Edited by SoxScout, 07 March 2010 - 02:13 PM.
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Royals 2009-10 Offseason
Posted 08 March 2010 - 03:48 PM
Here's Dick Kaegel's report on MLB.com. An excerpt:
Gordon was injured on a headfirst slide as he was thrown out attempting to steal second base in Saturday's third Cactus League game against the Texas Rangers. Although the injury came in the second inning, Gordon played five innings as scheduled.
Trey Hillman was obviously unhappy about Gordon's decision to slide headfirst, even though a lot of players do so on steal attempts and there's some evidence suggesting that players who slide head-first arrive at the base a split-second ahead of those who lead with their feet. Pete Grathoff has the details in the KC Star.
Edit: In other news, Luke Hochevar looked good in the "B" game today, and Mike Aviles got three at-bats and apparently looked healthy.
Link. (Sorry, can't find boxscores for "B" games.)
Edited by maufman, 08 March 2010 - 05:03 PM.
Posted 10 March 2010 - 12:00 PM
This article details the early spring struggles of Robinson Tejeda and Kyle Davies.
"This is nothing new for me," Tejeda said. "I've been walking people for my whole career. I'm not going to let this get to me, I'm just going to think positive next time and try not to walk anybody."
"I've got to work on getting better at not falling behind so much," he said. "I fell behind on three, four or five guys. I was 3-0 on two guys, and that can't happen after almost a hundred starts in the big leagues."
Because of his starting history with the Braves and the Royals, Davies has the advantage over Tejeda in number of Major League starts with 99. But Tejeda, before coming to the Royals, was primarily a starter for the Phillies and Rangers and has 53 on his resume.
Davies' primary drawback has been struggling with throwing effective strikes with his fastball.
"Last year, I had a really bad stretch in the middle of the year," he said. "But I was good at the beginning and good at the end. It was all about consistency and command for me, that's all it is. It's never been about stuff. If I had Greinke's command, I'd have his stats."
Or, Davies added, at least something closer to what Greinke has attained.
Hillman will only confirm that Greinke and Meche are in the rotation, but realistically, Luke Hochevar is out of options and will get a rotation spot, whether he deserves it or not. That leaves Tejeda, Davies, Bannister, and maybe Farnsworth fighting for the last two spots. In any sane-thinking organization with these options, Banny would be assured of a rotation spot. The Royals' aren't a sane thinking organization, but with the struggles of Tejeda and Davies, it's hard to imagine the Royals starting the season with both men in the rotation. At a minimum, Banny's spot looks more secure than it did two weeks ago.
Tejeda and Davies are both out of options, so whoever is the odd man out of the rotation will end up in the bullpen. Tejeda's past success in the bullpen, coupled with Davies' lack of experience pitching in relief, probably gives Davies the inside track on that last rotation spot-- which is too bad, because Davies has rather conclusively proved he sucks, whereas Tejeda has shown flashes of potential, notwithstanding his control problems.
Posted 11 March 2010 - 01:52 PM
My response: The Royals have four prospects??
Here's a quick look at the four, in alphabetical order:
Dan Duffy. Duffy is a lefty who posted a 2.98 ERA and a 125/41 K/BB ratio in 126 2/3 innings (24 starts) in Wilmington (High-A). A third-round pick out of high school in 2007, Duffy turned 21 in December. Baseball Prospectus rates Duffy the Royals' 6th-best prospect, which is where Baseball America had him rated a year ago. (I'm not a BA subscriber, so I don't have their current-year rankings.)
David Lough. Lough was a football prospect who slid to the 11th round coming out of school due to signability concerns. He enjoyed a mini-breakout in 2009, posting a 866 OPS in 503 PAs, divided about evenly between Wilmington (High-A) and Bentonville (AA). Trouble is, he was old for his level (23), so he'll need to take another step forward to stay on everyone's radar. He was actually better in AA than in High-A, so BP's guess that Lough will start 2010 in Omaha makes sense. Most scouts aren't high on Lough, but given the Royals' weak outfield, Lough should get the chance to reach whatever potential he has.
Mike Moustakas. Scouts still rave about him, but a 250/297/421 line at High-A isn't what the Royals hoped to see when they took Moustakas with the 2nd overall pick in 2007. He had 90 Ks versus 32 BBs in 530 PAs, and even scouts are questioning his free-swinging ways. Also, Moustakas has been a bust defensively; drafted as a shortstop, he was quickly moved to third base, and now there are questions whether he can stick there. Despite these problems, BP expects the Royals to start Moustakas in AA. I don't think it's a bad idea-- a humbling season might not be the worst thing for Moustakas. The ST invite might be the start of this process-- even Dayton Moore can't expect a guy with a sub-300 OBP in the low minors to do anything against major-league pitching except embarrass himself.
