Monday, November 12, 2007

Dayton Moore Has No Clue How To Build An Offense

Dayton Moore Has No Clue How To Build An Offense

The title appears controversial, sure. It's not exactly my viewpoint, and I'm sure it's not the viewpoint of the majority of the Royals faithful as well. I will readily admit that I, in fact, may have even violated Journalism Rule #101: No Purposefully Misleading Titles However, the title is certainly an argument that could - and has - been generated among the most cynical of the Royals fanbase.

Approximately one and a half years into his tenure with the Royals, Dayton Moore has failed to capitalize off an incredibly poor offense that reared its ugly head almost nightly under the latter part of Allard Baird's tenure (R.I.P.) One must assume that inheriting a historically awful baseball team is an easy task, as many believe it is not difficult to transform a terrible ballclub into merely a mediocre one, or to a lesser extent a mediocre one into an average one, and so forth. In turn, a new General Manager, particularly one from a successful organization such as Atlanta, often can conveniently assume a "hero" status among the fanbase who have endured consistent losing under an in-grossly-over-his-head G.M. By focusing on this article, we must first examine another important aspect of the game in which Moore has demonstrated a keen knowledge - and ability to understand and develop in "X" ballclub - PITCHING!

By obtaining a talented yet obscure Rule V draft pick (Soria, 2.48 ERA), trading for a projected #4 pitcher (Bannister, 3.87 ERA), nabbing a relatively cheap/low-risk free agent relief pitcher (Riske, 2.45 ERA), landing a legitimate #3 starter who was still young and had the potential to coax his "stuff" into ace-caliber (Meche, 3.67 ERA), and acquiring a still high-upside, at-times dominant reliever (Dotel, 3.91 ERA) who, given his monetary and veteran status, would most certainly be traded at the trade deadline, Moore improved the pitching staff by leaps and bounds within the time frame of but several months. Moore's improvements in the pitching staff showed in the first half of 2007, as the staff ERA improved by over one full run. The ERA+, in turn, improved from 83 to 104 and the strikeout-to-walk ratio improved from roughly 4.5:3 (904:637) to nearly 2:1 (993:520). Compare the results of our pitching staffs from one year to the next:

2006 Pitching Stats: 5.65 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 213 HRA, 1648 HA

2007 Pitching Stats: 4.50 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 168 HRA, 1547 HA

Brian Bannister was one of several of Moore's low-budget, low-risk acquisitions to experience success - and truly dominate - at times in 2007.

If improving a pitching staff was so easy for Dayton, perhaps improving the offense was - as much of a `walk in the park'? Perhaps not for Dayton Moore. Compare our offensive results from 2006 to 2007:

.271 BA, .332 OBP, .411 SLG, 124 HR, 757 RS, 1515 H
.261 BA, .322 OBP, .388 SLG, 102 HR, 706 RS, 1447 H

In what many baseball experts, analysts, and, yes, Royals fans deemed as a triumphant victory on the trade front, Moore was able to coax Rockies' G.M. Dan O'Dowd into acquiring a promising but declining (and whiny) young lefthander in Jeremy Affeldt (pictured below) and a more-unsturdy-and-breakable-than-day-old-yogurt-turned-crust Denny Bautista for a young, inexpensive, power-hitting first baseman in Ryan Shealy and a throw-in mediocre reliever named Scott Dohmann. Ryan Shealy had absolutely mashed in each of his stops within the Rockies' farm system. Although he was too grizzled to be deemed a true prospect (he was 27), Shealy had found himself deadlocked on the MLB roster without a starting job, as perennial All-Star Todd Helton raked with the big club, and appeared destined for at least one more year as full-time first baseman in Colorado after their front office tried feverishly to trade him, but ultimately to no avail.
Shealy's Minor League + Major League Numbers.

Affeldt's Declining ERA year-by-year:

2003: 3.93

2004: 4.95

2005: 5.26

2006 thru July 31: 6.20

As a setup man, Jeremy Affeldt has proceeded to accomplish more out-notching and less tearjerking in Colorado than he ever did in Kansas City.

Although critics deemed the Shealy trade an overwhelming success for the Royals two Julys ago, he has since struck out not only twice a day on the baseball diamond, but also a time or two by RoyalsRetro in a Plaza-area K.C. restaurant (which, mind you, is damned near impossible to do). Ever heard of the completely juvenile term "sucking on ice?" Shealy most certainly did so in 2007, enough to be deemed a tremendous bust and enough for even the most casual of fan to deem the July 31, 2006 deal an enormous disappointment for Colorado. Compare Shealy's results below:

2006: .277/.338/.451, 7 HR, 37 RBI in 193 AB's with KC (9 more in Colorado)

2007: .221/.286/.308, 3 HR, 21 RBI in 172 AB's with KC

Even beyond nabbing a high-upside first baseman, Moore's work was still cut out for him in order to transform our offense from mediocre levels in `06 to perhaps average or above average levels in `07. Or was it?

At age 27, David DeJesus was entering his first prime season, and a season in which most youngsters are expected to break through offensively.

2004: .287/.360/.402

2005: .293/.359/.445

2006: .295/.364/.446

2007: .260/.351/.372

That clearly didn't happen.

Emil Brown had enjoyed two years of above-average offensive and average defensive seasons in '05 and '06.


2005: 113 OPS+ (100 is average)

2006: 109 OPS+

2007: 68 OPS+

Mark Teahen raked baseballs like it was his job in the second half of 2006 (okay, it theoretically was his job), and like DeJesus, was just entering the prime of his career (age 26). Was it the rust from his offseason arm surgery? Unfortunately, that's a question we don't have the answer to.

2006: .290/.357/.517 overall

2007: .285/.353/.410

Many scouts projected John Buck to be a 20-25 HR, .450+ slugging everyday catcher in the big leagues. Hey, good enough for me! Except that Buck was primed for such a breakout season in 2007. Although Buck showed exceptional promise in April, that promise turned sour by mid-May and never fully resurfaced. Still, his 2007 , numberwise, was only an ever-so-slight improvement on his previous two seasons.

2005: .242/.287/.389, 12 HR

2006: .245/.306/.396, 11 HR

2007: .222/.308/.429, 18 HR, just two HR's in August and September

Although he had never proven to be an everyday player, Ross Gload had showed promise in limited duty with the White Sox. Perhaps he could carry his with Kansas City as a platoon and part-time first baseman and corner outfielder.

2004: .321/.375/.429

2006: .327/.354/.462

As Royals fans, we discovered fairly quickly that real-life baseball doesn't exactly reflect MVP Baseball 2005, where productive part-timers can magically become legitimate RBI-men overnight.

Over on the other hot corner, Gordon began 2007 in such a tremendous slump, that his offensive "damage" (a relative term) done in April and May would have been almost impossible for him to compensate for in the final four months. Although Gordon regained his swing, he finished the season with lukewarm results.

Gordon's 2007: .247/.314/.411, 15 HR, 60 RBI in 543 AB

Gordon's 2006 numbers in Wichita: .325/.427/.588, 29 HR, 101 RBI, 486 AB

But perhaps an uber-productive rookie season is too much to ask for?
Although, not exactly to our liking, we have studied the offensive numbers from 2007, gaze over these statistics one more time:

2007: .261 BA, .322 OBP, .388 SLG, 102 HR, 706 RS, 1447 H

FACT: Emil Brown led the team with a mere 63 RBI's

FACT: John Buck led the team with but 18 HR's

FACT: With DeJesus, Buck, Pena, and Teahen entering their prime, the Royals responded by finishing dead last in the American League in slugging percentage and home runs, and second to last in on-base percentage, walks, and runs scored.

With a completely unprotected and fast-declining Mike Sweeney as our cleanup hitter from July 2004 through the final days of Baird's tenure, Moore had every opportunity to acquire meaningful protection in the lineup, either through the form of a veteran free agent or a low-risk/high-upside player. Sadly, neither happened, and the Royals were stuck with virtually the same team that ended 2006, with the additions of a below average first baseman (Ross Gload), and one and a half emerging young prospects (Gordon and Billy Butler for approximately 100 games).

Instead of improving our power numbers and plate discipline, we faltered. Which brings us to another fascinating topic: plate discipline. Virtually every stathead, from Bill James to Baseball Prospectus to Rob Neyer, have proven over the years with overwhelming evidence, that plate discipline helps offense overall for any team - from the slugging Bronx Bombers to our own Boys in Blue.

I mean, remember that excruciatingly long list of obscure pitchers who had shut down the Royals this season, allowing an insubordinately few amount of walks and lasting, like, seven-plus innings? Yeah, that one.

Jon Lester

Scott Baker.........

Forget it. The list is simply too long.

