Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Making a Move

I will be taking my work over to Pine Tar Press with Greg Schaum on a full time basis now. I plan on putting up similar work at that site as Greg and I are hoping to create a site that is as in depth on the Royals system as is available to the public.

If you like anything I've written in the past please follow read our work at or on twitter @pinetarpress

Monday, April 18, 2011

Kane County

I'll be at today and tomorrows Kane County Cougars game. Follow me via twitter @kcscoliny and @pinetarpress. I'll post pics and videos of the players there within a couple days.

Friday, April 15, 2011

14for77 Hitter of the Day Rey Navarro 4-5 2b

14for77 Pitcher of the Day Tyler Sample 3 IP 0 H 1 K 2 BB

Only two games on the slate tonight after a couple rainouts and I wouldn't consider one of the two that was played a game.

Naturals Recap
It was ugly. Enough said final score Missions 26 Naturals 5

Blue Rocks Recap
Justin Marks pitched well for 5 inning but ran into trouble in the 6th allowing a 3 run triple to fall behind 4-1. The Blue Rocks striked right back as they have a couple times this season with the big blow coming from an unlikely source when Alex McClure who was 2 for his previous 24 hit a 2 run homer to tie the game at 4. John Whittleman would later drive Rey Navarro in giving Tyler Sample the only margin he would need closing out the final two innings. Blue Rocks are now a surprising 5-2.
Whit Merrifield 2-4 BB

Thursday, April 14, 2011

14 for 77 Minor League Recap 4/14/11

14for77 Hitter of the Day Clint Robinson 2-3 HR

14for77 Pitcher of the Day Leondy Perez 5 IP 2 H 1 BB 0 ER 5 K

Cougars Recap
Another day another pitching dual between Kane County and Quad Cities. Leondy Perez again gave Kane County a solid start going 5 innings surrendering just 2 hits 1 walk against 5 strikeouts while again not allowing an earned run. That's 12 innings for Perez on the season with 0 earned runs allowed and all he has to show for it is a loss in his first start. This time however the Cougars would at least use the good pitching to their advantage as they would ink the games only run in the 10th inning when Yowill Espinal would drive in Gerald Hall with an RBI single. Quick note Alex Llanos stole the Cougars first base of the season today after being caught in their previous 7 attempts.
Gerald Hall 3-4 2b

Naturals Recap
Tough loss for the Naturals as Brandon Sisk and Patrick Keating blew a 3 run lead in the bottom of the 8th allowing 6 runs on 7 hits while breaking the Naturals 5 game winning streak. Timely hitting and a couple errors had given the Naturals that lead while Blake Johnson continued his solid pitching out of the pen going 2 innings and not allowing a run while mopping up for John Lamb who struggled with the strikezone walking 5 in just 3.2 innings.
Jeff Bianchi 2-4 RBI

Storm Chasers Recap
The Chasers bullpen struggled again as Round Rock came back to beat the Storm Chasers for the fourth consecutive night. Once again the Chasers jumped out in front this time with a 2 run homer via Eric Hosmer. Clint Robinson would hit a HR also while Lorenzo Cain would hit an RBI double but again it was not enough as Louis Coleman would blow his second save of the season giving up a 3 run triple to journeyman catcher Kevin Cash. The Storm Chasers will try to get that ugly four game series out of their heads as they head to Omaha for the opening of the new Werner Park
Clint Robinson 2-3 HR

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

14 for 77 Minor League Recap 4/13/11

14for77 Hitter of the Day NONE

14for77 Pitcher of the Day Tim Melville 6 IP 5 H 1 ER 7 K 1 BB

Blue Rocks Recap
There was a terrific pitching matchup in Kinston today as Tim Melville battled Drew Pomeranz the 2010 5th overall pick. I'll let JJ Cooper via Twitter describe the action @jjcoop36.
Pomeranz sitting 93 in first three up three down
Melville gets out of trouble in first. Control problems with first batter then settles down. Sitting 92-93 gets a strikeout on solid change

2nd Inning
Pomeranz strikes out two in three up three down second. Pretty easy velo. Got one K with slow curve other just threw fastball by guy
Melville gives up solo home run on 91 fb in second. Recovers to strike out next batter relying on cb and ch

3rd Inning
Bottom of wilmington lineup doesn't have much chance. Pomeranz Ks two more in third. First time through one ball out of IF.
Getting ks with 91-93 Fb nice curve
both utilizing good sized zone

Thru 3 Innings Pomeranz 0 hits 5 K 0 BB
Tim Melville 2 hits 1 ER via HR 3 K 1 BB

Pomeranz has faced minimum through five. Toying with hitters. Fb has settled in at 91-92, 80-82 change slower 77-78 cb

Melville pitching well also. Last two innings 17 strikes in 19 pitches. Working both sides of plate. Using off speed well second time thru

Pomeranz loses no hitter on final batter he faces. Lifted at 85 pitches. Was tired. Last inning his fb sat 89-90. Hasn't dipped below 90 b4

Melville likely done as well after 83 pitches, 55 strikes. Was impressive. Maintained velo used cb and ch well. Was still touching 93 in 6th

Final Lines
Tim Melville Win 6 IP 5 H 1 ER 7 K 1 BB
Drew Pomeranz ND 5.2 IP 1 H 1 R 0 ER 8 K 2 BB

Melville doesn't have the same upper end stuff as Pomeranz but at this point in the season does a better job of maintaining it has he was pretty much the same pitcher if not better by the end of the start as he was at the beginning. The Blue Rocks got another run across in the 7th and that is all they needed as their bullpen shut the door from there. Kelvin Herrera and Kevin Chapman came in throwing the next 3 innings allowing just one infield single and striking out 5. Herrera was 96 on the stadium gun. Great pitching beats good pitching.

Storm Chasers Recap
The Chasers offense has went missing. Have you seen it? I have been watching and I certaintly have not seen it for a while, well at least for 21 innings. Last nights game perhaps they just ran into a Ace in the making in Neil Ramirez who breezed thru Moose, Hos and company as it took him 75 pitches (50 strikes) to get thru 6 innings allowing just 3 singles while striking out 5 against no walks. The Chasers didn't get a runner to 2nd base on the night ruining a solid outing by Jeff Suppan who went 5.1 giving up 6 hits and one long solo home run to Taylor Teagarden. The Chasers fall to 2-5 on the season.

Cougars Recap
Sugar Ray Marimon took a tough loss in his second start of the season going 5 innings allowing just 3 hits 2 runs (1 ER) and 4 walks as the 2 runs in the 5th were all it took for Quad City to secure a victory. Kane County had tough sledding against Rosenthal as he went 7 innings against just 1 run on 4 hits for the victory. More tough pitching for the Cougars tomorrow as they try to salvage the last game of this four game set.

14 for 77 Minor League Recap 4/12/11

14for77 Hitter of the Day Wil Myers 3-5 2b,BB 3RBI

14for77 Pitcher of the Day Mario Santiago 3.2 IP 1 H 3 K 0 R

Cougars Recap

Prior to the season I thought the A Ball lineup and pitching staff could be limited and at times early they've showed that scoring 3 runs in all four losses. So far in the young season their staff has put up a 5.37 ERA which stands as second worst in the Midwest league and yesterday was more of the same as Leonel Santiago staked to a 1 run lead ran into trouble in the 3rd and 4th innings. Working with a fastball/curve combination Santiago gave up worked around baserunners in the first two innings but was unable to duplicate that success in the 3rd when he gave up a 1 run single but got out of the jam with a double play. Then in the 4th Santiago again looked to work around a leadoff double by getting the next two hitters, then the trouble started as Santiago earned a strike three for what appeared to be the third out however Travis Jones was unable to catch the wild pitch and the hitter advanced to first to keep the inning alive. Santiago couldn't work around that mistake allowing the next two hitters to get hits and his day was done allowing 4 runs over 3.2 innings. The Cougars would draw within 1 run in the 5th inning but couldn't get any closer as the Bandits tacked on an insurance run in the 8th.

Leonel Santiago 0-2 10.57 ERA 7.2 IP 14 H 10/3 K/BB
Alex Llanos 2-4 2b

Blue Rocks Recap

The Blue Rocks came back from a pretty shaky start by Elisaul Pimentel. Pimentel had trouble with most phases of the game as he wasn't missing bats (7 hits) or controlling the running game (3 stolen bases). The Rocks got him off the hook with a four run rally in the top of the 7th inning as two walks and three hits plus a wild pitch allowed the Rocks to notch four runs in the innings. The Rocks would score a unearned run in the top of the 9th on a Tim Ferguson ground out that allowed Nick Francis who reached via throwing error to score giving Wilmington their final winning margin. Bryan Paukovits and Ryan Dennick pitched effectively going a combined 6 innings giving up just 1 unearned run.

