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The Daily Lancer

A Kansas City Royals blog.

Updated: 2018-03-06T04:08:33.096-05:00


First Spring Training Games


Breaking 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.

Spring Training games are finally underway and we've gotten a look at some of the Royals' new acquistions.

Game 1: Brian Bannister started for the Royals, pitching very well. Bannister went 2 innings, allowing 0 runs and throwing just 17 pitches (14 strikes). Bannister could be a nice find for the Royals. At the very least, it'll be nice to have someone in the rotation who can throw strikes. Joakim Soria's pitched two scoreless innings. A very good start for the Royals' young pitchers. The other big story was Billy Butler, who hit a 2-run single to put the Royals ahead 6-4. The Royals lost 7-6.

Game 2: Meche pitched well in his Royals' debut, pitching 3 scoreless innings and allowing just 2 hits. Gobble ended up with the victory, even though he allowed 2 runs in 2 innings. Butler continues to hit extremely well. He's 4 for 7 with a double and 2 RBIs so far. Shealy went 1 for 3 with a homerun and 3 RBIs. Huber later took over at first, going 0 for 1. Gordon went 0 for 4, making him 0 for 6 so far.

Game 3: Teahen and Buck homered for the Royals. Huber continues to play 1B, but struggled at the plate going 0 for 3. Perez pitched horribly, going 1 1/3 innings and allowing 4 runs. Perez was worth a shot, but I hope the Royals don't keep him around too long if he doesn't pitch better.

"B" game: Hochevar pitched in Friday's "B" game, throwing 2 scoreless innings. Rosa also pitched a scoreless inning and Buddy Bell was impressed with his stuff.

Sunday's game so far: Luke Hudson had a pretty good start for the Royals, going 3 innings and allowing just 1 run. Zack Greinke has pitched a scoreless innings so far. Alex Gordon got his first hit of the season, the only hit through the fourth inning.

Positives so far: The young players are doing very well. Butler, Shealy, Teahen and Buck have provided most of the Royals' offense. The Royals' young offensive talent is finally starting to show, which should make this season more exciting to watch.

Negatives so far: Perez looks like the Perez from 2006. Also, losing Grudz for an extended period of time is a blow to our defense up the middle, which already has a giant hole at shortstop.

Minor League News: Jeff Bianchi is healthy again. He will likely head to extended spring training and move to Burlington. The Royals' article also says he's throwing from the shortstop position (maybe insinuating a move to short?). Erik Cordier, who had a brillant season until getting hurt, will not pitch until the fall instructional leagues. Cordier may have the most upside of any Royals' pitcher next to Hochevar.

College Prospect Update: James Simmons


(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:

Simmons is a junior at UC Riverside. He is a 6'4", 215 lbs right-handed pitcher. Last season, he led the team with a 2.96 ERA and led the team with 94 strikeouts in 109 1/3 innings. Simmons pitched in the Cape Cod League last summer and had a 1.18 ERA in 53 innings. Baseball America listed him as the eighth-best prospect in the Cape Cod League.

Projected Draft Position:
Simmons is currently listed on Baseball America's Top 100 collegiate prospects for the 2007 draft. currently has Simmons listed as the #59 prospect in the country, which would make him an early to mid second round. If he continues performing well, he probably won't be around when the Royals make their selection with the #65 overall pick in the 2nd round. But, he's worth keeping an eye on.

2007 Stats:

4-1 2.38 ERA 34 IP 38 SOs 8 BBs .185 BAA

Simmons is off to a good start for 2007. Simmons is a candidate for the Roger Clemens' Award for the top collegiate pitcher. Before Simmon's start today, he was 4-0 with a 0.62 ERA. However, he struggled against the Sooner offense, allowing 9 hits on 7 runs in 5 innings.

Scouting Report: Simmons strongest asset is his control, which was fairly absent today. In addition to his two walks, Simmons hit two batters today. So, his performance today probably isn't the best for evaluating him. Simmons displayed an average (cut) fastball sitting at 89-90 mph. His second main pitch was his changeup, which wasn't very effective in keeping the Sooner hitters off-balance.

(image) Simmons has a very high leg kick (see photo at start of post), but does a very good job of maintaining balance over his right leg during his delivery. He has a very clean, repeatable delivery overall and fields his position well.

Here's a short video clip of Simmons: Simmons Video

Summary: Simmons has pretty average stuff, but has plus command of his repertoire. He has a projectable frame at 6'4", 215 lbs, so he may end up throwing harder than 90 mph. If he's available when the Royals make their second-round selection, he would be a good pickup.

