Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Top 50 Royals Prospects

Top 50 Royals Prospects

I intended to post this list prior to the season starting so my apologies on being late to the party. Here is my top 50 Royals prospects list for 2010. Keep in mind that I tend to be lenient with my perceptions of pure upside. In other words, I tend to rank 17- or 18-year olds with tremendous potential but little results higher than most sports writers. I also tend to be a bit harsh on players in the upper minors who I feel have more limited potential. I'll also include brief predictions at a later date. (I refuse to call Minor League conjectures "projections" as tools and development generate so much Minor League production, thus making sound "projections" difficult to make). Keep in mind that I'll try to prevent biases in terms of how these players have produced in roughly the first week and a half of Minor League contests. Keep in mind the player comparisons provided are the versions of that player in 2010, not in general.

***** = Perennial MVP candidate/Ace starter (Comparison: Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Zack Greinke)
****1/2 = Perennial all-star and occasional MVP candidate/#2 starter (Comp.: Dustin Pedroia, Matt Holliday, Josh Beckett)
**** = Occasional all-star and occasional MVP candidate/#2 or #3 starter (Comp.: Carl Crawford, Ian Kinsler, Javier Vazquez)
***1/2 = Above average player/#3 starter (Comp.: David DeJesus, Michael Young, Andy Pettitte)
*** = Average player/#3 starter (Comp.: Carlos Lee, Adam LaRoche, Bronson Arroyo)
**1/2 = Platoon player/part-time player/#4 starter (Comp.: Luke Scott, Jhonny Peralta, Jon Garland)
** = Bench player/reserve/#4 starter (Comp.: Mitch Maier, Nick Punto, Brian Bannister)
*1/2 = 24th & 25th roster men/#5 starter (Comp.: Scott Thorman, Emilio Bonifacio, Brandon Duckworth, )

Keep in mind that relief pitchers will naturally receive higher stars. Here are their rankings.

***** = Relief ace (Comp.: Joakim Soria circa 2009)
****1/2 = Excellent reliever (Comp.: Scot Shields circa 2006)
**** = Very good reliever (Comp.: Octavio Dotel circa 2004)
***1/2 = Above average reliever (Comp.: David Riske circa 2007)
*** = Average reliever (Comp.: Ron Mahay circa 2005)

Anything below three star relievers will very likely will not appear on my top 50 list.

1. Mike Montgomery (****1/2)
2. Aaron Crow (****1/2)
3. Wil Myers (****)
4. Eric Hosmer (****)
5. Noel Arguelles (****)
6. Dan Duffy (****)
7. John Lamb (****)
8. David Lough (***1/2)
9. Chris Dwyer (***1/2)
10. Mike Moustakas (***1/2)
11. Tim Melville (***1/2)
12. Cheslor Cuthbert (***)
13. Kila Ka'aihue (***)
14. Jordan Parraz (***)
15. Kelvin Herrera (***)
16. Johnny Giavotella (***)
17. Jeff Bianchi (***)
18. Carlos Rosa [****]
19. Tyler Sample (***)
20. Matt Mitchell (***)
21. Crawford Simmons (***)
22. Tim Smith (**1/2)
23. Keaton Hayenga (**1/2)
24. Louis Coleman [****]
25. Hilton Richardson (**1/2)
26. Carlos Fortuna (**1/2)
27. Carlo Testa (**1/2)
28. Clint Robinson (**)
29. Patrick Keating [****]
30. Justin Trapp (**)
31. Salvador Perez (**)
32. Jason Taylor (**)
33. Manny Pina (**)
34. Chris Hayes [***1/2]
35. Joey Lewis (**)
36. Brandon Sisk [***1/2]
37. Mario Santiago (**)
38. Greg Billo (**)
39. Irving Falu (**)
40. Victor Marte [***]
41. Jose Bonilla (**)
42. Alex Caldera (**)
43. Dusty Odenbach [***]
44. Yowill Espinal (**)
45. Greg Holland [***]
46. Edgar Osuna [***]
47. Blaine Hardy [***]
48. Eric Basurto [***]
49. Ben Theriot (**)
50. Scott Kelley [***]

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Soria waits until the stars align...Royals lose

I discussed the latest Royals game briefly today with someone I work with. Someone who possesses barely a passing interest and limited knowledge for the sport of baseball. Oh, sure, he has watched and attended sports games in his life but he really knows very little about the game....or rather, The Game.