John Whittleman 3-5 3b 2 RBI, Nick Francis 2-5 3 RBI

Naturals Recap

Despite Chris Dwyer struggling (3.1 8 H 2 BB 4 ER) the Naturals turned a early 2 run deficit into a laugher scoring 8 runs thru the first 2 innings and 14 in total as they improved their record to 5-1. Every Natural in the starting lineup had at least one hit while six guys had multi hit games and only one (Christian Colon) didn't reach multiple times via hit and walk. Mario Santiago pitched another 3.2 effective innings of relief striking out 3 while only giving up 1 hit to earn the win.
Derrick Robinson 3-6 2 RBI

Chasers Recap

The Storm Chasers offense sputtered again on Tuesday night as they just couldn't push any runs accross after scoring 2 in the first inning. Mike Montgomery pitched well in his 2nd start of the season despite a little trouble finding the zone with his fastball. He mixed all three pitches much better than he did in his first start working in the low 90's while touching 94 along the way. Michael Kirkman the other prospect in this starting pitching matchup didn't fair nearly as well allowing 8 hits and 2 runs over 3.1 innings reaching his pitch total early in the fourth inning. His bullpen shut the door on the Storm Chasers however not allowing a run over the next 9.2 innings allowing time for the Express to tie the game in the 9th off Louis Coleman and win it in the bottom of the 13th off Steven Shell.

Johnny Giavotella 3-5 BB
Mike Montgomery 4 IP 2 H 5/3 K/BB 0 R

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Daily Tap is moving to Pine Tar Press

I'll be transitioning some of my writing over to Pine Tar Press during the season with the Daily Tap being the first feature on Greg Schaum's site. My goal was in creating this blog was to provide as much info on the minor league prospects as possible and I'll continue to do that whether it is on this site or Greg's. If you have read my stuff and like it please continue to do so here or at

Cougars Recap
The home opener wasn't much fun to watch for the Kane County fans as Crawford Simmons struggle with his control despite working his FB in the 89-91 mph range. He was up in the zone while missing early in counts finishing the day with 4 IP 4 H 4 ER 3 K 3 BB. Greg Billo didn't perform much better as he followed Simmons and allowed 4 more runs over the next 3.2 innings.
Brian Fletcher 2-4 2b RBI .333/.364/.524
Geulin Beltre has fallen into a bit of a slump going 0 for his last 13.

Blue Rocks Recap
Noel Arguelles enjoyed a nice debut as he took only 40 pitches to get through 4 innings while allowing only 2 hits and 0 runs while striking out one. Reports from the game had his velocity in the 87-90 mph range while throwing a curve in the 69-72 mph range. He only threw one change up from reports at the game. Michael Mariot took over for Arguelles and continued the good pitching mixing three pitches FB, slider, curve for an effective 5 innings allowing just 1 hit while walking 2 and striking out 4. He did allow a home run but that one run wasn't enough for the Indians to hold off the Rocks as Rey Navarro, Deivy Batista and John Whittleman paced the offence to 4 runs on 6 hits from the threesome.
John Whittleman 2-3 HR, BB
Rey Navarro 2-4 3b Rbi hitting .563/.611/1.063 thru 4 games
Alex McClure 0-15 he's playing superb defense but at some point he is going to have to hit.

Naturals Recap
Just another 1 run victory for the Naturals making that four in a row after losing the season opener. The Naturals did it in a different fashion this time scoring 4 runs in the first two innings to take a 4-2 lead and hung on with good pitching by Edgar Osuna and Buddy Baumann.
Christian Colon 1-3 1 BB 1 RBI
Salvador Perez .133/.235/.400 in four games

Storm Chasers Recap
The Chaser had one of those nights as the lineup went missing against the Round Rock pitching staff. The Chasers could muster only 3 hits and 2 runs via HR's by Clint Robinson and David Lough. On the mound Everett Teaford was on cruise control thru 4 innings not allowing a hit but he ran into trouble in the 5th inning giving up 5 hits and 5 runs in the frame (4 ER) while not surviving the inning and taking the loss.
Clint Robinson 1-3 HR(3) 1 BB .316/.435/.947
Mike Moustakas 4-23 .174/.208/.304 1 HR 1 BB

Royals Minor League Daily Tap Mon April 11

Good day for the Royals as the major league team finished off a series win over the Tigers and the affiliates won 4 of the 5 games that they played in.

Daily Tap Hitter of the Day Ryan Stovall Kane County 3-4 HR 4 RBI

Daily Tap Pitcher of the Day Blake Johnson NW Arkansas 4 IP 1 H 5 So 0 BB

Cougars Recap
Alex Llanos capped a terrific series versus the Timber Rattlers getting the offense going with a two run homer in the third that woke up the offense which tagged on seven more runs on the day. Llanos finished the four game set strong with multiple hit games in the final three games. It wasn't an offense only show as Keaton Hayenga got his 2011 season off to a good start going 5 innings allowing only 3 hits, 2 runs (1 ER) and no walks against 4 strikeouts. This was a good sign for a pitcher that really struggled last year.

Alex Llanos (series) 6-17 2-2b, 1-3b, 1-HR 1 BB

Blue Rocks Recap
The Rocks resumed their rain suspended game on Sunday tied at five. They had Kelvin Herrera a former starter converted closer toe the hill and he delivered two solid innings striking out 4 while giving up just 1 hit and one walk. Herrera has a solid fastball to go with a potential above average curve and change up out of his 5'10 frame. Those two innings allowed the Rocks to mount an offensive charge in the 11th when Rey Navarro reached on a error and was driven in on a John Whittleman double, Whittleman would score on a Tim Ferguson double. That extra run came in handy when Kevin Chapman allowed a run in the bottom of the inning but hung on for the Rocks victory.

In the full game of the day the Rocks squandered a great pitching performance by Jake Odorizzi (4 IP 4 H 1 ER 6 K 1 BB) when they allowed a 2 run 8th inning to lose the lead and the game. Rey Navarro once again paced the offense with 2 hits in 3 at bats driving in a run while also scoring one. The young 2b/SS who the Royals picked up in the Carlos Rosa deal finished the series 7 for 12 with a double, triple and Home Run.
Nick Francis 4th OF assist of the season

Naturals Recap
The Naturals for the second day in a row won in walk off fashion when Wil Myers drove in Nick Van Stratten with a single in the 14th inning. Myers and Salvador Perez who had gotten off to slow starts enjoyed good days offensively as they had 5 of the 11 Naturals hits. The pitching was outstanding on the day as Rollins, Blake Johnson and Patrick Keating all pitched at least 3 innings each while combining for 12 strikeouts against only 2 walks and 5 hits while allowing only 2 runs (1 ER). Brandon Sisk worked a scoreless hitless 14th to get earn the victory for the Naturals.
Salvador Perez 2-5 2b, HR, Wil Myers 3-6 2b, BB

Chasers Recap
Despite a poor performance by Vin Mazzaro (2.1 IP 2H 7 BB 5 ER 3 K) the Storm Chasers offense and bullpen were able to overcome the Isotopes in the final game of their four day set. 8 of the 9 hitters in the lineup reached base via hit while the bottom third (Pina,Blanco,Orlando) of the order did the heavy lifting driving in 5 of the runs while scoring five also. The bullpen slowed down the Isotopes offense limiting them to 1 run and 4 hits over the final 6.2 innings to gain a split in the series.
Mike Moustakas 2-5 HR

Quad City River Bandits (Cardinals) Kevin Siegrist
Kane County Cougars Crawford Simmons

Simmons one of the Burlington(NC) three from last year makes his first start of the year. Simmons is a control lefty who throws in the high 80s topping out at 90-91 with feel for a change up and 12-6 curve. Simmons has solid command (2.2 BB/9 '10) and is a couple velocity ticks away from becoming a prospect worth watching for Royals fans.

Siegrist is a 41st rd draft pick who enjoyed some success early in his career making it to the High A level in his first two years where he enjoyed moderate success despite a 1.416 WHIP when he returned last year he was knocked around for over a hit per inning. Siegrist according to reports has decent movement on his mid 80s fastball while also featuring a cutter and forkball.

Wilmington Blue Rocks Noel Arguelles
Kinston Indians Giovanni Soto

This is a day that has long been in the works for the Royals and their staff. Arguelles signed a $7 million dollar major league deal with the Royals which was quite a coup as not many favored the Royals in the chase for his services. Unfortunately he sustained some arm problems and was forced to sit out last season. Arguelles is a physical specimen who throws in the low 90s from a 3/4 arm slot and has earned some comparison to Francisco Liriano.

Soto is a young lefty that the Indians received in the Jhonny Peralta trade with Detroit. He's young for the level (19) and performed well at High A last year when he was called up 2.61 ERA 83 IP 76 K 25 BB 1.21 WHIP. His stuff is less than impressive with a high 80s fastball, slurvy curve and less than impressive change up but he's survived thus far on pitchability.

