Hardball Retrospective – What Might Have Been – The “Original” 2004 Royals

In “Hardball Retrospective: Evaluating Scouting and Development Outcomes for the Modern-Era Franchises”, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original team. I calculated revised standings for every season based entirely on the performance of each team’s “original” players. I discuss every team’s “original” players and seasons at length along with organizational performance with respect to the Amateur Draft (or First-Year Player Draft), amateur free agent signings and other methods of player acquisition.  Season standings, WAR and Win Shares totals for the “original” teams are compared against the “actual” team results to assess each franchise’s scouting, development and general management skills.

Expanding on my research for the book, the following series of articles will reveal the teams with the biggest single-season difference in the WAR and Win Shares for the “Original” vs. “Actual” rosters for every Major League organization. “Hardball Retrospective” is available in digital format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes and KoboBooks. The paperback edition is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and CreateSpace. Supplemental Statistics, Charts and Graphs along with a discussion forum are offered at TuataraSoftware.com.

Don Daglow (Intellivision World Series Major League Baseball, Earl Weaver Baseball, Tony LaRussa Baseball) contributed the foreword for Hardball Retrospective. The foreword and preview of my book are accessible here.

Terminology

OWAR – Wins Above Replacement for players on “original” teams

OWS – Win Shares for players on “original” teams

OPW% – Pythagorean Won-Loss record for the “original” teams

AWAR – Wins Above Replacement for players on “actual” teams

AWS – Win Shares for players on “actual” teams

APW% – Pythagorean Won-Loss record for the “actual” teams

Assessment

The 2004 Kansas City Royals 

OWAR: 40.4     OWS: 264     OPW%: .483     (78-84)

AWAR: 16.8      AWS: 173     APW%: .358     (58-104)

WARdiff: 23.6                        WSdiff: 91  

The “Original” 2004 Royals placed third in the American League Central division, 12 games behind the Indians. The “Actual” 2004 Royals lost 104 contests. Carlos Beltran (.267/38/104) enjoyed a monster campaign as he narrowly missed the 40/40 club. The Royals center fielder compiled 121 tallies and swiped 42 bags in 45 attempts. However he only earned 11.4 Win Shares for the “Actual” Royals (vs. 29 WS for the “Originals) due to a mid-season trade to the Houston Astros. Fellow outfielder Jeff Conine contributed 35 doubles while first-sacker Mike Sweeney went yard on 22 occasions.

Juan Gonzalez of the “Actuals” placed 52nd in the “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract” top 100 player rankings. 

  Original 2004 Royals                                    Actual 2004 Royals

LINEUP POS OWAR OWS LINEUP POS AWAR AWS
Jeff Conine LF 2.29 14.93 David DeJesus LF/CF 0.65 8.92
Carlos Beltran CF 6.77 29.02 Carlos Beltran CF 2.78 11.47
Michael Tucker RF 1.25 14.12 Matt Stairs RF 0.12 10.96
Johnny Damon DH/CF 4.34 25.1 Ken Harvey DH/1B 0.42 9.33
Mike Sweeney 1B 1.9 12.49 Mike Sweeney 1B 1.9 12.49
Ruben Gotay 2B -0.41 2.79 Tony Graffanino 2B 0.27 6.56
Ramon Martinez SS 0.21 5.64 Angel Berroa SS 0.38 10.55
Joe Randa 3B 0.35 13.1 Joe Randa 3B 0.35 13.1
Brent Mayne C -0.39 3.69 John Buck C 0.32 4.67
BENCH POS OWAR OWS BENCH POS AWAR AWS
Ken Harvey 1B 0.42 9.33 Desi Relaford 3B -1.07 3.69
David DeJesus CF 0.65 8.92 Benito Santiago C 0.04 3.4
Andres Blanco SS 0.5 2.32 Alberto Castillo C 0.6 2.96
Juan Brito C -0.83 2.29 Calvin Pickering DH 0.3 2.94
Dee Brown LF -0.71 2.24 Ruben Gotay 2B -0.41 2.79
Kit Pellow RF -0.59 1.08 Juan Gonzalez RF 0.12 2.69
Shane Halter 3B -0.19 1.05 Abraham Nunez RF -0.47 2.58
Alex Prieto 2B -0.03 0.75 Andres Blanco SS 0.5 2.32
Matt Treanor C -0.11 0.51 Kelly Stinnett C 0.48 2.27
Byron Gettis LF -0.08 0.38 Dee Brown LF -0.71 2.24
Alexis Gomez LF -0.07 0.29 Aaron Guiel LF -0.55 0.49
Mendy Lopez 2B -0.5 0.22 Ruben Mateo RF -0.72 0.43
Brandon Berger LF -0.33 0.2 Byron Gettis LF -0.08 0.38
Donnie Murphy 2B -0.25 0.2 Alexis Gomez LF -0.07 0.29
Raul Gonzalez RF -0.16 0.12 Jose Bautista 3B -0.23 0.27
Paul Phillips C 0 0.1 Mendy Lopez 2B -0.5 0.22
Mike Tonis C -0.11 0.03 Brandon Berger LF -0.33 0.2
Larry Sutton 1B -0.01 0.03 Donnie Murphy 2B -0.25 0.2
Wilton Guerrero 2B -0.22 0.18
Paul Phillips C 0 0.1
Adrian Brown LF -0.07 0.08
Mike Tonis C -0.11 0.03
Rich Thompson RF -0.03 0.02
Damian Jackson RF -0.12 0.01

Jon Lieber recorded 14 victories and yielded only 18 bases on balls in 27 starts. Glendon Rusch fashioned a 3.47 ERA as he split time between starting and relief roles. Zack Greinke delivered 8 victories and a 3.97 ERA in his inaugural season. Tom “Flash” Gordon (9-4, 2.21) whiffed 96 batsmen in 89.2 innings and achieved All-Star status.

