AL Central Notes: Royals, Tigers, Humber

Adam Dunn (.916 OPS) and Alex Rios (.934 OPS) are off to strong starts for the 10-6 White Sox. If Dunn and Rios keep this up, their team may be much more interesting than most pundits expected. Here are the latest links from the AL Central…

  • Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star takes a long look at the Royals and points out that their abundance of minor league talent hasn't yet translated into a compelling on-field product. The Royals "deserve every bit of venom you can muster for a franchise that’s been a ubiquitous letdown for most of the last two decades," Mellinger writes. The team is in the midst of an 11-game losing streak and has started to pull back some of its "Our Time" marketing. “We’ve got to win games," GM Dayton Moore said. "Because we can’t lose our fans for the summer.”
  • Dave Cameron of FanGraphs suggests the Royals resemble a .500 team much more than it seems at first glance.
  • The Tigers announced that they have transferred right-hander Al Alburquerque to the 60-day DL. The move opens up a 40-man roster spot for Detroit.
  • Tom Verducci of SI.com points out that Philip Humber, author of the 21st perfect game in MLB history, is in many ways every general manager's dream. The White Sox didn't have to pay for the right-hander's signing bonus or wait for him to recover from Tommy John surgery, but they’ve developed him into a valuable MLB starter. White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper told Verducci that he and Humber kept things relatively simple. "What we tried to do was tap into his best asset: his stuff," Cooper said.
  • Cameron explained Humber’s evolution as a pitcher at FanGraphs yesterday. The 29-year-old has been using his slider effectively and his fastball velocity is up.


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57 Comments on "AL Central Notes: Royals, Tigers, Humber"


EightMileCats
3 years 4 months ago

25 man roster spot for whom?
Tigers got someone coming in for bullpen help… A lefty perhaps

Guest
3 years 4 months ago

Yeah, interesting (although it’s 40-man-roster spot, not 25-man roster spot). I wonder if they’re going to add a 2B to their roster and send down Raburn or Inge? Raburn has SUCKED pretty much every single way possible, and Inge has been worse. Eric Patterson is doing all right at Toledo. Or maybe Dirks needs time off — Quentin Berry is a lefty OF bat not currently on their 40-man team. It’ll never happen, but dare to dream that this heralds the signing of Roy Oswalt.

EightMileCats
3 years 4 months ago

Smyly has looked fine this season…  He will struggle, but I say let him play.  Scherzer has been the rollercoaster this season.  
In any case, I was thinking more along the lines of Gonzalez for the BP.  
Tho with Dirks hurt, I could see Berry coming up for a bit to fill in…

Stuart Brown
3 years 4 months ago

Rios isn’t going to hit .360 on the season, but I think most people expected both him and Dunn to rebound this season.

Lunchbox45
3 years 4 months ago

I expected Dunn to rebound, but not so much Rios.

Stuart Brown
3 years 4 months ago

He owns a career .307 BABIP and had a .237 last year. All of his other numbers were pretty much in line with his career numbers with the exception of his infield fly ball rates and walk rate. His IFFB% was at 12.9% last year where his career mark is 8.3%. League average last year was 11.0%.

I know he seems to always be talked about as someone that doesn’t work hard and someone that generally doesn’t take criticism very well, but last year seems like a bout of bad luck. He’s not an amazing player, but he’s not as terrible as he was last year.

lolpods
3 years 4 months ago

 moving him back to right field may be what put his mind back together.

rockfordone
3 years 4 months ago

KC should know its all about the mound. That Greinke trade killed them.

go_jays_go
3 years 4 months ago

KC was handcuffed by Greinke. When your star player is demanding a trade, what is the team suppose to do?

2010 saw a fairly steep drop in performance by Greinke, thus KC decided
to execute the trade before his value dropped any further.

twentyfivemanroster
3 years 4 months ago

 TBJFAN is correct.  Too early to give a grade on the trade.   Interesting note, the Royals Bruce Chen has outperformed Greinke the last 3 seasons.

melonis_rex
3 years 4 months ago

the Royals Bruce Chen has outperformed Greinke the last 3 seasons.

