Monday, May 31, 2010

May Minor League Players of the Month

Burlington Bees
Wil Myers The third round 2009 draftee had an excellent second month of Single A ball hitting a robust .330/.459/.500 with a 21/17 BB to So ratio. In comparison Moose and Hos had .835 and .905 OPS numbers during their Bee seasons in May.

Wilmington Blue Rocks
Salvador Perez- The 20 yr old catcher had an impressive May putting together a .867 OPS while hitting 3 HRs to equal his previous minor league total.

NW Arkansas Naturals
Mike Moustakas YAHTZEE !!! For as good as Hosmer was in April Moustakas was even better in May. The former 2nd Pick crushed everything he saw to the tune of .393/.486/.775. There were even rumors of a premature promotion. If Moustakas continues this type of hot hitting a September call up is almost assured.

Omaha Royals
Alex Gordon- Who would've thought that Alex would still be tooling around in the minors in 2010. Right or wrong he is where he is and it's quite refreshing to see him still putting in the effort. He is playing a decent outfield from what I have heard and the one game I saw and is hitting the ball the way we all expect at AAA. His May stats of .355/.496/.667 are really too good for him to spend much more time there but I'm sure GMDM will have him sit on the bus thru the CWS road trip the way he did to Billy a couple seasons ago.

Overall this season the minor leaguers look incredible. Montgomery and Lamb are overpowering hitters while Moustakas, Hosmer, Kila, Gordon and Myers are knockin the ball around consistently. Even Salvador Perez is showing off his skills behind the plate as well as at it. From the sounds of Rany's latest article is sounds as if Duffy is coming back to join the party, let's hope that is true.

Alex Gordon to Right Field

Went to my first Omaha Royals game in quite a while today (5/31) to watch Alex play right field. From what I saw he appeared to get good reads off the bat, has a cannon for an arm and possesses average range out there. If KC does decide to keep Alex this move to right field was an intelligent one as it allows David DeJesus to be moved back to left while allowing Alberto and Moustakas opportunities at third base. Alex didn't get a whole lot of work catching a few flyballs but did show off his arm unleashing a throw to third base that was slightly off line but got to third in a hurry without a hop. He definitely has the arm for the position and has enough range to make it work. His plate approach was professional as always and he hit the ball solidly to the tune of a 1 for 3 day.

Hopeful 2010 ML Roster
2-Kendall(Stuck with this one)
6-Betancourt(Another mistake)
Falu Inf/Outfiled utility
Parraz or Lough 4th OF
Pina C

The reluctance of playing Brayan Pena probably opens up a spot for Manny Pina and considering his advanced defensive game he is probably a better fit for a 25 game catcher. Irving Falu can do everything Willie Bloomquist can do and probably better as well as being much cheaper. Parraz or Lough are probably not the answer as of yet to the 4th OF as I'm sure GMDM will look to bring in someone to fit into the OF. Kila is definitely worthy of an opportunity to DH and split with Billy at 1b but we'll find out if GMDM is all talk this offseason about giving him an opportunity.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Machado, Grandal or Sale according to mockers

We are closing in on what has become every Royals fan's favorite time of the year, the major league draft. Every year since 2004 KC seems to be fairly out of the race by this time and fans need something to bring us hope again that the 70's and 80's just aren't that far away again so MLB rolls out the youngsters for us to dream. This season’s top of the draft is said to be weaker than past drafts but we really don't know if that is quite true yet or not and won't know for at least 5 years. So who are the candidates for the Royals pick at #4?

There are many qualified candidates but the mockers, Keith Law, Jonathan Mayo, Baseball America staff and Andy Seiler have narrowed the list down to 3.

Manny Machado- I hitched my wagon to Machado very early in this process reading about him and falling in love with him back in December. At the time Baseball America had him as the #11 overall talents in the draft and while some might have considered it a reach I thought outside Harper he had the highest ceiling as well as having a good overall toolset to work with. That's all changed now as everyone is on his bandwagon and Machado seems to have possibly moved up to the #2 overall spot where the Pittsburgh Pirates are drafting so it's a 50/50 at best whether he'll be there for the Royals at #4. If he is it seems like a no brainer to me for an organization lacking with good hitters let alone shortstop talent.

