Luis: Carlos Santana’s status from Royals calls into question the club’s direction for 2022

I was plagued by one situation Royals More than anything else since the club began rebuilding it: first rule. FanGraphs’ wins over the replacement stat confirm this. Since 2018, he has achieved the Royals’ first base -4.9 WAR, which ranks last in the Major League Baseball.

Yes, this is a passive war over four seasons. Because apparently, it is possible.

Players like Lucas Duda, Cheslor Cuthbert, Frank Schwindle Ryan McBroom contributed to that number, and in the .223/.300/.377 slash, which is 17 percent below the MLB average. This year, it’s Ryan O’Hearn And the Carlos Santana Who continue the sterility streak of the club.

Whether O’Hearn remains on the list is a valid question for another time. However, Santana’s continued presence is still stark in many ways.

First, there’s the unsettling fact that comes with the $17.5 million royals have agreed to pay Santana before 2021. Then there’s the outrageous context of what first base prospects Vinnie Pasquantino and Nick Prato are doing at Triple-A Omaha.

Last week, Pasquantino hit 0.478 with four home runs and 11 RBI wins. In 165 games at bat this year through Tuesday, he has made a 0.303 with a 1,063 OPS and just 30 strikes to 25 walks. Meanwhile, Pratto has a 0.412 on-base in May and a 0.831 OPS this season in 143 at-bats through Tuesday.

“Both are ready,” said one of the rival scouts for a division-leading team recently the athlete.

If that’s too anecdotal, how about some additional metrics: An analyst recently passed on Pasquantino’s batting data. He ranked above 75 percent in the International League (near the 99th percentile) in the following metrics: average exit speed (91 mph), maximum exit speed (115.3 mph), and percentage of hardest hits (46.4 mph) percent), the percentage of balls hit above 105 mph (15.2 percent), the list goes on.

While it is justifiable to showcase the Royals’ first base position in coordination with Santana’s contract and performance prospects, it seems particularly appropriate to also consider the way the Royals’ brass has played out for more than three years, starting in October 2018.

After a season in which the Royals finished 58-104, Moore met members of the media and Asked if seeing players perform The rebuilding of the club began.

“I think the trigger that started rebuilding was that we stopped talking about rebuilding,” Moore said. “I think when you create a mindset that you rebuild, you somehow build or make an excuse that it’s okay to lose baseball games. It’s not. I mean, Major League baseball players are paid to win, and we all understand that.”

A year later, after members of the royal family improved their record to 59-103, the organization underwent massive changes. Late owner David Glass sold the team to an ownership group led by John Sherman. Former director Ned Yost has retired, and Mike Matheny, who worked for the organization, becomes the new leader. On the day the royals introduced Matheny, he echoed Moore’s sentiments the year before: “You can’t tell me we won’t get a chance to win every day. … I think if you set cover or expectation, you’re probably going to live below that limit and not go over it or transcend it.”

The shortened season of the COVID-19 pandemic has the royal family touting the prospects for promotion Brady Singerand Chris Bobic and Carlos Hernandez – decisions for which Moore has since accepted responsibility – hoping they will win. The club finished 26-34.

He didn’t make the playoffs or come close.

In the off-season, with the club focused on Santana, Moore spoke with reporters and was asked about the outlook for 2021.

Here was his reply: “We expect to win next year. What does that look like? Will it be enough wins to make the playoffs? We’ll find out. But our mentality will be to go out and win every field, every half, every game. That’s the only way we’ll get another championship. You have to expect Winning from all sides. And trust me, (manager) Mike Matheny and the coaching staff totally understand that.”

The royals came out of the gates in the first place, and Santana had a 0.825 OPS at the end of May. Then his numbers fell, as did the record of members of the royal family.

They lost 11 in a row. They finished 74-88. Their hopes of winning again dwindled…once again.

The message from the Royals front office before 2022 was similar, and it continued into the season. The coaches did not want to use the word development, even though the team was stumbling 16 games below 0.500.

Two weeks ago, the club’s ordeal resulted in coach Terry Bradshaw being fired. But even on that day, as royal family leaders debated the decision, general manager JJ Piccolo and Matheny both reiterated their belief that the club could turn things around.

“We’re still in that race,” Piccolo said.

Meanwhile, Santana, who now has -0.4 wins without a substitute in 143 baseball appearances this season—and ranks 20th among the 264 Major League Baseball players to score 100 games—continued to play first base almost daily.

The royal family’s reasons for this varied widely. Athletic Ken Rosenthal I mentioned this recently: “Santana, who has earned $10.5 million this season, would become a more realistic commercial candidate if he got hot, and the team has two key basemen waiting, Nick Prato and Vinny Pasquantino.”

There is positive precedent for the wait-a-player approach to getting hot as it relates to the royal family, but it does include a player half a decade younger than him. Last year, the royal family stuck to Jorge Solerwho found shape and boosted his commercial value after members of the royal family flew on a special mission to beat coach Mike Tosar before deadline.

There is also a negative precedent. In 2019, members of the royal family continued to crack Chris Owings in the squad. He posted the .415 OPS in 145 board appearances before members of the royal family hired him for the appointment.

In this case, even dropping FanGraphs’ The Bat X, which accounts for Statcast data and past performance, Pasquantino is expected to produce more at the big league level than Santana for the rest of the season. So, in the end, how does this situation make sense in conjunction with the way members of the royal family have spoken of their hopes?

Perhaps the answer really is that the royals have noticed something in their assessment of Pasquintino that makes them pause, even though they catch on. MG Melendez He had a .581 OPS in a Triple-A Omaha when they upgraded him. Maybe the royals now want to play Hunter Dozer The first rule is to see if they can increase the value of his trade. Or perhaps members of the Royal Family, who have been open about their feelings of manipulating service time in years past, have their sights set on the date when a select group of players becomes eligible for the Super Two designation. (This is when players become eligible to arbitrate before they reach three years of service.)

All of these possibilities raise questions, but perhaps the most important one is: Do the royals really feel as if they’re still in this race?

If not – if development is currently the only focus – Pasquantino, at least, would not have been better served alongside senior manager of player development and hit performance Alec Zumwalt, assisting coach Kei Deren and Tosar at the big league level in the same way as his senior teammate Possibilities Bobby Witt Jr. And Melendez?

(Photo by Carlos Santana: Ron Schwane/Getty Images)

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