Monday, December 6, 2010

Hello from the Winter Meetings

Haha, just kidding. I'm not in Orlando.

How cool would it be if I was though? I could be tweeting stuff about Cliff Lee and Zack Greinke and which absurdly moronic move John Mozeliak will make next. But I'm not. Instead, I'm tweeting false information about Frank White's future with the Royals. I would like to say from the bottom of my heart, my bad. I'll just stick to what I do best, which is being a fan and writing about my favorite baseball team, The Kansas City Royals...ugh.

Obviously, the biggest non-Chiefs/Josh Selby news going around in Kansas City right now are the Zack Greinke trade rumors. From what I can gather, Texas, Toronto and Milwaukee are the three most likely destinations for Zack. Texas probably seems to be the leader of the pack right now, as they can offer the best prospects in return for Greinke. Toronto, not so much. As for Milwaukee, I heard they were trying to include Ryan Braun in a straight swap for Greinke. No thanks. We're trying to build for the future. I would love to have Ryan Braun on the Royals, don't get me wrong, just not in a straight up deal, where we plug up one gaping hole (true middle of the order power) and open up another (our sinkhole of a starting rotation outside of Greinke).

I'll be honest, I'm really torn on this deal. Greinke has reportedly said he will "go anywhere". Which essentially is code for "I'd rather go through my first three years in the league than spend another two seasons with this team". That's great that Greinke would go anywhere, as I'm sure every team in baseball would love to have a 27-year old phenom under contract for the next two years at a market friendly rate (Greinke is slated to make ~$13 million in each of the next two years). And that's great, because this gives the Royals the opportunity to be selective. And boy, are they being selective. Bob Dutton reported early today that the talks between the Royals and Rangers fizzled out after Dayton Moore was not impressed with the Rangers package they were offering for the 2009 Cy Young Award winner.

This is encouraging news. Dayton Moore is not going to be bullied into a deal. He has a platinum chip in Greinke and he knows it. I'm sensing that Moore is walking around Walt Disney World saying "Yeah, I know he said he wants out of KC, but guess what, it's gonna take your entire farm system's lifeblood to get him outta here. And if your offer isn't good enough, we'll just take our two 2013 first round compensatory picks after he leaves and have the best team in the AL Central AND the best farm team in baseball. So SUCK ON THAT JON DANIELS."

The Royals can't afford to be shortchanged on this trade if it happens. The Beltran trade is still fresh in this fanbase's minds and it is quite obvious that wound has not completely healed, although there is one remnant remaining. A trade for Greinke needs to net us a HAUL. I'm talking a big time HAUL. That is why I somewhat want this trade to happen. I hate terrible baseball, I really do, but if we can absolutely clear out someone's upper minors in this trade, then hey, I'll deal.

But here's why I don't want to see Greinke traded. I want to see him win here. Zack has said before that he likes it in KC. I just don't think that he likes being in KC with the Royals. He gained some big time fan support after signing a 4 year deal, guaranteeing he would be in Royal blue for another four years after a great 2008 campaign. He followed that deal up with the greatest pitching season in club history. He's a fan favorite. He sells tickets.

But guess what else sells tickets? Winning. And let's face it, this team probably isn't going to be doing much of that this coming summer. It sucks to say that in December, but that may just be the cold hard truth. And I'll never be one of those fans who roots for Zack to win somewhere else, I'll just be rooting that the guys we got for Zack are the ones who take us to October.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Kansas City

I have lived here my entire life. It isn't much. It isn't little. It is perfect. It is right in the middle. 2 million people who share the same hopes, dreams and sports teams. We love the Chiefs. We love the Royals. We hate Kansas. We hate Missouri. We applaud K-State. It's a great town. Each summer or fall or winter or spring, some of us move away. Some of us stay away. But most of us come back. Kansas City is always a special place. Like that lakehouse you used to visit with your family in your youth. Quiet, simple, vast, drenched in history and memories, but comes with just about everything you need.

It is a great city to live in. People come back when they move away, even if it is just for a weekend of Chiefs tailgating or Jayhawk basketball. They always come back. I have plenty of friends who had the typical "big fish in a little pond" syndrome that usually accompanies the fast evolving brain of those who suffer from quarter life crises. The need to get out and explore the world seems like an enticing proposition. But they all come back.

Three weeks ago, one of them came back. My friend Brian Euston came back to a city full of opportunity. A city full of hope with endless dreams and plenty of good-natured people willing to give a stranger a chance.

So Brian came back to Kansas City. Returning from a long trip to Europe. He was greeted by the people and friends who knew him the best. Friends that had lasted him a lifetime. All the way from Catholic grade school all the way through Catholic high school. Those relationships were built to last a lifetime. Us Brookside kids are a different breed. We like each other. We love each other. We respect each other. We are good people. We celebrate...hard. We have a zest for life that some may misconstrue as reckless or irresponsible, but trust me, we only mean well.

So here we are. Our friend is gone. In a city that so many people come back to, Brian has been shut out. Only the memory remains. And for what? We don't truly know. What I know, is that Brian and our city deserve better. Brian may have been taken away, but his lesson remains.

We grew up in great neighborhoods, with great families, great friends. All the perfect recipe for a fantastic community. Our entire lives, we were taught to do things for the "greater glory of God". We owe it to Brian Euston to carry on the very lessons we have been taught since our youth.

I could stand on my soap box and call for answers and point my fingers, but that isn't my job. My job as a friend of Brian Euston's is to carry on his legacy. To ensure that these things don't happen to the people of our community anymore. The reach of our community is not just limited to that tiny awesome piece of God's creation from the Plaza to Waldo, but everywhere in this world and more importantly, Kansas City. This story cannot be written with vengeance, malevolence or anger. It must end with compassion, sympathy and grace.

Understand that we are in dark times. But the night truly is darkest before the dawn. I'm sure Brian was a big fan of the Dark Knight, so, don't worry, I gotcha buddy. There are good people left in this world. Don't let yourself get lost in the shuffle. Alone we are one, together we are many. Because we always come back. No matter what, we come back.

For Brian Euston. Rock State, big guy. Oh yeah, the Chiefs are 5-2. Yeah, I know...THE CHIEFS

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Royals Phantastic Pharm System Based Off of Philly, not Atlanta?

So I've been watching the MLB Playoffs because I'm a red blooded American who is entertained by other things besides a panel of national experts analyzing cell phone pictures of Brett Favre's penis or Tom Brady's hair. I have been paying a lot of attention to the Phillies. I'm not exactly rooting for the Phillies, but I keep finding myself fascinated with how this team was constructed.

A solid mix of veterans. Very few rookies and young guns, but guys who have been there before. I will argue that the Phillies are the model franchise in baseball. Meanwhile, bloggers and fans alike try to compare the Royals current MiLB renaissance to the 2008 Rays or the 2010 Rangers or the 1969 Mets and everyone is left scratching their head on who exactly to compare this group of young minor league studs to!

Then it hit me. Like a big, neon, swinging Liberty Bell in centerfield.

The Royals are being built like the Phillies.

Think about it. It's not too far off, is it? I mean, Mike Arbuckle, the guy who had a hand in drafting Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins is currently employed by the Kansas City Royals.

People love knocking Dayton Moore for being a Braves guy. But, man, when you put this thing under the microscope, the similarities really start to pop.

First off, let's look at the Braves. Who are their core* players? Brian McCann, Jason Heyward, Tommy Hanson...and that's it. So you say, well that's just 2010! Ok, let's go back further:

*I define a "core" player as a player who is under 30 years old, was drafted by said team, was acquired via the Rule 5 draft or was acquired by said team via trade and spent time in said team's minor league system.

Atlanta Braves core players
2009- Brian McCann, Yunel Escobar, Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson
2008- Brian McCann, Yunel Escobar, Jari Jurrjens
2007- Brian McCann, Yunel Escobar
2006- Brian McCann

Pretty good players, right? Yeah, but only FOUR each year. The Braves weren't built to last while Dayton Moore was in their front office. Maybe he got sick of the "Braves Way" and wanted to move on. Think about that. The Braves really didn't see many marquee players come up after Dayton Moore left. An outside guess on my behalf says that DM did not like the direction of the Braves and moved on to KC. Who better to bring in than Mike Arbuckle? A guy who built an awesome farm system in Philadelphia? The farm system that has payed dividends for the Phillies over the last three years? The farm system that has put the Phillies in three consecutive National League Championship Series?

So let's take a look at the Phillies core:

2010- Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson
2009- Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins
2008- Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins

The Phillies are built for longevity. Dayton Moore likely saw this and made the call to Mike Arbuckle, realizing that he may not have learned everything he needed to know in Atlanta. The track record shows that the Phillies have a system in place that builds the team for the long term, whereas in Atlanta during Dayton Moore's time, the team was not built for the long term. Dayton Moore wasn't around in Atlanta during the 90s when the Braves won division championships every year. In fact, he was in Atlanta when their downturn started in the early to mid 2000s.

So now, let's take a look at how the Royals core will potentially look moving forward, of course this is all speculation. There will be trades, etc.:

2011- Mike Moustakas, Billy Butler, Zack Greinke, Joakim Soria
2012- Mike Moustakas, Billy Butler, Zack Greinke, Joakim Soria, Eric Hosmer, Mike Montgomery, Chris Dwyer
2013- Mike Moustakas, Billy Butler, Joakim Soria, Eric Hosmer, Mike Montgomery, Chris Dwyer, John Lamb, Wil Myers, Christian Colon
2014- Mike Moustakas, Billy Butler, Joakim Soria, Eric Hosmer, Mike Montgomery, Chris Dwyer, John Lamb, Wil Myers, Christian Colon, Cheslor Cuthbert

Of course, there will be busts, injuries (God forbid), trades and other unforeseen circumstances, but this team is being built for the long term. The benefits of being patient and trusting The Process will be rewarded if these guys become our core. Then throw in some moves like trading for a Cliff Lee at the deadline or signing a Roy Halladay in the offseason, and we're not just looking at a perennial division champion, but a World Series contender year in, and year out.

Be patient. We'll get there soon enough.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Growing Pains: to 2011 and beyond

Show me that smile...

It's over. Mercifully so, if I could add. Once again, another piss poor season by the Kansas City Royals. So many frustrating elements in a season that was full of some clever marketing and mind numbing praise towards some of the Royals worst players. Also a season that saw the reigning Cy Young winner go from an untouchable, young stud, to a hittable, malcontent complainer.

