Saturday, February 23, 2013

Moustakas and the Sprained Knee

Throughout the offseason, I have heard Bob Dutton in adament fashion and on several occasions attribute Moustakas's final season line to a knee injury that occurred in Seattle on July 28. As most of us remember, the former #2 overall selection got off to solid start after scuffling over the first few games of the season. In fact, after a 2-for-4 performance on May 7, versus Boston his triple slash stood at .313/.370/.545.

Unfortunately, we also remember his two month long slump that dropped his final slash line to .242/.296/.412. It is Bob Dutton's belief that Moustakas's disappointing close wasn't a reflection of declining performance, but instead the reflection of a player disguising an injury. What do the numbers say?

  • Opening Day through July 28: 95 games, .262/.317/.461 with 16 home runs, 50 RBI, 25 walks, and 76 strikeouts
  • July 31 through the end of the season: 54 games, .204/.259/.323 with 4 home runs, 23 RBI, 14 walks, and 48 strikeouts
Just a glance at those numbers would seem to back up Dutton's theory. Also, just to be clear we aren't dealing with hand picked arbitrary endpoints either. This is examining a particular event and focusing on the numbers before and after the event. However, we should also ask ourselves if Moustakas was already beginning the slump prior to his injury? Let's break it up this time into three parts. 

  • Opening Day through May 7: 27 games, .313/.370/.545 with 4 home runs, 15 RBI, 7 walks and 18 strikeouts
  • May 8 through July 28: 68 games, .243/.297/.430 with 12 home runs, 35 RBI, 18 walks and 58 strikeouts
  • July 31 through the end of the season: 54 games, .204/.259/.323 with 4 home runs, 23 RBI, 14 walks and 48 strikeouts
Of course, here we are dealing with arbitrary end points. I intentionally selected Mike's high water mark in order to make the middle set of numbers appear as poor as possible. Perhaps a more fair approach would be to simply look at Moose's 54 games prior to the injury and final 54 games of the season.

  • 54 games prior to knee sprain: .256/.310/.449 with 9 home runs, 13 doubles, 31 RBI, 15 walks and 46 strikeouts
  • Final 54 games of the season: .204/.259/.323 with 4 home runs, 10 doubles, 1 triple, 23 RBI, 14 walks and 48 strikeouts
The final set of bullets, I think is a good illustration of the point Dutton is making. Again, this is an attempt to use splits that are as far from arbitrary as possible. Ultimately, in each of these three breakdowns, it is clear that Moustakas was a totally different player over the final third of the season. 

Moustakas claims that the injury was having no affect on his performance, but we shouldn't kid ourselves. There is no media member with his finger closer to the pulse of the Kansas City Royals than Bob Dutton. If Bob Dutton believes that Moustakas's August and September struggles were due to an injury that he was trying to keep under wraps, then I believe him. This is especially true when the numbers back it up. Hopefully, Dutton proves to be right, and Moustakas's knee can stay healthy in 2013. 

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