17 December 2009

Touching base....

It's been a while....but it's time to rehash the last couple months since last I posted on the blog...I can't promise regular posts again quite yet, I've got a few things going on in my life, but I should have a couple more posts on here before long this offseason. We'll see....

  • The Teahen trade -- I've been advocating a Teahen trade for a couple years now. Some Royals fans saw Teahen's one-year power surge and thought that was his long-term upside. We now know it wasn't. He doesn't get on base as good as was advertised during the Beltran trade, he strikes out way too much, doesn't hit for enough pop. He's a solid player, and I'll say all this stuff and then he'll be a contributor to a ChiSox playoff run in 2010, but the Royals didn't need him. Of course, I woulda liked to get something better than Chris Getz and Josh Fields for him, too. Getz plugs Callaspo's defensive spot at 2B, and Fields is all-hype no MLB production thus far, although a later move may open a lineup spot for him. Otherwise, it's mediocre Teahen, for good-glove, little-bat Getz and hyped-bat, no-glove Fields. Not exactly a steal for either side.
  • Olivo, Buck, Yabuta, Crisp gone -- good riddance to most, although I thought Crisp was a decent pickup, and Olivo produced one of his best career seasons last year. He just stinks defensively and can't get on base, that's all. I'd also feel much better if Olivo and Buck's replacement wasn't what it was, but whatever. Wil Myers can't develop soon enough (hopefully he stays at catcher and proves worthy). Yabuta was money wasted, unless a future Japanese signing somehow comes out of the foot in the door his signing helped create. I've also been wanting to say goodbye to Buck for a long time now, so fare well in Toronto.
  • Greinke wins Cy Young -- well deserved, to say the least. Too bad it all but went to waste on this team, but at least it gets KC some good pub.
  • Jose Guillen and Alberto Callaspo on the trading block -- God, I hope somebody will take on Guillen's carcass. I don't see it happening unless the Royals either kick in big $$$ or agree to take on another atrocious contract. Of course, I have little ill will against Guillen, it wasn't his fault Dayton Moore offered him that contract. We knew he was a mental case and probably wouldn't earn $13 million per. Plus, at least when he stinks up the place, he admits it. If Callaspo could field a position he probably wouldn't be on the block, but then again he probably wouldn't be a Royal either at this point.
  • Minor moves -- Lenny DiNardo gone, Wilson Betemit in, Edwin Bellorin in, Brad Thompson in, Bianchi, Parraz, Dyson, Manny Pina and Blake Wood protected from rule 5 draft, Bryan Bullington in, Phillip Humber in, other filler like Josh Rupe and Buck Coats in, Shane Costa back. I'll miss DiNardo, who was a bright spot on a very dim-bulb Omaha team this year. Betemit=DM's Braves fetish. Bellorin and Coats and Costa are Omaha filler, and I can't believe Costa is back. He must have gotten no interest elsewhere. To be (arguably) jerked around by the organization for years now, but still come back for more....yeesh. Bullington, Humber, Thompson and Rupe will be in the running for the Doug Waechter-style bullpen role, or Omaha filler. It surprised me they protected Dyson in rule 5, as he's another speedy/questionable bat CF, although I wouldn't really see anybody grabbing Manny Pina either.
  • Jason Kendall signed -- Pay no attention to that giant fork sticking out of his back and give the man a couple mill a year! The only thing he can still do is provide empty OBP, no contact, no power, not much D, no speed anymore. He's catcher 35 (years old), which is different than 35 reliever or 35 second base or 35 DH. So much for an upgrade at the catcher position.
  • Bale, Jacobs released, P Edgar Osuna selected in rule 5 -- Bale coulda been gone a long time ago. I would have released him after the '08 season when he broke his hand punching a wall or whatever. I had higher hopes for Jacobs but he wasn't panning out and was empty millions spent. Does this mean Kila gets a shot at 1B in spring training? I hope so, but I doubt it. It probably means they're gonna play Fields at 1B and DH Butler, then switch them around. You watch. Oh, and Osuna is a former Brave, shocker! We'll see what they do with him.
So that's what I've missed posting about over the last two months from a Royals standpoint. Not exactly world changing news for Royals fans. Some dead wood gone, new dead wood washed up to shore. Addition by subtraction definitely applies in a couple cases, but I'm still awaiting the first Moore acquisition in a long time that I'm impressed by. He has to earn back the benefit of the doubt.

Until next post....

08 October 2009

A couple early October links

Playoff time is here, but for some reason I'm more burned out on baseball this season than others. I'm more interested in college/pro football. Anyway, I'm hoping and praying for Red Sox-Twins and Dodgers-Phils championship serieseseseses. Angels-Twins wouldn't kill me, either. Anything but a Yankees-Cards world series. That would be the cherry on top of a disgusting season.

Will of Royals Review knocks it out of the park with this one....if it turns out I don't do RotF reports next season, it'll be more because of the GM and manager's attitude and condescension than anything, as I've already stated. It's one thing for the Royals to be bad, but to be bad and then have this front office take the PR tack it has, that's another. I have a hard time devoting an hour or two each (or almost each) day to that kind of organization. I can't just unplug that part of my brain and forge ahead.

Also, Minda at Royal Blues finally is the one to say what happened with Ryan Shealy this season...probably his last in the organization. Now as to the other 5-6 MIA guys in the organization, they must be smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo with Jimmy Hoffa or something. We may never know.

No concrete off-season plans for the blog, may do a couple card posts, maybe get back into NPB a little bit. We'll see. I'm waiting a bit to do the 2009 post for the Legacy Countdown thread. I probably couldn't rationally handle it right now, plus it's good (well, not really good most times) to wait and see what Dayton has in store for us as Royals fans this offseason.

26 September 2009

The Pipeline's Top 20 Royals prospects 2009

It's that time again...here's last year's list, which like the 2007 list, I can find fault with....Joe Dickerson #7? Yeah, he had been consistent, but not consistently good enough to be in the top 10. After the 2009s Moustakas and Hosmer had, the 2008 list has lost some of its luster. I've dropped Rosa pretty much down and out, as it looks like they're gonna keep him in relief, Chris Lubanski is still in the prospect running, I guess, but has been somewhat surpassed, I had Julio Pimentel in last year's top 10 but he'll have to comeback from arm surgery in 2010. Plus I didn't put Melville on there at all for some reason. The 2008 list is really a mess, but I felt good about it at the time, before remembering the Melville omission.

Again, the list is not top heavy, as only 2 on the list played at Omaha this season, and you can probably guess who at least one is. You can, I guess the front office can't. Three played at NW Arkansas, and the rest were all high-A ball and below. I've been more based on proven performance in the past couple years' list then I went with this year, which explains the absence of Rosa or Lubanski more than anything this year. At this point, guys like Aaron Crow or John Lamb have a higher ceiling in my mind than Rosa, who pitched well as a starter last year, but again couldn't stay healthy, then got off to a slow start as a reliever this year before picking up some of the slack and making it to a September call-up. Still, what's his high end? A middle reliever? He hasn't shown a lot as a closer yet. Not that those guys (middle relievers) aren't valuable, but it doesn't really yell prospect to me with Rosa at this point, plus he's 25 and has had major arm surgery...

I'm not gonna rehash how this season has gone for Royals fans. The MLB squad has been beyond disappointing, Omaha stunk, again, then the next 3 squads made their league playoffs, whether the Bees deserved to or not. Then it was back to a decent-to-good Idaho Falls team, a poor B-Royals team again and a sadsack AZL team. Dayton Moore had better hope these mid-level minors prospects pan out, or....who am I kidding, he'll find someone else to blame anyway. Omaha graded out a D in terms of prospects, NWA a C+, Wilmington a B-, Burlington a C, Idaho Falls a C-, Burlington (R) a C-/D+ and AZL a D/D+. I said last year that the 2008 list was stronger than the 2007 list. As you can tell, I again feel that way comparing the '09 list to 2008. Nine pitchers, 11 hitters make up this year's list.

I'll reiterate my annual disclaimer.
Bear in mind most 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.

Mike Montgomery, lefty SP, 20 (last year: 17) -- 2-3, 2.17 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 1 HRA, 24 BB/52 K, .206 OAV in 12 starts/58 IP at Burlington (A) and 4-1, 2.25, 0.96, 0 HRA, 12 BB/46 K, .196 OAV in 9 starts/52 IP at Wilmington (A-Adv.)

