crazy busy with graduation, end of the year this and that. As such, I was lucky enough to completely miss this series. But checking box scores, listening to Kaufman Korner, and this newsletter a few things have sprung to mind. We need to know what’s real and what’s noise. On the lineup side, I think we can legitimately only say Salvy and Vinny are real. I think Pratto has a chance to get there and I argued in the Kaufman Korner pod chat that they should stick him on LF and leave him there and have Alex Gordon tutor him this off-season. His BABIP is unsustainable but he’s got pop and has a good command of the strike zone. I’m really out on Witt and MJ. Witt needs to be hitting 5th or below. Preferably 7th or 9th as a secondary lead off type. Even with MJ’s hot streak he is still below league average by a wide margin. As for the pitchers. We need to leave Hernandez alone. He seems to have been positively impacted by the new coaching staff. Singer seems to have righted the ship but his stuff is just so mediocre. I think Kowar has a place. I don’t think his AAA numbers mean anything. I think he was working on stuff. And .... that’s it?
I really enjoyed your review of Saturdays game, you may remember I am ok (just ok) with his contract, but this was a much needed belly laugh.
You have written about when the losing gets to these guys, I am afraid it started creeping in this past weekend. As much hope as I had for Oli going into the season his performance was uninspired at best. Idk, maybe moving bwj down in the order would not only make sense but could also help morale a little. Lets hope they can rally for this next series against someone they can theoretically beat.
A few thoughts on your weekend review. Loved the review of Saturday's game, I think Friday could have been summed up with. Greinke pitched so the offense took the night off, seems like we never give him any run support. I was happy to see Kowar with no runs and 3 strikeouts in 2. innings pitched, I really hope he can work through his control issues and be a good pitcher. Sunday, I guess I don't get the whole opener and bulk guy, whats the different if you give up 5 runs in the first few innings or in the middle of the game it is still 5 runs, leave the guy in who is getting outs and they aren't even touching.