Corpus Christi Hooks Kyle Greenwalt
NW Arkansas Naturals Edgar Osuna

Osuna could have a ceiling for AA as he had a solid season at that level last season but was knocked around when promoted to AAA Omaha. Osuna has a plus change up but he combines with a below average fastball which hitters can sit on at upper levels. Osuna will likely be the odd man out if a pitcher pushes their way to the AA level.

Greenwalt had a solid stint in the Arizona Fall league not allowing a HR in 15 innings which is no small accomplishment considering the light air in Arizona. He didn't have that type of success in the Cal league last season but scouts like his mix of pitches which includes plus change up and slider to go with an average fastball (89-91 touches 93).

Omaha Storm Chasers Everett Teaford
Round Rock Express (Rangers)Derek Hankins

Teaford had a breakout season last year at AA striking out 113 in 99 innings while allowing a 1.214 WHIP. Teaford was given an opportunity to make the big league squad in spring training but was knocked around in Arizona to the tune of 11 ER in 4.1 iP while surrendering 14 hits. Teaford also got knocked around in his one AAA start last season in Albuquerque allowing 7 runs over 4.2 innings. He'll need to show he can get upper level hitters out this season to be given another big league shot.

Hankins was picked up by the Rangers from the Pirates organization. He's roster filler at this point in his career as a 2004 MLB draftee that has yet to break the major leagues. He features a fastball, curve and change up none of which are plus.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Royals Minor League Daily Tap Sun April 10

2 wins a game suspended by rain that was tied and a loss in the late innings are the results from yesterdays games. The big club had an outstanding day as well with Bruce Chen and the outstanding bullpen paced a 3-1 win over Detroit.

Daily Tap Hitter of the Day Rey Navarro 4-5 2b, HR, SB

Daily Tap Pitcher of the Day Leondy Perez 7 IP 4 H 3 K 2 BB 2 R 0 ER

Cougars Recap
Kane County let Jimmy Nelson off the ropes as he was having trouble throwing stikes but a couple Cougar double plays limited the damage to just run thru 6. In the 7th a Gerard Hall mental error followed by a Leondy Perez throwing error started the inning and helped the Rattlers take the lead 2-1. The Rattlers would tack on a couple more runs in the 8th would provide enough cushion for a two out rally by the Cougars to come up one run short. 4-3 tough luck loss for Perez.
Alex Llanos 2-3 2b, BB

Blue Rocks Recap
More of the same from Tyler Sample as the big righty again had trouble controlling the strikezone allowing 4 walks while only striking out 1 over 4.2 innings while allowing 3 hits. He left with the lead but also 2 runners on base when Justin Marks who KC got in the David DeJesus took over and promptly gave up a running scoring hit and a 3 run HR to Mike Olt giving up the Rocks lead. Marks would settle down from there working 3.1 innings in total striking out 3 while not allowing another hit. The game would stay at 5-4 until the top of the 9th when Rey Navarro would tie it at 5-5, soon after the game was suspended due to rain where they will likely pick it up today.
Thru 9 Rey Navarro 4-5 2b, HR

Naturals Recap
The Naturals trailed most of the night until a nice rally in the 7th lead by a Derrick Robinson RBI triple who later scored on a sac fly by Christian Colon to give the Naturals a 5-3 lead. Eric Basurto would give up the lead over the next two frames allowing a run in each. With the game tied Mario Lisson would step in and deliver a walk off Home Run in the bottom of the 9th for the defending Texas league champs.
Lisson 2-3 HR, BB 2 RBI Bianchi 2-4 3b, HR

Storm Chasers Recap
Danny Duffy delivered the best starting performances of the series so far for the Chasers as he went 5 innings giving up 7 H 1 BB 3R 2 ER with 4 Ks. Duffy was pitching in the low to mid 90s throughout the night while mixing in his change up and curveball extremely well. He threw his change up at the beginning of counts, down in counts and as a strikeout pitch as well. Besides one mistake from Jerry Sands (co-minor lg HR leader in '10) a HR to RF he did everything you want to do out of a starter. He was followed up well by Kevin Pucetas who pitched 4 innings of 3 hit ball allowing 0 runs and striking out 4. Pucetas kept the game knotted long enough for the Isotopes to make some errors in the 10th inning as the Chasers took advantage to the tune of seven tenth inning runs to take the victory 10-4.
Lance Zawadzki 2-5 HR,2b,BB 4 RBI, Eric Hosmer 2-4 BB

Omaha Storm Chasers Vin Mazzaro
Albuquerque Isotopes Tim Redding

Mazzaro was the major piece in the Royals trade of David DeJesus. Mazzaro won't be in Omaha long as he'll be the big league starter as soon as one is needed. Vin through parts of two major league seasons has been a FB/Slider guys mixing in his change about 10% of the time according to Fangraphs. His fastball is said to have some sink to it but those results have yet to come up in the majors where he is only delivering groundballs at a 41% clip. He will have to fit in as a fulltime 3-4 starter for the Royals to draw a win in the DDJ trade.

Hard to believe Redding is only 33 to me maybe that's because I turn 33 today but he's seemingly been in the league forever in my mind. The journeyman righthander didn't make it up to the majors last season after making a combined 50 starts from '08 and '09 and will be looking to try to win a job this year if the Dodgers have problems in the rotation. The righty who has made 4.9M in his career has a four pitch mix that is fastball/slider heavy but he does mix in the curve and change nearly 10% of the time. His fastball was his top pitch in 2008 and 2009 despite only averaging in the high 80s.
I like the Chasers chances against any righty without an elite fastball.

NW Arkansas Naturals Heath Rollins
Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros) Dallas Keuchel

Rollins was drafted in the 11th round out of the 2006 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays and was picked up by the Royals this offseason of waivers. Rollins is a pitchability type lefty who has a four pitch mix of FB, slider, CB and CU. He was working on a cutter while in Arizona as well. Mark Davis seemed to like him quite a bit while I was watching him but with a high 80s FB he'll need to survive by attacking the zone and keeping hitters off balanced.

Keuchel is the 23rd ranked prospect in the Astros system based mostly on what he used to be as opposed to what he is currently. He was picked in the 7th round out of college due to his low 90s fastball and potential above average curve but since being drafted his velocity has dipped to the low to mid 80s and his curve while solid versus lower competition is believed to be fringy at best. It's tough for any pitcher to survive with that type of fastball without teaming it with some type of plus pitch somewhere which it doesn't appear Keuchel has.

Wilmington Blue Rocks Jake Odorizzi
Myrtle Beach Pelican Barrett Loux

One of the prize pieces in the Zack Greinke deal makes his first start for a Royals affiliate. Odorizzi was rated the #1 Brewers prospect by Baseball America following the Brett Lawrie trade and is said to be a poor mans Zack Greinke in his own right. Odorizzi has been able to pitch well in previous levels primarily off his fastball and his command of it but will have to start mixing in a plus offspeed pitch this season something he hasn't had to do in the past. His curveball is said to have plus potential.

Loux was the 6th overall pick in the 2010 draft but when he failed a physical the DBacks decided to let him walk unsigned. MLB decided to do Loux a favor and declare him a Free Agent where he was signed by a already deep farm system. It was a surprise Loux was taken where he is despite his size (6'5 220) and solid FB (90-92 touchin 95) he didn't have a plus offspeed offering and was considered a late 1st rd/sandwich rd type talent. Loux had elbow surgery to remove bone chips in 2009 and while he hasn't ran into problems many teams backed off for because of that same reason which was confirmed with the failed physical.

Kane County Cougars Keaton Hayenga
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Del Howell

Hayenga is back after a terrible 2010 after impressing many Royals scouts during instructs the previous season. Hayenga was absolutely beaten like a drum in 2010 allowing 130 hits over 105.2 IP while only striking out 43 as compared to 47 walks with a 6.13 ERA. It's hard for me to believe he can improve enough to deserve a spot on the staff but KC will give him that chance.

Bernies Crew Breakdown of Del Howell : Howell really struggled last season for the Timber Rattlers, posting a 4.68 ERA and walking almost as many batters as he struck out (66 strikeouts to 61 walks). The premium stuff he showed at the University of Alabama was largely non-existent -- though he still does have the ability to throw a low-90s fastball and a nasty slider. It was simply not always there . . . and sometimes rarely there.

Howell needs more consistent mechanics, however, and more consistency on the mound in general. The Brewers will probably move him to Brevard County next season due to the fact that he will be 23-years-old, but perhaps another season in Single-A would benefit him to regain his confidence in his abilities on the mound.