Trey Hillman was fired early in the season, although it's been well discussed that he should have been fired after last year. Hillman was in no way suited for this job or for any managerial job in Major League Baseball. Instead of treating Hillman's job interview like a job interview, Dayton Moore seemed to treat it like an awesome night out at a bar where he and Hillman became bros for life. Well, after the first two seasons of Hillman's tenure, it was quite obvious that he was in over his head. Players didn't respect him, fans grew tired of his "Treyspeak" in postgame pressers and it all seemed like a cruel joke.

Of course, Ned Yost replaced Hillman and took the Royals to the brink of quasi-contention in late June, where the Royals just sat seven games under .500 and eight games back from the division lead. I got excited for about three hours during this time, and then the Royals went into Chicago and got bitch-slapped back down to reality and so began the decline.

Scott Podsednik was traded. A guy who the Royals PR department loved, and I'll give them credit, Scotty Pods had a good year for the Royals. But to suggest that he was playing at an All Star level was kind of absurd. Podsednik was a good veteran presence on the team...oh jeez, now I'm starting to sound like the Royals PR department. But he stabilized the top of the lineup, as we saw the offense sputter after Pods left for the Dodgers.

Yuniesky Betancourt had a "career year" according to most Royals fans on Facebook. Sure he did, after all, he did post an 88 OPS+...

Ok, that's all I really can muster on 2010. It was a terrible year, from the Winter Meetings all the way until 4pm today. Too much energy was wasted on my end from complaining about Rick Ankiel, Juan Cruz and Dave Owen.

Time to recharge the batteries, KC! 2011 will be a new year, with exciting new toys coming up through the system. The bullpen will be MUCH better with the additions of Tim Collins, Blaine Hardy, etc. The bullpen is where we are going to see our young arms make their first impact at the big league level. Mike Montgomery, Chris Dwyer and other starters will likely start out of the bullpen before making their mark in the rotation.

Mike Moustakas will be here at some point next year, and so will Eric Hosmer if all goes well. John Lamb and Wil Myers might shoot through the upper minors and be knocking on the door come 2012.

I'm expecting at least one of our prospects to have an immediate, Evan Longoria/Ryan Braun/Buster Posey type impact at some point in the next two seasons. Will it be Moustakas next year out of Spring Training? Will it be Hosmer coming up in mid season? Will it be Mike Montgomery filling in for an injured starter? Who knows. These questions will be answered. Next year may not be much better than 2010, but one thing is for sure, it will be a lot more fun.

As long as we have eachother...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Royals Kingdom Annual "I Give Up" Extravaganza

I give up.

I haven't watched a full game in over two weeks. To try and give you some comprehensive and coherent analysis wouldn't be fair to you. So I give up.

We've lost 80 games and Jason Kendall for 8-10 months. We called up Jarrod Dyson. Mous won the Texas League POTY, despite Clint Robinson winning the Texas League Triple Crown.

I had the chance to meet Ned Yost and he's a straight shooter. Easy to like and I honestly believe he will lead us back to the playoffs.

But as far as this season goes, I give up. I can't put effort into this team anymore. I will continue casually watching, but my brain can't take it. Trey was terrible, then Ned was awesome, then we were in the pennant race in late June, then we lost 10 out of 13, then Yuni is all of the sudden a 25 year old Alex Rodriguez according to the Royals PR department, then he's Yuni, then Billy can't hit homeruns, hey, there's Alex Gordon! Kila can't hit to save his life all of the sudden

I'm tired. Time to recharge the batteries. Sorry.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Texas Rangers: Endgame

Tonight, the Royals open up a series against the Texas Rangers. The Rangers are one of the best run franchises in Major League Baseball. Their prospects like Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz, Tommy Hunter and CJ Wilson (to name a few) are all homegrown talent that are big parts to the Rangers' run to the AL West pennant this season. They traded away Justin Smoak, one time Baseball America Top 10 prospect for the anti-walk, Cliff Lee. They were savvy with trades. Mark Teixeira was turned into Neftali Feliz. Vlad Guerrero was signed for a bargain bin rate in Free Agency.

Oh yeah, they were bankrupt at one point this year. But that is neither here nor there.

The Rangers are a FANTASTIC model for the Royals. Of course, the Royals don't have the population of a Dallas/Ft. Worth area, but the Rangers built their team the right way. Their Opening Day payroll was ranked 26th. The Royals were at #20!

This is the new era of Major League Baseball. The argument of small market/big market, small payroll/big payroll is over. Homegrown talent is the key.

But it isn't the only key. You've got to spend wisely in free agency. You've got to make good trades for veterans on the cheap and give very little away.

Follow the Texas Rangers' model and you will succeed.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Yuni: Every Rose Has Its Thorn(s)

So a recent outburst of offensive production by Yuniesky Betancourt has some Royals fans laughing and pointing at us "basement dwellers". But since then, he's sunk back to regular YuniLevels.

His season stats are impressive. Sure, if you look solely at home runs and RBIs (worst stat ever for evaluating individual talent), he seems like he's a very productive player.

But if you look just below the surface of those, actually if you look just to the right of those stats, you'll see that his OBP is still well below .300, he still swings and misses at 47% of pitches out of the strikezone, and still has a negative UZR at -7. Oh and his OPS is at a strong .714, or in simpler terms, "Eleven-Points-Better-Than-Mitch-Maier". This guy is legit! SUPER LEGIT!

ERRRRRRRR. No he's not. He's still terrible. And don't tell me that I just think he's terrible because I don't "watch the games" or "listen to Ryan Lefebvre's analysis of Yuni". He's terrible. He swings at everything. Heres the messed up part: HE WOULD PROBABLY BE A DAMN GOOD PLAYER IF HE DIDN'T SWING AT EVERY DAMN PITCH!!!

The fact that he swings at so many pitches early in the count and out of the strike zone actually makes him terrible. If he wouldn't swing at those pitches, he would walk more, meaning he would get out less and help the team out more. Also, he would get better pitches to hit, his average would go up, he'd hit for more power and...dare I say it? Or will I get banished back to my mother's basement? HE WOULD WALK MORE.

He's not a good player. He's having an ok season. THAT'S IT. This year doesn't warrant an extension or whatever. Don't fool yourself. On Fescoe's show yesterday, Bob asked George Brett about Betancourt and George started talking about Wilson Betemit. I think that was George's polite way of saying, "I would rather s**t my pants at the Bellagio again than talk about Yuni."

He's a serviceable stopgap for the time being. But don't fool yourself into thinking that he's the future of this team. He's here through next year or until Christian Colon comes up. THAT'S IT.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Jason Whitlock is my hero

How about that for a title?

He's one of my biggest influences. From ages 8-24, I read every single Jason Whitlock article. From Dr. B.A. Homer to Jeff George to King Carl, I read every single word. And I loved it. I didn't agree with everything, but his prose and style was (and still is) amazing.

Jason Whitlock got a lot of grief from Kansas City Star readers. I'm not trying to imply anything about the Kansas City demographic, but I'm pretty sure Whitlock made people uneasy because he was opinionated, brash and black. To some people he had an agenda. What that agenda was, I'm not sure. But I'm pretty sure he was one of the first media members to spearhead the "Fire Carl Peterson" movement. He was the first to question the Buddy Bell the press conference announcing the hiring of Buddy Bell. He was the first to call for Allard Baird to be fired. He sees right through the NCAA and sees a corporation just as corrupt as Fannie Mae and Goldman Sachs. He saw right through Larry Johnson and saw an immature punk with serious psychological and anger issues. He exposed people in the right way. He is intelligent, savvy, smooth and most importantly, he brought KC to the forefront in national sports journalism.

Pardon the Interruption, Around the Horn, The Sports Reporters, Fox Sports, all featured Whitlock for long periods of time. You don't get to that point unless you're damn good. ESPN is the NFL of sports journalism, reserved for the top .01% of journalists in the world (although it may not seem like it when Chris Broussard or Joe Schad come on).

He is a big time player in a small market. KC had been a backwards thinking town up until a few years ago, Whitlock brought some panache and style to the town. When he wrote, people read. People read and they talked about it. "Did you see what Whitlock wrote today?" How many times have you heard that in your life?

That's what a great journalist does. They inspire discussion, debate, controversy and entertain. Jason did all of those things and was undeservedly criticized for it. To me, it seemed people often confused Jason Whitlock: the journalist, with Jason Whitlock: the person. Jason Whitlock the person may be a diva, primadonna or whatever. But Jason Whitlock the journalist is a man who is an equality rights activist. Whether for immigrants, homosexuals or those who are victims of prejudice.

Just like people are able to seperate Kanye West: the man, from Kanye West: the rapper, you must do the same with Whitlock. Kanye: the man, is an arrogant moron who thinks he is the second coming of John the Baptist, while Kanye: the rapper is perhaps the greatest lyricist of our generation. You have to seperate the two in order to see where I'm coming from

I have never met Jason Whitlock. I read his column for 16 years. His work has influenced me in so many ways. He and Joe Posnanski taught me how to captivate (or at least try to) readers. Draw the reader in with shock value, and trick them into reading a great story. Sure, some people couldn't seperate the shock value from the meat and potatoes of the actual column. But then again, some people don't have the capacity to seperate opinion from journalism.

I will miss Jason Whitlock.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Yankee "fans" will never be better than us

Big credit to Travis Pflanz of One Royal Way* for giving me the motivation to write this post.

*By the way, if you haven't stopped by One Royal Way, it's phenomenal. He's a good writer and the site is really well designed. Hope to have him help me redesign my blog.

We're used to it. Whether it's the Twins, Cardinals, Red Sox or White Sox, Kauffman Stadium is a hot spot for opposing fans to flock to when their teams are in town. I can't blame them. The tickets are the cheapest in baseball. There's usually no problem getting a hold of some good seats outside of Opening Day. Kansas City is accessible from every major Midwest city within a few hours drive. There are fans of every team everywhere. The Twins, Cards and both Sox are teams that have earned my respect throughout the years.

The Twins are a model franchise for small market teams like the Royals (even though I would hardly consider Minneapolis/St. Paul "small market"). The Cardinals are a franchise with fantastic history and passionate fans. Although they may be cocky and arrogant, they usually have regional ties to St. Louis and have been lifelong fans. The Red Sox have become a "trendy" team in the last decade, but ask most fans at a Royals/Red Sox series and it's likely that they're actually from New England and will tell you exactly where they were when the Sox won it all in 2004. White Sox fans are as loyal as they come. The second team in the Second City. I hate the White Sox players, but have a large amount of respect for anyone who sticks by a franchise like the White Sox, who are continuously spat on by Cubs' fans for being trashy and poor.

