2007-03-04T16:06:39.380-05:00Breaking News: Mark Grudzielanek will undergo knee surgery on Monday. There is no timetable for his return, but it is certainly weakens the Royals' defense up the middle until he returns. German will likely become the regular second basemen until he returns. German had an outstanding season for the Royals last year, hitting .326/.422/.459. So, he may be an upgrade offensively over Grudzielanek.
2007-03-03T01:40:35.059-05:00(image) I watched the University of Oklahoma play UC Riverside this afternoon and got a first-hand look at RHP James Simmons. Several scouts were on hand (including a Royals' scout) to watch Simmons and Sooner starter Stephen Porlier (more on him in another post). Here's a brief bio of James Simmons:
2007-03-01T02:39:32.760-05:00I will have an in-depth look at 3 of Baseball America's top 100 college draft prospects. This will be the beginning of draft coverage from the Daily Lancer featuring college player previews with photos and maybe some videos.
2007-02-09T23:00:39.070-05:002007 draftWe are 4 months away from the 2007 draft—most of the big college programs get started this weekend. We hope to provide coverage leading up to the draft—covering players that the Royals might be interested in. There are some pretty big changes to this year’s draft. First there is an August 15th deadline to sign draftees—that means no more long holdouts—clubs and draftees have to get a deal done. As added leverage for clubs, if a club does not sign a player from the first couple rounds, the club is given a compensation pick next year right after the lost pick. (i.e. if the Royals failed to sign their top pick—the #2 overall—they would get the #3 overall pick in 2008). There are no more draft and follows—drafting a HS player who then goes to JC where he can be signed after he season ends and before the next draft begins. Lastly, due to changes in the way free agent compensation works, the Royals after the #2 overall pick won’t pick again until around pick 64. The draft will bring to conclusion Dayton Moore’s 1st year as GM. It will be interesting to see if our draft strategy changes much. Deric Ladnier has a Braves background-so perhaps he has already brought many of those changes with him. I will especially be watching to see if the Royals new emphasis on pitchers with curveballs (as opposed to sliders) affects who we draft. That may have been one of the reasons that the Royals took Hochevar over Miller in 2006. Hochevar has a good curve—Miller is known for his slider. The 2007 draft will hopefully be the last time the Royals have a top 5 (or even top 10) pick for a long time. It will be very tempting to take a college talent who is closer to the big leagues—but this year’s draft class has excellent depth. While there are definite front runners for the top couple of picks, there are plenty of other players who could zoom up the charts in the next few months. Here are some of the best known players.Baseball America has excellent draft coverage, but you have to pay for most of it.Brewerfan has excellent free coverage—I encourage you to check them out:http://www.brewerfan.net/ViewDraftArchive.do?draftId=5Here are my rankings as we head into the amateur season:College:1. David PricePrice has very good stuff—FB, SL, CH and good control. His numbers were better than his ERA indicated last year at Vandy. He pitched great for Team USA last summer—5-1 .20 ERA, 44ip, 7W, 61K. If he pitches well in the spring, he probably becomes a Devil Ray. I would love to have him—but wonder how dogmatic the Royals are about pitchers that that feature a slider. 2. Matt WietersIf Price is #1, Wieters is #1a. A switch hitting catcher who also closes for Georgia Tech. He has power and patience. He as a rocket arm (he is also a very talented pitcher). Being 6-5 there are questions about whether he can stay behind the plate. His offense doesn’t seem quite as advanced as Alex Gordon’s but Wieters plays a premium defensive position. He has apparantly signed with Scott Boras--which may make things interesting (as has Brackman). The question is: if he has to move to 1st base, is he still worth the #2 pick? 3. Andrew BrackmanBrackman is 7 feet tall. Brackman throws easily in the mid to upper 90’s. That will get you noticed. He is supposedly more polished than most really tall pitchers. He will need to back it up this year with some good numbers—particularly K/BB ratio. More risk than your typical college player.4. Joe SaverySavery has had some injury issues but he has a good FB/CB combo. On the downside, the recent history of Rice pitchers, coupled with the injuries he’s already had, does not inspire confidence that he will develop.5. Nick SchmidtSchmidt posted a dominant year last year in the SEC (beating out Price for SEC Pitcher of the Year). He has three quality pitches--fastball, slider, change. However, he had a less than inspiring summer that left many questions as we head into this co[...]
