Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The 2009 Dempsey Projections

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages....

The 2009 first annual 'Dempsey' projections are now in. Below are my projections for every Royals player in 2009. My apologies to fellow family message boarders lelandinkc and RoyalLoyal, who (ironically?) share the same last name.

Keep in mind that this list isn't strictly scientific. I incorporated a number of elements in my nonscientific projections - age, body type, BABIP/LD% (or general luck) from the previous year, as well as other important factors like league and ballpark switching, and protection in the lineup.

I'm not pretending the accuracy of this list will mirror that of B.P. or Bill James. I maintain what some fans may regard as pessimism or optimism with certain players.

Anyway, you get the idea. Here are my projections for 2009, adjusted for playing time allocation.

C - John Buck .232/.297/.386, 189 AB, 3 HR, 20 RBI, 0/0 SB/CS
C - Brayan Pena .275/.339/.408, 315 AB, 3 HR, 37 RBI, 2/1 SB/CS
C - Miguel Olivo (traded in June) .261/.283/.395, 102 AB, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 3/1 SB/CS
C - J.R. House .287/.361/.409, 52 AB, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 0/0 SB/CS
1B - Mike Jacobs .271/.329/.476, 497 AB, 22 HR, 87 RBI, 1/0 SB/CS
1B - Kila Kaaihue .266/.367/.472, 162 AB, 5 HR, 23 RBI, 0/0 SB/CS
1B - Ross Gload .291/.318/.377, 85 AB, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 0/0 SB/CS
1B - Mike Stodolka .375/.444/.375, 7 AB, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0/0 SB/CS
2B - Alberto Callaspo .289/.347/.362, 523 AB, 2 HR, 47 RBI, 2/3 SB/CS
2B - Esteban German .276/.349/.389, 140 AB, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 2/0 SB/CS
2B - Jerry Hairston (F.A. acquisition) .250/.322/.395, 127 AB, 0 HR, 12 RBI, 2/1 SB/CS
SS - Mike Aviles .281/.324/.446, 560 AB, 12 HR, 59 RBI, 6/3 SB/CS
SS - Tony Pena .218/.237/.286, 72 AB, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1/0 SB/CS
3B - Alex Gordon .267/.361/.469, 601 AB, 23 HR, 87 RBI, 13/3 SB/CS
3B - Ed Lucas (LONG shot, but I'm daring here) .250/.297/.412, 17 AB, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0/0 SB/CS
LF - David DeJesus .290/.367/.408, 553 AB, 8 HR, 71 RBI, 7/3 SB/CS
LF - Chris Lubanski .182/.182/.273, 11 AB, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0/0 SB/CS
CF - Coco Crisp .262/.329/.386, 576 AB, 8 HR, 56 RBI, 26/10 SB/CS
CF - Mitch Maier .271/.322/.390, 152 AB, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 3/2 SB/CS
RF - Jose Guillen .274/.325/.462, 429 AB, 18 HR, 72 RBI, 3/4 SB/CS
RF - Shane Costa .283/.349/.417, 182 AB, 4 HR, 21 RBI, 2/0 SB/CS
DH - Billy Butler .285/.351/.433, 490 AB, 18 HR, 73 RBI, 0/0 SB/CS

SP - Zack Greinke 33 GS/33 G, 16-10, 3.25 ERA, 216.1 IP, 56 BB, 172 K
SP - Gil Meche 29 GS/29 G, 11-12, 4.36 ERA, 172.0 IP, 52 BB, 123 K
SP - Luke Hochevar 28 GS/28 G, 9-11, 4.69 ERA, 183.2 IP, 62 BB, 110 K
SP - Kyle Davies 26 GS/30 G, 12-7, 4.77 ERA, 165.0 IP, 67 BB, 113 K
SP - Brian Bannister 15 GS/16 G, 6-9, 5.18 ERA, 92.2 IP, 29 BB, 49 K
SP - Sean Marshall (why not? - acquired midseason) 17 GS/17 G, 4-6, 4.60 ERA, 102.0 IP, 43 BB, 76 K
RP - John Bale 43 G, 5-5, 4.30 ERA, 52.1 IP, 23 BB, 40 K
RP - Carlos Rosa 6 GS, 41 G, 4-2, 3.18 ERA, 45.1 IP, 14 BB, 33 K
RP - Robinson Tejeda 50 G, 3-4, 3.85 ERA, 61.0 IP, 29 BB, 50 K
RP - Kyle Farnsworth 61 G, 5-2, 4.52 ERA, 67.2 IP, 35 BB, 60 K
RP - Ron Mahay 53 G, 2-1, 3.86 ERA, 57.0 IP, 22 BB, 36 K
RP - Jimmy Gobble 9 G, 1-0, 4.85 ERA, 19.2 IP, 8 BB, 12 K
RP - Horacio Ramirez 6 GS/41 G, 2-1, 5.31 ERA, 32.1 IP, 16 BB, 19 K
RP - Julio Cesar Pimentel 5 G, 1-0, 3.88 ERA, 6.2 IP, 3 BB, 3 K
RP - Devon Lowery 33 G, 2-2, 5.63 ERA, 35.2 IP, 14 BB, 23 K
RP - Doug Waechter 26 G, 1-3, 6.13 ERA, 23.0 IP, 11 BB, 14 K
RP - Franquelis Osoria 15 G, 0-0, 7.20 ERA, 22.1 IP, 14 BB, 14 K
RP - Joakim Soria 61 G, 2-4, 2.39 ERA, 66.2 IP, 15 BB, 72 K, 45 SV/51 SVOPP
RP - Dusty Hughes 4 G, 0-0, 7.25 ERA, 3.2 IP, 1 BB, 3 K
RP - Yasuhiko Yabuta 9 G, 1-0, 5.43 ERA, 16.0 IP, 4 BB, 7 K

*Ryan Shealy claimed off waivers in Spring Training, and traded for a Player to be Named.
*Jerry Hairston, Jr. signed as Free Agent - short 1-year, $2MM or so signing.
*Joel Peralta traded for a Minor Leaguer during Spring Training.
*Mark Teahen traded for Minor League pitcher in Spring Training.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Scouting Report On......Errr....Myself

Apologies about the twelve day break between posts. I was visiting family in Springfield, vacationing in New Or-LEANS, and, finally, heartbroken without a computer - if for merely one day - in Kansas City. Either way, I recently wasted about ten minutes and posted a scouting report for....myself.....over on - where else? - Scout.com/Royals Corner message board. Props to RC poster RoyalsRetro for beginning this intriguing post topic. (Retro drew some inspiration from Minor League blogger extraordinaire John Sickels).

Without further ado, here is a scouting report for your humble The Royal Treatment blogger, Royals Nation.

Keep in mind these pictures are extremely dated. The information may or may not be accurate. For everyone who thought I couldn't hit in high school, shadddup!!!!11

Royals Nation - HS, Pembroke Hill
P / 2B / 3B / COF
Ht: 6'0", Wt: 185


Windup resembles that of Bronson Arroyo; somewhat unconventional and slightly herky-jerky. Fastball 81-83mph., plus-plus changeup, curveball is inconsistent and could use work. Trouble spotting his curveball accurately and trouble with the usual 11-5 break. Changeup works like a charm but batters often roll their bat over on it and loop it just beyond infielders but too shallow for outfielders. Plus-defender with good instincts and accurate arm. Odd release to pitches. Has trouble in the first inning.

Spray hitter with very little home run power and limited doubles power. Plate discipline excellent but leads to astronomical BB and K totals....not a great combination with his lack of power. Very little speed not ideal for right-handed hitter. The ultimate streaky hitter. Slumps lead to benching but spurts lead to the occasional batting at the top of the order. Possible #2 hitter. Very selective hitter an advantage with finesse and wild pitchers who rely on strike zone placement. Velocity-oriented pitchers and lefties give RN a difficult time.


Plus-defender with decent instincts but mediocre speed and quickness. Not terrific with glove; arm is somewhat inaccurate at 3B. Good instincts and sure-handedness make him best suitable for second base. Mark Grudzielanek-type player without much flash. Difficult plays hard on RN, easy plays are almost always converted. Not tremendous with double-play potential.


Little to none, whatsoever. Not a threat to steal, at all. Instincts on basepaths a weakness in his game.

PHS represent! (That's me on the left).

Are you asleep yet?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

TRT/RN Confidence Index

On the sister website to The Royal Treatment, Royals Nation, I submitted a questionnaire based on a series of questions posed, monthly, by Royals Review poster NYRoyal. This questionnaire serves, more or less, as a 'Confidence Index' for posters over at the other website.

Basically, I asked a series of question and asked the posters to submit an answer of how they feel about the questions, ranging from 1 (very pessimistic) to 10 (very optimistic)

Here are the questions and my number values, followed by my explanations. It's important to remember that, for me at least, 5.5 is average.

1. How do you feel about the 2009 Royals?


I feel it's been a somewhat disappointing offseason. We've traded two stellar relievers for slightly above average, at best, players. I think the team will struggle with OBP, as the priorities of management, in my opinion, are somewhat flawed. I remain cautiously optimistic that this team will outperform the '07 team, offensively, defensively, and pitching-wise. However, I was expecting more.

2. How do you feel about G.M. Dayton Moore?


When we signed Dayton Moore, he was the logical choice at the time. Many G.M.'s regarded Moore as the top General Manager prospect in the game, as he served under G.M.-extraordinaire John Schuerholz under much of Atlanta's incredible 14-year dynasty. He's a good scout and a traditionalist, intelligent 'baseball man.' However, as I mentioned above, his priorities are somewhat flawed. I believe, like most scouts, he overemphasizes certain aspects of the game - speed, defense, and the notion that pitchers serve as 'currency' in baseball, when that isn't entirely true. His strengths, thus far, are finding pitching, notably relief pitching, and he has a keen scout's eye for talent, I think. Of course, this grade is still somewhat preliminary. I'm hoping it will change for the better, and soon.

3. How do you feel about Manager Trey Hillman?


He was pitiful, early on, at handling the bullpen, had slow hooks on players such as Tony Pena, Jr., and showed irrational biases toward players like Ross Gload and Brett Tomko. He's a traditionalist - flawed - manager. His lineup selections among the players he *chose* to play did hinder our success (although, keep in mind that poor lineup selection can only hinder a team by a maximum of 40-50 runs). His ridiculous - though preliminary - lineup selection for 2009 - hurt his cause.

