Prior to the season, I wrote of the Super Bullpen. A group of awesome bullpen arms and some suggestions on how to utilize such a group to help a less than impressive starting rotation. So far, the Royals have deployed their Super Bullpen in an extremely effective way. The entire pitching staff sports a 4.15 ERA*, which includes a 5.12 starting rotation ERA.
*ERA is an imperfect stat, but for clarity and simplicity, we’re using it today.
It’s not exactly a dominant staff, but in the Royals division it’s certainly competitive. The following chart shows each team in the AL Central’s staff ERA (ERA), Starters ERA (sERA) and Relief ERA (rERA).
The Royals have the 2nd best ERA in the division. That’s the definition of competitive. Even though there was wailing and gnashing of teeth over the rotation and how it could never be good enough to win games, that has thus far been proven a fallacy. The problem, unfortunately has been with the other side of the equation: the offense.
For awhile, it seemed like the Royals could hit the ball but just failed to score runs due to idiocy on the base-paths and black holes in the lineup. However that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore, but rather the fact that the Royals offense is woeful. The following chart shows each team in the AL Central in a couple of categories.
Last. That’s where the Royals show up in offense within their own division. This, not pitching is the reason they are not competitive right now. Here is the list of Royals who have played in 20 or more games and have a wOBA lower than the team average of .309. These are the gigantic sucks on the offense.
There are a smattering of young players on here who I’ll give a pass because they need to spend time developing. However Jeff Francoeur is the most significant issue. His job is to provide offense and he is at this point in the season completely inept at his job. On top of that his defense has been borderline atrocious other than having a solid arm. I don’t know if I can go so far as to say that it’s time for Wil Myers, but it’s certainly time to ditch Jeff Francoeur. He is hurting the team on a daily basis and yet continues to run out there nearly every day.
Until the Royals can come up with some runs, the At This Point Competitive Pitching Staff will continue to sit on the losing side of the ledger along with the rest of the team. The Royals have endured some bad injury luck which have forced Maier, Dyson, Pena, Quintero and Giavotella into more active roles, however it’s not the only reason.
If there is any hope in salvaging this season, it lies in the bats. Can they come to life as the weather heats up? Can the At This Point Competitive Pitching Staff continue to be so? Time will tell, tonight is the first game of the rest of our lives.