Given that our offense included once-heralded Moneyball player Mark Teahen, plate discipline extraordinaire David DeJesus, the always patient Esteban German and the mostly patient John Buck all entering their prime, there was no reason for us innocent fans to witness such a dropoff - and dramatic embarrassment overall - in overall plate discipline. Given our lack of power, there was no reason the Royals should have demonstrated such a "hack-tastic" offensive approach in 2007.

Nonetheless, these quotes from fearless leader Buddy Bell (now enthusiastically helping the White Sox in situational bunting and hit-and-run strategies), seemed to indicate a "Be Aggressive or Die!" approach.

"For us to be the kind of team we want to be, we've got to figure out how to approach pitchers like we've seen the first eight or nine games," Bell said. "I think that is a more aggressive approach early in the count."

"We have to be more aggressive early in the count. I keep saying that, all the time, and I hope eventually it will start to sink in. We take too many early fastballs. We're a young team, and the only way we're going to find out about our swings is to be aggressive."

"I think we tend to be too particular with our strike zone. And we just have to be more aggressive.

"We refuse to be aggressive offensively," Bell said. "It's driving me crazy.

"We were not aggressive," Bell said. "We talked about that before. We let strikes go and we swing at balls."

"The more aggressive he is, the better he's going to be," Bell said. ... (on Berroa)

"This is the big leagues and you've got to be aggressive up there."

(Note: If anyone would like a link to each of these articles, do not hesitate to contact me personally at Or simply do a Google search of "Buddy Bell" and "aggressive" and you'll find a gaquadzagillion results).

Either way, The Royals offense was as meagerly power and OBP-thirsty as it was utterly pathetic in 2007 (which is redundant, no?). Perhaps some of the Royals' inabilities with the lumber fall square on the shoulders of Buddy Bell and our hitting coach Mike Barnett. However, those philosophies have to fall back again - square (or as South Park's Cartman says, squaaaaihhh) upon the shoulders of Dayton Moore.

Nonetheless, it will be an exciting offseason for Moore and our Boys in Blue. Moore will, once again, have plenty of work to do to improve our offensive output. Will he seek players via the Free Agent route (Jones? Rowand?), the young and cheap route (Francisco? Quentin?) or the perhaps the Japanese route (Fukudome?). All that's crystal clear is that Moore needs to try something.

And hopefully this time around, that something will work.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Revisiting My Preseason Predictions

Here are my preseason predictions, posted on RoyalBoard on April 2.

AL West:
1. LA of ANA (2nd best pitching staff in AL....capable, but not overpowering, offense)
2. Seattle (Will be surprise team in AL - Underrated offense)
3. Texas (Young studs plus serviceability of Millwood/Padilla, an emerging young #3 starter)
4. Oakland (Great pitching staff, worst offense in AL)

I nearly nailed this one, except Oakland finished in third place by one game. Seattle was one of the surprise teams of baseball this season, even if they outperformed their Pythag. by an insane margin. LA of ANA once again had dominant pitching with a non-powerful offense that could get on base well.

AL Central:
1. Cleveland (This is the year everything comes together for them. Suspect bullpen becomes dominant in mid-May. They obtain a closer at the deadline.)
2. Detroit (See last year, except even more formidable O)
3. Chicago (Won't regress as badly as BP thinks they will - maybe around .500 - which would be an implosion for them. Many late blown leads. Ozzie gets into major trouble with media.)
4. Minnesota (Unbelievably bad pitching beyond Santana, excellent bullpen, two sparkplugs on offense but no protection.)
5. Kansas City (Allows over 900 runs, league-average offense.)

Overestimated Chicago, even if I now believe (with substantial evidence) that they deserved to finish last by a significant margin. I was dead wrong on the Royals, even if I predicted 70-92 before the season. The Royals had league-average pitching, and lousy hitting. Minnesota's pitching wasn't exactly pre-2007 levels, but wasn't unbelievably bad beyond Santana (Bonser and Silva were both average to above average). I was correct on Detroit's improved offense, and Cleveland's dominance.

AL East:
1. Boston (Best pitching in AL, diverse offense)
2. New York (Offensive juggernaut, allows over 850 runs. Rivera regresses noticeably.)
3. Toronto (77-85-ish. Formideable offense but no pitching depth once again.)
4. Baltimore (75-87...still Baltimore)
5. Tampa Bay (Worst pitching in baseball...mediocre offense due to inexperience and players without positions.)

Nailed it!
(Although Toronto finished a bit better than I expected, Baltimore finished a bit worse....but Tampa Bay's pitching was the worst in baseball.)

NL West:
1. Los Angeles (dynamic pitching, so-so offense, will be a speed, pitching, & defense kinda team)
2. Arizona (emerging young offense, capable arms despite oft-injured Johnson)
3. Colorado (surprise of baseball along with Brewers & Mariners)
4. San Diego (league-worst offense, so-so pitching)
5. San Francisco (mediocrity across the board - no bullpen - many blown leads)

This division is skewed because of Arizona's flukish/lucky season. I was correct in deeming Colorado one of the three surprises of baseball. I was correct in predicting Johnson's oft-injuriness. I was correct in predicting San Fran last. I underestimated San Diego's pitching and overall record by a hefty margin.

NL Central:
1. Milwaukee (surprise of NL, pitching suddenly dominates in all facets)
2. St. Louis (Tony will continue to work his magic, but not quite enough this time around, see: no pitching beyond Carpenter & Wells)
3. Chicago (Disappointment...finishes slightly above .500...great but untimely offense, mediocre pitching)
4. Cincinnati (No protection for Dunn, Edwin Enflukarcion regresses noticeably, no depth in pitching staff)
5. Houston (three big stars and black holes)
6. Pittsburgh (same old Pittsburgh)

This entire division was a wash to begin with....most people probably predicted Chicago to finish first, which they did....but with a mere 85-77 record. I was dramatically off on St. Louis, who I predicted to finish just barely over .500 again. I was correct in deeming MIL a surprise club.

NL East:
1. Philadelphia (this is finally the year!)
2. New York (best offense in NL hands down, zero pitching beyond Glavine...Martinez ineffective when he then, it will be too little/too late)
3. Atlanta (83-79...bullpen still sucky)
4. Florida ( improvement from last year, but not bad either)
5. Washington (little Minor League depth...and many years away)

*Patting self on back*

I foresaw a Phils-Indians World Series before the season. That won't be the scenario.

Monday, October 1, 2007

All-Time Royals Survivor

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls....

The latest edition of "Royals Survivor" has arrived!

All-Time Royals Survivor, available at the link below!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

450 Rules of Royals Baseball!

I'm going to start a string of posts called the "450 rules of Royals baseball", where I identify every rule that must exist within the realm of Kansas City Royals baseball. Keep in mind these "amendments" (shall we call them) did not exist before the strike of 1994. Ever since the strike, the baseball Gods placed 450 rules for each and every Major League franchise, including our beloved own. If one of these rules are ever broken, the universe will collapse upon itself and we will proceed to enter the twilight zone.

In no particular order, here are a few of the rules of Kansas City Royals baseball.


Rule #108: Every offseason, the Royals must proceed to select the only three worst players throughout baseball - the only players who can run slower, throw weaker, and cover less ground than your own grandmother. They must then name those three players the Opening Day pitcher, the starting shortstop, and the backup catcher. (Rule #108b: This rule does not apply to pitchers whose first name begins with the letter "G" and last name begins with the letter "M").

Rule #312: Every owner not named Kauffman is the physical manifestation of Satan himself. No exceptions.

Rule #78: Beware of the lefthanded opposing pitcher. For he, like Kujo, sees Royals batters as a delicious T-bone and nothing else.

Rule #227: Beware of pinstripes.

Rule #65: At least one Royals fringe player every season must be catastrophically bad, only to join another team by mid-season and dominate completely.

Rule #113: The manager must have his head placed square within the realm of his own all times.

Rule #218: All players must worship Steve Balboni as the home run God. If anyone even so much as attempts to break his home run record, that player shall be tarred and feathered and demonized for all eternity.

Rule #333: All Royals fans must be reminded, at least once a month, of the feeling the Kung-Fu expert in Dumb & Dumber received, when Jim Carrey reached in his chest, yanked out his heart, and gently and appropriately placed it in a brown paper sack, and kindly gave it back to the man.

Rule #45: Speed is a necessity. We need lots and lots of speed. (exception: years ending in an odd-number where Democrats are the majority in Congress).

Rule #394: At least one winning season will be achieved every decade. When the fans are pie-in-the-sky optimistic, that winning season must be immediately followed by another decade of losing.

Rule #154: At least one power-outage every season. (Literally.. ...and figuratively :))

Rule #285: We need a good "heavy duty" guy to be friends with. Every year, there must be one in the clubhouse. *Exception*: Catchers do not have to be friends with this guy.

Rule #19: Light-hitting Dominican middle infielders are a must. Need! More! Light! Hitting! Dominican! Middle infielders!

