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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Royals send Mike Moustakas down to Class AAA Omaha

The discussions had stretched for days, long enough for Mike Moustakas to make peace with his fate. On Wednesday night, shortly after the Royals completed a nine-game home stand, general manager Dayton Moore informed Moustakas he was being demoted.

Zach Posted: May 22, 2014 at 04:21 PM | 32 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: royals

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   1. Davo Dozier Posted: May 22, 2014 at 06:16 PM (#4711757)
But he leads the team in homers!
   2. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 22, 2014 at 06:41 PM (#4711773)
Mustache rides for all the pretty girls in Omaha?
   3. Zach Posted: May 22, 2014 at 06:45 PM (#4711777)
Alex Gordon really made me rethink my position on demotions. It seems to me that spending weeks or months in a funk, knowing that you should be demoted but not knowing when, could be pretty crippling for a player.

Speaking strictly as a KC sports fan, I've noticed that the local coach who is by far the most willing to criticize players and bench them during times of bad performance is Bill Self, who has a great record of success and manages to develop players just fine.
   4. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 22, 2014 at 06:59 PM (#4711787)
Alex Gordon really made me rethink my position on demotions. It seems to me that spending weeks or months in a funk, knowing that you should be demoted but not knowing when, could be pretty crippling for a player.


Go back and look at the record, Gordon never had a stretch as bad as Moose's last year +
Gordon never spent "months" in a funk, he had very ordinary and unexceptional slumps which the team responded to by benching him and demoting him.

Personally I think how they have handled Moose is how they should have handled Gordon- how they handled Gordon, well they may just have well handled Moose that way since I think the evidence is mounting that he just isn't all that good.
   5. A triple short of the cycle Posted: May 22, 2014 at 07:05 PM (#4711793)
It really worked for Josh Donaldson. Something clicked when he got sent down to AAA midway through the 2012 season.
   6. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 22, 2014 at 07:13 PM (#4711798)
I think what really clicked for Donaldson was finally giving up on catching.
   7. Zach Posted: May 22, 2014 at 07:15 PM (#4711800)
Go back and look at the record, Gordon never had a stretch as bad as Moose's last year +

True, but for several years Gordon was a candidate for this generation's What If? hall of fame. Going into 2011, ZiPS gave virtually the same prediction for Gordon and for Kila Kaa'ihue.

I wasn't trying to argue that Moustakas is going to turn into Gordon. I was trying to say that letting him fail in the major leagues for months at a time is a bad plan, and that demotions can help a guy get his head right.
   8. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 22, 2014 at 07:57 PM (#4711821)
I think what really clicked for Donaldson was finally giving up on catching.


And similarly when Gordon moved to the outfield from third base, no? Dot dot dot...
   9. cardsfanboy Posted: May 22, 2014 at 08:25 PM (#4711830)
Kila Kaa'ihue.


is he out of baseball?
   10. haven Posted: May 22, 2014 at 08:46 PM (#4711838)
is he out of baseball?


Hiroshima Toyo Carp as far as I know.
   11. vortex of dissipation Posted: May 23, 2014 at 01:06 AM (#4711928)
Hiroshima Toyo Carp as far as I know.


And not doing too badly.
   12. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 23, 2014 at 08:03 AM (#4711956)
one of the grandsons sent me this split on mm of .029/.029/.029 said it was his stat line on ground balls this season

and yes, that zero is not a misprint.

haven't checked but if true holy cow
   13. Good cripple hitter Posted: May 23, 2014 at 08:26 AM (#4711966)
He improved slightly, he got his line up to .056/.056/.083 before he was demoted.

He also hit .071/.070/.214 on fly balls, which is also terrible.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: May 23, 2014 at 06:03 PM (#4712323)
It's really got to be one of the oddest cases ever ...

I mean you look at his ratios and everything looks fine, even good. K%, BB%, HR%, XBH%, G/F, HR/FB, LD% -- they are all at or better than his career averages. It's the 152 BABIP.

Of course he's never been a good hitter but all of his career ratios are about league average too except for his 23% IF/FB rate vs. 13% league which will certainly help kill your BABIP and he's always had a lousy one.
   15. Zach Posted: May 23, 2014 at 06:36 PM (#4712349)
Part of me wants to say that there's nothing wrong with Moose that hitting the ball harder wouldn't fix.

He does an ok job of swinging at strikes. He just does an awful job of getting hits off pitches in the strike zone.