Being a fan of most sports teams isn't easy. I'm a prime example. Lifelong Kansas City Royals, Chiefs and Missouri Tigers fan. Ask anyone born after 1985 and they'll tell you why. Hell, ask anyone born after 1970 and they'll show you why. KC is littered with the memories of Lin Elliot, Steve Bono, Tyus Edney, John Elway, Chris Chambliss, 5th downs and kicked footballs for game tying touchdowns.

My sports life hasn't been easy. I know why I stick by my teams though. They wear the banner of my city. Where I was born and raised. They wear the colors of my college where I had my finest moments. I am connected with these teams in a way that most fans are. They've given me my greatest memories and worst nightmares. I cried as Lin Elliot's wounded duck kick sailed left of the goalposts as time expired in 1995. I screamed for someone to just step in front of Tyus Edney in Boise. I feel the passion and love leaving my body with every dropped pop up and terrible free agent signing. But at least I feel something.

These Yankee "fans" don't feel anything. Did they cry as the Yankees won their 26th World Championship? Did they thank God for blessing them with a fantastic franchise that has committed itself to winning during its entire existence? Did they think life itself wasn't going to go on after Luis Gonzalez dashed the hopes of New York City just weeks after 9/11?

No. They point and laugh as if to say: "Look at me! This is the good life! I'm so glad I chose to be a Yankee fan!"

I have all the respect for those who were born in New York City. It's a great city. Maybe the best in the world. My family has ties to New York. My great-great grandfathers came off the boat from Scotland and Ireland to start a new life in America. If you're born in New York, chances are you're a Yankee fan.

However, if you're born in Omaha, Little Rock or Paola, you don't have the luxury of a professional sports team in your city. You get to choose. People who cheer for the Yankees from cities like these probably have family members who grew up in New York or just wanted to take the easy way and cheer for a winner. But there are people from Kansas City, born and raised, who are Yankee fans. I'm sorry, you're a poser. You're not from New York. That youth group trip you took to NYC in 1996 doesn't count either. I know you're a huge Alicia Keys fan and INSIST on blasting "LETS HEAR IT FOR NEW YOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRK" every time you take your '97 Chevy Blazer out to cruise Zona Rosa for chicks, but come on, you're not fooling anybody. It's easy to root for the Yankees because they win. In all likelihood, they've probably never been to New York City, or even the East Coast for that matter. But they see Eminem and LeBron James wearing Yankee hats and think that being a Yankees fan is cool.

Let me tell you something, being a fan of a sports team isn't supposed to be cool. It's supposed to be intense, visceral, passionate, loving, a roller coaster of emotion. Being a Yankee fan isn't like that to these people. It's the easy way out. The effort-free version of being a sports fan. If being a sports fan was a video game, the difficulty would go as such:

Easy- Yankees
Medium- Braves
Hard- Indians
Batshit crazy insane difficult- Royals

I didn't choose to become a Royals fan. I was born into it. But I choose to stick by the team. I choose to be loyal. Am I a better person for it? Probably not. But am I a better sports fan for doing it? Absolutely.

Because when the Royals do raise that trophy, I won't be pointing and laughing, begging for the world to notice how much better than everyone I am. I'll be right next to you. Soaked in beer and tears, hugging complete strangers. Knowing that choosing to stay loyal was the right choice.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Royals West Coast swing nothing worth writing home for

This season has spiraled out of control. You shouldn't be surprised. We've seen it before. Season is lost. Yost effect has worn off. Orioles are 8-1 under Buck Showalter. Kila struggling at the dish. Life ain't so grand here in KC.

There really isn't much else to say besides that this team isn't very good. We have a revolving door of crappy leadoff hitters currently being shuffled through the lineup. Getz, Bloomquist and newly acquired, shiny, former Brave Gregor Blanco have all failed (predictably) to make their mark at the top of the Royals lineup. Meanwhile, Mitch "MITCH" Maier and his .343 OBP are languishing in the bottom of the order on most days, while Billy Butler hits with no one on base.

Yuniesky Betancourt, who routinely hits ninth and sucks no matter where you put him in the lineup, is SECOND to Billy Butler for the team lead in RBIs with 48 in 105 PAs. Doesn't that say something about lineup construction, when a guy who hits (I'm seriously laughing as I type this. Look at the BA/OBP split and you'll understand why) .240/.241/.346/.587 with runners in scoring position is SECOND on the team in RBIs?

Yes, as you can see here, our valiant shortstop hits .240 with RISP and has 48 RBIs. How is that possible? It's terrible. Truly a tragedy of lineup construction.

You CAN'T get on Billy Butler's case about his "lack" of run "production". He's doing just fine with runners in scoring position: .314/.419/.438/.857 in 129 PAs.

My brain can't wrap itself around this. Butler has a batting average with RISP WORLDS ahead of Yuni, 24 more plate attempts than Yuni with RISP, better SLG% with RISP than Yuni.

I don't get it. How is this happening? How does a player as awful as Betancourt (congrats on having a kid by the way) with RISP have almost just as many RBIs as Butler does?

This is a paradox. It really is. If you think you can wrap your mind around it, then let me know. I'm having trouble understanding this. Are the Royals really so awful that their best hitter, no matter how well he hits when runners are on 2nd and 3rd, they just can't score runs?

I'm at a loss. Looking over these stats frustrates me even more. It's like once runners get to scoring position with Butler on, the baseball universe gets fuzzy. It's unreal. I think the simple fact is that maybe Butler isn't getting as many "true" chances with RISP. I can't remember the last time we had runners at 2nd and 3rd with Billy coming up.

Maybe the case isn't the fact that there aren't runners in scoring position when Butler comes up. Maybe there just aren't runners ON BASE. Butler has 234 PAs with runners on. He's batting .327/.406/.454/.860 with runners on. Yuni? His line is a bit better than his RISP line at .290/.308/.443/.751 with runners on in 180 PAs. He's batting ninth. Butler gets more PAs than Yuni because he's higher in the lineup.

So move Yuni up in the order? God no. Move Mitch Maier, Mike Aviles and those who are in the bottom of the order to the top of the order. Get them in front of Billy. Getz, Bloomquist and Blanco are not the answers. Kendall needs to be out of the two spot. Put him ninth. Put him on the bench. Put him on a plane to Omaha for all I care, but for the sake of Royals' fans sanity, stop batting him second. I would put money on the fact that the reasons for Billy's lack of RBIs can be traced back to Jason Kendall batting second. Book it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Quick Thoughts on the end of the Guillen era, Greinke's words, and the emancipation of Ed Lucas

So we FINALLY released Jose Guillen. This move came about two months too late as Guillen has been horrendous down the stretch and pretty much for the last two seasons. Don't let the RBIs fool you (tip: never let RBIs fool you. Worst stat ever), Jose has been just above replacement level since he became a Royal. He trumps Juan Gonzalez, Mark and Storm Davis as the worst Royals free agent acquisition of all time. Yes, he does. By far. He was a clubhouse cancer, no matter how people tried to spin it. He wasn't misunderstood, or wanted to win, or was a passionate leader. He was a malcontent who couldn't back up his mindless ranting on the baseball diamond. Good riddance, Jose. Good luck finding someone who will give you more than a minor league deal as well. Say hi to Trey in Japan for us.

Zack Greinke opened his mouth again. Seems like Zack isn't too happy with the current state of the Royals. I'm happy someone was vocal, but Zack was pretty harsh on the Royals. I hope this isn't pointing to a return of Zack's psychological issues or anything like that. He was sounding an awful like he did back in 2006 in Bob Dutton's article. Hopefully it isn't too serious and it was just Zack venting his frustrations, which at this point in his career, he has certainly earned.

Anyways, these are some interesting days we're heading for. The Royals brass seems to be committed to a true youth movement. That being said, I'm joining Greg Schaum's fight for the Royals to call up Omaha 3B Ed Lucas, who has been tearing the cover off the ball in AAA this year. I would like to see him get a shot at third and see Betemit back on the bench as a late inning pinch hitter.

Enjoy the rest of Shark Week.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Victorious Weekend

So I'm writing this as Chris Getz makes a pretty sweet diving play to save the final game of the Baltimore series and cap off a truly victorious weekend for our boys. From nail biters on the field, to hair pulling as 3pm came and went yesterday, this was a fun weekend to be a Royals fan. Rick Ankiel, who came on strong after being reactivated from the DL was traded along with Kyle Farnsworth to the Braves. The Royals got stronger with the trade. Not necessarily better, but stronger.

We got a center fielder in Gregor Blanco(who joins Wil Myers in the we-decide-to-leave-off-the-last-letter-of-our-first-name club), who probably profiles as a 4th outfielder/back up leadoff man in the future. A major league ready reliever Jesse Chavez, who isn't anything special, but is still young and cheap. And we got a 21 year old, 5'7", 155 lb. lefty with nasty stuff. I've seen multiple people say that if Tim Collins was six inches taller, he would be the top relieving prospect in baseball. Yeah, we got this kid for Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth.

And now for something that has never been said on this blog: GOOD JOB, DAYTON MOORE.

Of course, the Royals still have some work to do. Jose Guillen remains a Royal (at the point of the publication of this post). I fully expect him to be released before the team boards the plane for Oakland.

The Royals extended Ned Yost for two years. This is a positive because now Dayton Moore can focus on how to make this team better heading in to 2011 instead of conducting a managerial search and accidentally stumbling upon Trey Hillman 2.0. Yost is a major league manager with a pretty good track record with young teams. He will be the stable master as the Royals young studs come up through the system in the next two years. Yost is about to see a major roster overhaul. Mous, Hos, Monty, Myers, Dwyer, Orlando, Lamb, etc. are all going to be making their MLB debuts while Yost is under contract. Yeah, that's more prospects than the Brewers had when Yost was managing the Brew Crew. Exciting stuff.

Hey, Kila got called up. Hopefully for good.

Close your eyes. It's 2006. How do you see the Royals in 2010? Alex Gordon hitting walkoff homers. Billy Butler smashing go ahead shots in the 8th inning. Zack Greinke pitching eight solid innings and getting the W. And we're 15 games under .500.