Rule #306: Beware of the Rookie of the Year curse.

***Rule #105: (Bonus: Universal Rule!) Never mention a no hitter or perfect game, or that no-hitter or perfect game will be jinxed after the sixth inning.

^^^Rule #59: (Bonus: Another universal rule!) All luck and karma evens out.

***In the Royals case, it will be jinxed by the second inning.

^^^Except for the team closest to the "Gateway to Hell" at Stull, Kansas. Whichever team that may be.

And here are a few more:

Rule #90: All Royals must have their equal dosage of awesome-ness through such great names as Gwynn, Giambi, and Guerrero. However, that "awesomeness" must come in the form of their slightly less spectacular younger brother.

Rule #263: Second basemen must bat second at all times.

Rule #405: The question of "Shall Emil Brown stay or go" must be posed every month. Emil Brown must be eliminated through a majority vote......a "unanimous" majority vote. 100%. Thanks to that Emil Brown fan from the northland, this never happens. Ironically, it was that man who was declared clinically insane about one week ago.

Rule #64: The concepts of "beautiful ballpark" and "successful ballclub" are not mutually exclusive in Kansas City.

Rule #216: For Las Vegas casino betters: When in doubt, bet on Kansas City. Know that Angel Berroa told you to do it.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tu es 'pwned

Anyone remember the final scene of the '80s teen comedy Ferris Bueller's Day Off? You know, the scene where Mr. Rooney is trudging along the sidewalks and walks onto the school bus? Remember that song?

Now, think of Zack Greinke.

Sept. 20 vs. CHW:

8.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 R, 0 BB, 10 K, 105 NP

Boom boom boom.

Bawwwwwm boom bom...

(Complete Silence)



Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Man, The Myth, The Legend: Justin Huber

Some Justin Huber Sightings!

Evidence of Justin Huber's penmanship, as seen above.

Justin Huber, seen in his natural habitat, roaming
the rugged mountains of Nepal.

Justin Huber, seen at a lake near his home in Canada, only comes out once every three years, during mating season. (Howdy, mate!)

See that face peering at the woman on the top left side? Rumor is that's a small Justin Huber, circa 1987.

A search party unites deep in the Brazilian jungle and attempts to capture a glimpse of the ubiquitous Justin Huber.

Where in the world is Justin Huber?

You decide, my friend. You decide.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

K.C. Royals: Underachievers?

I thought everyone might be interested in delving into a little Pythagorean W-L/Expected W-L discussion, and maybe answer this trivia question along the way.

Who has been the "unluckiest" team in baseball, in terms of run differential? Hint: It's not the Yankees, who underperformed their run differential until July, when they started winning five out of every seven games.

Give up?

It's the Kansas City Royals - whose "Expected W-L" now stands at 69-76. That's a far cry from their 63-82 mark of September 14. Since there are 17 games remaining, we would have to finish about 13-4 or 14-3 just to reach our "expected" record.

Compare our record with that of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have been outscored this season 666 to 643 (a differential of 23). Their "Expected W-L" is nearly identical to ours....71-76.

The Chicago White Sox currently sit 1.5 games behind the Royals, yet their "Expected" record is the worst in baseball, 58-88. The Cardinals, who long overperformed their X W-L, are now starting to fall back to earth, after losing seven in a row.

I understand we have blown out our opponents on several occasions this year, and the D-Backs have been annihilated on a few occasions, but how can one explain this "unluckiness"? Or is "luck" even involved? It's not as if offense or pitching in blowouts can be negated, right?

If it isn't luck, who is to blame? However, if it is luck, that only means one thing. We're bound for some positive karma in 2008!


2007 Season Evaluations, Part Three

1B/DH - Mike Sweeney
Season Statistics: .263/.320/.419, 7 HR, 35 RBI, 236 AB, 66 G
Strengths: Our captain still has what it takes to be a productive Major League player in some respect.
Weaknesses: Plenty. Inability to stay healthy, lack of defensive versatility (mixed with declining range and athleticism). He's not the power threat he was during his prime.
'08 Status: I've written plenty about Mike Sweeney during his albatross 5-year contract, but Sweeney could be retained in 2008 for a near or at league-minimum salary, likely (of course) with incentives. Sweeney could still provide a decent platoon bat off the bench, but a team simply cannot count on him as an everyday option, as he's physically ill-equipped to handle an entire season playing baseball. His OPS, as of September 13, is roughly .740 and rising, which is adequate. If he is retained and used a similar role next season as he is this season, I fail to see how our ballclub will improve. Barring a torrid late September, the Royals are probably best off not re-signing Sweeney. If he is brought back, it must be in a limited role. Our new manager likely will refuse to use him in that role, come May.

2B - Mark Grudzielanek
Season Statistics: .300/.345/.424, 5 HR, 46 RBI, 103 G, 410 AB
Strengths: Grudzie had a strong year in 2007 as our "everyday" second baseman. He's valuable at that position both offensively and defensively.
Weaknesses: If one wants to nitpick, one could say a lack of speed and lack of patience at the plate/getting on base. Also, 2008 will be his age 38 season.
'08 Status: Grudz has signed an extension through 2008 to likely be our everyday second baseman. He will have to work himself out of the role. If he does, Esteban German is his most likely replacement. Through roughly Sept. 1, Grudz had the highest VORP among any Royals regulars. Retaining him was a good idea. We're a better team with him AND German as a utilityman.

2B - Esteban German
Season Statistics: .267/.360/.375, 3 HR, 34 RBI, 111 G, 315 AB
Strengths: German provides an excellent utility bat off the bench, and in limited duty at second base, third base, and occasionally in the outfield. Every team needs a super-sub like German. His almost uncanny ability to get on base (notice the near-100 pt. spread between BA and OBP in 2007) keeps him a solid Major League threat.
Weaknesses: As a result of his inability to play any position particularly adequately, the organization simply does not view the OBP-king German as an everyday player. He only slugged .375 and hit 13 doubles in 315 AB's, so the fact that he's not a power threat either may factor into the decision.
'08 Status: German is arbitration eligible for the first time, and will likely return to the 2008 Royals next year in a similar role to 2007.

IF Jason Smith
Season Statistics: .198/.242/.353, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 116 AB
Strengths: Ability to play four infield positions adequately. There's supposedly some power there, although he has yet to show that consistently in 2007, other than hitting the 5 HR's.
Weaknesses: Many. Absolutely no patience at the plate, the fact that he's 30, and a Buddy Bell man-crush earned him more playing time than he was worth in '07.
'08 Status: He replaced Fernando Cortez mid-season as the official "25th man", and that's likely what he'll be for the next couple seasons. The Royals will be smart not to bring him back in '08.

Monday, September 10, 2007

2007 Season Evaluations, Part Two

C - Paul Phillips
Season Statistics (KC): .200/.273/.300, 2-for-10, 2 RBI
Season Statistics (OMA): .237/.295/.298, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 57 G, 198 AB
Strengths: He's a catcher, and offense is clearly not a priority as a backstop. He's a cheap solution as an "instructor" somewhere in the organization.
Weaknesses: At this point, Phillips is strictly an organizational backup backstop, and has or will not earn a spot as a Major League backup.
'08 Status: Judging by his numbers at AAA Omaha, and the fact that he was 30 years old entering the season, it's safe to say Phillips clearly is not the future of this organization as backstop. OPS-ing barely over .600 in AAA won't secure even a starting job there, but he could be brought back next season as an instructional backup in either Northwest Arkansas or Omaha. However, even at age 30, he is well on the downhill side of his career, as his AAA OPS has sunk from .789 to .718 to .672 to .645 to .593 in the last five years. I see a trend, I do.

1B - Craig Brazell
Season Statistics (KC): To Be Determined
Season Statistics (AAA): .308/.339/.612, 32 HR, 76 RBI, 425 AB, 103 G
Season Statistics (AA): .349/.408/.587, 7 HR, 15 RBI, 109 AB, 30 G
Strengths: He fits well at a position where offensive ability is emphasized. The dude can absolutely mash. He's a raw talent with the bat.
Weaknesses: Unfortunately, he couldn't prove himself in two other (albeit organizationally deep) organizations: the New York Mets and L.A. Dodgers. He's 27, and needless to say, is not considered a prospect. He is not particularly patient at the plate, as only 30 percentage points separated his BA and OBP in AAA.
'08 Outlook: Brazell is stuck among a cluster**** of candidates for the '08 season at first base. He's a Calvin Pickering-type, with raw power, but not much else on his side. My instinct tells me he will not return next season, unless he lights the Royals on fire this September. All indications point to lack of playing time hurting the chances of that. Thank you, Buddy Bell.

