15 September 2008

Four Royals make BA AZL Top 20

Four Royals farmhands have been named to Baseball America's AZL Top 20 Prospects list as released today. The best news is lefty Mike Montgomery was named the #1 AZL prospect. I don't subscribe to BA online because I don't have that kind of cash to spend on an online subscription, but you can check out the list here.

#1 Mike Montgomery, LHP
#8 Tyler Sample, RHP
#10 Yowill Espinal, IF
#13 Jose Bonilla C

Sample was ranked pretty high for having the rough outings he had, but kinda came out of the draft this season as a project. I'm also a little surprised to see Espinal ranked ahead of Bonilla but maybe Espinal's defense made a difference.

13 September 2008

Royals on the Farm 9/13 -- Bees win title by default

A - Burlington: With hurricane season once again active and crazy weather all over the U.S., the Midwest League decided to cancel the rest of the MWL Championship Series, making Burlington the first Royals affiliate to take a league title since I started doing these reports in 2005. It's the Bees first MWL title since 1999 and 4th overall. I guess the fact instructional leagues are coming up also led to the decision, which I think is an odd one, but they do have a point. Today's game 3 was already postponed and who knows when they would've gotten it in. The Bees finish the playoffs a perfect 6-0 and finished the regular season 73-65 overall. They went 27-9 starting Aug. 1.

Tops in OPS (min. 100 ABs)

IF Kyle Martin .316 BA/.373 OBP/.537 SLG, .910 OPS, 26 RS, 13 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 28 RBI, 17 BB/40 K, 2/4 SB, 10 E in 56 games and 190 ABs -- kinda flew under radar this season for Bees, but had fine first full season in pro ball
OF Nick Van Stratten .345/.400/.489, .889 OPS, 22 RS, 13 2B, 2 3B, HR, 18 RBI, 12 BB/20 K, 5/8 SB, 1 E in 40 games and 139 ABs -- hope he gets better look next year in Wilmington
1B Clint Robinson .264/.333/.472, .806 OPS, 53 RS, 22 2B, 3 3B, 17 HR, 64 RBI, 37 BB/67 K, 0/3 SB, 6 E in 106 games and 379 ABs -- had higher expectations for Clint, but numbers are skewed by poor early performance, suffered through .182 BA and injury in May, rebounded to hit over .300 with an .880 OPS in August, surely will move up
3B Mike Moustakas .272/.337/.468, .805 OPS, 77 RS, 135 hits (led team), 25 2B (led team), 3 3B, 22 HR (led team), 71 RBI (led team), 43 BB/86 K, 8/12 SB, 22 E (led team) in 126 games and 496 ABs (led team) -- rate stats are a little underwhelming but are skewed down by .228/.285/.386 pre-all star line, hit .321/.392/.557 after break, which is more like it, anxious to see how he handles Carolina League in '09
1B Jason Taylor .242/.372/.418, .790 OPS, 79 RS (led team), 17 2B, 4 3B, 17 HR, 58 RBI, 81 BB (easily led team)/97 K (second on team), 40/54 SB (led team), 20 E in 127 games and 433 ABs -- promising numbers in first full season of pro ball, hit for .886 OPS in July and .878 OPS in August

others of note.... OF David Lough .784 OPS (131 hits, 48 XBH, 11 3B (led team), 12/23 SB, led off but had only .329 OBP, showed some nice pop in bat).... 2B Johnny Giavotella .776 OPS (18 2B, 25 BB/34 K, 10/17 SB, 13 E in 68 games and 278 ABs, showed good skills as #2 batter in pro debut).... OF Nick Francis .761 OPS (11 XBH, 10 BB/35 K in 31 games).... OF Adrian Ortiz .720 OPS (hit .308, 29/44 SB, 130 hits, 20 XBH, 15 BB/68 K in 100 games and 422 ABs prior to call-up, needs to move those BB and K numbers closer together).... OF Jamar Walton .698 OPS (20 2B, 21 BB/86 K, .305 OBP in 98 games and 357 ABs, hit .320 with .800 OPS after all-star break, helped lead offense in playoffs).... C Ryan Eigsti .654 OPS (104 Ks led team, hit .219 but had .294 OBP thanks mostly to propensity to take HBP).... SS Juan Rivera .595 OPS (.305 OBP, 19 BB/45 K, 10 XBH, 14 E in 76 games and 259 ABs, not much in return for Angel Berroa, but worth it to get rid of Aw-hell).... OF Wilson Tucker .517 OPS (12 XBH, 4 BB/39 K, hit .184 in 42 games before going onto reserve list for reasons I haven't read)

Tops in WHIP (min. 20 IP and on roster)

Danny Duffy 8-4, 2.20 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 4 HRA, 25 BB/102 K in 17 starts and 81 2/3 IP -- absolutely nothing not to like here, hope back problems that cut postseason short aren't chronic
Brandon Sisk 1-1, 1.19 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 2 SV, 0 HRA, 9 BB/36 K in 10 games and 22 2/3 IP -- was also lockdown in playoffs, small sample size but numbers are very promising
Alex Caldera 12-6 (led team in wins), 2.89 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 6 HRA, 36 BB/120 K in 25 starts and 149 1/3 IP (easily led team) -- didn't know his IP total was that high, hope it doesn't come back to bite organization, also had some very nice numbers
Tony Bradley 1-4, 2.14 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 4 SV, 1 HRA, 18 BB/35 K in 26 games and 42 IP -- nice season out of pen but after hot start was more mortal post-all star break
Danny Gutierrez 4-4, 2.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 7 HRA, 25 BB/104 K in 19 games (18 starts) and 90 IP -- also very nice numbers, not quite to Duffy's standards but pretty good

others of note.... Ed Cegarra posted an 0.94 WHIP in his 54 IP prior to getting called to Wilmington deservedly.... Ray Liotta 1.06 WHIP in 16 innings before finished season in Wilmington.... Kelvin Herrera 1.18 WHIP (2-0, 2.13 ERA, 2 BB/7 K in 12 2/3 IP in first taste of A ball, should start '09 in Bees rotation, at least).... Matt Mitchell 1.21 WHIP (8-8 (led team in losses), 3.47 ERA, 9 HRA, 25 BB/77 K in 25 games (21 starts) and 116 2/3 IP, decent numbers but nothing spectacular).... Zach Peterson 1.21 WHIP (5 SV, 3.13 ERA, 7 HRA, 20 BB/82 K in 30 games (4 starts) and 77 2/3 IP, nice K rate and K/BB, good power P stats).... Eduardo Paulino 1.22 WHIP (3.68 ERA, 19 BB/80 K, 9 HRA in 19 games (17 starts) and 100 1/3 IP, hopefully bounces back well from injury, also had nice stats, keep in mind with all these stats that MWL is bigtime pitcher's league).... Joe Augustine 1.33 WHIP (3.77 ERA, 9 SV (led team), 10 HRA (led team), 34 BB/85 K in 28 games (5 starts) and 105 IP, nothing too spectacular in first full season, had good moments and bad moments).... Brent Fisher 1.41 WHIP (comeback trail from arm surgery).... Luis Cota 1.49 WHIP (ditto, 5.80 ERA, 4 HRA, 14 BB/32 K in 8 starts and 35 2/3 IP, had great championship series start, hopefully he returns to form that once had him a top-10 prospect in the organization).... Sam Runion 1.55 WHIP (5.75 ERA, 9 BB/11 K, 7 HRA in 9 games and 5 starts, 40 2/3 IP before being demoted)

That pretty much does it for the season's purposes. I may post fall updates as time allows....been a long strange trip this season but a team winning a league title is the way to finish it.

12 September 2008

Royals on the Farm 9/12 -- rain delay

Game 3 has been rained out and will be made up at noon Saturday as the Bees try for a sweep for the MWL title. Kelvin Herrera is set to start for Burlington.

11 September 2008

Royals on the Farm 9/11 -- Bees roll in game 2

A quick note of remembrance for the events of today, seven years ago. Watched the History Channel stuff about it tonight, and......I don't know, words fail.

A - Burlington: Bees 12, South Bend 0 (4-hitter)

2B Giavotella 3-4, HR (2), 3 RBI (8), 3 RS -- .375
RF-CF Van Stratten 3-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI (6), RS -- .292
C Eigsti 2-4, 2B, RBI, K, RS -- .278
3B Moustakas 2-5, 2 2B, RBI (5), RS -- .227
1B Taylor 2-4, BB, RBI (4), RS -- .348
LF Walton 1-5, HR (3), 2 RBI (5), K, RS -- .333
CF Lough 1-2, 2 BB, HR, RBI (2), 3 RS -- .136
DH C. Robinson 1-2, HBP, RBI (4) -- .316
* The Bees stranded 11.

Caldera 6 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 6 K -- W, 2-0, 1.64 ERA
Augustine IP, K, WP -- 0.00 ERA
J. Rodriguez and Z. Peterson IP each scoreless relief

*** Burlington drilled the Silver Hawks for 12 runs in the first 3 innings and Alex Caldera lived up to Danny Gutierrez's game 1 example as the Bees took control of the MWL Championship Series. David Lough got it started with a leadoff homer in the 1st and the Bees poured on 4 more runs on a Clint Robinson RBI groundout, Nick Van Stratten RBI double and 2-run Jamar Walton homer. Johnny Giavotella slammed a 2-run homer in the 2nd and the Bees kept the heat on with 5 runs in the 3rd on a Ryan Eigsti RBI double, Giavotella RBI single, Mike Moustakas RBI groundout, Jason Taylor RBI single and another Van Stratten RBI double that made it 12-0. Caldera stranded 2 in the 5th and Joe Augustine, Jacob Rodriguez and Zach Peterson followed with 3 IP of scoreless relief starting in the 7th to finish the shutout victory. South Bend SP Christian Beltre lasted only 2/3 of an inning and allowed 5 ER to fall to 0-2 with a 37.13 ERA. Four Hawks had a hit each.

The Bees have a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 heading to South Bend Friday. I don't want to jinx it. Kelvin Herrera will try to pop the champagne for the Bees.

10 September 2008

Royals on the Farm 9/10 -- Bees open series with W

A - Burlington: Bees 6, South Bend 0 (2-hitter)

2B Giavotella 2-4, HR, 2 RBI (5), K, 2 RS -- .300
LF Walton 2-3, HR (2), RBI (3), K, RS -- .400
3B Moustakas 1-3, BB, HR, 3 RBI (4), RS -- .176
1B Taylor 0-4, SB (2), E (2) -- .316
DH C. Robinson 0-4, K -- .294
RF Van Stratten 1-4, picked off -- .211

Gutierrez 6 IP, 2 H, BB, 11 K -- W, 1-0, 1.50 ERA, wow
Bradley, Raglione, Bowden 3 hitless IP combined

*** Danny Gutierrez was outstanding and got the backing of three hitless innings from the bullpen as the Bees rolled to the game 1 win in the MWL Championship Series. Gutierrez gave up a leadoff double but then retired 16 of the last 17 he faced starting with the third out in the 1st. Johnny Giavotella got the Bees started with an RBI single in the 3rd and Mike Moustakas came through with his biggest hit of the playoffs as a 3-run homer made it 4-0 Bees and marked Moustakas' 1st playoff homer. Jamar Walton went solo in the 6th to make it 5-0 and Giavotella led off the 7th with his 1st pro playoff homer to make it 6-0. Barry Bowden stranded 1 in the 9th to finish it for Burlington. South Bend SP Jarrod Parker took the loss with 4 ER allowed over 5 IP to drop to 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA. Two different Silver Hawks had the team's hits.

The Bees opened the best-of-5 series with a win. Game 2 is Thursday night as Alex Caldera starts for the Bees. Bees pitcher of the year Dan Duffy has been shut down with back issues. The Bees were 4-2 versus the Silver Hawks in the regular season.

