A Galaxy of Royal Stars

September 25, 2020
                                        A Galaxy of Royal Stars

 

            Not that this is a serious topic or anything, but with Alex Gordon announcing his retirement there was discussion among friends of where he ranks among the Royals’ all-time greats, or perhaps they are merely goods.  I made up a system for ranking the Royals, consistent with the principles of the many ranking systems I have created over the years, and since there was some interest in this, I thought I should explain how this was done.

            First, we start with each player’s Win Shares in each season as a Royal.   For Alex Gordon, this is as follows:

 

First

Last

Year

Age

Team

Win Shares

Alex

Gordon

2007

23

KCA

12

Alex

Gordon

2008

24

KCA

15

Alex

Gordon

2009

25

KCA

2

Alex

Gordon

2010

26

KCA

3

Alex

Gordon

2011

27

KCA

24

Alex

Gordon

2012

28

KCA

20

Alex

Gordon

2013

29

KCA

21

Alex

Gordon

2014

30

KCA

26

Alex

Gordon

2015

31

KCA

16

Alex

Gordon

2016

32

KCA

9

Alex

Gordon

2017

33

KCA

6

Alex

Gordon

2018

34

KCA

11

Alex

Gordon

2019

35

KC

13

 

            Alex was quite a good player in the 2011 to 2014 era, totaling  178 Win Shares in his career.   And let us contrast with Frank White, who wound up ranked just ahead of Gordon, and Dan Quisenberry, who wound up ranked just behind him:

 

First

Last

Year

Age

Team

Win Shares

Frank

White

1973

22

KCA

2

Frank

White

1974

23

KCA

3

Frank

White

1975

24

KCA

9

Frank

White

1976

25

KCA

9

Frank

White

1977

26

KCA

13

Frank

White

1978

27

KCA

16

Frank

White

1979

28

KCA

11

Frank

White

1980

29

KCA

13

Frank

White

1981

30

KCA

7

Frank

White

1982

31

KCA

18

Frank

White

1983

32

KCA

15

Frank

White

1984

33

KCA

18

Frank

White

1985

34

KCA

16

Frank

White

1986

35

KCA

20

Frank

White

1987

36

KCA

14

Frank

White

1988

37

KCA

9

Frank

White

1989

38

KCA

14

Frank

White

1990

39

KCA

4

 

            White, at least as seen by this method, did not have seasons of equal impact to Gordon’s good years from 2011 to 2014.  However, White had five more seasons in a Royal uniform, and his total Win Shares over his career are higher, adding up to 211. 

 

            Dan Quisenberry, on the other hand, had fewer seasons but bigger impact  seasons:

 

First

Last

Year

Age

Team

Win Shares

Dan

Quisenberry

1979

26

KCA

4

Dan

Quisenberry

1980

27

KCA

19

Dan

Quisenberry

1981

28

KCA

10

Dan

Quisenberry

1982

29

KCA

22

Dan

Quisenberry

1983

30

KCA

28

Dan

Quisenberry

1984

31

KCA

24

Dan

Quisenberry

1985

32

KCA

23

Dan

Quisenberry

1986

33

KCA

10

Dan

Quisenberry

1987

34

KCA

7

 

 

            Quisenberry’s seasons total up to 147 Win Shares.   White, Gordon and Quisenberry thus rank in descending order by Total Win Shares, but in ascending order by high-impact seasons.   (Quisenberry was also with the Royals in 1988, but had a 6.16 ERA, so that’s a zero-value season.) 

            It seems relatively obvious that two 10-Win Seasons should not be treated as equal to one 20-Win Season.   High-impact seasons win pennants; 10-Win Seasons are kind of replaceable.  How to adjust for this. 