*** Probably going to be a common #1 Royals prospect after the year he slapped together in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League and Wilmington's very pitcher-friendly ballpark. He actually posted a better ERA and OAV on the road, despite the lauded home confines. I'm hoping he continues to deal in AA next season, but wouldn't be surprised if his numbers slip a little just because of Texas League and park factors. Still, his K rate was solid and so was his K/BB, which improved along with his WHIP in the move up a level. He had some problems getting through the 5th at times but also posted some great starts down the stretch for Wilmington. He seems to have ample stuff to make it but it's his endurance and ability to stay healthy that will be the key moving forward. This is quite a jump, going from 17 to 1, but the stats and the eyewitness reports say he's for real.

Danny Duffy, lefty SP, 20 (last year: 6) -- 9-3, 2.98 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 1 CG, 6 HRA, 41 BB/125 K, .230 OAV in 24 starts/126 2/3 IP at Wilmington

*** Duffy battled some back issues the last couple months of the season (and I hope those get taken care of over the offseason) to post some inconsistent starts and Montgomery's Wilmington antics kind of put the 2009 Futures Game representative in the shadows a little bit. Duffy, too, took advantage of Wilmington's friendly confines but, like Montgomery, had a better ERA on the road as well as record and K/BB. He actually put up better stats in Burlington in 2008 than Montgomery did this year, but didn't get the opportunity to move up until this season. He should be the ace of the AA staff next season, and hopefully he keeps the good times rolling. Again, like Montgomery, he's obviously got the stuff, it's a matter of staying on the mound.

Mike Moustakas, 3B, 21 (last year: 1) --.250/.297/.421 (.718 OPS), 66 RS, 32 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 86 RBI, 32 BB/90 K, 10/16 SB, 24 E in 129 G/492 ABs in Wilmington

*** Moustakas led the Rocks in several categories but a .718 OPS doesn't really blow Royals fans' minds. Especially including a .297 OBP, that's a Mike Jacobs number, not a Mike Moustakas number. He did hit for a healthier .782 OPS on the road and posted a .323 OBP away from Frawley Stadium, but also went three months in the middle of the season without breaking a .700 OPS. A consistent .300 OBP and .400 SLG from your high-school HR record setting, number 2 overall pick, quasi-3B shouldn't be too much to ask, in Advanced A ball at least. We'll see in 2010....#1 how he handles Texas League pitching, #2 if he learns better plate discipline, and #3 if he's still playing 3B or is somewhere like RF. There's plenty of room for improvement, even though his numbers weren't all bad. He has something to prove in AA next season.

4. Aaron Crow, righty SP, 22 (last year: n/a) -- no pro stats yet

*** What is there to say at this point about Crow? He came out of Mizzou highly touted, blew off the Nationals, then waited to sign with his beloved Royals until the season was done and all that's left is fall instructional ball to roll around. There will be more to say after he debuts in NW Arkansas, I presume, maybe Omaha depending on how he shapes up, in 2010. He hasn't pitched to an organizational pro yet. If he stays at starter, which I hope he does, we'll see how he stacks up. I'd give a lot to live in Springdale next year and see a rotation of Crow, Duffy and Montgomery in the Texas League to start the season. They should be selling some tix down there....

5. David Lough, OF, 23 (last year: NR) -- .320/.370/.473 (.843 OPS), 23 RS, 15 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 30 RBI, 12 BB/34 K, 6/10 SB, 1 E in 65 G/222 ABs in Wilmington; .331/.371/.517 (.888 OPS), 41 RS, 13 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 31 RBI, 12 BB/30 K, 13/17 SB, 4 E in 61 G/236 ABs in NW Arkansas (AA)

*** Lough didn't show much in 2008 as he posted a .784 OPS at Burlington (A) in his first full season of pro ball. He had a breakout year for the organization this year by hitting over .300 with a good OPS in Advanced A then taking advantage of a callup to AA to post a .331 batting average and .888 OPS with more production in nearly an equal amount of games there as he had played in Wilmington. He's getting a shot to keep working on his game in Arizona fall ball coming up, and if he develops better plate patience, that really fills in the only chink he had in his armor this season. I'm not complaining about his offensive output, walks or no, this season, but if he added that patience, his numbers could hit another level. It'll be interesting to see if he gets a shot at the Omaha OF to start 2010.

Eric Hosmer, 1B, 19 (last year: 2) -- .254/.352/.382 (.734 OPS), 31 RS, 17 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 49 RBI, 44 BB/68 K, 3/5 SB, 4 E in 79 G/280 ABs in Burlington (A); then .206/.280/.299 (.579 OPS), 9 RS, 2 2B, 2 3B, HR, 10 RBI, 9 BB/22 K, 1 E in 27 G/97 ABs in Wilmington

*** Hosmer's season is considered a disappointment by many, and I've made my share of comments this season, but it needs to be kept in mind that this was his first full season in the minors and he did have to try to adjust to pro pitching. He isn't hitting off high schoolers anymore. His line at Burlington left something to be desired, mostly in the power department, and he got the odd callup (which I didn't mind) and then struggled at Wilmington, which is understandable as 19 is a little young for that league from what I've seen. Then he became the poster boy for fan frustration this year when he missed a bunch of games while waiting for prescription glasses before scrapping that idea to have Lasik surgery. I assume he'll be back in Wilmington to start 2010 with a shot to make it to AA if things go well. Getting the eyesight situation taken care of would be a step in the right direction. I just felt a drop on the list was needed because other players performed much better at the level or higher this season. He could easily be back in the top 3 with a monster 2010. I think the power will come along.

7. Wil Myers, C/DH, 18 (last year: n/a) -- .125/.125/.438 (.563 OPS), 1 3B, 1 HR in only 16 ABs in Burlington (R); then .426/.488/.735 (1.223 OPS), 18 RS, 7 2B, 3B, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 9 BB/15 K, 2/2 SB, 1 E in 18 G/68 ABs in Idaho Falls (Advanced Rookie)

*** Maybe THE player to watch, other than Crow, in the Royals minors in 2010. His only 2 hits in a short stint in the Appalachian League were a triple and homer, and then he went to Idaho Falls and tore up the Pioneer League for the last 2-3 weeks of the season. He hit .500 with a 1.375 OPS in 11 September games and hit for a 1.025 OPS with RISP for Idaho Falls. He drew early comparisons to Dale Murphy and hit like the early '80s version in his pro debut. Hopefully he's the starting catcher in Burlington (A) to begin 2010 and we get a chance to see him take on the Midwest League. He blew up on the Royals' map in a way neither Hosmer nor Moustakas did in their first 22 pro games.

Kila Ka'aihue, 1B, 25 (last year: 3) -- .252/.392/.433 (.825 OPS), 83 RS, 27 2B, 3B, 17 HR, 57 RBI, 102 BB/85 K, 0/1 SB, 4 E in 131 G/441 ABs in Omaha (AAA)

*** This was supposed to be Kila's year. He raked in 2008, got a shot at KC in September, clubbed his first major league homer, then was primed to maybe start the year in Omaha but, surely, he wouldn't stay there all season, right? Even if his batting average dropped (which it did) and he didn't slug as many homers (ditto), surely he'd get a September call-up. Then, after not quite posting 2008 numbers at Omaha but still putting up an OBP near .400 with only the third Omaha individual season ever over 100 walks, plus leading the team in runs scored, plus some healthy power -- he led the team in doubles and was third in HR -- he....gets to spend September in Hawai'i, or wherever it is he spends his offseasons, or maybe working out in Arizona. Nothing like developing a player by letting him waste away in AAA while KC has what it has in the majors. That's all I'm gonna say. I know I'm only one of many who feel the same way. I have no idea where he'll be to start 2010. Dayton could trade him for more magic beans for all I can tell. I would hope he has the sense to maybe do something with Mike Jacobs and let Kila have that spot? Please, God?

9. Tim Melville, righty SP, 20 (last year: NR) -- 7-7, 3.79 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 10 HRA, 43 BB/96 K, .245 OAV in 21 starts/97 1/3 IP

*** I'd say Melville's first season in the pros went pretty much as expected. The Royals signed him too late in 2008 to get him any game action that counted and he debuted in Burlington in May. He showed promise, as his K rate was great, but his K/BB was only OK. He had his ups and downs, a couple 5 or 6 ER starts but also (more often) 0, 1 or 2 ER starts in a good league. His K rate was better on the road but he also got hit harder away from Burlington. June was his roughest month as, otherwise, he was solid. He also raised his K rate and BB/K while lowering his ERA and OAV after the all-star break. It'll be interesting to see what he can do in Frawley Stadium next season in Wilmington. My hopes are that he can pitch well enough to make a mighty triumvirate with Montgomery and Duffy in AA if Crow pitches well enough to hit Omaha.