4. How do you feel about Owner David Glass?


Look, I've made my harsh opinions on Glass crystal clear through a multitude of mediums (how's that for alliteration?) He isn't off the hot seat he placed himself in until we actually begin contending. The progress is there - increased monetary commitments in drafts, no meddling with Moore's personnel decisions, adding a Minor League team, committing to player development, among other minor things. He needs to continue such commitments to even approach a '4' or '5'. Keep in mind that he was a firm '1' for many years before Moore took helm, in June 2006.

5. How do you feel about the 2009 Royals offense?


We will struggle with regard to OBP, and slightly less with power, I think. Jose Guillen and Mike Jacobs won't be the players Moore thinks they will be. I don't see an awful lot of progression from Butler (although he's young). Crisp will likely be barely above replacement-caliber in center field, unfortunately. If they continue to play Gload, Pena, and Olivo/Buck, and not show a bold open-minded commitment to the Kila Kaaihues of the world, then they're in for an awful lot of trouble. Keep in mind that signing Adam Dunn or another impact bat could raise this score to as high as a '6'.

6. How do you feel about the 2009 Royals pitching?


I'm probably a little irrationally biased toward our pitching staff. I haven't viewed acquiring an impact starting pitcher (Lowe? Burnett? Sheets?) at all a pressing issue, this offseason. I see Hochevar making strides and benefitting from better luck and a better defense (Crisp, DeJesus in LF, expected improvement at 3B in Gordon, a healthy Guillen in RF). I see Bannister leveling out his BABIP and gravitating toward his XFIP with an ERA around 5. I see Davies benefitting as a borderline #3 with a plus-curveball and plus-changeup. I see Meche maintaining, generally, his 2007/8 performance. And Greinke is a stud. Although signing Farnsworth was a poor decision, I think, and using Horacio Ramirez as a starter would be an irrational move, I think we have plenty of cheap bullpen options such as Robinson Tejeda, Julio Cesar Pimentel, Carlos Rosa, Doug Waechter, John Bale, the LOOGY-Jimmy Gobble, not to mention prominent (paid) relievers like Ron Mahay and Joakim Soria.

Greinke - 3.2 ERA
Meche - 4.1 ERA
Davies - 4.5 ERA
Hochevar - 4.5 ERA
Bannister - 5 ERA

....It's probably not great, but consider the average #s teams net from the 4 and 5 slots, and the fact that we can expect health from all 5 options (in the past two seasons, only one of these pitchers has suffered from any sort of extended injury) and it's the makings of a solid rotation. Keep in mind my estimates are conservative. The upside here is still pretty strong, I think.

7. How do you feel about the 2009 Royals defense?


I'm a bit worried that Moore uses his "scout's eye" to his disadvantage, sometimes. Will Carroll from B.P. has reported that a frenzy has taken place in a number of organizations to emphasize, in a Moneyball-fashion, defense. According to Carroll, only the organizations have gotten access to important defensive numbers. I hope Moore & Co. have taken notice, but something tells me that they only dabble in advanced statistics. I think the Royals will benefit from having an entire year of Aviles in the middle infielder (although his defensive numbers will diminish, somewhat, I think), an improved Gordon at 3B (yes, I trust the scouts and believe the franchise centerpiece will improve), and having a much-improved outfield (the 2008 Baseball Prospectus edition compared Crisp's defense to that of Andruw Jones in his prime, and said we can expect him to be a plus-defender each year, if not injured). DeJesus will also improve defensively, spending the entire year in left. I think Guillen will improve a bit in right field. I'm still worried about catcher, first base, and second base. There's a realistic chance Jacobs' -20 glove will be granted entirely too much time at 1B and Guillen's defensive ability will actually decrease in right field with age. Callaspo at second is obviously a problem, and that is why Moore has aggressively pursued other middle-infield options (Furcal).

8. How do you feel about the 2009 Royals Minor League system?


I'm going to keep my explanations here somewhat short, since I have rambled in response to previous questions. I like our Minor League development team. Hey, the 2008 draft has the potential to be historically great. We have a legitimate Minor League system, and I'm looking forward to watching the Hosmers, Cortes's, and Moustakas's prosper, while rooting for lower-end top prospects with legitimate upside (David Lough, Daniel Gutierrez, and Jason Taylor). I think a similiarly successful 2009 draft could boost this score to a '9' or, dare I say it, '10'.

9. How would you rank Dayton Moore's offseason performance?


I recently gave Moore a '4', but the score might be raised if his commitments to 4 Minor League Spring Training invites yield any positive performance at the Big-league level. I'm not counting on it, and I'm still a bit disappointed by the trades (Ramirez-for-Crisp, Nunez-for-Jacobs) and the high-monetary acquisitions (Farnsworth). His minor moves, such as signing players like Waechter, catcher J.R. House, and re-signing John Bale on the cheap, really carry his score, I think. I'm holding my breath for his first true impact acquisition. We now sit at 39 men on the 40 man roster. I'm crossing my fingers.

10. How do you feel about the future of the Kansas City Royals?


I'm cautiously optimistic. I doubt we'll ever return to years of 100-loss performances like we did under Baird, but I must pose this worthwhile question: will we contend - or become another Oakland Athletics or Minnesota Twins - with tremendous monetary and market-size disadvantages? Will we become another Cleveland Indians, or even compete intermittently like the Marlins? Ownership commitment must reign consistent, and Moore must continue to hit draft after draft after draft. And even then....a little luck can go a long way.

For the bonus questions provided below, I'll just provide my numerical responses. We'll let those do the talkin'.

Bonus questions:

How many games will Ross Gload play in 2009?

How many games will Kila Ka'aihue play in 2009?

Will the Royals acquire another Free Agent this offseason? If so, whom?
Yes, but no impact-signing

How many games will the Royals win in 2009?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Former Royals In Baseball

The other day, I compiled a final list of former Royals throughout baseball. If you have any information about some of the obscure players on this list (Steve Andrade? Fernando Cortez?), then feel free to send me an e-mail or comment on this site. Thanks to former site contributor Ray W, who compiled an in-depth analysis entering the 2008-9 offseason over at his blog, Royals On Radio, Etc.

C - Jason LaRue
C - Paul Phillips
C - Paul Bako
C - Gregg Zaun
C - Sal Fasano
1B - Craig Brazell
1B - Doug Mientkiewicz
1B - Mike Sweeney
1B - Matt Stairs
2B - Fernando Cortez
2B - Tony Graffanino
2B - Jason Smith
2B - Ruben Gotay
2B - Donnie Murphy
SS - Angel Berroa
SS - Jeff Keppinger
SS - Andres Blanco
SS - Angel Sanchez
3B - Jose Bautista
3B - Gookie Dawkins
LF - Emil Brown
LF - Justin Huber
LF - Chip Ambres
LF - Matt Diaz
LF - Alexis Gomez
LF - Dee Brown
LF - Raul Ibanez
LF - Endy Chavez
LF - Johnny Damon
CF - Joey Gathright
CF - Carlos Beltran
RF - Jermaine Dye

SP - Brett Tomko
SP - Odalis Perez
SP - Jorge De La Rosa
SP - Billy Buckner
SP - Scott Elarton
SP - Todd Wellemeyer
SP - Luke Hudson
SP - Mark Redman
SP - Runelvys Hernandez
SP - Chris George
SP - Paul Byrd
SP - Jeff Suppan
SP - Miguel Batista
SP - Glendon Rusch

RP - John Bale
RP - Ramon Ramirez
RP - Leo Nunez
RP - Horacio Ramirez
RP - David Riske
RP - Ryan Braun
RP - Octavio Dotel
RP - Denny Bautista
RP - Bobby Keppel
RP - Andrew Sisco
RP - Elmer Dessens
RP - Joe Nelson
RP - Ambiorix Burgos
RP - Scott Dohmann
RP - Adam Bernero
RP - Chris Booker
RP - Kyle Snyder
RP - Mike MacDougal
RP - Steve Andrade
RP - Jose Diaz
RP - D.J. Carrasco
RP - J.P. Howell
RP - Jeremy Affeldt
RP - Shawn Camp
RP - Jonah Bayliss
RP - Nate Field
RP - Dennys Reyes
RP - Rudy Seanez
RP - Ryan Bukvich
RP - Miguel Asencio
RP - Jamey Wright
RP - Les Walrond
RP - Brian Shouse
RP - Chad Durbin
RP - Jose Santiago
RP - Dan Reichert
RP - Tim Byrdak
RP - Jamie Walker
RP - Tom Gordon

In the meantime, let's check some recent Royals quick hits:

- Braves pitcher Chuck James was non-tendered on Friday. Should the Royals seek to acquire the lefty at a (questionable) discount?

- According to Peter Gammons and Steve Phillips at ESPN, the Royals are currently frontrunners in the Rafael Furcal sweepstakes. I hope to read something more substantial, soon.

- The Royals non-tendered John Bale, Joey Gathright, Jason Smith, and Jairo Cuevas. Craig Brown at Royals Authority analyzes the move.

Speaking of Craig Brown, I was obliged to meet him at "Ground Zero" for all Royals radio chatter in Kansas City, the studio (and building) of 610 Sports. I have been obliged to 'quasi-intern' for 610 Royals analyst Greg Schaum, shadowing him on his program, Baseball This Week, every week. Greg writes for the website Light Hitting Infielder. Listen to his most recent program here. (Podcasts of every program are available over at 610 Sports.com).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rule 5 (or V?) Draft: What To Pursue, What To Pursue

It's no secret that every Winter Meetings period brings a multitude of rumors - some founded and many completely unfounded - to us bloodthirsty bloggers. What is the latest gossip surrounding Manny Ramirez? Which large-market organization will prepare that bombshell contract for that highly coveted starting pitcher? Will Dick Kaegel visit that sunny, warm southern destination and present Dan Glass with that hard-hitting question surrounding Angel Berroa's socks and Ken Harvey's personal maid?

This Winter Meetings period has been no different. I, for one, am stoked for the Rule 5 draft, which takes place Thursday morning in Las Vegas. Here is a brief look at some Rule 5-eligible players who the Royals can potentially gobble up for bucks on the dollar (and a roster spot devotion). Keep in mind the Royals draft 11th in the Rule 5 draft. Their 11th overall pick is only tentative, of course. Teams who draft above them can opt out of participating, as the Royals did - irrationally, at the time, in my opinion - last year.