Dayton Moore would like to speak to you about employment opportunities.

chico65
3 years 4 months ago

“We’ve got to win games,” GM Dayton Moore said. “Because we can’t lose our fans for the summer.”

But GMDM is fine with losing fans over the winter, as his offseason record shows

Lastings
3 years 4 months ago

Do they have fans lose anyway? The way I see it, as far as their fan base is concerned, the only way is up…

Koby2
3 years 4 months ago

There were plenty of us hyped for this season, it actually looked like it could be better than their usual crap display, but that hope was all for nothing. It’s the same old crap, just with younger guys instead of overpriced has-been veterans. I think this was the most hopeful the fanbase has been before a season since I can remember, and lots of long time fans and relatively newer, younger fans are just tired of it still being the same old team, no matter who the players are.

3 years 4 months ago

read dave camerons fangrahs..he argues that the royals are actually the victims of terrible clutch…they start rallkies but dont get anything out of them…that luck or clutch wont last forever..also itching is doing fine outside of the fact when one erson gets on they lose it..so really the royals as he argues are better than their record aears hence the faith in a rebound toward a 500 team…its a good read

3 years 4 months ago

Sox have a ton of games left to lose if they are going to go 65-97 like many “experts” predicted. To make that prediction still happen, they would have to go 55-91 or 36 below 500. I’m not saying the Sox are going to win the Central but have always said that they would not lose colse to 90 games.

go_jays_go
3 years 4 months ago

Experts are extremely bias, and often aren’t willing to make a daring prediction. They would rather make the ‘safe’ bet and go with popular opinion.

That being said, I think it was very dumb for the experts to make the prediction, when factoring in an expected rebound by Rios and Dunn, who are both capable of 4 WAR

jwsox
3 years 4 months ago

agreed with the TBJFAN “experts” are biased, especially nationally televised “experts” they fall in love with the big signing and predict every team in the division to lose 100 games, last year the sox were many “experts” picks to win the central and make to the series and look what happened. Now the tigers are supposed to win it all because of a reactionary signing in prince fielder.

I also am not saying the sox are going to win it all or even a wild card but with ozzie gone there seems to a a new sense of calm with these guys, they can just go out and play and not worry about the circus that follows ozzie where ever he goes and you can see it on the field, the pitching is awesome, the pen is great dunn and rios seem to be bouncing back, konerko is turining into wine the older it is the better, AJ is playing for an extension even morel and beckham have shown signs of life recently all and all its a solid team that could make news but probably wont and as a sox fan im cool with that 

Guest
3 years 4 months ago

Glad to see that the Morel experiment in the two-hole seems to be at an end. For two glorious weeks, Morel had to be the worst #2 hitter in the history of baseball, with his .358 OPS in that slot in the order.

jwsox
3 years 4 months ago

at first it kind of made sense, give him as many at bats as possible, then the whitesox started to win so it made less sense…I always thought alexi should be there. I know ozzie thought that Alexi might turn into an RBI guy but in all reality he isnt great at anyone thing but is good at everything. He can get on base, hit for an average and hit for power, I think he is perfect at the 2 hole. He can get on base for Dunn and konerko, he can knock DeAza or Lili over or in, he can hit a homer or steal a base…never understood why ozzie kept bouncing him around, i think thats why he had a down year

ctownboy
3 years 4 months ago

Pitchers are falling into the same routine (trap) that they have previously with Dunn; they throw pitches over the outer third of the plate and hope Dunn will swing at them (he wont) and then when they get behind they feel they have to throw a Fast Ball.

All pitchers have to do to be successful with Dunn is throw Fast balls low and in or inside but above the waist.  Pitchers get into trouble when they think they can sneak a Fast Ball inside between his upper thigh and the belt.

If I were an opposing pitcher, I would NOT let Dunn get comfortable at the plate.  My very first pitch to him would be a letter high Fast Ball on the inside corner.  After that, I would throw Change Ups and Sliders and mix in a few letter high Fast Balls.  But I would NEVER throw a Fast Ball inside about belt level. 