Coming up: Wichita State Prospects

Coming Soon!


I 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.

Beginning to Look toward the Draft


2007 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: 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[...]

Royals Ink Gobble and Brown


The 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).

The Royals signed Emil Brown to a one-year, $3.4 million deal. Brown has been one of the Royals' most productive bats over the past two seasons, leading the team in RBI's over that period. With Brown and Sanders under contract, the Royals will have plenty of time to let Teahen transition to the outfield and give Gordon as much time as needed in the minors.

The Royals also signed Alex Gonzalez to a minor-league contract. He was downright awful for the Devil Rays last year, hitting .111/.158/.111 in 36 ABs. His career line of .243/.302/.391 isn't anything to brag about, but he is a good backup shortstop.

The Royals are still negotiating with Todd Wellemeyer. Wellemeyer has good stuff, but his even K/BB ratio is certainly a concern for next year. He may have trouble repeating a pretty good season last year if he can't improve his command. Nonetheless, he's a cheap, young reliever, so he's worth re-signing.

Minor League Chat


meteorologistdave: 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[...]

Did the Royals really overpay Meche?


Barry 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.

Here's a list of the contracts given to the top free agent starters this offseason. The dashed line separates the two tiers of starters.

Ranked in terms of cost:
1. Barry Zito, 28 (7 years at $18 million/yr, total: $126 million)
2. Jason Schmidt, 33 (3 years at $15.7 million/yr, total $47 million)
3. Gil Meche, 28 (5 years at $11 million/yr, total: $55 million)
4. Jeff Suppan, 31 (4 years at $10.5 million/yr, total: $42 million)
5. Ted Lilly, 30 (4 years at $10 million/yr, total: $40 million)
6. Miguel Bautista, 35 (3 years at $8.33 million/yr, total: $25 million)
7. Adam Eaton, 29 (3 years at $8.17 million/yr, total $24.5 million)

Meche was the most expensive pitcher out of the second-tier of starters in terms of contract length and cost per year. Was this justified by his market value or did the Royals overpay?


Meche is the youngest of the free agent starters listed above. That certainly increases his market value. Meche also has the most upside of the second-tier starters, although Eaton is close. Eaton had a poor year which hurt his market value considerably. Suppan and Bautista are considerably older and are league-average starters, so there's no upside there. In terms of upside, age, and recent performance, Meche is the best available pitcher.


The main downside to Meche is his past injury problems. Giving a 5-year contract to an injury prone player is certainly risky business. Meche also struggled in 2004 and 2005, most likely because of injury problems. He had a good season last year, with a 4.48 ERA and a 1.86 K/BB. Will his success continue or was it just an anomaly?

Conclusion: The Royals signed Meche for a deal that was reasonable for the market.

Daily Lancer Discussion: Offseason Moves


Now 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[...]

Recent Moves


I 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[...]

Gil Meche to the Royals


5 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:

The Bad:
Let's start with the negative:

Meche has had major shoulder problems

In the 4 years since his shoulder surgery, he's never had an OPS+ of over 100 (average)

He had a 5.14 ERA and 1.60 WHIP on the road last year

He's never pitched more than 200 innings

The Royals gave more money to Meche than Jason Schmidt got. Almost as much as Chris Carpenter got.

The Good:

Meche is only 28--pretty young for a FA pitcher.

Meche's raw stuff is very good.

Meche's innings pitched have increased each of the past 3 years as he's gotten stronger from his shoulder problems

His strikeout rate spiked last year and he K'ed over 7/9ip-a promising sign for future results.

Meche had a bad 5 game stretch at the end of July/beginning of August. Take out that stretch and his numbers are:
170ip 151h 64w 139k 3.76 ERA 1.26 WHIP.
3 of those starts were on the road (including a horrific start in Texas where he only pitched 1 inning). He skipped a start after that stretch and pitched better the rest of the season. There are probably a lot of average pitchers who could take a 5 game stretch and look a lot better.

Dayton Moore knows all this stuff. He was willing to pony up David Glass's money anyway. Perhaps he believes that with the right coaching Meche will turn into a sub 4.00 ERA pitcher. We will have to way 4 months to find out.

I think we may very well look back at this move as the defining moment of Dayton's era. It could be the day we rue as when we trapped ourself into an awful contract because we were desperate. Or it could be the bold stroke that pushes the Royals out of being known as a punching bag in baseball--the day the Royals became winners again. Today we are left to wonder and hope. And right now hope seems worth $55 million.

