Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Royals West Coast swing nothing worth writing home for

This season has spiraled out of control. You shouldn't be surprised. We've seen it before. Season is lost. Yost effect has worn off. Orioles are 8-1 under Buck Showalter. Kila struggling at the dish. Life ain't so grand here in KC.

There really isn't much else to say besides that this team isn't very good. We have a revolving door of crappy leadoff hitters currently being shuffled through the lineup. Getz, Bloomquist and newly acquired, shiny, former Brave Gregor Blanco have all failed (predictably) to make their mark at the top of the Royals lineup. Meanwhile, Mitch "MITCH" Maier and his .343 OBP are languishing in the bottom of the order on most days, while Billy Butler hits with no one on base.

Yuniesky Betancourt, who routinely hits ninth and sucks no matter where you put him in the lineup, is SECOND to Billy Butler for the team lead in RBIs with 48 in 105 PAs. Doesn't that say something about lineup construction, when a guy who hits (I'm seriously laughing as I type this. Look at the BA/OBP split and you'll understand why) .240/.241/.346/.587 with runners in scoring position is SECOND on the team in RBIs?

Yes, as you can see here, our valiant shortstop hits .240 with RISP and has 48 RBIs. How is that possible? It's terrible. Truly a tragedy of lineup construction.

You CAN'T get on Billy Butler's case about his "lack" of run "production". He's doing just fine with runners in scoring position: .314/.419/.438/.857 in 129 PAs.

My brain can't wrap itself around this. Butler has a batting average with RISP WORLDS ahead of Yuni, 24 more plate attempts than Yuni with RISP, better SLG% with RISP than Yuni.

I don't get it. How is this happening? How does a player as awful as Betancourt (congrats on having a kid by the way) with RISP have almost just as many RBIs as Butler does?

This is a paradox. It really is. If you think you can wrap your mind around it, then let me know. I'm having trouble understanding this. Are the Royals really so awful that their best hitter, no matter how well he hits when runners are on 2nd and 3rd, they just can't score runs?

I'm at a loss. Looking over these stats frustrates me even more. It's like once runners get to scoring position with Butler on, the baseball universe gets fuzzy. It's unreal. I think the simple fact is that maybe Butler isn't getting as many "true" chances with RISP. I can't remember the last time we had runners at 2nd and 3rd with Billy coming up.

Maybe the case isn't the fact that there aren't runners in scoring position when Butler comes up. Maybe there just aren't runners ON BASE. Butler has 234 PAs with runners on. He's batting .327/.406/.454/.860 with runners on. Yuni? His line is a bit better than his RISP line at .290/.308/.443/.751 with runners on in 180 PAs. He's batting ninth. Butler gets more PAs than Yuni because he's higher in the lineup.

So move Yuni up in the order? God no. Move Mitch Maier, Mike Aviles and those who are in the bottom of the order to the top of the order. Get them in front of Billy. Getz, Bloomquist and Blanco are not the answers. Kendall needs to be out of the two spot. Put him ninth. Put him on the bench. Put him on a plane to Omaha for all I care, but for the sake of Royals' fans sanity, stop batting him second. I would put money on the fact that the reasons for Billy's lack of RBIs can be traced back to Jason Kendall batting second. Book it.

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