08 September 2008

Royals on the Farm 9/7 -- Bees on to finals

AA - NW Arkansas: done at 75-65

Tops in OPS (min. 150 ABs and on roster)

OF/DH Cory Aldridge .269/.361/.497, .858 OPS, 23 RS, 6 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 40 RBI, 25 BB/37 K, 2/6 SB, 1 E in 49 games and 167 ABs -- wonder if he'll be back in '09
1B/3B Juan Richardson .296/.370/.474, .844 OPS, 90 RS (led team), 146 H (led team), 36 2B (led team), 2 3B, 16 HR, 82 RBI (led team), 54 BB/93 K, 2/7 SB, 7 E in 133 games and 494 ABs -- will the Royals keep hold of him? Be interesting to see what he'd do at Omaha. Better than some of the other filler they've had, I'd figure.
3B Ed Lucas .304/.372/.415, .787 OPS, 38 RS, 10 2B, 4 3B, 4 HR, 30 RBI, 29 BB/47 K, 14/21 SB, 8 E in 79 games and 270 ABs -- floundered in chance at Omaha in inconsistent playing time, solid bat for NWA
OF Brian McFall .241/.329/.454, .783 OPS, 42 RS, 16 2B, 2 3B, 18 HR, 61 RBI, 39 BB/103 K, 7/13 SB, 2 E in 106 games and 348 ABs -- probably should be back in AA next year, but we'll see
IF/OF Irving Falu .301/.367/.384, .751 OPS, 57 RS, 11 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 42 RBI, 38 BB/31 K (nice), 11/20 SB, 4 E in 101 games and 362 ABs -- quietly had pretty good season, although no one number is very flashy....more BB than Ks is always nice

others of note.... it should be noted that 1B Kila Ka'aihue hit for a 1.086 OPS with 26 HR and 79 RBI for NWA before getting the call to AAA and was obviously the NWA player of the year. He still led the team in HR, batting, OBP, SLG and in BB with 80 (26 more than anyone else on team).... 2B Marc Maddox .738 OPS (30 2B, 48 BB/73 K, 15/27 SB, 10 E, hit .283 in 127 games and 453 ABs, decent year).... OF Jose Duarte .663 OPS (19 2B, 10 HR, 50 BB/91 K, 18/26 SB, 5 E in 133 games and 528 ABs, OBP only .313 in leadoff slot, like I've noted before, 50 points more in OBP and 50 more points on his .350 SLG and he's a much hotter prospect).... 3B Mario Lisson .658 OPS (hit .225 with .284 OBP, 23 2B, 14 HR, 65 RBI, 33 BB/105 K, 31/37 SB, 23 E in 130 games and 476 ABs, we'll see if he holds on to that 40-man slot, hit lower than .205 in three months, boosted numbers by hitting .269 in August, also hit .269 in May, will (I figure) likely repeat AA).... LF Ovandy Suero .641 OPS (led team with 42 SBs and 5 3B).... C Adam Donachie .609 OPS (at one time I thought he had promise, hit .212, slugged .299, 13 XBH, 7 E in 91 games and 264 ABs, catchers take up bottom three slots on team in OPS)

Tops in WHIP (min. 20 IP)

Tim Hamulack 0-1, 1.96 ERA, 0.61 WHIP, 6 SV, 2 HRA, 1 BB/23 K in 18 games and 23 IP -- 30-something journeyman pitched well for the Naturals, gotta love the BB/K
Chris Hayes 5-2, 1.64 ERA (led team), 0.94 WHIP, 12 SV (led team), 4 HRA, 13 BB/39 K in 40 games and 65 2/3 IP -- submariner also pitched well, should move on to Omaha
Gilbert de la Vara 3-0, 2.76 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 2 SV, 0 HRA, 15 BB/21 K in 21 games and 32 2/3 IP -- BB/K not favorable, but other numbers were solid
Chris Nicoll 4-1, 3.09 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 3 SV, 2 HRA, 8 BB/55 K in 19 games (1 start) and 43 2/3 IP -- K rate and K/BB stellar, solid all around season, hopefully shoulder problem not serious
Jarod Plummer 4-1, 4.19 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 3 SV, 12 HRA, 15 BB/65 K in 29 games and 58 IP -- unfortunate DUI arrest late in season, served up some longballs but otherwise had good numbers, hopefully back in 2009

others of note.... Carlos Rosa posted an 0.82 WHIP and 7 BB/42 K in 45 innings before moving up to Omaha.... Greg Atencio 1.27 WHIP (3.81 ERA, 4 HRA, 25 BB/63 K in 27 games and 54 1/3 IP, bounced between Omaha and NWA).... Dan Cortes 1.35 WHIP (10-4 (tied team lead in wins), 3.78 ERA, 13 HRA, 55 BB/109 K in 23 starts and 116 2/3 IP, team pitcher of year, looked dominant at times, hopefully starts '09 in Omaha).... Blake Johnson 1.44 WHIP (10-9 (tied team lead in wins), 4.85 ERA, 20 HRA (led team), 31 BB/87 K in 26 games (25 starts) and 143 IP, pretty mediocre AA debut).... Rowdy Hardy 1.45 WHIP (6-11, 4.97 ERA, 14 HRA, 31 BB/87 K in 28 games (27 starts) and 155 2/3 IP, struggled in AA, but K/BB was solid, alternated bad months, April/June 6-plus ERA, August 5-plus ERA, May, July ERA under 4).... Blake Wood 1.48 WHIP (5-7, 5.30 ERA, 2 shutouts and 2 CG, 7 HRA, 32 BB/76 K in 18 starts and 86 2/3 IP, those numbers but two complete game shutouts, if he can iron out the wrinkles over the offseason could move up to Omaha).... Julio Pimentel 1.56 WHIP (7-13 (led team in losses), 5.38 ERA, 17 HRA, 52 BB/115 K in 28 starts and 157 1/3 IP (led team), disappointing year, numbers skewed up by 8-point ERA in May and 6-point ERA in July, had a 3.55 ERA in 5 August starts, probably should be back in AA next season)

A - Burlington: Bees 2, Cedar Rapids 1

1B Taylor 2-3, RS, SB, CS, E -- .400
LF Walton 1-3, 2B, RBI (2), K -- .286
2B Giavotella 1-2, BB -- .250
3B Moustakas 1-3, picked off -- .143
DH C. Robinson 0-3 -- .385
RF Van Stratten 1-3, RS -- .200

Cota 7 IP, ER, 3 H, BB, 7 K, WP -- W, 1-0, 1.29 ERA, has to feel good for Luis
Sisk 2 IP, 4 K -- SV, 3, 0.00 ERA, can't say enough about how he's pitched for Bees

*** Luis Cota and Brandon Sisk combined to hold the Kernels to 3 hits as the Bees punched their ticket to the MWL Championship Series. Cedar Rapids scored a run on 2 hits off Cota in the 2nd but Nick Van Stratten hit a run-scoring single aided by a Kernels error in the bottom of the inning and Jamar Walton hit an RBI double to make it 2-1 Bees. Cota dodged some trouble in the 7th and Sisk struck out 4 over 2 perfect innings to make the 2 runs stand up. Kernels SP Michael Davitt went the distance with 8 IP of 2 ER allowed. Three Kernels had a hit each.

The Bees move on to the MWL Championship Series against the winner of the South Bend-Dayton Eastern Division finals. South Bend took game 1 but game 2 was rained out today.

07 September 2008

The Pipeline's Top 20 Royal prospects 2008

The promise of improvement in Kansas City in 2008 has turned into just another year of September malaise among Royals fans, but if the season in the minors showed anything, it showed that help may be on the way. Not necessarily in AAA Omaha, however, as this year's Pipeline Top 20 prospects list includes only three players from this year's Omaha roster....one, Kila Ka'aihue, was only a midseason addition, and another, OF Chris Lubanski, has dropped a couple spots from where he was last season on the list. The other, P Carlos Rosa, pitched great in NW Arkansas, got an early season promotion to Omaha, then hit the KC bullpen, then bounced back to Omaha and lost the last chunk of the season to forearm soreness. AA Northwest Arkansas has a few prospects with promise, but the main chunk of players on this list are in A-ball either in Wilmington or Burlington. I put on one or two from rookie ball, but I'd like to see some full season production from most of those guys before putting them in the top 20. From a prospects standpoint, I'd grade out Omaha as a D+ this season, NW Arkansas as a B-, Wilmington as a B, Burlington (IA) as a B+, Idaho Falls as a C, Burlington (NC) as a D, and the AZL as a C.

The list has again changed quite a bit from last season. Last year's #1, P Billy Buckner, who probably should have been lower on the list, was sent to Arizona in the Alberto Callaspo deal, while #2 Luke Hochevar has hit Kansas City's rotation, albeit with mediocre results. #3 Mike Moustakas moves up to the top spot in a move I'm more confident in, while #4 Matt Wright drops out due to age and the fact he was a gas can in Omaha this season, and #5 Justin Huber is now a Padre. Mitch Maier and Rowdy Hardy aged out, although Hardy would have dropped anyway after his numbers came back to earth in AA this season. Geraldo Valentin, who was #16 on last year's list, is also gone as the Royals simply released him this season. All in all, though, I feel this year's top 20 is stronger than last season's group. We've got 11 pitchers, 9 hitters.

Bear in mind most (but not all) of these reports are made sight unseen. They go only as far as stats do, so some intangibles in each player's game aren't taken into account -- good and bad. The cutoff age is 25, and age is set by what it'll be at the end of the MLB season. I vacillated and left SP Luke Hochevar off the list. I can't imagine he'll be out of the KC rotation to start 2009.

1. Mike Moustakas, 3B, 20 (last year: #3) -- hit .272/.337/.468 for an .805 OPS, 77 RS, 25 2B, 3 3B, 22 HR, 71 RBI, 77 RS, 43 BB/86 K, 8/12 SB, 22 E in 126 games and 496 ABs in A Burlington.

*** Moose led the Bees in HR, RBI, hits, doubles, and errors, leading the Royals to make their first defensive move with him to shift him over to third base. His numbers are skewed down somewhat by a slow start as he hit only .190 in 21 April games but hit .303 in July and .330 in August. A cleaner break is shown in his pre- and post-all-star break stats as he hit .228 with a .671 OPS before the break and .321 with a .949 OPS after it. He struggled somewhat in day games (.194 BA with a .659 OPS) and, as he is a lefty batter, against lefties (.239 BA with a .724 OPS) but showed improvement in his numbers as the season progressed, which was great to see as a Royals fan. My money is on him to move up to Wilmington to start 2009, and hopefully if he hits well there in a league that's kinder to hitters, he can maybe move up to NW Arkansas later in the season. He turns 20 Sept. 11.

2. Eric Hosmer, 1B, 18 (last year: N/A) -- played only 3 games at Idaho Falls and got 11 pro ABs

*** The sample size of Hosmer's first taste of professional baseball was small but he slapped up an OPS over 1.000 in his 11 ABs with the rookie ball Chukars before getting pulled out of the lineup because his agent, Scott Boras, dicked around with Pedro Alvarez and the Pirates. As in 2007 with Moustakas, the Royals drafted a Boras client early, and as usual, he didn't sign until 10 minutes before the deadline so the Royals didn't get a lot of game experience for their #1 draftee again. Hosmer was ranked as one of the best if not THE best HS bat in the draft pool, so I guess we'll have to wait until 2009 when I assume, like Moustakas, that Hosmer may get a crack at Midwest League pitching in Burlington.

3. Kila Ka'aihue, 1B, 24 (last year: NR) -- burst onto scene with .314/.463/.624, 26 HR, 79 RBI line in 91 games at NW Arkansas this season and then a .316/.439/.640, 11 HR, 21 RBI line in 33 games at Omaha, led minors with 104 BB and posted an overall .456 OBP

*** Kila was this year's breakout star in the Royals minors after posting an .806 OPS in Wichita in 2007. He raked AA pitching this season and then hit well in a taste of AAA, all the while showing great plate discipline and plenty of power. He struck out more at Omaha but still drew nearly as many walks as Ks after almost doubling up his walks to his Ks in AA. The Royals rewarded him with a September call-up and thus far, he's gotten 4 ABs but picked up his first MLB hit. Going into this season, his younger brother, Kala, who is in the Braves' organization, was the higher touted of the two but Kila turned that around with a blistering year at the plate. Hopefully he earns a spot in the KC lineup to start 2009. Otherwise, I'm sure he'll be at Omaha with a chance to ride the KC-Omaha shuttle.

4. Carlos Rosa, righty SP, 24 (last year: #8) -- was 4-2 with a 1.20 ERA and sub-1 WHIP with 7 BB/42 K in 8 starts and 45 IP in AA, then moved up to Omaha and was 4-3 with a 4.09 ERA and 1.24 WHIP with 12 BB/44 K in 11 starts and 50 2/3 IP.

*** Rosa was the early story of KC's minors this season by tearing up AA competition, but then had his ups and downs at Omaha. He got a shot at the KC pen but pitched in only 2 games and 3.1 innings before heading back to Omaha. He tried to get back going in the rotation but then struggled with forearm soreness and was shelved for the rest of the year. Keep in mind Rosa only returned last season from Tommy John surgery, so I think it's understandable that he still struggles with stamina over the course of a season. It was probably smart for the organization to shelf him. I'd hope he gets a shot at a #5 KC rotation spot in '09 or the organization may play it safe and start him out at Omaha again.

5. Dan Cortes, righty SP, 21 (last year: #12) -- 10-4, 3.78 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 13 HRA, 55 BB/109 K in 23 starts and 116 2/3 IP at NW Arkansas

*** Cortes has hit the top of several Royals prospects lists and could list higher here, really. I just put him lower than Rosa because Rosa has gotten the job done just as well at a higher level. He was co-leader on the Naturals' staff with 10 wins, and had his dominant moments and other times where control issues from the past seemed to come back on him. His K rate was solid, but he had a small problem with giving up HRs. All in all, it was a good season for Cortes, though, and I would hope he gets a shot at the Omaha rotation to start 2009 with the potential of a call to KC in the cards.

6. Danny Duffy, lefty SP, 19 (last year: #15) -- 8-4, 2.20 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 4 HRA, 25 BB/102 K in 17 starts and 81 2/3 IP at Burlington (IA)

*** Duffy dominated the opposition at Burlington to help lead the team to the playoffs. His K rate was spectacular, and his K/BB was also exceptional. The MWL is a pitcher's league, but these numbers are still outstanding. He won a well-deserved Bees pitcher of the year award. Hopefully this output continues in 2009 in Wilmington. The organization also handled Duffy fairly well by seemingly keeping him on lower pitch counts and monitoring his workload.

