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    • Meche, Banny, Greinke...
  • 10/24/07
  • kcrkcckubb

"Bannister - I do not share the excitement of other Royals fans about Bannister. I know he had a decent ERA in 07, but he didn't strikeout many hitters while walking too many batters. I see a huge drop off in his performance in 2008."

I don't see Bannister as a 3.75 ERA type of pitcher - but I also don't see him as an over 5.00 ERA type of guy. I also am not sure that 44 walks is quite as high as you seem to think it is - even in only 170 innings.

"Bannister has average stuff and his positive performance in 2007 had as much to do with luck as anything else"

How do you figure it had to do with luck? What I saw was a kid who, even when he did put too many guys on base, always found a way to get himself out of jams. He is extremely tough and smart in that regard. We also have to remember that he hasn't really been pitching for all that many years - he is still learning how to do it.

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  • 10/24/07
  • coachbulldog

"How do you figure it had to do with luck? What I saw was a kid who, even when he did put too many guys on base, always found a way to get himself out of jams. He is extremely tough and smart in that regard."

I am not a true devotee to sabermetric school of thought, but I do believe there is a lot of merit the analysis of pitching using the statistic of Batting Average of Balls In Play (BABIP). The Baseballprospectus.com website describes BABIP in the following way: "Batting Average on balls put into play. A pitcher's average on batted balls ending a plate appearance, excluding home runs. Based on the research of Voros McCracken and others, BABIP is mostly a function of a pitcher's defense and luck, rather than persistent skill. Thus, pitchers with abnormally high or low BABIPs are good bets to see their performances regress to the mean."

Since the overall AL BABIP in 2007 was .305 and Bannister's BABIP was .264, I would consider his 3.87 ERA in 2007 to be, in large part, attributed to his good luck. I hope I am wrong about Bannister, but I don't see him as any tougher or smarter than most Major League pitchers and I think he will come down to earth in 2008 and we will see a significant increase in his ERA and over all performance.

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  • 10/24/07
  • kcrkcckubb

I agree that he will have an increase in ERA. I see him, however, as a guy that can pitch in the mid 4's.

As for the rest of your BABIP talk - that all sounds great. I watched him pitch a lot of games. And I saw him work himself out of a lot of jams. I suppose you can call that luck if you want. I saw it as making good pitches when he needed to, and being tough enough to make those pitches in pressure situations.

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  • 10/24/07
  • johjoh05

I mostly agree with coachbuildog. Out of the three, I am least worried about Meche. Meche is a veteran who has experience and has the maturity to make necessary adjustments and mentally stay focus regardless of win/loss. As long he does not have any big injury, I think he would have another solid year. I really don't care how many games he is going to win for us. That is really not up to him. I think his ERA would be around 3.8 area.

Zack is the most talented amont the three and hardest to predict. Mental toughness and stabliity is one of the most important factor for starting pitchers and IMO Greinke lacks both. He is not going to gain these by winning more games or growing old. In the long run, I would never bet my money on him. No offense to anyone who suffers with depression, but this is simply not a good career path for a person like him. I think Zack would have an OK year.

I love Banny the most out of the three but I believe he is going to perform the worst amont the three. Bannister simply does not have a TOR stuff. Granted his fastball and changeup have pretty good movements and thats how he survived. But they are still not above average pitches. He is at best a no 3 or 4 pitcher. I think his era would increase a run.

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  • 10/24/07
  • doublestx11

Here's the thing about Bannister, all his pitches have movement.

It is much harder to make solid contact when every single pitch is sinking, cutting, or tailing.

So if you believe in that BABIP stuff, weak contact equals a lower BABIP.

I think he's a 4.2-4.4 ERA type pitcher, that is very good especially since he is very cheap to hold onto right now.

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  • 10/24/07
  • shoeman00
How many times did we see Bannister get into a jam and then all of a sudden reach back for a little extra and strike a guy out? He pitches to contact and can reach back for a little extra if need be. He is a fly ball pitcher who's homefield he is suited for. He's not a flame thrower, but he is smart and many people professed his pitching intelligence last season and attributed it to his success. I see Bannister in this rotation longer than I see Greinke or Meche because he will remain consistent and his services will not cost a boatload. Bannister will never be the ace of this staff but he will anchor it for years to come.
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  • 10/25/07
  • coachbulldog

>"How many times did we see Bannister get into a jam and then all of a sudden reach back for a little extra and strike a guy out? He pitches to contact and can reach back for a little extra if need be."

I don't know how you define "jam" but I am going to use RISP.

For the entire year, Bannister's K/9 was 4.20. With runners in scoring position it was 3.27. In other words, Bannister struck out fewer batters with runners in scoring position than he did overall.