"1B" - Billy Butler
Season Statistics (KC): .300/.354/.464, 6 HR, 43 RBI, 250 AB, 70 G
Season Statistics (AAA): .291/.412/.542, 13 HR, 46 RBI, 203 AB, 57 G
Strengths: Ability to spray the ball to all fields, which are triggered by an extraordinary professionalism at the plate. His good power (33 doubles in Wichita in 2006, 19 doubles in limited duty in K.C.) will make him a mainstay in the show for many, many years to come. And the power will continue to improve, as he turns 22 next April. Oh, and he's also patient at the plate (.390, .388, .412 OBP's in each Minor League season since '05).
Weaknesses: I put the position "1B" in quotes because he's yet to prove himself as a satisfactory defender at the big league level. Dayton Moore and Buddy Bell continuously say he will be tried at first base in Kansas City, but the on-paper evidence indicates otherwise. Bell was every bit determined *not* to give him AB's there in '07. Also, he's not particularly good with the legs. How he managed to steal five bases in Idaho Falls back in 2004 was unbelievable. However, he's never been caught stealing in his professional career. Therefore, his lack of a permanent MLB position and his legs do hurt him as an everyday MLB ballplayer.
'08 Status: He will be in the middle of the lineup for Kansas City. Where he plays, at this point, is anyone's guess. The organization will give him Winter Ball time to develop as a first baseman, and is - at least, verbally - to determined to let him work himself out of that status. We know that he has proven himself in the Minors - and will be an offensive asset in K.C. for, hopefully, many years to come.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

2007 Season Evaluations: Part One

One of my offseason priorities is to begin to update this blog daily, and in turn stop making so many negative-minded posts. In this post, I will give a brief report card on how each of our Major League players performed in the 2007 season, how they can improve for next year and why they should pat themself on the back for their accomplishments this season. Keep in mind that most of these observations are strictly qualitative.

I will first evaluate our offensive producers and then move forth to pitchers in the next segment. The statistics are updated through Tuesday, September 4.

C - John Buck

Season Statistics: .231/.322/.461, 17 HR, 45 RBI, 295 AB, 94 G, 32 BB, 72 K
Strengths: Raw power, ability to call game/block baseball
Weaknesses: Hitting breaking pitches, getting on base consistently
- Developed into a legitimate power threat at a position typically lacking in that department
- Must improve situational hitting - hitting with runners on base
'08 Status: Arb. eligible: Will likely return as everyday catcher. Not everyday by Buddy Bell's definition, but everyday by standard definition - 80% of playing time. His power threat from the #7 slot in the order will be a Royal asset for the next three seasons. Given his less-than-stellar other peripherals, the Royals might be able to retain him at a reasonable price past 2010 should he continue to produce at this level.

C - Jason LaRue
Season Statistics: .145/.241/.276, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 152 AB, 57 G, 16 BB, 59 K
Strengths: Occasional power, ability to call game
Weaknesses: Everything else
- LaRue clearly failed in virtually aspect of the game in 2007, and was played about 40% more often than a sub-.200 hitting backup catcher should have been. His 1-for-48 stretch should be utterly forgettable. He will have major difficulty retaining a Major League position in 2008. However, backup catchers are a dime and dozen, and at times (see: Sal Fasano) seem to emerge from out of nowhere. He'll still latch onto a team for a MiLB contract by next spring. Furthermore, his CS% and Range Factor were less than stellar.
'08 Status: Clearly, the Royals should, and likely will not retain LaRue for next season. They're better off forgetting about LaRue's putrid performance and seeking backup help elsewhere - anywhere. Enough said.

1B - Ross Gload
Season Statistics:
.300/.319/.464, 7 HR, 47 RBI, 267 AB, 81 G, 10 BB, 33 K
Strengths: Defensive ability at first base, decent power
Weaknesses: Plate discipline, lack of power at a key power position
- Gload provided a reliable power source many fans didn't expect in the second half. However, the fact that he is a most-time first baseman and part-time corner outfielder suggests that the power, even the .464 SLG and 17 doubles in limited duty, simply aren't enough to be a true value.
- His lack of plate discipline was a liability to the ultra-aggressive Royals in 2007, as suggested by his mere 10 walks, and his inability to get on base. His OPS+ simply suggests that he's a below average first baseman. His semi-reliable power doesn't mandate his weaknesses, especially at his position.
'08 Status: Gload was clearly overexposed by Buddy Bell in 2008. However, Gload could provide as a key cog for any team off the bench and perhaps as a part-time corner outfielder where young prospects aren't exactly ready to emerge. For the Royals, he would probably be most valuable off the bench. He will be nearly 32 on Opening Day 2008, and thus is clearly in his decline phase.

1B - Ryan Shealy
Season Statistics:
A relatively high-upside and cheap risk for a last-place, young player-hungry team at first base.
Weaknesses: Serious lack of power for a first baseman, injuries, subpar fielding
'08 Status: Will likely only return as a backup option or a full-time Omaha first baseman as insurance in case our future first baseman falters. Due to his Mark Quinn-like regression in 2007, caused mostly by a nagging hamstring injury, he's at a crossroads in his career. He will be 28 on Opening Day. The Royals probably won't risk attempting to use him again as first baseman. Even if he does emerge healthy, will he be a productive source? All signs point to "no". The Royals are better off seeking help elsewhere, and letting the Affeldt/Bautista-for-Shealy/Dohmann trade of '06 subside.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Brief Offensive Analysis

This may be surprisingly random, but there's no reason to believe the offense hasn't drastically underachieved this season. Here are how I expect the Royals players to perform this season, based on their past results and age (mixed with typical career progression). (This is more or less the Opening Day starting lineup, or roster)

C - John Buck
.250/.325/.470, 20 HR, 60 RBI (Underachieved significantly)
1B - Ryan Shealy
.260/.330/.420, 15 HR, 65 RBI (Underachieved DRAMATICALLY)
2B - Mark Grudzielanek
.275/.330/.400, 5 HR, 50 RBI (Overachieved slightly)
3B - Alex Gordon
.260/.340/.420, 18 HR, 70 RBI (Underachieved significantly)
SS - Tony Pena, Jr.
.240/.290/.350, 2 HR, 40 RBI (Overachieved slightly)
LF - Emil Brown
.265/.340/.450, 20 HR, 70 RBI (Underachieved significantly)
CF - David DeJesus
.290/.370/.430, 10 HR, 60 RBI (Underachieved slightly)
RF - Mark Teahen
.275/.380/.440, 15 HR, 75 RBI (Underachieved significantly)
DH - Mike Sweeney
.270/.350/.400, 15 HR, 70 RBI (Underachieved, alarming to see his refusal to take a walk the last two seasons)

C - Jason LaRue (Underachieved dramatically)
1B - Ross Gload (On-par)
2B - Esteban German (Underachieved slightly)
OF - Shane Costa (Underachieved slightly)
OF - Joey Gathright (Overachieved significantly)
OF - Reggie Sanders (Underachieved given injury)
OF - Billy Butler (Overachieved)

Those whose stats I gave are just our Opening Day guys, and yes some of that production has been offset by the surgent production of Joey Gathright and Billy Butler, who have probably performed above most fans' expectations this season. However, that production has even been offset by the "Debbie Downers" of Jason LaRue (who has been overplayed and has also underperformed) and Reggie Sanders (who has underperformed based on his injuries).

There's no question in my mind that Buddy Bell and hitting coach Mike Barnett's offensive philosophies have been a detriment to this ballclub this season. Their "hack, hack, hack" approach have caused our walk total to decrease dramatically, especially from our capabilities. That, in turn, has caused our OBP to dramatically decrease. Yes, we have players on our roster who are not typically known for drawing the walk: Tony Pena and Mark Grudzielanek included. However, there's still no doubt in my mind we have underachieved in that area.

That falls back to hitting coach Mike Barnett and, ultimately, Buddy Bell. My only worry is not that we have underachieved in the win column (as a result) this season, but that it may affect our young players in the future. The core of this team - Billy Butler, Mark Teahen, David DeJesus, Alex Gordon, and John Buck ALL included - needs to be patient and draw walks. Buddy and Barnett have hindered their progress in this area significantly this season.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Royals Survivor: The Minor League Edition

The Minor League Edition of Royals Survivor has arrived! The rules are available at the website. Consult the link below and exercise your "Fantasy Scout" skills by eliminating players one by one! E-mail me at for any questions regarding the contest. Have fun!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Ex-Royals Throughout Baseball: Updated 8/4

Here's another update as to how our former Royals are faring throughout baseball. This list was updated on August 4.

