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A crude and flawed 'analysis' of the 2014 Royals vs. the 2014 Tigers

So once you’re done here, I humbly ask you to read the column today on the underappreciated Bruce Weber and the overlooked K-State basketball program finding their perfect match in each other.

The reaction has been interesting, and generally reinforces why I wrote it. The confirmation bias people have from how it ended at Illinois, combined with an over-inflated memory of the actual substance and stability of Frank Martin’s time there means Weber has a steeper hill to climb in the hearts and minds of fans than most coaches who take over a program.

I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again, but the look of Weber’s first real freshman class at K-State is just one reason I think he and the program will be very happy together for a while.

Anyway, I got distracted on the awesome FanGraphs this morning, trying to quantify just how much the Royals are behind the Tigers entering the season. Here’s the quickie "analysis" I came up with, and this is admittedly flawed: add together the averaged projected WARs from Steamer and Oliver for each team’s expected regular lineup, starting rotation, and top three relievers.

Now, this obviously doesn’t account for bench strength, and only including three relievers probably shorts the Royals a bit, who have a very deep bullpen, especially when matched with the Tigers, whose bullpen is a relative weakness. Not to mention the inherent fallacy of projections^.

^ I thought the numbers for Hosmer, Butler, Duffy, and Iglesias were low, and the numbers for Davis, Kinsler and Jackson were high, just for starters.

But, anyway, I added it all up and the Royals came out to 35 and the Tigers at 42.4. Which means the Royals have some work to do, and need a breakout star or two, which I suppose we already knew on some level.

Some interesting numbers:

Sal Perez is the second best position player on either team, behind only the ridiculous Miguel Cabrera.

Mike Moustakas projects higher than Billy Butler and, I understand Butler’s "just" a DH, but really?

Each of Detroit’s starting pitchers project higher than each of the Royals’ starters, other than James Shields.

Here’s the full list for each team, my version of the I-did-the-math-so-now-you’re-stuck-with-it thing^:

2014 Royals

C: Sal Perez, 3.6

1B: Eric Hosmer, 2.6

2B: Omar Infante, 2.5

SS: Alcides Escobar, 0.7

3B: Mike Moustakas, 2.1

LF: Alex Gordon, 3.4

CF: Lorenzo Cain, 2.9

RF: Nori Aoki, 2.7

DH: Billy Butler, 1.8

SP: James Shields, 4.1

SP: Jeremy Guthrie, 1.2

SP: Jason Vargas, 1.7

SP: Danny Duffy, 1.0

SP: Wade Davis, 1.6

RP: Luke Hochevar, 0.9

RP: Tim Collins, 0.5

C: Greg Holland, 1.3

2014 Tigers

C: Alex Avila, 2.6

1B: Miguel Cabrera, 6.4

2B: Ian Kinsler, 3.4

SS: Jose Iglesias, 1.6

3B: Nick Castellanos,1.2

LF: Andy Dirks, 1.3

CF: Austin Jackson, 3.4

RF: Torii Hunter, 1.5

DH: Victor Martinez, 0.9

SP: Justin Verlander, 4.8

SP: Max Scherzer, 4.4

SP: Anibal Sanchez, 4.3

SP: Rick Porcello, 3.1

SP: Drew Smyly, 1.8

RP: Al Alburquerque, 0.4

RP: Bruce Rondon, 0.5

C: Joe Nathan, 0.8


^ Then again, you could just look here and see FanGraphs’ calculations of the full depth charts, which show the gap between the Royals and Tigers a bit smaller. (h/t Andy Clark).