Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Royals Trade Lough for Valencia

In another sneaky SABR move by the Royals front office David Lough was sent to the Inner Harbor for right hand hitting, OBP deprived Danny Valencia. It didn't take the Royals Twitterverse more than an infield pop up's worth of time to realize that Valencia hits left handers at a decent clip and would be an ideal platoon partner to incumbent third baseman, Mike Moustakas.

But then...

So the plot thickens.

Actually, it was extremely predictable that Dayton Moore would hesitate to label this as a platoon. There are too many factors at play. The most important of which being that Kansas City doesn't want to officially label Mike Moustakas as a platoon player. Ideally, Moustakas hits in 2014 like the prospect experts all expected him to. Yes, he has been terribly disappointing thus far in his Major League career, but there are still well respected people in the industry that expect much bigger things from Moustakas moving forward.

Nonetheless, if the Royals find themselves in a platoon situation in 2014, they could have done much worse than Danny Valencia. In 428 career plate appearances versus left handed pitching, the former 19th round selection has hit .329/.367/.513 against southpaws. Last year alone he torched lefties to the tune of a .371/.392/.639 line.

Individually, here are The Spitter's projections for Mike Moustakas and Danny Valencia for 2014 (adjusted to 600 plate appearances):

  • Mike Moustakas: .237/.290/.379 with 15 home runs, a .290 wOBA and a 1.98 WAR.
  • Danny Valencia: .261/.290/.445 with 20 home runs, a .312 wOBA and a 1.29 WAR.
Basically, you have a couple of guys with poor contact and even poorer walk rates. Moustakas comes in with a higher WAR thanks to an above average glove, while Valencia is below average at third. Here is what we get if we run it as a platoon between the two players with a 30/70 split in favor of Moustakas.

  • .265/.307/.437 with 19 home runs, a .319 wOBA and a 2.90 WAR. 
What we see here is that if the Royals did go with a true platoon from the offset, Danny Valencia would compliment Moustakas extremely well and raise the overall production from third base by about a win.Of course, if Mosutakas does prove that he is more than a platoon player, your problem is solved anyway. If implemented correctly, this is the kind of sly move that an organization can make to grab an extra win. 

Now as for where Valencia fits into the roster puzzle. Valencia is out of options (reason why he appears to be more than a Brandon Wood, worst case scenario back up plan to Moustakas). The way the current bench sets up is backup catcher, Emilio Bonifacio, Justin Maxwell, and Jarrod Dyson. This would give the Royals 13 hitters on their active roster. 

The wise thing for the Royals to do would be to carry 14 hitters. The rotation is full of innings eaters (except for the 5 spot which figures to be occupied by either Yordano Ventura or Danny Duffy). There are also enough arms in Omaha to enable a sort of shuttle system that can stretch the bullpen deeper than a typical 6 man pen can. Dayton Moore has displayed the creativity to successfully utilize a psuedo shuttle system in the past and I believe he can do it again.

By carrying 11 pitchers instead of 14, it would enable the Royals to truly platoon Moustakas and Valencia, while also keeping a balanced bench with a nice array of skills. Maxwell could pinch hit against lefties. Dyson and Bonifacio can both run. Maxwell can hit for power. Dyson can get on base. Between Dyson and Bonifacio you have every spot on the diamond covered in case of injury or the need of a defensive replacement. 

I'm disappointed with the Royals decision to DFA George Kottaras. I still think it could wind up costing them a win. However, I think they have positioned themselves well to have a very nice bench in 2014. What is more likely to happen is that Kansas City will opt to go with the 12 man staff that they have had through a majority of the Dayton Moore era. If I had to guess, this would be it for Jarrod Dyson. 

As for David Lough, he will always be a personal favorite of mine. He is an extremely personable individual and always has a smile on his face. His rookie season was fantastic to watch and he played an enormous role in the Royals second half resurgence. I wish him all the best and I'm looking forward to watching him in an Oriole jersey next season. #YoLough.

No comments:

Post a Comment