Organizational Rankings: #27

Solidering on in our series breaking down each organization from worst to best.

Rankings So Far

#30: Washington Nationals
#29: Florida Marlins
#28: Houston Astros

#27: Kansas City Royals

Ownership: D

During David Glass’ tenure as the owner of the Royals, the team has operated with one of the smaller budgets in baseball, and while it has grown in recent years, the Royals are still one of the lesser spenders in baseball. They don’t have the revenue streams that larger market cities have, and will not be operating on a level playing field with those teams anytime soon. While Glass isn’t the meddler that Peter Angelos or Drayton McLane are, his hand is still too heavily involved in the direction of the baseball operations department.

Front Office: D

Dayton Moore came to Kansas City with a sterling reputation for talent evaluation from his time with the Atlanta Braves. His hiring was supposed to signify a new and better way of doing things for the Royals. Since taking over, Moore has made a long series of moves that have significantly tarnished his reputation and harmed the future of the franchise. The team has taken a spread-the-wealth approach to free agency, throwing a decent amount of money at a lot of average or worse players, wasting precious resources that could have easily been better spent on other players or in player development. Instead of maximizing their return on investment, as other small market teams have successfully done, the Royals have bought mediocrity on the free market, and failed to improve their team’s chances of winning in the process.

Major League Talent: C

There are good players in Kansas City, but like with the other teams at the bottom of these rankings, just not enough. Zack Greinke, David DeJesus, and Alex Gordon could all play for any team in baseball. Gil Meche has been a very pleasant surprise since signing as a free agent. Joakim Soria is one of the best closers in the game. But, the supporting cast is just not very good. The Jose Guillen signing was a disaster, and the acquisitions of guys like Mike Jacobs, Kyle Farnsworth, and Willie Bloomquist are just lateral moves that only serve to eat up payroll and waste roster spots.

Minor League Talent: C

Recent first round picks Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas provide legitimate impact bats for Kansas City’s future, but the dropoff after those two is fairly steep. There are some interesting arms behind those two, such as Dan Cortes and Tim Melville, but they aren’t the kinds of prospects that you like to see in your top five, especially for a rebuilding franchise. Having two premium position players is nice, but the depth just isn’t there. Much like the major league roster, there just aren’t enough good players here.

Overall: C-

The Royals are a clear step ahead of the previous three teams, but still have an awful lot of work to do before they could ever be considered a legitimate World Series contender. Unfortunately, the moves the team has been making over the last year don’t inspire an awful lot of confidence that the team is going to make the necessary transition in philosophy, and filling out the roster with replacement level veterans is simply never going to work. With a smaller paryoll, they have to emulate the Cleveland/Oakland/Minnesota/Atlanta philosophies of getting big returns on small invetments, and right now, that’s just not happening in Kansas City.

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Dave is a co-founder of and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

58 Responses to “Organizational Rankings: #27”

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  1. YC says:

    I’m hoping this won’t become another 100 thread post.

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  2. JI says:

    I’m loving these series of posts.

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  3. YC says:

    One question here.

    I’m curious as to how Fangraphs gets a healthy dose of comments during the middle of the day. Is everybody reading Fangraphs and refreshing the page every 5 minutes like I do during work?

    Dave Cameron, you are simply amazing. You will make living through the next 3 weeks much more exciting for me. I salute you.

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  4. vivaelpujols says:

    What about Kila?

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  5. Matt B, says:

    Another reason to rank the Royals so low. Why sign Jacobs to be moderately better for one season at 5x the price?

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  6. Jim says:

    What about Billy Butler? I guess he is just one more in their glut of 1B/DH types, but he could still be a very good hitter.

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  7. Gina says:

    Butler and Aviles aren’t exactly bad either are they?

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  8. Will says:

    Dave, where’s the consistency?
    D- + C- + C = F
    D + C + C = C-

    How does that make any sense? Again, I urge you to use a GPA-based approach, because for a site as stats-heavy as fangraphs, your current methodology for determining overall is completely nonsensical.

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      I’m simply not going to spend any more time trying to explain the grading scale to you guys. It’s. Not. An. Average.

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      • Of course not. Dave would never think to use anything but a linear weighted system to determine such rankings.

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      • Will says:

        I just read through the Astros thread and realized you’ve addressed a lot of this. But my main point is that you gave almost identical scores to both the Royals and the Nationals, the only difference is the Nats are slightly worse in the front office and slightly worse with major league talent. Please explain to me how that warrants such a significant difference in overall talent (F and C-)? I really don’t understand how you can come up with that, especially when you’re considering this as how they will do in the future, and the Nats largest problem is the lack of a GM, which will not continue indefinitely.

