Saturday, August 27, 2005

Today is one of those days...

... you curse ever having been born a Kansas City Royals fan.

-- I may have failed to mention this before, but I think I'm building a pretty strong case that Jeremy Affeldt is the worst waste of pitching talent in the history of baseball. What an unbelievable head case. His first act, of course, was his customary walk - a leadoff walk, in fact, with a four-run lead. Brilliant. There were so many other things to point out about Affeldt's "performance", but none more lame than watching Affeldt make that pathetic, rushed throw to second base on Posada's comebacker, which should have been an EASY double play to end the game. Affeldt could have RAN to second base and beaten Giambi to the bag -- that's how much time he had to make the throw.

It was a thing of beauty in the baseball bizarro world - two players with the lowest collective baseball IQ in the major leagues joining forces to botch a simple play that led to the unraveling of a sure win. Indeed, Affeldt's throw was pathetic, but Berroa still should have caught it. Instead you could see that Berroa was consumed with getting the double play so he didn't do what smart players do - just make sure you catch the damn ball. Note to Angel Berroa: runner at 1st and 2 outs with the bottom of the order coming up is a whole different world than 1st and 2nd with 1 out. It's uncanny how similar Berroa and Affeldt are - two extremely gifted, physically talented players who have absolutely no idea how to play baseball.

In the 15% of the time he can actually throw pitches where he wants, Affeldt is SO tantalizing. Every Affeldt apologist focuses on that, and its certainly tough not to notice. It's the other 85% of the time that makes him the most nauseating Royal pitcher in recent memory.

-- I have absolutely no explanation for why Shawn Camp was brought into the game after Affeldt's usual horribleness. I'm eager to hear Bell's explanation for this one.

-- If anyone ever doubted the influence of the sabermetric revolution on the Royals' front office, you need look no further than J.P. Howell. The guy is 22 years old, and he does not throw any pitch harder than 85 (I take that back - he really overthrew one pitch today that was way outside and touched 86), yet he's been fast-tracked through the Royal minor league system like he's Felix Hernandez. The guy literally has Jamie Moyer's repertoire at half his age. I'm as performance analysis-oriented as anyone, and J.P. has been successful at all of his stops (but not, of course, his first stop with the big club), but is there ANY hope that a guy who throws as "hard" (I use that term loosely) as J.P. Howell can achieve sustained success in the major leagues? I seriously can't recall watching any starting pitcher in the major leagues in recent memory who consistently tops out at 85. Either the Royals are ahead of the curve in their thinking about major league pitchers, or Howell is not going to last very long in this league.

Curious to hear your thoughts.


At 6:23 PM, Blogger SoonerRoyal said...

Very disgusting game. Affeldt and Berroa really give us a hard time. Both have plenty of God-given talent. I don't think anyone will question that. But, like you said, they can't translate talent into performance. That seems to be a large problem in the organization. It appears MacDougal has a tired arm and the Royals just wanted to rest him.

I'm not sold on Howell. Howell has a good curve and splitter and changes speeds effectively. So, that helps compensate for the lack of velocity. To succeed I think he'll have to have excellent control because even Teahan could hit his mid-80s fastball out of the park if he doesn't locate it well.

At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots of pitchers have succeeded without a great fastball, but very few do it on their first try in the majors, or even their second. Jamie Moyer is a great example of that--and he was below-average for years before he came around. (Other examples include Bob Tewksbury and Bill Swift.) You're right, any pitcher like that should do a long minor-league apprenticeship before being brought to the majors.


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