There is still work to do, but this was a good weekend for the Kansas City Royals and their fans. These last couple of months have the potential to be a lot of fun. The Royals could make a push back towards .500 and swing some momentum towards 2011. And they wouldn't be pushing back towards .500 with Ankiel, Farnsworth, Podsednik and Guillen, but rather with Gordon, Butler, Blanco, Collins, Kila and young, homegrown talent.

Sure, winning is fun, but I'm such a damn purist that when the Royals start winning, I want the Royals to do it the right way. Not how the Yankees or Dodgers do it. I want our guys. And that's what we've got here now. Our guys are starting to populate the roster. That's something to get excited about.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Francoeur to the Royals...3 years in the making

**This rumor was shot down literally right after I posted this. Apparently, the Royals are "not interested" in Jeff Francoeur. But I hope you enjoy it anyways.

It began in 2005. Jeff Francoeur blasted into the National League and had scouts drooling. OPS over 1.000, batting average north of .330 and a Bondsian .631 slugging percentage.

Then he came down to earth...hard. He's been an awful, malcontent, overrated fielder, bust of a player. He's changed teams. That didn't work.

Apparently, Dayton Moore looks at Frenchy like that girl who has been cheated on, lied to and emotionally destroyed by her loser boyfriend yet still keeps going back to him, despite her friends and family pleading for her to move on.

"Just because he doesn't walk doesn't mean he doesn't love me!"

"Yeah he's posted a negative UZR the past three seasons, but he won a Gold Glove!"

"I know he said he doesn't care about walks, but he hit 29 home runs four years ago!"

Francoeur serves no purpose on the Royals. I would rather have a super robot constructed with all of the worst parts of Jose Guillen, Emil Brown, Terrence Long, Reggie Sanders and Shane Costa than have Jeff Francoeur.

This rumor surfaces every season. Whether in the offseason, May or near the trade deadline, it never goes away. It points to a bigger problem. The problem being that Dayton Moore is so in love with awful baseball players, it is going to kill the momentum that the Royals have going in their minor leagues.

So Moustakas, Hosmer and Montgomery come up and are really good. Guess what? Frenchy is "protecting" Mous and Hosmer in the lineup! OH JOY! Hey, lets sign a 37 year old Melky Cabrera! Let's go get Derek Lowe, cuz the Braves liked him, right? Man, think of all the possibilities! Hey, how about that Matt Diaz guy? Oh, we had him at one point? Screw him! Wait, call the Orioles, do you think John Lamb and Hos would be enough for former Brave great, Mike Gonzalez? Hey, get Pods agent on the phone, it's time for him to make his triumphant return to KC to be a member of the 2014 Royals! We need a leadoff hitter dad-gummit! That Robinson kid can't run. I need un-utilized speed and sweet 5 o'clock shadow beards. Get Ryan Freel out of retirement, I NEED ATHLETICISM ON THIS TEAM!

Get ready. #GMDMisdelusional

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Flip This House: Alberto Callaspo traded back to the Angels

Sorry, had to entertain my readers who watch HGTV.

I like this trade. Boost the pitching in the minors. Open up the third base spot for Mike Moustakas. See what you have in Wilson Betemit. Get rid of a guy who just couldn't find a home on the diamond.

I liked Callaspo. I liked the Buckner trade for Callaspo back in 2008. But Callaspo was never going to be a cornerstone of this franchise. Yeah, he was a .300 hitter last year. But that .300 average came at the cost of subpar defense and boneheaded off the field decisions. He struggled this year to put it together. His offense was fantastic for a second baseman...but Callaspo can't play second base. His defense was ok at third base...but his offense this year didn't warrant him playing a corner spot in the lineup, a position that has to supply power and run producing.

Nick Scott from Broken Bat Single said it best, these are the kind of trades that can have positive impact for YEARS to come. Callaspo didn't have a future with the team. You keep him on the team, it blocks Betemit and Moustakas. Callaspo was well liked in his time in KC, but the team has to start purging this roster. Callaspo was an offensive contributor in his time in Royal blue, but his defense also contributed to the 97 losses last year. He's the definition of an "in between" player.

So moving Callaspo off the depth chart gives the Royals a bit of breathing room and deepens the minor league system. Callaspo wasn't technically a young guy either, he's on the wrong side of 27 and has already peaked in my mind.

So long Bert, you have a long career in front of you, just not with us. I hope you don't make us pay for it in the future.

Now batting...Rick Ankiel.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Well that was fun...

Royals have now dropped six in a row since their "critical" series in Chicago. Dreams of division titles and ticker tape and parades on the Plaza in 2010 have been stricken down...ha, just kidding.

The Royals trade rumor machine seems to be spitting out more and more back-fence talk each day and the gossip is picking up around baseball.

Joakim Soria has been rumored to the Yankees. The Royals hold the advantage if these negotiations ever take place. The asking price is very high for Soria, as it should be as he's arguably been one of the best closers in the last five years and his numbers are comparable to Mariano Rivera's over the last three years. If the Yankees come calling, the asking price on Soria should be two of the Yanks top five prospects and a C+ arm. Catcher Jesus Montero seems to be the hot-button player that the Yankees are offering. Montero is the 5th ranked prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America. But Montero has struggled this year and his defense behind the plate has scouts questioning his long term viability behind the plate.

Scott Podsednik's agent told him that teams have been inquiring about him. The asking price on Pods shouldn't be too high, but the way Dayton Moore values athletic ability, the Royals demands for him may be too much for teams to consider. With the way Alex Gordon has been swinging the bat in Omaha, the Royals would be wise to unload Scotty Pods for whatever they can get.

Eric Hosmer hit a home run in his first AA at-bat. Seriously, who wrote the script for the Royals minor leagues this year? A good second half in the Texas League puts Hosmer on track to start 2011 in Omaha and possibly make his Major League debut as early as sometime in the 2011 season.

Moustakas got called up to Omaha. A good second half from him and we could see him in a Royals jersey this year as a September call-up. But the Royals' brass has said Moustakas will not see the big leagues this year. Hmm, we'll see.

Ned Yost says that skids like the current six game bender that the Royals are currently on are "unacceptable". Hey Ned, you're the one who insists on batting Jason Kendall every day.

So what does the second half hold for the Royals? The outlook for the rest of the 2010 campaign looks pretty bleak, but some clever and necessary roster shuffling by Dayton Moore and Ned Yost could give fans reason to keep paying attention as we move into the dog days of Summer.

Monday, July 12, 2010

State of the Royals: All Star Break 2010

So, here we are. All Star Break. The Royals were contenders three days ago. Then they got swept by the White Sox and the writing seems to be on the wall concerning this ball club. I'm going to try my best to break down each facet of the ballclub in this post. If you're a regular reader of this blog, then you probably know what I think about the roster and the likes of Scott Podsednik and Jose Guillen. But I'll also take a look at the minor leagues, specifically Northwest Arkansas.


So I'll start off with what the Royals want the fans to believe is their biggest strong suit. Sure the Royals are among the league leaders in batting average, but they're bringing up the back end when it comes to slugging percentage and home runs. This team lacks the ability to blow teams out. We saw it in the Chicago series last weekend, the Royals simply don't have the horses to match up with the Carlos Quentins and Paul Konerkos of the AL Central. Our best "power" hitter is Jose Guillen. But you look closely at his stats, they aren't that impressive. He has 14 homers, yes, but he also has only hit 12 doubles. Jose has been a doubles hitter throughout his career and suddenly he has more homeruns than doubles. Meanwhile, our "cleanup" hitter, Billy Butler, who is holding steady with a whopping NINE homeruns at the All Star Break (which is making my preseason prediction of 30+ look absolutely ridiculous). Wilson Betemit has been a nice fill-in for Rick Ankiel. No wait, he's been 20x better and about $3 million dollars cheaper than Rick Ankiel.

The Royals have no problems clogging the bases with singles hitters, our problem is getting them home. The offense needs an injection of power. Maybe there are two hitters in Omaha that can do that for us? Nah, too simple...

State of the Royals offense: C+

Starting Pitching

Any rotation that has Bruce Chen in it deserves criticism. Of course, Chen has made Dayton Moore look like a genius and posted a sub-4.00 ERA in his replacement of Gil Meche. But outside of Chen's unlikely success, this rotation is bad. Brian Bannister's SABR-magic has worn off. The Kyle Davies Project looks like it is on its last legs. Seriously, Kyle Davies should pitch like he's about to be DFA'ed in each of his starts. Just when I'm ready to write him off, he pitches well. Zack Greinke is getting back on track after a rocky start.

Anthony Lerew is holding down Hoch's spot well, despite getting rocked in his last start. Hopefully nothing is terribly wrong with Luke Hochevar. I was really enjoying watching him pitch. He's worked very well with Kendall this year. His problem seems to be that he'll either pitch a gem or look like Scott Elarton.

Gil Meche needs surgery. I'm convinced. If he goes under the knife this season, he may be able to return mid-season next year and try to salvage what is left of his career.

State of the Royals starting rotation: D


These guys have been great. After an AWFUL start to the year, the bullpen has come together really well. From Kyle Farnsworth to Dusty Hughes to Blake Wood, these guys have really turned it around. Very few blown saves around this team. The bullpen has been a huge part of the Royals Yost-era success. Apparently, Ned has every bullpen pitcher throwing off the mound every day. Whereas Trey had players take a day or two off after pitching. Joakim Soria has been dominant, not quite 2008 dominant, but about as good as he'll be for the rest of his career. Blake Wood may be getting lucky with pitching-to-contact. He can't strike anybody out. His fastball is phenomenal. I'm not so sure he's the setup savior that this front office is labeling him as.

Kyle Farnsworth has been outstanding this year. Well worth his salary. He's even getting the job done in high leverage situations. Add him to the list of must-trade players.

State of the Royals bullpen: B+

Minor Leagues

Wow. What can I say that already hasn't been said by every minor league guru on the internet? I mentioned to Greg Schaum earlier this year that the Royals may have a farm system that is becoming the envy of Major League Baseball. Schaum was quick to slow my roll, but agreed that there are some positives surrounding the Royals farm system. Now, in July, I can confidently say that the Royals absolutely have a farm system that has many executives drooling.

Let's start at the top: Mike Moustakas has become the Mike Schmidt of the Texas League. Leading the league in most offensive categories, while playing 17 less games than most players. Eric Hosmer is driving the ball in the Carolina League, something that Moustakas couldn't do last year. Some people are concerned about his lack of homeruns, but in the C-League, doubles are just as good as homeruns and Hosmer has 27 of 'em. Mike Montgomery is continuing his dominance of the minors. But the real treat of the Royals farm system to emerge this year is 20 year old LHP John Lamb. He's averaging over 10 K's per 9 IP. He's got a 1.41 ERA. His stock is rising quickly and for damn good reason.

