I initially posted this as a response over at Royals Review, but I'll post it here as well. This was originally created by another poster, but how would you rank our team based on these regards?
Rank the below questions on a scale of 1-10. (1 being 'no' and 10 being 'yes', and 2-9 being all degrees in-between).
1. How do you feel about the 2008 Royals team overall?
2. How do you feel about the 2008 Royals pitching?
3. How do you feel about the 2008 Royals hitting?
4. How do you feel about the 2008 Royals defense?
5. How do you feel about Dayton Moore?
6. How do you feel about Trey Hillman?
7. How do you feel about the Royals minor league system?
8. How do you feel about the Royals future?
Here are my answers:
How do you feel about the 2008 Royals team overall?
7.5. I'm cautiously optimistic overall, and think we have a decent chance at improving on our 74-88 pythag. from last year. I believe we have depth in some respects and definitely have upside; but players like Pena and (to a lesser extent) Olivo take away from that a bit. Minor question marks include Nick Swartz and hitting coach Mike Barnett. I wish we would have committed at least $5MM more in payroll, and landed a high-profile Free Agent instead of players like Tomko, Olivo, and the flurry of fringe Major Leaguers.
How do you feel about the 2008 Royals pitching?
8. Despite my discontent with the Tomko signing, I'm not really concerned. We have enough candidates for the 4/5 slots that struggles in those spots become less of a concern. The bullpen matches up very well with virtually every bullpen in baseball. I generally trust Peralta, Gobble, Mahay, et al. to hold the lead. A lot of depth there. Starting pitching talent has improved considerably since last year. Compare starting fives. We need someone unexpected (Davies?) to emerge in a Minor way in order for us to finish 6th or 5th in American League ERA.
How do you feel about the 2008 Royals hitting?
5. The most questionable aspect of the team, in my opinion. I have not been impressed with Dayton Moore's easy access to improvement this offseason (what with our $20+MM to spend). Olivo is an OBP-black hole, another black hole in Pena still occupies that SS role, Ross Gload is the projected everyday first baseman, if Shealy performs in Spring Training, Huber will net us nothing in return when he leaves K.C., and we still have a lack of power overall. Remember that most of our productive position players Moore has inherited! I think if many Royals fans step outside the box a bit, we find that Moore hasn't improved our offense in a tangible way since Baird left. Moore's O-building is questionable, but I'm still (as always) holding out hope that 7 or 8 players improve significantly from '07 and 5 or 6 more beat their projections.
How do you feel about the 2008 Royals defense?
8.5. Defense is important, but the difference between great and poor defenses isn't as great as the difference between great and poor offenses or pitching. Nonetheless, here's how I rank each of our players on a 1-5 scale (3 being average)
C - Buck (3)
1B - Gload/Shealy (3.5)
2B - Grudz (4.5)
SS - Pena (4.5)
3B - Gordon (4.5)
LF - Teahen (3.5)
CF - DeJesus (3.5)
RF - Guillen (4)
The makings of an above average defense. I really like the range on the left side to counter for our average range on the right side. We have a couple strong arms in the outfield to compensate for the average to slightly below average arm in DeJesus. I really see no defensive liabilities. We have three potential gold glovers on our team as well, in Pena, Gordon, and Grudz.
How do you feel about Dayton Moore?
7. I think he has demonstrated he's at least a league average GM. In my humble opinion, he's an above average GM. He has not made any foolish signings, thus far. The 2007 draft, in my opinion, was excellent. However, I worry about our offensive philosophy; more specifically, OBP (plate discipline) and utilizing our speed potential in guys like DeJesus and Gathright. He has an unquestionably keen eye for pitching talent, and I love our direction on that front (starting and bullpen). Defense is good. Hitting has been a letdown, as explained above.
How do you feel about Trey Hillman?
7.5. Since being introduced as manager, Hillman has said a lot. Much of it I heartily applaud, and some of it I disagree with. I like that he's letting Buck implement his leg kick. I agree with NYRoyal that I'm a bit concerned - not worried, but concerned - at his "small ball" comments, and also his lineup proposals.
How do you feel about the Royals minor league system?
6. That score is inflated because I'm really optimistic that we can improve our system in this coming draft. I have faith in our organizational management and actual system, even if that system is deprived, somewhat, of talent in early 2008. Undoubtedly, we have a good amount of pitching prospects - Rosa, Pimentel, Johnson, Wood, Cortes, Hochevar, Duffy, Mitchell, De La Cruz, to name a select few. Offensive prospects? Helloooooooo???!!!!
How do you feel about the Royals future?
7.5. Score deflated because I feel .500 is attainable, but is .550+, with our projected payroll? I'm skeptical, at this point. If we finish with 78 or more wins in 2008 (not likely, but attainable), this would probably become an 8 or an 8.5. I remain cautiously optimistic.