Major League Baseball:
Jeremy Affeldt - Colorado Rockies - 4-2, 2.72 ERA, 43 IP, 51 G (32:22 K:BB ratio and 0 HR allowed this season. A classic case of player underperforming under mismanagement, only to find himself thriving after a change of scenery. I miss this guy and my Jeremy Affeldt jersey - which has now been reincarnated into a Gil Meche jersey)

Gabor "Paul" Bako - Baltimore Orioles - .220 BA, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 123 AB's (2006 Royals Part Deux...except how he's hitting a whopping .220 and has managed to clear the outfield wall once. Man, maybe I could be a backup catcher, too. Hey, I'd do it for a guaranteed $500K).

Miguel Batista - Seattle Mariners - 11-7, 4.23 ERA, 127.2 IP, 21 GS (51:86 K:BB and only 13 HR allowed....really starting to take off. Man, we might be pushing .500 if we had him....again, maybe we didn't have the $$$)

Jose Bautista - Pittsburgh Pirates - .259 BA, 7 HR, 37 RBI, 328 AB's (he'd be great value for a 2B, but he's playing third in Pittsburgh)

Jonah Bayliss - Pittsburgh Pirates - 4-3, 8.36 ERA, 37.2 IP, 39 G with the Pirates (3-2, 6.46 ERA in 15.1 IP, 11 G with AAA Indianapolis)

Ryan Bukvich - Chicago White Sox - 1-0, 3.74 ERA, 21.2 IP, 26 G, 8 K, 12 BB (WHIP over 1.5...he's treading thin ice)

Paul Byrd - Cleveland Indians - 9-4, 4.43 ERA, 126 IP, 20 GS (classic ground ball pitcher...160 hits allowed in 126 innings! The 15 walks make up for it, though)

Shawn Camp - Tampa Bay Devil Rays - 0-3, 7.20 ERA, 40 IP, 50 G (that Tampa Bay bullpen....I didn't realize he was already 31)

Johnny Damon - New York Yankees - .256 BA, 6 HR, 40 RBI, 19 SB (Loyal-Royal-turned-Moneyball-turned Caveman-turned Sold Soul starting to bounce back a little)

Elmer Dessens - Milwaukee Brewers - 1-1, 6.60 ERA, 15.0 IP, 12 G (Just activated from 15 Day D.L.)

Matt Diaz - Atlanta Braves - .343 BA, 6 HR, 29 RBI, 233 AB's (Oops)

Octavio Dotel - Atlanta Braves - 2 scoreless innings against Houston, 1 strikeout

Chad Durbin - Detroit Tigers - 7-3, 4.36 ERA, 99 IP, 26 G, 14 GS (still not too bad, wish we would have kept him..........kidding)

Jermaine Dye - Chicago White Sox - .240 BA, 22 HR, 57 RBI, 350 AB's (starting to prove the 'haters' wrong...could raise that OBP a little, despite his still low BA)

Tom Gordon - Philadelphia Phillies - 1-1, 3.77 ERA, 14 G, 14.1 IP, 5 SV/8 SVO (Also recently activated from D.L. - was out with shoulder issues)

Ruben Gotay - New York Mets - .352 BA, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 128 AB's (.256-2-13-82 in AAA New Orleans...he was on a tear before the Mets traded for he's glued to the bench.)

Tony Graffanino - Milwaukee Brewers - .237 BA, 9 HR, 30 RBI, 224 AB's (getting bulk of P.T. at 2B).

Roberto Hernandez - Los Angeles Dodgers - 3-2, 5.61 IP, 36 G, 33.2 IP combined for Cleveland and Los Angeles (only 1 IP with the Las Vegas 51's (AAA)

J.P. Howell - Tampa Bay Devil Rays - 1-4, 7.36 ERA, 40.1 IP, 8 GS (the peripherals suggest the stuff is there. Looks like he's got Luke Hochevar disease)

Raul Ibanez - Seattle Mariners - .254 BA, 6 HR, 62 RBI, 366 AB's (mired in a monthlong slump)

Mike MacDougal - Chicago White Sox - 1-3, 6.23 ERA, 21.2 IP, 31 G (inflamed shoulder landed him on 15 Day D.L.)

Donnie Murphy - Oakland Athletics - .194 BA, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 7-for-36 with Oakland in 16 G (.326-3-22-175 in AAA Sacramento)

Desi Relaford - Texas Rangers - .115 BA, 3 H/26 AB, 14 G, 0 HR, 0 RBI (.257-5-44-230 in minors.....he's baaaaaaaack!)

Dennys Reyes - Minnesota Twins - 2-1, 3.86 ERA, 25.2 IP, 42 G (Always love how people called him Denny Reyes, knowing they were misprouncing his name and simply not caring)

Rudy Seanez - Los Angeles Dodgers - 6-2, 4.11 ERA, 50 G, 50.1 IP (it's a shame how one really bad outing can really bring you from dominant to merely above average)

Brian Shouse - Milwaukee Brewers - 1-1, 1.95 ERA, 48 G, 32.1 IP (lefty specialist for Milwaukee...pretty darn good)

Kyle Snyder - Boston Red Sox - 2-2, 2.68 ERA, 40.1 IP, 34 G (Good front-of-the-bullpen pitcher. Unfortunately, I had seen enough of him after his age 27 performance in K.C. to really ultimately judge his role)

Matt Stairs - Toronto Blue Jays - .277 BA, 14 HR, 40 RBI, 231 AB (Platoon outfielder. I'd like to have him back).

Jeff Suppan - Milwaukee Brewers - 8-9, 4.97 ERA, 139.1 IP, 23 GS (he's been a little disappointing considering his contract and recent past performances with St. Louis)

Jamie Walker - Baltimore Orioles - 1-1, 2.30 ERA, 43 IP, 57 G (only 1 HR allowed this season. He's been a stud.)

Todd Wellemeyer - St. Louis Cardinals - 3-2, 5.83 ERA, 58.2 IP, 24 G, 8 GS (headcase)

Rondell White - Minnesota Twins - .138 BA, 2 RBI, 4 H/29 AB, 9 G (Good to see that Rondell is back. He's getting spot starts with Minnesota.)

Jay Witasick - Oakland Athletics - 1-0, 6.15 ERA, 26.1 IP, 31 G combined with TB and OAK (on 15 Day D.L. with right elbow strain)

Jamey Wright - Texas Rangers - 3-4, 4.57 ERA, 9 G, 8 GS (the stuff has always been there. The control simply never has. Reference the 23:29 K:BB ratio)

Gregg Zaun - Toronto Blue Jays - .242 BA, 5 HR, 28 RBI, 182 AB (platoon duty at catcher)


Carlos Beltran - New York Mets - .263 BA, 19 HR, 62 RBI, 15 SB, 373 AB's (beginning to think he's not *quite* worth that contract. Now out with a strained oblique...had been bothering him all season)

Ambiorix Burgos - AAA New Orleans Zephyrs (NYM) - 0-0, 4.50 ERA, 6.0 IP, 4 G (1-0, 3.42 with big club...out for the year with elbow soreness...has he opted for surgery?)

Endy Chavez - New York Mets - .292 BA, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 3 SB, 113 AB's (was playing everyday before hamstring injury landed him on 15 Day D.L.)

Doug Mientkiewicz - New York Yankees - .226 BA, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 124 AB's (Recently transferred to 60-Day D.L. Out with fractured bone in right wrist)

AAABrent Abernathy - AAA Columbus Clippers (WAS) - .272 BA, 2 HR, 30 RBI, 276 AB in Minors combined for Ottawa and Columbus in the Washington system)

Chip Ambres - AAA New Orleans Zephyrs (NYM) - .276 BA, 16 HR, 52 RBI, 319 AB's (good hitter for AAA New Orleans....1-for-3 with the Mets last week)

Steve Andrade - AAA Durham Bulls (TB) - 2-2, 3.86 ERA, 51.1 IP, 32 G (this guy looks just a tad bit like 2007 first overall pick David Price....just a little bit)

Denny Bautista - AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox (COL) - 0-2, 3.72 ERA, 48.1 IP, 39 G (2-1, 19.06 ERA, 7 G, 5.2 IP with Colorado)

Chris Booker - AAA Columbus Clippers (WAS) - 1-5, 3.61 ERA, 47.1 IP, 46 G, 24 SV (Columbus' closer)

Juan Brito - AAA Columbus Clippers (WAS) - .221 BA, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 43 G, 140 AB's (in platoon duty with Columbus)

Dee Brown - AAA Sacramento RiverCats (OAK) - .281 BA, 11 HR, 60 RBI, 324 AB's, 89 G combined for AAA Sacramento and AAA Tucson (Arizona D-Backs) (0-for-1 with the Athletics)

D.J. Carrasco - AAA Tuscon Sidewinders (ARI) 5-10, 5.72 ERA, 118 IP, 20 GS, 23 G (I'm ya boy, name o' Karl!)

