Friday, April 23, 2010

Welcome back Moose and the Players of the Week !

Players of the Week (Apr 18-24)
Omaha Royals 3-4 (7-10 4 GB)
Buck Coats - The AAAA type outfielder had a decent week hitting .353 with a couple doubles.

Bruce Chen - Chen had a solid outing before getting bumped up to the KC bullpen starting on the 20th and going 8 innings striking out eight and giving up 5 hits and 1 walk while not allowing a run.

Northwest Arkansas Naturals 4-2 (9-6 2 GB)
Edgar Osuna - Osuna the Rule 5 from the Braves pitched a solid game Thursday going 7 Innings giving up only 5 hits while walking 1 and striking out 6. Osuna(2-1) has yet to give up an earned run in his 17 Innings of work.

Johnny Giavotella - Great week by Little Italy getting a hit in all six games and earning multiple hits in five of the six games. Gio is definitely going to have to continue knocking the ball around as his defense might be worse than Callaspo's. Week stats .480/.536/.560

Wilmington Blue Rocks 4-3 (8-8 2 GB)
Buddy Baumann - Lefty from Missouri State continued his hot hand this week pitching 5.1 Innings while striking out 10 and letting five reach(2 walks 3hits). If he continues pitching like this he should move up to Arkansas by mid season. Nice Stat 16.03 K/9

Eric Hosmer - Yowza the Hos just keeps on hitting and hitting going 11 for 24 this week (.458) and adding some pop to it which he hadn't been doing previously with his first Home Run and a couple doubles. .458/.552/.667 I am a proponent of letting Hos play in Wilmington for nearly all of the season but if he continues this hitting for another month he might force their hand to move him to Arkansas.

Burlington Bees
John Lamb - Lamb gave up 1 earned run over 9.1 innings while striking out 12 over that same period of time. Seven hits and four walks during his last two outings for the Bees.

Wil Myers - No Bee offensive player had the type of breakout weeks that some of the others did but it does seem that Myers is making some good adjustments to full season ball. Week stats .304/.360/.522
April in Burlington
Moustakas '08 84 abs .190/.253/.226 1 HR 7-11 BB-K
Hosmer '09 63 abs .222/.342/.286 4-2b 0 Hr 12-21 BB-K
Myers '10 62 abs .242/.304/.403 2-2b 1-3b 2 HR 5-16 BB-K

It has been nice to see the higher rated prospects in the system get off to very good starts. Montgomery and Hosmer have had excellent starts while Mike Moustakas has jumped out with a terrific first three games in Arkansas. Hopefully these guys all keep it up while a few others emerge, giving us something to watch instead of Kansas City.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Players that could be on the move

Michael Montgomery
- Not much needs to be said about this one Monty has dominated in his first three High A starts in 2010 after fairing very well there in '09.
Stats thru 12 High A starts 70 IP 44 H 16 BB 13 ER 73 K's

Buddy Baumann- Baumann was Missouri Valley pitcher of the year in 2009 and as a college pitcher might be too advanced for the hitters at High A where he is making them look silly at the moment. Baumann could be a candidate to move to AA once Mendoza or any other KC BP flunky is DFA'd and rosters start to shuffle. Probably too early to move him up now but if he continues his pace he will need a better challenge.
Stats 2010 8.1 IP 6 H 1 ER 15 K 2 BB that's 16.2 K/9

Frederico Casteneda - Casteneda is dominating AA currently in his second trip in the league. Last season he bounced his K/9 up to 9.17 when he was moved to the pen and it seems he is carrying that over to 2010. There isn't much room left in the Omaha bullpen but Casteneda like Baumann a level below could move once the hacks are released, traded or thrown into space.
Stats in 2010 9.2 IP 4 H 11 K 1 BB 0 ER

Kila Ka'aihue - It will never happen but Kila deserves to move on to KC more than any player I can ever remember. Aviles in '08 was hackin like crazy but had really never done it prior while Kila now has proved to be an on base machine the last three seasons while hitting HRs in '08 and he appears to be in that kind of mood this season. If he continues this pace and isn't called up by June the fanbase may start to revolt.
Stats in '08 .314/.458/.629 37 HR 106 BB
Stats in '09 .252/.392/.433 17 HR 102 BB
Stats in '10 .325/.491/.700 4 HR 13 BB 11 Games

Sam Runion - It might be time for the 2nd round '08 pick to hang'em up. I would never tell someone to quit but it just isn't working out for Runion. He lacks control and a solid pitch that can he can count on to get anyone out. It's only getting worse for Sam and despite a fanbase that roots him on he just can't seem to get it done.
Appearances in 2010
Apr 10 1 IP 1 H 3 BB 1 K 2 R 1 ER
Apr 13 1 BF 1 BB - Walked in the game winning run the only batter he faced.
Apr 14 1 IP 3 H 1 K 2 ER
Apr 18 2 IP 6 H 1 BB 1k 6 R 4 ER