7. Joe Dickerson, OF, 22 (last year: #11) -- .297/.376/.442, .818 OPS, 10 2B, 10 3B, 5 HR, 45 RBI, 39 RS, 31 BB/48 K, 24/38 SB, 2 E in 87 games and 310 ABs at Wilmington

*** Dickerson's season was cut short by a finger injury sustained while bunting but the Royals plan to have him play in the Arizona Fall League. He seems to be a solid all-around player, more consistency than flash. He was among the league leaders in hitting while healthy this season and showed some speed on the basepaths, although his basestealing instincts could be better. As noted in today's RotF report, the Rocks could have used Dickerson's consistency at the plate in the playoffs. We'll see how he does next year at AA.

Blake Wood, righty SP, 23 (last year: NR) -- 3-2, 2.67 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 3 HRA, 15 BB/63 K in 10 starts and 57 1/3 IP at Wilmington, then 5-7, 5.30 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 7 HRA, 32 BB/76 K in 18 starts and 86 2/3 IP at NW Arkansas

*** Wood dominated the Carolina League then was, as I noted several times, a Jekyll-Hyde pitcher at AA. He could come out and shut down the opposition with more than a K per inning, or he could give up 6 ER over 2 innings. Unfortunately, it was more Hyde than Jekyll at NW Arkansas in his first stint at AA, but Wood did show he has the power stuff to dominate. I'd assume he'll be back in AA to start 2009 atop the NWA rotation. Hopefully we see much more Dr. Jekyll in 2009.

9. Chris Lubanski, OF, 23 (last year: #6) -- .242/.306/.448, .754 OPS, 51 RS, 20 2B, 8 3B, 15 HR, 54 RBI, 38 BB/130 K, 5/6 SB, 6 E in 116 games and 393 ABs at Omaha

*** I dropped Lubanski on the list this year, despite a not awful season for him at Omaha. He missed the last couple games of the season with vision problems, which hopefully factored into the 130 strikeouts this season. If he gets his vision right, maybe that number drops next season and he continues to develop. His batting average hovered in the low .200s all season and he doesn't really get on base to any great extent. He did hit 15 HR for the third straight season and led the team in triples. And he's only 23, which is hard at times to remember because of how fast he's been moved through the system. The Royals will have to consider making room on the 40-man for him or take another chance at him getting rule 5'd, although I think there's little to no chance he'd last an entire season on an MLB roster. I assume he'll be back in the Omaha outfield and maybe in the middle of the order to start 2009 for his second full season in AAA. If vision was part of the problem, hopefully that's taken care of and he starts clicking like he can.

10. Julio Pimentel, righty SP, 23 (last year: #9) -- 7-13, 5.38 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 17 HRA, 52 BB/115 K in 28 starts and 157 1/3 IP at NWA

*** Pimentel was KC's lone representative in the Futures game and led the Naturals in innings pitched, strikeouts, runs allowed, and losses. By his stats you can see he didn't really pitch like a "Futures" guy this season, especially coming off a solid season in Wilmington in 2007. I only dropped him slightly because there aren't any other pitchers in the organization that are definitively better, or at least would be definitively better at the AA level right now. He seems to have the stuff, but had an off year. I expect he'll be back at NWA again in 2009, if the Royals don't feel he can have a shot at Omaha. I wouldn't say he really stepped up to claim that shot this season.

11. Johnny Giavotella, IF, 21 (last year: N/A) -- .299/.355/.421, .776 OPS, 50 RS, 18 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 26 RBI, 25 BB/34 K, 10/17 SB, 13 E in 68 games and 278 ABs at Burlington (IA)

*** Giavotella was KC's fasttrack draftee out of the U of New Orleans in rd 2 this season, and he has fared well for the Bees. I wonder if some fatigue factored in as he was pretty solidly above a .300 batting average until the last couple weeks. It has to hurt to finish at .299 rather than .300...a thousandth of a point means a lot there. He seems to be the prototypical #2 hitter. I figure he'll start '09 in Wilmington with perhaps a shot at moving to NWA if the opportunity arises, or if he hits better in the somewhat more hitter-friendly Carolina League.

12. Jeff Bianchi, IF, 22 (last year: #17) -- .255/.290/.442, .732 OPS, 57 RS, 34 2B, 5 3B, 10 HR, 61 RBI, 20 BB/95 K, 13/17 SB, 7 E in 104 games and 396 ABs at Wilmington

*** Bianchi, who has been injury plagued, I guess you could say, in his career since getting drafted in the second round out of a Pennsylvania high school in 2005, hit only .136 in April and dealt with hamstring issues, as it appeared 2008 would be more of the same. Bianchi came back, however, and hit in the .270s with an over-.800 OPS in May and June. He went through a July swoon in hitting .238 for only a .656 OPS that month but finished strong with a .297 BA and .850 OPS in August to pull his batting average over the .250 mark. He didn't enjoy the friendly confines in Wilmington as he hit only .193 at home. He again showed, though, that when he gets hot at the plate, he puts up numbers in bunches. He ended up leading the Rocks in doubles and RBI and was solid in the field other than a short run of errors in August. On the flip side, though, he never walks and a .290 OBP isn't gonna cut it, especially at higher levels. We'll see if he's in NWA or Wilmington to start 2009.

13. Ed Cegarra, righty SP, 19 (last year: NR) -- 2-4, 2.67 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 4 HRA, 5 BB/53 K in 9 games (8 starts) and 54 IP at Burlington (IA), then 6-7, 4.67 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 15 HRA, 21 BB/59 K in 18 starts and 106 IP at Wilmington

*** Cegarra slapped together a stellar line at Burlington (look at that K/BB!) in 54 innings of work, then moved up to Wilmington and had his ups and downs. The ups included a Carolina League pitcher of the week award and the downs included a couple shellings at the hands of his stiffer competition. When the dust settled, however, Cegarra's numbers weren't horrible at high-A ball. He gave up too too many homers and his K/BB rate wasn't sustained, probably because it's hard to sustain a 10-1 ratio and also because the hitters are slightly wiser in advanced A ball. The gravy on the whole deal is Cegarra hasn't hit his 20th birthday yet. This was kind of a breakout year for the Venezuelan, who I expect to see back in Wilmington to start 2009 with a shot probably to move up to NWA at some point if he handles the league like he showed he could at times this season.

14. Jason Taylor, 1B, 20 (last year: NR) -- .242/.372/.418, .790 OPS, 79 RS, 17 2B, 4 3B, 17 HR, 58 RBI, 81 BB/97 K, 40/54 SB, 20 E in 127 games and 433 ABs in Burlington (IA)

*** Taylor presented possibly the best personal story of 2008 as he came back from personal issues that took him away for the 2007 season, reportedly partially attributable to drug problems, and led the Bees in runs scored, walks (easily) and steals. His best attribute was his ability to get on base as he hit in the low .200s most of the season and still led the team in runs scored. He also showed some pop, so I'd think he'd definitely have 30-30 potential if he can develop more power. This is only his first full season of pro ball. I'd expect to see him in the Wilmington infield in 2009. He split time between third and first this season and got most of his errors at third, so I think the jury is still out somewhat on his D. He also proved durable as he was initially reported to have a broken hand or wrist on a HBP midway through the season but I guess it wasn't as he didn't miss a beat.

15. Chris Hayes, righty RP, 25 (last year: NR) -- 5-2, 1.64 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 12 saves, 4 HRA, 13 BB/39 K in 40 games and 65 2/3 IP at NWA

*** I'd like to see Hayes with more Ks but that's about all you could complain about in his game this season. The submariner was a rock solid closer for the Naturals, and it would be cool in a couple years to see another Quisenberry-type submariner in KC either closing out games or setting up Joakim Soria. Of course, Hayes has yet to tackle Omaha so we'll see how that goes in 2009.

16. Blake Johnson, righty SP, 23 (last year: #13) -- 10-9, 4.85 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 20 HRA, 38 BB/86 K in 26 games (25 starts) and 143 IP in NWA

*** Johnson also drops in the rankings after encountering some struggles at AA, much like Pimentel. The season started with a rumor that Johnson would be shipped to the Reds as the PTBNL in the Brad Salmon deal but that proved untrue. His numbers are actually skewed down a bit by a May in which he posted a 2.50 ERA in 6 starts. Other than that, he didn't post an ERA below 5 in any month. He ended up tying Dan Cortes for the team lead in wins, but also led the team in HR allowed (by 9), and his K rate wasn't anything great. I figure he'll be back in AA to start 2009, as I wouldn't say he earned a slot at Omaha from this line.

17. Mike Montgomery, lefty SP, 19 (last year: N/A) -- 2-1, 1.69 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 2 HRA, 12 BB/34 K in 12 games (9 starts) and 42 2/3 IP in the AZL

*** Montgomery started his career as the Royals '08 supplemental round pick (thanks to the signing of David Riske) with a short scoreless inning streak and held on to earn the AZL pitcher of the year award for the Royals' team. He was another highly touted high school pitcher and got off to a solid start as a pro. We'll see if they handle him like Duffy and start him at Burlington (IA) or keep him back and put him in short-season ball again. It could really go either way -- Appalachian League or Midwest League. I wouldn't be surprised if KC used the Duffy template here, tho.

18. Alex Caldera, lefty SP, 23 (last year: NR) -- 12-6, 2.89 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 6 HRA, 36 BB/120 K in 25 starts and 149 1/3 IP at Burlington (IA)

*** Caldera, a 13th round pick out of a California JuCo in 2007, stepped forward to lead the Bees in wins (he led the Royals minors in wins along with Aaron Hartsock at Wilmington), innings pitched, and strikeouts, and also posted a solid K/BB ratio. He was just solid all-around and is Wilmington bound in 2009. There's really nothing to pick at in his stats. For the most part he was consistently good. Only Dan Duffy's awesome year kept him from the Bees pitcher of the year award.

19. Danny Gutierrez, righty SP, 21 (last year: NR) -- 4-4, 2.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 7 HRA, 25 BB/104 K in 19 games (18 starts) and 90 IP at Burlington (IA)

*** Gutierrez was another part of a strong Bees rotation but had less IP than the others due to dealing with some injuries midway through the season. He rebounded to pitch well and post a better than 4-1 K/BB with more than a K per inning. I had hopes for last year's Wilmington rotation in translating to AA this season, and that translation didn't go great for the most part. Hopefully this Burlington rotation translates better to the Carolina League. Gutierrez should be there.

20. Salvador Perez, C, 18 (last year: NR) -- .325/.404/.375, .779 OPS in 13 games at Burlington (NC), then .395/.413/.581, .994 OPS, 5 XBH in 12 games and 43 ABs in Idaho Falls

*** Perez's numbers this year yell "sample size alert" but I can't resist getting a catcher on here that can apparently hit. It can be argued that Wilmington Ps Everett Teaford or Matt Kniginyzky could duke it out for this slot, or maybe Wilmington P Mario Santiago, who was on last year's list. Lots of guys could fit here, but I've got a good feeling about Perez. He's showing some consistent ability at a young age. We'll see next year if it translates upwards, hopefully to the Midwest League.