Alberto Castillo - AAA Norfolk Tides (BAL) - .268 BA, 3 HR, 20 RBI, 149 AB's, 46 G (.174 BA, 0 HR, 1 RBI in 23 AB's with Baltimore)

Travis "Gookie" Dawkins - AAA Ottawa Lynx (PHI) - .251, 4 HR, 32 RBI, 82 G, 311 AB's combined for AAA Tacoma (SEA) and for AAA Ottawa for PHI. He is 1-for-3 so far with Philadelphia.

Mike DiFelice - AAA New Orleans Zephyrs (NYM) - .283 BA, 7 HR, 36 RBI, 244 AB's (Big Mike is still hangin' on in the Mets' system. Wonder if we'll see him yet again in September?)

Scott Dohmann - AAA Durham Bulls (TB) - 4-1, 2.03 ERA, 48.2 IP, 37 G (Might he earn a promotion barring a possible Tampa Bay Aug. 31 waiver trade?)

Nate Field - AAA Albuquerque Isotopes (FLA) - 6-6, 3.53 ERA, 40 G, 43.1 IP (Captain inconsistency lost his closers job)

Sal Fasano - AAA Syracuse Chiefs (TOR) - .283 BA, 7 HR, 13 RBI (.178-1-4-45 with Toronto....the Phil Hiatt of the 2000's)

Alexis Gomez - AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox (COL) - .287 BA, 5 HR, 30 RBI, 72 G, 223 AB's

Runelvys Hernandez - AAA Indianapolis Indians (PIT) - 1-7, 4.35 ERA, 17 GS, 82.2 IP combined for Pawtucket, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and Indianapolis (The burger joint workers in Indianapolis are quickly buying new yachts)

Bob Keppel - AAA Colorado Springs SkySox (COL) 7-7, 6.01 ERA, 100.1 IP, 20 G, 17 GS

Jeff Keppinger - AAA Louisville Bats (CIN) - .368 BA, 2 HR, 19 RBI, 240 AB's combined with AA Sarasota and AAA Louisville (2-for-8 in brief stint with Cincinnati)

Matt Kinney - AAA Fresno Grizzlies (SF) - 8-9, 4.26 ERA, 126.2 IP, 21 GS (109:28 K:BB Nuke Hochevar's older brother)

Joe McEwing - AAA Pawtucket Red Sox (BOS) - .265, 7 HR, 37 RBI, 374 AB's (Still miss him manning first base in Kansas City....wait a minute, no I don't. I'm glad those dark days are over. Thanks, Allard)

Luis Ordaz - AAA Indianapolis Indians (PIT) - .301 BA, 2 HR, 32 RBI, 89 G, 312 AB's

Mark Redman - AAA Syracuse Chiefs (TOR) - 3-4, 4.66 ERA, 11 GS, 65.2 IP as a travelling reject this year (0-4, 11.63 in nightmarish stint with Atlanta)

Andrew Sisco - AAA Charlotte Knights (CHW) - 1-4, 4.18 ERA, 17 G, 47.1 IP (rocket in bigs this starting games in AAA)

Rich Thompson - AAA Tucson Sidewinders (ARI) - .294 BA, 3 HR, 30 RBI, 11 SB, 235 AB's (remember the hype surrounding him before the '04 season)

Dusty Wathan - AAA Ottawa Lynx (PHI) - .270 BA, 0 HR, 12 RBI, 189 AB's, 61 G combined for Reading and Ottawa

Mike Wood - AAA Oklahoma Redhawks (TEX) - 9-3, 3.23 ERA, 97.2 IP, 16 G, 15 GS (still kicking butt in AAA)


Miguel Asencio - AA Corpus Christi Hooks (HOU) - 1-3, 6.10 ERA, 3 GS, 32 G, 51.2 IP (now back in AA after posting a 7.43 ERA in 28 games with AAA Round Rock)

Jorge Vasquez - AA Frisco RoughRiders (TEX) - 1-1, 4.41 ERA, 32.2 IP combined in minors for AAA Oklahoma, AA Frisco, and A Bakersfield, all with the Texas organization (1-1, 3.41, 29 IP combined in minors)

Mexican League

Jose Lima - Mexican League - Saraperos de Saltillo - 13-4, 3.60 ERA, 160 IP, 22 GS (wow, they're not afraid to not limit his innings)

Mendy Lopez - Mex. League Monterrey Sultans - .304 BA, 21 HR, 68 RBI, 90 G, 306 AB's (Mendy Lopez - the fearsome middle-of-the-order power hitting the Mexican League)


Joe Mays - FREE AGENT - 1-2, 5.16 ERA, 45.1 IP, 8 G with AAA Las Vegas (LAD) (Still a free agent. Did he retire? It would certainly spare the embarrassment of any AAA team)

Kerry Robinson - FREE AGENT - .250 BA, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 28 AB's (No takers?)

Suspended For Illegal Performance-Enhancers

*Neifi Perez - Detroit Tigers - .172 BA*, 1 HR*, 6 RBI*, 64 AB's* (suspended for 80 games - rest of season and beginning of next season - for 'roiding....what a loser in every aspect of the word)

*Donnie Sadler - AAA Tucson Sidewinders (ARI) - .214 BA*, 2 HR*, 17 RBI*, 112 AB's* (retire!)RECENT RETIREMENTS:Kelly Stinnett - Las Vegas 51s (LAD)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Cool Hand....Nuke?

Hochevar had a lovely Tuesday evening in Colorado Springs. Granted, Colorado, at its elevation, is a launching pad. But Hoch gave up three home runs, eight hits, and NINE earned runs in Omaha's 11-6 loss. That's not exactly going to keep your team in the game. He struck out three and walked three, throwing 4 1/3 innings. His AAA ERA is now a lovely 7.08. Hochevar hurled 97 pitches, 58 of which were strikes. I'm becoming more and more convinced that Hochevar has changed his delivery after seeing a number of Scott Boras coaches. I can dig up the article if anyone would like.

I've had plenty of sample size - over one year to judge Luke Hochevar. My opinions on him have changed drastically in that time span. I believe he's well on his way to becoming another pitcher in a long line of Royals busts. At this increasingly critical time for the Royals - a time where they must develop young prospects - Hochevar has disappointed to all avail.

Moore has himself stated that Hoch has "underachieved" this season. That's quite an understatement.

Hochevar must turn it around - and soon.


Minor Leagues Combined:

W-L Record: 4-8
ERA: 5.12
GS/G: 20/21
IP: 114.1
H: 132
ER: 65
R: 78
HR: 19
BB: 37
K: 112
WHIP: 1.48

AAA Omaha Royals:
W-L Record: 1-2
ERA: 7.08
GS/G: 4/4
IP: 18.1
H: 22
ER: 16
R: 16
HR: 6
BB: 11
K: 18
WHIP: 1.80

AA Wichita Wranglers:
W-L Record: 3-6
ERA: 4.69
GS/G: 16/17
IP: 94
H: 110
ER: 49
R: 62
HR: 13
BB: 26
K: 94
WHIP: 1.47

That's not going to get it done, folks.

Trade Deadline Thoughts

When you see what the Padres and Rangers received for their respective relievers, one can't help but be gravely disappointed at what we received in return. Sure, he's 23, but he's all but proven himself as a AAAA player to this point. Maybe he was rushed, but he had a 1.90 WHIP and 8.38 ERA last year. He's going to have to turn it around and fast for Moore to even consider calling this a good trade.

The more I think about the ramifications surrounding this deal, the more disappointed I am in it. Dayton Moore had better give one hell of a spin in his 5:00 interview on WHB.

And I shouldn't have compared Davies to Pittsley. Comparing the two is out of line. Pittsley at least had a 90-mph. fastball, ha. In the case of Davies, he's a projectable #5 starter. We already have Matt Wright and Billy Buckner stashed at Omaha. A middle reliever.

Meanwhile, Reggie Sanders and Emil Brown are still on the roster. And Joey Gathright is still in AAA. I'm beginning to question the direction of this organization.

Reggie Sanders, Mark Grudzielanek, and Emil Brown are all still on the roster after the July 31 trade deadline, meaning young players like Shane Costa and Joey Gathright still have to be stuck in Omaha, and the young Esteban German is still riding the pine 60% of the time.

We trade a possible top-tier closer, and definite top-tier setup man, for a might-be #5 pitcher posting mediocre numbers - at best - in the National League. He's 23, sure, but the fact is that he has had six years to develop into an MLB-ready pitcher and that clearly has not happened.

Does anyone else see a lack of organizational plan? To me, it's obvious that Moore should have found any way to trade Brown or Sanders, or at least D.F.A. them and trade them, when he had the chance, so the organization can go with what the organization *should* go for.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Grading Moore's Trades

These grades are only temporary and could change in the future. My reviews aren't very scientifically based and are based more on my firsthand opinion. Thanks to the poster sammy17 over at for inspiring me on this topic.