Castaneda and Montgomery both won their league honors for Pitcher of the Week

Eric Hosmer has an 11 Game hitting streak stats .447/.533/.658 7-4 BB/So 1 HR 2-3b 1-2b
Derrick Robinson's 8 Game hitting streak .382/.432/.588 3-7 BB/So 3-3b 1-2b 5 SB

Friday, April 16, 2010

Minor League Players of the Week and Blowing up the Bullpen

I get the feeling anyday now that GMDM is going to blowup the KC bullpen. First off Roman Colon was DFA'd for Josh Rupe, rumors of the Royals interested in trading Juan Cruz and the lack of performance compared to the qualified candidates in Omaha should lead to some more movement very soon. Look for Mendoza to be the next to be moved with a Juan Cruz trade and possibly a Dusty Hughes swap with a Omaha Royal arm.

Minor League Performers of the Week (Apr 11-17)
Omaha Royals 3-4
Kila Ka'aihue 6-20 .300 2 Hr 2-2b 5 BB .444 obp .800 slg - Kila continues to prove why he should be on KCs roster as opposed to Omaha's.
Bryan Bullington 10 IP 9 Ks 0 Bb 6 H 2 r 1 ER - I believe Bullington will earn a spot in the KC bullpen as soon as there is room.
Disco Hayes was activated from the taxi squad

Northwest Arkansas Naturals 3-3
Derrick Robinson 11-24 .458 2-3b 1-2b 2 bb 5 SB 1 CS - Robinson is showing his adjustment in his lefthanded stance is working out getting all but one hit from the left side. He currently has a 14% line drive rate which would be a career high.
Louis Coleman 4.2 IP 2 H 1 ER 2 K 1 BB - No Natural pitcher jumped off the stat sheet so I took someone that I hope can challenge for a bullpen role by years end.
Mike Moustakas could be activated sometime this week.

Wilmington Blue Rocks 4-2
Eric Hosmer 9-21 .429 4 bb 4 Rbi - The Hos isn't hitting for a ton of power but at least he is hitting. The power will come as long as he consistently makes contact and all signs show he is going to do that all season long.
Mike Montgomery 1-0 7 IP 2 H 1 ER 13 K 0 BB- Montgomery put on an absolute clinic against the Kinston Indians taking a perfect game into the 7th while setting a career high in strikeouts. Montgomery will probably be in Arkansas by May sometime if he continues pitching the way he has his first two starts.

Burlington Bees 2-5
Gerard Hall 7-24 5-2b 6 BB 3 SB - Hall has been consistent reaching base in all but one Burlington game while showing decent gap to gap pop and plenty of speed.
John Lamb - 4.2 IP 6 K 2 BB 1 H 0 R - Nice bounceback by the #1 prospect on the Bees roster

Sunday Scheduled Pitchers
Omaha Royals - Gaby Hernandez
NW Arkansas Naturals - Everett Teaford
Wilmington Blue Rocks - Unknown
Burlington Bees - John Lamb

Next Video April 24 Omaha Royals

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Important day for Royal minor leaguers

It's just one start but Tim Melville's start on Wednesday against the Kinston Indians had to help his psyche quite a bit. He bounced back with 5 Innings of one hit ball while striking out 8 against the punchless Indians. As good as Montgomery was the night before that start by Melville might have been a more important start for the Royals minor league system. With the hiatus of Duffy and unknown arm injury to Noel Arguelles the KC "Deep" minor league pitching staff wasn't looking so hot after Melville's 2/3 IP 5 R performance in his first start. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come.

Kelvin Herrera gave up a HR in the first inning of his start on Wednesday. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal but considering Herrera had pitched the last 2 seasons and first 4 innings of this season without give up one it's kind of a big deal. That's 130 Innings in between Home Runs! Herrera got the win for the Bees going 5 Innings giving up 6 hits, walking 2 while striking out 6 and giving up just the two runs on the Home run in the first inning. The win broke a four game losing streak for the Bees and also included Wil Myers first HR in full season ball.