Honorable mention -- Omaha: IF Angel Sanchez rebounded from elbow surgery but didn't do very well, and he isn't getting any younger. P Devon Lowery is 25 and was Omaha pitcher of the year in a very weak field. He got a September callup. NWA: P Chris Nicoll pitched well in returning from injuries that limited him greatly in 2007 but had a shoulder problem late in the year, so we'll see when he returns. P Gilbert de la Vara also had some nice outings in his second shot at AA, so could be part of the Omaha bullpen in '09. OF Jose Duarte was on last year's list but, despite good defense, doesn't do enough things well to merit a spot on the list this year. I still like his game, but I just wish he was a notch better at getting on base and hitting for power. IF Mario Lisson played well enough to get the 40-man security this year, then proceeded to flop at the plate before rebounding late. The question is if he'll be at NWA, Omaha or out of the organization in 2009. IF Marc Maddox also had his moments this season but I find it hard to get excited about his game. I don't know if it's because he's consistently solid or because he hasn't given me much to get excited about. He just doesn't stick out in my mind. Wilmington: IF Kurt Mertins and IF Josh Johnson had solid years, but, again, nothing spectacular. Johnson can get on base and Mertins has some speed and can hit for contact but neither really steps up consistently enough to merit much attention from my perspective. Mertins will likely get a shot at AA next year, if not both of them. IF Chris McConnell improved at the plate but had a bad defensive year from the looks of the stats (big grain of salt there). OF Derrick Robinson has speed to burn (62 steals) but not much else to brag about from a baseball standpoint. I guess he's OK defensively. OF Adrian Ortiz could have earned a spot low on this list, as he hit for average again, showed he can get on base and stole some bases while playing good D, first at Burlington then in Wilmington. I like his game. I mentioned Teaford and Kniginyzky, who posted similar stats in the rotation with Kniginyzky taking home Rocks pitcher of the year honors. P Greg Holland and P Aaron Hartsock had solid seasons out of the Rocks' pen with Hartsock winning 12 games without a start. Burlington (IA): P Brent Fisher made his return from arm surgery and is slowly rounding back into shape, as are P Luis Cota, who was once a top prospect before suffering an injury of his own, and rule 5 pick P Ray Liotta. All 3 will be players to keep an eye on in 2009. A bevy of other Burlington pitchers did well, but the MWL factor has to come into play somewhere here. I'd rattle off Zach Peterson, Matt Mitchell, Brandon Sisk and Henry Barrera here. IF Kyle Martin had a good year at the plate in hitting over .300 with some pop in the bat. OF Nick Van Stratten also stuck out statistically but didn't get an overwhelming amount of playing time in a somewhat crowded Bees OF. 1B/DH Clint Robinson didn't hit like he did in rookie ball last year but had some good moments and looks to have potential. OFs David Lough and Nick Francis also had their good moments this year. Idaho Falls: C Sean McCauley was the Chukars player of the year but didn't blow me away statistically, although he was better than last season, which was his pro debut. SS J.D. Alfaro could be on this list next year depending on how he does at IF or Burlington (IA). He deserves a shot at the MWL but needs to work on getting on base and some defense. One of the better '08 draftees. OF Patrick Norris didn't hit for average like last season but played good defense and showed some speed and ability to get on base. OF Carlo Testa was another standout among '08 draftees and really rebounded from a slow start to lead the Chukars offensively. IF Devery Van De Keere's hitting exploits were also documented here, but he wasn't consistent enough to challenge for a top 20 spot. Ps Bryan Casey and Ivor Hodgson showed some potential but the Pioneer League is a hitters' league and both guys suffered for that. Burlington (NC): P Barry Bowden was lockdown out of the pen for the B-Royals and earned a well deserved call up to Burlington (IA) for the playoff run. Ps Jacob Rodriguez and John Flanagan also stood out among the B-Royals bullpen staff. I've said it before, I've got a good feeling about Flanagan. Starters Sam Runion, Mike Lehmann and Kelvin Herrera also had good moments in the Appy League in a year that didn't feature a lot for the team. Herrera was another contender for the #20 spot as Burlington's pitcher of the year and has pitched well in his shot at A ball. He's only 18, too, so hopefully that development continues. 1B Josh Vittek was the best hitter for the B-Royals but we'll see if and how he returns in 2009. OF Hilton Richardson had a better '08 than '07 but still didn't post any really flashy numbers. AZL: C Jose Bonilla raked for an OPS over 1.000 but, at 20, is kinda old for that level of ball. Maybe he'll get a shot at A ball in 2009. IF Deivy Batista was a Latin import who stood out among the AZL Royals' hitters, but he's also 20 and didn't stand out like Bonilla did. '08 draftee C Mauricio Matos came on late to post respectable numbers in his first year of pro ball. P Deybi De La Cruz started out hot but struggled down the stretch in the Arizona heat, and P Tyler Sample was a third-rounder this season but struggled at the AZL. I'm pretty sure the Royals were thinking long-term project with Sample, tho. Pitchers Leondy Perez, Jace Smith and Brett Richardson also stood out for the Royals, and Richardson even got a shot at Omaha late.

Royals on the Farm 9/6 -- NWA swept

AA - NW Arkansas: Arkansas 6, Naturals 3 (11)

SS Lisson 2-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI, K, 2 RS -- .250
RF McFall 2-5, SB (2) -- .364
CF Duarte 0-5, 2 K -- .083
1B Richardson 0-3, BB, HBP -- .100
LF Lucas 1-4, BB -- .100

Hardy 5 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, K, HRA -- 5.40 ERA
Atencio 3 IP, H, BB, 3 K -- 0.00 ERA
Hamulack 2 IP, 3 K -- 0.00 ERA
Crist IP, 3 ER, 3 H, BB -- L, 0-1, 27.00 ERA

*** The teams were scoreless for 6 innings before Kyle Crist faltered in the 11th and Arkansas got the 3-game sweep to put an abrupt end to the Naturals' first season in Springdale. The Travelers got started with 2 runs in the 2nd on 4 hits off Rowdy Hardy. Mario Lisson proved equal to the task, however, as he smoked a 1-out, 2-run homer in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. Hardy served up a solo homer in the 4th but Lisson cranked his 2nd homer of the game in the bottom of the inning to keep the Nats tied. Neither team threatened until NWA stranded 2 in the bottom of the 9th, and the Naturals stranded 2 more in the 10th. Kyle Crist came on for the 11th and had 2 on with 2 out when a double and 2-run single gave Arkansas a 6-3 lead. Rafael Rodriguez pitched a perfect inning for the Travs for his 3rd save of the 3-game series. RP Doug Brandt got the win after recording only 1 out on 1 pitch. Starter David Austen worked 9 innings of 3 ER allowed. DH Hank Conger was the offensive standout for the Travs with a 3-5 night with a double, HR, 4 RBI and 2 RS. SS Wilberto Ortiz also had 2 hits for the Travs.

The Naturals' season is over with the 3-game sweep. They finished the regular season 42-28 in the second half and 75-65 overall.

A-Adv. - Wilmington: done at 69-71 overall

Tops in OPS (min. 150 ABs)

OF Cody Strait .296 BA/.362 OBP/.571 SLG, .934 OPS, 39 RS, 13 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR (led team), 35 RBI, 19 BB/40 K, 11/13 SB, 2 E in 54 games and 196 ABs -- was playing at AA in Reds' organization, don't know why he didn't get chance at NWA this season
1B/DH Brad Correll .277/.365/.497, .863 OPS, 34 RS, 18 2B, 8 HR, 28 RBI, 26 BB/35 K, 9 E in 52 games and 191 ABs -- former T-Bone really tailed off late after starting out hot with Rocks
OF Joe Dickerson .297/.376/.442, .818 OPS, 39 RS, 10 2B, 10 3B (led team despite Orlando having more), 5 HR, 45 RBI, 31 BB/48 K, 24/38 SB, 2 E in 87 games and 310 ABs -- Rocks could have used his bat in playoffs, finger injury cut season short
IF Kurt Mertins .282/.351/.400, .751 OPS, 60 RS, 27 2B, 7 3B, 3 HR, 46 RBI, 36 BB/91 K, 28/33 SB, 13 E (2nd on team) in 118 games and 425 ABs -- flirted with .300 midway through season
IF Josh Johnson .253/.399/.337, .736 OPS, 49 RS, 13 2B, 4 3B, 3 HR, 38 RBI, 85 BB/76 K (nice), 14/26 SB, 11 E in 118 games and 359 ABs -- good at getting on base but has trouble hitting for much power

others of note.... OF Paulo Orlando .732 OPS (would have led team in several categories but accrued most stats with Winston-Salem, 136 H, 84 RS, 20 2B, 14 3B, 12 HR, 51 RBI, 30 BB/116 K, 29/42 SB, 3 E in 130 games and 522 ABs, as you can see, getting on base can be a problem at times, but he does have some pop).... IF Jeff Bianchi .732 OPS (only .290 OBP, 57 RS, 34 2B (led team), 5 3B, 10 HR, 61 RBI (led team), 20 BB/95 K, 13/17 SB, 7 E in 104 games and 396 ABs, salvaged season after poor start, streaky hitter who needs to learn to get on base more, at least he stayed relatively healthy).... OF Adrian Ortiz .786 OPS (only 28 games/103 ABs, 7 XBH, 12 RBI, 9 BB/11 K, 5/10 SB, .388 OBP, assume he'll lead off in Wilmington or NWA next season).... SS Chris McConnell .659 OPS (led team with 28 E, only slugged .325, 29 2B, 48 BB/71 K, 23/39 SB in 120 games and 461 ABs).... OF Derrick Robinson .638 OPS (62/79 SB (led league), 69 RS led team (non-Orlando), only .316 OBP and they led him off all season, 122 H led team (non-Orlando), 22 2B, 8 3B, 51 BB/97 K, 6 E in 124 games and 497 ABs, reminds me of Gathright)....

Tops in WHIP (min. 40 IP and still on roster)

Henry Barrera 0-3, 2.81 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 4 SV, 2 HRA, 24 BB/78 K in 42 games and 57 2/3 IP -- other than delivery problem, had good season
Aaron Hartsock 12-5 (led team and tied league lead in wins), 3.46 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 1 SV, 4 HRA, 22 BB/58 K in 42 games and 78 IP -- nice year out of pen
Everett Teaford 8-6, 3.80 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 1 SV, 15 HRA (tied team lead), 46 BB/116 K in 28 games (23 starts) and 144 1/3 IP (led team) -- arguably could have been Rocks pitcher of year, gave up too many HR
Greg Holland 4-5, 3.42 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 4 SV, 4 HRA, 35 BB/96 K in 32 games (7 starts) and 84 1/3 IP -- started out in rotation but moved to pen after injury probs
Ed Cegarra 6-7, 4.67 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 15 HRA (tied team lead), 21 BB/59 K in 18 starts and 106 IP -- tore up Burlington, then struggled at times in Wilmington, but also excelled some, won one league pitcher of week award

others of note.... Matt Kniginyzky 1.30 WHIP (shared team lead in losses at 9-8, 3.57 ERA, 7 HRA, 51 BB/113 K -- HRA and ERA won him team pitcher of year award).... Blake Wood posted an 0.82 WHIP in 57 1/3 IP before getting his chance at NWA.... Mario Santiago 1.37 WHIP (also led team in losses at 8-8, only 3.43 ERA, 9 HRA, 39 BB/86 K in 27 starts and 141 2/3 IP, had flashes of very good stuff).... Ben Swaggerty 1.42 WHIP (only 2.66 ERA in 47 1/3 IP).... Jason Godin 1.43 WHIP (2-7, 5.33 ERA, 5 HRA, 24 BB/44 K in 14 starts and 72 2/3 IP before getting jaw broken by liner)... Ray Liotta 1.47 WHIP (1.80 ERA, 8 BB/10 K in 4 starts and 15 IP as comeback from surgery continues).... Tyler Chambliss 1.55 WHIP (24 saves nearly tied team record, 6 HRA, 32 BB/45 K in 59 1/3 IP, had his troubles in last couple months).... Russ Haltiwanger 1.58 WHIP (God bless him, but I can't get over the fact this is what we got for Jeff Keppinger)

A - Burlington: Bees 4, Cedar Rapids 2 (11)

SS Martin 2-4, 2B, 2 E -- .500
RF Van Stratten 1-4, HBP, 3B, 2 RBI, K -- .167, triple was very big
LF Francis 1-5, HR, RBI, K, RS -- .200
2B Giavotella 1-5, K, CS, E -- .214
3B Moustakas 0-4, BB, RS -- .091
1B Taylor 1-4, BB, 2B, K -- .333
DH C. Robinson 1-2, BB, HBP -- .500

Herrera 6 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 4 K, E -- .300 ERA, solid start
Fisher 4 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 6 K -- W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA
Z. Peterson IP, K -- SV, 1, 5.40 ERA

*** The Bees continued to roll but worked hard for the win with a run in the 9th and 2 in the 11th to take the pivotal game 1 of the best-of-3 with Cedar Rapids. Kelvin Herrera gave up a run on 2 hits in the 2nd and, after Burlington stranded 2 in the 4th, Herrera worked through trouble that inning as the Bees committed 3 errors but threw out a runner at the plate and got another one on the basepaths to escape a jam. Nick Francis led off the 5th with a homer to tie it for the Bees but the Kernels regained the lead with a run on 3 hits in the bottom of the inning off Herrera. Clint Robinson took a leadoff walk in the 9th and the Kernels brought in RP Eddie McKiernan to finish it. Nick Van Stratten was hit by a pitch and pinch runner Juan Rivera (for Robinson) stole third before a Francis double play ball scored Rivera to tie the game. Brent Fisher stranded 2 Kernels in the 10th and, with 2 on and 1 out in the 11th, Van Stratten ripped a 2-run triple to right and the Bees took the 4-2 lead. Zach Peterson set the Kernels down 1-2-3 in the 11th for the save. McKiernan took the loss and blown save with 2 ER allowed over 3 IP. Starter Robert Fish pitched well with only 1 ER allowed over 7 IP. 2B Hector Estrella had 3 hits for the Kernels.

The Bees lead the best-of-3 1-0 going into today's game 2 at home. Luis Cota starts for Burlington vs. Kernels SP Michael Davitt. South Bend and Dayton are squaring off in the MWL Eastern finals.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: done at 33-43 overall

Tops in OPS (min.150 ABs)

OF Carlo Testa .304 BA (led regulars in hitting)/.395 OBP (also led team)/.462 SLG, .857 OPS, 37 RS, 6 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 35 RBI, 25 BB/51 K, 12/16 SB, 2 E in 51 games and 171 ABs -- stood out among KC '08 draftees
IF Devery Van De Keere .280/.358/.465, .823 OPS, 34 RS, 17 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 22 BB/39 K, 5/7 SB, 14 E in 61 games and 200 ABs -- DVDK had his great moments this season
SS J.D. Alfaro .266/.300/.504, .804 OPS, 41 RS, 22 2B (led team), 5 3B (tied team lead), 9 HR (led team), 55 RBI (led team), 10 BB/72 K (weakest point), 9/11 SB, 15 E in 59 games and 248 ABs -- also stood out among draftees, didn't get on base very well but did everything else pretty well
OF Shawn Griffin .249/.346/.389, .735 OPS, 41 RS, 15 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 30 RBI, 38 BB/83 K, 14/19 SB, 4 E in 69 games and 257 ABs -- ho-hum
C Sean McCauley .278/.347/.385, .732 OPS, 26 RS, 12 2B, 2 HR, 19 RBI, 17 BB/28 K, 7 E in 45 games and 169 ABs -- not great numbers for team player of year, I woulda gone with Alfaro or Testa

others of note.... Eric Hosmer hit for a 1.079 OPS in his whopping 11 ABs before Boras and Alvarez screwed the Royals out of any more playing time from Hosmer this season.... C Salvador Perez also impressed by hitting for a .994 OPS in 12 games late in the season, and is younger than Hosmer.... OF Nick Francis hit for a .978 OPS in 31 games prior to his call-up to Burlington.... IF Antonio Jimenez .709 OPS (led team with 18 E, 81 H, and 86 Ks).... OF Patrick Norris .706 OPS (led team with 58 RS, also hit .263, 44 BB/67 K, 33/39 SB (led league), also solid defensively).... 1B Tito Espinosa .572 OPS (10 2B, 16 BB/45 K, 9 E in 56 games and 199 ABs in pro debut, may repeat the level?)

