KANSAS CITY -- The Royals are getting more into statistical analysis of the game, at least formally, with the establishment of an analytical department within baseball operations.
General manager Dayton Moore announced the promotion of Mike Groopman to director of baseball analytics and John Williams to assistant director of baseball analytics on Thursday. Both had been assistants in baseball operations.
"We are delighted that Mike will be leading our analytical department. He and John have been great assets and each has worked diligently to create synergy throughout our baseball operations department," said Moore in announcing the promotions.
Groopman, from Brookline, Mass., joined the Royals' staff in 2008 after serving internships with the Reds and Mets and MLB's labor relations department. He's a graduate of Columbia University.
Williams joined the Royals in 2010 after working as a political science research assistant at Yale University. He's a graduate of Yale and has a master's degree in atmospheric science from MIT.
Santana says all is fine between him, Butler
KANSAS CITY -- When newly acquired Royals pitcher Ervin Santana was being quizzed by reporters, the subject of tense on-field moments with new teammate Billy Butler came up.
That goes back to July 3, 2010, at Anaheim, when Santana, the Angels' starter, hit Butler with a pitch in the first inning and, after walking him twice, drilled him again in the eighth. In the heat of the moment, Butler glared at Santana, but that loaded the bases and Jose Guillen followed with a two-run single to break up a scoreless duel.
That was the day that Bruce Chen had a perfect game going against the Angels through six innings. The Royals won, 4-2.
Ancient history, Santana declared.
"There's nothing there because, after that, the next year I saw him in Kansas City and I said hello to him and he said hello back to me and there was nothing -- no problems -- because he knows I wasn't doing it purposely," Santana said. "I like to pitch inside and he knows it."
Butler, by the way, hit his first career home run off Santana on June 26, 2007, and in his career is a modest 8-for-31 (.258) against the right-hander -- but five of those hits were homers, and he also walked six times in addition to the two plunkings.
At his new home, Kauffman Stadium, Santana made eight starts during his career with the Angels and was 3-2 with a 4.59 ERA. The pitcher was diplomatic.
"I like the stadium, it's very nice, it's one of my favorite stadiums," he said.
Santana becomes the second starter obtained by the Royals since the season ended. Right-hander Chris Volstad was claimed off waivers from the Cubs last Friday and general manager Dayton Moore says the Royals aren't done yet.
Moore noted that his scouts were particularly impressed with Santana's pitching in August and September this past season. In 10 starts during those two months, he was 4-3 (the Angels were 7-3 in those games) with a 3.63 ERA, 55 strikeouts and 16 walks in 62 innings.
"Our evaluations were very consistent on him," Moore said. "He's obviously been someone who is a high-inning guy, 600-plus innings over the last three years, I believe. Our scouting judgment was consistent with regard to him impacting and being an upgrade for us in our rotation. Our analytical statistical judgment confirmed that, as did our medical information, and we're proud to be able to consummate the deal."
Fletcher to represent KC in Rising Stars Game
KANSAS CITY -- Outfielder Brian Fletcher will be the Royals' representative in the Arizona Fall League's seventh annual Rising Stars Game on Saturday at Scottsdale, Ariz.
Fletcher, 24, batted a combined .272 with 15 home runs this year in 132 games for Class A Wilmington and Double-A Northwest Arkansas. For the Surprise Saguaros in the AFL, he has a .159 (7-for-44) average in 13 games. He is ranked by MLB.com as the Royals' No. 17 prospect.
The game, at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, will be televised online by MLB.com and by MLB Network. Players were selected by scouting and farm directors from every Major League team in consultation with league director Steve Cobb and his staff.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.