Fun with Arbitrary Endpoints: The Royals in August
Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
August was a pretty good month for the Royals. They won 19 of the 28 games they played, although the suspended game against the Indians isn’t included in that record, even though Baseball Reference already has counted it as a loss. That seems a bit presumptuous, but I digress. The Royals started the month 4 games behind the Tigers, and ended the month half a game ahead of the Tigers.
You should probably know how this works by now. I’m a numbers junkie, and numbers produced in small sample sizes tend to be kind of goofy sometimes, so I use this space to shine a light on some of the goofiest of the goofy.
As you might expect, the team had several players put up some very good statistics in August. As you also might expect, the team had a few players put up some very bad statistics in August. Which players players fall in which category? You’ll have to read on to find out! Or you can just look up the numbers yourself, if that’s what you’d prefer to do. But since you’re already here, it’s probably easier to just read the words typed below.
– Despite the team’s overall success, the offense wasn’t particularly special, posting just a 99 wRC+ for the month.
– Among the Royals with at least 50 plate appearances, 5 players were better than a league average wRC+: Alex Gordon (163), Josh Willingham (146), Jarrod Dyson (134), Billy Butler (126), and Lorenzo Cain (108).
– Gordon led MLB in fWAR (1.8), had the third-highest isolated slugging percentage (.292), tied for the second-most home runs (9), and tied for the sixth-most runs (21).
– The Royals’ worst hitter last month was Omar Infante, who had a wRC+ of 53. Only 4 of his teammates had more plate appearances than Infante, because second basemen must bat second.
– Alcides Escobar was hitting line drives all over the place, as his line drive rate was 30.1%. That kind of contact didn’t always bring good results, though, since his BABIP was .305, and his wRC+ was only 77.
– No qualified Royal had a flukishly-high BABIP, as Cain led the team with a .379, right in line with his season-long number.
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– Mike Moustakas, on the other hand, had a BABIP of .224. That actually raised his 2014 BABIP to .201.
– Salvador Perez swung at pitches out of the strike zone 53.1% of the time, which was more than 3 times as often as Willingham swung at those same pitches (13% OSwing%).
– As a team, the Royals hit 25 home runs, the 5th-highest total in the league. They also had the 4th-highest home run per fly ball rate, at 9.9%.
– Only the Indians hit line drives more often than the Royals last month (24.0% LD%).
– Only the White Sox walked less frequently than the Royals last month (6.0% BB%).
– Among the starting pitchers in August, only Yordano Ventura walked more than 2.5 batters per 9 innings (5.1).
– Ventura did lead the starters in K/9, at 8.4, while James Shields had the staff’s lowest K/9, at 5.3.
– Wade Davis struck out 19 batters in 14 innings of work. Thirteen qualified starters in MLB struck out no more than 18 batters.
– Davis struck out 37.3% of the batters he faced, the 6th-highest rate in the league. He also walked just 2.0% of batters faced, the 8th-lowest rate in the league.
– Bruce Chen allowed 11 earned runs in 7.2 innings. Danny Duffy allowed 10 earned runs in 37.1 innings.
– The team’s worst starter in August, by ERA, was Jeremy Guthrie (3.54).
– The Royals had 2 of the 7 relievers in baseball with a 0.00 ERA last month, in Davis and Kelvin Herrera (10 IP min.)
– The bullpen had as many blown saves in August as I did. Zero. The Mariners were the only other team to achieve that mark.
– Royals’ pitchers posted the 2nd-best home run per fly ball rate in the majors, at 5.9%.
– No starting rotation threw more innings last month than the Royals, who combined for 189.2 innings and a 2.94 ERA.