Yordano Ventura

What’s In A Number?

By now you may have noticed that the Kansas City Royals haven’t exactly gotten stellar starting pitching during spring training. Say what you want about spring training statistics not mattering (and they don’t), but there’s something comforting in seeing your team perform well in the spring. Yes, the Royals record is still 0-0 and their pitching staff currently has a 0.00 ERA, but sure, it’d be nice to have seen them do well. Unfortunately, for the most part, they didn’t.

Here’s a look at their Cactus League numbers:

IP H BB K ERA HR
Edinson Volquez 13.2 12 6 14 3.95 1
Ian Kennedy 20 26 6 22 6.30 4
Yordano Ventura 13 20 1 14 9.69 3
Chris Young 16.2 20 6 17 5.94 4
Kris Medlen 16.2 24 5 18 5.94 7

Yikes.

I’ll spare you the long article about why spring training stats don’t matter, but I will mention that you might notice the inning totals are nearly as small of a sample as you can find. And hey, look at the strikeout to walk ratios, especially Ventura’s. Those would certainly play in the regular season. So take comfort in the fact that these numbers really don’t mean much and that Kansas City is a much better place to pitch than Arizona.

Anyway, my point here was to take a look at some somewhat extreme spring training numbers and then how they matched up with their regular season numbers. And yes, this is not to say that pitchers can’t springboard a great spring to a great season or a terrible spring to a terrible season, but it is to say that one doesn’t necessarily continue.

2006 Mike Wood

IP H BB K ERA HR
Spring Training 18 20 2 13 2.50 1
Regular Season 64.2 86 23 29 5.71 10

2007 Brian Bannister

IP H BB K ERA HR
Spring Training 11.2 19 4 3 10.03 5
Regular Season 165 156 44 77 3.87 15

2009 Zack Greinke

IP H BB K ERA HR
Spring Training 28.1 47 9 27 9.21 6
Regular Season 229.1 195 51 242 2.16 11

2009 Kyle Davies

IP H BB K ERA HR
Spring Training 30.2 28 12 19 3.82 5
Regular Season 123 122 66 86 5.27 18

2010 Luke Hochevar

IP H BB K ERA HR
Spring Training 20 20 8 10 3.15 1
Regular Season 103 110 37 76 4.81 9

2010 Joakim Soria

IP H BB K ERA HR
Spring Training 7 11 1 8 7.71 1
Regular Season 65.2 53 16 71 1.78 4

2012 Luis Mendoza

IP H BB K ERA HR
Spring Training 19.1 15 5 21 0.47 0
Regular Season 166 176 59 104 4.23 15

2012 Luke Hochevar

IP H BB K ERA HR
Spring Training 19 21 2 21 2.84 1
Regular Season 185.1 202 61 144 5.73 27

2013 Donnie Joseph

IP H BB K ERA HR
Spring Training 10 3 3 14 1.80 1
Regular Season (AAA) 54.2 39 40 84 3.95 5

2013 James Shields

IP H BB K ERA HR
Spring Training 18.2 23 4 15 6.75 0
Regular Season 228.2 215 68 196 3.15 20

2014 Danny Duffy

IP H BB K ERA HR
Spring Training 11 16 6 9 11.45 6
Regular Season 149.1 113 53 113 2.53 12

2015 Jeremy Guthrie

IP H BB K ERA HR
Spring Training 13.2 12 1 9 2.63 0
Regular Season 148.1 186 44 84 5.95 29

2015 Edinson Volquez

IP H BB K ERA HR
Spring Training 21.1 34 7 21 6.33 2
Regular Season 200.1 190 72 155 3.55 16

So what’s in a number? We don’t really have the answer to that question because spring training stats just don’t have a ton of meaning. There might be a little correlation in there with the strikeout to walk ratio numbers, but then you look an see Hochevar’s 21:2 ratio in 2012 and it makes you question absolutely everything.

I think the Royals rotation has a chance to be a problem for this team just like the 2015 Royals had issues with their rotation. I also think that the organization is prepared to deal with those issues if and when they come up, so I’m not as worried as I might be if they hadn’t won the World Series last year with a bottom five in the AL rotation. Personally, I still think this unit is better than last year’s, but they definitely didn’t show it in spring training.

I guess we’ll find out soon enough if the members of the rotation are more like the guys listed above or if they’re more like Bruce Chen in 2012. I’ll hope for the former and be mentally prepared for the latter, but, hey, there’s certainly hope.

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