            What I did is, I raised the value of each season to the power 1.5 (rounded down.)   Dan Quisenberry’s 28-Win Share season in 1983, when he perhaps should have won the Cy Young Award, thus is given a value of 148 points, since 28 to the power 1.5, rounded down, is 148.   Quiz’s 24-Win Share season the following year has an "impact value" of 117.   Alex Gordon’s best season, 26 Win Shares in 2014, has an impact value of 132, and Frank White’s best season, 20 Win Shares in 1986, has an Impact Value of 89.

            Basically, 30 Win Shares is a serious MVP candidate.  People have won MVP Awards with less than that, but not often; generally, you become a serious candidate for the MVP Award at about 30 Win Shares.  The highest-valued seasons in Royals history are George Brett in 1980 (37 Win Shares), George Brett in 1985 (36 Win Shares) and then three seasons of 33 Win Shares—George Brett in 1976, George Brett in 1979, and John Mayberry in 1975.   Mayberry, you might remember, was second in the MVP voting in 1975. 

            Why 1.5?  Why do we raise this to the power 1.5?

            Because 1.0 isn’t enough, and 2.0 is too much.   Just my judgment, you know.   If you don’t raise it to any power at all, then three seasons as an average player is worth as much as an MVP, which is not right.   If you Square the Win Shares—raise it to the power 2—then an MVP is worth as much as 9 average players, which doesn’t seem right, either.  I tried 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5. . .all the way up to 2.0, and 1.5 seemed right.  At 1.5, a 30-Win Share season is worth 41% more than two 15-Win Share seasons.  That seems reasonable.  Brett’s 37-Win Share season in 1980, by the way, has a value of 225 Impact Points.  

            OK, so I added up the Impact Points, but there is another wrinkle.   Post season play.   Gordon, Quisenberry, White and Brett all were regulars and serious contributors to World Championship teams.   That counts for something. 

            Here is what it counts for, in my system.  You have to have at least 10 Win Shares to qualify for credit for making the post-season.   In 2015, when the Royals won the World Serious, eleven Royals qualified as Serious contributors to that team:  Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Kendrys Morales, Mike Moustakas, Wade Davis, Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon, Alcides Escobar, Edinson Volquez, Chris Young and Yordano Ventura.  Eleven is a little light; the number is usually 12 or 13. 

            Anyway, you have to credit that, because winning the World Series is a big deal.   Here’s how I credited it.  If you make post-season play in any form, each qualifying player gets a 10-point bonus.  If you make the World Series but lose, each qualifying player gets a 25-point bonus.   If you win the World Series, each qualifying contributor gets a 50-point bonus.  

            Then you add up the points for each season, and you find the career total.   For Frank White, this is as follows:

 

First

Last

Year

Win Shares

Impact

Post Season Bonus

Running Total

Frank

White

1973

2

2

0

2

Frank

White

1974

3

5

0

7

Frank

White

1975

9

27

0

34

Frank

White

1976

9

27

0

61

Frank

White

1977

13

46

10

117

Frank

White

1978

16

64

10

191

Frank

White

1979

11

36

0

227

Frank

White

1980

13

46

25

298

Frank

White

1981

7

18

0

316

Frank

White

1982

18

76

0

392

Frank

White

1983

15

58

0

450

Frank

White

1984

18

76

10

536

Frank

White

1985

16

64

50

650

Frank

White

1986

20

89

0

739

Frank

White

1987

14

52

0

791

Frank

White

1988

9

27

0

818

Frank

White

1989

14

52

0

870

Frank

White

1990

4

8

0

878

 

 

Frank White has 878 Impact Points in our silly little competition, 5th-most in Royals history.   Alex Gordon has 802:

 

First

Last

Year

Win Shares

Impact

Post Season Bonus

Running Total

Alex

Gordon

2007

12

41

0

41

Alex

Gordon

2008

15

58

0

99

Alex

Gordon

2009

2

2

0

101

Alex

Gordon

2010

3

5

0

106

Alex

Gordon

2011

24

117

0

223

Alex

Gordon

2012

20

89

0

312

Alex

Gordon

2013

21

96

0

408

Alex

Gordon

2014

26

132

25

565

Alex

Gordon

2015

16

64

50

679

Alex

Gordon

2016

9

27

0

706

Alex

Gordon

2017

6

14

0

720

Alex

Gordon

2018

11

36

0

756

Alex

Gordon

2019

13

46

0

802

 