Winter Meetings Preview


Next 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.

Trading Chips (in order of how I value them): Esteban German, Emil Brown, Justin Huber, Joey Gathright, Reggie Sanders.

I don't want to trade German but I have a feeling he's on the block.

Bruce Chen--really like the idea of signing him to a 1-year/$4 mil deal with some incentives and perhaps an option for a second year.

Miguel Batista--he could be a bargain. But I've already read an article calling him a bargain, so he probably is now expensive. But if we could get him for 1 yr/$6 million with an vesting option I think he could be a guy that could pitch 200ip of 4.75 ERA.

Yusmeir Petit--Joey Gathright for Petit? Not great stuff, but good control. Marlins have pitching out their ears and he would be good to have start the year in Omaha.

Scott Baker--Maybe I'm obsessed with him , but I think he will bounce back and be a good pitcher. Would either Emil Brown or Justin Huber be enough to get it done.

I've also long advocated a new SS. And while I still would love that, if the Royals can't find someone that interests them, perhaps the best thing to do is hope that Berroa improves his fielding and can post a 675-700 OPS.

I think the Royals will have made a few moves a week from now. They might have even made some huge (by Royals standards) moves. It should be exciting and should give us our first offseason glimspe of how Dayton plans to build this team.

The case for trading Mark Teahen


Perhaps 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.

Let’s recap Mark’s season:

April: stunk—678 OPS
May: demoted—stunk for a few games and then got smokin’ hot
June: warmed up—816 OPS
July: smokin’—1135 OPS
August: hot—905 OPS
September: shoulder surgery

He finished with an 874 OPS—good for 2nd in the AL for third basemen and 8th for all third baseman. As we approach 2007, Teahen is being readied for the outfield because of Mr. Alex Gordon. Teahen’s numbers actually translate well to the OF as his OPS would rank 6th out of all LFers and 5th out of all RFers. However with the lack of pitching the Royals have, it seems prudent that they should listen to offers for Teahen.

What I would look for is: established young starters not close to free agency. Perhaps a pitching prospect might be accepted but it would have to be a great prospect. A couple of teams that need a third basemen are the Twins and Angels. The Twins have got a ton of pitching prospects: Matt Garza, Kevin Slowery, Anthony Swarzak…just to name a few. But it would be tough to trade within the division (even though I really like Garza and Swarzak). To me the perfect solution is the Angels—they have depth in positions we need. We provide them with a cheap third baseman which would allow them to go out and sign Alfonso Soriano this offseason. The Angels reportedly offered Ervin Santana and Erick Aybar for Miguel Tejada in the middle of last season. The Orioles foolishly turned it down. They apparently wanted Tejada to play 3rd. Tejada is a great player—but an expensive one also. I would target getting the same package from the Angels by pairing Teahen with Mike Sweeney and kicking in $8 million dollars to make Sweeney look more attractive.

The upside for the Angels is that they can acquire Teahen and Sweeney and still have money to Alfonso Soriano. They would then have one of the most potent lineups around and a great pitching staff with Lackey, Weaver, Escobar, Saunders.

Santana was 23 last year and went 16-8 with a 4.28 ERA. His WHIP was 1.23 and he struck out 141 with 70 walks in 204ip. He allowed a .265 average on balls in play (which means he was awfully lucky). He has an outside chance to turn into an elite pitcher but more than likely will settle into being a very good pitcher with an ERA that will hover around 4 or a little below. Santana has flyball tendencies that would fit in well at the K.

Aybar is sparkplug SS. His defense is still uneven and he hasn’t fully harnessed his speed. But he has shown the ability to hit. This past year, his OPS was well into the 800s for most of the year. He got called up and sat on the bench for awhile with the big club and then slumped horribly at the end of the year leaving his OPS at AAA at 740 as a 22 year old. I think he could develop into a good defensive SS with an above average (perhaps well above average) bat for the position.

I think the Angels are desperate to make some big moves and improve their offense. The Angels signing of Gary Matthews Jr. to a 5 year/$50 million contract shows that they might just be desperate. The signing of Matthews also seems to signal that they will not pursue Vernon Wells and I still doubt they want to take on Manny. Perhaps they will set their eyes again on Miguel Tejada. If the Angels are not as desperate for offense as I think they are, then we stick with what we’ve got—Teahen--a young player with outstanding offensive skills and the ability to play a premium position.

2007 Options


2007 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[...]