What do you even say about a major leaguer who can't get hits off of balls in the strike zone that he makes contact with? It's either awful luck, tentative swinging, or else he's just not a major league hitter in the first place.
   16. Shibal Posted: May 23, 2014 at 06:39 PM (#4712350)
Two words to make him great:

lasic surgery

That's always the last resort of the truly garbage hitters. Buys a guy another year usually.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: May 24, 2014 at 02:12 AM (#4712482)
Or stem cells.

#15 ... I would think so too but how do we explain that his HR%, HR/FB, LD% are all basically league average? Most "weak" hitters hit a lot of GB but not him. The pop-up rate I suppose suggests he's getting under the ball too much which would lead to a lot of lazy fly balls too. Is he not laying off pitches up in the zone?
   18. bfan Posted: May 24, 2014 at 07:41 AM (#4712497)
I wasn't trying to argue that Moustakas is going to turn into Gordon. I was trying to say that letting him fail in the major leagues for months at a time is a bad plan, and that demotions can help a guy get his head right.


I agree; the hard part is figuring out what a cold streak is, that will be balanced out by a hot streak, to an okay total. There are plenty of examples of a .200 first half, followed by a .300 second half. Knowing when someone is cold but better vs. not good enough (or used to be good enough, but is not anymore) is a tough job that distinguishes great organizations.

I also think MM maybe just needs out of KC and a fresh new start, just to be past the demons of his MLB start (or in a more HR generous park). If I were an organization, I would flip a AA prospect for him in a minute, and hope to get lucky. Yes, there are guys who can hit very well in AA and AAA, but not above that, but there are also guys (Gordon is a great example) who just take a while to catch up to MLB pitching, and when they do, they are very good players. I think Trout; Puig; and Harper spoiled us and set the bar in the wrong place; not every early 20's guy can be a star immediately.
   19. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 24, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4712521)
It's funny because the Royals would ship Ka'aihue's ass back to Triple-A as soon as he had an 0-for-4 game with 2 strikeouts, but they leave Moustakas twisting in the wind in the majors over months of increasingly acute failure. This certainly is an organization that makes up its mind.
   20. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 24, 2014 at 11:33 AM (#4712561)
I think this club is teaching a terrible approach to hitting, stressing spraying the ball over the field. I don't think Moose will ever be an effective hitter like that. He has trouble getting around on inside fastballs and pops up everything on the outside of the plate. If he was with the Jays, he'd still be a low OBA guy, but he'd be a 25-30 HR guy. With the Royals, he's a low OBA guy with little power.

I think he can be a decent reclamation project for someone - he's still a well above average defender - but I don't have any hopes he'll turn it around in KC. Maybe a challenge trade for another struggling 3B like Brett Lawrie (would require the Royals throwing more in) or Lonnie Chisenhall (when he regresses back to earth) is in order.


It's funny because the Royals would ship Ka'aihue's ass back to Triple-A as soon as he had an 0-for-4 game with 2 strikeouts, but they leave Moustakas twisting in the wind in the majors over months of increasingly acute failure. This certainly is an organization that makes up its mind.


Yea, they DFAed a useful player like Justin Maxwell over 39 PAs, but gave Moose 130+ (plus all of last year and the terrible second half of 2012). They have their favorites.
   21. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 24, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4712573)

He does an ok job of swinging at strikes. He just does an awful job of getting hits off pitches in the strike zone.

What do you even say about a major leaguer who can't get hits off of balls in the strike zone that he makes contact with? It's either awful luck, tentative swinging, or else he's just not a major league hitter in the first place.


Dave Cameron:

Because he’s hitting the wrong pitches. For the season, Moustakas has made contact on 82.4% of the pitches he’s swung at outside the strike zone — the fifth highest rate in MLB — while only making contact on 81.4% of the pitches he’s swung at inside the strike zone. Moustakas is the only player in MLB to post a higher contact rate on balls as opposed to strikes. Of the 250 players with 100 or more plate appearances this year, the average player has a Z-Contact rate 25 percentage points higher than their O-Contact rate. 241 of the 250 have a Z-Contact rate at least 10 percentage points higher.


Wow.
   22. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 24, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4712578)
So if I'm reading that right, it means Moustakas would be a better hitter if he'd swing and miss more, rather than popping out or softly grounding out over and over. The intuitive solution--which I don't think the Royals would be the organization to implement--would be to tell the guy to grip it and rip it.
   23. Walt Davis Posted: May 25, 2014 at 03:07 AM (#4713053)
Wow.

Given the pop-up rate, I'll extend my speculation that he swings at stuff high in the zone and just out of it.