By the way, Rule 5 drafts, as a rule (nice pun, RN!), are an excellent opportunity for small to mid-market organizations who have finished with subpar recent results - such as the Royals - to take a cheap gamble on another more talented organization's trash.

Anyway, here are some players eligible for the taking that I would look into, if I were in Dayton Moore's shoes. Thanks, Baseball Analysts.

Ryan Mullins Minnesota

Position: Left-Handed Starter
Born: November 1983
2008 Level: Double-A

A third-round selection out of Vanderbilt University in 2005, Ryan Mullins is a 6'6'' lefty with a fringe fastball and a big-league curveball, which are just the right ingredients for a 2009 MLB LOOGY. His 2008 numbers at Double-A were nothing to write home about: 169 hits allowed in 148.1 innings, 3.58 BB/9, 6.01 K/9, but check out the splits:Left-Handed Batters: .204 AVG, 0.88 WHIP, 1.45 BB/9, 12.8 LD%Right-Handed Batters: .314 AVG, 1.72 WHIP, 4.24 BB/9, 17.9 LD%

Donald Veal Chicago (NL)
Position: Left-Handed Starter
Born: September 1984
2008 Level: Double-A

A former top prospect, Donnie Veal has stagnated at Double-A. In two
seasons at that level, he has allowed 276 hits in 275.2 innings of work. His rates in 2008 were not so good at 5.02 BB/9 and 7.62 K/9. Obviously, his control is lacking but he is a lefty that can consistently throw in the low 90s and he has two solid secondary pitchers: a curveball and change-up. He faced 142 left-handed batters in 2008 and did not allow a home run. His splits suggest he could also have some success as a LOOGY: Left-handed batters hit .221, while right-handed batters hit .290.

James Skelton Detroit
Position: Catcher
Born: October 1985
2008 Level: High-A/Double-A

One of the more quizzical omissions from the 40-man rosters, James Skelton creates flashes of Jesus Flores, whom the Washington Nationals stole from the New York Mets with the sixth overall pick of the 2006 Rule 5 Draft. Flores is now producing just as well for the Nationals as the Mets' big league catchers, and at a much lower cost. The Tigers organization is seriously lacking in prospects and the 40-man roster had room for Skelton. He was originally selected by the Tigers in the 14th round of the 2004 draft out of a California high school. Skelton has hit more than .300 in each of the past three seasons - a rarity for catchers. This past season, he hit .307/.467/.406 in 212 High-A
at-bats and moved up to Double-A and posted a line of .294/.423/.388 in 85 at-bats. There are concerns about Skelton's defence. His is just 5'11'' and 165 lbs - small for a catcher. His arm also lacks strength, but he threw out 43% of base stealers in 2007, and 19 of 54 (35%) at High-A in 2008, followed by nine of 19 (47%) at Double-A. It will be shocking if no one takes a flyer on the left-handed hitting catcher with an excellent eye at the plate and the ability to hit for a high average. The list of clubs that could use catching depth include Toronto, San Diego, Cincinnati, Houston, Chicago (NL), Washington, Florida, Balitmore, Chicago AL, Tampa Bay and Boston.

Jamie Romak Pittsburgh
Position: Outfield
Born: September 1985
2008 Level: High-A/Double-A

The Rule 5 Draft's outfield depth is lacking, but Jamie Romak is an
interesting name. The former Braves prospect was traded to Pittsburgh during the 2007 Adam LaRoche deal and was rated by Baseball America as the Pirates' seventh best prospect entering into 2008. He offers massive power potential but a low batting average. He is still very raw, but the Canadian has intriguing upside. In 2008, he hit .279/.351/.552 with 25 doubles and 18 homers (.272 ISO) in 290 High-A at-bats. Upon a promotion to Double-A, he hit .208/.307/.433 (.225 ISO) in 120 at-bats. He is a huge risk, but if he rebounds in 2009 a club will have a tough timing prying him from Pittsburgh. That said, he struggles with off-speed stuff and could easily become a Quad-A slugger.

Monday, December 8, 2008

TRT Top 20 Prospects For 2009

It's difficult to believe, but I'm eager to develop and encourage blogging activity and responding, as I'm going to start posting here more often.

Fellow The Royal Treatment posters may disagree with me, and at the risk of sounding a bit pompous, I'll go ahead and submit an official The Royal Treatment Top 20 Royals Prospect list. Since I founded the site, it's probably a necessary evil.

I've organized each prospect by star ranking and have assigned each player a letter grade. I've provided their projected 2009 destination, as well, and estimated time of arrival to the big-leagues. Also provided is a short comment or two about that particular player. Any thoughts?

The Moose heads the first annual TRT prospects list for '09.

1. Mike Moustakas
*****, A, A+ Wilmington, ETA: 2011
Legitimate stud who should battle for middle of order by beginning of decade. Plus-plus arm, contact, and power. Likely 3B or COF. Projected line: .300/.360/.500

2. Eric Hosmer *****, A, A Burlington, ETA: 2012
Another All-Star in the making. I see him as a contact hitter, first, and a power hitter, second. 1B or COF.

3. Kila Kaaihue ****1/2, B+, AAA Omaha, ETA: Mid-2009
I'm higher on him than most fellow bloggers. His extraordinary plate discipline and power foundation will pay dividends, soon, I think.

4. Daniel Cortes ****1/2, B+, AAA Omaha, ETA: 2010
#2 starter in the making. Could be in K.C. by September '09.

5. Daniel Duffy ****1/2, B+, A+ Wilmington, ETA: Mid-2011
Left-handed starter reminds me of a Darrell May 2003 version with better stuff. Possible mid 90's stuff but projects as more of a finesse man, for me, at least.

6. Tim Melville ****, B, R+ Idaho Falls, ETA: 2012
The gem of the 2008 draft. He represents the change in draft philosophy for the Royals. Right-hander possesses the entire package, as a pitcher. Possible #2 or #3.

7. Mike Montgomery ****, B, A Burlington, ETA: 2012
Some scouts rank him higher than #7. #3 starter, I think.

8. Carlos Rosa ***1/2, B, MLB Kansas City, ETA: 2009
5-star reliever and 4 1/2-star closer. Plus-plus fastball and slider. I think he'll be Octavio Dotel without the injuries.

9. Daniel Gutierrez ***1/2, B, A+ Wilmington, ETA: Mid-2011
One Royals scout ranked him higher than Cortes on the prospect depth chart. I love his curveball. Possible #2, but needs to build off promising '08.

10. Jason Taylor ***1/2, B-, A+ Wilmington, ETA: Mid-2011
My personal favorite. I'll be rooting for that speed, plate discipline, and power to manifest again next year.

11. Johnny Giavotella ***1/2, B-, A+ Wilmington, ETA: 2011
Gritty second baseman could provide for a little Dustin Pedroia-like excitement in K.C. come '11.

12. Blake Wood ***1/2, B-, AA Northwest Arkansas, ETA: 2011
Mentioned as that 'throw in' prospect for any trade scenario involving MLB-ready vets, it seems. I see Wood as a potential dominant relief pitcher, but likely no better than a fourth starter at the big-league level.

13. Jeff Bianchi ***1/2, C+, AA Northwest Arkansas, ETA: 2011
Rebounded a bit in '09. Really needs to finally show the hype that surrounded him in the '05 draft. Michael Young??!!! More like Michael 'None' until '08, where he displayed a power spike. Let's see if he can build it in NWA this year.

14. Julio Cesar Pimentel ***1/2, C+, AA Northwest Arkansas, ETA: Mid-2010
Groundball-extraordinaire. With his repertoire, I see him as a reliever-first. We'll see.

15. Joe Dickerson ***1/2, C+, AA Northwest Arkansas, ETA: 2011
Needs to continue to hit for power to project as a cornerman prospect.

16. Tyler Sample ***1/2, C+, R+ Idaho Falls, ETA: Mid-2012
Growing pains in '08. He's a long ways off. Tremendous potential. We'll see.

17. Derrick Robinson ***, C+, AA Northwest Arkansas, ETA: 2011
Joey Gathright-lite. Absolutely needs to develop power. My #17 ranking is generous. The organization loves his toolsiness and speed.

18. David Lough ***, C+, A+ Wilmington, ETA: Mid-2011
610 Sports radio personality Greg Schaum loves this corner OF. Under-the-radar prospect if I've ever seen one. Lefty-hitter.

19. Blake Johnson ***, C+, AA Northwest Arkansas, ETA: Mid-2010
Love his curveball and frame. I'm also friends with him on Facebook, and that'll earn extra points, but only for the bottom of this list.

20. Sam Runion ***, C+, A Burlington, ETA: 2012
K-BB troubles in Burlington forced him back to Rookie-ball in '08. Long ways away. Curveball is his best pitch.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Money, Roster Decisions and Rumors

There has been a lot of talk this offseason about the Royals and their payroll limits. I have heard Dayton make statements that the payroll can be in the $70 - $75 million range. I have also heard reporters and bloggers alike stating that Glass is cheap as he won't allow payroll to be much higher than it was last year which was a little over $58 million. Let's take a look at the current 40 man roster and see how the payroll projects. I am sure the roster will continue to change this offseason but the only change I am making today is leaving Jason Smith off the roster and putting in his place a Rule V pick. All salaries are shown in millions.

Jose Guille - $12
Gil Meche - $11
Coco Crisp - $5.75
Ron Mahay - $4
David DeJesus - $3.6
Zach Greinke* - $4
Mike Jacobs* - $3.3
Mark Teahen* - $3
John Buck* - $2.8
Miguel Olivo - $2.7
John Bale* - $2.2
Luke Hochevar - $1.2
Jimmy Gobble* - $1.5
Ross Gload - $1.9
Esteban German* - $1.4
Joel Peralta* - $1.1
Joakim Soria - $1
Kyle Davies* - $1
Joey Gathright* - $0.5
Brian Bannister - $0.45
Ryan Shealy, Alex Gordon, Tony Pena Jr., Billy Butler, Alberto Callaspo, Robinson Tejada - $0.42 each
Shane Costa, Neal Musser, Mike Aviles, Devon Lowery, Carlos Rosa, Jairo Cuevas, Jeff Fulchino, Kila Ka'aihue, Mario Lisson, Mitch Maier, Brayan Pena, Julio Pimentel, Henry Barrera, Rule V pick** - $0.4.

* = arbitration eligible. Approximate salary figure.
** = unknown player until the Rule V draft in December.