2007-01-17T11:44:53.950-05:00The Royals avoided arbitration with Emil Brown and Jimmy Gobble, signing both to 1-year contracts. Gobble signed for $712,500. Gobble had a good year in the pen last year, striking out 80 in 84 innings. Certainly a good sign for a pitcher who used to strike out one batter every 3 innings. Gobble's stuff is probably best suited for the bullpen, especially since his fastball can reach 94 mph more regularly. He can also spot start and did a decent job last year (5.14 ERA as starter).
2007-01-10T01:38:34.473-05:00meteorologistdave: The Royals seem to have set the main positions in the roster for 2007. The Royals could still use another veteran starter or reliever to add some depth. But, for the most part, the 2007 Royals are ready to go. And of course, if someone will take Angel Berroa, then by all means take him!garoyal23: What I'd like to see the Royals do between now and Opening Day is to trade from our position of strength (outfielders) to land some more pitching depth. It doesn't matter to me if that depth is at the major league level or a legit minor leaguer. We just need depth. Like you say, Angel Berroa is a huge question mark. His numbers have been declining every year, but his defense seems to be improving. I'm comfortable giving him another year to see what happens with him. If he declines for the 4th straight year, then cut your losses. However, if he manages a .270 average with an OPS of around .670 to .700, then that will satisfy me. That being said, I'd like to see Moore sign a veteran middle infielder that could possible slide into the SS role if Berroa fails. Someone to push him. meteorologistdave: Using their outfield depth to acquire more pitching or a shortstop would be a welcome move. Speaking of the Royals' tremendous depth at the corners, let's get started with Alex Gordon. If you put Gordon in the lineup now, he's probably going to be the best hitter in the lineup, even as a rookie. However, that could be detrimental to his development. I think he could use at least a couple months at AAA before he becomes the Royals' everyday third basemen. garoyal23: I haven't seen anything that makes me think that Gordon will be a liability at third base defensively. I am leaning toward having him start in out in KC in 2007. That makes the lineup stronger instantly. I'm not sure where he'd start out in the lineup (I'm guessing 6th), but he'd definitely make the lineup stronger. Teahen was rushed to the majors, in large part to Chris Truby's spring training injury, and he struggled in his first full season. I really don't see that going on with Gordon. He put up fantastic numbers last year in AA. He's more of a hitter than Teahen at AA. If he starts in KC, he'd do fine with the bat and fine with the glove. meteorologistdave: I think Gordon is talented enough to do very well in the majors right away, I just think it would be beneficial to give him a little more experience. Gordon's draft counterpart Ryan Zimmerman has already logged 672 ABs, so I'm guessing Gordon is probably ready. I just tend to be cautious, especially considering how important his development is to the future of the franchise. The next most likely prospect to make the team, Billy Butler?garoyal23: In my mind, the thing that will keep Butler from making the team will be his defense. He was drafted as a 3B. He was then moved to 1B. Then moved to the OF. From what I've seen, he isn't doing all that badly defensively, but he would surely benefit from spending 2007 (or the greater part of it) in AAA working on his defense. I think the Omaha OF will be Lubanski in left, Maier in center and Butler in right. Huber will get the majority of his ABs (if he's not traded) from the DH spot in the order, but he's likely to play the field as well, so he's not viewed as one dimensional when Moore is shopping him. meteorologistdave: That's pretty much what I was thinking when I asked the question. This season will tell us a lot about the future positions of Butler and Huber. My guess is that one of the two will become the Royals' left fielder (probably Butler) and the other will see time at DH. Of course, then there's talk about Huber moving back to catcher. So, his future is really up in the air. Butler is young enough I think he can become a passable left fielder. So, with Butler/Huber in left field and Teahen in right, how does that bode for the future of Lubanski, Maier, Costa, and the Ro[...]
2006-12-29T15:02:35.930-05:00Barry Zito signed a 7-year, $126 million deal with the Giants yesterday, continuing the trend of overpriced starting pitching. The two top starters in the free agent market pulled over $15 million a year. But, they are clearly the two best starters available and will fill the ace role nicely for any team willing to spend the money.