10. Jordan Parraz, OF, 25 (last year: n/a) -- .353/.353/.706 (1.059 OPS) in 17 ABs in Idaho Falls (rehab); .358/.451/.553 (1.005 OPS), 35 RS, 17 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR, 42 RBI, 29 BB/25 K, 4/12 SB, 4 E in 64 G/228 ABs in NW Arkansas; .298/.358/.426 (.784 OPS), 6 RS, 6 2B, 5 RBI, 4 BB/14 K, 0/2 SB, 2 E in 13 G/47 ABs in Omaha

*** He should make the top 10 just for doing what he did plus also allowing the Royals to rid themselves of Tyler Lumsden by lumping him off on the Astros in the trade that brought Parraz in. Parraz absolutely raked Texas League pitching as he got off to a hot start in AA and never cooled off. He did have some injury problems as he only got in 13 games at AAA before being shut down for the season. He showed some pop in his bat and the ability to take a walk and wait for his pitch, which about 85 percent or more of the rest of the organization can't seem to combine. Hopefully he's recovered and in shape in time to be in the Omaha starting OF at least to start 2010.

Jeff Bianchi, IF, 23 (last year: 12) -- .300/.360/.427 (.787 OPS), 32 RS, 12 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 28 RBI, 20 BB/47 K, 12/14 SB, 6 E in 60 G/220 ABs in Wilmington; .315/.356/.441 (.797 OPS), 42 RS, 17 2B, 3B, 5 HR, 42 RBI, 19 BB/58 K, 10/14 SB, 8 E in 68 G/270 ABs in NW Arkansas

*** Bianchi proved his rookie league numbers were no fluke as he enjoyed another healthy season. Like Lough, he could use some more work on working walks and getting on base but the contact and gap pop are there. He seemed to wear down somewhat as the season went along but he did enough to get his name back in the Royals prospect conversation. He should be in either NWA or Omaha's infield to start 2010, and hopefully his run of good health will continue and the back and shoulder problems are in the past.

12. John Lamb, lefty SP, 19 (last year: NR) -- 2-2, 3.95 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 4 HRA, 9 BB/25 K, .238 OAV in 6 starts/27 1/3 IP in Burlington (R); then 3-1, 3.70, 1.06 WHIP, 4 HRA, 11 BB/46 K, .217 OAV in 8 starts/41 1/3 IP at Idaho Falls

*** Lamb was still recovering from an auto accident in his senior year of HS when the Royals drafted him in the 5th round in 2008, so he didn't make his pro debut until hitting the Appalachian League in June. He responded by pitching well enough there to earn a call up to Idaho Falls, where he didn't give up more than 3 ER in any of his first 6 starts. In two consecutive starts he went 7 shutout innings with 10 Ks in one game and 7 Ks in the other. After a couple more not-as-good starts, he was shut down for the season because of the workload on his arm. The Pioneer League is a hitter's league so his .217 OAV there is remarkable, and he also showed a good K rate and K/BB in both stops in 2009. He should be in the Burlington (A) rotation to begin 2010, unless the Royals are taking his development extra cautious.

13. Nick Van Stratten, OF, 24 (last year: NR) -- .318/.393/.447 (.840 OPS), 50 RS, 20 2B, 5 3B, HR, 38 RBI, 28 BB/32 K, 15/21 SB, 2 E in 69 G/255 ABs in Burlington (A); then .288/.371/.403 (.774 OPS), 18 RS, 7 2B, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 13 BB/19 K, 5/7 SB, 4 E in 42 G/139 ABs in Wilmington

*** Van Stratten showed some flashes in 2008 but didn't get enough playing time in a crowded Bees OF picture. He got his shot this season and cashed in, showing good command at the plate along with some gap pop and solid defense in both stops. He got off to a slow start in Advanced A by hitting only .158 with a .437 OPS in 11 July games there but hit over .330 with an .868 OPS in August and then followed that with even better rate stats in 5 September regular season games. By the end of the season he was one of the more consistent performers in the Wilmington lineup. He's getting a little old for the level so hopefully will start 2010 in AA, but I'd understand if they made him prove himself in high-A a little more. Nick is a Pipeline favorite, so hopefully he also keeps it going in 2010.

Johnny Giavotella, 2B, 22 (last year: 11) -- .258/.351/.380 (.731 OPS), 84 RS, 24 2B, 8 3B, 6 HR, 52 RBI, 66 BB/54 K, 26/35 SB, 21 E in 133 G/476 ABs in Wilmington

*** Giavotella got off to a slow start but rebounded to post OK, if unspectacular, numbers at high-A ball to stay on track for AA in 2010. He only hit in the .220s in April and May but some pop in April kept his OPS healthy. That power dissipated in May but he rebounded in June, had a good July and then a solid August before finishing strong. His OPS jumped 103 points after the all-star break thanks mostly to a 94 point increase in slugging percentage. He produced with an .814 OPS with RISP. While his overall BA and SLG numbers fell off in the move up a level from 2008, he showed good plate presence with more BB than K, and showed some speed. He's been durable, too. We'll see how he handles the Texas League next year.

15. Louis Coleman, righty RP (for now), 23 (last year: n/a) -- 1-0, 2.45 ERA, 0.41 WHIP, 1 SV, 1 BB/6 K, .091 OAV in 7 1/3 IP in Burlington (A); then 3-1, 1.26, 0.77 WHIP, 1 SV, 3 BB/16 K, .157 OAV in 10 G/14 1/3 IP in Wilmington

*** The Royals grabbed Coleman in the early rounds in the 2009 draft and he was lockdown out of the pen at both stops he made. I'd like to see him start 2010 in the Wilmington rotation rather than as a reliever, just to see how he does, but we'll see what the organization does. If he stays in the bullpen he will probably start the season in AA, and could be on the fast track in 2010. He had nothing statistical to argue with this year, other than a couple rough patches late in the season but that could be due more to fatigue than anything else.

16. Tyler Sample, righty SP, 20 (last year: NR) -- 0-1, 6.75 ERA, 2.25 WHIP, 2 BB/5 K, .412 OAV in 2 starts/4 IP in the AZL; then 4-2, 2.84, 1.07, 1 SV, 2 HRA, 20 BB/44 K, .184 OAV in 12 G (9 starts)/50 2/3 IP in Burlington (R)

*** Sample was one of the few bright spots in the Appy League for the Royals. Having gone through Tommy John surgery in high school, the Royals rolled the dice on him in last year's third round and he struggled in the AZL. Another season removed from those arm problems, Sample started to come around in 2009. He got a couple rehab-type starts in the AZL and again struggled but held his own for the B-Royals in 50 IP. He didn't allow more than an ER in any of his last 4 starts and won his last 4 decisions. He held both lefties and righties under .200 and had a 1.78 ERA in 30 August IP. I'd put him in the Bees rotation to start 2009 and see how he does. He can't do worse than Sam Runion did, I'd think.

17. Chris Dwyer, lefty SP, 21 (last year: n/a) -- 0-0, 4.15 ERA, 2.31 WHIP, HRA, 8 BB/15 K, .324 OAV in 4 starts/8 2/3 IP in Idaho Falls

*** The hitter-packed Pioneer League ate up Dwyer in 4 short starts but he did display a good K rate. The sample size is too small to tell much from for the 2009 4th rounder, so we'll have to wait and see what happens in 2010. I'd assume he'll get a shot at the Bees rotation, too, at least. He is supposed to have the stuff, we'll see if it translates.

18. Clint Robinson, 1B/DH, 24 (last year: NR) -- .298/.356/.463 (.819 OPS), 65 RS, 31 2B, 3B, 13 HR, 57 RBI, 35 BB/79 K, 4/7 SB, 8 E in 124 G/436 ABs at Wilmington

*** Robinson improved his BA and OBP numbers from 2008 in Burlington but wasn't very consistent in 2009 in Wilmington. His season was like a donut, a good start and good end but nothing in the middle. He hit over .350 with nearly a 1.000 OPS in April, had a drop off in May, lost the pop in his bat for June, had a good OBP but still paltry SLG in July, flip-flopped that somewhat in August, then finished with a good 6 September games. In the end his numbers were better after the all-star break but he hit for only a .686 OPS with RISP, so his production could have been better. He was neck-and-neck with Moustakas for the team RBI lead for a while but then the middle of the donut came around. He should be in AA to start 2010, and I can see him hitting well there. Just have a feeling.