The above 40 man roster will cost the Royals $72.52 million in 2009. Plus the Royals still owe Yasuhiko Yabuta $3 million in salary for 2009 and an additional $500 thousand buyout of his 2010 option giving the team a player salary commitment of $76.02 million.

Now there are several issues with this roster. Currently Guillen, Crisp, and DeJesus are locks for the outfield leaving one spot for Teahen, Costa, Gathright and possibily Maier as a backup. Well Teahen, Costa and Gathright are all out of options and would have to clear waivers or be released outright if they fail to make the 2009 team. Likewise we have three catchers who are all out of options as well leaving one to be cut. The infield has Gordon, Aviles, Callaspo, Jacobs and Gload as locks for the roster unless traded leaving just 2 more spots open on the 25 man roster assuming a 12 man pitching staff. So Butler, Shealy, German, Pena Jr., and any free agent addition is left fighting over those last 2 spots. My thinking is one of Butler and Shealy would take a spot rotating in with Gload and Jacobs at 1B and DH and German and Pena Jr. would fight for the backup infielder job.

So let's say that German is cut in favor of Pena Jr. and Costa is kept as the backup outfielder with Maier in Omaha. Then the club deals John Buck for a prospect and keeps Pena as a backup catcher. (This scenerio saves the club the most money.) That means that German, Buck, Teahen, Gathright, and possibily Shealy get cut from the roster. For this scenerio lets say Shealy is gone too as Butler makes the team. So that is $8.12 million dollars shaved off of the team payroll. Now we have a payroll of $67.9 million. Dayton would still have on his offseason list a starting pitcher, preferrably left-handed, relief help and a middle infielder. You can see why Dayton is not planning on doing much shopping in free agency. What Dayton needs to do is flip those players who aren't in the plans anyway for role players who fill the needs just mentioned.

So what can we get for Teahen, German, Gathright, Buck, Shealy/Ross Gload plus about $5 - $7 million? That is what Dayton Moore has been busy finding out. There are rumors out there of a Mark Teahen for Sean Marshall trade with the Cubs. Marshall is a LHSP who will likely make $420k next season. What would the Padres, Reds, or Brewers give up in return for Buck? I could see Gload fitting in well with the Mariners, Cardinals or Giants. As for free agents, the Royals could be looking at players like Willie Bloomquist, David Eckstein, Nick Punto, Ramon Vazquez and Felipe Lopez in the middle infield but I expect them to do most of their player acquisition through trades. What are some other players that you feel like the Royals could acquire this winter? Please post your thoughts in the comments section.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Royals Acquire Covelli Crisp - And More!

I'm going to do a better job maintaining this blog and making sure it is updated every day. Although we now have several writers for the blog by the fans, for the fans....it's still been rather sparse. If you are interested in writing for The Royal Treatment, contact me via e-mail. My e-mail is located in my member profile here at Blogger. Or, send me a personal message over on my Royals message board, Royals Nation.

I'm going to begin with several news stories around the Royals blogosphere. Obviously, the Royals today acquired center fielder Covelli "Coco" Crisp for relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez. I have somewhat mixed feelings about this trade, but the cynic in me can't help but rear its ugly (or pretty?) head early. Below is what I wrote over on kcroyalsbaseball, the Yahoo! Royals Message Board.

Moore stated in the press conference earlier today that Ramirez and Nunez would be impossible to replace. That's probably mostly posturing on his part - defending his players - but it's true that it will be extraordinarily difficult to replace their 2.64 and 2.98 ERA's, respectively. That said, I have confidence that Moore can find competent back-end relief pitchers on the relative cheap. Obviously, a little luck has to be involved. Robinson Tejeda now becomes our prime right-handed setup man. The roles of Carlos Rosa and Ron Mahay just increased, and John Bale now looks like a candidate to return to the 'pen.

Anyway, B.P. ranked Crisp as a +29 defender in center field in 2007, and compared his outfield defense to that of Andruw Jones in his prime. Crisp's CF defense was actually negative last year (meaning he cost the team runs), but I'll chalk that up to the nagging injuries that plagued him for the better part of the year. I think Crisp will provide plus defense in CF. At a park like Kauffman, defense (more specifically, range) obviously takes a higher precedence.

That said, I'm not keen on Crisp's career numbers. .280/.331/.409 is still pretty uninspiring, even for a center fielder. His +51 BA/OBP split is uninspiring. Given that we owe him $5.95MM this year, we lost a capable 8th inning reliever, shifted DeJesus to a power-premium position, while giving players like Butler, DeJesus, and Teahen more incentive to be traded (and possibly lowered values, overall), I can't really deem this a win on the Royals part.

Obviously, Dayton isn't done this offseason. More trades, and likely signings, will take place. I'd be hard pressed to say our team wouldn't actually be better off if we simply signed Burrell (4/$64 would be in the ballpark) and called it a day with regard to offensive building. Obviously, we could still sign Burrell.

I wouldn't exactly call Crisp an OBP guy. Moore and Hillman are on record multiple times as stating that OBP is rather important. Crisp is most definitely not a top of the order hitter. He provides some tools - power, speed, some doubles power - to maybe warrant everyday duty - but at $5.95MM, and with our circumstances? Like I said, I can't really deem this a victory on Moore's part.

Crisp would probably make more sense to the Royals as a bottom of the order hitter than a leadoff man, as Moore himself stated Crisp might be in 2009 (although, admittedly, that may have been the zillionth case of a G.M. defending his player). Regardless, I think the move might be beneficial if we could trade Mark Teahen for something of real value to this ballclub. I like Baseball Think Factory's take on the trade.

Anyway, I recently appeared as a guest on 610 Sports' baseball analyst's program Baseball This Week. The podcast for that particular program can be found at Light Hitting Infielder, which is a website created by Royals Corner member meinfarr and contains all things Greg Schaum, from a blog to prospect discussion to a biography to podcasts from the show. My podcast is here. Don't miss the program every Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. on 610 KCSP, Kansas City. This week, RN member FanofJoseAgain! will be the guest.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Royal Rant

Just a little rant as I come back from a little playing Army. Forgive my rambling and incoherant blather, it was an act of passion. I hope to have a follow up in a few weeks when it becomes more apparent what moves, if any, the Royals and Dayton Moore decide upon.

I'm sure you guys have seen the quotes from our fearless leader of the KC Royals refer to Mike "I don't need no stinking walks" Jacobs as being possibly the only significant move of the offseason. Now, as you all know, I was looking at this offseason as a huge step towards a playoff spot. Not only because I feel we have good talent already but because the holes that need to be filled have plenty of available talent to fill them. To top it all off, we all remember back in oh, I think it was August, Dayton Moore had not only promised, but emphatically demanded that there will be changes. I also find it more than irritating that two weeks ago it was mentioned that FA's won't even be looked at after it was stated by Moore numerous times that changes will be made. Moore states the current financial sink hole our country is currently in as the reason for not spending during the offseason. Forget about he $250 million the great people of Jackson County put up to renovate the already beautiful K, (although it will truly be the gem of MLB once completed), and the ticket increase that was implemented immediately after the season ended. No, that means nothing to Moore and David Glass. Apparently the whole "win now, we will do anything" approach doesn't hold true anymore. It was a fallacy that came from the soul sucking act of loosing 21 out of 28 games in one month. It was said with anger and bruised pride. Of course once the season ended and all of us ignorant fools that spend every free waking minute pouring our heart and souls into everything that is the Royals, moved on from this season and erased the pain of August with the false hope of September, it seemed to do the same for Moore. Now to be fair, Moore states that he is trying to make moves through trades but no one is willing to part with what the Royals want, nor for what the Royals are willing to give. My feeling is that unless we significantly upgrade a true position of weakness, ie; CF, SS, or C then I feel standing pat is the best course of action. There has been plenty of rumors of picking up Jeff Francoeur or Yuniesky Bentancourt. If Moore gives up anyone of consequence for either one of these players I will have lost all faith in our GM. The Jacobs move was even at best and that is only because he gave up a middle relieve that doesn't K many and is often injured. I was going to list some teams and players that I thought might be possible trade partners but right now I think we as fans should just take some time and wait to see what develops. Moore could be posturing and that wouldn't surprise me. As we stand now I do feel this team can compete very well in the Central if the players we have mentioned over the last 2-3 years develop into what we all believe they can be. Greinke could take another step forward, that with Gordon and Butler figuring it out could propel this team well over the top. It would take a guy like Davies or Hochevar to step up and be a legit #3 also but I feel between those two one will step up. The Hot Stove has just been lit, so it will take a month for the flames to really catch hold. Until then I will drink a few beers and see where it goes. I only wish it had started out better.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

2008-09 Rule 5 Draft Eligibilities: The Pitchers

On the second and final installment of Rule 5 Eligibilities for 2009, we focus on the pitchers eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place on the final day of the Winter Meetings in December. The performance of pitchers is obviously much more volatile than hitters, as many hard-throwing moundsmen in the low minors tend to get selected in the Rule 5 Draft. Joakim Soria, anyone? This is why I believe we must take careful consideration, while paying attention closely to scouting reports, in order to conclude which Minor League pitchers we should and should not protect.

Remember the "selectability factor", which is simply the chances they are selected in the December Rule 5 Draft. This grading is on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being highly unlikely to be taken, 3 being somewhat likely to be taken, and 5 being very likely to be taken. I will divide this into a two-part series. Let us begin with the hitters.
The complete list of Rule 5 eligible pitchers is below.

