For Pete's Sake

ESPN writer: Royals have worst position players in the majors. ‘It’s not even close’

Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost.
Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost. jsleezer@kcstar.com

For those familiar with the movie “Animal House,” you likely will recall a scene when the dean of Faber College is discussing grades with five of the Delta Tau Chi fraternity members.

When Dean Wormer gets to Mr. Blutarsky, he sneers and says his grade-point average:

Zero. Point. Zero.

Sadly, 0.0 has a tie to the Royals. It’s their chances of making the playoffs this year, according to ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle, who is a former Star writer.

It was part of Doolittle’s outlook this season for all 30 teams in his “MLB stock watch.”

In his introduction, Doolittle wrote: “The projections from my system (called MLBPET) and the accompanying Monte Carlo-style simulations are a little more exact this time around in that I’ve done my detailed depth charts of the winter, which include things like incorporating all non-roster invitees that could end up breaking camp with a team. As you’d expect, the effect of most of these small tweaks is marginal. Still, some clown-sized shoes have dropped, such as Yu Darvish’s addition to the Cubs, so the numbers have evolved.”

That’s not good news for the Royals, whose expected win total has dropped to 64.3. Only the Marlins are expected to win fewer games.

Royals fans are bracing for a rebuild, but Doolittle paints a bleak picture.

He wrote: “As it stands, the Royals will field the worst group of position players in the majors. It’s not even close. MLBPET has them at a collective 6.7 WAR — less than Mike Trout. ... San Diego finished last in the majors in position-player WAR in 2017 with 7.3, according to Fangraphs.com.”

Of course, the Royals’ roster is not set. However, center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who was the Royals’ top player according to Baseball Reference’s Wins Against Replacement, is now with the Brewers. And, third baseman Mike Moustakas, who set a franchise record with 38 homers last season, is also a free agent and is unlikely to be back.

First baseman Eric Hosmer, who was second on the Royals in WAR, is a free agent and reportedly has an offer on the table from the Royals to return. Hosmer’s presence in the Royals lineup undoubtedly would change Doolittle’s equation.

You can read more of what Doolittle wrote about the Royals and the rest of the league here.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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