Lastings
3 years 4 months ago

Believe it or not a lot of pitchers know what they are doing, and just miss their location sometimes. It’s a lot easier said than done…

ctownboy
3 years 4 months ago

 I know pitchers sometimes miss their locations BUT I have watched Dunn since 2001 and it is the SAME thing over and over.  Pitcher nibbles over the outer third and Dunn doesn’t bite.  When pitcher gets behind he feels he HAS to come in with a Fast Ball.  Or, pitcher gets ahead in the count by throwing Strikes over the outer third and thinks he can sneak a Fast Ball inside and that is EXACTLY what Dunn is waiting for. 

Red_Line_9
3 years 4 months ago

You can’t sneak a fastball inside to many hitters…and you can’t set up any patterns.  Dunn is a guy who is going to get his homers regardless what you do…he can get fooled at take it 450 feet.  He has a very good batting eye…regardless of his ability to translate that to average.  A player doesn’t hit .230 and still have a high OBP for no reason.  Where most MLb hitters will hit a mistake pop to the Of..Dunn gets that ball over the fence.

redsx968
3 years 4 months ago

Wow! Why has no one in the AL Central signed you?! You’ve figured it all out!

jwsox
3 years 4 months ago

you do realize that before dunns last year he was one of the most consistent power hitters in the game for 7+ season, he hit more home runs than anyone not named Albert since coming into the league, im pretty sure pitchers have tried exactly what you said and failed for years at it, he had a bad year last year teh injury and bring rushed back didnt help. Also a first pitch letter high fastball would get destroyed by dunn, He actually has a very good eye(with exception to last season) he averages over 100 walks a season he knows what he is doing you cant just throw a first pitch fast ball then only throw change ups and sliders(mainly because not everyone throws those pitchs) and expect to get him out every time because he would eventually catch on and time those pitches out,

ctownboy
3 years 4 months ago

Dunn is a lazy, simple minded hitter.  He looks for ONLY a Fast Ball over the inner third of the plate between the upper thigh and belt.

I have watched Dunn since he came up with the Reds in 2001.  The scouting report from the Minor Leagues was that he had a good eye, extreme power and could hit to all fields.  If you look at his Hit charts from 2001 and 2002 that is EXACTLY what he did.

But, starting in 2003, he became lazy and STOPPED swinging at pitches over the outer third of the plate and he STOPPED trying to hit the ball to the opposite field.  Now, his fans say he can hit the ball out of any part of any ball park.  Well, if that is true then why doesn’t he?  Why do 95% of his Home Runs go to Right Field?

I have said all along, if Dunn would have WORKED at hitting the ball to the opposite field, he COULD have been in a class of hitter like Ryan Howard.  A guy who Strikes Out close to 200 times a year but a guy who ALSO could have hit .275 with 45 to 50 Home Runs and 130+ RBI’s a year.

If you don’t believe this, go back and read about Dunn in September of 2006.  The Reds were in Play Off contention (because the Cardinals were trying to give the Division away), King Griffey Jr was hurt on 9/4 and Dunn was the only “run producer” on the team.

After hitting something like .170 in August, Dunn was still doing poorly right after KGJ was injured.  A reporter saw Dunn in the locker room with a golf bag over his shoulder.  The reporter asked Dunn why go golfing when he wasn’t hitting well and the team having trouble scoring runs and Dunn responded with something like “why practice hitting this late in the season?

Dunn went on to hit about .160 with few Home Runs and RBI that month.  Meanwhile, Rich Aurilla, in a similar number of At Bats, hit .340 with four HR and 17 RBI.  So, the highly paid “run producer” thought golfing was more important than trying to improve his hitting during a pennant drive while the lower paid veteran put his head down and produced.

Also, read about Dunn’s off season work outs and they mostly consist of lifting weights, drinking beer and sitting on the couch playing video games.  Dunn has been quoted as saying that he rarely picks up a bat during the off season.

johnsilver
3 years 4 months ago

 It must be accidental then that Dunn has 30+ HR in 8 of 12 seasons, .374OBP, .877OPS.. Not many people in the game have put up the offensive numbers over their 1st 12 seasons as have Dunn.. Finicky on pitches or not..

Lunchbox45
3 years 4 months ago

but jp ricciardi said he doesn’t even like baseball!

johnsilver
3 years 4 months ago

Dunn is a throwback to when ball players would show up to ST way out of shape and beat themselves to death to get back to the way that they are supposed to be. He treats the ‘game” as a job, not an obsession like some of us do and does not waste every minute of every day with it.