RP - Henry Barrera (Opening Day Age: 23 / T: R)
2008 Line: 2.81 ERA, 57.2 IP, 42 G, 24 BB, 78 K, 1.23 WHIP (A+ Wilmington)
Selectability Factor: 3 / 5 (Maybe worth protecting)
RN Perspective: Barrera has posted terrific strikeout rates in every Minor League level since being drafted out of Rosemead High School in California by the Royals in 2004. He is a power reliever who can touch the mid 90's with his fastball velocity. He was a key component of the Blue Rocks' pen in '08, and seeks to move up again in '09. At the mere age of 23, he is definite power reliever/set-up man future material, and possibly future closer material. It's difficult to claim that a team will surely select him in December, but with a small market, "rebuilding" team like the Royals, erring on the side of protection is never an unsafe philosophy.
Projected 2009 Level: AA

SP - Jose Capellan (Opening Day Age: 28 / T: R)
2008 Line: 4.10 ERA, 37.1 IP, 6 G, 5 GS, 14 BB, 20 K, 1.31 WHIP (AAA Omaha)
Selectability Factor: 3 / 5 (Maybe worth protecting)
RN Perspective: Dayton Moore and the Atlanta Brave'd Royals signed ex-Brave pitcher Capellan to a Minor League contract back in July. Capellan is a journeyman extraordinaire who has enjoyed - or not enjoyed? - stints in Atlanta, Milwaukee, Detroit, and most recently, Colorado. Capellan was arguably rushed through the Minors as a fairly good prospect. He possesses a mid-90's fastball, but projects as a more generic swingman in the future. The fastball could possibly increase if he moves to the bullpen. That said, I like taking chances on the Matt Wrights and Roman Colons of the world. I watched him pitch in Omaha back in July, and was impressed. He can never stay healthy, though, and he was shut down for the season with an injury in August. By golly, I can not find what the injury was, or when he'll return. I'll modify my projection if anyone can provide explanations or articles for this regard.
Projected 2009 Level: AAA

SP - Luis Cota (Opening Day Age: 23 / T: R)
2008 Line: 3.55 ERA, 25.1 IP, 6 GS/G, 16 BB, 21 K, 1.58 WHIP (R+ Idaho Falls) / 5.80 ERA, 35.2 IP, 8 GS/G, 14 BB, 32 K, 1.49 WHIP (A Burlington)
Selectability Factor: 2 / 5 (Probably not worth protecting)
RN Perspective: Cota has mostly disappointed since being selected out of Sunnyside, California in 2004, and being ranked 6th on the organizational prospect list by Baseball America in 2005 and 2006. Cota missed the entire 2007 season to repair fraying in his shoulder from surgery, and was truly only beginning to make headway back to the organizational top prospect list in Idaho Falls (3.55 ERA in 25+ innings) before hitting a slight bump in the road at Burlington, Iowa (4 HR, 5.8 ERA in 35 IP). His K-rate improved in Burlington, but he needs to demonstrate he can at least stay healthy over the course of the season, as he missed significant time in '08 due to injuries. Who knows if Cota can ever fulfill the potential and stuff he showed in the mid-decade? One thing is for sure: He definitely needs far more seasoning - mentally and physically - before we can begin to discuss him as a Major League pitcher. Err on not protecting him this winter.
Projected 2009 Level: A

SP - Blake Johnson (Opening Day Age: 23 / T: R)
2008 Line: 4.85 ERA, 143 IP, 38 BB, 86 K, 26 G, 22 GS, 1.44 WHIP (AA NWA)
Selectability Factor: 2 / 5 (Probably not worth protecting)
RN Perspective: At the beginning of the season, baseball scouts and Royals fans were raving about the talented Northwest Arkansas rotation, with Johnson as merely the #4 pitcher. Like his counterparts Rowdy Hardy and Julio Cesar Pimentel, Johnson's stock fell significantly in 2009. He possessed one of the finest curveballs in the Texas League, but must rely on location! location! location! in order to succeed at every Minor League level and earning a position on the Major League squad. As a tall, young righthander, I like his makeup, but his lack of dominance or velocity will likely deter teams from selecting him, as he is probably not ready to start at the Major League level. Keep him in the organization, but don't worry about protecting him.
Projected 2009 Level: AA

SP - Dusty Hughes (Opening Day Age: 25 / T: L)
2008 Line: 2.91 ERA, 52.2 IP, 20 G, 4 GS, 16 BB, 43 K, 1.2 WHIP (AA Northwest Arkansas) / 5.04 ERA, 55.1 IP, 12 G, 11 GS, 25 BB, 36 K, 1.63 WHIP (AAA Omaha)
Selectability Factor: 2 / 5 (Probably not worth protecting)
RN Perspective: The Royals named Dusty Hughes the Wichita Wranglers Pitcher of the Year in 2007. After showing promise in NWA in the first half of the season, the short left-hander stumbled a bit in Omaha. Hughes was once heralded for his excellent control, but given his short stature and non-overpowering stuff, he will need every aspect of that control for the remainder of his career. Hughes, unfortunately, doesn't really project as anything more than a long reliever at the Major League level. However, at 5'8", he is certainly an everyman in terms of height. I am rooting for him, but I don't count on any team selecting him this winter.
Projected 2009 Level: AAA

SP - Matt Kniginyzky (Opening Day Age: 26 / T: R)
2008 Line: 3.57 ERA, 141 IP, 27 GS/G, 51 BB, 113 K, 1.3 WHIP (A+ Wilmington)
Selectability Factor: 2 / 5 (Probably not worth protecting)
RN Perspective: Kniginyzky - whose name I have to reference every time I type it - possesses an 89-92 miles per hour fastball and a solid power curveball and changeup. He holds a fine ability to throw strikes, but his age and lack of overpowering pitches do not make him worth protecting, in my opinion. Rowdy Hardy without the pizazz and more generic stuff. He did win the Wilmington Blue Rocks Pitcher of the Year award for 2008.
Projected 2009 Level: AAA

SP - Mario Santago (Opening Day Age: 24 / T: R)
2008 Line: 3.43 ERA, 141.2 IP, 27 GS/G, 39 BB, 86 K, 1.37 WHIP (A+ Wilmington)
Selectability Factor: 4 / 5 (Worth protecting)
RN Perspective: Santiago translated his excellent heat into solid pitching results for Wilmington this year. In my opinion, he should have beaten out Kniginyzky for the Pitcher of the Year at that level. His tender age and upper hand as a starting pitcher make him worth protecting, in my opinion.
Projected 2009 Level: AA

RP - Juan Abreu (Opening Day Age: 24 / T: R)
2008 Line: 3.66 ERA, 76.1 IP, 22 G, 4 GS, 42 BB, 104 K, 1.32 WHIP (A Burlington)
Selectability Factor: 3 / 5 (Maybe worth protecting)
RN Perspective: Abreu posted an excellent season for Midwest League champion Burlington Bees in '08. He combined with Dan Duffy for a no-hitter and, according to Royals Authority, was a darkhorse candidate for the Baseball America/Midwest League Top 20 prospect list. Abreu is still rather young and possesses excellent heat. He should be worth considering for protection.
Projected 2009 Level: A+ Wilmington

RP - Greg Atencio (Opening Day Age: 27 / T: R)
2008 Line: 3.81 ERA, 54.1 IP, 27 G, 25 BB, 63 K, 1.27 WHIP (AA Northwest Arkansas) / 3.24 ERA, 25 IP, 9 G, 11 BB, 22 K, 1.44 WHIP (AAA Omaha)
Selectability Factor: 4 / 5 (Probably worth protecting)
RN Perspective: Atencio is a fairly average-sized right-hander who possesses an excellent slider and mid'90's fastball. There is every reason to believe he can translate his good control and solid strikeout rates to a middle reliever role in the big leagues next season. Atencio is Joel Peralta, part two: A late-blooming relief pitcher who relies on control, a decent fastball, the slider as his best pitch, and gives up his fair share of home runs. Atencio is worth protecting this winter.
Projected 2009 Level: AAA Omaha

RP - Kyle Crist (Opening Day Age: 25 / T: R)
2008 Line: 3.89 ERA, 74 IP, 42 G, 33 BB, 56 K, 1.35 WHIP (AA Northwest Arkansas)
Selectability Factor: 2 / 5 (Probably not worth protecting)
RN Perspective: The Royals selected Crist in the 34th round in 2004. Crist is a ground ball pitcher who throws a fastball between 93 and 95 miles per hour. That said, it hasn't exactly manifested in consistently good results. His 2007 season, notably, was subpar. Don't protect him.
Projected 2009 Level: AAA

RP - Gilbert De La Vara (Opening Day Age: 24 / T: L)
2008 Line: 3.65 ERA, 44.1 IP, 24 G, 12 BB, 31 K, 1.02 WHIP (A+ Wilmington) / 2.76 ERA, 32.2 IP, 21 G, 15 BB, 21 K, 1.16 WHIP
Selectability Factor: 2 / 5 (Probably not worth protecting)
RN Perspective: De La Vara was selected as a draft and follow pitcher by the Royals back in 2005. He has shown flashes of domination throughout his climb, manifesting in a terrific 2006 season split between the Carolina League and Texas League. Him being a left-hander could provide additional value, but I doubt he gets selected, based on his inconsistency. He has been assigned to the North Shore squad in the Hawaiian League.
Projected 2009 Level: AAA

RP - Patrick Green (Opening Day Age: 27 / T: R)
2008 Line: 8.38 ERA, 7 G, 9.2 IP, 3 BB, 8 K, 1.76 WHIP (AA Northwest Arkansas)
Selectability Factor: 1 / 5 (Not worth protecting)
RN Perspective: The Royals selected Patrick Green from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette in 2004, but he's strictly organizational filler, at this point. He suffered with injuries in most of 2008, but managed to post a respectable 3.92 ERA in the pitcher-friendly Carolina League in '07. At age 27, whether he will even move significantly up the ladder is in serious question. Don't worry about a team selecting Patrick Green.
Projected 2009 Level: AA

RP - Chris Nicoll (Opening Day Age: 25 / T: R)
2008 Line: 2.91 ERA, 43.1 IP, 20 G, 15 BB, 49 K, 1.13 WHIP (A+ Wilmington) / 3.09 ERA, 43.2 IP, 19 G, 8 BB, 55 K, 1.17 WHIP (AA Northwest Arkansas)
Selectability Factor: 3 / 5 (Maybe worth protecting)
RN Perspective: Nicoll has worked his way steadily up the organizational ladder since being selected in the third round by the Royals in 2005. Nonetheless, Nicoll faltered horribly in 2007, but bounced back nicely in 2008. Baseball America ranked Nicoll as possessing the best control prior to the 2006 season. Nicoll is a quick worker who changed pitches effectively in '07, but does not possess overpowering stuff. He is worth considering, but let's be blunt: I'm not exactly worried about losing him, because I'm skeptical he'll make it through May on any 25-man roster, even Washington's.
Projected 2009 Level: AAA

RP - Jarod Plummer (Opening Day Age: 25 / T: R)
2008 Line: 4.19 ERA, 29 G, 58 IP, 15 BB, 65 K, 1.24 WHIP (AA Northwest Arkansas)
Selectability Factor: 3 / 5 (Maybe worth protecting)
RN Perspective: The Royals acquired Jarod Plummer from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a trade during Spring Training in 2006. He works with a moderate fastball that tops out in the low 90's. He also possesses an above-average slider and splitter. The Royals have opted not to retain him the previous two offseasons. We'll see how it shakes out, this time around. I'm still not counting on him being protected, but he continues to post solid results as he works his way up the organizational ladder.
Projected 2009 Level: AAA

2008-09 Rule 5 Eligibilities: The Position Players

This is the first installment of Rule 5 Eligibilities. On Royals Nation, I compiled a list of players in the Royals organization who are eligible for the Rule 5 draft this offseason. The 2008 Rule 5 Draft will take place on Thursday, December 11, the final day of the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada. For those of us still unfamiliar with the rules surrounding the Rule 5 draft, here is the Wikipedia explanation.