Yasmani Grandal C- Grandal is a switch hitting catcher from the U. Grandal has been a smooth defender since his high school days when many teams viewed him as a late first round or early second round prospect. Grandal can catch it and throw it while his bat has been late to the party it finally arrived this season to the tune of ACC Player of the Year and a 1.311 OPS with 13 HR and 50/28 So/BB ratio. I've never been a big fan of taking Grandal at #4 as I don't see the minor league weakness at catcher that some seem to think KC has. In fact in a couple years KC could be doin alright at catcher if Myers continues to develop. Manny Pina doesn't have a great bat but is solid defensively and would make for a great backup while Salvador Perez at only 20 is doing well in a tough righty hitting environment in Wilmington plus Myers who is hitting quite well in his first full season at Burlington. Perez and Myers are still far away but drafting Grandal might just stunt their growth as well unless KC thinks he is so polished offensively and defensively that he could step into AA ball right away which would be a stretch in my mind. Teams shouldn't draft for need they should take the best talent available and according to most boards taking Grandal at #4 would not be doing that.

Chris Sale LHP- Sale is a tall and lean hard throwing lefty who throws out of a 3/4 arm slot, who some have classified as a injury risk. I don't want to talk about injury risks or not because you just don't know the makeup of a person’s body. His motion and arm angles do not look good but neither do other pitchers who seem to survive. What he does have is a plus fastball and change up which would help him in the High A and AA levels but his breaking stuff isn't quite there yet. He's said to be developing his slider currently and it could develop into a 55 type pitch from what I've read. If he was to join the KC system he surely would be a taught a curveball as they don't like younger players to throw sliders although as a college lefty they might change their mind. I don't know if Duffy was still in the system if KC would be looking at Sale quite as strongly as they would already have Danny, Monty, Lamb and Dwyer working their way towards the top but his absence has opened up a potential spot for another lefty I guess. Sale as a college lefty and Cape Cod Player of the Year should move thru Wilmington quickly if started there and an above average fastball and change up would probably have him besting the AA league. He'll need the breaking pitch to succeed in the Majors but I think he would be a quality pick at 4 if Machado isn't there.

In conclusion if Machado is there I think this draft is deep enough in pitching to take the stud SS and grab a good one like Cam Bedrosion (son of Steve) in the second round. If he isn't I think the money is on Sale who with a solid breaking ball could develop into a #1 or #2 starting pitcher in my mind.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Redoing the Royals Prospect List 11-20+

#11 Noel Arguelles - Still on the bench hopefully we'll see the 7 million dollar man later this season.

#12 Kila Ka'aihue - Moved him back up because of all the GMDM and Yost quotes. I think he might actually be apart of this organization next year.

#13 Salvador Perez - A coming out party of sorts for the young catcher. Only 20 and holding his own with the bat around a .800 OPS and throwing out 41% of runners against.

#14 Jordan Parraz - Parraz was off to a horrible start in Omaha but seems to have corrected things and is having a great May.

#15 Derrick Robinson - Probably a bit too early for DRob after just a 3 month turn around but his solid defense, speed and on base pct have him leaping into prospect status again. That combined with the lack of prospects around these final spots.

#16 Johnny Giavotella - Good OBP skills but a lack of defense and pop.
#17 Tyler Sample - Struggling with control still but stays low in the zone and has good tilt on his pitches.
#18 Keeton Hayenga - Made his first Burlington appearance the other day out of the pen hopefully he'll be moved to the rotation and can take advantage of the enormous potential in his arm.
#19 Cheslor Cuthbert - Probably starts in Arizona league in late June.
#20 Edgar Osuna - Osuna's change up has him looking very impressive against AA opponents but he's going to have to develop a couple other offspeed options to be anything more than a LOOGY in the majors.

Honorable Mentions
Blaine Hardy/Brandon Sisk/Buddy Baumann/Patrick Keating- All four of these bullpen arms are having outstanding seasons at their levels. Keating and Baumann are striking out more than 1 per inning while Sisk and Hardy have 4 saves each and sub 2 ERAs. Still the road for relievers to the majors is a bumpy one and don't expect many to get thru it.

Off the list

Kelvin Herrera - Was off to a very solid start to the season until his last 3 starts and arm troubles popped up again. Watching Kelvin's body language while charting pitches at the Bees game I went to reminded me of the movie "Sugar". I can't imagine how foreign it must be to be in a country that you can't communicate well in while you experience arm problems while trying to latch onto your golden ticket. Hopefully things turn around for this hard thrower but it doesn't look good.