2006-12-23T20:51:59.043-05:00Now that we have Darren's thoughts on the offseason moves thus far, georgiaroyal and I decided to have a discussion about the Royals' offseason moves:georgiaroyal: I suppose we've got to begin with the job that Moore is doing in his first offseason as the Royals GM. What I really appreciate, as a fan, is action on his part. Some may quibble about the money that's been spent and so on, but staying with what we had just wasn't a viable option.soonerroyal: I certainly agree with that. Although the Meche deal seems well to be extremely expensive, he is immediately better than anyone on the staff for the past several years. He's also made some major changes to the bullpen. It seems as though Dayton Moore is moving away from the young power arms and relying on veteran relievers. georgiaroyal: Meche is getting $7 million in '07 and then it jumps to $11 million in '08-'09 and then $12 million in '10 and '11. Sweeney's contract coming off of the books after this season helps us afford him, and I'd rather have money wrapped up in a pitcher than a position player, anyway. I like what's being done in the pen. We need guys that can come in and throw strikes. How frustrating has it been to watch a guy trot in from the pen and struggle with the zone? soonerroyal: That's a very good point. And it seems like the Royals are gravitating toward strike throwers and getting rid of the guys who have no clue where the strikezone is (Burgos, Sisco). However, it still hurts to see great young arms leave the team, especially when they cost so little. But, this team needs a change. The major league team is getting the overhaul it needs to become a functional unit again. Allard's teams placed the burden mainly on the youngsters. But, it looks like Dayton is going to place the burden on veterans and once the young players are ready to contribute, then everything should come together. georgiaroyal: That is very much the way it has worked for the Braves over the past 15 years. Now, instead of being forced to put guys like Greinke in the rotation, we can leave them in the minors until they are absolutely ready. Dayton's money is being spent on different types of players than Baird when he had a little to play with. I'm less concerned signing guys like Meche, Dotel, Bale, and Riske than when Baird brought in Santiago and Juan Gonzalez. The reward is much more likely than with those types of guys. soonerroyal: I really like the potential reward from the Meche deal. He's entering the prime of his career and he's coming off a strong season when he was healthy for the first time. Dotel is a very good closer if he's healthy and is only 33. Those are certainly good gambles. Gonzalez and Santiago, as you mentioned, were well past their prime and had more risk than reward. soonerroyal: Moving on to the Royals’ recent trades, the Sisco for Gload trade still strikes me as rather odd. The Royals gave up a very talented lefty for a reserve first basemen/outfielder. I'm still having trouble justifying this deal, although Gload will be a useful player certainly. He gets on base at a decent clip and has modest power. But, giving up a young power arm seems pretty risky. It's the type of move a contender would make to complete their team, but not a team that needs to build a core of talented players.georgiaroyal: At the risk of sounding like a Moore-lover (maybe I am...a little), I do like the acqusition of Gload. He gives Shealy a backup at 1B as well as a guy that can play a corner OF position. This makes Sanders and Brown even more expendible than they already are. Our list of guys that can play the outfield in KC next year is: Teahen, DeJesus, Gathright, Brown, Sanders, Costa, Gload, and possibly Maier[...]
2006-12-16T19:02:55.020-05:00I had been meaning to run down the Royals other recent acquisitions-and then the Sisco-Gload trade goes does this afternoon. So I will get to that after I cover the other moves. Burgos for BannisterI really didn’t like this trade at first but I’ve warmed up to it a little but overall it is still not a move I would have made. Burgos was mishandled but still has got great stuff and very intriguing potential for any team patient enough to keep him in the minors for another year or so to let him learn to pitch. Bannister is a decent pitcher. He’s rather old for a prospect. I’ve had an infatuation with Scott Baker for a long time and the more I looked at their numbers, the more I saw them as similar. Too much has been made over Bannister’s 38 ip last year. Some of his advocates point to his decent ERA in that time, his detractors point to his bad BB/K ratio. Historically his BB/K ratio has been good, his WHIP and ERA are also pretty good. Of course, his stuff is not stellar so it will be his ability to change speeds and hit his spots that will determine if he can be a reasonable back of the rotation starter. I think he will be given every opportunity to start this year and would expect an ERA of about 5.00 with the big club.Octavio DotelWe have our proven closer. Dotel for $5 million + another $2 in incentives. A smart move—Dotel has been a strikeout machine in the past and if he is healthy could be one of the better closers in the AL. He could also be a very valuable trading chip come July (assuming the Royals are not on some miraculous run). One note for concern is that Dotel’s numbers have for the past few years looked a lot better than his actual ERA. Regardless, it’s a good move and the only way the Royals could screw it up is to get a few good months of Dotel and then sign him to a lucrative extension. Hopefully, he’s just keeping the seat warm until someone like Ryan Braun or Leo Nunez are ready.John BaleWho? Was my first thought, but the guy had very good stats in Japan. 2 yrs @ $2 million per. I like this gamble, again this guy has got some good stuff and might be more than just a lefty specialist. The Royals scouting may have paid off with this little diamond in the rough.Joakim SoriaOur Rule V pick has gotten a lot of press due to his perfect game last week in the Mexican League. There is a lot to like here. Translating numbers from the Mexican League is tricky, but it considered most of the time about AAA. Also considered an extreme hitters league. Soriah is 9-0, with a 1.77ERA, 71.1ip, 46h, 8hr, 19w 73k. Those are very impressive numbers. I think this guy could actually contribute this year. He’s got 3 pitches and should be a long relief guy and perhaps get a spot start. Sisco for GloadI don’t get it. I really don’t. Perhaps it has something to do with a report by Rany at Baseball Prospectus that reported that Sisco was in the food court getting a taco during a recent game. Sisco was dismissed from the team. I certainly think Sisco chances of becoming an abover average pitcher are not above 50%. I don’t mind trading Sisco, but was Ross Gload the best we could do? He’s not a bad player, just not exactly what we need. He's a left handed hitter who can play OF and 1st. (perhaps those rumors about us trying to get Ryan Church were not so off base--would Jim Bowden really not take Sisco for Church? That would have been a much happier move for me). Of course, the obvious is that this is the precursor of what could be several moves involving: Emil Brown, Justin Huber, Reggie Sanders, and less likely Mike Sweeney or Ryan Shealy. The only way this trade is redeemed is if the follow up is a good deal and not a “dump”. I must say I’m scared to death that we are going to get not very good value for Justin Huber. So, we've dumped Affelt, B[...]