Not only are the Royals seeing individual success at the minor league level, but also team success. A thing minor league purists will tell you is more important than stats and scouting reports. The Naturals already clinched a playoff spot by winning the first half championship in the Texas League's Northern division. Meanwhile, up in the PCL, the O-Royals are in a heated pennant chase with the Iowa Cubs and Memphis Redbirds, led by the Kila Whale and a resurgent, but currently slumping, Alex Gordon.

A diamond in the rough in the Royals pipeline is 1B/DH Clint Robinson at AA NW Arkansas, who is hitting .318/.396/.591/.987. If Kila Ka'aihue turns out to be a bust, then we've got C-Rob right on his heels, who will likely join Mike Moustakas in Omaha before the season is over. Also add LHP Edgar Osuna to the mix. A guy who likely pans out as a lefty set up man or lefty starter in the future. Posting a 2.59 ERA and 1.100 WHIP, Osuna could be another Rule 5 gem picked by Dayton Moore.

Then throw in Wil Myers, Chris Dwyer, Kila Ka'aihue, Alex Gordon (not a prospect anymore, but who cares), Louis Coleman, Tim Melville, Aaron Crow, Brandon Sisk and Derrick Robinson and you have a minor league system that is stocked better than a Y2K-believer's basement.

To put it bluntly: our minor leagues are STACKED. Stacked, baby. Even if 50% of these guys bust, we've still got a hell of a lot of contributors who are under Kansas City Royal control through the better part of this decade. It's a beautiful thing.

State of the Royals minor leagues: A+

Look, this team is at a serious crossroads right now. I've been saying that for weeks now, but it is the truth. We can wear the rose colored glasses and think that we're "contenders" and do the organization as a whole a disservice. Or we can get back on the wagon and start building this thing for next year. I say next year because, well, this division is going to be just as winnable in 2011 as it was this year. The possibility of making a division run with homegrown talent is very exciting. That's something that everyone can get behind.

State of the Royals: C+

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Royals Kingdom Radio Cancelled

I hate to use that word, but after an eight month run, Royals Kingdom Radio is no more. The show received great feedback from what listeners we had, but in the end, the cost of running the show was no longer feasible for myself and the JPEG Show Network. I want to thank James Peuster for giving me the prime 4pm spot on 1160 AM on Sunday afternoons and allowing me to share my voice to greater Kansas City.

Royals Kingdom Radio may come back, it may not. For now, my short lived radio career is on hold. But I'm sure I'll be back in the future.

As for the blog, KEEP READING! I have no plans of discontinuing the blog.

Anyways, thanks for listening!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Critical series coming up for the Royals

Ok, so six months ago when the Royals' schedule was released, this looked like just another series, in just another lost season, in just another 6-9 win month. But now, this Royals/White Sox tilt has taken on a whole new look.

These are the series that fans of toiling franchises dream about.

Here it is. Mid-July. The Royals are quasi-contenders. Eight games out of first place in a winnable division on July 8. The White Sox came to town with their "hottest team in baseball" cooties, and it has seemed to rub off on the Royals, who have now won 10 of their last 13 ballgames.

So, here we go. Bruce Chen (5-2, 3.51), who is doing his best Mark Buehrle impression, takes on Mark Buehrle (7-7, 4.53), who is doing his best Bruce Chen impression, in game one of the series. Dayman Banny takes on Gavin Floyd in game two. And Zack Greinke vs. TBA on Sunday for game three. Pretty winnable series on paper. Royals have been rocking Buehrle around all year. Gavin Floyd is finally developing into a mediocre pitcher and whoever the third starter is, is going to have a tough time taking on a Zack Greinke who has started to pitch like a combination of 2009 Zack and Optimus Prime.

Make no doubt about it. This is when games start to matter more. This is the last series before the All Star Break. Most teams are looking forward to the break and spending time away from the game. From all reports, the Royals can't wait to get back out on the field each day. These guys are playing really, really good, entertaining baseball right now. A series win in Chicago catapults the Royals into the All Star Break, single digits behind the division leader and playing their best baseball all year.

After Chicago and the break, it's back to KC for three-game sets with the Oakland A's and Toronto Blue Jays. Making this stretch even more crucial, 13 of the first 17 games after the All Star Break are played at Kauffman Stadium. A good series in Chicago and continuing this hot streak could be the right mix for a good excuse to go out to the ballpark for an otherwise disinterested fanbase.

I consider the White Sox a rival. This is how rivalries are strengthened. Mid to late season games that have division race implications. And even though the Royals are still seven games under .500, this series is still just as big as every other series with a division opponent for the rest of the year.

It is a borderline critical series for our boys in blue. There is a groundswell of support for these guys all of the sudden. A series win in Chicago completely energizes the city and fans and it could be a pretty fun second half of July, and possibly second half of the season here in KC.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Are the Royals closer than we think?

After reading Sam Mellinger's article, I started taking inventory of the Yost era.

Here are the facts:

-The Royals are 22-22 under Ned Yost.

-The Royals are 22-22 under Ned Yost, despite the fact that Jason Kendall and Scott Podsednik anchor the top of the lineup and Yuniesky Betancourt plays nearly every day.

-The bullpen is vastly improved after the additions of Blake Wood, Victor Marte, Dusty Hughes and Kanekoa Texeira.

-The Royals are only being outscored by 31 runs (run differential of .39 runs per game).

-The offense is based on stringing singles together.

-The Royals lack multiple power threats.

-Nearing the halfway point, the Royals are only 9.5 games out of first place.

-Jose Guillen is currently blocking two players who are tearing up AAA Omaha. If he is moved, the Royals 25 man roster becomes wide open and allows Kila and Gordon to be moved on to the team for regular duty.

-Zack Greinke is starting to look like Zack Greinke.

-Anthony Lerew and Bruce Chen are filling the voids of Luke Hochevar and Gil Meche nicely.

-The Royals appear to be on the verge of a significant roster turnover as the trade deadline approaches.

Now here's the hopeful, borderline-insanity-optimism:

With the subtraction of one player (J. Guillen) and addition of two players (Gordon and Ka'aihue), the Royals immediately add power bats and basecloggers to the everyday roster. This will assess what is currently the Royals biggest void: power. Can the addition of Gordon and Ka'aihue really do that much?

Answer: YES.

Those two combined can put up numbers that will put the Royals in a good position to make a late season push at .500. Certain spots in the lineup have created offensive "hot spots" that has marginal players putting up big RBI numbers. Yuniesky Betancourt has 33 RBIs. He's batting .225 with runners in scoring position in the 9 hole. Meanwhile, David DeJesus is sporting a robust .323 average with RISP, and 35 RBIs.

The Royals need guys who can draw walks and hit for power, plain and simple. The team is serviceable right now. But the singles train needs a locomotive. A massive power generating machine to put this club over the top.

Only being outscored by .39 runs a game, the Royals really aren't that far away from a numbers stand point. Fundamentally, they're below average, but the addition of some power bats and clever roster maneuvering by Dayton Moore could add that boost that the Royals need to get back on track.

A strong finish to 2010 means several things. It will re-energize the fanbase. It will move the team in the PROPER youth direction that they have strayed from in the last one and a half years and it will put them into position to be a better team in the future.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Guillen's hot streak was done with smoke and mirrors

Jose Guillen just capped off his 21 game hit streak against the White Sox last night, going 0-3 with a walk. Of course, many fans started jumping on the Guillen bandwagon saying that he had returned to form (which is saying SOOOOO much).

Guillen's "hot" streak may have well been a hitting streak by Scotty Pods. Thanks to some research by our friends over at Royals Review, they found that Guillen had put up this stellar line during the last 15 days of his streak: .364/.386/.354/.750. That's a pretty standard line for a guy with a 21 game hitting streak. The hitting streak was anything but "hot" though. Guillen was good for ONE extra base hit during the entire streak.

Of course, this isn't indicative of Guillen being a poor hitter. He did what he could. Reports have come out that Guillen has been suffering from blisters on his lead foot, making it hard for him to turn on that inside pitch.

Now, the Royals should take this as a sign to give Guillen a couple of days off. Imagine how he could hit with good feet. This hitting streak only increases his value on the trade market.

I'm not taking anything away from Guillen though. He's done a great job, but adding another car to the singles train that is the Royals' offense doesn't do anyone any favors.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Are the Royals and Cardinals even rivals anymore?

I went to the first I-70 Series back in 1997. The first time the Royals and Cardinals had played since 1985. Kauffman Stadium was electric. Johnny Damon charged the mound after being hit by a Tim Belcher pitch in Game 2. The Royals kicked the crap out of the Cardinals in game 2, 16-5, while losing close games in the first and third games of the series. I remember the crowd being 70-30 in favor of Royals fans. Boy that was a fun time...

Now, 13 years and five managers later, the Royals still haven't made the playoffs or fielded a legitimate contender. Meanwhile, 250 miles down the road, the Cardinals have made two World Series appearances while winning/stealing one in 2006 against young and error-prone Detroit Tigers team.

So it goes. Every June, Kauffman Stadium looks like Arrowhead Stadium. Red clad Cardinal fans board the "Best Fans in Baseball"tm train and storm Kauffman Stadium, like that pathetic uncle from out of town who comes to visit every summer. They drink, they yell, they tell everyone that Budweiser is the best beer in the world and how toasted ravioli was invented in St. Louis. They claim you can't find a decent slice of pizza anywhere outside of the 636 or 314 area codes. Cool.

"The Best Fans in Baseball"tm might as well be the "Most Annoying Fans in Baseball", screaming anytime Albert Pujols hits a flyball. They boo when Albert Pujols gets intentionally walked, even though they have "fan favorite" Matt Holliday protecting him in the order. But I guess that's why you pay him $16 million dollars, so you can boo teams walking the best player of our generation in their own stadium.

They come like a swarm of locusts, spending their money at hotels and bars (Hey, thanks for paying for Sprint Center!). They talk about how the Cubs/Cardinals rivalry is the best in baseball, screw Red Sox/Yankees and Mets/Phillies. The whole weekend is like them showing off to the whole city of Chicago. Claiming, "Hey! Look at us! We run this you do when the Cubs come to play at Busch..."