            If Gordon had had one more season of the quality of any of his years 2011 to 2014, then he would rank ahead of White.   Dan Quisenberry comes in 6th, with 743 points.     And here; I’ll give you the top 200

 

Rank

FirstName

LastName

Career

1

George

Brett

2269

2

Amos

Otis

1391

3

Willie

Wilson

1044

4

Hal

McRae

959

5

Frank

White

878

6

Alex

Gordon

802

7

Dan

Quisenberry

743

8

John

Mayberry

683

9

Bret

Saberhagen

628

10

Eric

Hosmer

617

11

Kevin

Appier

613

12

Dennis

Leonard

586

13

Mark

Gubicza

580

14

Mike

Sweeney

579

15

Salvador

Perez

566

16

Paul

Splittorff

520

17

Lorenzo

Cain

519

18

Carlos

Beltran

512

19

Freddie

Patek

502

20

Billy

Butler

501

21

Jeff

Montgomery

488

22

Danny

Tartabull

445

23

Darrell

Porter

444

24

Larry

Gura

438

25

Kevin

Seitzer

434

26

Alcides

Escobar

433

27

Charlie

Leibrandt

407

28

David

DeJesus

404

29

Al

Cowens

360

30

Johnny

Damon

355

31

Mike

Moustakas

334

32

Joe

Randa

327

33

Whit

Merrifield

317

34

Mike

Macfarlane

292

35

Zack

Greinke

286

36

Buddy

Black

284

36

Steve

Busby

284

38

Lou

Piniella

268

39

Willie

Aikens

267

40

Jose

Offerman

259

41

Joakim

Soria

258

42

Cookie

Rojas

255

42

Paul

Schaal

255

44

Wade

Davis

253

45

U. L.

Washington

249

46

Al

Fitzmorris

248

47

Greg

Holland

240

48

Tom

Gordon

237

49

Wally

Joyner

234

50

Mark

Teahen

224

51

Danny

Jackson

217

52

Steve

Balboni

215

52

Dick

Drago

215

54

Ed

Kirkpatrick

214

55

Doug

Bird

213

55

Danny

Duffy

213

57

Bo

Jackson

210

58

Kendrys

Morales

204

59

Brian

McRae

195

60

Kurt

Stillwell

194

61

David

Cone

185

62

Kelvin

Herrera

184

62

Yordano

Ventura

184

64

Jermaine

Dye

182

65

John

Wathan

181

66

Tim

Belcher

179

67

Jim

Eisenreich

174

68

Marty

Pattin

163

69

Steve

Farr

160

70

Clint

Hurdle

159

70

James

Shields

159

72

Jeff

Suppan

155

73

Angel

Berroa

150

74

Lonnie

Smith

148

75

Emil

Brown

144

76

Greg

Gagne

143

77

Jose

Rosado

141

78

Gary

Gaetti

128

79

Raul

Ibanez

126

79

Jarrod

Dyson

126

81

Rich

Gale

123

82

Alberto

Callaspo

120

83

Mark

Grudzielanek

118

84

Jim

Sundberg

117

85

John

Buck

115

86

Tom

Poquette

114

87

Jeff

King

112

88

Brent

Mayne

109

88

Pat

Sheridan

109

88

Gil

Meche

109

91

Hipolito

Pichardo

108

92

Edinson

Volquez

107

93

Roger

Nelson

106

94

Tony

Graffanino

105

94

Mark

Littell

105

96

Mike

Aviles

103

96

Jason

Vargas

103

98

Pat

Kelly

100

98

Bruce

Chen

100

100

Bob

Oliver

99

100

Rey

Sanchez

99

102

Jay

Bell

96

102

Ian

Kennedy

96

104

Darrell

May

95

104

Bill

Pecota

95

104

Nori

Aoki

95