Derrick Robinson. This one is hard to figure. At age 20 in 2008, Robinson posted a 245/316/322 line in High-A. He repeated the level in 2009, and nearly replicated the prior year's performance (239/290/324). Last winter, BA said Robinson was the best athlete in the Royals' system, but Robinson has yet to turn that athleticism into results-- even in the field, where he's no more than passable as a corner outfielder. The one thing Robinson does is steal bases-- 60+ each of the past two years. That speed might be enough to get him picked in next winter's Rule 5 draft and stashed on someone's bench as a pinch runner, so perhaps Moore is hoping Robinson will shine so he can swing a trade.
The Royals sent all four of these guys to minor-league camp today, along with three less notable names. The consensus is Lough made the best showing of the four.
Posted 11 March 2010 - 01:55 PM
Here's the Royals' all-decade team for the '00s. It wasn't a good decade.
C John Buck
1B Mike Sweeney
2B Mark Grudzielanek
SS Angel Berroa
3B Joe Randa
OF David DeJesus
OF Carlos Beltran
OF Jermaine Dye
DH Billy Butler
SP Zack Greinke
SP Gil Meche
SP Jeff Suppan
SP Paul Byrd
SP Brian Bannister
SU Jeremy Affeldt
CL Joakim Soria
MGR Tony Pena
Posted 15 March 2010 - 11:39 AM
Not everything Trey Hillman is bad, though. Hillman announced yesterday that Brian Bannister would join shoo-ins Zack Greinke, Gil Meche, and Luke Hochevar in the Opening Day rotation. (Hochevar was a shoo-in because he's out of options.) Hillman still appears to be considering Kyle Farnsworth a full-fledged candidate for the fifth rotation spot, along with presumed contenders Kyle Davies and Robinson Tejeda. (All three have been hideous in limited action this spring.) Hillman also confirmed the Royals intend to break camp with 12 pitchers, so there should be room for Davies and Tejeda in the bullpen (both are out of options) if Farnsworth wins the 5th rotation spot. Fangraphs has a nice write-up on the competition between Davies and Tejeda; they still don't consider Farnsworth a serious contender.
Looking at spring stats, which will factor in Hillman's decisions more than they should, it seems Roman Colon has put any doubt about his roster status to rest, and may get a chance to pitch the 8th inning again (ugh). Meanwhile, Matt Herges appears to be pitching himself out of any chance to make the Opening Day roster; I don't know if his minor-league contract permits Herges to demand his release if he doesn't make the club, or if there's a gentlemen's agreement to the same effect.
Edit: The Hardball Times posted its "Five Questions" Royals preview today; as always, it's worth reading.
Second Edit: Fangraphs also published their organizational ranking of the Royals. The article doesn't expressly say so, but it appears Fangraphs rates the Royals 29th, only ahead of the Astros.
Edited by maufman, 15 March 2010 - 01:49 PM.
Posted 17 March 2010 - 04:22 PM
In other news, the KC Star's Bob Dutton breaks down the competition between four LHPs for one or two bullpen spots. Unsurprisingly, Edgar Osuna has the inside track. KC is going split-squad on Sunday, and Osuna is slated to start the "B" game. Dutton considers Osuna a dark horse for the rotation, but I haven't heard that anywhere else.
Dutton is pretty close to the FO, so you wonder if he's writing a story that's been fed to him. His evaluation of the four LHPs fits nicely with the FO's focus on roster flexibility: Osuna on top (Rule 5-- stays on 25-man or he's gone), followed by Dusty Hughes (on 40-man roster, but with options), then Bruce Chen (iirc, on 60-day DL-- probably out of options), and lastly John Parrish (minor-league contract, figured to start in AAA anyway). Alex Gordon's injury will only heighten Dayton Moore's roster obsession; he needs to find a way to keep Josh Fields, at least for a while.
Six of the seven spots in the bullpen are spoken for: Soria, Cruz, Farnsworth, Colon, Osuna, and Tejeda/Davies (whoever doesn't crack the rotation). Moore does have one 40-man roster spot to play with (Anthony Lerew is a goner), so he could keep Chen and option Hughes to Omaha. I would like to see the last spot go to Bryan Bullington, but I haven't read anything suggesting he has a realistic shot to make the Opening Day roster.