Tops in WHIP (min. 20 IP)

Justin Garcia 4-1 (tied team lead in wins), 3.00 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 3 SV, HRA, 5 BB/35 K in 18 games and 42 IP -- solid out of pen
Blaine Hardy 1-0, 4.15 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 4 SV (led team), 5 HRA, 8 BB/34 K in 21 games and 34 2/3 IP
Bryan Casey 3-5, 3.36 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 6 HRA, 26 BB/66 K in 16 starts and 72 1/3 IP (led team) -- team pitcher of year, pretty easy pick
Ivor Hodgson 3-6 (led team in losses), 3.14 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 1 HRA, 33 BB/67 K in 15 starts and 71 2/3 IP -- challenged Casey down stretch
Tim Huber 1-0, 3.38 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 3 HRA, 13 BB/18 K -- peripherals not impressive, but seemed to do OK for IF

others of note.... Colby Beach 1.40 WHIP (4-4 shared team lead in wins, 6.00 ERA belies some good work late, 10 HRA led team, 16 BB/51 K in 15 games (7 starts) and 48 IP).... Derrick Saito 1.61 WHIP (3 HRA, 19 BB/37 K in 33 IP in pro debut).... Aneidy Toribio 1.65 WHIP (led team with 68 K, 7 HRA, 33 BB/68 K in 16 games (15 starts) and 61 2/3 IP).... Ryan Morgan 2.05 WHIP (34 BB/32 K in Rockhurst product's pro debut, yeesh).... Stephen Gilgenbach 2.21 WHIP (another poor debut for '08 draftee, but improved late)

06 September 2008

Royals on the Farm 9/5 -- Wilmington done, Bees advance

AA - NW Arkansas: Arkansas 6, Naturals 4

DH Aldridge 2-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI, K -- .286
RF McFall 0-3, SF, RBI, K -- .333
CF Duarte 0-3, 2 BB, K, RS -- .143
1B Richardson 1-3, BB, 2B, RS -- .143
2B Maddox 1-3, BB, 2 K, RS, CS -- .167

B. Wood 3 IP, 6 ER, 8 H, BB, K, HRA -- L, 0-1, 18.00 ERA, Mr. Hyde's last appearance of season?
M. Peterson 3 IP, BB, 4 K -- 0.00 ERA
de la Vara 2 IP, 3 K -- 0.00 ERA

*** The Naturals mounted a late rally but it wasn't enough as Arkansas took command of the series. Blake Wood didn't have his best stuff as the Travelers scored 2 runs in the 1st on 3 hits, a walk and a hit batsman. The Naturals responded by loading the bases with none out in the 2nd but got only a Brian McFall sac fly out of the situation. Wood gave up an RBI single and 3-run homer in the 4th and it was 6-1 Arkansas. NWA didn't threaten again until the 8th when they again loaded the bases with none out and got a 1-out run-scoring balk and 2-run double by Cory Aldridge to cut it to 6-4. Aldridge was stranded at third and the Nats went down in order on strikes in the 9th as Rafael Rodriguez picked up his 2nd save in 2 playoff games. Starter Dan Denham got the win with an ER allowed over 7 IP. 1B Mark Trumbo was 2-4 with a HR, 3 RBI, K and RS. C Ben Johnson also had 2 hits for Arkansas.

NWA is down, 2-0, in the best-of-5 set, so have to win to survive tonight in game 3. Rowdy Hardy starts for the Naturals versus Arkansas' David Austen. Frisco swept San Antonio in the TL South finals, so the RoughRiders await the winner of this series.

A-Adv. - Wilmington: Potomac 1, Blue Rocks 0

CF D. Robinson 1-4, S, K -- .143
1B Correll 1-3, BB -- .111
3B J. Johnson 1-4 -- .111
DH Dyson 1-4 -- .250
RF Orlando 0-4, BB, 2 K -- .167
LF Strait 0-4, BB, K -- .000
SS Bianchi 0-2, 2 BB, 2 K -- .417
* The Rocks stranded 12.

Teaford 7 IP, ER, 2 H, BB, 9 K, 2 WP -- L, 0-1, 1.29 ERA, hell of a start to end the season on
Chavez 2/3 IP, BB -- 0.00 ERA
Swaggerty 1 1/3 IP, nothing -- 0.00 ERA

*** Ross Detwiler again mystified Wilmington's bats but the Rocks outhit the Nationals, 4-2, only to lose because they couldn't get a run home to save their playoff lives. Wilmington left the bases full in the 1st, stranded 2 more in the 2nd, saw Potomac turn a double into the lone run of the game in the 3rd, then left the bases loaded again in the 6th. They left 'em loaded for a third time in the 7th and then went down in order in the 9th as Josh Wilkie got his 1st save of the playoffs for Potomac. Detwiler worked 5 1/3 scoreless innings for the win. Two Nationals had a hit each and CF Boomer Whiting, who scored the winning run in Potomac's game 1 and 2 extra-inning wins, hit the sac fly that ended up giving the Nationals the game 3 win.

The Rocks are eliminated. They finished the regular season 69-71 overall. Myrtle Beach closed out Winston-Salem today so the Pelicans and Nationals will play for the Carolina League title.

A - Burlington: Bees 9, Kane County 6

DH C. Robinson 3-5, 2B, 3 RBI, K -- .500
C Eigsti 2-4, BB, K, 2 RS -- .400
2B Giavotella 1-5, 2 RBI (3), RS -- .222
SS J. Rivera 2-5, RS, SB (2) -- .286
3B Moustakas 0-3, BB, HBP, RBI, RS -- .143
1B Taylor 1-4, BB, RBI (3), RS -- .375
RF Van Stratten 1-5, RBI (2) -- .125
LF Walton 1-4, HR, RBI, K, RS -- .250
* LF Nick Francis had an OF assist at home.

Caldera 5 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 2 K, WP, balk -- W, 1-0, 3.60 ERA
Bowden IP, 2 ER, 2 H, BB, 2 K -- 18.00 ERA
Bradley 1 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, BB, K -- 6.75 ERA
Sisk 1 1/3 IP, 2 H, K -- SV, 2, 0.00 ERA

*** Four Kane County errors and some good offensive output helped the Bees survive and advance in the MWL playoffs. Both teams stranded runners before the Bees broke through in the 3rd for 3 runs on a run-scoring Cougar error, a Mike Moustakas RBI groundout and Clint Robinson RBI single. Alex Caldera threw a run-scoring wild pitch and allowed an RBI single in the bottom of the inning to let the Cougars back in the game but Jamar Walton led off the 4th with a homer and Johnny Giavotella hit an RBI single to make it 5-2 Bees. The Bees rallied with 2 out in the 7th as Nick Van Stratten hit an RBI single to make it 6-2. Barry Bowden loaded the bases with none out in the 7th and Tony Bradley was brought in and allowed a 2-run single to cut the lead back to 6-4 before Nick Francis cut the rally short with an OF assist at the plate. With 2 out and the bases loaded in the Burlington 8th, the Bees did their best to put the game away as Jason Taylor took a walk and Robinson hit a 2-run double to make it 9-4. Bradley gave up 2 runs in the 8th before Brandon Sisk was brought in with 1 on and 2 out and stranded 2. He stranded another in the 9th for his 2nd save in 2 playoff games. Cougars SP Scott Hodsdon took the loss with 5 runs (3 ER) allowed over 3 2/3 IP. Four Cougars had 2 hits as RF Todd Johnson drove in 2 runs.

The Bees move on to face the Cedar Rapids Kernels (A Angels) in the MWL Western championship series. The best-of-3 starts tonight in Cedar Rapids as Kelvin Herrera starts vs. Kernels SP Robert Fish. The Bees were 6-8 versus the Kernels this season.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Chukars 6, Casper 1

2B F. Garcia 2-5, 2 RBI (18), RS, SB (21) -- .238
SS Alfaro 2-4, 2B (22), 2 RS -- .266
1B Espinosa 2-4, K, RS -- .216
LF Griffin 1-3, BB, RBI (30) -- .249
C S. Perez 0-3, SF, RBI (6) -- .395, Bees-bound to start '09?
CF Testa 1-4, 2 K -- .304

Casey 4 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K -- 3.36 ERA
Saito 3 IP, ER, 4 H, BB, 5 K, HRA -- W, 3-4, 4.36 ERA
Gilgenbach IP, 2 K -- 9.59 ERA, pitched all right last few outings
Thompson IP, 3 K -- 3.99 ERA

*** The Chukars finished the year with a good game as a 5-run rally propelled them to the win. Bryan Casey stranded 2 in the 2nd and 4th and the Chukars took command with 5 runs in the 5th on a Carlo Testa RBI single, a 2-run Fernando Garcia single, a run-scoring wild pitch and Shawn Griffin RBI single. Derrick Saito gave up a solo homer in the 5th but stranded 2 in the 6th. Salvador Perez hit a sac fly in the 8th to make it 6-1 and Stephen Gilgenbach and James Thompson finished off the win for Idaho Falls. Casper starter Marco Duarte took the loss with 5 ER allowed over 4 2/3 IP to finish 5-6 with a 5.86 ERA. RF Shane Lowe was 2-3 with a walk, 3B, his 2nd homer, an RBI, K and RS along with his 3rd error.

IF finished the second half 19-19 and was 33-43 overall.

05 September 2008

Royals on the Farm 9/4

AA - NW Arkansas: Arkansas 4, Naturals 1

RF McFall 2-3, BB, SB -- .667
CF Duarte 1-4, HR, RBI, 2 K, RS -- .250
3B Falu 1-4 -- .250, team only had 4 hits
1B Richardson 0-4, K -- .000
LF Lucas 0-2, BB, S -- .000

Cortes 5 2/3 IP, ER, 3 H, 5 BB, 4 K -- 1.59 ERA, control wasn't quite there
Hamulack 2 IP, H, K -- 0.00 ERA
C. Hayes 1/3 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, 2 BB -- L, 0-1, 81.00 ERA, not the first playoff appearance he was looking for

*** The Travelers put together a big rally off Chris Hayes in the 8th to surge to a game 1 win over the Naturals. The Nats left the bases full in the 2nd but Jose Duarte led off the 3rd with a solo homer to make it 1-0 NWA. Dan Cortes pretty much cruised through 5 innings but allowed an RBI double in the 6th before getting pulled with the bases loaded and 2 outs. Tim Hamulack put out the fire and the game was tied at 1. Hayes was brought in with 2 out and none on in the 8th and the Travs got a double, walk, RBI single, double steal, intentional walk and 2-run single before Hayes got the final out with the damage done at 4-1 Arkansas. The Naturals stranded 1 in the 9th as Rafael Rodriguez got the save for the Travs. Starter Dan Davidson worked 7 innings of 1 ER allowed for a good start but it was RP Francisco Rodriguez who got the win with a scoreless 8th. Seven Travelers had a hit each and SS Wilberto Ortiz had the big 2-run single in the 8th.

Game 2 of the best-of-5 is tonight as Blake Wood takes on Arkansas' Dan Denham. In the TL South playoffs, Frisco is already up, 2-0, on San Antonio in that series.

A-Adv. - Wilmington: Potomac 3, Blue Rocks 2 (10)

2B Bianchi 3-4, HR, 2 RBI, RS, E -- .500
CF D. Robinson 1-4, CS, E -- .100
RF Orlando 1-3, BB, RS, 2 SB (3) -- .250
3B Mertins 1-4, K, CS -- .250
SS McConnell 0-4, K -- .100
DH Strait 0-4, K -- .000
LF Ortiz 0-4, K -- .000

Santiago 5 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, BB, K -- 3.60 ERA
Barrera 2 IP, H, BB, 3 K -- 0.00 ERA
Hartsock IP, H, BB, K -- 0.00 ERA
Chambliss 1 1/3 IP, ER, 3 H, BB, K -- L, 0-1, 6.75 ERA

*** Potomac made it 2-2 in extra inning wins over the Rocks in the playoff series and a third straight extra-inning win over Wilmington overall as a walkoff single put the Rocks down to a do-or-die situation. Jeff Bianchi got the Rocks started with a solo homer in the 2nd but 2 hits, a walk and sac fly got the Nationals the tying run in the bottom of the inning off Mario Santiago. The Nationals added another run on 3 hits in the 3rd but Bianchi tied it with an RBI single in the 4th before the Rocks stranded 2. Santiago stranded 2 in the 5th and Henry Barrera and Aaron Hartsock both stranded a couple Potomac baserunners in their outings. Ten straight Rocks went down before Bianchi hit a 2-out single in the 9th but it didn't spark a rally. Tyler Chambliss stranded 2 in the 9th but, in the 10th, the Nationals got a 1-out single and then a stolen base from pinch runner Boomer Whiting. SS Daniel Lyons came through with the walkoff single off Chambliss to end it. RP Clint Everts pitched 2 scoreless innings for the win. Starter Erik Arnesen worked 5 2/3 IP of 2 ER allowed. 1B Andrew LeFave and CF Franciso Plasencia had 3 hits for the Nationals with Lyons and C Jhonatan Solano chipping in 2 hits each. The Nationals were 4-4 in steals in the win.