        I’m sorry if I’m beating a dead horse, but I have yet to hear an explanation.

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      • Ann ominous says:

        We get that it’s not an average. That’s not the point. The point is that whatever it is, it doesn’t make any sense. If you’re okay with that, then you should be equally okay with us thinking that everything else you might say doesn’t make any sense either.

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      • Jim says:

        Dave, did you read his question? It said nothing about averages.

        “2. The overall grade at the end of each piece is not an average of the four subsection grades. These problems compound on top of each other in a multiplicative effect. When you multiply decimals, the product is smaller than the average of the parts. Same thing here.”

        That explanation does not explain why a D- a C and C- = F overall, and a D, a C and a C = C- overall.

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    • Teej says:

      He didn’t give a grade to every single aspect of each organization. The final grade is not supposed to be a simple average of the four areas he has picked to write about. This has been addressed about 15 times.

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      • Jerry says:

        Yeah, what Teej said. Seriously, people, this is getting ridiculous. You’re missing out on the point of an friggin awesome series of posts because you can’t get over the fact he’s using an arbitrary grading system that doesn’t conform to standard GPA-based grading? This isn’t statistical analysis – it shouldn’t be treated as such – but that doesn’t make it any less interesting.

        Thanks, Dave, I’m enjoying it.

        (Hopefully this thread on the Royals goes over better than some in the past…)

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      • Will says:

        Jerry, fair enough. If it’s opinion, which it seems to be, that’s fine, I can agree to disagree with Dave’s grades. But the way Dave has presented this led me to believe he was using some sort of methodology to rank the organizations based on some sort of grading scale. That’s all. I just wanted Dave to provide an explanation of how he came to these grades, which he continually avoided doing.

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      • Jim says:

        Jerry, I just don’t see how it is “friggin awesome” when the rankings and grades just seem to be pulled out of thin air kind of arbitrarily. It is a good idea poorly executed in my opinion. Maybe I’m just not used to reading subjective pieces on this site. It is interesting if you look at as a conversation starter, but I don’t think that’s what it’s intended as.

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  9. mattymatty says:

    Maybe it would be worth changing simply so we could get past it and begin discussing what is really an excellent and interesting series of articles.

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  10. Tito Landrum says:

    Just FYI, I don’t believe that Peter Angelos is much of a meddler anymore. If fact, Andy McPhail has been quoted as saying that Angelos is the least involved of any owner he has ever worked for.

    Certainly Angelos was overly involved in the past, but IMHO it is a misconception that Angelos is a detriment to the organization anymore. It seems pretty obvious that he is fully allowing McPhail to do his job – and the O’s have made great strides since McPhail has taken over. Probably not a coincidence.

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    • Walter Jones says:

      Tito: I just saw you standing in the shadows of the Cards’ dugout during the MLB Networks special on 1982. Such sad eyes you have.

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    • Will says:

      Tito, I too have been impressed by Angelos’ hands off approach, but after following the O’s for years, I’m a bit skeptical of it all. Perhaps he has changed, but I’ll give it another couple years before he falls can remove himself from the “meddlesome owners” club.
      Also, MacPhail has done an excellent job so far.

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      • Tito Landrum says:

        Will- I’m sure you are right. Angelos needs to stay hands off for a bit longer to show that he has really changed.

        Walt – But a year later I was sending the O’s to the series! Don’t worry ’bout me. ;^)

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  11. Tim says:

    Wow this is an insightful and accurate depiction of the Royals organization…of 2005.

    First off the ownership of David Glass, while certainly not as forthcoming as some other owners in baseball has become much more so in recent years(since Dayton Moore arrived) by increasing the payroll by more than $30 million, increasing spending on the draft and internationally and has stayed out of the baseball side of the organization for almost 3 years.

    Secondly, While Moore has had really 2 bad free agent signings(farnsworth and Guillen) neither of those cripple the organization moving forward, and Moore as proven adept at working around those mistakes(structuring Greinkes deal to come up right when Guillen leaves). He also has made a lot more good moves than bad, the bullpen more than anything went from being Dead last in baseball to potentially one of the top 5. Hes locked up some of the Royals young talent to long term deals and has made some excellant trades(fun fact: Moore basically turned a few days of a 39 year old catcher almost a decade ago into Coco Crisp)

    Major League talent: You call Jacobs a lateral move over Ross Gload, avoid the fact that the Royals have Billy Butler and Mike Aviles, and even though Jose gullien isnt worht his salary, he is still a servicable player(certianly better than say Joey Gathright)

    Minor League: you call a system ranked as high as 7th a C system. A system that has gotten a hugh influx of talent both from the draft and overseas over the last two years. I will admit that there are only 3 hitting prospect that could be called A’s in Moose, Hoz, and Kila, but could you really find many other systems with both 2 hitters who are practically locks to become future all-stars AND has the kind of pitching depth that the Royals have?

