Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Royals Revisionism Part 1, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Watch Food Network

We’ve reached the All-Star Break in Major League Baseball, which is traditionally looked at as the halfway point in the season (though it’s a little past that). Since we're waist deep into this wretched, wretched season, it’s a good time to look back at my preseason prognosis for the 2009 Royals, which I wrote about here.

Prediction: Greinke will win 16 games with an ERA in the mid-threes.
Revised Prediction: Greinke will win 16 games with an ERA just under 3.00.
Why: Everyone knows about his remarkable start to the season. Over his last eight games, however, his ERA is 3.95. Nothing wrong with that, except that it’s only good enough for a 2-4 record with this bumbling Royals offense. Does anyone really see him winning more than 6 games in the second half? The huge start will probably keep his ERA under 3, but the Royals’ bats will cost him the Cy Young Award because Roy Halladay will likely have 20 wins when it’s all said and done.

Prediction: Starting pitching will be marginally better than in 2008.
Revised prediction: It’s about the same, even with Greinke’s performance.
Why: Gil Meche has been inconsistent, thanks in part to manager Trey Hillman’s passive-aggressive handling of him. Brian Bannister has been a pleasant surprise, but you never know when he’s going to go out and just get POUNDED. Luke Hochevar is erratic as can be. And the others (Davies, Ponson, Chen) are a joke at this point.

Prediction: Relief pitching will be marginally worse than 2008.
Revised prediction: It will be noticeably worse.
Why: In yet another medical mystery, Joakim Soria spent part of the year in arm soreness limbo. Hillman said Soria wasn’t hurt; then he said he was but was strategically keeping it a secret. He’s back and effective, but that’s where it ends. Kyle Farnsworth is a head case, and everyone else can become a gas can at any point. Juan Cruz especially hasn’t lived up to expectations. We pretty much have to pray for 8 innings and give it to Soria.

Now it gets ugly.

Prediction: Catchers 2009 = Catchers 2008.
Revised prediction: Yeah, pretty much.
Why: Miguel Olivo leads the team in home runs. He also has a .267 OBP because he’s never seen a pitch he didn’t like. He strikes out over 1/3 of the time he steps to the plate; this is because all you have to do is throw a slider that starts on the outside half of the plate and sweeps away. I’m serious—every damn time. He’s like freaking Pedro Cerrano from Major League*. John Buck is a Caucasian Olivo, the difference being Olivo has no glove and Buck has no arm.

*It’s really cool that Dennis Haysbert, who played Cerrano, went on to play President David Palmer in 24 and is now the Allstate spokesperson. It very bad drink Jobu’s rum.

Prediction: First base/DH will have significantly better numbers than 2008.
Revised prediction: Not so much.
Why: As Billy Butler starts to hit a bunch of doubles and show himself as a serviceable bat (NOT a #3 hitter), Jacobs basically hits every hundredth pitch about 6 miles. Seriously, these are TITANIC blasts; he just doesn’t get to many pitches. Neither of them has major-league skill in fielding, running, or baseball IQ.
I'll get to the rest of this lost season later.

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