In his latest column, Joe Sheehan takes the following dig at the Royals: "Angel Berroa: .299 OBP, 68 K, 11 BB. This is a building block?"
Of course, the Royals are an easy target for analysts of all stripes, but I would like to provide a little bit of context.
At the start of the 2004 season, the Kansas City Royals signed a shortstop who was 25 years old and coming off a rookie campaign in which he'd posted a 287/338/451 line with a VORP of 39.4.
The shortstop had been a highly-touted prospect, and after losing some numbers to knee surgery, looked to be improving on a minor-league career that hinted at power potential.
In 2004, PECOTA predicted a VORP of 21.1 for Berroa.
In 2005, PECOTA predicted a VORP of 15.2 and a line of 265/310/409.
Unfotunately, "Ahn-hell" forgot how to swing for the fences last year, only hitting 8 home runs while walking less and avoiding more pitches.
His lines for '04 and '05 are fairly terrible:
262/308/385 VORP 15.7
260/299/362 VORP 10.0 (Projected)
Berroa is making $500,000 this year, and the Royals are on the hook for another $10 Million through 2008.
Should the downward trend continue, the Royals will look a little silly for paying Berroa $4.75 Million in 2008. However, if he had met his projections for the last two years, continued to improve on his age-25 season as he headed into his peak, and provided the kind of pop he showed as a youngster at a premium position...
Well, then you'd have a very cheap, very valuable building block.