Royals

Ask Andy: Is Lorenzo Cain an MVP candidate?

Mike Trout of the Angels was congratulated by the Royals ‘Lorenzo Cain after scoring during the fifth inning of Tuesday’s All-Star baseball game in Cincinnati.
Mike Trout of the Angels was congratulated by the Royals ‘Lorenzo Cain after scoring during the fifth inning of Tuesday’s All-Star baseball game in Cincinnati. AP

Apologies for the delay. The mailbag was delayed by Friday’s doubleheader and the temporary call-up of John Lamb. Enough excuses. Let’s answer some questions.

I’m not sure if I’ll have an MVP vote this season – ask Kansas City BBWAA chapter chair Jeff Passan, he decides who votes on what – but the only Royal who merits consideration for me is Lorenzo Cain.

He ranks fifth in the American League in FanGraphs’ version of wins above replacement. He’s an potential Gold Glove center fielder who entered Saturday’s games with a .373 wOBA, a 140 wRC+ and a 136 OPS+. It’s hard to say he’s been more valuable than Mike Trout or Josh Donaldson or Manny Machado, but he’s been a beast, especially in the last couple weeks.

Given Cain’s breakout turn last October and again at the All-Star Game, he’ll definitely end up on more than a few ballots if he continues this production.

Ned Yost on the six-man rotation: "I don’t like six-mans . . . Six-mans don’t work."

Dayton Moore on the six-man rotation: "Some of our guys could probably benefit from it. Others wouldn’t. It’s nothing we’ve discussed."

Barring an injury, I imagine Lamb spends September with the club. Even if he doesn’t have a set role, it would be a nice reward for a pitcher who has overcome a good deal and maintained his enthusiasm for the game despite a series of setbacks.

Fuenmayor is a more interesting case. He is not on the 40-man roster, and the club is already hoping to bring him back on a minor-league deal in 2016. It would be interesting to see how he handles a pinch-hitting role – but Yost rarely uses pinch-hitters. If he comes up, he’ll need to hit immediately and consistently, otherwise he’ll disappear like Carlos Peguero.

What say you, Zack Greinke? Want to come back to Kansas City?

Zack’s answer.

Unless Zack Greinke decides Kansas City is the best place to start his post-career lawncare business, it’s hard to imagine him returning. Even heading into his age-32 season, he’ll still likely fetch more than $100 million on the open market. The Royals have never spent like that, and general manager Dayton Moore has shown no inclination that his team suddenly will.

We’ve reached the mathematical portion of the mailbag.

Based on statistical probability, the answer is most likely no. With a 52-34 record, Kansas City won at a .605 clip in the first half. If they replicate that pace in the final 76 games, they’ll record 45 more victories – good for only 97. With Alex Gordon down until September, it’s hard to see the Royals playing better baseball than the first half. But if they can maintain their edge in the American League Central, they’ll be just fine.

How did you know I had a subscription to the Baseball-Reference Play Index? I guess it was fairly obvious from some of the statistics in this story about Wade Davis.

I also have access to a calculator. Heading into Friday’s doubleheader with the White Sox, the Royals owned a 101-61 record across their last 162.

1. I don’t really miss Lucas Duda. He was a nice guy, though.

2. During the playoffs, Yost and pitching coach Dave Eiland turned their late-game management into a science. The emergence of Kelvin Herrera certainly helped. But Yost has shown aggression in deploying his relievers in ways he did not last year. Take Friday’s day game. He could have sent Chris Young back out for the sixth inning. Instead he opened up the bullpen for the last four innings, and Kansas City didn’t allow another run. Yost has figured out which relievers he can trust, and how to maximize that knowledge. That’s one reason why this idea that the Royals need an ace for October is a fallacy. The days off in between games allow managers to utilize a quick hook with their starters and push their relievers hard.

Of course I like mac and cheese. It’s unpatriotic to not like mac and cheese. I would eat Kraft shapes every single day, but I’m trying to stay alive past 28. My favorite dish in America is the chorizo mac and cheese at The Vig (various locations) in Phoenix.

There are plenty of better options than this, but here are three places I like:

1. Taco Joint, on Ontario and LaSalle – Good tacos, better tortilla soup.

2. Dough Bros Pizzeria and Sub Shop, on State and Kinzie – This place sells New York-style pizza, which makes it an oasis in this town of sacrilegious pizza.

3. Joe Fish, on Dearborn and Illinois – Get the Caprese salad with San Marzano tomatoes. Delightful.

It was not. He seems like a nice fellow, though. I always dreamed of being known for being rude to people on Twitter.

Probably "24 Frames."

It would have to be "Disintegration" by The Cure. It’s one of my five favorite records anyway, probably, and it befits the scenery. It’s dreamy, it’s woozy, it rewards repeated listens. It would make me miss the idea of people, more than it would make me miss actual people. And since I’m on a space ship going to Pluto, I wouldn’t be able to see any people.

Wow. What a question. I would try for some sort of aesthetic consistency, so as much as it pains me I wouldn’t invite Jason Isbell or The 1975 or The Cure or Tycho or Killer Mike or Torche or Merchandise or Deftones or a thousand other bands I love.

Opener: Turnover.

Second opener: The Hotelier.

Third opener: Japandroids.

Fourth opener: The Wonder Years.

Headliner: Brand New.

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4370 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @McCulloughStar.

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