The "Right" Stuff


This 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[...]

Who's the next Beltran?


The 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.

High Minors:

The Royals don’t really have any CF prospects at AAA. Chad Allen is the only outfielder listed on the Omaha Royals roster at the moment, and he isn’t a centerfielder. Mitch Maier is the Royals’ best centerfield prospect. Maier is a solid player all-around, with at average to above-average power, speed, and defense in centerfield. Maier’s strong arm will allow him to play all three outfield positions, which should make him at least a good fourth outfielder. Overall, Maier had a good season, hitting .306/.357/.473 with 35 2Bs and 13 HRs. He’ll likely start at Omaha and could work his way on to the big league club at some point during this season.

Low Minors:

The Royals don’t have any CF prospects at High Desert or Burlington.

Rookie Ball:

Dickerson has put together two nice seasons in a row. Dickerson hit 14 doubles and 7 HRs in 242 ABs for Idaho Falls. His overall line of .281/.338/.789 is pretty good overall. As a rookie, Dickerson hit .294/.371/.491, so he has a pretty solid track record going. His defense is supposed to be his best asset and he should develop modest power with time. Dickerson will likely start at Burlington next year.

Derrick Robinson was the Royals’ 4th round pick this season. He turned down a football scholarship to sign with the Royals. His pro debut was very lackluster, hitting just .233/.335/.318. Robinson’s speed is phenomenal and he stole 20 bases, but also got caught 14 times. If he can learn how to get on-base regularly, he might have a chance to use his speed in the big leagues.

Overall: The Royals are in good shape in centerfield. DeJesus should be a solid player for several years and the Royals have good depth overall. There aren't any Damon or Beltran-like talents on the way, but no one is complaining with DeJesus in centerfield.

Future Royal Right Fielders


It 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.

Right Field

Omaha--Chad Allen

Chad will be 32 in February—not exactly prime prospect age. He had an 861 OPS at Omaha and seems like a good guy to have down at AAA should you need an emergency outfielder.

Wichita—Billy Butler
Billy was 20 last year and tore up AA to the tune of 331/388/499. He is probably the best pure hitter in the minors. That doesn’t mean he is perfect. His ops vs. lefties was 1246! But vs. righties was 807. While you can’t complain about the batting average, his walk rate suffered last year. His power was also not what you would expect—slugging under 500. However, Butler is such a professional hitter, I think he will improve those numbers in AAA in 2007. I also think he was working more on his defense to where his hitting suffered some.

A scout once called Butler “the worst defensive player he’s ever seen” (this was before the move to RF). I’ve only seen some tape of him in RF and while I wouldn’t call him graceful, he seems passable and he’s gotten better. He’s also got a heck of an arm.

Butler should start the year in AAA and I would expect him to destroy the pitching there for a few months and probably get called up after the All-Star Break

High Desert—Brian McFall
McFall was a 3rd round pick a few years ago. He had a 769 OPS at High Desert—933 at home, 612 on the road. He had 30 walks and 120 K’s. He’s playing the Hawaiian Baseball League and got a 618 OPS there. A suspect, not a prospect.

Burlington—Carlos Arroyo
25 year old in Low-A with a 666 ops-next!

High Desert—OD Gonzalez
OD (Oscar) was a 23rd round draft choice back in 04. He’s 22 and had a 769 OPS. Not great but we’ll keep an eye on how he does in Burlington this year.

AZ Royals-Nick Van Stratten
Nick was a 10th round pick from the St. Louis area and had a good debut. He played most of his games in Arizona before getting a cup of coffee in Idaho. Overall, he had a 819 OPS. He is supposed to be athletic and projects well and is already being called a steal from the 10th round. He’s 21 and will probably start next year in Burlington.

Rank ‘em
Van Stratten

Out in Left Field


For 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[...]

First Base Rankings


I 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.

Justin Huber
—Huber is no longer a firstbaseman but the Royals don’t have a lot of first base prospects and I wanted to write about someone good. Whoever is writing about LF can feature Huber again.

I still like Huber. I think he can be a good LF-perhaps even an above average LFer. Just a year ago, this guy hit 343/432/570 in the Texas league. I fear that Dayton is not as high on this guy and may trade him for something less valuable. Huber got off to a blistering start, was called up to ride the bench and then got sent down where he went into an awful slump, got hurt and then rebounded to have an 838 OPS. He certainly seems to have no future with this club as it is expected that Mark Teahen will move to LF. Huber could definitely come in handy when Mike Sweeney get hurts.

