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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Bill James: A Galaxy of Royal Stars

Not that this is a serious topic or anything, but with Alex Gordon announcing his retirement there was discussion among friends of where he ranks among the Royals’ all-time greats, or perhaps they are merely goods.  I made up a system for ranking the Royals, consistent with the principles of the many ranking systems I have created over the years, and since there was some interest in this, I thought I should explain how this was done.

        First, we start with each player’s Win Shares in each season as a Royal….

It seems relatively obvious that two 10-Win Seasons should not be treated as equal to one 20-Win Season.  High-impact seasons win pennants; 10-Win Seasons are kind of replaceable.  How to adjust for this.

        What I did is, I raised the value of each season to the power 1.5 (rounded down.)  Dan Quisenberry’s 28-Win Share season in 1983, when he perhaps should have won the Cy Young Award, thus is given a value of 148 points, since 28 to the power 1.5, rounded down, is 148.  Quiz’s 24-Win Share season the following year has an “impact value” of 117.  Alex Gordon’s best season, 26 Win Shares in 2014, has an impact value of 132, and Frank White’s best season, 20 Win Shares in 1986, has an Impact Value of 89.

        Basically, 30 Win Shares is a serious MVP candidate.  People have won MVP Awards with less than that, but not often; generally, you become a serious candidate for the MVP Award at about 30 Win Shares.  The highest-valued seasons in Royals history are George Brett in 1980 (37 Win Shares), George Brett in 1985 (36 Win Shares) and then three seasons of 33 Win Shares—George Brett in 1976, George Brett in 1979, and John Mayberry in 1975.  Mayberry, you might remember, was second in the MVP voting in 1975.

Chris Getz at #179??????

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 30, 2020 at 09:32 AM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: royals

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   1. Brian C Posted: September 30, 2020 at 10:23 AM (#5979740)
Chris Getz at #179??????

Well, T-179.

I guess Neifi Perez just missed the cut.
   2. SoSH U at work Posted: September 30, 2020 at 10:45 AM (#5979744)
Mayberry over Saberhagen seems to be the strangest result.

   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 30, 2020 at 11:22 AM (#5979750)
Hosmer over Salvy seems odd to me.
   4. JJ1986 Posted: September 30, 2020 at 11:46 AM (#5979753)
20-win shocked me until I realized Bill is still using Win Shares.
   5. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: September 30, 2020 at 12:18 PM (#5979755)
#4: Win Shares seems to me to be perfectly suited to an exercise like this.
   6. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: September 30, 2020 at 12:33 PM (#5979760)
I like how the bottom 15 contains a whole starting rotation from the Royals' Putrid Early Internet Era. Runelvys Hernandez, Blake Stein, Dan Reichert, Jimmy Gobble and Mac Suzuki. Are we sure this isn't the list of every player ever to be on the Royals? How is Mac Suzuki in a top 200 of anything?

Kyle Davies is in that mix too. Seems like he should be higher.

The only Bob Stinson I know is the rock & roll cautionary tale. Presumably the one on the Royals was a different guy.
   7. CFBF is Outside the Margin of Error Posted: September 30, 2020 at 12:42 PM (#5979764)
I was never a Royals fan, but I grew up in Kansas City, so I always had some fondness for them. Post #6 brought to mind that cruelest of dynamics for fans of crummy teams, the desperate search for hope in the most hopeless of places. I remember how Royals fans kept looking for signs of life in just about any remotely talented young pitchers. Blake Stein has such great stuff! Mac Suzuki has an amazing splitter! Dan Reichert has a wipeout slider! Jimmy Gobble is a young Tom Glavine!
   8. Rally Posted: September 30, 2020 at 01:19 PM (#5979777)
Mayberry over Saberhagen seems to be the strangest result.

That's just a win shares thing. Starting pitchers will almost always do worse compare to hitters (or closers) by win shares than they do by WAR.

Saberhagen pitched 1660 innings as a Royal for 41 WAR. Quis, 920 for 25 WAR.

