The Royals and the future and the Over-Under stats
The Kansas City Star
ANAHEIM, Calif. — I haven’t seen an official count, but I’m guessing there are 3,284 reporters here to cover the Royals’ season opener.
Of course, as far as writers actually here for the ROYALS, I’m guessing it’ll just be me, Dutton and Kaegel.
This is the most anticipated Royals season in years, and unlike what we had in 2009 and 2004, this one is built with much more than hope and duct tape. Right now, the Royals have two players — Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon — you could consider stars, another (Billy Butler) who is among the game’s best at what he does, and a whole mess of others (Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Sal Perez, Danny Duffy, Aaron Crow, etc.) doused in potential and signed for at least four more seasons.
The Royals still face significant and real challenges^, but in a pure baseball personnel way, are doing it the only way that makes sense.
^ There’s a lot in that column, and I hope you read it. I understand it’s not the column you’d expect for the season opener, but this is a critical issue that is only going become more and more important in the future. You’ll be hearing plenty about it in the coming months and years.
Anyway, it’s time for another year of Royals Over-Under. We capped it at 100 entries to make tabulating these things easier — an ENORMOUS thanks to Drew Porter, who aside from being a gentleman and a scholar is doing the real work with this — but the spots filled up so quickly we might have to think of a better way next year.
Thanks to everyone who submitted. The winner and Drew get a prize to be named later (food is a safe guess).
Sorry to everyone who didn’t get in on time. Like I said, we’ll try to figure something better for next year. For now, feel free to play along at home. Here are the categories, along with the number of guesses that went over and under:
77.5 wins: 80 over, 20 under. Comment: I made this number shortly after the Perez and Soria injuries, and now wonder if I overreacted. I’d go over on this one, too.
15 games within first place: 15 over, 85 under. Comment: No big surprise here, since it’s related to the win total.
1.5 Royals selected as All-Stars: 69 over, 31 under. Comment: This is my favorite category. The Royals are guaranteed one, of course, and for the first time in a while it’s easy to imagine another, from Gordon to Hosmer to Escobar to a pitcher. Perez, in part because of the position he plays, was a solid darkhorse before the injury.
99.5 starts for Yuni Betancourt: 22 over, 78 under. Comment: We did this a few weeks ago, long enough that I’ve gotten a lot of “Can I PLEASE change my Yuni guess?” messages. The answer, of course, is no. I am a kind and handsome dictator, but I’m still a dictator.
2.5 ejections for Ned Yost: 63 over, 37 under. Comment: I’m actually not sure how many times he got booted last year, and have no idea which is the better guess here. I just like the idea of keeping track.
24 home runs by Eric Hosmer: 75 over, 25 under. Comment: All of these statistical categories came after checking out projections from Bill James and others on Fangraphs. I think the Vegas number is 25.
.835 OPS for Alex Gordon: 49 over, 51 under. Comment: The most divisive issue on Royals’ Over-Under, like our own little Border War!
.319 on-base percentage for Jeff Francoeur: 57 over, 43 under. Comment: He was at .329 last year, and the highest projection I saw was .320, so he’s slowly making believers out of you people.
63 extra-base hits for Billy Butler: 80 over, 20 under. Comment: Big support for my man Billy here, but this is also a big number.
.275 batting average for Mike Moustakas: 32 over, 68 under. Comment: Under would be my initial guess, too, but I thought more would be optimistic.
12.5 starts for Mike Montgomery: 17 over, 83 under. Comment: I put this number too high, but in some ways, 12.5 is the same as 5.5. If he comes out blazing in Omaha, there’s a decent chance he’s called up in May or June. His ceiling is something like an average between Moose and Hosmer.
10.5 wins for Luke Hochevar: 79 over, 21 under. Comment: I’d write something like “there’s a damn good pitcher in here if he can harness what he was over that one stretch,” but I feel like we’ve done that plenty of times before.
85 walks for Jonathan Sanchez: 60 over, 40 under. Comment: Sanchez is going to be the star of some postgame shows, good and bad.
4.85 ERA for Danny Duffy: 14 over, 86 under. Comment: Did this off the projections, but I’d go strong under on this one too. I think Duffy’s going to have a big year.
33 team saves: 93 over, 7 under. Comment: Stupid number by me. You got a gimme.