We have some opening weekend recaps for you! Alex covered the Wilmington Blue Rocks, while Drew went with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
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Over at Royals Review, Hokius finished up his top 50 Royals series by WAR.
Kevin Appier might just be the most underrated player to ever put on a uniform for Kansas City. Though, in fairness, he might just be the most underrated pitcher with David DeJesustaking home the “award” for position players. You see Ape ranked here as the second most valuable player in team history, the most valuable pitcher, and many fans probably wouldn’t even consider him if they were asked to choose the best or favorite pitcher. He had 3 separate seasons with an ERA under 3 which included 1993 when he went 18-8 and led the league with a 2.56 ERA over 238.2 innings. He was the most valuable player in the AL, bar none, at 9.3 bWAR. That’s more than Ken Griffey Jr., Rafael Palmeiro, Kenny Lofton, or teammate David Cone. One example of how underrated he was, even in his own time, is that he finished third in Cy Young Award voting, that year, to winner Jack McDowell and second-place Randy Johnson. Johnson, at least, had the slight edge in fWAR even though Ape crushed him in bWAR but both of them were considerably better by either measure than McDowell. McDowell’s team won its division, something neither Appier nor Johnson could claim, and he broke the 20-win plateau for the second straight year so he got the nod.
Staying at Royals Review, Ryan Heffernon thinks it’s hard to tell if the Royals really are rebuilding.
It seems like the right time to at the least recognize the Royals recent failings in the draft and perhaps even look towards reforming their whole strategy. The Royals haven’t selected a position player in the first round of the draft since Dozier in 2013. Of those last 12 selections, just three have been position players and the nine pitchers that have been selected have combined for a whopping zero starts in Kansas City.
Tyler Dierking of Kings of Kauffman puts Brandon Maurer on watch.
Since the trade, Maurer has been a complete disaster. There is truly no other way to explain it. Over his 26 appearances and 20.0 innings in 2017, Maurer had a horrendous 8.10 ERA. He would also go on to allow two or more runs in five games. That is nearly 20% of his appearances.
Over at Fangraphs, Rian Watt looks at team’s early bullpen performances in 2018.
But the unpredictability of a bullpen’s performance in the future is another matter altogether from the performance of that bullpen in the past. Relievers threw a little over 38% of all innings pitched last year, and that figure is up to 42.3% through games played this past Saturday. Having a good — or at least not a terribly bad — bullpen is increasingly critical to a team’s chances of making and thereafter succeeding in the postseason, and so even if we should retain a measure of humility about our ability to predict what will happen before the season, we should nonetheless keep a close eye on how bullpens actually do once the season starts.