After the Royals bullpen promptly and predictably gave away the game on a most joyous of Tuesday afternoon, he turned his head to my general direction and muttered (and I'm paraphrasing), "you know, I want to like baseball, but I don't understand some of the tactics. Why are closers almost never used? You'd think that since teams pay them so much money, they would be used more often."

Later, he exclaimed (and again I'm paraphrasing), "certain elements of baseball strategy I just don't understand. Much of the conventional wisdom in baseball today...is just inherently flawed."

We could have delved into more specific issues, particularly regarding our Royals ballclub, but in my opinion, he's merely a rational mortal who possesses very little knowledge about the game. In this instance, though.....he did possess knowledge. He hasn't been bred to believe RBI are the end-all, be-all offensive statistic and that saves are reserved only for the ninth inning but then again he hasn't been bred to believe anything at all regarding the sport. Sometimes, a fresh perspective coupled with an ability to think critically and independently......helps.

Peruse this boxscore and perhaps you'll find what I'm talking about.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Royalman! Taking the city (and soon the world) by storm!

Become a part of the phenomenon of Royalman, who is taking Kauffman Stadium by storm. He has appeared on the scoreboard numerous times, has been interviewed by Joel Goldberg, and has been featured on local television stations. Help Royalman become a national phenomenon, resulting in the recognition of a once-proud franchise.

Facebook page:


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

2010 Royals Prospect Preview

Just for your information, I have written fairly extensive prospect previews on local baseball analyst Greg Schaum's website, Royals Prospects, which has a fairly self-explanatory title. I provided short video clips and pictures for this site last month and I look forward to contributing with daily Minor League game (and prospect) reports, as well. Here is the link.


Here is a sample:

"RP Victor Marte: 3-5, 2.24 ERA in 64.1 IP for AA Northwest Arkansas. He’s a hard-throwing right-handed Dominican pitcher who is hardly young (at age 29) but a bit raw. He struggled with control and command in his brief stint in Kansas City last year. With his frame and stuff, he reminds me a bit of Robinson Tejeda, though I’m not sure their stamina is comparable."

Furthermore, follow Game previews on http://leftofthefoulpole.com/

Now, onward to tonight's game, our offense looked anemic at times but it was nice to see the power of Rick Ankiel and Alberto Callaspo manifest in dramatic fashion, enabling the Royals to even the series with Detroit and perhaps reach .500 for the last time this season (though I'm hoping against reason that they finish significantly higher than my projected total of 67 wins this year). An encouraging, efficient outing by Luke Hochevar, as well, though I wonder if he should have finished the eighth inning, as his pitch count was still below 90. I'm normally an advocate of the 4+ out save, but I'd have to think Soria's stamina at least remains tolerable enough when facing Miguel Cabrera, who tied the game with that foul-pole drilling home run in right field.

Now, as for an analysis for Opening Day, what else can be criticized that hasn't already been? As Robert Ford mentioned on the air following the game and multiple times last year, third base coaches typically should not be noticed. Dave Owen almost got our runner thrown out again in the 11th inning on Game 2. Well, he certainly got Jason Kendall tossed out on game one. Has anyone seen Royals Review poster AxMxDx's windmill post on Royals Review? I'm hoping our third base coach struggles, misplays on routine popups on the infield, and bunting in the first inning aren't recurring trends this year, as well. I'm also hoping our bullpen at least shows some semblance of competence. Unfortunately, we have three guys who are probably fringe relievers and sixth or seventh relievers on good teams on our current roster in Dusty Hughes, Kyle Farnsworth, John Parrish (even as a "LOOGY"), Dusty Hughes, and Luis Mendoza. I hope I don't long for the days of Tony Cogan and Matt Whisenant come April 20, but I'm afraid it's very probable.