2006-12-07T19:18:47.960-05:005 years/$55 million. Let's get this out of the way: the Royals way overpaid. No if's, and's or but's. But this is our "statement". Would I have chosen this? No. But here we are. I'm actually excited. It's December: we can look at Meche and see what we want to see. Let's look at the good and bad of this move:
2006-12-01T18:59:31.003-05:00Next week are the winter meetings. The Royals will, no doubt, try to pick up more pitchers. I had advocated looking at Adam Eaton and/or Randy Wolf. Both those guys are gone now. Guys like Padilla and Lilly are looking for 4 yr/$40 mil contracts. Gil Meche will get a little less than that. I am among many Royals fans who increasingly willing to have the Royals sit this one out when it comes to really expensive league average starters. Save the money for something else. The best route is to look for free agent bargains and trades. Of course, if the Royals spend big bucks on a starter, I'll probably talk myself into thinking its a good move.
2006-11-23T00:46:58.383-05:00Perhaps this should be called the case for shopping Mark Teahen. I really like him as a player and think the strides he made last year were real.
2006-11-15T01:35:21.136-05:002007 OptionsIt is such a stab in the dark trying to predict what any given team will do in the offseason. I hope to look at the Royals position by position and see what the feasible options are—perhaps by covering more ground we will have a greater chance of stumbling on the acquitions that Dayton Moore is looking to make for next year. Feel free to add you own prognostications.Catcher:The 2006 crew:John Buck was the starter and didn’t make the desired strides offensively that many of us hoped—his OPS hovering around 700. It is very difficult to accurately measure a catcher since a lot of value can come from working with pitchers. Buck seems to be decent defensively. Catchers tend to develop offensively later than other positional prospects—but that is no gurantee that Buck can raise his OPS to 750ish range.Paul Bako stunk. He won’t be coming back.Down on the farm:Paul Phillips and Matt Tupman are not going to be starting catcher but either could be an improvement over Bako. I look for Philips to be the backup and Tupman to be in Omaha.Other options.FA Greg Zaun has already been linked to KC. But if he returned, it would probably be as a started-which means Buck would have to be flipped. Some guys I like if we wanted to trade include Yorvit Torrealba-COL and Kelly Shoppach from CLE—both are decent offensively and supposed to be good defensively and are blocked currently. Signing someone like Mike Piazza could be a smart move--he could catch a little (a very little) play some 1st and some DH when Sweeney gets hurt. But it won't happen.2007 predictions: Buck and Philips--What should happen Buck and PiazzaThird BaseThe 2006 Crew:The resurgent Mark Teahen—played great—874 OPS. But it sounds like he is already being prepped to go to the outfield when his shoulder heals. I like Teahen—a lot—but I would hope the Royals would listen to trade offers (Ervin Santana?) for him. Unless we are blown away—we hang on to him and let him play RF (assuming his shoulder heals, his arm would be more valuable in RF than LF)Down on the Farm:Teahen is just holding the spot for Alex Gordon. The only drama is here is will Gordon break ST with the Club or get to return home to Nebraska for a month or twoOther Options: not needed2007 predictions: It now appears Gordon may start the year with the big club. What should happen: First, I think the idea of trading Teahen should be seriously explored. If we don't get a good offer, then Teahen leans the OF during ST and then starts year at 3rd until June when Gordon is called upSSThe 2006 crew:Angel Berroa was the worst regular in baseball last year—stunk at the plate, stunk in the field, stunk on the basepaths. Fortunately he’s signed for the next 2 years for a total of $8 million. The Royals aren’t contending for the division crown, so it won’t kill us to put him back out there, it will just be very painful. Besides, he can’t be worse than he was last year….right?Down on the Farm:Andres Blanco has a worse bat (if you can believe it) than Berroa but better glove but he had surgery is probably out until mid year. Angel Sanchez is a bit of an enigma as a lot of people like his tools but hasn’t performed that well. We won’t count on either on of those guys for next yearOther Options:Craig Counsell and Alex Gonzalez are out on the FA market and either one would be a big upgrade. Counsell is not young but his defense is good and he would probably give us more offensive production than Berroa did last year. Gonzalez defense is supposed to be pretty good he is capable of being a decent offensive player but seems to be somewhat streaky. On the trade front, many Royals fans have long salivated over the idea of trading for the Angels Erick Aybar. I see hi[...]