Here's my point. Cardinals fans don't consider this a rivalry anymore. I know a lot of Cardinals fans, some of my best friends are from Eastern Missouri and Western Illinois, although none of them actually live in the St. Louis city limits. They would have to be crazy to do that...

They laughed at me when I said the Royals biggest rival were the Cardinals.

Well, Sam Mellinger made an interesting point today. This rivalry is stale. It's like a broken record. Cardinals come into town. They bring 20,000 fans. The fans annoy us. We take it because our team sucks. They beat us. Life goes on.

There's hope on the farm, but it won't be here for a couple of years. It's time to take a break. Most Royals fans have what's left of their pride bashed to smithereens this time of year. I hate this series. It is my least favorite series of the year. It is an awful reminder of how far this once proud franchise has fallen. So I'm asking the Cardinals, Major League Baseball and Royals ownership to give us a couple of years to pick up the pieces. Keep the series in St. Louis. Sure this series is the biggest draw outside of opening day, but at what cost? Each year, the number of kids in this town wearing Albert Pujols jerseys grows.

We need some time, St. Louis. We owe it to this "rivalry" to take a break. Forget about us until October, then laugh at us when you look across at the AL Central standings to see we barely won 70 games. We'll be back. I don't know when, but we will be. And when we come back, hold on to your f**king hats, we'll be ready to take our stadium back.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Quick look at Nats and Royals lineups for tonight show you exactly where each organization is headed

Lineups: Royals @ Nationals, 6/21/2010

1. Nyjer Morgan, CF
2. Christian Guzman, 2B
3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4. Adam Dunn, 1B
5. Josh Willingham, LF
6. Ivan Rodriguez, C
7. Michael Morse, RF
8. Ian Desmond, SS
9. Livan Hernandez, SP

Kansas City
1. Scott Posednik, LF
2. Jason Kendall, C
3. David DeJesus, CF
4. Billy Butler, 1B
5. Jose Guillen, RF
6. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
7. Mike Aviles, 2B
8. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
9. Bruce Chen, SP

So here it is. This is probably the most depressing pitching matchup I've ever seen. Outside of that, we have two franchises going in opposite directions at the moment.

The Nationals are perennial losers and are quite the comic relief in the National League (remember when they couldn't even spell their name right on their jerseys?). But they have a lineup that isn't much better than the Royals, but its headed in a better direction than the Royals.

While the Royals have Scott Podsednik batting leadoff, the Nats have Nyjer Morgan, a guy with a lot of potential who was traded for Lastings Milledge. Win for Washington. They don't have Jason Kendall batting second. Win for Washington. They don't have Jason Kendall in their lineup. Win for Washington. Christian Guzman and Adam Dunn are actually pretty good veteran players for their big price tags, unlike say...Yuniesky Betancourt and Jose Guillen? Win for Washington.

Pretty pathetic that what was essentially an expansion franchise is further along than the Royals. Oh yeah, Dayton Moore also had Zack Greinke, Billy Butler and Alex Gordon dropped in his lap. The Nats started from scratch. They're further along than the Royals because they're doing it the right way.

Win for Washington.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bashing of KC, internally and externally, makes me sick

So after the news was confirmed that Kansas City will indeed host the 2012 MLB All Star Game, most people in Kansas City rejoiced. Then we started reading what people were saying about us. It hurts to see people bash a city. But then again, most of these people are probably east coasters and have probably never been to Kansas City in the last 5 years. Then I started reading the reaction from locals, some saying that KC will be exposed as a fraudulent major league town. The best way I can compare it is like a good looking girl suddenly panicking and thinking that she looks awful in her prom dress and won't leave her room...two months before prom.

I'll admit it, KC was a pretty boring place 5 years ago. We had just lost the Big 12 tournament and Westport had been taken over by hooligans and criminals. Most of the city's metro population lived in Kansas and suburbs. It was a boring place unless you were searching for some damn good barbeque and had an affinity for outdoor shopping.

But the city is on its way back. 50,000 people have moved back in to the city limits, 5,000 to downtown alone. $4.5 billion dollars have been invested in downtown since the late 90s. The Power and Light district is the social center of the city, the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts will be a premiere theatre on the national stage, the Crossroads District is still one of this city's best kept secrets, Union Station has been a bust, but it still brings in some pretty awesome national exhibits.

Most people's view of Kansas City is very dated. This isn't the KC of the 1990s, where the main attraction in town was the world's largest collection of Starter jackets ( still might be). There are plenty of things for people to do in this town now. All within a short taxi or bus ride from downtown are the River Market, Westport, the Plaza, Power & Light, Crown Center, Negro Leagues Museum, and the 18th and Vine Jazz district.

The point is, people have become so disconnected with Kansas City. People say they're from KC, but in all likelihood they're from Lee's Summit, Blue Springs, Overland Park or Parkville and haven't seen the revitalization from up close. I've seen it. I worked at Power & Light for nearly a year. Every night, people from KC or even out of town, would come up to me and say how they couldn't believe an area like this could be in Kansas City. The people of KC need to stop badmouthing our city. She's back on the rise. I think we're going to blow people away.

Maybe we're suffering from ugly duckling syndrome, or it could be the other thing that has plagued this city for the last 20 years...loser mentality. Get behind your city and for crying out loud, stop it with the loser mentality.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What should be done with David DeJesus?

With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Royals are reportedly ready to wheel and deal some of their veteran players. Scott Podsednik, Rick Ankiel, Jose Guillen and Kyle Farnsworth's names have all been linked to potential trades. Also in that mix of names was David DeJesus, probably the most prized piece on the Royals roster. The return on DeJesus would be ok. He isn't a big name player and doesn't have the "sexy" power or speed that would net the Royals a blockbuster set of prospects.

That isn't a knock on DeJesus, its a knock on how under appreciated players like DeJesus are in baseball.

He'll be affordable. We know this. All of his important skills probably won't significantly decline in the next 5 years. His speed and power may decrease, but here's the beauty of this: DeJesus isn't known for either of those things.

He's currently batting .324/.399/.482/.881. Pretty awesome numbers. His OPS+ currently stands at 139, a career high.

Those are the facts. Now here's why we should keep him.

Yes his value is high right now. But the return will not be substantial enough. I say this because the Royals system is extremely shallow in the outfield. Derrick Robinson, David Lough and Jordan Parraz seem to be close to the big leagues, but having a veteran (and overall nice guy) like DeJesus to welcome them to the bigs would net much more value than 2-3 C+ prospects. Um, not to mention DeJesus has been the most consistent offensive performer on the Royals in the last 7 years.

I'm not saying DDJ should be a Royals lifer, but he definitely deserves to spend a few more seasons with the Royals. I'm not trying to be a Royals "sunshine pumper", but trading DeJesus just doesn't make that much sense. That is, unless he is designated as a Type A free agent, in which case the Royals would be compensated with draft picks.

Re-sign him to a three year deal. He just started a family here and might be willing to give the Royals the good ol' home town discount.

He's not just a good player, but he's a good guy and definitely deserves to stick around and be a part of (hopefully) a new generation of Royals winners.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Royals can learn a lot from Blackhawks' journey

Alright, you all know me. I'm a huge hockey fan. But this has nothing to do with the sport itself. It does have everything to do with how the Chicago Blackhawks not only turned their franchise around on the ice, but off it as well.

5 years ago, if you would have asked a Chicagoan who their favorite Blackhawks player was, it probably wouldn't have been a player on the current roster. They would have said Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull, Jeremy Roenick or Denny Savard. The Hawks were downright awful for the most part from 1997-2007. They made the playoffs once, as an 8-seed, during that stretch. The 22,000 seat United Center would be half full for weekend and rivalry games, much worse for weeknight games and non-premier opponents. This was in a city of over 7 million people (2.8 million in the city limits alone) and they could barely draw 10,000 people. Not to mention they had to compete with four other major sports teams. Season ticket sales were south of 5,000 and the Hawks were nearly forgotten about in Chitown. Owner Bill Wirtz refused to spend money on free agents and the draft. He wouldn't even fork over the dough to show the team's home games on local television. Blackhawks TV cost $30/month! $30/month! Just to watch the worst team in the league!

Of course, if you're the worst team in the league, you get the best draft picks. In 2006, the Hawks drafted Jonathan Toews with the 3rd overall pick. The next year, they drafted Patrick Kane with the 1st overall pick. As Bill Wirtz's health declined, his son, Rocky, began learning the ropes and making front office decisions. The board hired former Blackhawks player, Dale Tallon, as general manager before the 2005-06 season, and started making wholesale changes to the roster, shedding awful veteran payroll and began building the team from within while making trades for young players.

Bill Wirtz passed away shortly before the 2007-08 season and his son, Rocky, took over full ownership of the franchise. Rocky Wirtz's first order of business was to put the home games back on local television. Done. Then he hired former Chicago Cubs president, marketing whiz John McDonough, to the same position in the Blackhawks front office.

McDonough knew that the Hawks were not the frontline team in Chicago, and they probably never would be. But no one even cared about the team in Chicago. McDonough and his executives started reaching out to the city of Chicago. Soon bars were flying Blackhawks flags outside of their doors. Blackhawks players were making more public appearances, charitable and social, and the Hawks invited their formerly shunned hall of famers back to the United Center and created the Blackhawks Ambassadors, made up of Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull, Tony Esposito and Dennis Savard. They cultivated business relationships with the Bears, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox. Jonathan Toews and head coach Joel Quenneville sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at Wrigley Field. Derrick Rose dropped the puck at the home opener. Four Blackhawks threw out the first pitch at US Cellular on Opening Day this year. Lance Briggs participated in the famous United Center "Puck Shoot" in February. They hosted the NHL's annual Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in 2009. They made themselves synonymous with the city.

During the summer of 2008, when the White Sox and Cubs are the only tickets in town, the Blackhawks began hosting the annual Blackhawks Convention, a three day event at the Downtown Chicago Hilton and Towers (you know, the hotel in the last scene of The Fugitive). Hawks players, past and present, coaches and everyone involved with the team attend the event. A lot of sports franchises do it, but the Hawks go all out. Organist Frank Pellico provides the soundtrack for the weekend on a miniature version of the United Center organ. The hotel is converted into a hockey playground, with pep rallies, games, performances from the Second City comedy group, Chicago celebrities and world famous Chicago cuisine. They even open the event with the National Anthem, Chicago style. The first convention sold out in a month, with tickets going for $60. The next year it sold out in two weeks. This year, it sold out in three days.