Now for the Royals organizational eligiblities. I have included some general/personal information about the player, vital 2008 statistics, and the "selectability factor", which is simply the chances they are selected in the December Rule 5 Draft. This grading is on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being highly unlikely to be taken, 3 being somewhat likely to be taken, and 5 being very likely to be taken. I will divide this into a two-part series. Let us begin with the hitters.

C - Adam Donachie (Opening Day Age: 25 / B-T: R/R)
2008 Line: .212/.310/.299/.609, 5 HR, 29 RBI, 91 G, 308 PA, 3.27 RC/G (AA Northwest Arkansas)
Selectability factor: 1 / 5 (Not worth protecting)
RN Perspective: Donachie was selected two years ago in the Rule 5 draft by the Baltimore Orioles. However, he was returned to the Royals in Spring Training. Donachie was one of the infamous 2003 $1,000 signees by Baird and the Glass family. Suffice it to say, he has not exactly exceeded expectations in the Minor League system. If Donachie chooses to, he can declare himself a Minor League free agent. It's difficult for me to believe he would be signed elsewhere. Any other organization would likely place him in a similar situation as the Royals - a part-time Minor League catcher. The Royals have almost zero catching depth in their Minor League system, so it would be telling if Donachie chooses to remain a Royal. He is fine defensively, but is so woeful offensively that he's reduced to merely a footnote on the Minor League organizational depth chart.
Projected 2009 Level: AA

C - Jeff Howell (Opening Day Age: 25 / B-T: R/R)
2008 Line: .259/.323/.385/.708, 6 HR, 44 RBI, 85 G, 316 PA, 4.16 RC/G (A+ Wilmington)
Selectability Factor: 1 / 5 (Not worth protecting)
RN Perspective: Howell wil likely platoon with catcher Adam Donachie in Northwest Arkansas in 2008. After toiling in the Royals Minor League system with mostly mediocre results, he actually exceeded many people's expectations in 2008. That said, he is definitely not worth retaining on a 40-man roster. Even if another Peter Angelos-esque Baltimore Orioles squad swoops from out of nowhere to select him, their chances to retain him even as a backup are almost zero.
Projected 2009 Level: AA

C - Brayan Pena (Opening Day Age: 26 / B-T: S/R)
2008 Line: .303/.376/.462/.838, 6 HR, 31 RBI, 60 G, 266 PA, 5.96 RC/G (AAA Omaha) / .286/.333/.357, 4-for-14 (MLB Atlanta)
Selectability Factor: 5 / 5 (Worth protecting)
RN Perspective: Pena was a brilliant, under-the-radar waiver acquisition by Dayton Moore, who selected him in June. Pena projects most likely as a backup catcher given his lack of power. However, his contract rate in the Minors has been excellent over the previous four years, as evidenced by the fact that he struck out merely 17 times in 60 games last year in Omaha. Pena is also a bit quick on the basepaths (7 stolen bases in 10 attempts). I ike Pena, and believe he's essentially a catching version of Alberto Callaspo, except with better speed and athleticism. Place Brayan Pena not only on the 40-man roster in December, but let him compete with John Buck for the starting catching slot in Spring Training.
Projected 2009 Level: MLB

C - Kiel Thibault (Opening Day Age: 25 / B-T: R/R)
2008 Line: .160/.196/.220/.416, 0 HR, 9 RBI, 31 G, 1.46 RC/G (AA Northwest Arkansas)
Selectability Factor: 1 / 5 (Not worth protecting)
RN Perspective: Suffice it to say, Thibault will likely only return to the Royals organization in 2009 in an extremely limited role. Thibault raked in the Pioneer League his rookie season (in 2005, he hit .310/.338/.593/.981 in Idaho Falls), but has mostly disappointed since. At age 25, he is Minor League filler at the absolute best.
Projected 2009 Level: AA

1B - Mike Stodolka (Opening Day Age: 27 / B-T: L/L)
2008 Line: .286/.366/.405/.771, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 75 G, 259 PA, 5.49 RC/G (AAA Omaha)
Selectability Factor: 2 / 5 (Probably not worth protecting)
RN Perspective: Stodolka has performed admirably in the Royals Minor League system after busting and getting derailed with injuries as a pitcher. Selected in the first round of the 2000 draft, Stodolka is used to riding buses instead of flying in airplanes by now, as he will enter his tenth season in the Minor Leagues in April. Stodolka's time as a Royal might be through, though. He can declare himself a Minor League Free Agent if he so chooses. Stodolka was relocated to a corner outfield position because of the presence of Omaha Royals DH/first basemen Ryan Shealy, Kila Kaaihue, and Billy Butler, who ranked much higher on the organizational depth chart. Stodolka performed horribly defensively in the outfield, as was to be expected, but performed decently offensively, given the circumstances. His contact rate has remained tolerable of his three seasons as a hitter in the organization, but 42 strikeouts in 259 plate appearances is still a bit high. As a first baseman, he possesses too little power to hold a Major League role for any period of time. He may get a few call-up stints here and there throughout his career, but he is likely not worth protecting. In December, he may still be selected, though, as an emergency bench bat.
Projected 2009 Level: AAA

2B - Josh Johnson (Opening Day Age: 23 / B-T: S/R)
2008 Line: .253/.399/.337/.736, 3 HR, 38 RBI, 118 G, 459 PA, 4.64 RC/G (A+ Wilmington)
Selectability Factor: 1 / 5 (Not worth protecting)
RN Perspective: Plate discipline and versatility on the infield have been Johnson's only defiant strengths, thus far, rising up the organizational ladder. He possesses little extra base power, but is still only 23. Johnson will likely begin next year in Springdale, Arkansas, and I'm anxious to see what the switch-hitter can deliver in the Texas League. That said, he is definitely not worth protecting, although he could still develop power with age, which will complement his on-base skills nicely.
Projected 2009 Level: AA

UT - Irving Falu (Opening Day Age: 25 / B-T: S/R)
2008 Line: .301/.367/.384/.751, 5 HR, 42 RBI, 101 G, 405 PA, 4.93 RC/G (AA Northwest Arkansas)
Selectability Factor: 2 / 5 (Probably not worth protecting)
RN Perspective: Falu, a Royals 21st round amateur draft pick out of Indian Hills Community College, enjoyed a career season at the plate in 2008. He was allocated defensively, even beyond the likes of what superutilityman Esteban German has seen in recent Royal years. Falu played eight different positions in '08 - including designated hitter - and performed decently at all. He possesses little power at all, but given his 2008 surge, is likely worth keeping in the Minor League system as a starter for '09, at the upper levels which otherwise lack depth in talent. That said, he probably is not worth protecting on the 40-man roster, as he is still miles from a mentionable prospect.
Projected 2009 Level: AAA

SS - Chris McConnell (Opening Day Age: 23 / B-T: R/R)
2008 Line: .252/.333/.325/.658, 1 HR, 34 RBI, 120 G, 529 PA, 3.45 RC/G (A+ Wilmington)
Selectability Factor: 1 / 5 (Not worth protecting)
RN Perspective: Defense is McConnell's prime strength, as he was named the organizational player with best defensive skills by Baseball America prior to the 2008 season. That said, his sole strength went southbound considerably last year, as he committed 28 errors in '08, culminating in a mere .950 fielding percentage. Not brilliant numbers to define a defensiveman, sure, but they are cause for concern, nonetheless. He possesses at least some raw speed, at least enough to compliment the entire lineup of Juan Pierres and Chone Figginses they fielded in Delaware last season. There is no way McConnell gets selected in December, for reasons obvious to anyone who watched a Blue Rocks game last season.
Projected 2009 Level: A+

3B - Edward Lucas (Opening Day Age: 26 / B-T: R/R)
2008 Line: .304/.372/.415/.787, 4 HR, 30 RBI, 79 G, 303 PA, 5.64 RC/G (AA Northwest Arkansas) / .128/.241/.128/.369, 6-for-47, 0 HR (AAA Omaha)
Selectability Factor: 2 / 5 (Probably not worth protecting)
RN Perspective: Lucas, an eighth round draft pick in 2004 out of Dartmouth College, defied the Royals' scouts impressions and posted excellent offensive results in 2008 in Northwest Arkansas. He will likely continue his newly established career as a part-time Minor Leaguer in 2009. Actually, he could gain more playing time if no first base or third base frontrunner emerges in Northwest Arkansas or Omaha. However, he struggled mightily after getting promoted to Omaha in August, looking completely overmatched at the plate. Lucas doesn't project as a major leaguer, as he's a corner infielder without enough power. He is close enough to deserve an extended glance as a protectee, but will likely not get selected in December.
Projected 2009 Level: AAA

LF - Chris Lubanski (Opening Day Age: 24 / B-T: L/L)
2008 Line: .242/.306/.448/.754, 15 HR, 54 RBI, 116 G, 438 PA, 4.79 RC/G (AAA Omaha)
Selectability Factor: 2 / 5 (Probably not worth protecting)
RN Perspective: The raw power is still there, and Lubanski could still enjoy a Major League career as a stopgap corner outfielder or platoon player, but his contract rate and strikeout rate have fallen to such woeful levels in the Minor Leagues the last two years, that it's easy to understand why the Royals would not protect him this winter. He was - somewhat justifiably, at the time, in my opinion - upset the Royals didn't protect him last winter, and it definitely showed. How motivated he was to whiff an appalling 130 times in 116 games last year. He will always strike out waaaay too much (he has topped 91 strikeouts in every year in the organization except 2003). Very little speed and very little outfield range give him less projectability in the wide confines of Kauffman Stadium. Another non-protection candidate this winter.
Projected 2009 Level: AAA