Gotay for Keppinger: F (definite loss)
Gotay is a young player with some upside left. He's hitting .342 and getting on base at an OK clip - considering his batting average. Weak on "D", but an excellent temporary stopgap and permanent backup 2B option. Keppinger hit one three-run slam in Boston, but 99% of the time sucked on ice. Definite "F".

Burgos for Bannister: A- (definite win)
No doubt Bannister has the WHIP and ERA of a #1, while having the "stuff" - and K/9 - of a #3 or #4. Bannister, at 25, could be a longterm solution in the #4 slot. Burgos is still 23, so time is on his side, but he is out the entire season. He's the very definition of a project - shaky at best in the big-league level thus far, but a little more upside than Bannister.

Sisco for Gload: C (even thus far)
Sisco has an overwhelming, but flat, fastball and struggles with control. At 24, he has miles more upside than Gload. Still plenty of time to turn it around. Gload has been overexposed by a veteran-loving manager, and has blocked the development of Shealy and Gathright. If Gload were kept on the bench, he would likely be at .290/.350/.450 instead of .270/.300/.420. Very little power. Still even, since both have produced slightly below replacement value with their respective teams.

MacDougal for Lumsden-Cortes: C- (slight loss)
MacDougal was extremely solid down the stretch last year for the White Sox. That has not continued this year. The definition of inconsistency. Cortes is doing well in A-ball, but Lumsden has struggled mightily playing up a level. We have more upside. They have "good"ness but wobbly and oft-injured "good"ness. Still, thus far, they definitely have the better end of the deal.

Howell for Gathright: C- (slight loss)
Howell was merely "ok" last year and has stunk this year, but the K:BB and K:9 numbers aren't bad. At least not bad enough to suggest he doesn't have lightning good stuff. Still, at age 24, he's only slightly older than Hochevar, and Hochevar likely would have the same success as Howell in the bigs this year. That's scary. Gathright has less upside, and provides an extreme lack of power at a corner-outfield position. Still, Howell has given up far too many hits. It's a slight loss, thus far.

Graffinino for De La Rosa: B- (slight win)
De La Rosa is a stopgap solution, and Graffanino is a backup infielder at best. De La Rosa still has some upside - it makes sense for a team like the Royals giving him a mile in the #4 slot. Just a few too many walks and hits to compensate for it. Anytime you can get a potential big-league #4 starter for a 30-something bench infielder, you go for it. Plain and simple.

Dessens for Odalis, et al: C- (slight loss)
L.A. dumped salary, which ultimately enabled them to nab Schmidt off the free agent wire. They are a much better team after having dumped Odalis. However, we are probably a better team with Odalis, because we are only paying him $3 mil. Odalis has been borderline tolerable as a big-league starter, but is really a AAAA starter best suited in middle relief at the big-league level. Dessens had a 7th inning-set-up-guy-caliber 3.56 ERA for the Dodgers down the stretch last year. Again, with Odalis' slight success in the early decade, and the fact that he was barely 30 at the time, it made sense at the time. Ultimately, it didn't pan out quite as hoped.

Bautistia for Affeldt and Shealy: D (definite loss)
Although it looked like a rip-off at the time. That's baseball for ya. Shealy has disappointed to all avail this season, while only posting slightly below average results last year for a first baseman. Bautista was wobbly at the very best, and likely won't amount to anything other than a 7th guy out of the 'pen in the bigs, but Affeldt has performed as a top setup man in 2007. Definite loss.

Cordier for Pena, Jr.: C+ (slight win)
I'm being friendly to Pena here, since he single-handedly exiled "The Shortstop Who Shall Remain Unnamed" from the starting shortstop position. However, his .280/.300/.350 line equals a negative VORP this season. He was the best alternative within our organization (I'm still not entirely unconvinced German couldn't have manned shortstop fulltime and committed less than 35 errors this season - which, oh by the way, Pena is on pace for over 30 errors this year). Still, errors alone don't tell the whole story on defense (range, arm, and ability to turn the D.P. must be included). I'm giving Pena the temporary pass.

Weighing all the trades evenly:
F 0
A- 10
C 5
C- 4
C- 4
B- 7
C- 4
D 2
C+ 6

A 4.67. So, overall, a "C" if you round up.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Ballad of Scottie

Man, everybody in the Royals' fanbase desperately wants to see Elarton released. Fans are wishing that he would struggle in Omaha, just so Royals' management won't use that one decent start as an excuse to use him in Kansas City this season (*as trade bait*). As for "should Elly stay or should Elly go", it's pretty. darn. unanimous. I almost feel sorry for Scottie.

Here are his combined numbers in K.C., Omaha, and Wichita this season:

88.1 IP (OK, in 18 starts...maybe a little low)
107 H (yikes)
72 ER (wow)
25 HR (that's right, folks......25)
38 BB (hey, that's actually not horrible)
36 K (wait a is)
1.64 WHIP (yowza)

For the record, I'm pretty convinced Glass has meddled into the affairs and won't allow for Elarton's release.

But here's Buddy on his boy:

"We'll be watching (tonight) see how Scottie pitches". "He can stay down there for another one or two starts". (that was before his July 18 start in Omaha)

Oh, no. I'd rather have LaRue hitting fifth 70% of the time than see Home Run Elarton in K.C. for one more start. Do they actually think they have trade value? And if so, should we schedule Dayton a meeting with Dr. Phil or a meeting with Maury Povich?

Friday, July 6, 2007

Royals Throughout Baseball: An Update

Here is (more or less) a mid-season update on how our Royals are faring throughout Major League Baseball.

Major League Baseball:

Jeremy Affeldt - Colorado Rockies - 4-1, 2.65 ERA, 34 IP, 40 G(who woulda thunk they'd have been on the better end of the Affeldt/Bautista-for-Shealy trade one year later?)

Gabor "Paul" Bako - Baltimore Orioles - .211 BA, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 109 AB's (2006 Royals Part Deux).

Miguel Batista - Seattle Mariners - 8-7, 4.54 ERA, 103 IP, 18 G, 17 GS (pitching better of late)

Jose Bautista - Pittsburgh Pirates - .258 BA, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 299 AB's (not bad)

Carlos Beltran - New York Mets - .267 BA, 15 HR, 52 RBI, 13 SB, 315 AB's (day-to-day most of the year with a nagging quad)

Ryan Bukvich - Chicago White Sox - 1-0, 5.06 ERA, 10.2 IP, 15 G (watch out, Chicago)

Paul Byrd - Cleveland Indians - 7-3, 4.71 ERA, 93.2 IP, 15 GS (6:51 K:BB....Byrd's "Walk No One" campaign rolls on...)

Shawn Camp - Tampa Bay Devil Rays - 0-2, 5.67 ERA, 33.1 IP, 44 G (struggling a bit after fair start).

Endy Chavez - New York Mets - .292 BA, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 3 SB, 113 AB's (only 3 steals?)

Johnny Damon - New York Yankees - .249 BA, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 13 SB (Miss this guy, too)

Matt Diaz - Atlanta Braves - .348 BA, 4 HR, 19 RBI, 181 AB's (bad move letting him slip away).

Chad Durbin - Detroit Tigers - 6-3, 4.25 ERA, 84.2 IP, 17 G, 14 GS ('s weird how we despise this guy. For his ineptitude in much fault was it his, and how much was it ours?)

Jermaine Dye - Chicago White Sox - .220 BA, 12 HR, 38 RBI, 259 AB's (the beginning of the senior slide?)

Sal Fasano - AAA Syracuse Chiefs - .338 BA, 6 HR, 11 RBI, 71 AB's (.178-1-4-45 with Toronto)

Ruben Gotay - New York Mets - .317 BA, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 63 AB's (.256-2-13-82 in AAA New Orleans...Gotay-for-Keppinger not looking good thus far)

Tony Graffanino - Milwaukee Brewers - .249 BA, 6 HR, 19 RBI, 169 AB's (borderline replacement-value production from the vet middle infielder).

J.P. Howell - Tampa Bay Devil Rays - 1-3, 6.62 ERA, 35.1 IP, 7 GS (one of only two quality starts a dominating performance against KC...rather embarrassing)

Raul Ibanez - Seattle Mariners - .270 BA, 6 HR, 49 RBI, 278 AB's (producing well, but the .321 OBP/23 BB are a little low)

Mike MacDougal - Chicago White Sox - 1-3, 6.23 ERA, 21.2 IP, 31 G (starting to come around a bit)

Neifi Perez - Detroit Tigers - .172 BA, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 64 AB's (ahhh...the memories. Thanks, Dave and Dan!)