*Wanna go this year? You can find three-day passes on eBay anywhere from $499 to $3,995.

Then, the Hawks started reaching out to the young people of Chicago. Wrigleyville and Lincoln Park are flooded with young professionals who are out Thursday-Saturday at bars and clubs. The Hawks created the Blackhawks Bars network. A group of over 150 bars, pubs, clubs and ale houses all across Illinois where fans could watch every Blackhawks game and mingle with fellow fans. Young people started to rally around the young team. The city fell in love with the team and there was just one thing left to do...Win.

With the groundwork already in place, the Hawks finally made it back to the playoffs in 2008-09, making it to the Conference Finals for the first time in nearly 15 years, a long time for a hockey franchise. The Blackhawks became the hottest ticket in town. The journey had reached its destination. The Hawks raised the Stanley Cup for the first time in 49 years and united the city of Chicago. Ask anyone from Chicago what the most popular team in Chicago is right now, and I guarantee you that 95% will say the Blackhawks. The party ensued in Chicago and probably won't stop until sometime in September. The Blackhawks had created magic in Chicago. Team officials predicted 500,000-1 million people would show up at the championship parade on Friday and that was a pretty liberal estimate according to some.

Two million people showed up for the parade.

Two million people. And those two million showed up because the Blackhawks reached out to them. They gave them something to believe in even before all the winning started.

Well, 525 miles away, there is another professional sports franchise that is reeling. They have trouble drawing fans. Most fans will tell you that their favorite player is someone that hasn't played in 20+ years. They lose. They lose comically. They don't have a shred of partnership with the other team that they share a parking lot with. They spend too much money on bad free agents. They make bad trades. They have lost touch with the city. But they've got these guys in the minor leagues that give the fans hope for the future.

The Royals do a fine job with their marketing, they really do. But you have to cultivate a winning environment not just around the stadium, but around the city. Get young people involved. Make Kauffman Stadium a destination for young people. Affiliate yourselves with the most popular bars in town. How cool would it be to walk in to the Brooksider, Tom Fooleries or Paddy O'Quigley's and see dozens of Royals fans watching the game, cheering and celebrating? Make the Royals cool again. Make the Royals Kansas City's team again. Sure we may not win for a few more years, but lay the foundation. Make people expect to win before the winning starts.

"The best way to create a winning environment, is to first expect it" -Marty Schottenheimer

Do that, and maybe someday we'll have a parade with two million people of our own.

Kansas City Awarded 2012 MLB All Star Game

Kauffman Stadium will host the 2012 Major League Baseball All Star Game according to a report from the Kansas City Star.

This is exciting news, especially for a city and franchise that has toiled through the last 25 years without a single playoff game since Game 7 of the 1985 World Series. But you all know that.

The most exciting part is that 2012 will likely be the beginning of a new era in Royals baseball. Prospects Mike Montgomery, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and others could very well be on the Royals roster at that point. Hell, Moustakas could be partaking in the All Star Game if his amazing minor league numbers translate to the big leagues. Zack Greinke, Billy Butler, Joakim Soria and/or Alex Gordon could very well be on the AL All Star roster in 2012. How about Billy Butler, Alex Gordon or Mike Moustakas participating in the Home Run Derby? Zack Greinke as the starter for the American League? Joakim Soria could come in for the save and clinch home field advantage for the AL in the World Series.

It is very, very exciting. Kauffman Stadium should be rocking with the noise and excitement it hasn't seen since the early 90s, especially if the Royals rebuilding period is over and they have entered into legitimate contender status. So here's to the Royals, the Glass family and those who worked to get this game to KC for what will be the first time since 1973.

Get excited KC, we've been waiting for this for a very long time.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Royals' draft trend points towards a winning trend...maybe

Last year, the Royals surprised a few people after drafting 23 year old Aaron Crow. Crow was perhaps the most MLB ready pitcher after Stephen Strasburg. This year, they pulled another fast one and drafted Christian Colon, a guy whose name was barely mentioned in the months and weeks leading up to the draft. But it was obvious that the Royals were ready to draft another college player. The Royals say that Colon was the most "MLB ready player in the draft". Experts say that he has Placido Polanco's skills with Derek Jeter's leadership. If so, then that works out pretty nicely for the Royals. Especially if Colon is in the big leagues within the next two years. Then in the 2nd round, they drafted another college player, Brett Eibner, a pitcher/outfielder from Arkansas. Once again, some saying a guy whose offense has him on the fast track to the big leagues, but he also has versatility. If he busts as an offensive player, the Royals can send him back to the minors to work on becoming a big league pitcher.

On to the 4th round, Royals drafted another college guy. Lefty Kevin Chapman from Florida. Yet another guy who is a hop, skip and jump away from the big leagues. After that, the Royals draft is flooded with guys who have played college ball. Of course, there are a few high schoolers thrown in the mix.

But make no doubt about it. The Royals think they can win. And they think they can win in the next two years. Think about it, in the next two years, and as early as Opening Day 2011, we will likely be seeing the major league debuts of Mike Moustakas, Mike Montgomery, Derrick Robinson, Aaron Crow, Edgar Osuna, Louis Coleman and Eric Hosmer. So, what did Dayton Moore do? He drafted guys that give the Royals the best chance of competing NOW.

And by now, I mean the very near future. Colon could be in the big leagues as early as next year (if they can get him signed quickly), Brett Eibner sounds like a two year project in the minors, whether or not the Royals decide to use him as a pitcher or outfielder.

The Royals didn't draft any big shockers or huge impact guys this draft. But they did draft guys who are definitely on the fast track to the big leagues. There are very few 4-5 year projects in the early rounds of this draft. There aren't any 1st-4th rounders who require that much time in the draft, with the exception of 3rd rounder high school SS Mike Antonio.

The Royals are loading their upper minors. Most of these guys will probably start off in Wilmington, putting them two or three years away. Some of them will finish the season in Northwest Arkansas and play in the Arizona Fall League.

I'm not saying get excited or buy your playoff tickets. But have faith. The front office seems to think that these guys are not the next crop of superstars, but rather those guys who will supplement the future superstars of Moustakas, Montgomery and Hosmer.

Because before Mike Moustakas hits that game tying double in the 9th inning, you need that guy who will leg out the infield hit or beat out the throw from left field on the hustle double. Because before Eric Hosmer hits the three-run homer to win the game, you need a guy to draw a walk and then single through the hole. Because before Mike Montgomery can win 20 games, you need solid bullpen guys to get the job done. Because before Aaron Crow can throw a shutout, you need that guy who goes deep into the hole at short to make the play.

Because before you can win a championship, you need a complete team.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Royals Draft Christian Colon

I'm not a college baseball expert. I never will be. I'm not a scouting expert. I never will be. I'm glad that the Royals took a shortstop. Our middle infield depth in the minor leagues is very thin. Now with the recently acquired Rey Navarro and Christian Colon in the system, the Royals have some "toolsy" shortstops (maybe I am a scouting expert if I keep throwing words like that around) in their system. Colon hit 16 homers this year, along with 16 doubles and 64 RBIs. He has history with someone involved with the Royals organization. Current third base coach Eddie Rodriguez managed Colon in the 2009 Baseball World Cup.

Don't rely on me to give you the inside scoop on this guy. I'm just here to bitch and moan about the bullpen, 25 man roster construction and bad strategy. Let the experts decide if this was a good move. I'll talk about it in three years.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Quick Thoughts on Umpires

Well this has been an interesting last 24 hours. We had Joyce-Gate in Detroit last night. And today, the Mike Estabrook circus set up shop at the K.

I'll start with Jim Joyce. At first, I was outraged. How dare an umpire take away a perfect game? The third perfect game in ONE MONTH? What a joke. Then I remembered. This man is a person. He has a family. He probably had dreams about a moment like this. Well, his moment came and it is now going to be one of the most infamous moments in Major League history. I disagree with the call. 99% of America disagrees with it. But the thing that has stood out the most in this whole ordeal is the professionalism of Armando Galarraga and personal responsibility of Jim Joyce that was on display in the last 24 hours. The fact that Jim Joyce was man enough to admit his mistake AND man enough to apologize to Galarraga and Jim Leyland just minutes after Leyland was filling Joyce's face with Marlboro breath, is a testament to the kind of human being that Jim Joyce is. Which is more than enough to make up for his blown call.

Now onto a more cowardly and ridiculous topic. Earlier today, let's just say that home plate umpire Mike Estabrook was having a little trouble discerning the strike zone. Fed up with seeing his Cy Young winning pitcher getting squeezed, catcher Jason Kendall decided to say something about it. Estabrook then fee-fi-fo-fummed in front of Kendall and made a scene in front of the plate. Well that didn't sit too well with Ned Yost, who stormed out of the dugout with fervor and rage that had escaped his predecessor. Yost gave it to Estabrook. Hard. It was like the shower scene from American History X, except with words. And Mr. Estabrook deserved it. There's a reason why players get paid more than umpires. Because people go to watch the players, not umpires. Call strikes, keep track of the outs and don't try to be a part of the game.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Royals Trade Deadline Special: Episode 1

Over the next couple of months, as trade talks start firing up, I'm going to profile 3-4 Royals at a time to estimate the value of what the Royals could get in return for several different players. Next to their name and position I will provide their salary info for the current 2010 season and for the 2011 season. Here we go...

I'll start off with the list of usual suspects, I'll leave the hard hitting, newsworthy stuff for later.