19. Greg Billo, righty SP, 19 (last year: NR) -- 2-2, 1.81 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 1 SV, 4 HRA, 16 BB/51 K, .205 OAV in 13 G (8 starts)/54 2/3 IP in Burlington (R)

*** Billo is probably the biggest "dark horse" on this list. He allowed more than 2 ER in only 1 of his last 10 appearances this season, including a 7-inning, 8 K shutout start against the division's best team, Danville. He posted good numbers as a starter but even better ones as a reliever, so we'll have to wait and see what the Royals do with him. He's another one I have a feeling about, we'll just see how he pans out. Hopefully he's in Burlington (A) to start 2010. If not, he's likely in IF.

20. Yowill Espinal, SS, 18 (last year: NR) -- .246/.327/.407 (.734 OPS), 31 RS, 9 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR, 23 RBI, 22 BB/53 K, 20/34 SB, 26 E in 63 G/236 ABs in Burlington (R)

*** I said in the B-Royals stat wrapup that I wasn't that impressed with Espinal's performance, and I still kinda feel that way. He's easily the rawest prospect on the list as he didn't seem to have everything working all at once this year? Hit a HR, make 2 errors. Go 2-5 with 3 K. Go 0-5 but play errorless ball and steal 2 bases thanks to hitting into fielder's choices. Most of it is due to his age. I'll be interested to see what they do with him to start 2010, whether he gets a chance at A-ball or is forced to wait for short-season ball in Idaho Falls. If they follow what they've done in recent years, he'll get a shot with the Bees.

Others of note....Omaha: Chris Lubanski started the season good, but then got hurt and wasn't the same. He's still only 24, so he's still got time, but I think 2010 is a make-or-break year for him. Chris Hayes, who was on last year's list, struggled enough that I left him off this year's list. Plus he isn't getting any younger, not that he's past his prime or anything. I hope he can start getting AAA guys out next year. Chris Nicoll got his first shot at AAA as a starter and showed he probably belongs in the pen for now. He had a strange season, and we'll see where he is to start 2010. NWA: Kurt Mertins didn't impress in his first shot at AA as he couldn't crack a .700 OPS at season's end. He was also second on the team in errors. Jarrod Dyson came off well despite mediocre stats after starting 2009 on a drug suspension. He'll probably be back in AA to start 2010, but fits the speedy/contact profile the FO loves. OF Jose Duarte also dropped off the radar somewhat by not handling AA and also looking lost in his first shot at AAA. Chris McConnell is also playing himself out of the prospect picture. Marc Maddox got banged up and didn't follow up a decent 2008. Starter Everett Teaford will likely have to start 2010 back in AA after ripping it up at Wilmington but then having his struggles in his first shot at AA ball. Blake Wood also dropped back in the ranks after struggling again and getting hurt this season in AA. Wilmington: Derrick Robinson struggled the whole year before breaking out in August and then fading away in September. If anything, he took a step back in 2009. Same with OF Adrian Ortiz, who couldn't hack it in either Wilmington or Burlington (A) this year. Starter Eduardo Paulino finished strong to likely have a shot at a low rotation slot in AA next season. Alex Caldera was on last year's list but struggled in high-A ball and may be back there in 2010. RP Brandon Sisk pitched great and should have a shot at AA closer next season. Starter Jason Godin rebounded well from a facial fracture that ended his 2008 and should be in AA to start 2010, probably working out of the pen. RP Zach Peterson's K rate dropped off but he was otherwise solid. Burlington (A): C Juan Graterol showed flashes, more than Juan Bonilla or Salvador Perez, anyway, with the Bees. IF Jason Morales also came out of nowhere to post good stats for the Bees and should be in the A-ball picture in 2010. OF Nick Francis' exploits were well-documented as he had an inconsistent but really good at times performance and ended the season on suspension for drugs. Jason Taylor struggled in his return to A ball after starting the year on a drug suspension to drop off this list. He may get a shot at Wilmington in 2010. IF Fernando Garcia posted one of the better OBPs in the Royals' minors this season but didn't hit for a lot of contact and didn't have much pop. He could develop, tho. OF Patrick Norris was another Ortiz/D. Robinson type who underperformed, although I think he had arguably the best year of the three. IF Ryan Wood proved he could get on base in his pro debut but didn't follow it up by hitting well enough to make it mean much. C Sean McCauley struggled before ending the season on the DL. Neither Bonilla nor Perez could hack A ball yet. OF Hilton Richardson struggled in his first taste of the level but should be back to start 2010. Starter Mike Lehmann struggled, but RP Blaine Hardy almost made the list with a strong performance. He should be in Wilmington to start 2010. Starter Ivor Hodgson had some good starts in his first shot at full-season ball. Dusty Odenbach and Cole White had decent but unspectacular pro debuts. Idaho Falls: IF/OF Ryan Stovall proved he could hit but couldn't really field anywhere that great in his pro debut. He'll likely be in the Burlington OF to start 2010. Perez hit well enough in IF to likely merit a shot back in Burlington in 2010. OF Carlo Testa hit well again before going down with a finger injury, but should be back with a shot at Burlington in 2010. C Ben Theriot had a middling pro debut, who knows where he'll be in 2010. C/1B Joey Lewis also made his pro debut and hit decently, but it's also up in the air where he'll be come 2010. IF Malcom Culver got a late season shot after making his full-time positional debut in Burlington (R) this season. He didn't do great at either level. IF Deivy Batista was one of the Chukars' offensive highlights and should get a shot at Burlington (A) next season. OF Alex Llanos struggled in his first shot at IF and may be back in 2010. P Brendan Lafferty made a solid pro debut before getting a shot with the Bees to end the season. That's probably where he'll be in 2010. Starter Nick Wooley had a middling pro debut, but P Patrick Keating proved to produce out of the pen as IF closer. He also got moved up late in the season. Scott Kelley also made a solid debut and got moved up with Keating to Wilmington late in the season. Burlington (R): C Fernando Cruz did OK in his first year at the position but we'll see where he starts 2010. The A-ball and rookie leagues are kinda crowded at C. OF Luis Del Rosario hit well enough on a poor-hitting B-Royal team to get moved up to Wilmington late, where he struggled. IF Ben Tschepikow spent most of the season with the B-Royals before finishing in Omaha. He will probably start 2010 in Burlington (A). OF Geulin Beltre led the team in a couple categories but didn't do too great. He may be one to watch, tho. Starter Keaton Hayenga did all right in his pro debut and is another one who could be multiple places come next April. Same with starter Leondy Perez. AZL: IF Luis Piterson stuck out in Arizona, but I'd be surprised if he's in full-season ball to start 2010. C Mauricio Matos improved from his '08 pro debut but will also likely be in rookie ball next year. IF Justin Trapp was solid at times in his pro debut, as was 1B Geoff Baldwin, who cooled as the season progressed and will likely be in Burlington or IF in 2010. Most of the AZL pitchers struggled this season. One exception was NDFA RP Jack Adams, who was the team's best closer. '09 draftee Claudio Bavera was also one of the team's best pitchers and finished the year in IF.

There were a couple other guys MIA this season due to injury, in most cases, or other unknown reasons -- pitchers Ed Cegarra, Kelvin Herrera, John Flanagan, Luis Cota, Matt Mitchell to name a few...

22 September 2009

PECOTA v. Pipeline -- the rundown

Back in March I ran through the Royals' PECOTA stat predictions as listed by Baseball Prospectus and then put my own predictive spin on them. I gave the 50th percentile (most likely) projection as a solid average of what the system said....here's how it's shaken out.


Miguel Olivo
PECOTA: .240 BA/.274 OBP/.420 SLG, 9 HR, 37 RBI, 10 BB/68 K with average to slightly sub-par defense

Pipeline (March 2 post): I take the over. 60th percentile projection of .250/.284/.422, 10 HR, 40 RBI sounds more like it, but I'd go with like 13 HR, 49 RBI.

Actual: .251/.291/.503, 23 HR, 64 RBI -- wow, both off, but I was closer, almost got the BA/OBP. Pipeline 1, PECOTA 0

John Buck
PECOTA: .227/.298/.383, 8 HR, 34 RBI, 23 BB/64 K with slightly worse defense than Olivo

Pipeline: This looks about right, although I'd look for a lower OBP. I say around a .285 OBP, 5 HR.

Actual: .235/.293/.476, 8 HR, 34 RBI -- a couple weeks left and PECOTA's HR/RBI totals are right on. I'll give this one to the system, but it's a hollow victory. Buck stinks. PECOTA 1, Pipeline 1

Brayan Pena
PECOTA: .258/.307/.354, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 21 BB/38 K with defense way worse than Buck

Pipeline: I say if Brayan gets a shot he exceeds this, maybe hits his 60th percentile of .263/.313/.364.