If you are a sucker for projection, though, Del Howell could be the right prospect for you in this competition. It is far too early to throw in the towel on the young man. He was a premium prospect during his time at Alabama for a reason.
If you want to know anything about the Brewers Jim Breen and crew are nearly impossible to beat. You can find them at the link I listed abover or @Berniescrew via twitter

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Futures Game Pics

Royals Minor League Daily Tap

A couple Royals affiliates broke through for victories during the 2nd minor league day of the season as the Kane County Cougars and Northwest Arkansas Naturals each came out victorious.

Daily Tap Hitter of the Day Christian Colon 2-3 2b, BB, HBP, 2 SB, 2 RBI off to a great start and filling the box score.

Daily Tap Pitcher of the Day Mario Santiago 4 IP 2 H 5 K 0 BB

Game Recaps
Cougars Recap - A strong night with the bats helped the Cougars overcome some so-so pitching and shaky defense from the catching position. Alex Llanos paced the offense with a couple RBI and two extra base hits while scoring a run himself, Geulin Beltre had two more hits on the night while Brian Fletcher tossed in a two RBI double. On the mound Sugar Ray Marimon ran into trouble in the 5th inning and had to be relieved by Matt Mitchell who allowed all three runners he inherited to score he stopped the damage from there and worked one more inning striking out 3 in 2 innings while giving up 3 hits and 1 walk. Chase Boruff a non-drafted free agent worked the next two innings allowing a run while striking out four to cut the lead to one but Chaz Byrne closed it out in the 9th with 2 K's in a perfect inning. Matt Mitchell equaled his win total from last season in the victory. Brett Eibner left the game early with a thumb injury that he sustained while diving for a ball. He tweeted me that he didn't think it was broken.
Brett Eibner 1-3 Bb

Rocks Recap - Tim Melville the 24th rated prospect in my rankings struggled to begin the season again for the Rocks as he struggled to control the zone early giving up 3 walks and 8 hits over 4 innings while also allowing 3 runs. Those 3 runs would be all the Pelicans would needs as the punchless Blue Rocks managed only 6 baserunners (5 hits) for the game while striking out 16 times in the contest. Melville was touted by the organization to have improved his control and gotten better at controlling the running game two things he did poorly last year, both of which didn't see much improvement in this first game of the year.
Rey Navarro 1-3

Naturals Recap - John Lamb and Casey Kelly squared off in a matchup of highly touted starting pitchers but neither were able to take hold of this contest. Lamb it appeared still suffering from lower velocity (85-88 reported) due to a muscle strain was limited to 3 innings on the night giving up 4 hits, 2 walks while striking out 2 and allowing 2 runs to cross. Kelly didn't fair much better giving up 3 over 4.1 innings. The Naturals lead til late in the game when Patrick Keating gave up a 2 run HR to tie the game that eventually went to extra innings. In extras Salvador Perez drew a walk and was pinch ran for by Anthony Seratelli who eventually came around on a Nick Van Stratten RBI single. Lamb's velocity isn't much of a scare to me as it is well documented he's experienced this strain with his muscle, Keating on the other hand has experienced a velocity dip all spring going from mid 90s to low 90s. That type of dip out of a bullpen arm is huge and could really hurt his ability which looked to be at the top of the rung of bp arms in the system prior to the season.
Wil Myers 1-4 SB

Chasers Recap- The Chasers pitching again was knocked around with some more help from bad defense behind them. Moustakas made two more errors while Hosmer committed one also combined with the seven hits and six walks allowed lead to 10 Albuquerque runs which was a few too many for the Chasers offense to overcome. For the second night in a row the Chasers outhit the Isotopes but were less timely in their results.
Mike Moustakas 1-4 1 BB, Eric Hosmer 3-5 2b

Omaha Storm Chasers Danny Duffy
Albuquerque Isotopes Randy Keisler

Danny gets his first start of the season after a spring in which his control was spotty at best. Having seen him a couple times this spring he definitely has the stuff to be a mid of the rotation or higher type starter at the major league level if he can harness that mid 90s fastball. Like Montgomery on Thursday night Duffy could learn that he needs to use the change up and curveball more against upper level competition especially in a high run environment like Albuquerque.

Keisler is a former Yankees 2nd rounder that has appeared in 55 major league games (20 starts) with little to no success. He's a lefty which means he could pitch in the minors for the next 20 years if he so desires. Control has always been Keislers problem as at his peak he had a low 90s fastball combined with an average change up but averaging 4.5/9 BB/9 is difficult to handle for someone without truly elite swing and miss stuff.

Storm Chasers need to salvage one game in this series but they are going to need to play better defense to get that handled.

NW Arkansas Naturals Will Smith
San Antonio Missions Jorge Reyes

Will Smith gets his first AA start of the season as he is trying to for the Naturals. Smith was impressive during the Futures game against the AAA squad changing speeds with his fastball while spotting his curve well. I look for his agressive strike throwing nature to lead to good results in AA this year with a possible move to AAA not far away.

Reyes started his college career about as well as one could hope earning the Most Outstanding player award during the 2007 College World Series as a freshman. From there he was pretty up and down posting a 7.08 ERA as a sophomore and the rebounding to a 4.20 his junior year. Being represented by Boras Corp didn't help his draft stock much as he fell to the 17th round where the Padres selected him. His college scouting report listed him as a fastball/slider guy with neither being above average and no third pitch to speak about. He seems to be no more than organizational filler at this point since he isn't listed in any of the BA, Friar Forecast or John Sickels list.

The Naturals have the better lineup and starting pitcher in this matchup.

Wilmington Blue Rocks Tyler Sample
Myrtle Beach Pelicans Robert Erlin

Sample is one of the most intriguing prospects in the Royals in the system as he has some solid tools in terms of size and speed on the fastball but he just hasn't been able to keep the ball in the zone. Sample gets good downhill plane on his fastball which should lead to success if he can develop that control. I think Sample's future is as a bullpen guy myself so these first few starts should be big test on the season for the 6'7 righty. '10 Stats 121 IP 105 H 95 BB 115 SO 4.69 ERA

Erlin was a possible trade piece that the Royals could've been looking at when the Rangers were said to be hot on Greinke as he is one of the Rangers top pitching prospects. Erlin is a a crafty lefty who relies on pitchability and offspeed stuff as opposed to a overpowering fastball. Jason Parks at Texas Farm Review says that his change and curve both have plus potential while his fastball is average at best.

Blue Rocks lineup doesn't excite me much and I can't imagine too many games they'll be favored in.

Kane County Cougars Leondy Perez
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Jimmy Nelson

Perez in his first start at the A ball level is a 2007 Dominican signee who struggled in his Pioneer league season last year despite a increase in strikeouts (10.17 K/9). Leondy gave up over a hit per inning for the Chukars, numbers that will need to decrease significantly to have any sort of success at the A ball level but as a 21 year old without much of any hype around him seems to be battling a few other Cougars starters for a shot in the rotation if and when the young guns arrive (Adam, Yambati, Ventura) in warmer weather.

Nelson is another of the Rattlers 2010 college draftees was ranked 10th by BA prior to the Odorizzi and Jeffress trades meaning he's comfortably ranked in their Top 10 currently. The big bodied right hander (6'6 245) was used as a reliever in Alabama and in his first season in the minor leagues. The Brewers have decided to switch the righty over to a starter in hopes of him discovering a third pitch to team with his plus fastball and slider. He'll likely get relieved by Manny Para who is on a rehab assignment for Milwaukee.

It's likely Eibner sits out because of the thumb injury which probably give the Rattlers the edge in this one.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Royals Minor League Daily Tap featuring the 14for77 Matchup of the Week

Tough day on opening day for Royals affiliates as all three clubs playing fell on the night. Inconsistent starting pitching was the name of the game as Chris Dwyer struggled throwing strikes with his fastball for the Naturals, Leonel Santiago struggled with a bit of everything giving up 7 hits 2 walks and 6 runs (5 earned) for the Cougars. As for Mike Montgomery it was a tale of two games for the young lefty. In the second inning the Isotopes jumped all over Montgomery early in counts as eight hitters came to the plate none of which went past a four pitch count while many were swinging away earlier and having success lining singles through the holes. After the second inning however Montgomery settled down and gave up just one run over the next three innings retiring the last 7 hitters he faced. On the night Monty finished with 5 IP 6 H 5 ER 2 BB 3 K not quite the start to the season the young lefty was looking for but in the long run was a good learning experience for the future. The game really got away for the Storm Chasers when Steven Shell got knocked around in his 1 inning of work giving up 5 runs partly due to a collision in the outfield by Paulo Orlando and David Lough.

Daily Tap Top Hitter Clint Robinson 2-4 2 HR 2 RBI

Daily Tap Top Pitcher Dusty Odenbach 0.2 IP 1 K 0 H entered with the bases loaded and stranded them there. Not many to really get excited about on the first day.

Northwest Arkansas Naturals John Lamb
San Antonio Missions Casey Kelly

Our 14for77 Matchup of the Week features two top 35 prospects in John Lamb and Casey Kelly. Lamb has been recovering from a muscle strain that has kept his velocity down most of the spring but his craftiness and experience at the AA level should give him the upper hand versus AA hitters.