The Rocks are now down, 2-0, in the best-of-5 going into tonight's game 3 at home. Starters are left-hander Everett Teaford (8-6, 3.80) and Nationals lefty Ross Detwiler (8-8, 4.86). The Myrtle Beach-Winston-Salem series is knotted at 1 game each. I know you've gotta look at Chambliss as your closer but he had a double-digit ERA versus Potomac in 8 appearances this season.

A - Burlington: rainout

*** Game 2 of the set is tonight as Alex Caldera takes on Kane County's Scott Hodsdon. A win moves the Bees into the Western division finals. The only other game that went as scheduled Thursday was a Dayton win over Lansing to become the first team to move on in the playoffs. The Dragons will take on the winner of South Bend-West Michigan, which SB leads, 1-0. Cedar Rapids also goes for the kill tonight vs. Clinton in game 2.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Casper 8, Chukars 2 (6/rain)

1B Espinosa 2-3, 2B (10), RS -- .210
CF Testa 1-3, RBI (35), K -- .305
LF Griffin 0-3, RBI (29), K, E (4), OF assist at third -- .248
SS Alfaro 1-3 -- .262
C S. Perez 1-3, K -- .425
3B Van De Keere 1-3, 2B (17), K -- .286

Toribio 4 IP, 8 R (1 ER), 10 H, 5 K, 2 WP -- L, 3-5, 4.67 ERA
Miller IP, nothing -- 6.14 ERA

*** Two Chukar errors were costly in a 7-run Casper 4th and rain soaked any chances of an IF comeback by ending the game in the 6th. Aneidy Toribio gave up a run on 3 hits in the 1st although LF Shawn Griffin ended the rally in style by cutting down a runner at third. IF stranded 2 in the 2nd and got an RBI single from Carlo Testa in the 4th to tie it, although Testa was thrown out at second on the play to end the inning. Errors by 2B Alwin Perez and Griffin chipped in to the Casper rally in the 4th as the Ghosts scored 7 times on 5 hits, the 2 errors, a hit batsman and 2 wild pitches to make it 8-1. Griffin hit an RBI forceout in the 5th but the Chukars stranded 2 and the game was called going into the bottom of the 6th. Casper SP Jeff Fischer allowed 2 ER over 6 IP to win and move to 4-7 with a 4.86 ERA. Four Ghosts had 2 hits and three of those batters drove in 2 runs.

IF is 18-19 and will try to end the second half at .500 in tonight's season finale. IF pitcher of the year Bryan Casey (3-5, 3.56) will take on Casper's Marco Duarte (5-5, 5.58).

04 September 2008

Royals on the Farm 9/3

AA - NW Arkansas: game 1 tonight

*** Dan Cortes is set to take on Arkansas' Dan Davidson in game 1 in Arkansas tonight.

A-Adv. - Wilmington: Potomac 2, Blue Rocks 1 (15)

2B Bianchi 2-6, 2B, K, SB -- .333, one of few guys who brought his bat Wednesday
C Howell 1-4, BB, HR, RBI, K, RS, PB -- .250
SS McConnell 1-6, K -- .167
DH Orlando 1-5, HBP, K, SB -- .200, team had 5 hits
CF D. Robinson 0-6, K, OF assist at home -- .000, what production out of leadoff spot.....
RF Strait 0-5, BB, picked off -- .000
1B Correll 0-6, 2 K -- .000
LF Ortiz 0-5 -- .000
3B J. Johnson 0-5, BB, K -- .000

Kniginyzky 6 2/3 IP, ER, 6 H, BB, 2 K -- 1.35 ERA, very nice start, no run support to speak of
Hartsock 1 2/3 IP, H, 2 K -- 0.00 ERA
Swaggerty 2 2/3 IP, H, 3 K -- 0.00 ERA
Holland 2 IP, H, BB, 2 K -- 0.00 ERA
Haltiwanger 1 2/3 IP, ER, 2 H, WP -- L, 0-1, 5.40 ERA, walk off wild pitch hurts

*** Potomac doubled the Rocks up in hits, 11-5, but it was a wild pitch that ended up making the difference in game 1 of the best-of-5. Both teams stranded a few runners early but the Nationals broke through in the 5th. Derrick Robinson came through with an OF assist at the plate for the first out of the inning but Potomac SS Daniel Lyons came through with a 2-out RBI double to make it 1-0. Nationals SP Luis Atilano handed a 2-hit shutout to the pen in the 7th and Jeff Howell finally got the Rocks back in the game in the 8th with a leadoff homer to tie it at 1. The pens dueled into extras and Russ Haltiwanger gave up a leadoff single in the 15th. A steal and groundout moved the runner to third and, with 2 outs, Haltiwanger threw a wild pitch that scored the run to end the game. Potomac RP Dan Leatherman allowed 2 hits over 4 IP to get the win. Both teams used 5 pitchers. 3B Stephen King and 2B Mike Martinez had 2 hits for Potomac.

Game 2 is tonight as right-hander Mario Santiago (8-8, 3.43) faces Potomac righty Erik Arnesen (4-3, 4.46). Myrtle Beach won game 1 in its best-of-5 versus Winston-Salem Wednesday.

A - Burlington: Bees 5, Kane County 3

1B Taylor 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 K, RS -- .500
CF Lough 1-4, RBI, RS -- .250
2B Giavotella 1-4, RBI, RS -- .250
RF Van Stratten 0-3, SF, RBI, K -- .000
3B Moustakas 1-4 -- .250
DH C. Robinson 1-3, BB -- .333
LF Francis 1-4, 2B, 2 K -- .250

Gutierrez 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, BB, 6 K -- 3.00 ERA
Bradley IP, H, BB, K -- 0.00 ERA
Raglione IP, H, K -- W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA
Z. Peterson 2/3 IP, ER, 2 H, BB, K -- 13.50 ERA
Sisk 1/3 IP, nothing -- SV, 1, 0.00 ERA

*** The Bees were being shut out on 2 hits through 6 but staged a late comeback to put Kane County in a must-win situation. Nobody reached base until the 3rd when the Cougars slapped together a 2-run rally off Danny Gutierrez on 3 hits and a walk. Gutierrez stranded 2 Cougars in the 5th, and the Bees couldn't generate any offense. Jason Taylor changed that in the 7th with a leadoff homer to cut the lead to 2-1 and the Bees got the first 2 on in the 8th before David Lough hit an RBI single, Johnny Giavotella singled home a run, as did Taylor, and Nick Van Stratten hit a sac fly to make it 5-2 Bees. Zach Peterson gave up a 2-out RBI single in the 9th but Brandon Sisk came in and stranded 2 to pick up the save. Cougars starter Carlos Hernandez pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings and RP Chad Kerfoot took the loss and blown save with 3 ER allowed over 1 2/3 IP. LF Adam Klein was 3-4 with a walk, RBI and SB and two others had 2 hits for the Cougars.

Game 2 of the best-of-3 has been postponed by rain to Friday in Kane County. Alex Caldera is set to start for the Bees. In other MWL playoff action, Cedar Rapids beat Clinton, 3-0, as the winner of that series faces the winner of the Bees' series. In the eastern division playoffs, South Bend beat West Michigan and Dayton beat Lansing in game 1.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Chukars 3, Casper 1

C Graterol 2-3, BB, RBI (15) -- .277
RF Severino 2-4, K, SB (2) -- .194
LF Griffin 1-3, BB, HR (5), RBI (28), K, 2 RS, 2 SB (14) -- .251
CF Norris 1-4, 2 K, CS (6) -- .263
SS Alfaro 0-4, 2 K, E (15) -- .261
1B Espinosa 0-3, BB, K, RS -- .203

Morgan 4 2/3 IP, ER, 4 H, 4 BB, K, WP -- 6.70 ERA
Novakowski 2 1/3 IP, 2 H, 2 K, WP -- W, 1-4, 5.71 ERA
B. Hardy 2 IP, H, K -- SV, 4, 4.15 ERA

*** The Chukar pitching staff continued to hold the Ghosts in check as IF took a third straight from Casper. Ryan Morgan stranded a few Ghosts early and the Chukars took the lead in the 4th on a solo homer by Shawn Griffin for his 5th as a pro. The Ghosts chased Morgan with an RBI double in the 5th but Gary Novakowski came in and stranded 2 in scoring position. Griffin walked with 2 out in the 6th, stole second and third and scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-1 Chukars. Juan Graterol hit an RBI single in the 9th and Blaine Hardy stranded 1 in the 9th for his 4th save. Casper RP Alan Deratt took the loss with 1 1/3 IP of an unearned run allowed to fall to 2-2 with a 3.94 ERA. Starter Dan Houston worked 4 2/3 IP of an ER allowed to move his ERA to 4.17. 2B Maikol Gonzalez was 2-3 with a walk, double and RBI.

IF is 18-18. Game 4 is tonight as Aneidy Toribio (3-4, 4.84) takes on Casper's Jeff Fischer (3-7, 5.00).

03 September 2008

Royals on the Farm 9/2

AA - NW Arkansas: playoff time

*** Game 1 between the Naturals and the Arkansas Travelers (AA Angels) has already been rained out and the series will begin instead Thursday in North Little Rock. Dan Cortes is set to start for NWA. I'm gonna hold off on stat recaps for the three Royals minors playoff teams until their seasons are done. The Naturals took the season series from Arkansas with a 4-game sweep last week.

A-Adv. - Wilmington: playoff time

*** Game 1 of the best-of-5 between the Blue Rocks and the Potomac Nationals is tonight. Wilmington pitcher of the year Matt Kniginyzky will start for the Rocks. Righty Luis Atilano is set to start for the Nationals. The Rocks are 7-13 versus the Nationals. The Rocks ended up leading the minors with 256 steals as a team.

A - Burlington: playoff time

*** The best-of-3 with the Kane County Cougars (A A's) starts tonight in Burlington. Danny Gutierrez will start for the Bees vs. Kane County's Carlos Hernandez. The Bees were 4-8 versus the Cougars this season.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Chukars 4, Casper 0 (3-hitter)

C S. Perez 3-4, K, 2 RS, E (2) -- .432
RF Testa 2-4, HR (5), 2 RBI (34), 2 K, 2 RS, SB (12), OF assist at third -- .305, has really heated up last month or so
LF Griffin 1-3, BB, K, CS (5) -- .250
2B F. Garcia 1-3, BB, SB (20) -- .235
CF Norris 0-5, 2 K -- .263
SS Alfaro 0-4 -- .266

Hodgson 6 IP, H, BB, 7 K -- W, 3-6, 3.14 ERA
J. Garcia 3 IP, 2 H, 5 K -- SV, 3, 3.00 ERA

*** A day after Colby Beach shut the Ghosts down on 1 hit over 6 innings, Ivor Hodgson matched the effort and IF took game 2 from Casper. IF left 2 in scoring position in the 3rd but scored 2 runs in the 4th on a 2-run Casper error. Carlo Testa ripped a 2-run homer in the 6th for his 5th as a pro and Hodgson retired 18 of the 20 batters he faced. Testa threw a runner out at third in the 7th and Casper stranded a runner at third in the 8th off Justin Garcia. Garcia bounced back with a perfect 9th for his 3rd save. Casper SP Edwar Cabrera took the loss with 6 IP of 4 runs (2 ER) allowed to fall to 0-4 with a 7.80 ERA. Three Ghosts had a hit each.

IF is 17-18. Game 3 of the set is tonight as Ryan Morgan (0-4, 7.28) faces Casper's Dan Houston (6-4, 4.34).

02 September 2008

Royals on the Farm rest of 9/1 plus Omaha stat recap

AAA - Omaha: done at 63-81. The Royals are, in fact, calling up 1B Kila Ka'aihue along with 1B Ryan Shealy, P Devon Lowery and P Yasuhiko Yabuta. Pitchers John Bale and Jimmy Gobble are also to be activated from the DL. C Brayan Pena could be doing close to what John Buck has done, if not better, I'd think, if given regular playing time. At least Ka'aihue is getting his shot.....we'll see how much they play him. If he comes up just to sit so Ross Gload still gets 90 percent of the ABs, that's an indictment of the front office and Hillman.