Actual: .270/.314/.447, 5 HR, 15 RBI. Looks like I was right on with OBP, but not so much with the slugging %. Still, this one goes to me. Pipeline 2, PECOTA 1


Mike Jacobs
PECOTA: .254/.313/.449, 17 HR, 65 RBI, 33 BB/87 K with craptastic first base defense

Pipeline: I'd say only 17 HR from Jacobs would be a disappointment for anybody who supported Dayton Moore's move to bring him in. I'd think those people would be expecting at least his 60th percentile numbers of .261/.322/.469 with HR numbers closer to his 75th percentile projection of 23 with 77 RBI. Even his 90th percentile projection gives him only 28 HR. Of course, that would be a pretty high total for KC in recent history. I say his BA and OBP projections from the 50 percent projection hold up with 23 HR, 70 RBI.

Actual: .230/.303/.408, 18 HR, 58 RBI, 40 BB/123 K -- I don't think anybody wins here. We all lose. It's the Price is Right thing, you've all overbid. OK, I'll give it to PECOTA. 2-2.

Billy Butler
PECOTA: .290/.351/.456, 14 HR, 68 RBI, 41 BB/63 K, system didn't even give him a 1B projection defensively
I'll take the over and shoot for a line of .303/.361/.465, 17 HR, 68 RBI

Actual: .300/.358/.487, 18 HR, 85 RBI, plus gonna hit 50 2B....Man, I almost nailed this one, still have a shot on the BA/OBP...see? some of us saw this coming, we just never knew if it'd get here. Pipeline 3, PECOTA 2

Ryan Shealy
PECOTA: .215/.288/.374, 14 HR, 52 RBI, 35 BB/112 K with Butler level D at first
I'd say his 75th percentile projection of .236/.313/.425 with 18 HR and 64 RBI would be more in his reach,

Actual: injuries crapped out his season. Nobody wins, still 3-2 Pipeline.

Kila Ka'aihue

PECOTA: .226/.325/.377, 14 HR, 57 RBI, 62 BB/95 K with more pisspoor defense at first.
Everybody would love it if he came up and hit his 90th percentile projection of .263/.368/.450, 20, 74.

Actual: He never got a shot. I love this organization. My dark horse of J.R. House was also so dark he didn't even play that great at Omaha, so I should get some kind of points deducted for that, but I'll be nice to myself and not do that.


Alberrrrrrto Callassssspo
PECOTA: .267/.330/.355, 2 HR, 28 RBI, smack dab average D

Pipeline: I'd take these numbers from Alberto at the keystone.

Actual: .298/.351/.450, 10 HR, 69 RBI -- I didn't really differ, so no point awarded. Can't say he's been average defensively, and not in a Can't say he's been average defensively! way

Willie Bloomquist
PECOTA: .246/.321/.292, 0 HR, 12 RBI, subpar defense but they've got him as a CF.

Pipeline: PECOTA has the feeling Bloomquist's OBP is returning to the norm. I have a hard time disagreeing. Millions well spent.

Actual: .269/.314/.364, 4 HR, 29 RBI -- again, no difference, no point. Still glad in a sarcastic way KC gave him millions of dollars.


Alex Gordon
PECOTA: .259/.343/.461, 21 HR, 78 RBI, 59 BB/122 K, slightly subpar, basically average D at third.
I say he outdoes it to the tune of .270/.350/.480 with similar HR and RBI totals.

Actual: .227/.333/.359, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 19 BB/33 K, boy did I have a rosie outlook, but he did get hurt. PECOTA wins by default, 3-3.


Mike Aviles
PECOTA: .265/.306/.403, 11 HR, 57 RBI, 26 BB/68 K with decent D at short

Pipeline: I expect closer to his 75th percentile projection of .282/.324/.438, 14, 65 and even that isn't a great year.

Actual: .183/.208/.250, 1 HR, 8 RBI, he tried to play through an elbow injury and it cost him the season. Another one to PECOTA by default, 4-3.

Tony Pena Jr. (just for kicks)
PECOTA: .231/.261/.303, 1 HR, 18 RBI, 7 BB/37 K, roughly average D at short
These are like TPJ on 'roids. I don't see it. Lasik surgery or no.

Actual: .098/.132/.118, 0 HR, 2 RBI, bat finally taken out of his useless grasp, TPJ took us to new levels of home plate suckitude this season. Good luck as a pitcher, tho. I get a point, just for PECOTA's stupidity, 4-4.


David DeJesus
PECOTA: .275/.339/.395, 7 HR, 48 RBI, 40 BB/67 K, solid defense even tho they have him in center
Surely if healthy he can hit his 60th percentile projection of .282/.347/.409, 8, 52.

Actual: .281/.346/.436, 13 HR, 70 RBI, 49 BB/86 K -- another one I almost nailed, although I still messed up the SLG. Pipeline up, 5-4.

I'll leave out Shane Costa too. He had a lost 2009.


Covelli "Coco" Crisp
PECOTA: .265/.328/.381, 6 HR, 36 RBI, 32 BB/58 K, 15 SB, solid D in center
I call at least the 60th percentile #s of .269/.333/.389, 6, 37 for Coco. Even that would be a dropoff from recent years. He can almost surely get to his 75th percentile #s of .275/.340/.401, 7, 38, right? I mean, c'mon...he's getting to play full-time again, with not much competition in the spot, no pressure in KC. If he's healthy, he outperforms that projection easily, I say.

Actual: .228/.336/.378, 3 HR, 14 RBI, got hurt and shut down, PECOTA gets this one, although we'll never know how the final numbers may have shaken out. 5-5, even though I did give the "if healthy" caveat.

Mitch Maier
PECOTA: .235/.284/.362, 7 HR, 37 RBI, 22 BB/68 K, decent D
This may be about right for his projection, tho. I say 60th percentile #s of .242/.292/.376, 7, 40, are about his peak this year.

Actual: .245/.333/.347, 3 HR, 27 RBI, 37 BB/63 K, I was closer, but he blew my OBP projection out of the water. I get this one, 6-5.


Jose Guillen
PECOTA: .269/.310/.425, 13 HR, 66 RBI, 22 BB/84 K, subpar D
I bet his '09 is closer to his 50th percentile projection, tho. I say .275/.320/.440, 17 HR, 75 RBI, which is pretty much his 60th percentile projection. And most would likely be disappointed with that. He has almost an equal chance of collapsing (33%) as improving (39%) under PECOTA in '09.

Actual: .242/.314/.367, 9 HR, 40 RBI, he played this year with a big fork sticking out of his back, but hey, we still get to pay him $12 million to stink it up in 2010! Hooray! We're tied again, 6-6. Good call on the collapse chances, PECOTA.

Mark Teahen
PECOTA: .260/.328/.401, 10 HR, 54 RBI, 43 BB/103 K, subpar D
This projection seems likely, with more K's, tho. Maybe a slighly lower BA.

Actual: .274/.328/.411, 11 HR, 46 RBI, 34 BB/118 K, played mostly 3B this year because of Gordon's injury. PECOTA pretty much nailed this one, it's up, 7-6. And we're through with the position players. I'm holding my own here.


Gil Meche
PECOTA: 11-11, 4.21 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 185 1/3 IP, 67 BB/146 K
Pipeline (March 3 post):
I say he outdoes this....16 wins, 3.95 ERA, WHIP about same as projected, IP same, maybe 155 Ks

Actual: 6-10, 5.09, 1.56 WHIP, 129 IP, 58 BB/95 K, Meche didn't have a very good season, but neither did many Royals. PECOTA is pulling away, 8-6.

Zack Greinke
PECOTA: 11-10, 3.98 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 178 IP, 53 BB/151 K
The 75th percentile projection of a 3.30 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 13 wins sounds nice and I think is within reach.

Actual: 14-8, 2.14, 1.06 WHIP, 210 1/3 IP, 44 BB/224 K, I get this one, even though I underestimated what he'd do, too, 8-7 PECOTA.

Brian Bannister
PECOTA: 6-9, 5.32 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 130 1/3 IP, 44 BB/74 K
I'd like to see him get his 75th percentile projection of a 4.67 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 7 wins, but even that isn't exactly a stellar line. He's capable, tho.

Actual: 7-12, 4.73, 1.37, 154 IP, 50 BB/98 K -- wow, another one for me, 8-8.