2006-11-10T23:43:52.006-05:00This entry will focus on the right handed starters that the Royals have throughout the system. About the only one worth mentioning from the ORoyals is right hander Danny Tamayo. Fellow 2001 draftee Angel Sanchez beat Tamayo to the majors with his 2006 September call up. The only other guy from the 2001 draft that could eventually get to KC is Devon Lowery, who had regained his stock a little of late. Tamayo saw limited action in 2006. I don't know this for sure, but I'd guess he was set back by injury. He was 3-2 with an ERA of 4.21 in 7 games (3 starts) for Omaha. Again, barely worth mentioning at all. The only right handed starter worth mentioning from the Wranglers (since Zach Greinke isn't really a "prospect" anymore since losing his rookie status) is 23 year old Billy Buckner. Buckner appears to be a ground ball pitcher. He averaged 2.28 ground outs per fly out in '06, which undoubtedly led to his success while with the Mavericks. He began the season in High Desert and ended in Wichita where he made 13 starts for the Wranglers. In those 13 starts, he was 5-3, 4.64 in 75.2 innings. His opponents batting average was .265. He needs to cut down on his walks. He averaged 1.62 K/BB and sported a whip of 1.55 despite allowing about a hit per inning. In 2006, Buckner was averaging about 5 walks per 9 innings. He ended the season with two straight scoreless outings. I thought there were a couple of guys worthy of note from the Mavericks in 2006, and one of them ended the season with an ERA of over 7.00 in 26 starts! Luis Cota is that guy. Cota is 21 years old and was signed by the Royals as a draft and follow out of the 2003 draft. He was signed just before the 2004 draft. On the whole, Cota was 5-11, 7.09 in 132.0 IP in '06. Blah! His opponents batting average was .290 and his whip was 1.64. He produces slightly more ground outs than fly outs at 1.09 ground outs per fly out. He allowed 19 dingers this season which translates to 1 about every 7 innings. This is a bit high. Usually 1 HR per 10 innings is considered acceptable. Of the 19 homers allowed, though, 12 were allowed at home. Here's where it really gets interesting. His HR/9 inning average was 1.67 at home and 0.94 on the road. His OPS against average at home was .940 vs. .797 on the road. His opponents were hitting .317 against him at home, but only .265 on the road. His H/9 average was much better on the road in 2006. So, the numbers look much better under the microscope and I look for this 21 year old right hander to put up some very strong numbers while in the Wichita rotation in 2007. The other Maverick worthy of mention is Kyle Crist. Crist is a 23 year old, 6'3" right hander that was a 34th round pick of the Royals in 2004. Crist has good velocity from what I've read (93-95 neighborhood) and has been a bit of a pleasant surprise for the Royals. Crist was 5-2, 4.15 in 15 starts for the Mavs. He's a ground ball pitcher, who produced twice as many ground ball outs than fly outs in '06. Of the 6 homers Kyle allowed this season, 5 of them were at home, but his overall numbers don't appear to be skewed very much like Cota's were. The Bees had some very strong pitching in 2006 and they were led by the big three of Carlos Rosa (minor league pitcher of the year), Chris Nicoll and Matt Kniginyzky (Na-gin-skee, I think). 21 year old Carlos Rosa was 8-6, 2.53 in 24 starts with the Bees. His opponents hit only .239 against him. He keeps it in the park. He allowed a homer every 23 innings. He got 11.1 innings in HD to end 2006, and will likely begin 2007 in Wilmington. Rosa was obtained by the Royals as a non drafted free agent out of the Dominican in 2001. Rosa reached America a[...]
