Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Royals Flashing Leather

As I'm sure you have heard by now, five Royals have been named finalists for 2013 American League Gold Gloves. Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Alex Gordon, and Lorenzo Cain will learn if they are taking home the hardware during tonight's award show at 7 pm on ESPN 2.

The Gold Glove is a nice little honor for the player, but ultimately it might be the most worthless out of any of the nationally acclaimed awards. Nonetheless, I'll be rooting for each of the nominated Royals to take home the hardware tonight.

An award more reflective of results would be that of the Fielding Bible Award winners. This year, Alex Gordon took home the trophy for top left fielder. (I'm not sure if there is an actual trophy.) The panel for this award includes: Bill James, BIS Video Scouts, Dave Cameron, Doug Glanville, Hal Richman, Joe Posnanski, Mark Simon, Peter Gammons, and Tom Tango's fan poll among others. It is an interesting hodgepodge of people associated with baseball. With that being said, I give the Fielding Bible Award more credence than the Gold Glove.

Here's a look at how each of the Royals finalist ranked in terms of UZR/150 among their qualifying Major League positional peers:

  • Salvador Perez: 3rd out of 16 in defensive value according to Fangraphs. (Top in the AL)
  • Eric Hosmer: 11th out of 19 (8th out of 11 in AL)
  • Alcides Escobar: 3rd out of 21 (2nd out of 11 in AL)
  • Lorenzo Cain: 4th out of 22 (1st out of 13 in AL) *Had to lower minimum innings to 750.
  • Alex Gordon: 7th out of 18 (4th out of 9 in AL)
My guess is that Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon take home the hardware. I do not think that Eric Hosmer is deserving and I don't think that Alcides Escobar hit enough to win a Gold Glove. Lorenzo Cain is on the short list of best fielders in baseball, but the fact that he only played in 115 games hurts his case.

We'll see how it goes. Go Royals!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Looking Ahead 2014 MLB Draft

With the season in the books, Kansas City is slated to select 19th in Major League Baseball's 2014 First Year Player Draft. This is much lower than the Royals are accustomed to making their first selection. It is important to note, that the Royals first round selection will not be protected this season. This means that if the team signs a Free Agent who received a qualifying offer from his former club, the Royals will forfeit their first round pick to that former club.

In addition to the 19th overall selection, the Major League Baseball Welfare committee has also awarded Kansas City with the 37th overall selection. This selection will likely slide several spots after compensation picks are awarded.

Speaking of compensation, the Royals may be receiving one of these picks. If Ervin Santana declines the Royals qualifying offer and signs with another organization, Kansas City will likely find themselves with three picks in the top 45 selections of the 2014 MLB Draft.

Given the current nature of the MLB draft it is important to consider how bonus pools affect a team's draft approach. Last season Kansas City had roughly $8,290,700 million to play with, but this year that number figures to be much lower. Let's try to figure out what it might be, assuming slot values stay the same. (This estimates for 6 compensation picks, just like in 2013.)

  • 19th overall selection (1st round) - $2,055,800
  • 37th overall selection (compensatory round) - $1,508,600
  • 43rd overall selection (competitive balance round) - $1,229,600
  • 62nd overall selection (2nd round) - $899,400
  • 98th overall selection (3rd round) - $525,500
  • 128th overall selection (4th round) - $393,500
  • 158th overall selection (5th round) -$294,600
  • 188th overall selection (6th round) - $220,600
  • 218th overall selection (7th round) - $165,400
  • 248th overall selection (8th round) - $152,200
  • 278th overall selection (9th round) - $142,200
  • 308th overall selection (10th round) - $135,300
  • Total Bonus Pool - $7,722,700
Basically, the Royals figure to have roughly $500,000 less to play with in 2014 than they did in 2013. Also, a team can spend up to 5% over that allotted amount without surrendering a future draft pick. Just last season the Royals exceeding their pool by roughly $80,000. Based off of these estimates the Royals would have approximately $8,108,835 to spend on the 2014 draft. Last season a bonus pool of this size would have ranked 9th in baseball.

As we are beginning to see with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, it is far more important to look at a draft class in its entirety than it is to compare individual selections. The Royals may be picking 19th overall in 2014, but if the team receives compensation for Ervin Santana and doesn't sign a qualifying free agent, the Royals will once again be in excellent position to add to the farm system. 

If you are interested in viewing an incredibly early report on the 2014 draft's top 50 prospects, you can click on this link here