Casey Kelly was the top piece in the Adrian Gonzalez deal for the Padres and as a 21 year old in AA he has plenty of promise for their fanbase. Kelly should be a nice test for the Naturals hitters with his 89-93 peaking at 96 mph fastball and plus change up. Kelly also throws a curveball that has some average projection but he struggles commanding it currently. Kelly's delivery is smooth and easy and he's a above average athlete who should be a plus fielder as a former players son and a excellent high school shortstop in his own right.

The Naturals only punched out 5 hits last night and two of those were punched out by getting tossed out stealing. Kelly could prove a tough pitcher to get that offense going especially for a right handed heavy lineup like the Naturals whose 7 of the 9 hitters in last nights lineup were right handed. Christian Colon 2010 4th pick overall had a good night accounting for both Naturals runs homering in his first AA at bat and driving in another run in on a single later in the game.

Blue Rocks start their season
High A
Wilmington Blue Rocks Tim Melville
Myrtle Beach Pelicans Neil Ramirez

Game Notes:
Tim Melville the Royals 2008 4th Round pick is back after a difficult season last year at High A Wilmington. Melville has the stuff to be a dominant pitcher with a possible plus fastball, curve combination combined with a change that has peaked above average at times as well. Melville's biggest problem has been his pace which leads to control problems. JJ Picollo touted Melville as a possible fast mover to the AA level this season which hopefully means they fixed things during instructs and spring.

Neil Ramirez is a soon to be 22 year old right hander who finds himself outside of the Top 20 prospects in a deep Texas Rangers farm system. According to Jason Parks at Texas Farm Review has two plus pitches in his 92-94 mph fastball and his curve that has heavy vertical movement.
Mike Olt and Leury Garcia are two of the top 15 prospect in the Texas Rangers system.

Omaha Storm Chasers Jeff Suppan
Albuquerque Isotopes(Dodgers) Carlos Monasterios

Suppan rejoins the Royals organization after a few years away. He'll try to prove he's worth a look at the major league level and hopefully be a good mentor to the young guys coming thru the system.

Monasterios came over in the Bobby Abreu deal from the Yankees back in 2006 and spent quite a bit of 2010 on the major league roster. He threw 32 games (13 starts) in the bigs last season compiling a 4.38 ERA in 88.1 IP. Monasterios is primarily a fastball/change up guy as over 80% of his pitches in the majors were of that variety. His change up is his plus pitch with fading action on it at an average of 77.6 mph as that teams well with his 90.1 mph fastball last season. Carlos was prone to the long ball last season giving up 1.5+/9 last year which playing in LA's spacious park is quite alot and considering he'll be playing in the light air in New Mexico the Chasers could take advantage of that.

The Storm Chasers defense struggled in the first game as they left multiple outs on the field. The offense did account for 12 hits and 5 runs in the loss on the positive side.

Kane County Cougars Sugar Ray Marimom
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Matt Miller

Sugar Ray Marimom is back for his second year at A ball where the young Columbian struggled in 14 starts allowing 1.429 WHIP and over 5 run ERA. He and a few others in the current rotation will be pushed to get off to decent starts prior to some of the younger arms coming after extended spring training.

Miller was picked last year in the 5th round out of Michigan and quickly earned rave reviews by folks in the Brewers system as he touched 97 mph on his normal 92-94 mph FB. He has a four pitch mix with the above average FB he also throws a plus slider, decent change up and began throwing a curveball last season in leading his Pioneer league team to a title. At 6'6 230 lbs and possessing a big time fastball Miller at worst looks the part as a future bullpen guy.

The Cougars struggled all over the diamond as the pitching staff gave up 14 hits in the first 7.1 Innings while committing three errors and the bats were held to just 6 hits only one of which was an extra base hit(Eibner HR).

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Introducing the Minor League Daily Tap

Christian Colon will try to bring home another AA championship

The daily tap is going to be a new feature at the 14 for 77 blog each day I will be selecting a Royals Minor League Hitter of the day and Pitcher of the Day from the previous days games during the Minor league season as well as a preview for that days games. I'll also give any information I may have seen or heard from attending whichever minor league game I was at as well as the next days pitching matchup. It's going to be a great season and I'm going to try to get as much Royal minor league info out there as any Royal blog going !

Audio broadcast of all the games are always free on and for another great value is a terrific value at only $29.99 for tons of games. Quite a few AAA games are on !

If you are going to checkout the audio broadcast this year I rank the Royals minor league announcers like this:
#1 Wilmington Blue Rocks John Sadak
#2 Omaha Storm Chasers Mark Nasser
#3 NW Arkansas Naturals Steven Davis
UR Kane County Cougars ?
Sadak has major league pipes and calls a terrific game if you get a chance to hear him.

Pitching Matchups Opening Day
Omaha Storm Chasers Mike Montgomery (3)
Albuquerque Isotopes(Dodgers) Dana Evel
Game Notes:
Plenty of AAA debuts in this one for the Chasers as Montgomery, Hosmer, Clint Robinson, Giavotella and Paulo Orlando are all likely to make their level debuts. Montgomery has looked outstanding this spring but this will be a big test pitching in a tough run environment like Albuquerque that yielded nearly a quarter more runs(1.23 Park Factor) and over a quarter more home runs(1.27) in 2010. Look for good starts for the Storm Chasers offense.

Dana Eveland is your typical AAAA lefty starter and should prove to a nice test to the Chasers left hand heavy lineup. He's primarily a fastball/curveball guy but has four pitches in his repertoire and will likely work the youngsters backwards to see if they can adapt to the plus offspeed stuff. If he does get forced to come at them they should have the advantage as his fastball generally sits high 80s low 90s and that's not enough for the lefty threesome of Hos, Moose and Robinson.

The Isotopes feature three of the Dodgers top 10 prospects in Dee Gordon, Trayvon Robinson and Jerry Sands

NW Arkansas Naturals Chris Dwyer(7) 6pm CST
San Antonio Missions(Padres) Anthony Bass

Game Notes:
Chris Dwyer was looking pretty smooth at Double A last year until running into back problems forcing the Royals to play cautious and sit him for the rest of the year. First AA games for Colon, Myers and Salvador Perez all highly rated Royals prospects.

Anthony Bass is the 22nd rated Padres prospect according to Baseball America and features a 90-92 mph FB that can reach 96 at its peak. Along with that offering Bass comes at hitters from a 3/4 arm angle along with a sinking change up that flashes above average and a mid 80s slider. BA says Bass likes to work up in the zone which could be be a problem for him at the AA level.

Players of Note Jaff Decker and Drew Cumberland Top 10 Padres Prospects

Low A
Kane County Cougars Leonel Santiago
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Brewers) Austin Ross

Game Notes:
This game features a couple older pitchers for this level as both Santiago and Ross are 21 or older. Santiago had a good season last year at the Rookie level for the Burlington club. Santiago's 7.3/1.9 K/BB ratio should help him early in the Midwest league as it generally features a colder low scoring run environment for the first month of the season.

Ross is a 2010 8th Rd draftee from LSU who is ranked at #30 according to Baseball America. Ross pitched 10 games in the Pioneer League last year with a 2.70 ERA in 47 innings while carrying an impressive 52/6 K/BB ratio. According to BA he has a low 90s fastball, consistent slider and below average change up. At the A ball level his above average control (1.61 BB/9 in college) and two pitch control should serve him well but he'll need a third pitch and more juice at the next levels.

Wisconsin features only one prospect in the Brewers Top 20 Cody Hawn 1b from University of Tennessee

Jason Parks reacts to Yordano Ventura

Who: He’s a 19-year-old Dominican smoke-thrower capable of causing this exchange:
JP: (incoming pitch; looks at gun reading; looks perplexed)
JP: (incoming pitch; looks at gun reading; looks around at other guns; looks perplexed)
JP: (incoming pitch; looks at gun reading) Did you get 98?
Scout: Yep
JP: (incoming pitch; looks at gun reading; endorphins begin to rush; brow begins to sweat; smile begins to creep onto face; pants begin to loosen) Does he normally throw 100 mph?
Scout: Why are you sitting so close to me?

Parks wrote a couple good pieces over at Baseball Prospectus on the Royals system as well as writing a great scouting blog about the Texas Rangers system. Both are great investments if you are into minor league players.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Futures Game Video

Click on the line below to see video.
Mike Moustakas singles off John Lamb

Johnny Giavotella good play on a groundout on the shortstop side of second base.

Mike Montgomery Ks Wil Myers on a 96 mph fastball

Danny Duffy K's Christian Colon

Wil Myers doubles off Louis Coleman

David Lough HR off of Chris Dwyer

If you are interested to see more head over to my Youtube Channel kcscoliny. I'll post pics of the event within a couple days.

