Skillin: The Royals are a sabermetric team

From Alex Skillin at The Hardball Times on November 2, 2015:

For two straight seasons, the Kansas City Royals have defied just about everyone’s expectations and played deep into October. The Royals are few people’s idea of a smart, progressive and well-run organization, but that didn’t stop them from getting back to the World Series and taking home the crown this season. After, of course, they finished with the American League’s best record.

Despite all this, many in the sabermetric community still view Kansas City with an air of ironic amusement and skepticism, as if the team’s success is more smoke and mirrors than the result of some well-executed plan. Royals Devil Magic — or rather, #RoyalsDevilMagic — has been a popular phrase on Twitter this month. While many fans are quick to place analytically inclined clubs like the Rays or A’s on a pedestal, the Royals are rarely held in such regard, even as the wins keep piling up. Their run to the World Series in the 2014 postseason happened through a good deal of luck, sure, but they were among the best squads in baseball this season and backed that up in the playoffs.

Numerous reasons exist for why Kansas City has developed such a reputation. The polarizing Wil MyersJames Shields trade (which, funny enough, worked out better for the Royals) spawned not only a bevy of hot takes, but also a tendency to dismiss the organization as incapable of going toe-to-toe with baseball’s shrewder clubs.

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Originally published: November 2, 2015. Last Updated: November 2, 2015.