Stay tuned for more updates to come and...seriously....I recommend reading that Minor League post. I devoted quite a spell of effort in it and, frankly, I liked my Victor Marte-Robinson Tejeda "comp."

Monday, April 5, 2010

The 2010 Westport Stingers

I created my Fantasy League, Royals Nation Fantasy Baseball, in 2007, to shed light on some active posters on my now essentially defunct (though still oddly viewable) message board/blog Royals Nation. Although my team has tanked for three consecutive years (that's embellishing a bit, admittedly, but I've yet to finish .500), it's been a sight to see how the league has morphed over the few years. It began - and remains - as a head-to-head fantasy league where 15-17 statistics or categories are judged. I hand out several trophies for deserving winners on months and weeks end.

Either way, here is my Fantasy Team, the Westport Stingers, for 2010. (Keep in mind that the starting lineup is set for Monday, so it might not mirror a "typical" starting nine). It might give you some perspective to note that this is a 20-team deep mixed league with 25-man rosters (and up to 4 DL spots).

C - Jeff Clement
1B - Nick Johnson
2B - Kelly Johnson
3B - Kevin Youkilis
SS - Troy Tulowitzki
OF - Justin Upton
OF - Matt Kemp
OF - Jay Bruce
UT - Melky Cabrera
Ben - Jason Bartlett
Ben - Brendan Ryan
Ben - Justin Smoak (Inactive)
Ben - Nate Schierholtz
Ben - Nick Punto
Ben - Andruw Jones
Ben - Willie Ballgame Bloomquist
DL - Freddy Sanchez

P - Mike Gonzalez
SP - Adam Wainwright
SP - Tim Lincecum
SP - Shaun Marcum
SP - Nick Blackburn
SP - Anibal Sanchez
RP - Mariano Rivera
RP - Billy Wagner
Ben - Oliver Perez
DL - Erik Bedard
DL - Brad Bergesen
DL - Jeff Francis

I think I finally have some nice balance of speed and power in my starting lineup and I have some nice versatility on the bench. With Bedard on the Disabled List until likely June, I need a third starter to really step up and deliver Fantasy-wise. I have a couple rehabilitation projects that I'm borderline relying on in Anibal Sanchez and Shaun Marcum. I like that I have three closers, one occupying the general pitchers' role.

Anyway, 5-7 fellow RN Fantasyites will probably view this entry sometime within the next few days, so biases or trash talk might follow!

2010 Royals Dempsey Projections

Continuing the my fine recent tradition of predicting things (I'm considering starting a 'Predict the 2012 Miss America Pageant' thread), I've decided to present my basic statistical "projection/predictions" for the 2010 Royals. This has become recent tradition for myself, as well (since 2007, to be specific). I'm going to keep my stats raw, since I don't have a calculator. I might refine these *slightly* at a later time but here goes. (I'll include everyone with at least 100 at-bats).

I'll begin with the position players!

