Fun with Arbitrary Endpoints: The Royals in April


Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, I wrote an article on using arbitrary endpoints in baseball. If you’re unfamiliar with that phrase, it’s basically citing a stat using a date range that is somewhat, well, arbitrary. In the middle of the season, we’ll see that a certain player is slugging .740 in his last 13 games, or a pitcher has a K/9 of 13.4 since June 22nd. Most of the time, the sample is too small, and it’s obviously being cherry-picked for a reason, so there isn’t much significance to it. But even though the data from arbitrary endpoints doesn’t mean a whole lot, there’s still quite a bit of entertainment value, at least for me.

For this reason, I’ve decided to start a monthly series to bring you random Royals stats using arbitrary endpoints. If you follow me on Twitter, you’re going to see them more frequently (read: daily, probably), but we’ll start this series here with a look at the Royals in April, or maybe parts of April. Technically, the Royals did play a game in March, but for brevity’s sake, I’ll refer to the time period in question as April.

– The position player with the highest fWAR in April was Lorenzo Cain, with 0.9 WAR. Cain played in just 12 games.

– Of the 12 hitters who accumulated at least 15 plate appearances, 9 had a wRC+ of at least 96. Only Mike Moustakas, Billy Butler, and Justin Maxwell fell short.

– The only players to post line drive rates above 20% were Omar Infante, Johnny Giavotella, and Maxwell. Gio played in 1 game.

– Conversely, four players had infield fly ball rates of at least 20% – Danny Valencia, Alcides Escobar, Infante, and Salvador Perez.

– During April, Jarrod Dyson swung at just 15.7% of pitches out of the strike zone. Only five players in baseball (minimum 30 PA) had a lower O-Swing%.

– In the last 14 days of the month, Escobar had a wRC+ of 166. Troy Tulowitzki is the only shortstop in baseball who was better (287!!!). Also during that period of time, Mike Trout‘s wRC+ was 169, and Yasiel Puig‘s wRC+ was 165.

– Seven Royals’ pitchers struck out at least a batter per inning during April.

– The Royals’ bullpen threw 67.2 innings last month, and allowed only 2 home runs, both of which were served up by Louis Coleman.

– In 12.1 innings of work, Wade Davis struck out more batters (23) than Bruce Chen in 19.1 innings (18), and Jeremy Guthrie in 32 innings (17).

– In his last 8 outings of April, Davis pitched 8 innings, and all but 5 of the 24 outs he recorded came by way of the strikeout. In other words, he had more strikeouts in those 8 innings than Chen and Guthrie had all month.

– Four pitchers generated infield fly ball rates of at least 11% – Kelvin Herrera, Greg Holland, Yordano Ventura, and James Shields.

– In April, Guthrie allowed a contact rate of 87.9%. Among qualified starters, only the Twins’ Kevin Correia allowed contact more frequently.

– There were 14 pitchers in all of baseball whose average fastball velocity was higher than 95 MPH. The Royals had 3 of them.

– Over the last 14 days of the month, Royals’ pitchers combined for a FIP- of 78, which was the best mark in the American League.

– Over the last 14 days of the month, Royals’ hitters combined for a wRC+ of 99, including a slugging percentage of .402. They had more home runs than the Reds, and as many home runs as the Rangers during that timeframe.

– And finally, a statistic that probably sums up the team’s offense the best: In the first month of the year, Royals’ hitters made contact on pitches out of the zone on 72.4% of their swings. No other team was within 4 percentage points of that figure.