Wil Myers hit his 1st HR for the Bees Wed Apr 14

Hilton Richardson hit his 1st HR for the Bees Thur Apr 15

Buddy Baumann 1st Minor league Sv Wed Apr 14

Thru Apr 15 Royals Minor League HR Leaders
Kila Ka'aihue (3) Omaha Royals
Joey Lewis (2) Burlington Bees
Wilson Betemit (2) Omaha Royals

Thru Apr 15 Royals Minor League K Leaders
Michael Montgomery 19 Ks Wilmington Blue Rocks 12 IP
Kelvin Herrera 12 Ks Burlington Bees 9 IP
Bruce Chen 12 Ks Omaha Royals 12.2 IP

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

JJ Cooper tweets beautiful things about Mike Montgomery

1st Inning -Royals Montgomery 13 pitch first touched 95 mph struck out all 3

2nd Inning - 10 pitch 2nd for Montgomery one more k with a nasty change 6 up 6 down

3rd Inning - 10 pitch perfect third for Montgomery 2 more k's putting on a pitching clinic

4th Inning - 4 IP 12 batters for Montgomery one ball squared up by kinston

5th Inning - Royals Montgomery fans side in fifth 15 pitches touched 95 2 times in inning but got k's on off-speed

7th Inning - Montgomery loses perfect game in seventh on infield hit. Royals Montgomery gives up 2 hits including RBI 2b but fans 2 more (now 11) for game 86 pitches after 7 ip

Final Totals for Montgomery 86 pitches 23 batters faced 7 IP 13 strikeouts 0 Walks 5 groundouts 2 flyouts. Impressive doesn't quite say it.

Also said this about Hosmer when I asked how he looked : good swings against a lefty lined a 1b has done good job recognizing bb

Monday, April 12, 2010

Speedy speedy Centerfielders

If there is one thing the KC Front office likes it is speedsters. Whether it is Scott Podsednik or Joey Gathright down to Jarrod Dyson and Hilton Richardson the Royals under the Dayton Moore regime love them some speedsters and where do those guys play? Centerfield of course, so lets take a look at what KCs system has to offer currently at that position.

Omaha Royals
David Lough- Lough is probably the least "speedy" of the group but offers the best overall tool set. While he ultimately is the best overall prospect of all the players listed in this group he won't get all the exposure that he should in Center field when Dyson becomes healthy. I think he can be an above average defensive centerfielder as well as hit for a decent average with some average pop. He needs to become more patient at the plate and control the strike zone better though. AAA will be a good test for him as he'll see more breaking pitches and plenty of junk balling lefties. He has had a lot more trouble making contact than I anticipated but that could be due to his impatience at the plate, it's definitely not for a lack of bat speed. He's off to nice start versus lefties going 4 for 10 with a double and his only walk.
Stats thru April 12 .250/.280/.417 1 HR 1-7 BB/So

Omaha Royals
Jarrod Dyson on the DL

Omaha Royals
Jose Duarte- Another speedster Duarte has previously been profiled as having the best arm in the Royals minor league system and being the best outfielder in the system. Duarte is nothing more than minor league filler despite being an excellent defensive outfielder as he has little pop with the bat. Actually on a deep team with a solid 9 he could be a good pinch runner/defensive substitute but in and on the KC roster he is nothing more than a 4th outfielder in the minors.
Stats thru Apr 12 .250/.250/.250 0-2 BB/So

Northwest Arkansas Naturals
Derrick Robinson- Robinson has parlayed his late season success in '09 to a decent start in 2010. Everyone knows about Robinson's blazing speed but he also has decent plate discipline. He changed his batting stance last season and that success is carrying over this season with 4 extra base hits out of his first 7 hits. I'm not a believer in Robinson but hopefully he'll prove me and a few others wrong. His speed doesn't fully translate onto the base paths as he as almost as good at getting picked off as he is at stealing. This season will be interesting as Dyson has seemed to squeak ahead of Robinson with the FO but a turn around season by Derrick might change things for him.
Stats thru Apr 12 .333/.391/.619 2-2b 2-3b 2-3 BB/So 2 Sb 2 picked off

Wilmington Blue Rocks
Patrick Norris- Not much needs to be said about Patrick Norris so far. He is a definite speedster but looks to be completely overwhelmed at High A. He is another Royals speedster as evident with his 45 stolen bases at single A ball last season but like the others besides Lough lacks any true pop. 12 strikeouts in 23 abs with 3 singles isn't a good sign for Norris.
Stats thru Apr 12 23 ABs .130/.200/.130 2-12 BB/So 1 SB

Burlington Bees
Hilton Richardson- Richardson like Lough could be more than just a one trick pony that Norris, Duarte, Dyson and Robinson might be. Richardson has a thick body with plenty of muscle but I don't like his crouching hitting approach. He is a good bunter which will earn him alot of praise in the FO but he should have some more pop in that bat than his line drive swing allows. He does have a patient approach at the plate and works the count well but I think long term he is going to have to modify his stance and swing.
Stats thru Apr 12 .250/.348/.250 3-5 BB/So 2 SB