The starting rotation is set, except for that battle for the 5th spot: Greinke, Meche, Hochevar, Bannister, Tejeda/Davies
Then there's the 13 position players
OF- Podsednik, Ankiel, DeJesus
Bench- B.Pena, Callaspo, Fields, Bloomquist
Mike Aviles will start on the DL, plus he has options. Fields and Callaspo will split time at 3B, with Fields probably getting a majority of the early reps so Moore can figure out if he's worth keeping. If Gordon starts the season on the DL, Kila Ka'aihue would be the logical choice for that last roster spot.
Edited by maufman, 17 March 2010 - 05:05 PM.
Posted 20 March 2010 - 01:38 PM
The Royals assigned Dyson to AAA (Omaha) yesterday. Maybe he has a future in The Show after all; it's not like there's an abundance of talent percolating up from the low minors that kept Dayton Moore from sending Dyson back to Double-A.
I presume Omaha's Opening Day OF will be Dyson in left, Brian Anderson in center and Jordan Parraz in right. Anderson is raking in Spring Training, but with Mitch Maier out of options and also playing well, Anderson will be the odd man out in KC if everyone's healthy.
Posted 04 April 2010 - 10:15 PM
Thanks to SoxScout for posting the Dan Duffy story. I don't think this is necessarily a Greinke-type story. Duffy is just moving up to AA this season, and life as a minor-league player is hardly a bed of roses. It may well be that Duffy doesn't love the game and is simply walking away. Coverage from MLB.com.
Duffy was invited to the Major League camp as a non-roster player to gain experience in the workouts. He did not pitch in any Cactus League games and was shut down early in March because of stiffness in his left elbow and wasn't likely to pitch for Double-A Northwest Arkansas until May.
But Picollo indicated that medical issues were not the reason for Duffy's decision. "It's disappointing," Picollo said. "He just felt like he needed some time away from the game. We're supportive of it and we've got to just work with him through this."
In other news, Kyle Davies beat out Robinson Tejeda and Kyle Farnsworth for the final spot in the starting rotation. Davies will get a regular turn in the rotation to start the season as Gil Meche will start on the DL. The club won't need a 5th starter until April 12th, and Meche is expected to be ready by then. (Scroll down on the Aviles story linked below for the latest on Meche.)
With Alex Gordon and Josh Fields both hurt, Willie Bloomquist will start at third base on Opening Day, with Alberto Callaspo likely to see playing time there as well (though he's dealing with a minor side injury). Mike Aviles made the 25-man roster; it's unclear whether he'll see time at shortstop, second base, or both positions. In the long run, of course, the hope is he can regain his 2008 form and push Yuniesky Betancourt permanently to the bench.
The Royals acquired middle reliever Luis Mendoza from the Rangers.
Rule 5 pick Edgar Osuna has been a disappointment. The Royals offered him back to the Braves, but Atlanta decided his rights weren't worth 25 grand.
Brian Anderson, the former Sox farmhand and major-league reserve outfielder, is going to rookie ball to try his hand at pitching. This makes the Jarrod Dyson move make more sense; if the Royals need to call up an OF because of a short DL stint, Dyson could serve as a reserve OF and pinch runner, with Mitch Maier moving into the everyday lineup. (In case of a serious injury, I presume the Royals would give Jordan Parraz an extended audition, assuming he's hitting reasonably well at Omaha when the opening arises.)
Here is your Opening Day 25-man roster. The final piece fell in place today, as non-roster invitee John Parrish secured the final spot in the bullpen; as expected, veteran minor leaguer Anthony Lerew got DFA'd.
OF-Podsednik, Ankiel, DeJesus
Bench-Aviles, Callaspo, Miers, B.Pena
SP: Greinke, Bannister, Hochevar, Davies
RP: Soria, Colon, Cruz, Farnsworth, Hughes, Mendoza, Parrish, Tejeda
Dusty Hughes snuck up on me. He's a dogshit minor-league veteran who will be 28 in June; his sole virtue is his left-handedness. He had never made The Show until his September call-up last season. With options remaining, I figured Hughes was headed back to Omaha, where he might be able to pitch himself into a major-league job with a solid showing. It's not clear which of Hughes or Parrish (the other lefty in the pen) owes his 25-man roster spot to Edgar Osuna's fizzle.
Edited by maufman, 04 April 2010 - 10:26 PM.
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