Grading the Minor League Rosters

The Minor League Rosters were finalized on Tuesday with the Blue Rocks finalizing their High A roster. For a system loaded with talent it was interesting to see how many talented position players got left off rosters to start the season. Names like Cuthbert, Arteaga, Calixte, Lane Adams and a few other talented position players will have to wait to start their seasons. This could be a sign that a few players in the Royals system will get quick looks to see if they can get things going or fall victim to the talent behind them.

While a couple of the rosters are uninspiring currently lets breakdown each position group to see which teams have the most potential strength in the system.

Starting Pitching
Most Current Talent: Omaha Storm Chasers hard to argue with a staff lead by Mike Montgomery after his spring and Danny Duffy.

Most Potential Talent: Wilmington Blue Rocks - This staff has huge potential arms all over with Sample, Odorizzi, Melville and Arguelles even some guys in the pen could still be potential starters in Marriott and Herrera.

Relief Pitching: Omaha Storm Chasers - Coleman, Holland are guys I like to make it to KC this year combined with a solid lefty like Hardy makes this staff too much to overcome for the rest in the org. The Rocks could have a lethal combo later in the year if Sample and Herrera if both take to that BP role.

Catching: NW Arkansas Naturals Salvador Perez is the catcher of the future in this organization.

Corner Infield: Omaha Storm Chasers Hos and Moose enough said

Middle Infield: NW Arkansas Naturals - I'll take the Naturals in this one even though they will likely be playing their middle infielders at opposite positions. I think Bianchi could be a decent Utility infielder in the bigs playing 2b,SS and 3b in a pinch while Colon more than likely is a 2b longterm.

Outfield - NW Arkansas Naturals Wil Myers is the heavy weight in this race combined with Robinson gets the slight edge over the Storm Chasers. That tells you how highly I think of Myers considering that I believe three out of the four Omaha outfielders (Cain, Blanco and Lough) will likely get time at some point this season in KC.

I'll be going to:
April 15 Omaha Storm Chasers
April 18, 19 Kane County

Omaha Storm Chasers

Mike Montgomery (3)
Danny Duffy (8)
Everett Teaford (29)
Jeff Suppan
Kevin Pucetas
Luis Mendoza
Steven Shell
Vin Mazzaro
Greg Holland
Blake Wood
Blaine Hardy
Louis Coleman (12)
Jesse Chavez
Manny Pina
Cody Clark
Clint Robinson (21)
Eric Hosmer (2)
Johnny Giavotella (21)
Lance Zawadski
Irving Falu
Mike Moustakas (4)
David Lough (20)
Lorenzo Cain
Gregor Blanco
Paulo Orlando

NW Arkansas Naturals

John Lamb (5)
Chris Dwyer (7)
Will Smith (30)
Edgar Osuna
Heath Rollins

Patrick Keating (31)
Harold Mozingo
Eric Basurto
Buddy Baumann
Brandon Sisk
Blake Johnson
Mario Santiago
Eduardo Paulino
Salvador Perez (18)
Ryan Eigsti
Ben Theriot
Jamie Romak
Jeff Bianchi (23)
Kurt Mertins
Christian Colon (6)
Mario Lisson
Anthony Seratelli
Nick Van Stratten
Tim Smith
Derrick Robinson (27)
Wil Myers (1)

Wilmington Blue Rocks
Tim Melville (24)
Jake Odorizzi (10)
Noel Arguelles
Justin Marks
Elisaul Pimentel
Tyler Sample
Kelvin Herrera
Julio Pimentel
Michael Mariot
Glenn Gibson
Manauris Baez
Ryan Dennick
Bryan Paukovits
Brendan Lafferty
Kevin Chapman
C Jose Bonilla
C Juan Graterol
1b Joey Lewis
2b Deivy Batista
2b/SS Rey Navarro
SS Alex McClure
UT Adam Frost
RF Nick Francis
OF Carlo Testa
CF Adrian Ortiz
CF Whit Merrifield
LF Tim Ferguson

Kane County Cougars

SP Jon Keck
SP Matt Mitchell
SP Leonel Santiago
SP Crawford Simmons
SP Keaton Hayenga
RP Nick Wooley
RP Leondy Perez
RP Sugar Ray Marimon
RP Mitch Hodge
RP Chas Byrne
RP Greg Billo
RP Chase Boruff

C Ryan Jenkins
C Travis Jones
1b Murray Watts
2b Angel Franco
SS Yowill Espinal
3b Fernando Cruz
2b/SS Gerald Hall Jr.
UT Ryan Stovall

RF Geulin Beltre
CF Brett Eibner
LF Brian Fletcher
OF Alex Llanos

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Royals look into the future and past to start the season

Typically a couple days away allows me to come down from excitement and not overreact to what I've seen as I never want to overreact or cloud my judgement but when it comes to Mike Montgomery I just can't seem to pace myself. I've seen him twice this spring once versus the Cincinnati Reds and then again in the Futures game and he's been lights out both times. 8 innings 2 hits 2 walks 7 K's and 1 run allowed during that time. On Saturday he sailed through a pretty solid AA lineup working 91-93 pretty consistently while blowing away Wil Myers in the 1st inning with a 96 mph fastball. He featured the fastball so there wasn't many changes or curves thrown to report on I'll sure I get to see many more of those as the season goes on but from what I've seen so far he definitely has the makings of a #1 who I think we'll see in KC before the year ends.

Johnny Giavotella vs Christian Colon - This is a rivalry that should be fun to watch all season long, Colon hasn't excited me defensively at SS and while I didn't expect him to I'm unsure if his defense is good enough at 2b to eclipse Gio's offense. Giavotella is patient, knows his offensive limitations and is a good enough baserunner that he might be a difficult hurdle for the higher drafted Colon to get over. Giavotella looked much better on defense during the Futures game than I've seen him in the past making a good turn on a double play and making a jumping throw from the SS side of second base. Giavotella is never going to be an All Star second baseman but he has the chance to have a plus bat along with at his peak a average glove. I overheard some Royals scouts getting excited by Giavotella's play.

Danny Duffy - Looked alot like the pitcher we've seen most of the spring showing a low to mid 90s fastball with some shaky control (walked 3). Duffy only gave up one hit an infield single which was quickly erased by a double play. In the second inning when Mario Lisson reached via a walk Duffy was a little too deliberate to the plate allowing Lisson to get a extremely good jump and stealing second base but Duffy made up for that mistake by freezing #4 overall pick Christian Colon with a 77 mph bender. Duffy essentially got five outs in his third inning of work striking out three despite having to work an extra couple batters due to a Moustakas error at third and a Falu error at short.

Other pitchers - John Lamb's velocity was far from exciting throwing anywhere from 86-89 while touching 91 with his fastball but he gutted his way thru 2.2 innings giving up just one run on three hits. Lamb gutted out his effort by picking off Lorenzo Cain and allowing only a couple hard hit balls. The early muscle problems should be good for Lamb a little bit of adversity to overcome when not at 100%. Brandon Sisk only got to face one hitter (Moustakas) but he tied him up with a 90-91 mph fastball and two solid change ups, four pitches and a K against a premiere prospect, not bad. Chris Dwyer again like Lamb wasn't as impressive as I had hoped in the the velocity department working in 89-91 range while exhibiting some iffy control (3 walks). The AA pitchers fell victim to some poor defense behind them which could've lead to some of Dwyer's troubles trying to be too fine. One pitcher who didn't disappoint was Will Smith who despite giving up a in the park HR on a misplayed ball in LF worked quickly while touching 93 a couple times with his FB. One nice sequence for Smith was against David Lough starting him off with a couple low 90s FB, a 93 mph FB and then freezing Lough with a 76 mph deuce for strike three. Patrick Keating was disappointing to me as he was throwing in the low 90's which is quite a bit off from where scouting reports had him last season.

Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer - Neither player stood out with their results although Moose hit several balls hard. Hos on the otherhand seemed a bit impatient which is to be expected playing in the major league park in game action for the first time. The pair finished a combined 1-12 at the plate while Moustakas had a ball go right thru the wickets on defense leading to a Naturals run. Hosmer looked good on defense making all the plays in his area while also making a nice pick of a Van Stratten hard hit near the line.

Wil Myers- Myers had a tough start to the game turning a Hosmer flyball into a circus catch in RF while striking out 2 of his first 3 times at the plate. He settled on defense however making some routine plays and looks as if he'll be fine in RF. He also lined a pitch from Louis Coleman down the third base line for a double, that's a good sign as I expect Coleman will be extremely tough on righty's in the bigs with his arm angle and start from the extreme right side of the pitching rubber.

Other notes- David Lough and Jamie Romak hit the only Home Runs off the arms of Chris Dwyer and Blake Wood. Wood was throwing in the low 90s as opposed to the upper 90s like some had reported during spring training. I'll watch the guns closely in Omaha to see if that is the case once the AAA season starts.

