I had this great idea where I would do a report card for the whole season. Kind of like I’ve done in the past for the team during the All-Star Break. This was a fine idea except:
1. No one really wants to review the sucktastic 2010 season.
And 2. Only two Royal hitters had enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title and only two pitchers had enough innings to qualify for the ERA title. That’s it.
Basically, when anyone tries to tell you that the Yunigma was a decent player in 2010 – because he tied for the team lead in home runs and RBI! – just point out that quantity does not equal quality.
The other Royal to qualify for the batting title would be Billy Butler.
So instead of a complete rehash of 2010, I’ll do a minor look back and present to you my hypothetical ballot for the Royals Player of the Year. This is an actual award, voted on by the Kansas City chapter of the BBWAA and has been bestowed upon the Royals top player since 1971. George Brett is obviously the most honored Royal, winning the award eight times. Amos Otis and Mike Sweeney are the second most decorated, both winning the award three times. For awhile, I harbored an illusion that someday the Royals would open the voting to us basement dweller types, but when I learned that the voting is controlled by the writers covering the team, that pipe dream circled the drain.
Here’s my top three for Royals position player of the year. I’ll hold onto my ballot for the pitchers for Friday. Hey, it’s the off season… I have to pace myself.
1 – Billy Butler
Really, this is an absolute no-brainer to me. As mentioned before, he was only one of two Royals who accumulated over 500 plate appearances. And while the Yunigma gave us quantity and not quality, Butler provided both. He led the team in OBP and WAR and was second in slugging and OPS+. His defense improved enough that he’s no longer viewed as a liability with the glove.
2 – David DeJesus
He was having the finest season of his career before he destroyed his thumb attempting to make a catch against the wall in Yankee Stadium prematurely ended his season. From May 11 to June 28, he hit .384 with a .449 OBP. DeJesus’ defense didn’t suffer too much in the move across to right field. He was solid, if unspectacular with the glove.
3 – Wilson Betemit
He could have jumped ahead of DeJesus, but he was absolutely abysmal with the glove. His 141 OPS+ and .511 slugging percentage were tops on the team and his 2.7 offensive WAR was second only to Butler. He basically played half a season. It would have been fun if we could have seen him for the full slate of games. Of course, I probably would have broken a TV or two watching him ole´ ground balls hit to his left.
If Butler actually wins, he would be the first Royal to win back to back since Brett in ’79 and ’80. Although the evil, stat-driven blogger inside of me is rooting for The Yunigma… Just because it would make the electorate look silly.
Anyway, now it’s your turn. Cast your votes and explanations in the comments.