Overall this position is actually somewhat a position of strength for the Royals. While there are quite a few light hitters here there are also a couple 4th OF types and pinch runners. I think Lough is the only legit starter in this group unless Richardson can modify his stance to take advantage of his strength. Dyson and Robinson could turn into 4th OF options though which considering the overall weakness of positional players in the system isn't half bad.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Burlington Bees breakdown from 4-10

I made the 5 hour road trip from Omaha to Burlington IA for the game Saturday and for those of you who enjoy baseball at it's purist form you couldn't find a more quaint and inviting atmosphere. It has everything a minor league baseball fan needs small old community, sweet people and a nice passionate baseball atmosphere.

As for the performers the Bees played exactly as one would expect with the age and experience of the players involved.

Hilton Richardson appears to have the best body of all the Bees strong, thick and and athletic with wide enough shoulders to continue to develop. Richardson's bunt and speed approach might stunt the power that could be inside him though. Also the flat plane of his swing could stop him from maximizing on that possible power. He wasn't tested much in the field and he was allowed to steal in the 9th so it was difficult to tell if his speed was translating on the base paths and in the field.
Video of Richardson

Wil Myers looks like the real deal even in a off night. He has a quick bat that generates plenty of power as evident in his second AB double to right center. He was a little impatient jumping on the first pitch he saw a couple times during the game. I didn't get to see him catch as he was the DH but he did look to have good speed on the base paths. Myers like Richardson has a frame that could add plenty of muscle and fill out.
Video of Myers

Tyler Sample creates a very good plane on his fastball delivering on a nice downward angle keeping the ball low in the zone. He sat 88-91 according to the guns that Bees/Bandits players charting had. His curveball drew a few strikes and he tossed a couple change ups in that 83 mph range. He started to lose the strikezone in the 3rd inning thanks to what I consider was some inconsistent umpiring. Samples release point combined with some added velocity to be a good combination. He is a very big kid who could add alot of muscle and weight to his frame.
Video of Sample

Carlo Testa was impressive with his plate approach and power driving a line shot the opposite way for a HR. He is older for that level though and should be able to dominate. Fernando Cruz struggled putting good contact together but did draw a walk and worked the count well. He also flashed his strong arm at third base. Sam Runion struggled again as he just couldn't find the strikezone. The Royals must have gave up on him as a starter as he came out of the pen for the 9th. Runion was touching 91 but with little control out of a 3/4 arm angle.

Overall if you are a old school baseball fan then you can't beat Burlington. Also Matt Mitchell and Kelvin Herrera were charting pitches. The Bandits charters and Mitchell were comparing whose teammates could throw the hardest and Mitchell didn't hesitate to say Herrera. He said Kelvin was touching 95 the prior game while the Bandit player talked about how easily Shelby Miller can touch mid 90's.

Studs of the Week
Eric Hosmer- The Hos jumped out to an amazing start hitting .500 in the first four games of the season. 8-16 2 3b 1 2b 2-2 Bb/So 1 Sb

Mike Montgomery- Montgomery probably won't make it through May in Wilmington if his first start is any indication. 5 IP 2 h 6-1 So-Bb 1 R 0 ER

Duds of the Week
Johnny Giavotella- Fan favorite Johnny G struggled in his first week in AA going 2-12 with 1 bb 1 so and a 2b while also committing and error in the field.

Tim Melville - Really no bigger dud this week than Melville who couldn't complete an inning of work in his first High A start. Adam Foster tweeted about his control problems during spring training but who knew it could be this bad. Just one start but something to definitely keep an eye on.
2/3 IP 5 H 3 BB 0 Ks 1 HR

Probables Monday
Omaha Bryan Bullington vs. Chase Wright Nashville Sounds (Brewers)
NW Arkansas Blake Johnson vs Jeremy Johnson Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros)
Tues Aaron Crow
Wilmington Blue Rocks Piggyback Jairo Cuevas/Manauris Baez vs Kinston Indians Joe Mahalic
Burlington Bees Unknown

Next Up : More Omaha action

John Lamb and Wil Myers playin catch

Quad City coaches with the minor league Bible
Baseball America Prospect Handbook

Carlo Testa at the plate

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Highlight Omaha Royals v Memphis 4-8

The Omaha Royals looked pretty good in their opening game of the season. Kila Ka'aihue had 2 hits including his first Homerun while Jordan Parraz also homered. Two players made their rookie debuts with Omaha, David Lough and Blake Wood. Lough went 2 for 5 with a couple singles while playing a solid centerfield and Wood went one and two thirds giving up one run while striking out two. Wood was hitting 95 according to the stadium gun.
Jordan Parraz pictured

Here is some of the action via video
Kila HR to right
Kila Single in the 1st inning
Jordan Parraz HR to left
David Lough single
Parraz line out
Blake Wood saws off a bat

Overall Parraz hit the ball hard three times, Lough showed off his speed in center and on the base paths running thru a stop sign and scoring on a Scott Thorman double and Wood was throwing good heat.