Players used to go to ST 30-50lbs overweight. It’s why ST even exists, not for fans to watch some meaningless drills, or really to watch the prospects like we all do now, but beat that extra weight and get the legs back underneath people like Adam Dunn who still treat the game like it *used* to be.

He knows he has the talent. Dunn was born with it, he’s not one of those who had to bust it to get to the league, but had that gift all along.. Appreciate it and let the man be.. He’s another George Scott who probably shows up with 2 watermelon’s under his shirt for a belly every spring.

Edit:

That’s not anything directed negative at you Lunchbox.. I got ur joke there :-) Just at people who always got onto Dunn for taking shots at Dunn (and 0thers) who obsess with players who don’t live and breathe the game 24/7.

Lunchbox45
3 years 4 months ago

lol no i got you.

I like dunn too, I love chubbier out of shape ball players who still perform. 

I mean, who didn’t love matt stairs?

inleylandwetrust
3 years 4 months ago

Matt Stairs is MLB’s Brian Scalabrine

Lunchbox45
3 years 4 months ago

hahaha the white mamba!

lolpods
3 years 4 months ago

 stairs actually had talent.

coachofall
3 years 4 months ago

I don’t think you will find a single baseball (especially Philly fan) that wouldn’t rather have Dunn and his contract over Howard and his right now.  Dunn has a bad reputation but you put a lot of time into a hate filled bias analysis.  Sounds like you are still bitter over some fictional interaction with a reporter that you are grabbing onto because Dunn is no longer a Red. 
He was historically bad last year that is no question, but to say he is awful is short sighted.  That being said…White Sox don’t finish in the top 3 in the Central even with Dunn being what he always has been (wtih the exception of last year)

wachsta
3 years 4 months ago

 That has way more to do with contract terms than ability..

ctownboy
3 years 4 months ago

 Exactly.  Both Howard and Dunn K a lot BUT Howard hits for a higher average, has more RBI and does this while hitting a similar number of HRs and walking fewer times.

Look at their hit charts and what you see is that while 60% of Howards HRs go to the left of dead Center Field, 95% of Dunn’s go to the right of dead CF.

Howard has figured out that with runners on base or in scoring position that pitchers are going ot pitch him away so he is going to have to TRY and HIT the ball to the opposite field.  Dunn DOES NOT DO THIS.  He is in dead pull mode each and every pitch.

So, Dunn drives in 30 to 40 fewer Runs per year than Howard.  But that On Base Percentage and OPS are high…..

In short, Dunn would rather NOT swing at pitches and try to drive in runs if those pitches are over the outer third of the plate.  He would rather take the Walk and let a lesser hitter batting behind him try and drive the runs in.

Other than Konerko, WHO on the White Sox would be considered a GOOD hitter and a run producer? 

Also, if you think having a .225 Batting Average with runners in scoring position is good and that having a .200 Batting Average against left handed pitching is good and is worth what Dunn is getting paid then you have problems.

coachofall
3 years 4 months ago

Is this the 1980? Using batting average and RBI? Come on….it’s like dunn snubbed your autograph request 7 years ago

jwsox
3 years 4 months ago

so what youre saying is that RBI’s are a better judge of a batters performance than OBP and OPS??? Maybe just maybe dunn knows for a fact that he cant hit to the opposite field consistently and focuses more on his strength? which is to his pull field…..

soxluv
3 years 4 months ago

The Sox finished in the top 3 last year with Dunn (and Rios) being horrible. Who surpasses them this year, the Royals or Twins? With production from Dunn and Rios the Sox will finish ahead of the Indians too. Add in their pitching, with early indications of greatness, and they have a shot at the Tigers.

coachofall
3 years 4 months ago

I admire your early season optimism…

soxluv
3 years 4 months ago

Can’t seem to find a reason why I shouldn’t be. I saw the team in ST and thought the pitching was very good. Thought they could go .500 and with a few breaks maybe contend. No reason to think otherwise at the moment.