Bannister had some other interesting statistics with RISP. 149 hitters stepped into the box against him with RISP. Of those 149 hitters, 12 struck out, 16 walked (1 IBB), and 38 got hits. Bannister's ERA with RISP was 14.45. This was higher than Meche 10.91, Greinke 8.92, O. Perez 12.85, and even Kyle Davies 14.26. Bannister's performance does not show he can turn it on and pitch out of jam when he needs too. He gave up more runs than the other Royals starters and he walked more hitters than he struck out.

>"He is a fly ball pitcher who's homefield he is suited for."

Bannister's ground ball to fly ball ratio for 2007 is 203/205. I don't think this shows him to be a "fly ball pitcher."

>"Many people professed his pitching intelligence last season and attributed it to his success."

This comment reminds me of a quote in Jim Bouton's book "Ball Four" that says "You [a pitcher] are only as smart as your ERA." If Bannister has moderate drop off in 2008, I wonder how many people will be discussing his "pitching intelligence."

>"I see Bannister in this rotation longer than I see Greinke or Meche because he will remain consistent and his services will not cost a boatload. Bannister will never be the ace of this staff but he will anchor it for years to come.

I could see Bannister being in the rotation longer than Meche and Greinke because the Royals control his services for a longer period of time. You are also correct that he could hold on to his slot because he is cheap. But in the end, I see him at best being an end of the rotation innings eater. His 2007 season is a nice story and, after years of watching Allard Baird trade for garbage, it is easy to get excited by trading for a player like Bannister. I will say this again, I hope I am wrong and his statistics are not an indication of how his career with the Royals is going to play out.


Edited 10/25/07   by  coachbulldog
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  • 10/25/07
  • shoeman00
Ouch, I'll tip my hat to you and simply walk away from this one.
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  • 10/25/07
  • kcrkcckubb

Fine, fine - some stats show this, some stats show that. Did you actually watch him pitch any? If you did, then I dont' see much of a way that you can argue that he didn't show the ability to battle when in a jam - regardless of what the stats show. Two or three swings or of the bat or one bad outing can completely inflate an ERA with RISP or with the bases loaded.

Listen, in June, I wasn't really buying that Bannister was as good as he was pitching, and I still don't think he was. I also don't think he is as bad as he was in September. I think he'll be a fairly consistent 3 or 4 pitcher, which is complete fine with me. What I disagree with, is that you are picking out stats from the first full season the kids has ever throw, and making the determination that he isn't tough and walks way too many people, and will continue to do so his entire career. Any 26 year old that puts up an ERA under 4 over his first full MLB season has more talent and potential than you seem to give him credit for.

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  • 10/25/07
  • smenze

i think you did a pretty good job of summing up bannister statistically. the pitching statistics are greatly flawed as a result of defense, luck, etc, but it is hopefully (by using certain sabremetrics stats) a comparison of apples to apples.

bannister i would expect to see a regression from next season really through no fault of his own. its not his fault that he got "lucky" this year and probably won't next year.

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  • 11/11/08
  • coachbulldog
With 2008 now in the books I thought I would revisit this thread. A lot of you took me to task and I was curious if anyone now feels differently about Bannister and the great (lucky) year he had in 2007.
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  • 11/11/08
  • kcrkcckubb
I feel pretty much the same way about Bannister now as I did prior to last season. He's not as good as he was in 2007. And I don't think he's as bad as he was in 2008. I think he can be an end of the rotation starter with some seasons of 4.75ish ERA.
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  • 11/11/08
  • coachbulldog
I understand where you are coming from on Bannister. I think his true level of performance is closer to the September 2007/2008 version though. The Royals have nothing to lose by giving him another chance in 2009.
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  • 11/12/08
  • cowhide

Bannister is one of those guys like Liebrandt and Byrd who will have to be incredibly fine with his stuff and super crafty in order to succeed. And he's going to have to have a solid defense behind him, because he does put the ball in play. He didn't have that last year, and please, statheads, don't start throwing numbers at me. The Royals were miserable defensively last year.

That wasn't the whole reason behind Bannister's fall last year. But I think the worst thing you can do to him, or to any young pitcher or player, is to attempt to turn him into something he is not.

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  • 11/12/08
  • tcreecy

I think you've pretty much hit the nail on the head with Bannister. He's somewhere between 2007 and 2008. His control was miserable in 2008 and not just in the BBs category. He would get ahead of hitters and then leave an 0-2 pitch out over the plate that would get jacked out of the yard. Yes, Bannister needs good defense behind him but his defense had very little to do with his bad year compared to his control. That was the main issue.

It would not surprise me though if he's around a 4.50-4.80 ERA next year. The control will be the key.

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  • 11/12/08
  • basicslop

"It would not surprise me though if he's around a 4.50-4.80 ERA next year. The control will be the key."

True. I think a very good barameter as to how well the 09' season goes for the royals will be if Bannister or Hochevar or Davies is considered the #3 guy. If it's Hochevar and Davies then we had a good season, if Bannister is considered our #3 guy... well the bullpen will have to be exceptionally good and lucky...

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