Other minor league games Montgomery pitched well in a 4-1 Wilmington loss while Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon each had a hit and a walk. John Lamb was inconsistent in his debut in Burlington striking out 5 over 4 innings but also walking 4 and giving up 3 hits and 1 ER while taking the loss in the Bees hope opener 4-0. Aaron Crow worked hard over 4 and 2/3 in his minor league debut giving up 4 hits 3 walks and striking out 2while allowing a unearned run in a 5-1 Naturals win. Crow threw 80 pitches in that span so he'll need to work on getting his workload down in his next start.

Mike Montgomery 5 IP 2 H 1 R 0 ER 6 So 1 BB
Johnny Giavotella 1-3 2b, BB
Wil Myers 0-4 2ks
Manuel Pina 2-3 HR, BB
Carlo Testa 2-3 1 2b 1 3b, Bb
Hilton Richardson 2-3 bb

Pitching tonight
Omaha Royals Phil Humber
NW Arkansas Mario Santiago
Wilmington Blue Rocks Tim Melville
Burlington Bees Kelvin Herrera

Up Next: I'm heading to Burlington Saturday for the April 10 game versus Quad City. Good chance I'll see Tyler Sample in that third start. I'll also have video of Wil Myers and crew.

David Lough Prior to the game

Again Lough prior to the game

Disco with a big grin

Monday, April 5, 2010

Royals Minor League Rosters set Here is the best of

Best Rotation- Wilmington Blue Rocks- Not really close since Mike Montgomery started in Wilmington. Montgomery, Noel Arguelles, Tim Melville and Chris Dwyer makeup a top notch minor league rotation one that Ben Badler of Baseball America tweeted to me might be the best in the minors. Honorable Mention- Burlington Bees- John Lamb, Tyler Sample, Kelvin Herrera and Matt Mitchell make up a solid foursome all in the Top 30 of the BA list of Royals prospects.
I could see alot of quick moves with those rotations. Herrera has done well in Burlington in his previous four starts as has Montgomery. Look for Montgomery to move up to Arkansas sometime in June or July if Crow would move up and Herrera, Lamb or Mitchell to follow suit to Wilmington with Keaton Hayenga joining the Burlington party. Arguelles is a late scratch with arm soreness but even with that I'll take Wilmingtons rotation over Burlingtons.

Best Bullpen- Omaha Royals- This AAA bullpen is probably better than Kansas City's minus Soria. Blake Wood, Carlos Rosa and Greg Holland all have power arms from the right side while Chris "Disco" Hayes is a groundball machine and Adam Bostick showed that he might have the stuff to be a LOOGY in AAA Buffalo last season putting up solid numbers vs lefties (1.93 FIP 11.12 k/9 and .211 BAA). Bryan Bullington could possibly start for Omaha since they are low on starters at the AAA level but ultimately he showed he is best used out of the pen putting up some solid numbers out of the pen in AAA Las Vegas last season (2.62 FIP in 40 innings w/9.6 k/9).

Best Outfield- Omaha Royals- Again not even close this unit is not only solid offensively but also special defensively. David Lough, Jordan Parraz and Jarrod Dyson will be extra fun to watch this season as they all move decently well defensively while Parraz also carries a cannon for an arm. Lough and Dyson impressed in spring while Parraz like Lough enjoyed a breakout offensive season in '09. We Omaha fans should enjoy watching these guys man the outfield.

Best Infield- Northwest Arkansas Naturals- While not stellar defensively this crew has shown in their previous two stops in the minors they can put up enough numbers offensively to counter that. Clint Robinson, Johnny Giavotella and Mike Moustakas will man 1st, 2nd and 3rd base together like they have the past two seasons in Burlington and Wilmington. They will be joined by Chris McConnell at Shortstop who according to Total Zone is a very very good defensive shortstop.

Again the position players lack behind pitchers as KC has a good pitching prospect at almost every level either in the rotation or the pen. Hopefully KC can start to makeup that difference this season with hopeful bounce back seasons by Hos and Moose and Myers stepping up. We'll see as the minor league season starts Thursday.

Next Up : Checkout my Omaha Royals video on Friday from the Thursday night game against the Memphis Redbirds.