107

Johnny

Cueto

91

108

Bob

Boone

90

108

Melky

Cabrera

90

108

Jorge

Soler

90

111

Matt

Stairs

88

112

Fran

Healy

86

112

Mike

Hedlund

86

112

Steve

Mingori

86

112

Chris

Young

86

116

Jose

Guillen

85

116

Michael

Tucker

85

118

Jeff

Francoeur

84

119

Paul

Byrd

82

120

Bruce

Dal Canton

81

121

Pete

LaCock

78

121

Jorge

Orta

78

123

Carlos

Febles

77

123

Wilson

Betemit

77

125

Ted

Abernathy

76

125

Richie

Scheinblum

76

127

Luis

Aquino

75

128

Luke

Hochevar

75

129

Jim

Colborn

74

130

Tom

Burgmeier

73

130

Kevin

McReynolds

73

132

Mitch

Maier

70

133

Wally

Bunker

69

133

Tom

Goodwin

69

133

Al

Hrabosky

69

133

Esteban

German

69

137

Jeremy

Guthrie

68

137

Brad

Keller

68

139

Keith

Lockhart

67

139

Don

Slaught

67

141

Darryl

Motley

66

141

Adalberto

Mondesi

66

143

Mark

Quinn

65

144

Yuniesky

Betancourt

65

144

Hunter

Dozier

65

146

Mike

Fiore

64

146

Joe

Foy

64

147

Paulo

Orlando

64

149

Chris

Haney

61

149

Jim

Wohlford

61

149

Jeremy

Affeldt

61

152

Bob

Hamelin

60

153

Rusty

Meacham

59

153

Keith

Miller

59

155

Chili

Davis

58

155

Felix

Jose

58

155

Scott

Podsednik

58

158

David

Howard

56

159

Jerry

Martin

54

159

Jim

Rooker

54

161

Brian

Bannister

53

161

Gregg

Jefferies

52

161

Bob

Johnson

52

161

Dean

Palmer

52

161

Ervin

Santana

52

166

Jason

Grimsley

51

166

Jamie

Quirk

51

168

Tony

Solaita

50

168

Mike

MacDougal

50

168

Jakob

Junis

50

171

Moe

Drabowsky

46

171

Gene

Garber

46

171

Aaron

Guiel

46

174

Mike

Armstrong

45

174

Roberto

Hernandez

45

174

Miguel

Olivo

45

177

Vince

Coleman

44

177

Aaron

Crow

44

179

Brian

Anderson

43

179

Onix

Concepcion

43

179

Buck

Martinez

43

179

Chris

Getz

43

183

Desi

Relaford

42

183

Pat

Tabler

42

183

Tony

Pena

42

186

Kirk

Gibson

41

186

Gail

Hopkins

41

186

Scott

Service

41

186

Mac

Suzuki

41

186

Ken

Harvey

41

191

Bill

Butler

40

191

Dan

Reichert

40

191

Jorge

Bonifacio

40

194

Jon

Nunnally

39

194

Cheslor

Cuthbert

39

196

Runelvys

Hernandez

38

197

Kyle

Davies

37

198

Vida

Blue

36

198

Bip

Roberts

36

198

Bob

Stinson

36

198

Blake

Stein

36

198

Jimmy

Gobble

36

198

Jon

Jay

36

198

Jonathan

Broxton

36

198

Mike

Minor

36

 

 

            Not including 2020 performance.   Thank you for reading. 

 
 

COMMENTS (15 Comments, most recent shown first)

John-Q
David Cone, Zach Grienke, Tom Gordon, Danny Tartabull, Danny Jackson, Bret Saberhagen, Charlie Leibrandt, Greg Jefferies, Jeff Connie, Cecil Fielder, Ken Phelps, Atlee Hamaker, Rance Mullins, Jon Leiber, Jermaine Dye, Jose Bautista, all had success post Royals.