If Dayton is going to trade him, I would want someone like Erik Aybar or Hayden Penn.

Kila Kaaihue
—I really likedKila coming into the year—coming off his 925 OPS at High Desert. Sure it would drop some as he entered more sane hitting environments. But Kila’s OPS this year was 602. Ouch. He was a little better after the All Star break by having an 787 OPS—still nothing to write home about from a firstbaseman. Perhaps he will move to Omaha and try to regain the plate discipline that helped him look like a poor man’s Nick Johnson.

High Desert:
Mike Stodolka
—the #4 pick in the 2000 draft moved from the mound to the batters’ box with decent results. He posted an 845 OPS. He also has hit well in 30 AB’s in the Hawaian Baseball League, posting a 1033 OPS. Of course being a 25 year old first baseman in the Cal League puts those numbers in perspective. He had a 911 OPS at home and 778 on the road. Stodolka is a nice story but not much of a prospect.

Miguel Vega
has got good power and that’s about it. He had a 271 OBP. That is Berroa-esqe. He had 13 walks and 121 K’s. Vega was a 4th round pick a few years ago, but will probably get eaten alive in Wilmington this year.

Short Season Clubs:
Scott Lucas, Carlos Avila, and Jase Turner
played 1st for our Short Season Clubs—none of them look like they are prospects.



What's on Second


The 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 [...]

The Long and "Short" of it


On 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[...]

Third Base on the farm


I get to look at who we’ve got in the pipeline at third base.

Rick Bell and Mike Coolbaugh split time playing 3rd at Omaha. This is exactly the thing I hope Dayton Moore never uses AAA for—holding on to bad players with no upside.

High Desert:
Ed Lucas was an 8th round pick in 2004 from Dartmouth. As a 25 year old in High-A, he hit 281/349/409/ in the hitter friendly confines that are the California League (his OPS at home was 890). Not a prospect at this point—just organizational filler.

Mario Lisson is an interesting guy. I picked him for a breakout last season. But he repeated Burlington and had almost the exact same season
2005 OPS—794
2006 OPS---789
He also stole 41 out of 52 bases. He was 22 last season and Burlington is tough ballpark for hitters. Not a great prospect and life won’t get any easier playing at Wilmington next year. But he has some tool and is worth keeping tabs on.

Idaho Falls:
Luis Catillo had a great year in limited AB’s for the Chukars. He had a 1025 OPS. On the negative side, he will be 23 soon. Organizational player.

Surprise Royals:
Jason Taylor was our 2nd round pick in last year’s draft. Many thought he would be drafted in later rounds. But the reports are that the Royals loved his athleticism and his bat. Some observers have questioned how athletic Taylor really is. He certainly didn’t stand out in his pro-ball debut. His OPS was 699 in 151 ABs. He was ranked as the 9th best prospect in Baseball America’s Arizona League Prospect rankings.

Oh, I forgot one guy. Of course the only reason it doesn’t really matter what these guys did is because of the fact that the BA Minor League POY was down at Wichita. Alex Gordon is the best prospect in baseball. He hit 325/427/588 and stole 22 out of 25 bases for good measure. He played good, sometimes great defense. His numbers would have been even better had he not had a nagging injury for about 5 weeks in May/June. His post All-Star break numbers were sick as he hit: 346/448/658. Think Scott Rolen, thinkMark Texeira, think of the Royals having a franchise player. The time is quickly approaching where the Royals will have to decide what to do with Mark Teahen (all signs point to a move towards OF).


Catching Down on the Farm


Over 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.

We begin with probably the weakest position in the farm system, catching. John Buck's lackluster performance over the past two seasons has made the catching position an increasing concern. Buck finished the season with an OPS of .702, a slight 26 point improvement over 2005. He's a solid defender behind the plate, which helps compensate for his weakness at the plate. He's the catcher of the future because the Royals simply don't have any better options in the minors.

Near the Majors: We begin our look at the minors with Paul Phillips and Matt Tupman. Paul Phillips has already seen some big league action, with 137 career at-bats and an unimpressive .270/.279/.380 line. He's walked just once in 137 at-bats, contributing to his low OPS. Matt Tupman's plate discipline is much better, with drawing 56 walks to just 33 strikeouts this season. However, his lack of power(SLG %.334) will keep him from becoming more than a backup. Both players are in their upper 20s, appear to be no more than AAAA players and backup catchers.