Mayberry had 21 WAR as a Royal, over 6 seasons. Bill's system gives more credit for great years, so to put Mayberry ahead it has to be showing, for example, that his best seasons beat the best seasons of Saberhagen in win shares. Mayberry in 1975 hit .291, hit 34 homers, and led the league in walks. A 168 OPS+, certainly a great year. He finished 2nd in the MVP voting, but his value was all in the bat, this was a slow first baseman.

You might prefer that to Saberhagen's 1st Cy, a 20-6 record, 2.87 ERA in 235 innings. But no way would I take Mayberry over the 1989 CY season, 23-6, 2.16, 262 innings.
   9. Rally Posted: September 30, 2020 at 01:24 PM (#5979779)
But all in all, a very good list. First year I fully followed the game was 1982. Of the top 7 all time Royals, the list is 6 guys who were key players on that 82 team, and Alex Gordon.

By position the all time team should be:

C Perez
1B Mayberry
2B White
SS Patek ( I would have guessed U.L., but Escobar also passed him)
3B Brett
RF Gordon
CF Otis
LF Wilson
DH McRae
SP Saberhagen
RP Quis
   10. Rally Posted: September 30, 2020 at 01:29 PM (#5979783)
Turns out UL was only a good regular for 3 years. He was memorable though. Once when teaching some basic HTML coding I had this example:

To start an unordered list, use the code (UL) (not going to use brackets here or the site will probably interpret this as real code)

When you are done with your list, give UL a toothpick (/UL)
   11. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 30, 2020 at 01:39 PM (#5979788)
C Perez
1B Mayberry
2B White
SS Patek ( I would have guessed U.L., but Escobar also passed him)
3B Brett
RF Gordon
CF Otis
LF Wilson
DH McRae
SP Saberhagen
RP Quis

This is cheating since Gordo never really played much RF and Wilson played twice as many games in CF than LF (and only played LF because Otis refused to give up CF despite Wilson being much better defensively at that point). It is a great testament to the CF the Royals have had (Otis, Wilson, Beltran, Cain), but if you were really putting guys in the OF position they primarily played I would line them up Gordon/Otis/Tartabull (speaking of right fielders, kinda surprised Cowens is much higher than Jermaine Dye)
   12. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: September 30, 2020 at 01:56 PM (#5979795)
Re:#7 I only know the obscure guys outside of my favorite team either from baseball cards (late 80's and early 90's) and then from fantasy baseball (late 90's and beyond). I recognize all those names, but Jimmy Gobble is the only one that brings more than a hint of recognition. I think Gobble was one of those guys I picked up when half of my drafted pitching staff got hurt one year and I started streaming starting pitchers based on matchups. He had a couple non-awful runs of starts in his first two years in the league.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 30, 2020 at 02:01 PM (#5979799)
Gobble was a BA top 100 prospect if that tells you anything about pitching prospects.
   14. Perry Posted: September 30, 2020 at 04:18 PM (#5979899)
The only Bob Stinson I know is the rock & roll cautionary tale. Presumably the one on the Royals was a different guy.

I remember Stinson pretty well, mostly because he had a great nickname (Scrap Iron).
   15. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: September 30, 2020 at 04:26 PM (#5979916)
According to Tom Stone's "Now Taking the Field" (a really fun book):

LF Gordon
CF Otis
RF Tartabull
3B Brett
SS Patek
2B F White
1B Mayberry
C Perez
DH McRae
SP Saberhagen, Appier, Gubicza, Leonard
RP Quiz
MGR Howser
   16. Tony S Posted: September 30, 2020 at 08:04 PM (#5979997)

If any player was born to have exactly 0.0 WAR in his career, it was Bob Stinson...but he did manage 4.3.
   17. Tony S Posted: September 30, 2020 at 08:06 PM (#5980000)
Jimmy Gobble is a young Tom Glavine!