  Original 2004 Royals                                  Actual 2004 Royals

ROTATION POS OWAR OWS ROTATION POS AWAR AWS
Jon Lieber SP 2.87 10.43 Zack Greinke SP 3.62 9.73
Glendon Rusch SP 3.02 10 Jimmy Gobble SP 0.87 5.37
Zack Greinke SP 3.62 9.73 Dennys Reyes SP 0.79 4.58
Jimmy Gobble SP 0.87 5.37 Jeremy Affeldt SP 0.11 4.42
Jeremy Affeldt SP 0.11 4.42 Darrell May SP -0.05 4.07
BULLPEN POS OWAR OWS BULLPEN POS AWAR AWS
Tom Gordon RP 3.66 15.47 Shawn Camp RP 0.17 4.15
Dan Miceli RP 0.73 7.13 Jaime Cerda RP 0.69 4.05
Lance Carter RP 0.76 6.53 Nate Field RP 0.07 3.02
Kiko Calero RP 0.7 5.7 Scott Sullivan RP 0.12 2.85
Orber Moreno RP 0.08 2.84 Jason Grimsley RP 0.59 2.55
Wes Obermueller SP -0.01 2.98 Brian Anderson SP -0.71 2.84
Ryan Bukvich RP 0.12 0.82 Mike Wood SP 0.24 1.91
Chad Durbin RP -1.03 0.39 Jimmy Serrano SP 0.5 1.57
Rodney Myers RP 0.06 0.29 D. J. Carrasco RP -0.12 1.54
Jason Simontacchi RP -0.28 0.26 Rudy Seanez RP 0.32 1.45
Mike MacDougal RP -0.13 0.23 Ryan Bukvich RP 0.12 0.82
Kevin Appier SP -0.44 0 Mike MacDougal RP -0.13 0.23
Chris George SP -0.82 0 Kevin Appier SP -0.44 0
Jorge Vasquez RP -0.19 0 Denny Bautista SP -0.07 0
Chris George SP -0.82 0
Justin Huisman RP -0.51 0
Matt Kinney RP -0.43 0
Curt Leskanic RP -0.64 0
Jorge Vasquez RP -0.19 0
Eduardo Villacis SP -0.22 0

Notable Transactions

Carlos Beltran

June 24, 2004: Traded as part of a 3-team trade by the Kansas City Royals to the Houston Astros. The Oakland Athletics sent Mark Teahen and Mike Wood to the Kansas City Royals. The Houston Astros sent Octavio Dotel to the Oakland Athletics. The Houston Astros sent John Buck and cash to the Kansas City Royals.

Johnny Damon

January 8, 2001: Traded as part of a 3-team trade by the Kansas City Royals with Mark Ellis to the Oakland Athletics. The Oakland Athletics sent Ben Grieve to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The Oakland Athletics sent Angel Berroa and A.J. Hinch to the Kansas City Royals. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays sent Cory Lidle to the Oakland Athletics. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays sent Roberto Hernandez to the Kansas City Royals.

November 5, 2001: Granted Free Agency.

December 21, 2001: Signed as a Free Agent with the Boston Red Sox.

Tom Gordon

October 30, 1995: Granted Free Agency.

December 21, 1995: Signed as a Free Agent with the Boston Red Sox.

November 1, 2000: Granted Free Agency.

December 14, 2000: Signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago Cubs.

August 22, 2002: Traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Houston Astros for players to be named later and Russ Rohlicek (minors). The Houston Astros sent Travis Anderson (minors) (September 11, 2002) and Mike Nannini (minors) (September 11, 2002) to the Chicago Cubs to complete the trade.

October 29, 2002: Granted Free Agency.

January 23, 2003: Signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago White Sox.

October 27, 2003: Granted Free Agency.

December 16, 2003: Signed as a Free Agent with the New York Yankees.

Honorable Mention

The 2009 Kansas City Royals 

OWAR: 45.7     OWS: 268     OPW%: .544     (88-74)

AWAR: 25.3       AWS: 194      APW%: .401    (65-97)

WARdiff: 20.4                        WSdiff: 74

Kansas City clinched the American League Central division title by a lone game over Minnesota. Zack Greinke (16-8, 2.16) merited the 2009 AL Cy Young Award as he paced the Junior Circuit in ERA and WHIP (1.073) while posting career-highs in strikeouts (242) and innings pitched (229.1). Johnny Damon (.282/24/82) tied his personal-best in home runs, slashed 36 two-base hits and registered 107 tallies. Billy Butler aka “Country Breakfast” drilled 51 doubles and swatted 21 big-flies. David DeJesus contributed 13 jacks and knocked in 71 runs. Carlos Beltran supplied a .325 BA but missed more than two months of the season due to injury. J.P. Howell saved 17 contests and collected 7 victories as the Royals’ relief ace.

On Deck

What Might Have Been – The “Original” 1969 Reds

References and Resources

Baseball America – Executive Database

Baseball-Reference

James, Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. New York, NY.: The Free Press, 2001. Print.

James, Bill, with Jim Henzler. Win Shares. Morton Grove, Ill.: STATS, 2002. Print.

Retrosheet – Transactions Database

The information used here was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by Retrosheet. Interested parties may contact Retrosheet at “www.retrosheet.org”.

Seamheads – Baseball Gauge

Sean Lahman Baseball Archive



Print This Post

Derek Bain is a New Jersey native with a passion for baseball, statistics, computers and video games. He has written a number of articles for Fangraphs and Seamheads, and enjoys spending quality time with his family.

Comments are closed.