There have been some over/under type topics on other websites and comments, so apologies to anyone who thinks I stole their idea (it’s possible that I did!).
Here are ten numbers that I think will have a very distinct impact on what the Royals’ 2010 season might become. Hitting the overs on these would, without question, surpass all expectations anyone has for the team this coming season.
- Zack Greinke’s Win Total
Wins are a horrible indicator of how good a starting pitcher really was (see Zack Greinke circa 2009), but if the Royals are going to have at least an acceptable season, Zack will need to pitch well and be rewarded for it. How many games did he leave last year after giving up two runs or less in six plus innings of work and not get a win? EIGHT.
The over/under for Greinke wins: 18
- Gil Meche’s Innings
Another key to the Royals’ in 2010 is simply a healthy Gil Meche. You can spin it anyway you want to (and there is major portion of the Royals’ fanbase that simply refuses to believe Meche is good), but not a lot of pitchers can match Meche’s two year run through 2007 and 2008 for innings and performance. Comfortably settled in as the number two pitcher and hopefully healthy, Meche grinding up major innings with an earned run average in the upper threes is a necessity and a very real possibility.
The over/under for Meche innings: 200
- Alex Gordon Home Runs
Will 2010 be the year that Alex actually breaks out? If not, the chances that there ever will be a breakout season will pretty much be gone. There are a lot of factors that define ‘break out’: on-base percentage, lower strikeouts, a decent average, but if Gordon hits with power and posts a big number in this area, I have to believe all those other things will have fallen in line, too.
The over/under for Gordon home runs: 27
- Mike Aviles Games Played
Unlike so many other players, Aviles will not get to play unless he is actually performing (a novel concept, I know). Plus, playing in a number of games will mean he is truly healthy. Given that a number of organizational favorites that are between Mike and playing time, he will truly earn whatever appearances he is granted. The more Aviles the better, in my book.
Over/under on Aviles games played: 105
- Chris Getz On-Base Percentage
I am on the Getz bandwagon, for better or worse. Assuming he is the everyday second baseman, which I think is almost pre-ordained, his ability to get on-base is key.
Over/under on Getz OBP: .360
- Rick Ankiel Slugging Percentage
Ankiel is going to play, barring injury, and his calling card will be power. I don’t care if it’s doubles or home runs and I think we would be be delusional to believe whatever power Rick hits with would be accompanied by batting average and on-base percentage.
Over/under on Ankiel’s ‘Slug’: .500
- Joakim Soria’s Saves
Again, in the world of pitching, saves is not a tremendous indicator of performance. When taken in terms of the team concept, your closer getting major numbers of saves is an indicator of good starting pitching, solid setup and at least enough offense to keep you in the game. In this case, Soria getting enough save opportunities (that he converts them is as safe a bet as there is) will mean that void that existed in innings seven and eight last year has been filled.
Over/under on Soria’s saves: 40
- Billy Butler’s Doubles
We expect a lot out of Billy this year and with good reason. He might have ‘batting title’ potential. He might hit a ton of home runs. He might be the total hitting package. In the end, if Butler has a ton of doubles, everything else will likely take care of itself.
Over/under on Billy’s doubles: 55
- Luke Hochevar’s ERA
How nice would it be for Hochevar to simply become solid? I’m not asking for the moon here, just for the former number one pick to settle as a nice middle of the rotation guy. We will assume that Hochevar will get the ball every fifth day this year, so posting something reasonable in this category would be big for the Royals.
Over/under on Hochevar’s earned run average: 4.30
- Jose Guillen’s Games Played
You can hope that Jose is healthy, content and gets off to a good start, making him tradable or at least tolerable. However, since I tend to live in the real world, I think the best thing that can happen is that Jose simply does not play a lot for whatever reason. Unlike the other nine over/unders, this one is all about hitting the under.
Over/under on Guillen games played: 24
Make the first nine overs and hit the last under and Kansas City might not be a contender, but they at least will be interesting.