CF - Jose Duarte (Opening Day Age: 24 / B-T: R/R)
2008 Line: .250/.313/.350/.663, 10 HR, 47 RBI, 28/36 SBR, 133 G, 585 PA, 3.86 RC/G (AA Northwest Arkansas)
Selectability Factor: 3 / 5 (Maybe worth protecting / Maybe not)
RN Perspective: Duarte's two defining strengths, at this point, are speed and an ability to play center field. The Texas League is always a hitter's league, and it's tough to get enthusiastic about a .663 OPS from an age 23 (a typical AA age) player at that level. Duarte should repeat the level in 2009 and prove that he's worth keeping. However - and this is worth considering - he does possess raw talent and tools on the baseaths and in the field. He's a poor man's Joey Gathright, and that might force teams to take a gander at him in December. It's debatable whether he's worth devoting a roster spot to simply because of his ceiling and tools. Scouts love the guy.
Projected 2009 Level: AA

RF - Brian McFall (Opening Day Age: 25 / B-T: R/R)
2008 Line: .241/.329/.454/.783, 18 HR, 61 RBI, 7/6 SBR, 106 G, 404 PA, 4.95 RC/G(AA Northwest Arkansas)
Selectability Factor: 2 / 5 (Probably not worth protecting)
RN Perspective: McFall has struck out way too often while climbing up the organizational ladder. He possesses raw power, but not enough to make him anything more than a C prospect. He probably isn't worth considering, because even if he gets selected, I'm sure no club will tolerate a .220/.290/.400 role, even from the bench. Let him master the TL, and see how he can perform in Omaha.
Projected 2009 Level: AA

In conclusion, it's fairly evident that there isn't much organizational depth at the top rings of the Minor League system. Plenty of toolsy players - read: speed! - and C prospects, but little else. The only player definitely worth protecting is Brayan Pena, who I'm convinced could post a .280/.350/.420 line in the big leagues, like, right now.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Thoughts on the Posnanski/Moore Interview

Note: I don’t exactly know what the rules of this blog are so my apologies if I offend someone by posting. So… yeah.

Headline: Royals’ GM Moore has had enough

“That’s it,” he says. “We’re at a point now where you will never, ever hear me say again that we have young players who are improving. You will never, ever hear me say again that we are rebuilding. That stuff is over. I’m sick of all that.
“We’re not a young team anymore. We’re not an improving team anymore. There are no more excuses. It’s not like we made a lot of excuses before, but I’m sick of all that. It’s time now.”

Yay! You tell’em Dayton! No more of this losing/sucking/eternal rebuilding/patience stuff. Let’s get this thing going! You know, it is nice to finally have someone in KC who cares about winning. Who cares about setting a mindset of “Just win baby!” None of this dancing around crap. None of this “trying to save my job by pointing out every excuse I can give.” Freaking come out and say, “We are here to win and we are going to do everything we can to win or we don’t deserve to be here.” As a fan, I love it.

So, what’s the plan Dayton? How is this team going to start winning and competing for championships?

So now you ask: What does this mean in baseball terms? What kind of changes will the Royals make this off-season?

Right, that’s what I said, er, wrote.

That’s a trickier question.


The Royals have made a couple of coaching moves. They fired hitting coach Mike Barnett and third-base coach Luis Silverio. Barnett was easy to fire in many ways. The Royals were 12th in the league in runs scored and dead last in walks. Moore is quick to point out this wasn’t Barnett’s fault exactly — he’s a good coach and he preached plate discipline and worked tirelessly with players on their hitting — but he also didn’t fix things. This is where Moore’s hard-edged philosophy is now: You are part of the solution or you are part of the problem.

We’ve fired coaches before, what has that ever done? Coaches don’t hit, players do. What’s the plan there?

Clearly, though, they are not going to dramatically improve their on-base percentage by hiring a different coach.

Again, I know that.

Moore says that, in some ways, things will get better naturally. Third baseman Alex Gordon, after hitting bottom in late July, had a three-hit game against Oakland and two days later walked five times against the A’s. He had a better-than-.400 on-base percentage the rest of the year, and it looked like he had a much better ability to draw walks. Billy Butler seemed to find his swing about the same time and hit .309 the rest of the year. Moore thinks rookie Mike Aviles might not hit .325 every year like he did this season, but he will draw more walks as he gets to know pitchers

And Moore says the Royals are not going to give up on Mark Teahen despite a difficult season. Teahen hit well the last month or so.

“We still like Mark a lot,” Moore says. “I see how hard he prepares for every game. And he played better at the end of the year. We still have a lot of faith in Mark as a player.”

Wait, Dayton. Are you saying that our core is young and we have to be patient while they develop? You just said age didn’t matter anymore. Let me give you a refresher: “We’re at a point now where you will never, ever hear me say again that we have young players who are improving.” Remember? You just said that, like, three quotes ago.

But, again, Moore refuses to wait around for young players to get better. He says the Royals will have to add offense, even if it means moving and shoving some current players into different positions.

“We can’t be picky,” he says. “We need to go out and get the best offensive players we can get. We have to do it. And when we get those players, we need to play them in their natural positions. And we can do that because we have guys on our team that are versatile and can play a lot of positions.”

Oh, well, okay. I guess I can live with that. I assume that means by “go out and get the best offensive players we can get” would mean that our absolute terrible players – Ross Gload, Tony Pena Jr., Joey Gathright – will not get at bats and therefore make the team better. I can live with that. So, what defines “best offensive players we can get”?

OK, so Moore wants offense — and a lot of it. That leads to the next question: Where are the Royals going to find more offense? Moore concedes that the Royals don’t have as much payroll flexibility as they have the last couple of years when they signed pitcher Gil Meche ($11 million per year) and outfielder José Guillen ($12 million per).

“We’re open to anything,” Moore says. “And if we can do something impactful in free agency, we’ll certainly do that. But looking at it right now, I think we’d probably be looking more at trying to do those things through trades.”

Okay, so we should expect us signing Adam Dunn or Pat Burrell or anything then. But what you are really saying is that our payroll isn’t going up, which means we’re near maxed out on the amount of money David Glass is willing to spend on the MLB payroll. Well that’s not good, but that’s not your fault I guess. So, what kind of trades do you have in mind?

OK. Trades. The most positive step the Royals took in 2008 was that several pitchers established themselves. Zack Greinke won 13 games, finished fifth in the league in strikeouts and 10th in ERA. Gil Meche won 14, tied Greinke in strikeouts and was one of the league’s more dominant pitchers the last four months of the season. Closer Joakim Soria had an amazing year, start to finish, as his 42 saves and 1.60 ERA suggest.

So would the Royals be willing to trade any of those guys? Moore says he will keep his options open. But, honestly, a bold move involving one of those pitchers does not fit his personality. Moore believes a team wins with pitching, defense and an offense that maximizes its opportunities.

“You see what the Angels are doing, Minnesota, Tampa,” he says. “That’s our blueprint.” Well, the Royals finally seem to have built a strong pitching nucleus, and I suspect he won’t break that up in some kind of bold blockbuster move.

“Yeah,” he says. “I’m more of a piece-by-piece kind of guy.”

Okay, so let me get this straight. We won’t be signing any big time free agents because we don’t have any money to spend. We also will not be trading any of the guys who could actually bring us legitimate power hitters. And you just fired Deric Ladnier because of the lack of depth we have in the AA and AAA levels. So we have no one to bring up, no space to sign someone and we are not willing to deal our top guys. In other words, we are hoping Ross Gload can net us a “Brian Bannister-type hitter”. You know, hope we get lucky. How exactly are we going to win more games again?

“I just can’t predict what kind of opportunities we’re going to have,” he says. “All I can tell you is that there’s a lot more urgency going forward. We’re going to create as many options as we can. We’re going to do everything we can to make changes. There’s a lot of room for us to get better. And right now, that’s all that matters. We have to get better.”

So we are “urgently moving forward” and “creating as many possible options” and “doing everything we can” by not signing anyone of significant value, trading for someone of significant value and admitting we have nothing in the upper-minors to bring up. What you are saying is that you are hoping Mike Aviles remains the ultimate overachiever, Billy Butler gets his head straight for a full season, Alex Gordon remembers what made him good in college and in AA and that Mark Teahen becomes something we all know he can’t be. Well I’m optimistic about that plan. Ugh.

Look, I love you Dayton. I love how you are rebuilding our minor league system from the ground up, setting up a base in Latin America, pulling off nice little trades for guys like Brian Bannister and obtaining guys like Joakim Soria. But seriously, don’t come out here and tell me you are doing all you can to make this team better and that we are no longer rebuilding and then tell me that there is nothing you can really do but hope that some other team has an obscene desire to give three blue chip prospects for David DeJesus. With that said, I hope this post makes me look foolish next April.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Who’s On First?

Billy ButlerRyan ShealyKila Ka’aihue are the candidates we have for the job (assuming Ross Gload will be used in the role he’s best fit for… off the bench fodder). This last month, we REALLY need to figure out who we’ll have on our team in 2009, and who is trade bait. Billy surely will land the biggest fish, but man, I’d hate for that to happen. Kila probably isn’t going anywhere (or should I say HOPEFULLY isn’t going anywhere).

However it plays out, we need all three of these guys to have a huge month of September.

For one, that would force us to see if ONE of them can play in leftfield (Cam it be worse than what we’ve seen from Jose Guillen?).

The other part is making one of these guys VALUABLE in the trade market. Dayton Moore has stated that there will be big changes this off-season. A solid rest of the year from these men would give our GM some leverage.

Besides, I plan on being out at The K a few more times this season, so I’d like to see something better than we saw in August. Billy & Ryan started things off well with their Home Runs on Tuesday!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Can We Be Done with Pena?

Tony Francisco Pena: .162/.181/.207



As we all know, Mike Aviles came up somewhat randomly from Class AAA Omaha. Since then, he is hitting .317/.343/.492. True, he has sort of slumped recently, seeing as he was at .340 a couple weeks ago. But still... if your batting average loses 23 points and you end up at .317... you're fine, unless you keep it up and then get down to .290.

Ok, that stuff aside... let's compare three very key stats.

BA: .317 vs. .162
OBP: .343 vs. .181
SLG: .492 vs. 207


I'm not telling you guys anything you don't already know. I mean, we're all talking ROY (probably the only people in America, though, since nobody else pays attention to us until they get swept and can't believe "we got swept by a team like that," to quote one of the Weaver brothers, can't remember which, last year) about Aviles, and all Pena does anymore is catch the honorary first pitches.