Reggie Sanders could never lay off a high fastball. Like never. Generally he just swung and missed it while it sounds like Moose somehow gets wood on it.

Still I find it a bit hard to reconcile with a league average or better LD% and walk rate (this year). Anyway, I'd think that's an easier case to fix -- lay off this small set of pitches -- than a guy who's an overall disaster.
   24. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: May 25, 2014 at 06:45 AM (#4713063)
He improved slightly, he got his line up to .056/.056/.083 before he was demoted.

It is indeed terrible. But it's only 36 PA's.

And the league is hitting .238 with, with .257 SLG. In general you shouldn't expect good things to happen when you put the ball on the ground...
   25. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 25, 2014 at 10:17 AM (#4713090)
Lonnie Chisenhall (when he regresses back to earth)


Chisenhall came into the year with a 94 career OPS+, which put him nine points ahead of Moustakas at that time, and it's not like their values have converged any since then.
   26. Zach Posted: May 27, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4713901)
So if I'm reading that right, it means Moustakas would be a better hitter if he'd swing and miss more, rather than popping out or softly grounding out over and over. The intuitive solution--which I don't think the Royals would be the organization to implement--would be to tell the guy to grip it and rip it.

That's kind of what I was getting at in #15. The guy needs to know himself better and play toward his strengths. His strength should be hitting the ball hard. Instead, he's like a tennis player who tries to put everything he can reach back over the net.
   27. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 27, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4713909)
re 22 and 26, given the oddities in his various splits I tend to think that's about right, Moose Tacos likely would be better off if he exchanged his poor contact for less contact, but harder hit balls when he does make contact- with his glove he'd be a valuable player if he hit like Mark Reynolds
   28. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 27, 2014 at 01:12 PM (#4713951)
It seems likely that Moustakas sucks now because the Royals badly ###### him up by insisting that he try to make contact, spread the ball around and so forth.

Trying to force everyone in the organization to do things a certain way even when some people don't have the skills for it is one of the all-time classic blunders of bad management. Even if you absolutely have to have only low-strikeout hitters who hit the ball the other way on your team, you don't try to force Mike Moustakas to change his swing to accommodate that; you trade Mike Moustakas for someone who already has the kind of skills you want.

I'm not sure how many Baseball People really get this, but asking Mark Reynolds to cut his swing down and take the ball to the other field is a lot like asking Miguel Cabrera to steal more bases and try to score from second on singles more often.
   29. ColonelTom Posted: May 27, 2014 at 01:41 PM (#4713990)
It seems likely that Moustakas sucks now because the Royals badly ###### him up by insisting that he try to make contact, spread the ball around and so forth.

Trying to force everyone in the organization to do things a certain way even when some people don't have the skills for it is one of the all-time classic blunders of bad management.


See Domonic Brown and the Phillies' organization. As of three weeks ago, Dom was continuing to receive praise from Ryne Sandberg for "taking what the pitchers are giving him" even though it's led to horrific results. He's a dead-pull power hitter trying to be Joey Votto. I'd love to see what the Blue Jays (or their former hitting coach, Dwayne Murphy) could do with Dom.

Here is Moustakas' "swing chart" from Brooks Baseball:

From the looks of it, Moose is swinging at everything, and because he likely has excellent hand-eye coordination, he's putting a ton of bad pitches in play for weak contact.
   30. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: May 27, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4714037)
{quote]That's kind of what I was getting at in #15. The guy needs to know himself better and play toward his strengths. His strength should be hitting the ball hard. Instead, he's like a tennis player who tries to put everything he can reach back over the net.

I think there is something to this. When Loney went to the Rays, I think they just kind of let him be. The Dodgers were always trying to turn him into Garvey 2.0 or something like that. Loney is never going to be a prototypical 1B guy, but he will provide enough offense if you have a Zobrist type of dude elsewhere.
   31. Random Transaction Generator Posted: May 27, 2014 at 02:46 PM (#4714044)
See Domonic Brown and the Phillies' organization.... I'd love to see what the Blue Jays (or their former hitting coach, Dwayne Murphy) could do with Dom.


Sorry, but he's not a flailing 3Bman, so the Jays can't turn him into a slugging star.
   32. Steve Sparks Flying Everywhere Posted: May 27, 2014 at 03:13 PM (#4714060)
Trying to force everyone in the organization to do things a certain way even when some people don't have the skills for it is one of the all-time classic blunders of bad management.


I think the same thing is happening to Bubba Starling.

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