Kyle Davies
PECOTA: 4-8, 5.70 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 99 1/3 IP, 46 BB/62 K
I'm staying away from a prediction here. He could do this, he could step up. Like with Bannister, even his 75th percentile projection is a 4.57 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 6 wins. God, you'd hope he can hit that.

Actual: 8-9, 5.27, 1.52, 123 IP, 66 BB/86 K, I didn't play that round, but he couldn't hit that.

Luke Hochevar
PECOTA: 6-9, 5.15 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 119 2/3 IP, 45 BB/71 K

Pipeline: This is a key year for Hoch. He needs to take a step forward if the team wants to go anywhere higher than third place in the AL Central. This line isn't enough of a step forward. His 90th percentile projection of 9 wins, 3.78 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 91 Ks would be. I say he outdoes this, maybe 9 wins, a 4.40 ERA, 1.39 WHIP. More Ks.

Actual: 7-10, 5.79, 1.40, 38 BB/97 K, got the K's part right, almost nailed the WHIP and he can maybe get to 9 wins. I say this one's a push. Still 8-8.


Joakim Soria
PECOTA: 4-5, 33 saves, 3.26 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 63 IP, 22 BB/62 K
I say he racks up more than 33 saves as long as he's healthy. I say 45 saves, 2.40 ERA, 1.10 WHIP.

Actual: 3-2, 27 SV, 2.36, 1.10 WHIP, 49 2/3 IP, 16 BB/67 K
, PECOTA was predicting a down year and it has been in some ways for Soria. Although PECOTA was closer on saves, I was on the ERA and WHIP, so I get this one, 9-8 Pipeline!

Juan Cruz
PECOTA: 3-3, 4.32 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 58 1/3 IP, 33 BB/69 K
I say Juan is a quality set up guy for Soria, fills Ramon Ramirez's role well, and exceeds the 50th percentile projection here. How about a 3.50 ERA, 1.32 WHIP?

Actual: 3-4, 6.17, 1.50 WHIP, 46 2/3 IP, 27 BB/35 K, where'd the K's go? I blew this one, we're tied again, 9-9.

Kyle Farnsworth
PECOTA: 2-3, 4.44 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 54 2/3 IP, 23 BB/50 K
I think this could be right on the money for Farnsworth.

Actual: 1-4, 4.63, 1.42 WHIP, 35 IP, 12 BB/37 K, man, the system nailed the WHIP. No point awarded as I agreed here. Thank God because of injuries he was only able to do so much damage at KC.

John Bale
PECOTA: 2-4, 5.70 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 50 IP, 19 BB/34 K
I do think if he can pitch in KC he'll do better than this out of the pen, say at least a 4.60 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, but that isn't saying much, is it?

Actual: 0-1, 5.93, 1.86, 27 1/3 IP, 18 BB/23 K, PECOTA gets the point because I was dumb enough to make a favorable Bale prediction. 10-9 PECOTA.

Robinson Tejeda
PECOTA: 3-5, 5.06 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 70 1/3 IP, 38 BB/59 K
Tejeda seemed to figure something out in KC last season, but I guess this season will tell. I think this projection is a little high, although everywhere else he's pitched in the majors he's struggled.

Actual: 4-1, 2.94, 1.19, 64 1/3 IP, 40 BB/79 K, I don't get the point because I didn't have the cojones to come out and say he should be better. He looks like the early favorite 2010 candidate for the Kyle Davies Award to get hyped then fall on his face.

Ron Mahay
PECOTA: 2-2, 4.79 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 43 1/3 IP, 21 BB/33 K
I say he outdoes this line, but I don't know by how much.

Actual: 1-1, 4.79, 1.79, 41 1/3 IP, 19 BB/34 K, damn, PECOTA was right on here, other than WHIP. 11-9 PECOTA.

Lenny DiNardo
PECOTA: 3-5, 6.41 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, 70 2/3 IP, 29 BB/35 K
Could be a dark horse pen candidate, and I think he'll rebound to out-do this line.

Actual: 0-1, 8.22, 2.34 WHIP, 15 1/3 IP, 10 BB/6 K, hasn't gotten the shot I thought he might, but Boston made mincemeat of him. I guess I should give PECOTA a point here, too, even though it's kind of an incomplete. 12-9 PECOTA.

So in the end, PECOTA pulls away. But I think I did well enough to prove my point that the system is a tad bit harsh on the Royals each year. It was by no means a resounding victory for the system. But it shows it's nothing to disregard, either.

20 September 2009

Royals on the Farm 2009 finale

Well, we've come to the last RotF report of 2009. I don't know if it's the last ever yet or not. A few months of offseason may be what I need to recharge, but the frustrations of this season and this front office/ownership regime go far beyond a couple months of downtime. On the other hand, the report is kind of the identity of this blog, and I'm not sure I want to be just another blog out there. I'd rather shut it down than do that, in many ways. If I shut down the daily reports, I can see still keeping up with the minors teams and doing a month-end report, maybe, but then I'd want to find something else to post regularly about. It's been a tough year in several ways, and right now my brain is a wad of chewing gum, so it's hard for me to say where it'll go from here. This wraps up my fifth season of minors coverage, which is difficult for me to fathom -- I'm nearing 1,000 posts overall and something like 800 RotF reports. Time will tell if we get there or not...

AA - NW Arkansas: stat wrap

OPS check (* - led team)

> OF Jordan Parraz 1.005 OPS -- .358*/.451*/.553*, 35 RS, 17 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR, 42 RBI, 29 BB/25 K, 4/12 SB, 4 E in 64 G/226 ABs -- SB rate is about the only thing to bitch about there, turns 25 in October, kind of faded away because of late injury in AAA and the doings of Lough and Bianchi, should be in Omaha starting OF or maybe even KC to begin 2010...
> C John Suomi .949 OPS -- .311/.378/.571 in 37 G/119 ABs -- did great at NWA, stunk out loud at Omaha, we'll see if they bring him back for 2010 or not, if so, he might be back at AA
> OF David Lough .887 OPS -- .331/.371/.517, 41 RS, 13 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 31 RBI, 12 BB/30 K, 13/17 SB, 4 E in 61 G/236 ABs -- had breakout year, like Parraz, in organization, not 24 until January, struggled to .429 OPS vs LH, hit for over 1.000 OPS vs. RH, should be in AAA to start 2010
> C Cody Clark .864 OPS -- .304/.366/.497, 33 RS, 13 2B, 8 HR, 32 RBI, 15 BB/27 K, 3 E in 65 G/191 ABs -- had good year, but no spring chick as he turned 28 last week...hit way better on road, August was only bad month...
> IF Ed Lucas .836 OPS -- .290/.388/.448, 61 RS, 22 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 58 RBI, 53 BB*/75 K, 18/20 SB, 15 E in 103 G/355 ABs -- turned 27 in May, so this is probably as good as it's gonna get, got shot at Omaha but didn't produce in limited PT, had great year from June on, .970 OPS with RISP


> I skipped Alex Gordon's 1.124 OPS in 8 games and Vance Wilson's .803 OPS because he's 37 years old in March...
> IF Jeff Bianchi .797 OPS -- .315/.356/.441, 42 RS, 17 2B, 3B, 5 HR, 42 RBI, 19 BB/58 K, 10/14 SB, 8 E in 68 G/270 ABs -- turns 23 next month, had resurgent season fans have been waiting for, .676 OPS in August kinda put a damper on it, but he stayed healthy and hit well at two levels....could use some work on plate discipline, should get a shot at AAA to start 2010......
> IF Corey Smith .722 OPS -- .249/.302/.420, 67 RS*, 29 2B*, 3B, 21 HR*, 90 RBI*, 39 BB/132 K* (wow), 12/20 SB, 20 E* in 140 G*/550 ABs* -- led team in many categories, as you can see, turned 27 in April, had .490 OPS in April but did well thereafter, until .645 OPS in August. Couldn't quite follow up his 2008 AA numbers in the TL.
> C Jeff Howell .701 OPS -- maybe starting AA C next season
> IF Kurt Mertins .698 OPS -- .275/.332/.366, 64 RS, 23 2B, 8 3B*, 2 HR, 57 RBI, 41 BB/107 K, 11/21 SB, 16 E in 126 G/495 ABs -- turned 23 in April, had good April and June but didn't post higher than .674 OPS thereafter, expected he'd do better than this, will likely start 2010 in AA, too
> OF Jose Duarte .689 OPS -- turns 25 next March, got first shot at AAA this season and responded with .468 OPS in 17 games, which earned him a quick trip back to NWA, AA OPS actually improved from 2008 as he upped his OBP, did well defensively again...I don't know what they'll do with him for 2010.
> OF Joe Dickerson .655 OPS -- injuries derailed season, and I guess, his career, as he retired
> OF Jarrod Dyson .649 OPS -- .258/.331/.318, 38 RS, 7 2B, 4 3B, 14 RBI, 27 BB/54 K, 37/43 SB*, 4 E in 63 G/248 ABs -- turned 25 in August, pretty mediocre season, although it felt like he produced better than Norris or Ortiz or D. Robinson in A-ball.
> IF Marc Maddox .572 OPS -- injuries cost him his chance at Omaha and he never got in a groove at AA, turned 26 last week
> IF Mario Lisson .566 OPS -- already covered in AAA rehash
> IF Chris McConnell .552 OPS -- didn't cut it