2006-11-05T11:54:09.916-05:00The centerfield position has become a pretty solid position for the Royals. Between David DeJesus and Joey Gathright, the Royals should be able to have quality centerfield play for at least the next 5 years. The main question is whether or not Gathright will hit enough to become an everyday player. DeJesus is an average to slightly above-average defender in the outfield. He’s an above-average hitter as a centerfielder and a fringe average hitter as a left fielder. So, unless Gathright improves his production offensively, I think DeJesus will eventually move back to center, especially with Teahen, Huber, Lubanski and maybe Butler become options as corner outfielders. The Royals’ corner outfield depth is much stronger than there centerfielder depth, so having two good options for centerfielders is crucial.
2006-11-02T19:04:41.370-05:00It seems to be a trend--the Royals have one blue-chip prospect at a positition and not much else. The good news is that it seems possible that Butler will stay in RF which would definitely be a big plus.
2006-10-29T07:17:19.156-05:00For the Royals, Emil Brown and David DeJesus split left field duty in 2006. Brown started 84 games in left and batted .287 with 15 HR and 81 RBI. Emil's OPS was .815. DeJesus batted .295 with 8 HR and 56 RBI and an .810 OPS. Brown is arbitration eligible after making $1.775 M in 2006. He will be due another big raise for 2007. The Royals could use Brown as trade bait to try to land some pitching help. DeJesus has been a center fielder to this point in his career, but switched to left field for 60 games to make room for Joey Gathright to play center. It is kind of up in the air as to what will happen with the Royals outfield over the winter. There could be some moves made on the major league level or some of the minor league guys could be packaged and dealt.Omaha Royals (AAA)24 year old, Justin Huber, started 68 games in left field for the Omaha Royals in 2006. Justin's season has already been discussed as a first baseman, but I'll leave this in anyway. Huber was acquired by the Royals on July 30, 2004 in the deal that sent Kris Benson from Pittsburgh to the Mets. When we acquired Huber, he was catching. In fact, he was injured in his last game in the Mets organization at a play at the plate, which caused him to miss the remainder of the 2004 season after the trade. The Royals moved Huber out from behind the dish to 1B. Huber started 38 games at 1B for the ORoyals in 2006 before moving out to left field. Huber put up pretty decent AAA numbers. He batted .278 with 15 HR and 44 RBI in 352 at bats. His 2006 OPS was .838 (.480 slugging %). The Royals brought Huber to KC during the summer where he sat the bench. I'm not sure exactly how long Huber was on the 25 man roster this year, but I think it was about two weeks. During that time, Huber accumulated a total of 10 at bats. He was 2 for 10 with a double. He's a good offensive prospect. The Royals just need to find a place for him to play in the field.Wichita Wranglers (AA)Chris Lubanski (21 years old) started 108 games in left field for the Wranglers in 2006. Lubanksi was drafted by the Royals in the 1st round (5th overall) in the 2003 draft. He was drafted out of a Pennsylvania high school and signed on June 6th. Overall, Lubanski batted .282 with 15 HR and 70 RBI for the Wranglers with an OPS of .844. He also stole 11 bases in 18 attempts. Lubanski walked 72 times this season, which was tied for the team lead. Up until the 2006 season, Chris had a K:BB ratio of 2.90. In 2006, he did a much better job with a K/BB ratio of 1.56. Lubanski did improve as the season went on, as well. From July 1 to the end of the season, Lubanski hit .314 with 10 HR. His K/BB ratio also improved from July 1 on. During that time span, Lubanski had 1.27 K's per BB (47 K's, 37 BB's). When Lubanski was drafted, he was described as having blazing speed. Now, it appears he has slowed down a few ticks although he did lead the team with 11 triples, but his power numbers have improved. It is a very good sign that he is improving his K/BB ratio.High Desert Mavericks (Advanced A) The Mavs had two guys to get significant starts in left field, but neither is a prospect. James Tomlin (24 years old) started 58 games in left and batted .301 and a .762 OPS for the Mavs in '06. Geraldo Valentin(23 years old) signed with the Royals as a non drafted free agent in 2003. Valentin started in left for the Mavs 47 times and batted .283 with an OPS of .718 in 406 ABs. I'd hate to think how bad the offensive numbers would be if they hadn't been in High Desert.Burlington Bees (Low A)Ethian Santana was the primary left fielder for the Bees in 2006. He started 67 games for the Bees and batted .2[...]
