Hello out there cyber-space travelers. My name is Aaron Stilley, and I am a Royals-aholic. Blogfathers Craig & Clark are welcoming me aboard as a third wheel here at Royals Authority, and I am excited to be joining such excellent writers and fans. My main bloggy home to this point has been a solo venture called Royal Heritage. I’ve also written about Jackie Robinson’s time with the Monarchs, did a weekly post at I70Baseball.com for a while, and twit it up at @Royal_Heritage. My interest in Kansas City, baseball, and history led me to start digging into the history of the game in KC, so I focus almost as much on the Cowboys, Unions, Packers, Blues, A’s, and Monarchs as I do the Royals.
I was born and raised in Kansas City, and am just old enough to half remember the ’85 World Series. I was a fairly casual fan as a kid, but have fond memories of going to Royals Stadium with my family, my dad telling me Willie Wilson was faster than greased lightning, watching Frank White’s grace at second base, Bo Jackson being Bo Jackson, George Brett’s last home game, and singing “Woolly Bully” with my brother when Danny Tartabull came to the plate. Baseball completely dropped off my radar during high school and college, so I have a Royals blind spot around 1995-2003. But after college, I was living in Minneapolis and then Iowa City, and I found myself missing Kansas City. The Royals started to serve as a lifeline back to my hometown and my friends and family there. I couldn’t actually see many games, but I read game recaps religiously for those terrible teams in ’04-’06, attended games on visits home, and eventually found some of the great writing going on at fan sites. Reading Moneyball sometime in there was also a big influence on my love for baseball returning, as well as on seeing the game through new-school eyes.
In 2007, my wife and I moved back to KC, and I haven’t missed many games since. Attending games at the K again on a regular basis was idyllic. In 2013, my wife’s job situation led us to move to a suburb of Minneapolis, so baseball is once again serving as a long distance connection back to the place I love.
I’ll probably be commenting on the current state of affairs for the team on occasion, but for the foreseeable future, I’ll be focusing on kicking off my list of the top 100 Royals players. In light of the maddening offense and Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer injuries, it might serve as a nice break to go back and look at what went right for some players. I compiled the list in a very stat-heavy way, which I’ll explain below, but I don’t want the actual posts to be too bogged down by stats. I’ll attempt to convey the shape of each player’s time with the club and explore how they found success.
I’m using a strict formula for my rankings, so the list doesn’t exactly reflect my opinion of who the top 100 players are, though I guess you could say the formula is my subjective guess at how to best rank players. Adam Darowski’s work at the Hall of Stats had a big influence on my method. Here’s how I’ve done it:
- All players with at least 500 plate appearances or 50 innings pitched were considered.
- Three numbers are used: 1. Wins Above Average (WAA) from Baseball-Reference.com, 2. an average of Wins Above Replacement (WAR) found at Baseball-Reference.com and Fangraphs.com, and 3. a 0-10 rating for playoff performance.
- Because I’m only trying to capture peak performance with WAA, any seasons with negative WAA are thrown out.
- To put WAA and WAR on the same scale, I multiply WAR by .47.
- Any Royal to appear in a playoff game automatically gets at least a 1 on their playoff rating. The more postseason games and the better the performance, the higher the score. There’s some subjectivity in those ratings. After running the player ratings with the playoff points, I decided the playoff factor was giving guys too much of a boost. So I multiplied the 1-10 ratings by .7, meaning any player to appear in a playoff game automatically gets .7 points added to their score, and as much as 7.
- Add those three numbers together.
I’m looking forward to getting started on the list and my time at Royals Authority. Cheers.