It's Getting Better
I have to admit, it’s getting better/
A little better, all the time/
(It can’t get no worse.)
-Getting Better (Lennon/McCartney)
It’s been about a month since we’ve taken a close look at some of the statistical trends that have been developing over the course of this season. Since the Royals are on the west coast and the games are ending around midnight, now seems as good a time as any to revisit some of those stats. And the good news is the results show improvement in some key areas.
Another nice thing about this look at the Royals offensive production, is it nicely illustrates the Royals switch in management. Our first look at the numbers came on May 6th, just four days before Tony Pena quit on his team. So we are looking at the production during Pena’s dreadful 2005 tenure, and comparing them to the Schaefer/Bell tandem.
RUNS PER GAME
When we last checked about a month ago (29 games into the season), the Royals were last in the American League in scoring runs, averaging 3.57 R/G. Today, the Royals are no longer in the cellar. Here’s the current bottom three in runs scored per game:
Each team has improved over the last month of the season, but the Royals have posted the largest gain of the three. And it actually translates into the win column. After the first 29 games when the Royals were averaging a paltry 3.5 runs per game, they were a pathetic 7-22, which is a .250 winning percentage. In the 28 games since we did any kind of analysis the Royals have gone 11-17, for a .393 winning percentage. Still not a great record by any means, but realize that if the Royals played .393 baseball for an entire season they would win about 64 games, missing the magical mark of 100 losses by two.
LINE DRIVE PERCENTAGE
The Royals are still dead last in all of baseball in line drive percentage (LDP), posting a really weak .147. It’s going to be difficult for them to climb out of the basement, as the next closest team, the Cleveland Indians, have a LDP of .161. Remember, LDP is the percent of batted balls that are line drives, which fall for base hits roughly 75% of the time. This compares slightly favorably to the last time when their LDP was .143. It’s a small improvement to be sure, but any gains deserve to be noted.
A FUN COMPARASON
Finally, just for fun, take a look at this comparison between two American League teams:
TEAM A: .252/.309/.395 4.18 R/G
TEAM B: .252/.315/.381 4.23 R/G
Which offense would you rather have? It’s a tough call. Both teams are well below the league averages of .265/.331/.415 and 4.69 R/G, so it’s safe to say neither team does very well at the plate. One teams gets on base a little more often, while the other slugs at a better clip.
Since this is a Royals blog, it’s obvious that one of these teams is our beloved Royals. That would be team A.
Team B? That would be the Seattle Mariners.
Yes, those Seattle Mariners. The team that features hit king Ichiro! at the top of the lineup, followed by big boppers Adrian Beltre, Richie Sexson and Bret Boone has virtually the same offensive production as the Kansas City Royals.
It’s still way too early to condemn the Beltre and Sexson deals, but who would have thought that the “youth movement” Royals would out slug the free-spending Mariners?
The good news is, since Pena bailed on this team, the Royals offense is slowly improving and it shows in the record as well as the overall quality of play. Like Lennon and McCartney said, it is getting better.