David DeJesus, RF, 2010 salary: $4.7 million, 2011: $6 million club option with $500k buyout- His name has been in the trade stew for the last three seasons. His value is lower than it has been, as he is 30 years old now. But that is really the only thing that sets DeJesus back. He does a lot of things well. Great fielder, above average bat, great with runners in scoring position. He is a bad baserunner though. He would fit in nicely with a National League team looking to add a legitimate Major League outfielder who can play all three outfield positions for a very fair price. I can see the Padres, if they are still in the heat of the NL West or Wild Card races, and maybe even Athletics come calling for DDJ. The Royals shouldn't ask the world for DeJesus, but perhaps a young, upper minors catcher and a low-level C+ pitching prospect should do the trick.
Trade Likelihood: Possible
Trade Value: Above Average

Kyle Farnsworth, RHP, 2010 salary: $4.5 million, 2011: $5.25MM club option with a $500K buyout- He's having a pretty darn good season right now. The majority of his $4.5 million salary would be paid to him by the time the Trade Deadline rolls around, so the salary really isn't the issue. The issue here is that Farnsworth has been run out of nearly every single city in Major League Baseball. The usual buyers at the deadline (Yankees, Tigers, Cubs, etc.) are all teams that Farnsworth has played for. Someone will have to be desperate enough to take him on. But a simple glance at his numbers and you see that he has been effective for the Royals this year. Potential suitors for him could be the Blue Jays, Angels, Giants and Reds, as all are having awful trouble with their bullpens. The club option for 2011 is a bit of a concern, it would have to be a team who is willing to use him as a rent-a-player. The good news is that teams are ALWAYS looking to add bullpen arms around the Trade Deadline. The return on Farnsworth won't be great, but the benefit in this is that it allows the Royals to call up a young pitcher to the bigs (Crow, Hardy, Coleman, etc.) and shed some payroll. My bet is on the Giants, as they seem to be willing to take on extra payroll if necessary.
Trade Likelihood: Very Likely
Trade Value: Average

Willie Bloomquist, UTIL, 2010 salary: $1.7 million, 2011: Unsigned- St. Willie isn't an all star. He doesn't set the world on fire. But he plays nearly every damn position on the field except for catcher. Teams usually are looking for utility players around the trade deadline. Bloomquist also provides his speed for any potential suitor. Look at what Dave Roberts did for the Red Sox in 2004. If it weren't for him stealing that base in game 4, the Red Sox probably would have lost the game. Willie will provide a decent glove at every position off the bench in the late innings. He can come in and run for slow players in the late innings. He can even convince the team's 35 year old catcher to be his teammate in the two-man bobsled team at the 2018 Winter Olympics! He is extremely affordable and versatile. Provides little to nothing at the plate, but Bloomers' value is off the bench, something that every team can use at any time of the year. He could really go anywhere. The return will be minimal, but it would allow the Royals to take a look at a player like Irving Falu or perhaps open up a roster spot for Mike Moustakas. And that is the most I will ever write about Willie Bloomquist.
Trade Likelihood: 50/50
Trade Value: Below Average

Rick Ankiel, CF, 2010 salary: $2.75 million, 2011: $6 million mutual option with $500k buyout- He's hurt now. That is the issue. It would be a high risk move for the team that would bring him in. He is supposedly about to start a rehab assignment. There are a plethora of reasons the Royals should trade him. He has a big hole in his swing. He strikes out a lot. He blocks Mitch Maier. He blocks Alex Gordon. But he does have redeeming qualities. He hits homers. He has a cannon for an arm. He is a decent fielder. If someone is interested in taking him on, then the Royals should absolutely unload him. He doesn't fit in with the "youth" movement that the Royals are allegedly taking. If he can be traded, then the value for him may be pretty decent. A Double-A or Triple-A shortstop should be sought. Once again, the Padres need outfield help.
Trade Likelihood: Doubtful
Trade Value: Average

Monday, May 24, 2010

Royals Kingdom Prospect Review 1-5

The future freaks me out...

5. Eric Hosmer, 1B/DH, 20 years old, High-A Wilmington Blue Rocks- Now we're getting into the meat and potatoes of the Royals farm system. What better place to start than with this guy? He's terrorizing the Carolina League right now with a .376/.447/.558/1.005 line. Along with those robust stats, he's only hit 2 home runs, but hold-up-wait-a-minute...he's hit 16 doubles, driven in 30 AND is 7 for 7 when stealing bases. Keith Law went as far to say that Hosmer is one of the top hitting prospects in all of baseball. The more exciting part is that Hosmer has some versatility. The Royals didn't draft him with a mindset of Hosmer being a 5-tooler, but he's showcasing a skillset that is pointing towards him actually being a toolsy player. His future may not even be at first base or as a designated hitter. He's got a cannon for an arm (he was clocked at 95 MPH in high school) and has showcased phenomenal baserunning skills as shown by his perfect stolen base percentage and four triples. He's one to watch and has shown that his rough first two years were nothing but flukes.

4. Wil Myers, C, 19 years old, Low-A Burlington Bees- Other than spelling his first name correctly, Wil Myers seemingly does everything right. Greg Schaum from told me that scouts' eyes absolutely light up when you even mention this kid's name. So far in the Midwest League, Myers has struggled making contact, but he's walking a lot and showcasing power with 6 homers and 10 doubles in 39 games so far. His defense is impressive as well, he's thrown out 39% of basestealers this season, but 11 passed balls are cause for a bit of concern. Myers is a tremendous baseball talent, and if he doesn't work out at catcher, he's athletic enough to fit in somewhere else. If he does work out at catcher, then we may have our counter attack to Mr. Joe Mauer.

3. Aaron Crow, RHP, 23 years old, AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals- A local boy who dominated college ball at Mizzou who was viewed as the most readily available starting pitching prospect in the system. He's struggled this year at AA. He's got all the stuff in the world, location has been the issue so far. He's got some work to do, but it's obvious he's feeling some pressure. He's put up a decent 4.47 ERA in 9 starts, but that is nowhere near where it needs to be if he is to stay on track for his big league debut, which many forecasted would be around the All Star Break of this year. If he can get it back on track in his next few starts, then I think we'll see him at some point in KC this year.

2. Mike Montgomery, LHP, 20 years old, AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals- A sandwich pick in the 2008 draft, Monty has blown through the minor leagues, never once posting an ERA over 2.25 at ANY LEVEL in the minors. He's spearheading the Royals' crop of pitching prospects with stats like a 1.94 career minor league ERA, 1.012 WHIP and 184 strikeouts in 199.2 career innings. He couples a long, lanky frame with an incredibly deceptive delivery and finesses hitters to death with a 91-93 MPH fastball that gets on hitters quickly. His changeup is his secondary pitch. He has great control of the pitch and it has good downward movement. He's still a year or two away, but most scouts say that all of his skills will translate incredibly well to the next level. For a kid who is still getting used to his big frame, he's only going to continue getting better.

1. Mike Moustakas, 3B, 21 years old, AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals- "Tremendous competitor and leader on the field. He's the guy you want at the plate when the game is on the line." -JJ Picollo. Quotes like that aren't a dime-a-dozen. Moustakas originally was number two on this list when I started it two weeks ago, but now he's simply forced his way into the top spot on my list. His .395/.482/.816/1.298 line is absolutely absurd on any level. He's hit 12 homers already this year. I'm going to keep this one short, because Moustakas is something special. He really is. There are plenty of videos online of this guy mashing the ball in AA. He's got a sweet stroke and will probably be saying so long to Arkansas in the near future and may be saying hello to Omaha...or possibly even Kansas City before the 2010 season is over.

Roads? Where we're going, we don't need......roads.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Royals Kingdom Prospect Review 6-10

The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades...

10. John Lamb, LHP, 19 years old, Low-A Burlington Bees- Once viewed as a legitimate hitting prospect, Lamb has been mentioned as one of the best young left handed arms in all of minor league baseball. He's drawn early comparisons to Tom Glavine and has an outstanding changeup that is causing Midwest Leaguers fits in 2010 as Lamb is posting a miniscule 1.58 ERA in Burlington. He suffered an unfortunate injury in 2008 when he broke his elbow in a car accident, but he's rebounded nicely and there seem to be no injury concerns with Mr. Lamb. He doesn't blow batters away, his fastball tops out at 92 MPH, but his control and quality of stuff is what is going to get him to Kansas City. Still several years away, he's going to be fun to watch as he ascends through the Royals minor league ranks.

9. Louis Coleman, RHP, 24 years old, AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals- I've heard some people say that he's the next big thing, as far as set up men go. I've also heard he has limited upside. But my gut is telling me that this guy is the closest prospect we have to the big leagues after Blake Wood. He's dazzling in Northwest Arkansas. His WHIP is at an unheard of 0.811. He's only walked 7 batters in 24.1 innings and has struck out 20 batters. Another guy who is likely to get a shot at a September call up and will undoubtedly be competing for a spot in the bullpen come February 2011. He's a guy that you should keep an eye on, as the Royals bullpen future is looking pretty impressive. A pleasant thought after seeing the kind of disaster that is currently occupying the area beyond the right field wall in Kauffman Stadium...

8. Noel Arguelles, LHP, 20 years old, Whereabouts Unknown- One of the biggest international free agents this past offseason, the Royals made a big splash in the international market landing Arguelles and signing him to a 5 year deal. Not much is known about Arguelles as he is yet to pitch a professional inning. There were injury concerns as he had been pitching for 18 consecutive months before signing with the Royals, which is probably the reason why he has been inactive for some time. What is known about Arguelles is that he has fantastic stuff and outstanding control. The Cuban defector should show up soon in the Royals minor leagues, likely at Northwest Arkansas or Wilmington. He's a good candidate to rocket through the minor league system. That is if he can stay healthy...

7. David Lough, OF, 24 years old, AAA Omaha Royals- I have him high on this list simply because he's a hitter. But his stock is quickly dropping. He bat .325 last year in AA and High-A, but his plate discipline is an issue. He doesn't walk enough to sustain a lengthy stay in the top 10. He's got tremendous potential when it comes to handling the bat, but as far as plate discipline goes, he's got a lot of work to do. But time is running out on the 24 year old. He isn't blowing many people away this year in Omaha, posting a meager .273/.302/.377/.679 line. If he doesn't turn it up soon, he'll be falling into Chris Lubanski status. The only reason he is so high on this list is due to the fact that he is older and perhaps more ready for the big leagues than most on this list. But as I said before, if his current trend continues, it could be a not-so-happy ending for David Lough.

6. Tim Melville, RHP, 20 years, High-A Wilmington Blue Rocks- Another guy who is on the rocks. He's got worlds of potential, but he's struggling to put it all together in Advanced A-ball Wilmington this year, with an 8.64 ERA in 33.1 innings pitched. He's got the benefit of the doubt, as he is still at the age where many pitchers are trying to find an identity, but the Royals have a lot of money invested in him. They took him in the 4th round of the 2008 draft and gave him first round money. The St. Louis native has some work to do, but Royals fans should take comfort in the fact that this kid has some seriously good stuff and a tremendous work ethic. I am confident he'll get everything back on the right track. Look for a big second half turnaround from Tim. I'm rooting for him. And if this year is a disaster for him, hopefully he realizes he's still very, very young and has plenty of time to straighten it out.

Things are goin' great, and they're only gettin' better...