Tops in OPS (min. 110 ABs and on roster -- note Aviles had a 1.001 OPS in 51 games and Butler's was .982 in 26 games)

1B Kila Ka'aihue .316 BA/.439 OBP/.640 SLG, 1.079 OPS (!, even tho small sample size), 4 2B, 11 HR, 21 RBI, 24 BB/26 K, 2 E in 33 games and 114 ABs -- has had an amazing season, let's hope it continues in KC
1B Ryan Shealy .283/.376/.503, .879 OPS,
53 RS (tied team lead), 22 2B, 22 HR (led team), 65 RBI (led team), 55 BB (led team)/93 K, 2 E in 111 games and 400 ABs -- maybe this time it translates to the bigs somewhat favorably? maybe? also led team with 113 hits
C Brayan Pena .303/.376/.462, .838 OPS, 33 RS, 17 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 31 RBI, 26 BB/17 K (nice), 7/10 SB, 3 E in 60 games and 234 ABs -- nice Moore scrap heap pickup, at least at AAA
RF Shane Costa .295/.354/.469, .823 OPS, 42 RS, 21 2B, 10 HR, 42 RBI, 28 BB/39 K, 11/13 SB, 1 E in 75 games and 292 ABs -- ho-hum year cut short by injury
2B Dave Matranga .269/.348/.438, .786 OPS, 32 RS, 8 2B, 4 3B, 6 HR, 31 RBI, 22 BB/53 K, 2/5 SB, 3 E in 61 games and 201 ABs

others of note.... OF Brett Bigler .876 OPS (only 17 games, 7 BB/11 K, serviceable in AAA debut).... OF Mitch Maier .835 OPS (not on active roster, led team with 57 RS and 24 2B and 12 SBs).... 1B Mike Stodolka .771 OPS (injured while hot at the plate late, hit .286, 27 BB/42 K in 75 games and 227 ABs).... IF Jason Smith .764 OPS (also got call early, led team with 17 E, 23 BB/128 K in 423 ABs).... OF Chris Lubanski .754 OPS (led team with 130 Ks, hit .242, 51 RS, led team with 8 3B, 38 BB, 5/6 SB, 6 E in 116 games and 393 ABs, better than taste he got in 2007 but not by a lot, still showing several glaring holes in game. Maybe there's something to the vision thing -- he hit .361 when he put the ball in play).... 3B Chad Spann .716 OPS (only 19 games played).... C Matt Tupman .597 OPS (hit .229, 15 XBH, 22 BB/44 K in 81 games, likely played way out of Royals' plans).... SS Angel Sanchez .584 OPS (hit .221, 5 E in 38 games before injured)

Tops in WHIP (min. 40 IP)

Kyle Davies 6-2, 2.03 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 4 HRA, 21 BB/38 K in 11 starts and 57 2/3 IP -- K rate and K/BB far from spectacular, has struggled at KC
Jose Capellan 4-1, 4.05, 1.24 WHIP, 5 HRA, 19 BB/31 K in 9 games (8 starts) and 53 1/3 IP -- ditto on first comment for Davies
Carlos Rosa 4-3, 4.09, 1.24 WHIP, 3 HRA, 12 BB/44 K in 11 starts and 50 2/3 IP -- hope arm soreness passes by next April, had nice season, got shot at KC, but hopefully will have shot at KC rotation in '09
Devon Lowery 1-1, 2.12, 1.31 WHIP, 5 SV, 4 HRA, 30 BB/43 K in 31 games and 59 1/3 IP -- nice ERA but the rest of his numbers are just OK, says something he was Omaha pitcher of the year
Brandon Duckworth 5-11, 4.75, 1.34 WHIP, 1 SV, 23 HRA (!), 49 BB/103 K (led team) in 27 games (17 starts) and 134 2/3 IP -- and he was among the team's best starters....

others of note.... Joel Peralta 0.80 WHIP (in only 18 2/3 IP, AAAA pitcher?).... Josh Newman 1.39 WHIP (22 BB/40 K in 44 IP).... Roman Colon 1.43 WHIP (15 HRA, 27 BB/62 K in 95 IP, at least his K/BB was bearable).... Greg Atencio 1.44 WHIP (3.24 ERA, 11 BB/22 K in only 25 IP).... Neal Musser 1.50 WHIP (9 HRA, 37 BB/64 K in 36 games and 56 IP, Brian Buchanan had same WHIP in much smaller sample size).... Yasuhiko Yabuta 1.54 WHIP (5.36 ERA, 3 HRA, 16 BB/33 K in 40 1/3 IP, think his salary is getting him on the 40-man rather than performance?)....Matt Wright 1.55 WHIP (led team with 148 mostly dismal IP, 4-10, 5.47, 29 HRA (also led team), 60 BB/90 K.....sigh).... Brad Salmon 1.57 WHIP (led team in wins at 8-7, 11 HRA, 54 BB/90 K in 101 1/3 IP).... Dusty Hughes 1.60 WHIP (8 HRA, 25 BB/36 K in 55 1/3 IP, didn't impress in AAA debut).... Tyler Lumsden 1.86 WHIP (what carnage, 3-13 record led team in losses, 7.21 ERA, 15 HRA, 62 BB/44 K in 28 games and 18 starts and 107 1/3 IP, shoulda gotten shipped back to AA with that horrible line)

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Chukars 10, Casper 0 (1-hitter)

C S. Perez 2-4, BB, 2 RBI (5), 2 K, RS -- .394
CF Norris 3-5, BB, 2B (13), 3 RS, SB (33) -- .268
SS Alfaro 1-4, BB, 2B (21), RBI (55), 2 RS -- .270
LF Griffin 1-4, BB, RBI (27), 2 K, RS -- .249
DH Van De Keere 1-2, 3 BB, 2B (16), RBI (28), 3 RS -- .291
RF Testa 1-5, RBI (32), CS (4) -- .300
1B Espinosa 1-5, RBI (18), K -- .206
2B A. Perez 0-5, RBI (?), 2 K -- .246

Beach 6 IP, H, 3 BB, 2 K -- W, 4-4, 6.00 ERA
Huber IP, K -- 3.38 ERA
B. Hardy IP, BB, K -- 4.41 ERA
Thompson IP, 2 BB, K -- 4.13 ERA

*** Colby Beach was excellent in a 1-hit shutout of the Ghosts. The Chukars scored 4 in the 1st on a bases-loaded walk by Shawn Griffin, a Devery Van De Keere RBI double and a 2-run single by Salvador Perez. Beach stranded 2 in the 1st on walks and Patrick Norris scored on a Casper error in the 2nd to make it 5-0. Casper's only hit came in the 3rd. Carlo Testa singled home a run in the 5th, J.D. Alfaro hit an RBI double in the 6th and Griffin hit an RBI single in the 6th to make it 8-0. Beach retired 10 of the last 11 he faced and Tito Espinosa and Alwin Perez added RBIs in the 9th to finish it off. Three Chukar relievers also pitched scoreless innings in the win. Casper SP Ethan Hollingsworth took the loss with 4 IP of 5 runs (3 ER) allowed to fall to 4-7 with a 6.10 ERA. CF Delta Cleary had Casper's only hit.

IF is 16-18. Game 2 is tonight as Ivor Hodgson (2-6, 3.43) takes on Casper's Edwar Cabrera (0-3, 9.00).

01 September 2008

Royals on the Farm 8/31 and most of 9/1

AAA - Omaha: O-Royals 6, Iowa 5 (Sun.)

CF Bigler 2-3, BB, HR, 3 RBI (8), RS -- .327, can't argue with results
1B Ka'aihue 2-5, HR (11), RBI (20), RS -- .309, 99th RBI on season
DH Shealy 2-5, HR (22), RBI (62), 3 K, RS -- .280
2B J. Gutierrez 2-4 -- .333
3B Spann 1-4, BB, RBI (10), RS -- .299
LF B. Pena 0-5, RS -- .289

Salmon 5 IP, UER, 3 H, 2 BB, 7 K, WP -- 4.62 ERA, has been solid starter when given chance
Lowery 2 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, BB, K -- BS, 2, 2.12 ERA
Yabuta 2 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, BB, 2 K -- BS, 2, W, 4-3, 5.36 ERA, vultured the vultured win
B. Richardson IP, K -- SV, 1, 11.57 ERA

*** Omaha had a 2-run lead going into the 9th but Yasuhiko Yabuta blew his 2nd save before Kila Ka'aihue helped win it for Omaha in the 10th. With the bases loaded and 1 out in the top of the 1st, Chad Spann singled home a run but that was all Omaha would get in the inning. Three Iowa hits tied it off Brad Salmon in the 1st as a passed ball helped the Cubs' cause. Omaha loaded the bases with none out in the 2nd but got no runs out of it this time. Salmon stranded 2 in the 2nd and Ryan Shealy hit his 22nd homer of the season to lead off the 3rd and make it 2-1 Royals. It stayed that way until Devon Lowery took over in the 6th and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits to swing it to 3-2 Iowa. Omaha stranded 2 in the 7th but Brett Bigler stepped up with 2 on and 2 out in the 8th and cranked his 1st AAA homer to give the Royals a 5-3 lead. Yabuta had 1 on with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th when Iowa strung together 3 straight singles to tie the game. He stranded 2 and Ka'aihue hit a 1-out solo shot in the 10th for his 11th at AAA to give the Royals back the lead. Brett Richardson pitched a perfect 10th for his 1st AAA save. RP Justin Berg took the loss for Iowa with an ER allowed over an IP to fall to 4-6 with a 5.52 ERA. Starter Mike Burns worked 6 innings of 2 ER allowed to move his ERA to 4.67. C Anthony Richie was 3-4 with a HBP, RBI and K. 1B Jason DuBois also had 2 hits for Iowa and drove in 2 runs.

O-Royals 13, Iowa 8 (today)

LF B. Pena 5-6, 2 2B (17), HR (6), 3 RBI (31), 4 RS, SB (7) -- .303, what a way to finish...here's an idea, DFA John Buck and Ross Gload and give Pena and Ka'aihue their rightful shot...I give it 5 percent chance of happening
DH Shealy 2-4, HBP, SF, 2B (22), 3 RBI (65) -- .282
1B Ka'aihue 2-4, 2 BB, 2B (4), RBI (21), K, RS -- .316, finished with 37 HR, 100 RBI
SS Dawkins 2-5, BB, 2 RBI (32), K, 2 RS, E (6) -- .266
RF Hollins 2-5, 2B (16), HR (16), RBI (55), K, 3 RS -- .220
CF Bigler 2-5, 2 K, RS, E (2) -- .333, can't say he didn't rise to occasion
3B Spann 1-5, RBI (11), 2 K, RS -- .292
2B Labandeira 1-5, RBI (12) -- .210
* Omaha left 10 on base.

D. Hughes 4 1/3 IP, 6 R (5 ER), 7 H, 2 BB, 3 K, HRA -- 5.04 ERA
Musser 1 1/3 IP, BB -- W, 3-5, 4.34 ERA
Lumsden 3 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 K -- SV, 1, 7.21 ERA, about the way I figured a Tyler Lumsden save would go

*** Omaha put some runs on the board to get past the Cubs and finish on a high note today. Ryan Shealy hit a 2-out RBI single in the 1st but Dusty Hughes gave up a 3-run homer in the bottom of the 1st to make it 3-1 Cubs. Damon Hollins led off the 2nd with his 16th homer of the season and the Royals surged ahead with 4 runs in the 3rd on a Shealy sac fly, Chad Spann RBI single, run-scoring error by former Royal Andres Blanco and Josh Labandeira RBI single to make it 6-3 Royals. Iowa rallied for a run with 2 out in the 4th but left the bases loaded off Hughes and a Gookie Dawkins RBI single in the 5th made it 7-4. Hughes was chased after giving up 2 runs in the Iowa 5th but Shealy doubled home a run in the 6th to keep the lead at 2 at 8-6. The Royals pulled away with 4 runs in the 7th on a Dawkins RBI single and 3-run homer by Brayan Pena, who was in the process of a 5-6 day at the plate. Pena doubled and scored on Kila Ka'aihue's RBI single in the 9th as Kila scraped out his 100th RBI of the season. Tyler Lumsden gave up 2 runs in the 9th but stranded 2 in scoring position for his 1st save. Iowa SP Jason Stanford took the loss with 5 1/3 IP of 8 runs (6 ER) allowed to fall to 3-1 with a 5.06 ERA. RF Josh Kroeger was 2-5 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI with 2 K and a RS. 1B Jason DuBois was 1-5 with his 25th homer and 4 RBI. If you're curious, Blanco finished the regular season at .285 with a 1-4 day and his error was his 23rd of the season. Iowa moves on to the PCL playoffs.

Omaha finished the season 63-81.

AA - NW Arkansas: Tulsa 9, Naturals 5 (Sun.)

2B Falu 4-5, 2 RS, SB (11) -- .301
C Clark 1-3, S, HR (4), RBI (13), K, RS -- .178
LF Aldridge 1-2, 3 BB, RBI (39), K -- .274
DH Richardson 1-5, RBI (82), K -- .295
SS Lisson 1-5, RBI (65) -- .226
3B Lucas 1-4, BB, K, RS -- .307
* CF Ovandy Suero had an OF assist at home. The Naturals stranded 11.