Red_Line_9
3 years 4 months ago

They are definitely worthy of a second place finish, and they’ll need the Tigers to run into some bad luck..but yeah…the pieces are there.

jwsox
3 years 4 months ago

if it were that simple he would not have lasted more than half a season in the bigs

Guest
3 years 4 months ago

Congrats, this is one of the most hilarious posts I’ve ever read on MLBTR. Adam “Big Donkey” Dunn has the best nickname in baseball, so he wins.

3 years 4 months ago

The White Sox are a dangerous team with solid starting pitching.  I suspect that they will have some money to spend at the trade deadline if they continue to play well.

jwsox
3 years 4 months ago

its not a suspect, its a fact they cleared 30 mill from their books this past off season, and have another 20+ mill coming off after this season, they WILL have money to spend if they need/ want to at the break, also they will possibly have assets to move at the dead line if they decide to go that way and this whitesox fan is cool either way

LuckyLucian
3 years 4 months ago

A few weeks ago me and a friend were talking about that exact situation… turns out it isn’t true. Danks and Alexei will both have their extensions kicking in after the season, Dunn and Konerko have unbalanced contracts that pay more after this year, Peavy has a $4M buyout, and after guys like de Aza and Humber go through arbitration the White Sox will actually have a higher payroll even with that other money coming off the books. I think we estimated it at +$3M or so instead of -$20M.
If I recall correctly, the Sox won’t have a significant payroll drop for 2 more years.

lolpods
3 years 4 months ago

 i think you may be mistaken on peavy, after this year is only an option i believe.

LuckyLucian
3 years 4 months ago

$22M club option, or a $4M buyout for 2013.

3 years 4 months ago

Only worse.  The Royals are again the laughingstock of baseball and the sport’s worst team and for now that hurts more because this year was supposed to be different.  It’ll hurt much more later, because these last two weeks of failure have consequences far greater than making a push at .500 this summer. I copied and pasted this out of the Mellinger article. The thing is in 2012 the Orioles were expected or predicted to win 85 games and as we all know the O’s fell quite short of that. Now it’s the Royals turn to suffer the fate that the O’s did.
My diagnosis of the Royals is the following: When I watched them in Spring Training this year their base running skill was atrocious. They hit the Rockies pitching well enough, but they got picked off and doubled up a couple times during that game and I have seen this in other games as well. The other problem is their starting pitching is not a strong suit.  Their bullpen which I thought was pretty good last year is either hurt or simply not as effective as last year. This same exact recipe spelled disaster for the Orioles in 2010 and it will spell disaster for the Royals. The question is what are the Royals going to do to cut the bleeding? MacPhail, Trembley, and Samuel couldn’t! Can Moore, Yost, and the rest of the gang do what the Orioles could not?

tycobb
3 years 4 months ago

The Tigers can bring Clete Thomas back up….oh wait we lost him on waivers to the Twins when we brought Inge back up!!! What a waste of young tallent. Inge has to go !!

LiveFastCyYoung
3 years 4 months ago

Clete Thomas is not “young talent.” He turns 29 this year, is on the tail end of his peak years and hasn’t been an MLB caliber player yet. He doesn’t have a future in just about any organization other than AAA filler who will get the occasional call up.

tycobb
3 years 4 months ago

I’d rather have had him on the roster the Inge! I’d take a bullpen arm over both!

verlander
3 years 4 months ago

Left-hander Michael Gonzalez is working out for teams. Could the Tigers be interested in him?

EightMileCats
3 years 4 months ago

That was my hope…  An improvement over what Schlereth has shown this year…  he needs to put in some serious work in AAA.

windycitywarrior
3 years 4 months ago

I think its funny how everyone thought that not only Dunn and Rios but Peavy was going to have down years. What are the chances of that happening? Dont forget these guys are pros with pride and egos to look after. I am disappointed in how Morel has looked thusfar. Pretty much expect this out of Beckham. I say plug him in the 2 hole for a spell and see it he turns it around. If not I say send him down and bring Connor Jackson (is he still on the team?) for the bench and play Escobar and Lillibridge at 2nd. I wouldnt piss my season away with an underachieving great fielding 2nd baseman killin rallies and not getting on base. I think we just need to be patient with Viciedo but if we go for a mid season pick up I would like it to be a left fielder just to take the pressure off of him.