    Finally you criticize the Royals for relying on overpriced veterans to fill out their lineup. That includes Horacio Ramirez, Jose Guillen, Kyle Farnsworth and who else? 3 out of the 5 guys in the rotation are from inside the organization (Greinke, Hoch, Davies) and only Guillen, Olivo, Jacobs and Callaspo are from outside the organization in the lineup, and of those only guillen is overpaid.

    From my perspective, this is a team that is promoting youth, getting cheaper players, signing talent to long term deals, spending more than ever before and putting an emphsis on scouting and the draft.

    This was supposed to be a post about the future of these teams, not their past.

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    • KingKirkpatrick says:

      Awful post. Too many facts. Not enough vague generalizations based on preconceived notions.

      Royals aren’t one of the top organizations going forward, but they are FAR from this bad.The Royals haven’t improved their win total every year since DM took over by accident. They haven’t completely overhauled the pitching staff and farm system like they have by fluke. They have a ways to go, but they are light years better than the complete disaster they were three years ago. A couple of financially inefficient signings doesn’t override all that.

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    • vivaelpujols says:

      Well said

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    • ESW says:

      Jose Guillen was replacement level last year. Calling him overpaid is an understatement if anything. Moore also went out of his way to acquire 2 more replacement level players in Bloomquist and Mike Jacobs. Olivo and Horacio Ramirez ain’t too hot either.

      I would agree that Dave is selling their farm system short a little bit, but Dayton Moore’s handling of the major league club is just indefensible.

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    • JI says:

      Gathright is a better player than Guillen and he’s a bit cheaper too.

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    • alskor says:

      “This was supposed to be a post about the future of these teams, not their past.”

      It is?

      Says who?

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  12. Jeff says:

    The Royals will have a payroll in the top half of the league this year ($75MM).
    The Royals spent more money in the draft in 2008 than any team in Major League history — breaking the record they set in 2007.
    The Royals have all of their major franchise pieces signed through at least 2012, just after when the Single-A group of players will be ready to join the club.
    The Royals, depending on the Top-100 list, consistenlty have anywhere from 4-6 players listed, above league average.

    The Royals are clearly moving in the right direction.

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  13. Jeremy says:

    I think Melville is a lot more than “an interesting arm.” Many had him as the top HS P in the draft last year. The Royals gave him a large signing bonus as well. The Royals have done pretty good job upgrading their system.

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  14. Tylor says:

    Um… this is ridiculus. Our farm system is top 10, our team has an outside shot at the playoffs, Moore has turned Santiago into Jacobs, a felon into Bannister, acquired the best closer besides Rivera for nothing, rebuilt our minor league pitching to make it very strong, increased our influence in Latin America, locked up our future ace, and signed Gil Meche, but yes he sucks. And the Royals suck. NOT! Did Moore steal your lunch money, or have sex with your mother? Why do you hate the royals so much?

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  15. Party Boy says:

    I don’t think the Jacob’s move was awful, this team needs a homerun hitter big time and Jacob’s is that. Some times you just need a home run hitter.

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  16. Jay in BMore says:

    Another Dave Cameron fail. I’m not surprised, but regret I didn’t see the byline before opening (and looking forward to) the article.

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  17. Bill says:

    Love the post. I agree with the overall grade. That being said, I think you underrated the KC farm system a bit. It is consistently rated as a top ten system by reputable sources. Moore has done a decent job in this regards. But, the Jacobs, Guillen, and Willie Boom-Boom acquisitions should make one question Moore’s ability to evaluate Major League talent. This team will not compete for a playoff spot this year, but I think that in the next few years, with a GM who knows how to evaluate ML talent and an owner who’s willing to spend for it, KC could be competitive. Moore is putting in a decent foundation. Also, anyone who is defending the Jacobs move with the reasoning “He hits homeruns so he’s good” please read the posts dissecting this move. His true value is reasonably determined. If you have a problem with the analysis, attack the methodology used to determine his value, don’t attack the results. Maybe James and Co. made mistakes when the relative value of hits, walks, and outs were determined. James is paid a lot of money for what he does, if you can prove him wrong maybe you can get his job.

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  18. erik says:

    Again, I think you are underrating the minor league talent. I’d probably give KC a B-, maybe even a B

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  19. Base says:

    I would be curious to hear the explaination hat puts the Mariners, Pirates and Red and Rockies ahead of the ROyals. Honestly.

