Royals Links: Wade Davis as Closer, Chen’s Return, Stats Debate, & More


Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Last night at Kauffman Stadium probably could have gone better. The Royals missed opportunities at the plate and on the basepaths, but six runs should have been more than enough to win the game. Jason Vargas failed to do his job, and while I would have liked to see Ned Yost make a pitching change prior to Paul Konerko‘s home run in the 5th inning, Vargas is the one who let the game get to that point after being handed a five-run lead in the first inning. It was a frustrating loss, to be sure. Luckily for us, today is Yordano Ventura Day. Here are some links to hold you over until the fire throwing begins tonight.

Clint Scoles at Pine Tar Press suggested the Royals should start to give Wade Davis some closing opportunities this season. Davis’ contract options are at fixed costs, while Greg Holland may begin to get very expensive as early as next year, so inserting the former into more save situations could be very beneficial. Fewer saves for Holland would keep his arbitration number down, and if the Royals trade Holland in the offseason, Davis would be prepared to step in.

– In an article in the Kansas City Star, Andy McCullough includes some quotes from Bruce Chen on his potential role when he returns from the disabled list. Chen insists he’s only focusing on getting healthy right now, but I think it’s becoming more and more clear that Danny Duffy is establishing himself as the better option for the rotation.

Kevin Ruprecht wrote something at Gammons Daily on James Shields. With Shields set to hit the free agent market this winter, the author was looking for potential red flags, but beyond his age, Shields appears to be a pretty sound investment. Ruprecht breaks down Shields’ pitch mix, velocity, and peripheral stats to show how well he’s performing, much like I did last week.

– With all of the injuries around baseball, Baseball Prospectus’ Zachary Levine posted a column at FOX Sports in which he comes up with his list of the 10 players baseball fans should most want to stay healthy. The Royals’ Yordano Ventura checks in at number 3 on the countdown.

– The Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan wondered if the average fan cares about sabermetrics, which is a valid question. Ryan goes on to ask if “New Breed Stat Guys” even enjoy watching a baseball game, which is not a valid question. He also makes false claims and presents weakly supported arguments, some of which are disputed by FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron.

Cameron points out that the traditional baseball stats only have meaning because those covering the game have ascribed meaning to them. Stats are used to tell a story, and for decades, the story was told through batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. Now, we have other, more detailed – and frankly, more accurate – methods of explaining what happened and why it happened. If the media starts to emphasize advanced stats, the average fan will likely start to care more about sabermetrics.