MVP Mike Montgomery
Offensive MVP Johnny Giavotella 1-3 2-BB 1-2b

Royals announced a minor league deal with Jeff Suppan today. Suppan started for four seasons with the Royals compiling 132 starts and 832 innings over a 4 year period from 1999-2002. This is a decent little low risk deal for a ML veteran, if a couple injuries would take place the Royals could bring up Suppan to take over in the rotation as opposed to rushing Duffy or Montgomery to KC.

NEXT UP Pics and Video of the Futures game
Omaha Storm Chasers Workout Wednesday at the new Werner Park

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Season Predictions White Sox win it all

I could easily toss out a Philly-Boston/NY World Series which is what everyone else is doing but I thought I'd go a different way and predict a scenario in which a different team wins it all.

AL East
Tampa Bay

AL Central
Kansas City

AL West
LA Angeles

Wild Card NY Yankees

Boston beats Texas
Chicago beats NY Yankees
Chicago beats Boston

AL MVP Kevin Youkilis
AL CY Young CJ Wilson
AL Jackie Robinson Award Kyle Drabek

NL East
NY Mets

NL Central
St Louis

NL West
San Francisco
LA Dodgers
San Diego

Wild Card Philadelphia

Cincinnati beats Atlanta
Philadelphia beats Colorado
Philadelphia beats Cincinnati

NL MVP Jason Heyward
NL CY Young Roy Halladay
NL Jackie Robinson Award Freddie Freeman

Chicago shocks the world and beats Philadelphia in 6 games.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Putting the finishing touch on the Royals Winter

Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus let out a few more articles on the bright Royals future today. Those features wrap up a winter of unparalleled coverage for a team coming off yet another losing season. I definitely can't think of a time that a teams minor league players have been so extensively studied by pretty much every sports publication in this country. It sure has been fun to read, listen and watch what people have to say about these young Royals but even a prospect hound like myself has grown tired of it. I'm ready to watch them !

The final piece for Royals minor league fun will be the Royals Futures Game Saturday and as you would expect I will be there checking out the fun. After that it's opening day at Werner Park followed by a trip to Kane County April 18th and the 19th. Tweet me up if you are out at any of these events. See ya Saturday !

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Royals Nation unhappy with the final roster moves.

The Royals finished up with another win today their 20th of the spring while also finalizing their major league roster. As most people expected Coleman, Mendoza, Zach Miner, Irvin Falu and Lance Zawadzki will all be reassigned with Vin Mazzaro to minor league camps. Coleman, Mendoza and Zawadzki pushed hard going to the final day of spring but the fact that they weren't on the 40 man roster hurt their chances to break with the team. I expect Zawadzki and Coleman to get a shot at the bigs prior to the end of the year if they perform in Omaha.

Prior to these moves the Royals picked up Matt Treanor from the Rangers and added him to the 25 man roster while leaving Lucas May exposed. There are many in Royal fandom that have a problem with this and while Treanor may not be an average catcher in the bigs assuming that Lucas May who has just one average season at AAA is a huge loss is somewhat funny. I saw May quite a few times last season and he seemed like a straight fastball hitter that would get exposed by breaking stuff in the majors while also being a below average defensive catcher. I'm not saying I'm excited by this move but on the other hand I see the writing on the wall and this Salvador Perez's job and pitching staff for that matter in 2012 with a possibility of picking up a catcher via free agency if he struggles this season. I would rather the young bullpen guys had a chance to work with a experience vet like Treanor in the meantime.

The other moves that caused waves were adding Aaron Crow to the bullpen and taking Jarrod Dyson to KC while exposing Gregor Blanco to waivers. I had already expressed how I liked the Crow decision prior to KC making it here so I'll address the Dyson decision instead. Blanco is a nice player but has little to no longterm future with this team so keeping him isn't a huge addition while losing him isn't big either. Dyson is 26 going on 27 so the chance of him finding some kind of playable power to allow him to be a everyday centerfielder is asking alot especially after 1200+ minor league ABs. He is what he is a speedy defensive outfielder/pinch runner. If the Royals have a upside speedy centerfielder who could develop some pop it's Derrick Robinson in AA not Jarrod Dyson.

I don't understand the uproar about Blanco, when was he supposed to play after Cain was called up? His only available playing time at this point would be if Frenchy and Alex both fell off the canyons edge of performance something even I don't believe will happen with both of them. Maier is the better player and Blanco out of the fold is good to me in case Frenchy or Alex fold then KC might have to give David Lough a look as opposed to running Maier and Blanco both out there everyday. Lough has more upside than Gregor and Mitch and if he performs in Omaha should be in line for a spot after Cain. Blanco was given an edge to win a spot in the spring and he just didn't take hold of it.

The hyperbole is funny that has been tossed out there, these moves haven't stopped or slowed the process these were players that had little to no future with the Royals and losing them now isn't causing any losses to the huge talent pool that already exist.

Monday, March 28, 2011

2011 Kansas City Royals Prediction

It's prediction time folks ! As a blogger about the Royals I am obliged to write my prediction of what I think will happen this season so readers can requote me later to tell me what I'm wrong about. So here you go I'm putting my pinky finger on the cutting board with a bucket of ice standing by.

2011 Record 75-87 4th Place

Hitting MVP: Billy Butler .320+ 25 HR 45 2b
Defensive MVP: Alcides Escober
Positional ROY: Mike Moustakas

DH/1b Billy Butler- I believe Butler is in line for his first .900+ OPS season. He's going to prove that the contract extension was a good decision despite splitting time at DH and 1b I think he'll put up a 3.5-4 WAR season. That's not a big improvement in WAR but I think he'll play quite a few games fewer at 1b this season.

1b/DH Kila Ka'aihue- I doubt Kila reaches BP's projections but I do think he'll be better than what KC has seen out of the DH position in the past. Somewhere in that .825-.840 OPS region with 20 HR and better defense than what Billy can provide at 1b. WAR Value 2-2.5

2b Chris Getz- I don't believe in Getz's ability to hit much. I think he'll hit his way out of Kansas City within a couple months posting a sub .600 OPS along the way and making room for Aviles to take over the spot when Moose is ready to come up.

SS Alcides Escobar- Spring training home runs are generally to be ignored but I saw one Escobar hit off the Reds while in Arizona and I came away pretty impressed. It wasn't a windy night or unusually warm but it was a high semi deep home run to left center that a light hitting SS in the TPJ mold wouldn't be able to hit. I'm not expecting Escobar to put up huge offensive numbers in KC but I think he'll put up better numbers than we expect. My guess OPS .750 range with plus plus defense 3-4 WAR.

3B Mike Aviles- Aviles will do what he does hit above .300 and mix in a little pop while moving to 2b when Moose is ready to go. OPS .800 range

Mike Moustakas- I think Mike will get off to a slow start but adjust and hit 10-15 HR's and get people excited for next season. Many in the prospect field are scared of Mike's patience which they should be but what most like is his strength combined with a flat plane swing that stays in the zone a long time that will allow him to hit for a decent average (.275-.300) and also allows him to hit any type of pitch once he's adjusted after seeing it. OPS .775 Range.

Wilson Betemit .750 OPS very limited playing time with Kila and Butler playing well.

Rookies to play this season: Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer(Sept.), Lance Zawadzki(Util when Getz goes down) and Johnny Giavotella(Sept.)

C Jason Kendall/Matt Treanor - More of the same out of the catching position for the Royals. Kendall and Treanor's performance will probably be interchangeable and will play too much and while putting up a sub .600 OPS.

C Brayan Pena - Pena would like the Royals to signa a longterm deal but that's not coming with Salvador on the way. Pena will struggle again at the plate and behind it as he gets sporadic playing time.

LF Alex Gordon- This is the tough one, I've watched Alex for a long time and he's got all the skill in his body to get it done but I don't think he has what it take confidencewise to as he put it "dominate". I think he'll put up numbers similar to what he did as a rookie .725 OPS range with average defense.

CF Melky Cabrerra- I think GMDM is hoping to have Melky get out of the gates fast start so they can flip him similarly to what they did with Scott Podsednik when Lorenzo Cain is ready to go. We'll see how it plays out but I think he'll play below average defense in CF while hitting in the .740 OPS range.

RF Jeff Franceour- Every Non-Royal fan rejoiced at the signing of Frenchy the day it happened and they will be treated to exactly what most expect of him a subpar performance. .700 OPS Range with 15 HRs and better defense than he has played the last couple years due to being leaner.