Technically true.
   18. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 30, 2020 at 08:13 PM (#5980001)
If any player was born to have exactly 0.0 WAR in his career, it was Bob Stinson
Well played, sir. Cap tipped.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: September 30, 2020 at 11:42 PM (#5980098)
My first instinct was Porter at C but he spent less time in KC than I remember -- it's the Milw bit I always forget -- and Perez clearly passes him for the franchise honor. By bWAR, Appier is a pretty easy choice over Saberhagen but I'd let the two CYA win that argument.
   20. cardsfanboy Posted: September 30, 2020 at 11:47 PM (#5980102)
I still can't believe that Beltran doesn't make the outfield on that team, but even by war he wasn't as good as I though he was in his KC years. My quick memory of him, was that he was an unrecognized peak guy who then traded that for longevity goodness... but the reality he was just a longevity goodness guy.
   21. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: October 01, 2020 at 08:12 AM (#5980137)
Love the three way tie between Chili Davis, Felix Jose, and Scott Podsednik for 155th, three guys I don't remember as Royals at all
   22. Rally Posted: October 01, 2020 at 08:45 AM (#5980143)
I put Gordon in right for the KC team on the basis of:

1) Willie, Otis, and Alex were their best outfielders
2) If I have this group together, how would I align them?

I can also see a case for LF Gordon, CF Wilson, RF Otis. Otis played more RF than Gordon did, none of the 3 even played a half season's worth of RF in their entire career.

I just can't get behind being such a slave to position that you'd leave off one of these guys for the likes of Danny Tartabull. Who may have stood in right field more often, but never actually played defense there. He was only a Royal for 5 years, and became a primary DH when he was only 30.

Beltran won't make the list because he only has 3.5 years of being great in KC. As a rookie he put up some impressive looking numbers, 100 runs and RBI, 20+ HR and SB, hit .293. But it was 1999 offense levels, he swung at everything, and that only amounted to a 99 OPS+. Had a bad 2nd year and then broke out, but he was out of town far too soon.
   23. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 01, 2020 at 09:23 AM (#5980150)

Love the three way tie between Chili Davis, Felix Jose, and Scott Podsednik for 155th, three guys I don't remember as Royals at all

My dad plays golf with someone who was with the Royals in the 90s who HATED Herk Robinson and he told my dad the Royals had a proposal from the Yankees to trade Chili Davis to NY just before he was to hit free agency for a top catching prospect, and a lot of scouts and execs thought it was a good deal. But Herk Robinson said that Chili Davis was the "only thing keeping us from last place." The Royals ended up in last place anyway. And the prospect's name was Jorge Posada.
   24. Gch Posted: October 05, 2020 at 05:47 PM (#5981212)
For fun I did this for the Jays, using the baseball gauge’s win shares numbers. I double checked everything but it’s possible I missed somebody (when I checked I noticed that I’d missed Jack Morris, who sneaks into the top 100 thanks to World Series credit) or made a mistake for a player.

1) Carlos Delgado 1044
2) Jose Bautista 945
3) Tony Fernandez 925
4) Dave Stieb 909
5) Roy Halladay 720
6) Roberto Alomar 716
7) Vernon Wells 715
8) Lloyd Moseby 702
9) John Olerud 651
10) Edwin Encarnacion 648
11) George Bell 631
12) Jimmy Key 545
13) Jesse Barfield 530
14) Joe Carter 526
15) Devon White 517
16) Fred McGriff 494
17) Ernie Whitt 469
18) Josh Donaldson 467
19) Pat Hentgen 450
20) Tom Henke 447
21) Jim Clancy 436
22) Shannon Stewart 421
23) Duane Ward 417
24) Juan Guzman 383
25) Kelly Gruber 382
26) Willie Upshaw 380
27) Shawn Green 345
28) Alex Rios 344
29) Aaron Hill 343
30) Damaso Garcia 325
31) Rance Mulliniks 322
32) Roger Clemens 311
33) Adam Lind 300
34) Paul Molitor 293
35) David Wells 274
36) Jose Cruz Jr 269
37) Lyle Overbay 268
38) Justin Smoak 247
39) Ed Sprague 242
40) Doyle Alexander 237
41) Kevin Pillar 226
42T) Orlando Hudson 212
42T) Eric Hinske 212
44) Luis Leal 208
45) Pat Borders 207
46) Alex Gonzalez I 206
47) John Mayberry 196
48) Dave Winfield 178
49) Roy Howell 176
50) Kelvim Escobar 172

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