Team wOBA: .318. 24th in MLB, 13th in the AL.
Aside from being pretty bad, the Royals aren’t particularly interesting offensively. They feature a collection of decent batting averages, low OBP’s, and little power. Billy Butler looks like he will develop into a pretty good hitter. He’s only twenty-three years old, and he is second in the league in doubles with an even fifty. He’s also popped twenty-one home runs. There is a lot of reason for Royal fans to expect a further breakout next year. Beyond Butler, catcher Miguel Olivo has somehow hit twenty-three homers and only fourteen doubles, while walking seventeen times. Unusual to say the least. Alberto Callaspo provides good pop for a second basemen, with a .351 wOBA. David Dejesus is about a league average hitter with a .334 mark.
Team UZR: -40.1. 28th in MLB, 13th in the AL.
Dejesus is having a good year defensively in left. He’s posted a UZR/150 of 16.4, far and away the highest figure on the team. Mitch Maier has been a decent center fielder. Everybody else has been on the bad side of average, with some truly awful performances. Jose Guillen has a UZR of -16.6, and Yuniesky Betancourt’s glove has been nearly a win below average in only two months of play in KC. Willy Bloomquist can play pretty much everywhere, but can’t play well anywhere. One can only imagine how low Zack Greinke’s ERA would be if he did not have to deal with this motley crew of defenders behind him.
Team FIP: 4.27. 12th in MLB, 4th in the AL.
Speaking of Greinke, the Yankees unfortunately miss the should be Cy Young winner in this series (I saw unfortunately because the fans miss an opportunity to see one of baseball’s pitch in a situation that has no playoff implications.) The Bombers do get to see former number one draft choice Luke Hochevar. He’s shown flashes of brilliance (thirteen punch out game earlier this year) but he has a long way to go. As a ground ball pitcher with strike out stuff, he has the potential to be a very good starter. The problem is that he is already twenty-six, and therefore might be more of a finished product than future ace. Still, a 4.30 FIP from a second year player is very useful.
Anthony Lerew starts Tuesday. Before last week, he had not pitched in the majors since a few appearances with Atlanta in 2007. Tough duty getting Boston and New York right off the bat.
Robinson Tejeda had four great starts before a seven walk stinker against the Twins his last time out. He has eighty-two strike outs in sixty-eight innings, and though a large portion of that work came in relief, it will be interesting to see if he can compete for a starting job in Kansas City next year.
Kansas City’s bullpen has been something of a train wreck, minus closer Joaquim Soria. Soria has been great again, putting up a 2.74 FIP and over 12 K/9. After a rough start initially, Kyle Farnsworth has been a good man in the bullpen. He has a 3.07 FIP, and has been much better than the more highly lauded off season signee Juan Cruz. Beyond those two, Trey Hillman has pretty meager options.
Bonus info: I did discover that Ron Mahay came up as an outfielder for Boston in the course of checking up on the Royals roster. So, maybe one of you will find that interesting.
In two entirely different contexts, both clubs are playing out the string. Don’t expect any of the series’ six starters to work deep in the game. If you decide to watch, root for good baseball: the scores of these games have no further implications with the division already clinched.