The Royals were very good at not making bad trades during the early part of the franchise 1969-85. And they made a lot of good-great trades during the 1970’s-80’s. They were also very good at resigning a lot of their players during the 70’s-80’s. So Brett never left for the Dodgers and McRae, Wilson, Otis, White stayed with the Royals for a long time.
10:42 AM Sep 27th
 
3for3
Danny Jackson had some very good seasons elsewhere as well.
10:24 AM Sep 27th
 
Robinsong
Missed Beltran
5:33 PM Sep 26th
 
Robinsong
Missed Beltran
5:33 PM Sep 26th
 
Robinsong
It is interesting how few Royals had good years elsewhere. Of the top 100, only Damon, Piniella, Greinke, and Lonnie Smith did much for anybody else. Wonder how many teams are like that?
5:33 PM Sep 26th
 
wovenstrap
You buried the lede! Amos Otis at #2. I did not see that coming.
1:44 PM Sep 26th
 
jrickert
As a Brewers fan I noticed Lorenzo Cain and Darryl Porter in the top 25 (alas!). Then I took a closer look at the top 16. Three (Otis, McRae, and Mayberry) debuted before the Royals existed. The other 13 made their major league debut with the Royals. That seems like a rather high ratio. I wonder if any other team has all of their top 10 making their debut with the team (if possible). OF the other 1969 expansion teams Cecil Cooper keeps the Brewers from getting there. Pedro Martinez might mar the Expos-Nationals top ten. Ken Caminiti and Adrian Gonzalez probably stop the Padres having all 10 who debuted since 1969 starting with the Padres.
11:50 PM Sep 25th
 
Jaytaft
I love the adjustment to value impact! The "greatest ever" lists always include mediocre guys who played forever and leave out spectacular players who only played a few full seasons. Does anyone really think that Rick Monday was a better player than Bill Lange, Pete Reiser, or Grady Sizemore?
6:47 PM Sep 25th
 
shthar
1994! Slowly I turned....

But seriously, that was the last good year for the Royals, for soooooooo long.

Aftyer that, 20 years of sad with one season over .500

I just can't...


4:46 PM Sep 25th
 
MarisFan61
To me the most significant thing here is giving consideration for post-season. For the field of sabermetrics, this might even be mildly ground-breaking, since it is omitted from almost all major analysis.

I would be even more excited about it if it took some account of what the players actually did in the post-season, rather than just giving a standard kind of credit for being a major contributor toward making the post-season.
1:53 PM Sep 25th
 
bjames
PeteRidges
One thing I notice...

The mid-point in Royals history is about 1994. All the top 5 had left the Royals by then, and all five were regulars from 1978-1983.


Sure. But now do a count. How many times did the Royals make post-season play, 1969 to 1994, and how many times since then. How many times did they win 90 games in the first half, and how many times in the second half?

Despite the expansion of the playoffs to include more teams, the Royals obviously were in the post season many more times in the first half than in the second--so it is entirely appropriate that the first-half players would dominate the list.
12:32 PM Sep 25th
 
PeteRidges
One thing I notice...

The mid-point in Royals history is about 1994. All the top 5 had left the Royals by then, and all five were regulars from 1978-1983.

12:25 PM Sep 25th
 
evanecurb
A fun exercise, thanks! Lots of names in there that are fun to remember. And some I honestly don't recall hearing before.
11:19 AM Sep 25th
 
JohnPontoon
I did not realize that "to the 1.5 power" meant "times the number's square root." I would have assumed it meant "times half of the number." Thanks for the math-learnin'!
9:55 AM Sep 25th
 
Cap0088
This list looks reasonable to me.
8:15 AM Sep 25th
 
 
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