2006-10-24T12:34:43.150-04:00I have heard on numerous occasions people talk about the glut of 1st baseman the Royals. Quite simply there is no glut. People just assumed that you could pencil in Huber, Butler, Teahen in there. Well Dayton smartly went out and got Ryan Shealy. He should be an league average firstbaseman for the next few years. It’s a good thing because the Royals have very little depth in the minors. Of course, the good news is that you shift people to play first easily.
2006-10-19T23:27:51.630-04:00The Royals have gone through a never-ending carousel of second basemen since heralded prospect Carlos Febles disappeared. Since Febles left, the Royals have struggled to find a regular second basemen and the Royals cycled through a variety of prospects and utility infielders looking for a solution. Ruben Gotay and Donnie Murphy were considered the second basemen of the future, but they weren’t ready for full-time duty in 2005. Last season, Allard signed Mark Grudzielanek to a one-year deal and the signing turned out to be his best signing of the offseason and one of the few bright spots in his horrible tenure as general manager. Grudzielanek was the Royals’ most consistent defender, helping to alleviate the damage caused by his teammate on the other side of second. Grudzielanek led the team in hits and had 43 extra base hits. The Royals resigned Grudzielanek for 2007 season, so the second base position is good shape. Baird also acquired Esteban German from the Rangers in exchange for the Royals’ Rule V Pick last season. German turned out to be one of the bright spots in the Royals’ 2006 season, posting a team-high .880 OPS. German is an on-base machine with very good speed. German would allow the Royals to move DeJesus into the #2 spot in the lineup and have an excellent tandem of speed and on-base ability at the top of the lineup. That should set the stage for plenty of RBI opportunities for Butler, Gordon, Shealy, and Teahen over the next few years. As you may have noticed, I haven’t talked about the minor league second basemen much and that’s because there’s not much to talk about. The Royals’ top second base prospect is Donnie Murphy. Murphy showed pretty good power this season at AA, hitting 25 doubles and 14 HRs. However, he drew just 19 walks in 366 ABs, so his plate discipline has a ways to go. Murphy is a pretty good defender, with above-average range for second. Murphy hits righties much better than lefties, with a .786 OPS against righties vs. a .531 OPS against lefties. The Royals other option near the majors is Jeff Keppinger. Keppinger had a nice season for Omaha, hitting .354/.407/.465 in 127 ABs. Keppinger hit .267/.323/.400 in 60 ABs with the big league club. He's 26 years old, so he isn't much of a prospect at this point. Wilver Perez was the Mavericks’ second basemen. Perez hit .262/.343/.350 in 351 ABs. Perez is 23 years old, so he’s a bit too old for High A ball. He is most likely an organizational player at this point. Josh Johnson was the Royals’ third round pick in the 2004 draft and Burlington’s second basemen this season. Johnson hit .241/.391/.312 in 381 ABs and walked 93 times! He showed good speed, swiping 18 bases in 27 attempts. Johnson’s defense improved from 2005, making just 10 errors in 2006. Johnson is a decent sleeper prospect and might develop into a decent leadoff hitter with his excellent plate discipline and good speed. Kurt Mertins had a nice professional debut. The 20-year-old from the College of Desert hit .342/.397/.431. Mertins also stole 26 bases in 30 attempts (only played in 61 games). Mertins might be worth watching for the same reasons as Johnson. Marc Maddox was another collegiate second basemen drafted by the Royals this season. Maddox hit .336/.428/.504 in 232 ABs. Maddox showed more power than Mertins, with 29 extra base hits in 62 games. Overall, the Royals have some depth at second base. The Royals already have a quality starting second basemen in Mark Grudzielanek and a solid player waiting to take over after the 2007 [...]