Lorenzo Cain- Cain will take over for Melky after the trading deadline and provide a similar OPS to Melky but with plus defense.
Mitch Maier .700 OPS Range
Jarrod Dyson .680 OPS range

Rookies to play: Lorenzo Cain, David Lough(Sept)
WAR Leaders
Escobar 4
Butler 3.5-4
Aviles 3
Kila 2-2.5

SP MVP: Luke Hochevar 4.00 ERA Range
BP MVP outside Joakim Soria:
Royals ROY: Mike Montgomery

I picked the record I did because I believe this season will go similarly to the 2008season with the Royals struggling at first but by midseason finding a good rythem with a dominant bullpen leading to a solid 2nd half of the season.

1. Luke Hochevar 4.00 ERA Range I think Luke will step up with improved defense behind him putting together is best season to date. Hoch will be the best starter over the course of the season. WAR 4 range in 185 innings

2. Jeff Francis - I think KC could get a nice stretch out of Francis to start the season while he puts up a similar season to Bruce Chen as last year earning him a ticket out of town at the trade deadline for a team looking for postseason experience. 4.50 ERA Range in about 100-125 innings 1 WAR

3. Kyle Davies - More of the same from Davies, no reason to expect anything different than what he's done over the last couple of seasons. 5.25 ERA around 2 WAR in 180 innings

4. Bruce Chen - Back to life back to reality for Bruce 5.50 ERA Range demoted prior to the All Star Break

5. Vin Mazzaro - 4.75 ERA Range for Vin not what we wanted in return for DDJ. 150-175 innings and

Mike Montgomery- A lefty that hits 97 with a good curve and change up will get into the rotation by the All Star break taking over for Chen. He'll struggle at first as most rookies do but by the end of the season will look like a figurehead at the top of the rotation for a long time. 4.25 ERA Range approx.

Aaron Crow - Struggles at first but settles into the 3rd or 4th best BP guy. By midseason he takes over as the long man and swingman and start to compete for a rotation spot in '12

Nate Adcock - I don't like his chances once the lights kick on. He hasn't missed many bats and reminds me of O'Sullivan.

Sean O'Sullivan - More of the same out of O'Sullivan

Jeremy Jeffress - Fb just a bit too straight to succeed for me.

Tim Collins- the funky lefty will workout just fine for the Royals quickly becoming the regular vs lefties and working into a 7th inning role while taking over as the 8th inning guy for Tejeda when he is traded.

Robinson Tejeda - Hard to see Tejeda not matching what he has done each of his last two seasons. McClure has been able to right the ship everytime he has any falters. I do think this is the season the Royals trade him at the deadline though perhaps a Tejeda and one of the OF in a package.

Joakim Soria - He'll keep doing what he does 35+ saves in too few of innings.

Look it's easy to look at this roster and say the Royals will hover around 65 wins or so and I could just as easily make that case as what I predicted. The Royals are an organization currently that has a positive outlook on themselves and they've eliminated the players who have a negative picture of the past organization which to me is huge. Can I quantify that it a number of wins? No I can't but I do think it matters, I've seen too many people in my life with talent in a number of fields that just didn't reach their potential because of their attitude.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Aaron Crow and thinning the roster

Last season Aaron Crow showed up to spring training with big time expectations by Royals fans. He did everything in his power to meet those expectations during the spring even causing some to think he should be given a job in the bullpen. Last season that would've been too much to ask for Aaron in my opinion as a guy who sat out over a year of baseball but now I think it's time to give him a shot.

Crow's change up didn't do much progressing last season and while I don't have anything against the minor league staff I would like to see how Crow's change developed after working with Bob McClure for a full season. Aaron definitely has the two pitch combo to succeed out of the bullpen. His fastball according to pitchf/x versus Oakland this spring was 94-96 with plenty of movement (4-6 degrees) while his slider was 86-89 with 6 to 8 degrees in movement. That's plenty of velocity and enough movement that if Crow throws strikes he'll succeed in the pen and give the Royals a swing and miss power who can also create groundballs, something they don't have in their other bullpen talents.

The biggest part of this scenario is working with McClure who I think is a above average pitching coach and has done wonders with the pitchers he's had in the pen so far. McClure on multiple occassions (Tejeda, Greinke and Farnsworth) has taken failed or struggling starters and turned them into effective relievers who have at least entered the conversation as possible rotation guys while also helping one become a Cy Young winner. I'm quite confident a year with Bob in the pen would do as much for Crow's career as a starter as anything he would learn this year in AA or AAA.

Couple other notes the Royals released Aaron Hartsock, Scott Kelley, Justin Figueroa and Tom Zebroski this weekend after trading Gaby Hernandez and Alex Caldera earlier. The Royals also picked up John Whittleman from the Rangers.

Whittleman isn't much of a prospect as a 25 year old heading to High A after not posting much of a line last season in AA but I assume he is a great guy and will help fill roster at High A Wilmington.

Cut day is coming soon I think we are gonna see some interesting decisions by the Royals as they decided to send Lorenzo Cain down today.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mike Sweeney Retires a Royal awaits his Royal HOF spot

Good stuff on part of the organization today as Mike Sweeney signed a one day contract and retired as a Royal the way he should. Sweeney was a constant role model and seemed to be a class act on the field and off it despite plenty of criticism by fans and media alike.

Sweeney according to Baseball reference finishes 7th All Time in Royal history in Career WAR PA
1. George Brett 85.0 11624
2. Amos Otis 42.3 7969
3. Willie Wilson 35.7 7302
4. Frank White 26.9 8467
5. Hal McRae 26.1 7361
6. Carlos Beltran 24.6 3512
7. Mike Sweeney 22.2 527

5th in Offensive WAR PA
1. George Brett 79.5 11624
2. Amos Otis 45.8 7969
3. Hal McRae 26.4 7361
4. Willie Wilson 25.8 7302
5. Mike Sweeney 23.3 5278

2nd in OPS to Danny Tartabull, 2nd in Adjusted OPS+ to George Brett and 2nd again to Brett in Home Runs. Simply put Mike Sweeney in a few years will find his jersey hanging in the Royals Hall of Fame as a 1st ballot Royal Hall of Famer. A fitting career end to a Hall of Fame type of person.

Revisiting Playboy 2005

As some of you may know I have a small company in Council Bluffs/Omaha and in my offices I share a bathroom with the landlord who has an office in the building. While I've been using the bathroom for months one day I looked above the cabinet for some untold reason and discovered a couple Playboy magazines peaking over the edge.

Being a man I looked around (duh no one else is in the bathroom) and was compelled to grab the Playboy magazines to discover what great articles are to be seen on the inside of the pages and to my surprise what should I find but a preview of the 2005 baseball season. While many Royal fans remember the 2004 and 2005 seasons as probably the two worst seasons in Royal history both recordwise but also because of the promise 2003 brought I thought it would be fun to revisit what a non-sport publication thought at the time.

Last Season 58-104 Last place, 34 games out. The Royals used a franchise-record 58 players, one shy of the major league mark set by Cleveland and San Diego in 2002.

Off-season focus: They splurged on free agents a year ago and went from a contender in 2003 to having the worst record in franchise histroy. So they regrouped and committed to building from within the farm system.

Who was this farm system rebuild with? Buck and Teahen? I've always thought the idea that Baird looked to rebuild with the farm system was a total joke. The guy didn't draft well, buy international talent or even use all the minor league levels to develop players. Whoever bought into Baird's idea of development wasn't watching closely.

In-season prognosis: The Royals have the potential to suprise-not by winning the division but by making everyone else uncomfortable. They have young talent and are excited about the potential of third baseman Mark Teahen, who came from Oakland. How much they improve will depend on how well Runelvys Hernandez rebounds from elbow surgery and whether righty Denny Bautista can deliver.

Of course the Royals didn't make anyone uncomfortable that season by setting a new low mark going 56-106.

Welcome to town: Outfielder Terrence Long was excess baggage in San Diego, but the Royals see him as a much needed left-handed bat who will respond to a return to regular duty.

Terrence Long was just another name in the group of failed veteran pickups by Baird. Guys he would attempt to grab onto just before they left baseball. Baird's OF picks of Gonzalez, Long and Sanders over inhouse players like Diaz and Ibanez were just a couple reasons this franchise reached incredible lows in '04 and '05.

This preview was written by Tracy Rigolsby while Christina Kahrl wrote some bits and pieces as well, it's always fun to look back and review what people thought at the time no matter how painful that season was. There was also the nice Mike Sweeney little interview with one of the following quotes "I was there when we lost 100 games. I was there when we came up just short of winning the division. It would be sweeter to win in Kansas City, having gone through the tought times." Rigolsby took it pretty easy on the Royals as I believe most thought they were going to end up where they did but he shined as much hope as he possibly could.

While the baseball intro doesn't quite live up to the James Spader interview(I'm a Boston Legal fan), Hunter S. Thompson last words or Suburban Bombshells Naked comparison of Desperate Housewives it was definitely fun to discover in my office but unfortunately I won't be reviewing the October 2008 issue that is also above the cabinet.

NEXT UP: Royals Season Predictions