Hardy 3 2/3 IP, 9 ER, 11 H, BB, 3 K -- L, 6-11, 4.97 ERA, tough day for his ERA
M. Peterson 3 1/3 IP, 4 H, K -- 2.41 ERA
Mildren 2 IP, H -- 6.33 ERA

*** A 6-run Tulsa 4th did in the Naturals. Tulsa scored 3 runs on 5 hits in the 1st off Rowdy Hardy but NWA matched that feat in the bottom of the inning as they loaded the bases with none out and Juan Richardson hit an RBI single and Mario Lisson singled home 2 runs. The Nats stranded 2 and 2 more in the 2nd. Hardy took one for the team a little bit in the 4th as Tulsa pounded out 6 runs on 6 hits, a walk and hit batsman before he was finally pulled with 2 outs. Matt Peterson got the last out and Cody Clark hit a solo shot in the bottom of the inning for his 4th of the season. The Nats stranded 2 in the 7th and 8th and picked up a meaningless run in the 9th on a Cory Aldridge RBI single but there would be no more late magic. RP Tomas Santiago pitched 3 innings of scoreless ball for the win to move to 4-8 with a 4.42 ERA. Starter Xavier Cedeno allowed 4 runs (3 ER) over 4 IP to move his ERA to 4.12. CF Dexter Fowler was 3-4 with 2 RS and six other Drillers had 2 hits.

Tulsa 5, Naturals 3 (today)

2B Maddox 2-5, CS (12) -- .283
1B Clark 1-2, RBI (14) -- .184
DH Aldridge 0-3, SF, RBI (40), K -- .269
CF Duarte 0-4, BB, RBI (47), K -- .250
SS-3B Lucas 0-3, BB, K, RS -- .304
3B-1B Richardson 1-3, BB -- .296
LF Suero 0-1, 3 BB, SB (42) -- .253

Pimentel 5 IP, 4 ER, 8 H, 3 BB, 6 K -- L, 7-13, 5.38 ERA
Atencio 2 IP, ER, 3 H, K -- 3.81 ERA
Crist 2 IP, H, 4 K -- 3.89 ERA

*** NWA made it close late but dropped the regular season finale. Tulsa scored a run on 3 hits and a walk off Julio Pimentel in the 1st, then added 3 runs in the 2nd on 3 more hits and a walk to make it 4-0 Drillers. NWA got on the board with a 2-out rally in the 5th as a walk and single were followed by a Cody Clark RBI single and bases-loaded walk by Jose Duarte to cut it to 4-2. The bases were left full but Cory Aldridge hit a sac fly in the 6th to cut the lead to 1. Greg Atencio allowed a run on 3 hits in the 7th and the Naturals stranded 4 over the last 3 innings to take the loss. RP Ryan Mattheus picked up his 17th save as starter Josh Hall got the win with 6 IP of 3 ER allowed to move to 1-2 with a 7.97 ERA. CF Dexter Fowler and SS Chris Nelson were both 3-5 as Fowler had 2 doubles, a triple, 2 RBI, 2 K and 2 RS and Nelson had 2 RBI, a K and RS.

NWA finished the season 42-28 and 75-65 overall. The playoffs start Wednesday with game 1 of the best-of-5 at the Arkansas Travelers. Aldridge and Blake Wood were named the TL player and pitcher of the week for the final week of the season. Aldridge hit 5 HR with 17 RBI over 7 games and Wood pitched 9 scoreless innings in two starts during the week.

A-Adv. - Wilmington: Blue Rocks 2, Potomac 0 (3-hitter, Sun.)

RF Strait 1-3, BB, 2B (13), RBI (34), K, SB (10) -- .298
LF Ortiz 1-2, BB, RBI (12), picked off -- .311
CF D. Robinson 0-4, K -- .245
SS McConnell 0-3, BB, RS -- .251
DH Correll 0-3, K -- .275
3B J. Johnson 1-3, 2 K, CS (12) -- .256
2B Mertins 0-2, BB, K, SB (28) -- .282

Teaford 2 IP, BB, 3 K -- 3.80 ERA, saving for playoffs
Hartsock 3 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 2 K -- W, 12-5, 3.46 ERA
Barrera 2 2/3 IP, H, 3 K -- 2.81 ERA
Chambliss 1 1/3 IP, BB, 2 K, WP -- SV, 24, 3.86 ERA

*** Four Rocks pitchers combined to 3-hit the Nationals. Adrian Ortiz hit an RBI single in the 2nd and Cody Strait added an RBI double in the 3rd to account for the Rocks' runs. Potomac stranded 2 in the 4th, 5th and 8th and Tyler Chambliss got the last 4 outs for his 24th save. Nationals SP Jeff Mandel took the loss with 6 IP of 2 ER allowed to fall to 6-6 with a 3.68 ERA. 2B Mike Martinez had 1 of the Nationals' 3 hits as his 6th triple, walked twice and stole his 25th base.

Potomac 9, Rocks 5 (10, today)

LF Dyson 2-3, BB, RS, SB (39) -- .260
CF D. Robinson 1-4, S, 2B (22), RBI (34), 2 K, RS -- .245
RF Orlando 1-3, BB, SF, 3B (14), RBI (51), K, RS, picked off -- .261
DH Strait 1-5, RBI (35), K, RS, SB (11) -- .296
SS McConnell 1-3, BB, S, E (28), picked off -- .252
1B Correll 1-2, 2 BB, HBP, 2B (18), RS, E (9) -- .277
3B J. Johnson 0-3, BB, S, 2 K -- .253
2B Bianchi 0-4, 2 K -- .255

Liotta IP, H, 2 K -- 1.80 ERA
Chavez 4 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 3 K, WP -- 3.12 ERA
Swaggerty 2 IP, 2 H, K -- 2.66 ERA
Holland 1 2/3 IP, 2 UER, 2 H, BB, 3 K -- 3.42 ERA
Chambliss IP, 5 ER, 6 H, BB, K -- BS, 6, L, 2-4, 4.55 ERA
Morizio 1/3 IP, BB -- 0.00 ERA

*** The Rocks blew a 3-run lead in the 9th and got walloped in the 10th as Potomac took the season finale. Two Rocks were picked off in the 1st to stymie a potential rally. Potomac got the scoring started with 2 runs in the 4th on 3 hits off Chris Chavez, but the Rocks equaled the output in the 4th on a Cody Strait RBI single and run-scoring wild pitch. Derrick Robinson hit an RBI double in the 5th and scored on a Paulo Orlando sac fly to give the Rocks a 4-2 lead and the Rocks added a run without a hit in the 6th thanks to a Potomac error. Tyler Chambliss was brought in with 1 on and 2 out in the 9th with a 5-2 lead and allowed 2 hits around a hit batsman to score 3 runs and tie the game. The Rocks stranded 2 in the 9th and Potomac continued to batter Chambliss in the 10th with 4 runs on 4 hits and a walk. Catcher Matt Morizio came in to pitch and stranded the bases loaded, but the Rocks couldn't rally in the bottom of the 10th. RP Clint Everts pitched a hitless 9th for the win to move to 4-2 with a 4.80 ERA. Starter Jack Spradlin pitched 3 scoreless innings to drop his ERA to 3.16. 2B Matt Rogelstad and 3B Stephen King had 4 hits for the Nationals with Rogelstad driving in 2 runs in the win. SS Mike Martinez had 3 RBI on a key double in the 10th but also made 2 errors.

The Rocks finished the season at 34-36 and 69-71 overall. The two teams lock horns again Wednesday in playoffs round 1. Hartsock ended up being among 3 pitchers leading the Carolina League in wins with 12. Derrick Robinson's 62 steals shattered a Rocks season record (was 49 by good ol' Carlos Febles).

A - Burlington: Beloit 4, Bees 3 (Sun.)

2B J. Rivera 3-4, K, RS, 2 SB (19) -- .243
1B C. Robinson 2-4, 2 2B (22), 2 RBI (62), K -- .264
DH Taylor 2-3, BB, RS -- .241
3B Moustakas 2-5, 3 K, RS, SB (7) -- .273
CF Lough 1-4, BB, RBI (61), K -- .269
SS Martin 0-5, K -- .314
RF Francis 0-4, 2 K, OF assist at second -- .266

J. Rodriguez 4 2/3 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 4 K, WP -- L, 1-1, 5.14 ERA
Sisk 3 1/3 IP, 5 H, 4 K -- 1.19 ERA

*** The Bees dropped a slim loss to the Snappers. Clint Robinson laced an RBI double in the 2nd and then repeated the feat in the 4th to make it 2-0 Bees. The Snappers scored a run on 2 hits and a wild pitch in the 4th and then added 3 runs in the 5th on 4 hits off Jacob Rodriguez and Brandon Sisk. Three Bees struck out with 2 on in the 6th but David Lough hit an RBI single in the 7th to cut it to 4-3. The Bees got the tying run to third with none out in the 9th but Juan Rivera was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a Kyle Martin grounder and the rally went nowhere. RP Mike Tarsi got his 1st save for the Snappers. Starter Mike Allen worked 5 2/3 IP of 2 ER allowed to win and move to 1-0 with a 1.75 ERA. Three Snappers had 2 hits and RF Yangervis Solarte drove in 2 runs along with 2 SB.

Bees 7, Beloit 3 (today)

SS J. Rivera 2-4, K, RS, CS (5), E (15) -- .247
1B C. Robinson 1-4, HR (17), 2 RBI (64), K, RS, E (6) -- .264
2B Giavotella 1-5, 2B (18), 2 RBI (26), K, E (13) -- .299, so close to .300
3B Martin 1-2, HR (9), RBI (28), RS -- .316
DH Taylor 1-2, RBI (58), K, CS (14) -- .242
CF Lough 0-1, BB, HBP, RBI (62), E (7), OF assist at second -- .268
RF Van Stratten 1-4 -- .345

Augustine 5 IP, 3 R (2 ER), 4 H, 5 K, WP -- W, 4-2, 3.77 ERA
Raglione 2 IP, K -- 6.06 ERA
Bowden 2 IP, H, 4 K -- 0.00 ERA

*** The Bees put the season finale away with 3 runs in the 7th to finish their best season in several years with a victory. Mike Moustakas drew a 2-out walk in the 1st, stole second and scored on a Jason Taylor single to give the Bees a 1-0 lead and the Bees rallied again with 2 out in the 2nd. This time they scored 3 runs on a bases-loaded walk by David Lough and 2-run Johnny Giavotella double to make it 4-0. Three hits and 2 Bees errors helped the Snappers score 3 runs in the 2nd but Lough, who made one of the errors, made up for it by making an assist at second from center. The Bees preserved the lead by throwing a runner out at the plate in the 5th and then surged ahead in the 7th as Kyle Martin went solo for his 9th homer as a Bee and Clint Robinson hammered a 2-run shot to center for his 17th of the season to make it 7-3. Barry Bowden stranded 1 in the 8th and pitched a perfect 9th to finish the win. Beloit SP Shooter Hunt took the loss with 4 ER allowed in 2 IP to fall to 1-4 with a 5.46 ERA. SS Chris Cates was 2-4 and C Allan de San Miguel drove in 2 runs for Beloit.

The Bees finished 43-26 and 73-65 overall. The best-of-3 (think I said 5 yesterday) playoffs start Wednesday at home versus the Kane County Cougars (A A's).

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Orem 11, Chukars 6 (6, rain/Sun.)

C S. Perez 2-3, 2 2B (3), RBI (3), K, RS -- .379
LF Griffin 2-3, 2B (15), RBI (26), K, RS -- .249
CF Norris 2-3, HR, RBI (18), RS -- .261
3B Van De Keere 1-2, BB, 2B (15), RBI (27), K, RS, CS (2) -- .289
1B Espinosa 1-3, 2B (9), RBI (17), 2 K, RS, E (9) -- .207
RF Testa 1-3, RBI (31), SB (11) -- .303
SS Alfaro 1-3, RS -- .271

Casey 2 IP, 7 R (6 ER), 7 H, BB, 3 K, HRA -- L, 3-5, 3.56 ERA
Rada 2 2/3 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, BB, 2 K -- 4.79 ERA
Miller 2/3 IP, nothing -- 6.43 ERA

*** Orem riddled IF pitching for 11 runs before rain washed away the last few innings in the Chukars' home finale. Bryan Casey had perhaps his roughest start of the season as Orem scored 4 in the 1st on 3 extra-base hits, including a 3-run homer by C Alex Silversmith. Three hits, a walk and a Tito Espinosa error in the 2nd plated 2 more runs to make it 6-0 Owlz. Espinosa hit an RBI double in the 2nd and scored on a Carlo Testa single to cut the lead to 6-2. Casey was pulled with 1 on and and none out in the 3rd and Orlando Rada allowed a run to make it 7-2, but the Chukars answered with 2 runs in the 3rd on a Patrick Norris inside-the-park homer for his 1st of the season and a Shawn Griffin RBI single but the Chukars left 2 in scoring position. Orem pulled back away with 4 runs in the 5th on 5 hits to chase Rada from the game. Devery Van De Keere and Salvador Perez hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the 5th to cut it to 11-6 but Mother Nature put a stop to the action with 1 down in the Orem 6th. Orem SP Manaurys Correa allowed 6 ER over 4 1/3 IP to get credit for the win and move to 2-0 with a 6.06 ERA. Silversmith was 3-3 with a double, his 2nd homer and 3 RBI with 2 RS. Four other Owlz had 2 hits as 1B Roberto Lopez drove in 3 runs.

IF is 15-18. The final series of the season -- a 5-gamer at the Casper Ghosts (12-18, Rookie Rockies) starts tonight. Colby Beach (3-4, 6.86) takes on Casper's Marco Duarte (5-5, 5.58). IF is 4-7 versus the Ghosts.