    D is a pretty low grade for a front office that has improved the total team wins by 32% over the last four years. but i guess that would be considered seriously hurting the teams chances of improving in the future

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  20. thudean says:

    The only thing I disagree about is the Minor League Talent portion. Its arguable whether players like Butler or Aviles could play for any team because of the inherent risks in them. They are not studs and they are far from established.

    But, for minor leaguers, they are close to loaded. Maybe a little light in position players with only Hosmer and Moose w/ opinions on Kila being mixed. But, they have a huge stable of top level arms. Now, we aren’t talking just about guys who have progressed and have moxie, but a ton of guys who have top of rotation stuff (Cortes, Gutierrez, Duffy, Montgomery, Melville, maybe Rosa). Considering they have two high impact bats + 5 or more high impact arms as well as an increased amount of spending on the draft (or at least the last one), their minor league system is significantly better than you give them credit for and is closer to a B (at least).

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  21. KingKirkpatrick says:

    For anyone who is saying that “DM’s handling of the major league roster is indefensible,” please go review the Royals lineup right before DM took over and look at what it is now. They are better at nearly every single position on the 25 man roster….ESPECIALLY the pitching. DM isn’t a great GM right now, but he’s far from the turd that this site makes him out to be.

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  22. KingKirkpatrick says:

    Also…for the record, Butler will be the 1B most of the time, it appears Jacobs will be the DH… that adds to his value a little bit. Doesn’t make it a great move, but it’s still an upgrade and we only gave up a reliever with questionable K rates and major injury concerns.

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  23. KingKirkpatrick says:

    Also, (TRIPLE POST FTW), I disagree with those saying our minor league system is “close to loaded.” Our farm system has greatly improved under DM because it was a virtual wasteland under Baird…but there simply aren’t enough decent prospects at the AA or AAA levels to make it a really good one. We’ll see how some of the nice prospects at the A ball levels progress before naming them a really good farm system. The pitching looks pretty nice throughout, but we clearly need better hitting prospects..particularly in the OF, I think.

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  24. Terry says:

    Alright…..I’ve got to cry shenanigans now….

    KC should be ranked at least #26!

    I’m not sure how the rest of the list could be taken seriously no matter how it shakes out.

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  25. DS says:

    I got this far:

    “While Glass isn’t the meddler that Peter Angelos or Drayton McLane are, his hand is still too heavily involved in the direction of the baseball operations department.”

    What in the hell are you talking about? The Glass family has absolutely no role in the direction of the baseball operations department, and it hasn’t since Dayton Moore made that a condition of his job acceptance. David Glass just writes the checks now (and they’re a lot bigger checks than they used to be). He’s about as “hands off” as an owner can get.

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  26. Bob says:

    David, given the level of intelligence shown by your writing I have to ask, do you mumble out the words and someone else types or do you have one of those programs that can decipher your speech and translate it into English?

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  27. KevinM says:

    An honest look at the Royals. Other sites are talking about how the Royals are going in the right direction. This is baloney. Any team that trades for Mike Jacobs and signs Willie Bloomquist and Kyle Farnsworth is not going in the right direction. Maybe the Royals are good enough to not lose 100 games but they are not a contender and aren’t in a position to contend any time soon.

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  28. Adam says:

    This is a terrible post, to be quite frank. I think a couple of guys said it better then I have the desire to above; especially “Tim”.

    Quick Fact: A and AA teams for the Royals have been winning championships in the Minors over the past two years…the Royals are pretty loaded in these classes. The Burlington Bees (“A” ball, who’s pitching was absolutely loaded last year; which this post above makes no reference to) thoroughly dominated in the playoffs.

    Lastly, Dayton Moore is a misunderstood man by many. He is a bit smarter then you give him credit for. The fact that Arbuckle (the man he was the brains in the Phillies org.) came to join with him says alot about who Dayton is about a baseball guy.

    Let’s be a bit more honese in the organization reviews.

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  29. Basil Ganglia says:

    Dayton Moore, addressing the black hole at that is the Royals shortstop situation, trades two pitching prospects to acquire the starting shortstop of a team for which shortstop is an equal or greater black hole.

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  30. Aldo says:

    A Farnsworth, a Bloomquist, and Betancourt (Yuneisky not Rafael) later.


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    • Joe R says:

      I often times criticize Dave Cameron for stuff, like being over-reliant on the numbers while ignoring a team situation, or flaunting UZR as a metric with real stability (at least giving the impression of it in his writing). But while many an analyst was in love with the Royals for some reason, Cameron was dead on. When you’re giving Willie Bloomquist nearly 400 PA’s with a month to go in the season, you probably aren’t a very good ballclub.

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