C - Jason Kendall: 496 AB, .244/.315/.319, 2 HR, 31 RBI, 6 SB, 3 CS, -3 (Runs
saved/cost on defense - you don't have to include this)
C - Brayan Pena: 212 AB, .273/.339/.405, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 0 SB, 1 CS, -1
1B - Billy Butler: 567 AB, .285/.342/.466, 21 HR, 79 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS, -5
2B - Alberto Callaspo: 478 AB, .286/.354/.412, 5 HR, 53 RBI, 2 SB, 1 CS, -3
2B - Chris Getz: 423 AB, .270/.325/.346, 1 HR, 31 RBI, 27 SB, 7 CS, +2
2B - Willie Bloomquist: 396 AB, .263/.325/.329, 0 HR, 22 RBI, 18 SB, 7 CS, -6
SS - Yuniesky Betancourt: 415 AB, .270/.292/.366, 4 HR, 41 RBI, 10 SB, 7 CS,
SS - Mike Aviles: 294 AB, .262/.315/.407, 4 HR, 33 RBI, 6 SB, 3 CS, -1
3B - Alex Gordon: 438 AB, .256/.344/.435, 12 HR, 54 RBI, 5 SB, 2 CS, +4
3B - Josh Fields: 122 AB, .240/.282/.397, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS, 0
LF - Scott Podsednik: 482 AB, .256/.315/.358, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 36 SB, 14 CS, -2
CF - Rick Ankiel: 426 AB, .256/.298/.405, 13 HR, 44 RBI, 1 SB, 0 CS, -4
CF - Mitch Maier: 284 AB, .277/.325/.387, 3 HR, 24 RBI, 9 SB, 3 CS, +2
RF - David DeJesus: 562 AB, .278/.359/.410, 9 HR, 52 RBI, 7 SB, 6 CS, +5
DH - Jose Guillen: 379 AB, .266/.302/.394, 11 HR, 43 RBI, 0 SB, 1 CS, -1
DH - Kila Ka'aihue: 156 AB, .254/.342/.425, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 0 SB, 0 CS, 0

As far as players with fewer than 100 ABs, I think players like Betemit,
Thorman, Pina, Clark, and Lough (and others I'm probably omitting) can possibly
fall on that list.

I think a consistent inability to stay healthy will rear its ugly head again
this year as Guillen, Gordon, Callaspo, and Ankiel, four "integral" parts of our
offense, will miss time. DeJesus will endure his usual day-to-day injuries and
ample playing time will be given to grizzled veterans. Although the team will
be improved defensively, they will still fall below average in that regard and
well below average in terms of offense. If you "pool" all players with fewer
than 100 AB's together, I think this offense would probably score 680-700 runs.
I like that there appears to be more "versatility" than last year. But we're
likely going to see plenty of games where we score 0-2 runs.

The bad news is that I'm predicting many veterans this organization is stuck
with contractually - to basically fall well below an "optimal" performance level
this season. The organization would benefit, in my opinion, from playing guys
like Ka'aihue, Maier, Aviles, and Pena as often as possible.

I hope I'm wrong on these performances because I believe my outlook is pretty
grim. If this organization shows a full-fledged commitment to youth, then I'll
gladly eat crow but until then I see more of the same.

For pitchers, I'll predict 8 appearances or more (to include Crow)

SP Zack Greinke - 33 GS/G, 15-8, 2.77 ERA, 223 IP, 52 BB, 197 K (All Star)
SP Gil Meche - 23 GS/G, 6-9, 4.88 ERA, 143 IP, 59 BB, 110 K
SP Brian Bannister - 28 GS/G, 7-12, 5.03 ERA, 179 IP, 58 BB, 112 K
SP Luke Hochevar - 26 GS, 31 G, 6-11, 5.17 ERA, 165 IP, 72 BB, 113 K
SP Kyle Davies - 19 GS, 33 G, 6-9, 4.80 ERA, 136 IP, 66 BB, 95 K
SP Aaron Crow - 8 GS/G, 2-4, 5.63 ERA, 35 IP, 14 BB, 23 K (late August callup)
RP Robinson Tejeda - 11 GS, 54 G, 3-5, 4.53 ERA, 97 IP, 65 BB, 92 K
RP Brad Thompson - 5 GS, 21 G, 2-4, 5.60 ERA, 33 IP, 13 BB, 18 K
RP Josh Rupe - 16 G, 0-2, 6.20 ERA, 25 IP, 11 BB, 14 K
RP Blake Wood - 9 G, 1-2, 6.86 ERA, 26 IP, 14 BB, 12 K
RP Phil Humber - 28 G, 1-1, 5.77 ERA, 33 IP, 14 BB, 25 K
RP Anthony Lerew - 4 GS, 24 G, 2-4, 5.76 ERA, 49 IP, 20 BB, 29 K
RP Carlos Rosa - 32 G, 2-2, 4.39 ERA, 39 IP, 18 BB, 29 K
RP Dusty Hughes - 32 G, 1-3, 4.92 ERA, 35 IP, 14 BB, 24 K
RP Kyle Farnsworth - 36 G, 1-3, 5.10 ERA, 44 IP, 25 BB, 38 K
RP Juan Cruz - 53 G, 3-6, 3.85 ERA, 59 IP, 24 BB, 49 K
CP Joakim Soria - 51 G, 5-4, 3.19 ERA, 62 IP, 18 BB, 75 K