Desi Relaford - Texas Rangers - 2-for-10 since return from AAA Oklahoma (way to go, Desi! .257-5-44-230 in minors)

Rudy Seanez - Los Angeles Dodgers - 5-1, 3.15 ERA, 40.0 IP, 38 G, 12 BB, 40 K (pitching well in a pitcher's park)

Brian Shouse - Milwaukee Brewers - 1-1, 3.20 ERA, 33 G, 19.2 IP (not bad)

Kyle Snyder - Boston Red Sox - 1-1, 2.61 ERA, 31.0 IP, 27 G (Despite the pedestrian 24:16 K:BB ratio, it looks like he's found his niche in limited duty. Props to the Red Sox for using him wisely.)

Matt Stairs - Toronto Blue Jays - .297 BA, 13 HR, 33 RBI, 185 AB's(Who would you rather have manning LF at Kauffman? Him or Emil Brown? Looks like the Stairs-for-Diaz trade was quite a clunker for Moore).

Jeff Suppan - Milwaukee Brewers - 8-7, 4.90 ERA, 112 IP, 18 GS (innings eater)

Jamie Walker - Baltimore Orioles - 1-1, 3.16 ERA, 31.1 IP, 43 G (wonder if he teaches sidewinder-style out at Mac-N-Seitz)

Todd Wellemeyer - St. Louis Cardinals - 2-2, 6.37 ERA, 53.2 IP, 23 G, 7 GS (not good once again for the burly righty).

Jay Witasick - Oakland Athletics - 1-0, 3.75 ERA, 24 IP, 26 G (21:14 K:BB a little ugly...released by A's on 6/7 and signed with D-Rays on 6/12)

Jamey Wright - Texas Rangers - 2-2, 5.55 ERA, 24.1 IP, 5 GS (AAAA pitcher)

Gregg Zaun - Toronto Blue Jays - .226 BA, 3 HR, 20 RBI, 115 AB's (miss this guy)


*Elmer Dessens - Milwaukee Brewers - 1-1, 6.60 ERA, 15.0 IP, 12 G (Still on 15-Day D.L. with strained shoulder. Expected to return in mid-August)

*Tom Gordon - Philadelphia Phillies - 1-1, 4.82 ERA, 9.1 IP, 9 G, 5 SV, 8 SVO (60-Day D.L. - out with inflammation in rotator cuff...on MiLB rehab assignment)

*Doug Mientkiewicz - New York Yankees - .226 BA, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 124 AB's (15-Day D.L. with fractured bone in right wrist)

*Dennys Reyes - Minnesota Twins - 1-1, 4.12 ERA, 19.2 IP, 30 G (El Gordo!)

*Rondell White - Minnesota Twins - .111 BA, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 9 AB's (15-Day D.L. - left game at Class A rehab assignment because of tightness in injured right calf. Originally scheduled to return after AS Break).


Joe Mays - FREE AGENT - 1-2, 5.16 ERA, 45.1 IP, 8 G with AAA Las Vegas (LAD) (how could Allard sign this guy even for a million? Glad those days are over)

Kerry Robinson - FREE AGENT - .250 BA, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 28 AB's (Released by Boston, hasn't been picked up yet)

Kelly Stinnett - FREE AGENT - (.182 BA, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 44 AB's with St. Louis. .196 BA, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 102 AB's with AAA Las Vegas - LAD)


Brent Abernathy - AAA Columbus Clippers (WAS) - .261 BA, 2 HR, 24 RBI, 8 SB's, 226 AB's combined in minors)

Chip Ambres - AAA New Orleans Zephyrs (NYM) - .283 BA, 14 HR, 45 RBI, 276 AB's (he's a producer!)

Steve Andrade - AAA Durham Bulls (TB) - 2-2, 4.22 ERA, 42.2 IP, 25 G

Miguel Asencio - AAA Round Rock Express (HOU) - 1-3, 7.61 ERA, 36.2 IP, 26 G

Denny Bautista - AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox (COL) - 0-1, 3.72 ERA, 36.1 IP, 28 G (2-1, 19.06 ERA, 7 G, 5.2 IP with parent club)

Jonah Bayliss - AAA Indianapolis Indians (PIT) - 1-0, 8.44 ERA, 4 G, 5.1 IP (4-3, 7.53 ERA, 34.2 IP, 38 G with big club...struggling mightily)

Chris Booker - AAA Columbus Clippers (WAS) - 1-3, 3.96 ERA, 36.1 IP, 36 G (always remember him getting shellacked in Baltimore in 2006. Pretty much my only memory of him).

Juan Brito - AAA Columbus Clippers (WAS) - .187 BA, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 91 AB in part-time duty with Columbus)

Dee Brown - Oakland Athletics - 0-for-1 thus far (9 HR, 50 RBI, .283 BA, 247 AB's combined for AAA Tucson [ARI] and AAA Sacramento [OAK])

Ambiorix Burgos - AAA New Orleans Zephyrs (NYM) - 0-0, 4.50 ERA, 6.0 IP, 4 G (on Minor League D.L. with elbow soreness...could be out for the year if he opts for surgery)

D.J. Carrasco - AAA Tuscon Sidewinders (ARI) 3-7, 5.22 ERA, 15 GS, 18 G, 88.0 IP (getting knocked around a little...decent BB:K)

Alberto Castillo - AAA Norfolk Tides (BAL) - .253 BA, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 87 AB's (.174 BA, 0 HR, 1 RBI in 23 AB's with Baltimore)

Travis "Gookie" Dawkins - AAA Tacoma Rainiers (SEA) - .253, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 269 AB's

Mike DiFelice - AAA New Orleans Zephyrs (NYM) - .261 BA, 4 HR, 27 RBI, 203 AB's (wasn't he Runelvys' personal catcher in his brief tenure in K.C.?)

Scott Dohmann - AAA Durham Bulls (TB) - 4-1, 2.40 ERA, 41.1 IP, 31 G (D'oh! Starting to become a AAAA)

Nate Field - AAA Albuquerque Isotopes (FLA) - 6-3, 1.97 ERA, 32.0 IP, 30 G, 10 SV

Alexis Gomez - AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox (COL) - .280 BA, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 150 AB's

Roberto Hernandez - AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees (NYY) - 0-4, 3.29 ERA, 65.2 IP, 13 GS combined with Pawtucket and S-WB

Bob Keppel - AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox (COL) - 5-5, 5.99 ERA, 67.2 IP, 12 GS, 14 G (32:23 K:BB not good)

Jeff Keppinger - AAA Louisville Bats (CIN) - .373 BA, 2 HR, 19 RBI, 237 AB's combined with AA Sarasota and AAA Louisville (2-for-8 in brief stint with Cincinnati)

Matt Kinney - AAA Fresno Grizzlies (SF) - 4-8, 5.04 ERA, 96.1 IP, 17 GS (Great K:BB ratio - 86:23)

Joe McEwing - AAA Pawtucket Red Sox (BOS) - .253, 5 HR, 25 RBI, 273 AB's (Allard's boy doing OK in everyday role, but not warranting a call-up)

Donnie Murphy - Oakland Athletics - 0-for-6 with Oakland thus far (.327-3-19-159 in AAA Sacramento)

Luis Ordaz - AAA Indianapolis Indians (PIT) - .299 BA, 1 HR, 24 RBI, 251 AB's

Mark Redman - AAA Oklahoma RedHawks (TEX) - 3-4, 4.72 ERA, 55.1 IP, 9 GS combined with AAA Richmond (ATL) and new team. (0-4, 11.63 ERA, 21.2 IP, 6 G, 5 GS with Atlanta....not good)

Andrew Sisco - AAA Charlotte Knights (CHW) - 0-3, 4.30 ERA, 3 GS, 11 G with Charlotte (0-1, 8.36 ERA, 14 IP, 19 G...humble pie for the cocky lefty? I hope so)

Rich Thompson - AAA Tucson Sidewinders (ARI) - .285 BA, 1 HR, 23 RBI, 5 SB, 179 AB's (fleetfooted outfielder doing OK...right at home in AAA)

Donnie Sadler - AAA Tucson Sidewinders (ARI) - .216 BA, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 97 AB's (0-for-1 with Arizona)

Jorge Vasquez - AA Frisco RoughRiders (TEX) - 1-1, 3.92 ERA, 20.2 IP for Frisco (1-1, 3.41, 29 IP combined in minors)

Dusty Wathan - AAA Ottawa Lynx (PHI) - .279 BA, 0 HR, 6 RBI combined for Reading and Ottawa

Mike Wood - AAA Oklahoma Redhawks (TEX) - 7-1, 2.44 ERA, 10 GS, 11 G, 66.1 IP (kicking butt in AAA)

Mexican League

Jose Lima - Mexican League - Saraperos de Saltillo - 11-3, 3.57 ERA, 131 IP, 18 GS (it's Lima Time all over again in Saltillo)

Mendy Lopez - Mex. League Monterrey Sultans - .291 BA, 18 HR, 53 RBI, 244 AB's (meet Mendy Lopez, Mexican League HR champ)