A/AA: Adam Donachie highlights the A/AA list. Donachie's prowess is his defense behind the plate, which is very good. His weakness is his bat. He struggled after being promoted to Wichita, with a .633 OPS. His home/road splits at Wichita also showed a strong home bias, with an OPS 148 points higher at home. Donachie is still young (22 years old), particularly for a catcher. So, his bat may improve considerably over the next few seasons.

The Royals drafted 3 college catchers in the 2005 draft, Kiel Thibault, Jeffrey Howell, and Brady Everett. All three did well in rookie ball, but only Thibault continued his success into this season. Thibault hit very well (.340/.398/.485 line) at High Desert, but struggled in the less hitter-friendly Midwest League.

I looked through the Rookie Leagues, but didn't find any prospects worth noting. Overall, catcher is a significant weakness in the organization. The Royals could use a good left-handed bat to counter Buck's weakness against righties. The Royals don't have any catching prospects who project as major league regulars, so the Royals will need to improve their depth in the upcoming draft and with any offseason moves.

Depth: D-
Impact Talent: F

Up next: Third Basemen (i.e. Alex Gordon)

NWroyal is here.


Thanks 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.

This offseason promises to be one of the most exciting in recent memory as The Great Dayton puts his stamp upon the team. We wil be here to follow it--we'll talk about the moves--trades, FA signings, Rule V draft. We'll break down the minor leagues, rate our prospects, provide info on the draft--I hope we'll have some fun debates. I'm no expert--but I'm a passionate amateur. I hope this will become the place to come to for information on future Royals and I hope you'll join the discussion. Play Ball!

GeorgiaRoyal Introduction


I'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.

I blame Terry Pendleton, really. I was a Cardinal fan as a kid and Terry Pendleton became my instant favorite player when I met him at an autograph signing at Columbia Mall in Columbia, Missouri. My family moved to the suburbs of Atlanta, GA in 1989 and Terry Pendleton joined the Braves in 1991. After the Braves, Terry bounced around a little, but ended up with the Kansas City Royals. I had never followed AL ball before, and was intrigued by the DH and seeing the other half of the major leagues I'd never paid a lot of attention to. So, I began following Terry and the Royals during the 1998 season. He retired after the 1998 season, but I'm still here. Waiting for the year when it all comes together.

1998 wasn't all bad. Dean Palmer gave the Great Steve Balboni a run with 34 HR. Balboni remains the Royals all time, single season, HR record holder with 36 HR in 1985, as sad as that is here in the steroid era. Tim Belcher and Patt Rapp anchored the pitching staff while a couple of 23 year old lefties (Jose Rosado and Glendon Rusch) showed a hope for the future. At the end of the 1998 sesaon, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Febles made their debuts. "Dos Carlos" was all the hype going into the 1999 season, but only Uno Carlos actually did much after 1999.

The Royals drafted Jeff Austin with the 4th overall pick of the 1998 draft. It was at this point that I began my, as my wife calls it, nerdom about the Royals and their minor league system. I was aware of the draft, but never paid much attention until 1998. I realized that there were teams of players that were working their respective ways to the Bigs. I think I knew this before, but it just didn't register with me. Many won't make it, but they are all playing to be the few that do make it and make a difference in the Major Leagues. That's why I love it. Sure, it's been tainted a bit with all of the million dollar babies. They aren't actually roughing it through the bus leagues and such, but the vast majority of the guys are making huge sacrifices to play ball and cling to the hope that they could be one of the few that gets to play in the Majors.

That's where the hope, as a Royals fan, comes from. There are 7 teams of minor leaguers that are under the Royals control, not to mention the guys down in the Dominican. Which of these guys are destined to be "organizational guys" and which ones are going to be pieces of the championship puzzle? That's why I pay attention. I want to know as much as possible about these guys when they get to KC and I also want to know as much about they guys as possible that are just clinging to the hope that they might one day get there.

Daily Lancer Welcomes Two New Bloggers


I 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 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.

The Daily Lancer is going to be dedicated to providing in-depth coverage of the Royals' farm system. Here's a few of the features that are in the works for the Daily Lancer:

-Nightly minor-league updates during the season
-Top prospect lists and depth chart complied by the Daily Lancer's minor league experts
-In-depth look at the Royals' top prospects, examining their past season's performance and projection/future roles in the organization
-Pre-draft coverage, including photos and first-hand accounts of some top draft prospects
-Photos and first-hand accounts of Royals' top prospects
-Examination of the minor league talent throughout the division

I hope you enjoy it!