WHIP check

> P Victor Marte 0.91 WHIP -- 2-1, 2.45, 4 SV, HRA, 5 BB/17 K in 13 G/22 IP -- earned call to Omaha, and now KC
> P Chris Hayes 1.06 WHIP -- 3-0, 0.98, 3 SV, HRA, 6 BB/17 K in 18 G/36 2/3 IP -- already covered in AAA
> P Federico Castaneda 1.13 WHIP -- 0-3, 4.28, 1 SV, 2 HRA, 11 BB/27 K in 12 G (2 starts)/27 1/3 IP -- turns 26 in January, Royals picked him out of Mexican League, .204 OAV, didn't do poorly, probably either in AA/AAA to begin 2010
> RP Aaron Hartsock 1.18 WHIP -- 3-1, 2.82*, 8 SV*, 4 HRA, 17 BB/27 K in 28 G/51 IP -- turns 26 in January, .223 OAV, did great at Wilmington and held his own in AA, may start 2010 there.
> SP Rowdy Hardy 1.31 WHIP -- 4-4, 3.43, 5 HRA, 20 BB/39 K in 11 G (10 starts)/60 1/3 IP -- turns 27 next month, .258 OAV, markedly better than '08 AA debut, AA/AAA bound next year


> I skipped some rehabbers and Chad Orvella's 0.64 mark in 11 IP...
> P Chris Nicoll 1.39 WHIP -- 7-0, 3.50, 1 SV, 4 HRA, 26 BB/58 K in 33 G/61 2/3 IP -- had durability problems as starter, but they gave him another shot there at Omaha late in season, turns 26 next month, .251 OAV, another wait-and-see for 2010
> P Anthony Lerew 1.44 WHIP -- 10*-6, 4.09, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 14 HRA, 55 BB/101 K* in 27 starts*/152 IP* -- turns 27 next month, .275 OAV, had ugly May but was solid thereafter, finished strong...Omaha rotation candidate in 2010?
> P Everett Teaford 1.48 WHIP -- 3-7, 5.11, 1 CG, 12 HRA, 34 BB/42 K in 16 starts/81 IP -- ungood K/BB and K rate, .269 OAV, turned 25 in May, pitched badly at home, best month was July, probably back in NWA to start 2010
> P Blake Wood 1.53 WHIP -- 2-8, 5.83, 1 CG, 8 HRA, 28 BB/49 K in 17 G (13 starts)/78 2/3 IP -- injuries hampered his season, still waiting to see him hack AA, promising 2008 performance didn't last
> P Blake Johnson 1.55 WHIP -- 8-8, 4.57, 11 HRA, 41 BB/61 K in 24 starts/122 IP -- shine has worn off Dessens trade with Johnson unable to get past AA and Pimentel hurt and on shelf all season, .305 OAV, turned 24 in June, July was worst month, but did have OK August...
> P Matt Kniginyzky 1.59 WHIP -- 5-10*, 5.48, 21 HRA*, 57 BB*/68 K in 26 G (24 starts)/134 2/3 IP -- was AA's Runion, although his OAV was better at .297, turns 27 next month, had good July but otherwise struggled
> P Ben Swaggerty 1.67 WHIP -- 4-1, 4.33, 1 SV, 3 HRA, 20 BB/54 K in 26 G/43 2/3 IP -- turned 27 in August, .298 OAV, horrible July, somehow won NWA Pitcher of Year, I still say Lerew or Hartsock
> P Gilbert de la Vara 1.71 WHIP -- 6-2, 5.74, 2 SV, 6 HRA, 27 BB/40 K in 35 G* (1 start)/64 1/3 IP -- Royals lost him in rule 5, got him back from 'Stros and he stunk it up, .304 OAV, turns 25 next month...
> P Juan Abreu 2.02 WHIP -- 2-2, 5.75, 4 SV, 3 HRA, 22 BB/25 K in 16 G/20 1/3 IP -- turns 25 next April, .247 OAV, dominated in Wilmington, not quite so in NWA, got hammered on road, probably back in AA pen to start 2010
> P Jason Godin 2.16 WHIP -- 0-2, 6.48, HRA, 13 BB/9 K in 8 G (2 starts)/16 2/3 IP -- again, never good to have more BB than Ks, turns 25 this week, .324 OAV, pitched well in Wilmington, will likely get another shot at AA rotation in 2010

19 September 2009

Royals on the Farm 9/19 -- NWA bows out

AA - NW Arkansas: Midland 4, Naturals 2 (12, RockHounds win TLCS, 3-1)

C Clark 2-5, RBI (7), K, PB -- .308
1B C. Smith 2-5, 2 2B (3), K, RS -- .367
RF Lucas 2-6, K -- .154
DH V. Wilson 1-3, SF, RBI (5), K -- .417
CF Dyson 1-5, BB, K, SB (3) -- .314
SS Bianchi 1-6, 3 K -- .273
LF Lough 1-5, BB, RS -- .448
* The Naturals stranded 12.

Teaford 6 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 K -- 0.00 ERA, great start when they needed it
J. Bannister IP, nothing -- 0.00 ERA
Hartsock 2 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 4 H, BB, K, HRA, E (2) -- BS, 1, 1.69 ERA
Swaggerty 3 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K, HRA -- L, 0-1, 2.70 ERA

*** The Naturals blew a 2-0 lead in the 9th and then a 2-run Midland homer in the 12th got the RockHounds a Texas League title. Everett Teaford stranded 2 in the 4th and 6th as he kept the RockHounds off the board. Midland pulled starter Tyson Ross in the 7th and the Naturals took advantage as Vance Wilson hit a sac fly off RP Jon Hunton and Cody Clark hit an RBI single to make it 2-0 NWA. Aaron Hartsock stranded 2 in the 8th but made a fielding error on the first batter of the 9th and served up a killer 2-run homer to CF Corey Brown (his 2nd of the playoffs) to tie the game. He stranded 2 and the game went to extras. NWA got the first two on in the 10th and loaded the bases with 2 outs only to see Corey Smith ground into a rally-killing forceout. With 2 out and 1 on in the 12th, Ben Swaggerty gave up the gamebreaker -- a 2-run homer to 1B Raul Padron (his 1st), who had entered the game as a defensive replacement in the 9th. NWA stranded 1 in the bottom of the inning and Midland celebrated its first league title since 2005.

NWA is done at 73-67. Stat wrap tomorrow.

Royals on the Farm 9/18 -- NWA makes its last stand

11-0 Royals wins will always hold a special place in my heart.

It feels like the Royals have been playing like the '27 Yanks recently, and they're only 10-6 this month. Tells you how the season has been going in KC.