This doesn't include a pool of pitchers with minimal plate appearances. (I
also think it's possible a player on waivers or a Free Agent could be
selected). I'll predict 15-Day DL stints for Meche, Bannister, Farnsworth,
Wood, Soria, and possibly Juan Cruz. I think the starting rotation is one of
the strong suits but I think the team ERA this year will be around 4.8 or 4.9.

Feel free to chime in and, if you have time, predict your own!

My 2010 MLB Predictions

On Opening Day eve, below are some rather detailed predictions for the 2010 season in Major League Baseball. In essence, five teams who made the postseason last year remain. As a Royals fan, I will predictably be rooting for the small markets but I do think Philadelphia and New York are probably the best teams in their respective leagues. If anyone has any questions or is appalled by the idea of selecting Arizona to win the NL Wild Card, then leave a comment.

NL West:
1. Colorado: 89-73
2. Arizona (WC): 88-74
3. Los Angeles: 83-79
4. San Francisco: 79-83
5. San Diego: 70-92

NL Central:
1. St. Louis: 92-70
2. Chicago: 84-78
3. Cincinnati: 82-80
4. Milwaukee: 77-85
5. Pittsburgh: 69-93
6. Houston: 64-98

NL East:
1. Philadelphia: 91-71
2. Atlanta: 87-75
3. New York: 83-79
4. Florida: 76-86
5. Washington: 68-94

AL West:
1. Texas: 91-71
2. Seattle: 83-79
3. Los Angeles: 82-80
4. Oakland: 75-87

AL Central:
1. Detroit: 84-78
2. Minnesota: 82-80
3. Chicago: 79-83
4. Cleveland: 70-92
5. Kansas City: 67-95

AL East:
1. New York: 100-62
2. Boston (WC): 91-71
3. Tampa Bay: 86-76
4. Baltimore: 74-88
5. Toronto: 65-97

(I have no idea if these totals add up or not…hopefully, it comes pretty close)

AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez (21-8, 2.63)
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw (20-7, 2.94)
AL ROY: Justin Smoak (502 AB, .285/.377/.536, 25 HR, 87 RBI, 1 SB, 0 CS)
NL ROY: Alcides Escobar (577 AB, .292/.334/.435, 10 HR, 57 RBI, 46 SB, 15 CS)
AL MVP: Mark Teixeira (615 AB, .297/.392/.588, 43 HR, 115 RBI, 2 SB, 2 CS)
NL MVP: Albert Pujols (602 AB, .338/.442/.613, 40 HR, 119 RBI, 5 SB, 3 CS)
AL Manager: Ron Washington (91-71)
NL Manager: A.J. Hinch (88-74)
AL Fireman: Mariano Rivera (5-4, 2.18 ERA, 42 SV)
NL Fireman: Francisco Rodriguez (6-3, 2.42 ERA, 45 SV)


ALDS: New York over Detroit in 4
ALDS: Texas over Boston in 5
ALCS: New York over Texas in 6

NLDS: Arizona over St. Louis in 5
NLDS: Colorado over Philadelphia in 4
NLDS: Colorado over Arizona in 5

Other Awards:

AL Comeback Player: Shaun Marcum, TOR (11-10, 3.94 ERA, 176 IP)
NL Comeback Player: Tim Hudson, ATL (15-9, 3.82 ERA, 185 IP)