Except for recently, when suddenly he was playing in all three games at Yankee Stadium (is it coincidence that Pena's father is the Yankees first base coach? Is Hillman afraid Daddy won't be happy if sonny doesn't get to play? Sounds very Buddy Bell, yes?) and not being pinch hit for in the 12th inning with a man on second (I know he got a hit, but that was bad managing. Sometimes I think Trey is sleeping in the dugout).

Aside from the fact that he can't hit, and he's basically Angel Berroa (there's this whole freaky thing with Pena, Berroa, Silverio, and Olivo, it's like a love triangle, kind of, except there's no love, haha. I'll touch on it at the end of this post) in a younger body. Now that he's not playing every day, Pena can't even play defense anymore. So what's his purpose? To waste a roster spot?

And I've heard them say before, "Well, you know, there's no options on him, so we could lose him to waivers." I have two thoughts on this:

1. Nobody wants him.

2. If they do... WHO CARES???

Try to send him down, release him, whatever. Don't keep him up here because of the bobblehead. Make it the first in a series entitled "Royal Failures". Berroa and Chris George can be next, and the series will be long enough to carry us through the 2011 season.

Extra feature: Berroa is married to Silverio's daughter. Pena, Berroa's replacement, is the second cousin of Miguel Olivo, who is the godfather of one of Berroa's children. Just one. Not both. Only the second one.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Excellence: U.S. Softball

It was announced some two years ago that softball would not return to the Olympics in 2012. Many think this is due to the dominance of the United States' team in international play. As though the U.S. simply has developed the sport and most other nations have not, thus Team U.S.A. wins just too easily and there is no reason for it to be an Olympic sport.

However, it's not that Team U.S.A. Softball has far better resources than other countries, such as NCAA and NAIA softball and a professional softball league in the Northwest. Japan has a professional league for instance. College softball exists in countries othan than the United States also.

The reason Team U.S.A. has won all three Olympics in softball and many international tournaments is because this team is AMAZING. I'm talking about a dynasty consisting of the most skilled team in sports.

From top to bottom the U.S. softball team has incredible talent and skill that is comparable to none.

Pitching: Liza Fernandez was good, damn near great with ther finesse, but she was not an incredibly dominate pitcher. Currently, the U.S. all of the three most dominate pitchers in softball with Abbot, Osterman, and Finch- and they each keep getting better.

Speed: In baseball, speed kills. In sofball, speed dominates. The U.S. consists of the single fastest team in the world. Any given line- up has incredible to good speed in every spot except for maybe two! Then, those two can have pinch- runners with speed off the bench.

Power: Every batter in the line- up has reasonable power, including the slap- hitting speedsters such as Watley and Lowe who are the one and two hitters and both have homered in the Olympics in the last three days. Then, there are some women with exceptional power just like there are with exceptional speed: Bustos, Nuveman, and Mendoza come to mind and strike fear into the hearts of pitchers.

Fundamentals: With the retirement of aging players and recruitment of younger ones, the team has gone through some growing pains that have shown in the fundamentals department in international and exhibition play. However, within the Olympics, the team has spot- on fundamentals.

Desire: You may think the U.S. Men's basketball team has the same abilities and should dominate seemingly as easilly as the softball team but yet, they don't. That's becuase until the "Re- deam (sp?) Team", there wasn't the desire and committment to win like there is now. For U.S. softball, that has always been there and has never been lost during major tournaments.

Team USA has it all and in abundance. The other seven teams competing in the Olympics are not piss- poor teams. They're not weak and they don't suck. They just look that way when playing the U.S.'s softball team becuase it is that good.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Let's Blame Hillman, Pt. 2

I apologize for the typos and the ubrupt ending in my first half. (I had to leave the public computer I was at and could not save nor copy what I had written, and could merely submit it).

I site the performances of David DeJesus and Jose Guillen. These two have the most RBI and hits on the team. They are, arugably, the two most productive players on the team. I believe this is largely due to the regularity in which they are placed in the line- up. Every day DDJ has been the lead- off hitter for the Royals when he has played and he has been very productive. The only exceptions are when he has batted later in the line- up and not hit for avg., or RBI, or on- base percentage.

Guillen has been permanently planted in the four- hole by Hillman, even though he has not hit for avg., except for only a few hot streaks in the season. The only reason Hillman kept Guillen hitting clean- up was because he is the only power hitter the team has! Otherwise, he would have been juggled around just like anyone else.

It's one thing for a manager to not be afraid to mix things up once in a while, especially when the team is not performing well in certain areas. But, Hillman is well beyond that. He needs to create line- ups that regularly place the same players in the same spots so each player knows where he stands and knows his responsibility, and the team can work and produce as a team. More consistency in the batting order will allow more consistency and better offensive performances by the Kansas City Royals.

Let's Blame Hillman, not Barnett

The Royals began the season incredibly weak offensivly. They had litterally the worst hitting stats in the league, specifically in HR, RBI, AVG., Runs, and BB. (Based upon my memory I admit, but I did look them up a few months ago.) However, the Royals began to improve offensively in early June, especially with the call- up of now starting SS, Mike Aviles.

But nonetheless, there were and still are cries to replace hitting coach Mike Barnett. And it is his problem that his batters can't bunt or move runners or can't adjust to pitchers or have incredible flaws in their swings like Teahen and TPJ.

However, being a professional athlete means consistency. IMO, athletes can't perform at their highest potential without consistency. Why do you think they tend to be so superstitious? It's a consistency upon which they lay faith, along with regulary scheduled tasks such as b.p., stretching, dressing, and their other daily tasks.

Who's job is it to see that every player performs at their highest potential? Who is it that must give players and the team consistency in order for them to perform at the highest lever? The manager, Trey Hillman. But he has not done this all year with the batting line- up. Given Kansas City's latest string of injuries, line- up consistency becomes more difficult. However, Hillman has juggled the line- up like a clown with flaming bowling pins at the circus all season. This means NO consistency. No reliability. Players are constantly being put in different positions in the line- up with different responsibilities to the team. The players don't know on any given day in which spot they will be batting.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Whatever happened to us??

So it's an ordinary Wednesday August night. The breeze is making the humidity somewhat standable. There's a family of Red Sox fans down the row from us. There's more in the row right behind us. A man across the aisle is yelling at Mike Aviles, trying to change his positioning. Surprisingly, it's not working.

The Red Sox score eight total runs, and every time the place erupts. During the Royals' measley two runs, the Royals fans- outnumbered in their own stadium- cheer louder than usual to match the noise made by the Boston fans.

The Royals shuffle through the remaining innings. The Red Sox fans are having a heck of a time. After the top of the ninth, Jonathon Papelbon jogs in from the left field bullpen. Before anything has been annouced, the majority of the stadium is on their feet and cheering for the guy, several thousand miles away from where he usually plays.

Over the weekend, the Royals played the White Sox. There were just was many Sox fans there as Royals fans.

The Twins are coming in this weekend, and they ALWAYS have alot of fans.

Surely all these people aren't coming in from Chicago and Boston and New York, when the Yankees come and it's nearly sold out. Have we sunk so low that member of our own city are turning their backs on us for the Evil Empire and teams in our division??

And the bigger question-- will we be able to win those people back???

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Interview with Greg Schaum of 610 Sports, Part II

Below is the latter half of a two-part segment with 610 Sports baseball analyst, salesman, and Royals' post-game show co-host Greg Schaum. In this segment, we delved further into Greg's background in baseball and which websites he uses in his baseball research.

Editor's Note: There were originally two questions that were supposed to be asked and answered, but, unfortunately, technical difficulties prevented Greg's comprehensive answer from being submitted to yours truly. My apologies.


Royals Nation: Do you have a specific background in baseball besides radio? I've heard you mention you took several classes on scouting.

Schaum: I played college baseball at a top NAIA program in Riverside, California. It was a school called California Baptist College. Current Royals Minor Leaguer Aaron Hartsock pitched there. We had three guys get drafted from the team I played on. It was a great league and definitely a tough transition coming from the midwest. The talent pool in California is unreal. I wanted to become a scout before I started here at 610 Sports. I was talking to several Minor League teams about scouting opportunities. I took classes through Sports Management Worldwide (SMWW), which is basically a networking program, but a very effective one as the job placement is fantastic.

Royals Nation: This may sound like a vague question, but how did you obtain so much information about players in baseball? Which websites do you use the most to aid you the most in your analysis? (i.e. Baseball America, Hardball Times, etc.)

Schaum: I perfected my reading skills as a youngster with baseball cards. At one time, my friends could grab one hundred or so TOPPS cards and cover up the name and I would never fail to know the player. I have been and still am an avid baseball card collector. I love collecting vintage Minor League cards too. My best Minor League card is John Elway of the Oneonta Yankees. The Internet has allowed me to gather a lot more information than I ever could have dreamed of as a kid. At that time, Street and Smiths and Athlons were the keys to early spring baseball cravings. I would sit in class and predict stats for every player on each team's 40 man roster. About five years ago, I got involved with a website called mlbcenterforum and I did prospect reports for them. I got really involved with them and provided some comments about each prospect. Basically, I would take requests on players and provide commentary. I would do fun things like who I compared the players to and what their stats would be in their best years. Today, I am a big fan of Royals Corner off of the Scout.com site and The Baseball Cube, Baseball Library, and Baseball Reference. Also, I like Rotoworld for my guilty pleasure rumor threads, Baseball America, and a few others like Baseball Prospectus. I used to really like the John Sickels site Minor League Ball, although I have to admit that I do not frequent that site as much since the look changed. Another guilty pleasure baseball site is the Cardboard Gods site.

Royals Nation: How did you obtain most of your information about the players?

Schaum: I did most of my research through the web and also great baseball prospect books like the Baseball America Prospect Handbook and John Sickels' books. Also, I would use Baseball America, The Baseball Cube, and good old Google for more research.

Royals Nation: Pardon me if this question sounds obvious, but have you ever interviewed Royals or baseball players in general? If so, which players are your favorite interviews and why?

Schaum: I have chosen (thus far) to not interview the players. It really is not my job.

Royals Nation: Do you visit the Royals blogosphere often? I've read much from you over at Royals Corner. Do you ever cruise through other Royals-related content on the web?

Schaum: Of course. I don't think there is a Royals site I have not visited. They are all good and it is encouraging to see so many creative and knowledgeable fans.


Once again, a special thanks goes to Greg Schaum for agreeing and taking part in this exclusive interview. Tune into 610 Sports (KCSP) for the Royals' post-game show, to listen to Greg Schaum and Marty Wall discuss that day's game and Royals baseball in general.