2006-10-18T08:33:23.576-04:00On January 8, 2001, the Royals traded Johnny Damon to the A’s and received their shortstop of the future in Angel Berroa. The Royals also traded current A’s second baseman, Mark Ellis and received AJ Hinch and Roberto Hernandez. The Royals thought they were getting a 19 year old who was named an Arizona League All Star in 2000 while playing for the Arizona A’s and even logged 17 at bats in AA Midland. As it turned out, Angel was really two years older than the Royals thought. He made is Major League debut as a 22 year old on September 18, 2001. He won the AL Rookie of the year award after his 2003 season. He batted .287 with 17 HR and 73 RBI. He also stole 21 bases. His OPS has dropped each season since 2003 and he posted a sub .600 OPS in 2006. Angel has become known for his mental lapses and his reckless abandon at bat. He committed a career low 18 errors in 2006, and had a fielding percentage of .969. He is our current shortstop. He signed a 4 year/$11 million deal in May of 2004. He is due $3.25 M in 2007 and $4.75 M in 2008. The Royals hold a $5.5 M option for 2009 or could opt to buy the contract out at $500 K. So, with Angel under contract for the next two seasons, it is more than likely his job. Dayton could attempt to move him, but I’m guessing the list of suitors for a 29 year old SS with a sub .600 OPS and an $8 M price tag over the next two years is pretty short, if it exists at all. Anyway, here are the footsteps that Angel is currently hearing.Andres Blanco and Angel Sanchez (11th rounder in ‘01) are the two prospects the Royals have that have already spent some time in Kansas City. Blanco, who will be turning 23 in April of 2007, has already notched 226 major league at bats. He signed as a non drafted free agent out of Venezuela on 8/20/00 as a 16 year old. He then moved very quickly through the system, despite posting very low offensive numbers at every stop. He made his major league debut in 2004 as a 20 year old. In just under 1,400 minor league at bats, Andres has hit .247 with 6 HR and 106 RBI. He has a career .625 minor league OPS. Due to his lack of any kind of offensive production, I’ve always been a little leary of Blanco. He is regarded as a better defensive SS than Berroa, but his offense is not there (although, at the rate Berroa is going, Angel will catch Andres, soon). I view Blanco as a Rey Sanchez, except not as good of a hitter. He’s a slap hitter who’s good with the glove. In 87 Abs with the Royals this season, he batted .241 with an OPS of .600.Angel Sanchez is 23 years old and just finished 2006 in Wichita. He has posted much better offensive numbers than Blanco. Sanchez batted .282 with 4 HR and 57 RBI last season for the Wranglers. His OPS was .691 (.339 OBP). He is also regarded as an advanced defensive player. Blanco and Sanchez may split time in Omaha in 2007 between SS and 2B, unless Berroa is moved over the winter. Sanchez made his major league debut this season and batted .222 with an OPS of .436 in 27 Abs.At the lower levels, the Royals SS prospects include Irving Falu (Mavericks), Chris McConnell (Burlington/Idaho Falls), and Jeff Bianchi (AZ Royals). There are some other names down there, but I don’t know any of them to be prospects. Michael Gaffney started 18 games at SS for the Mavericks this season. He will be 25 next season. Gilbert Gil started 17 games at SS for the Chukars in ‘06 and has one of the best names ever! Good ole Gil Gil (Gil2). He’s 21, but didn’t put up very good numbers. He hit .223 in 103 Abs, but the name made him worth t[...]
2006-10-16T15:19:07.603-04:00I get to look at who we’ve got in the pipeline at third base.
2006-10-14T01:06:19.750-04:00Over the next few weeks, the Daily Lancer team will be doing an in-depth analysis of the Royals' minor league talent at each position. We'll let you know where the Royals' best depth and talent lies and how soon the Royals' prospects will make an impact on the big league club.
2006-10-10T18:52:46.233-04:00Thanks to David for the invite--I'm glad to be part of the team. I'm Darren, I live in Eugene, Oregon, but grew up in Grandview. I'm nwroyal on the scout board. I had just turned 8 when the Royals won it all in 1985. That started my interest in baseball. It was so fun to be a part of a winner--the World Champions. I figured this kind of success would follow the Royals and I started following them very closely. 21 years later and I'm still waiting for the next playoff game. But perhaps, even in the midst of 3 straight 100 loss seasons, we are closer than we have been in a long time to fielding a good baseball team. As the team floundered, perhaps it was natural that I turned some of my attention to the Royals minor leagues--I enjoy seeing the promise of young players. It is all too tempting to try imagine the "next" Brett or White or Saberhagen. I tend to be overly optimistic.
2006-10-06T15:57:37.126-04:00I'm very glad to be on board here at The Daily Lancer. I've been a fan of the Royals since the glory years of the late 1990's. It was actually 1998, to be exact. I know, it seems odd to jump on the bandwagon at that point, but it was going pretty slow and it was pretty easy to get on there. I was just in time to enjoy a 72-89 season in Tony Muser's first full season as manager.
2006-10-05T22:53:56.153-04:00I decided to make some changes to the Daily Lancer, the most important being the addition of two new bloggers, georgiaroyal and nwroyal. The names may sound familiar from the scout.com board where they both post regularly. Georgiaroyal and nwroyal both follow the Royals' farm system very closely and will be great additions to the Daily Lancer.