Stats, The Eye-Test And The Kansas City Royals
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Stats, The Eye-Test And The Kansas City Royals

Are they even that good?

Stats, The Eye-Test And The Kansas City Royals

Sports are becoming increasingly dominated by advanced statistics and analysts of such statistics. Baseball has long been a numbers game, but now hockey and even the NFL with their deep-rooted tradition of hard-nosed guys and superstars dominating the game. But now eye-popping stats seem to be giving way to efficiency with the rise of the salary cap era. The most fascinating sport to see this take place in is baseball. Because of the lack of a salary cap, there is an obvious uneven playing field for teams from small markets such as Kansas City, Oakland and Baltimore compared to the spending power of The Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox. What is fascinating is that the former of these three teams have all found recent success, especially in the case of The Kansas City Royals as they won the World Series. So the obvious question here is: how? With such limited financial resources, how do these teams continue to be successful?

Let's first forget about Kansas City being a "poor" team. In 2015, they spent $121.6 million for people to wear their uniform and play baseball. That is a ton of money. In fact, it's almost double what the Tampa Bay Rays spent on people to do the same thing. Even in baseball, $121.6 is still about $100 million less than what the New York Yankees spent last season. So if money is so important, why was Kansas City so much better than teams like the Yankees?

First off, Kansas City has done a fantastic job of developing the talent that it drafts, getting the most of it, and then refusing to overpay it when this talent is due a big-time payday. The past two years have been the perfect storm of the development of talent and certain players playing the best baseball of their careers. The other part of it is stats. For the sake of brevity, I won't break them down. But you can go to and do that yourself. I highly recommend visiting the sight, it's beautiful.

One thing that numbers indicate about the Royals is that they put the ball in play. Kansas City tied with Toronto for the best batting average in the majors with a .269 average. As a team, the Royals only struck out 973 times, almost 200 times less than the team with the next lowest number. It's easy to see the correlation between success and how often a team puts the ball in play.

The Royals also play great defense. Lorenzo Cain is one of the great young talents in Major League Baseball and his presence in the outfield is one of the things that makes him such a fantastic player. The thing that makes the Royals great on defense is that the don't commit a ton of errors (which is kind of a dumb stat anyways). They play well enough to protect leads and keep themselves in games. They also have athletes that are good enough to make big plays in the field when you need them to, which not every team can say even in the postseason.

All of this isn't to say that Kansas City dominated statistically, they didn't. But they proved that the most important part of baseball isn't going yard, collecting RBIs, getting the most strikeouts or even scoring the most runs. What is important is composing a team that consistently does what a good baseball team should do; put the ball in play, play good defense, and get lucky sometimes.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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