Carlos Rosa - Traded

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Redoing the Royals Prospect List 6-10

#6 David Lough- Quick bat and adjusting to fulltime duty in CF. Still wish he was more patient at the plate but he is still young in his baseball career.

#7 John Lamb- Dominated Single A ball and has earned the quick promotion to Wilmington.

#8 Chris Dwyer- Adjusting well to his first full season of pro ball.

#9 Louis Coleman- Under 1 Whip while showing he can make it thru multiple innings. Don't be shocked to see him in KC by seasons end

#10 Tim Melville- Struggling with control and mechanics. Has definitely been the biggest disappointment of the Royal prospect season thus far.

The rumors were flying Monday as some speculation came out about a possible big promotion of a KC prospect was tossed around. While we are still unsure of the prospect or the rumor any move to KC for a prospect such as Crow, Moose or Montgomery would be a mistake in my opinion. KC is not contending this season and the short term gains of moving a prospect 2 levels to the bigs without as much as 2 months in AA ball would be a reach. You don't see the Marlins moving Mike Stanton or the Nats calling up Strasburg yet do you. And those teams are way closer to being in the race as the Royals are. Let them dominate and if you want to call them up in September then give them a crack otherwise you are just playing to attendance and job concerns.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Redoing the Royals Prospect List Starting with the 1-5

1. Mike Montgomery Prev #1 - No need to change this one around the kid seems like the real deal so far in 2010.
2. Mike Moustakas Prev #3 - It's still early but Moustakas is showing major power and improved patience at the plate.
3. Aaron Crow Prev #2 - Still adjusting to AA ball but some bumps were expected considering he hasn't played ball in quite some time.
4. Eric Hosmer Prev #7 - The Hos is showing that last year could be blamed by the eyesight and injuries after all. .400+ thru 32 games is ridiculous especially in the Carolina league.
5. Wil Myers Prev #5 - Myers has a sweet swing and plenty of patience at the plate.

NW Arkansas is showing that they are the class of AA so far this season which shouldn't be a shock to us as this group of kids has continued to win since the 2nd half of 2008. Moustakas, Giavotella, Clint Robinson and others have continued to win at each level, hopefully they'll take that winning attitude to the major league level.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Alex Gordon to the Outfield?

When GMDM first made this move the other day I was quite angry. I felt it was just another move one of many the last three seasons that has stunted what looked like the development of Gordon in '08. After reviewing GMDMs quotes and the subsequent side moves that seem to be taking place though I find myself more on board with it, here's why:

#1 Mike Aviles got called up. Yuni was starting to become Yunified going 1 for his last 21 and while the Royals have talked a good game I don't think they were fully on board with his offseason training. Mariners fans and front office have said how lazy he was in the past and while the Royals were gung-ho about him if his laziness was an issue then that could quickly have soured the Royals on him. Scouts and GMDM might have liked Yuniesky but Trey has got to watch Aviles and Yuni play everyday for the last two seasons and one would think that Trey with his job on the line would lean more towards Aviles after his '08 production.
Aviles good start 3-5 with a HR Tuesday.

#2 Alberto out of the middle of the field. Alberto's defense has been horid the last couple years and I don't think it has to do with his hands as much as his feet. The guy has great hand eye coordination but he just isn't quick enough to play in the middle of the diamond. Maybe he is Ryan Braun light and just can't hack it with the glove but I think the move to third initially plays to his strengths as a ball player.

#3 Ankiel won't be here long. I think this definitely signals that Ankiel won't be with this organization long. While Gordon won't play centerfield I don't think they make this move if they thought that Ankiel and Podsednik could both possibly be with this team for long. While I'm not sure they have given up on Podsednik due to his production I do believe Trey and GMDM have already grown tired of Ankiel's Jacobslike performance. Still I wouldn't be shocked if we saw a outfield of Gordon-Pods-DDJ instead of the preferred Gordon-Maier-DDJ.

I don't know if GMDM is really being honest to why he is doing this after years of watching his disasterous moves no one could really no but until proven wrong I'll go along with it.

UP NEXT: Alex in Omaha, I'll take video Thursday and post.