AA - NW Arkansas: Midland 9, Naturals 7 (Midland leads best-of-5, 2-1)

LF Lough 2-4, BB, 2B (2), HR (2), 2 RBI (4), K, 2 RS -- .500
CF Dyson 2-5, 2B, K, RS, OF assist at home -- .333
DH V. Wilson 2-4, 2B (3) -- .429
2B Maddox 2-4, 2B (2), RS -- .292
1B C. Smith 1-4, HR, 3 RBI (4), K, RS, E -- .360
3B Mertins 0-4, SF, RBI (8), K -- .192
SS Bianchi 0-4, BB, 3 K -- .296

B. Johnson 2 1/3 IP, 6 R (4 ER), 5 H, 3 BB, 2 K, HRA, WP -- L, 0-1, 20.25 ERA
B. Wood 1 1/3 IP, H -- 0.00 ERA, left after taking hard grounder off foot
Castaneda 4 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, BB, 3 K, 3 HRA -- 6.75 ERA, home run derby
Orvella 1 1/3 IP, H, 2 BB, 2 K -- 6.75 ERA

*** Midland flexed the offense Friday as the RockHounds took a 7-0 lead and held on to move within a game of a Texas League crown. Blake Johnson had a rough 1st as Corey Smith made a 2-run throwing error at first and Midland scored 3 times in all in the frame. Johnson stranded 2 in the 2nd but wouldn't survive the 3rd as Midland scored 3 more runs to bring Blake Wood in, down 6-0. Meanwhile, the Naturals had 1 hit through 3 innings off Midland SP Kyle Middleton. Wood left after taking a hard grounder off his foot in the 4th and, after NWA stranded 2 in the 4th, Federico Castaneda gave up a solo homer in the 5th to make it 7-0 Midland. Marc Maddox doubled and scored on a Kurt Mertins sac fly to get the Naturals on the board in the 5th but Castaneda served up another solo shot in the 6th before stranding 2. David Lough slammed a 2-run homer in the 6th for his 1st of the playoffs but Castaneda gave up another solo homer in the 8th to make it 9-3 Hounds. Corey Smith made it more of a ballgame in the 8th with a 3-run blast for his 1st of the playoffs and Jarrod Dyson doubled and scored on an error in the 9th to cut the lead to 2 but that was all the Naturals could do. Middleton got the win with 3 ER allowed over 6 1/3 IP and SS Josh Horton had 2 HR in the win. Four Hounds had multiple hits in all, with 3 having 2 RBI.

Game 4 is a matinee today as NWA is in a must-win situation. Everett Teaford (3-7, 5.11) faces Midland righty Tyson Ross (5-4, 3.96). Castaneda and Wood have both been added to the Royals' AFL contingent.

A - Burlington: stat wrap

OPS check (* - led team)

> OF Nick Van Stratten .840 OPS -- .318*/.393*/.447, 50 RS, 20 2B, 5 3B*, HR, 38 RBI, 28 BB/32 K, 15/21 SB, 2 E in 69 G/255 ABs -- earned call-up he got, will be in either Wilmington or NWA to start 2010, I'd bet...turned 24 in May
> IF Jason Morales .824 OPS -- .300/.338/.486, 12 RS, 6 2B, 2 3B, HR, 12 RBI, 3 BB/13 K, 2/3 SB, 4 E in 20 G/70 ABs -- turns 24 in December, .731 OPS in hitter-friendly Pioneer League somehow got him call to Burlington, but he stepped up to post best numbers of season there. Hit for 1.022 OPS with RISP.
> OF Nick Francis .787 OPS -- .275/.320/.467*, 59 RS*, 24 2B, 4 3B, 16 HR* (only one in double digits), 66 RBI*, 28 BB/122 K* (yikes), 13/19 SB, 8 E in 113 G/415 ABs* -- tumultuous season for Nick, hit for over 1.000 OPS in April, was suspended a couple games at one point for team rules stuff, went through bad June-July swoon, then picked it back up in August to hit for over 1.000 OPS only to get a 50-game drug suspension. We'll see if he's still in organization in 2010. If not for his June/July, plus maybe his attitude???, he probably would have ended up in Wilmington, too. Still only 23.
> OF Shawn Griffin .749 OPS -- .285/.335/.414, 19 RS, 13 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 26 RBI, 14 BB/52 K, 1/7 SB (yikes), 2 E in 53 G/186 ABs -- turned 23 in August, got 1 whole game in IF before getting called up to Bees, hit for only .378 OPS against lefties, only .705 OPS on road, had strong July and decent August but not so good in short September. Did hit for .877 OPS with RISP. Probably Wilmington-bound in 2010.
> IF Jason Taylor .748 OPS -- .272/.357/.391, 29 RS, 14 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 27 RBI, 26 BB/31 K, 17/27 SB, 12 E in 57 G/202 ABs -- turns 22 in January, came back from drug suspension at start of season to do OK in audition at Idaho Falls and get off to slow start back with Bees...hit for only .675 OPS versus righties, better BA, worse OBP and SLG than '08 numbers with Bees. Will he get shot at Wilmington in 2010?


> I left out OF Jarrod Dyson, who posted an .800 OPS in 17 games, and Chase Fontaine, who spent time in Wilmington after hitting for a .779 OPS in 27 games in Burlington.
> IF Fernando Garcia .737 OPS -- .260/.392/.345, 50 RS, 12 2B, 5 3B*, 61 BB*/56 K, 29/44 SB, 17 E* in 96 G/296 ABs -- best plate discipline on team, turned 21 in July, hit better off lefties as switch-hitter, .483 OPS in July was easily worst month...didn't hit for worse than .738 OPS in any other month, other than Sept. Numbers dropped off big-time after all-star break, but he showed good improvement from '08 numbers with IF and should be in Wilmington in 2010.
> 1B Eric Hosmer .734 OPS -- .254/.352/.382, 31 RS, 17 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 49 RBI, 44 BB/68 K, 3/5 SB, 4 E in 79 G/280 ABs -- already covered in Wilmington wrap, arguable whether it was worth a call-up, but I'm all for pushing prospects a bit...
> 1B/OF David Wood .724 OPS -- .270/.318/.406, 55 RS, 26 2B*, 3 3B, 8 HR (second on team), 62 RBI, 29 BB/70 K, 7/11 SB, 6 E in 112 G/411 ABs -- turns 25 in December, was nice surprise, but numbers aren't really spectacular, hit for only .544 OPS off LH, had great May and August but was otherwise pretty mediocre, couldn't consistently produce. Probably in Wilmington to start 2010.
> C Juan Graterol .710 OPS -- .310/.354/.356, 4 2B, 6 BB/12 K in 29 G/87 ABs -- best C numbers at Burlington, only 21 in this coming February, hit for .890 OPS on road, showed improvement from '08 with IF.
> IF Ryan Wood .699 OPS -- .237/.327/.371, 19 RS, 5 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 13 BB/20 K, 1/1 SB, 9 E in 33 G/97 ABs -- turned 22 in May, struggled in pro debut in rookie Burlington but did markedly better with Bees, showed good plate discipline, hit for over 1.100 OPS in 13 home games, only .367 OPS on road, probably part of Wilmington IF in 2010.
> C Jose Bonilla .591 OPS -- .217/.281/.311, 43 RS, 12 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 36 RBI, 29 BB/92 K, 6/10 SB, 9 E in 100 G/351 ABs -- only turned 21 in August, disappointment, maybe jump was too great after OPS over 1.000 in AZL last year, only .462 OPS off LH, got worse in July and August, numbers may show he needs to get in better shape to endure season...
> C Sean McCauley .584 OPS -- .222/.284/.299, 10 XBH, 14 BB/29 K, 4 E in 51 G/167 ABs -- injury plagued season, turned 20 in May, probably back with Bees for 2010
> OF Adrian Ortiz .580 OPS -- already covered in Wilmington, stunk both places, only 24 points of OPS better at lower level, another Bonilla-type disappointment, only he's 23 in January. Contact numbers fell off table this year, and he doesn't walk a lot so has to hit .300 or better to produce.
> OF Patrick Norris .576 OPS -- .244/.304/.272, 54 RS, 7 XBH, 22 RBI, 31 BB/80 K, 45/54 SB*, 3 E in 116 G*/393 ABs -- can draw a walk better than Ortiz, but less power, turned 23 in March, numbers dropped from '08 in IF, switch hitter hit for only .383 OPS off LH, maybe needs to stick to batting lefty, had marginal June and good July but was otherwise putrid, numbers are Gathright-tastic, only Joey hit for better contact.
> IF Yeldrys Molina .542 OPS -- turns 21 in January, was horrible in rookie Burlington, so of course got moved up to A-ball, where he was better but nothing great, also didn't come close to matching his '08 rookie-ball stats.
> C Salvador Perez .466 OPS -- .189/.230/.236, let's hope he does better in second try next season, only turned 19 in May
> OF Hilton Richardson .416 OPS -- only 26 ABs, not good in first taste but will be back in Bees OF in 2010

WHIP check

> RP Tony Pena Jr. 0.91 WHIP -- 1-2, 3.14, HRA, 5 BB/14 K in 7 G (1 start)/14 1/3 IP -- K rate was nice, did his part in A-ball, I'll give him that. We'll see where he starts 2010.
> RP Blaine Hardy 0.95 WHIP -- 4-4, 2.05*, 9 SV, 3 HRA, 17 BB/94 K (second on team) in 36 G (3 starts)/92 1/3 IP -- had great season, .215 OAV, .186 as reliever, awesome BB/K, great K rate, was lockdown from July on, only 0.98 ERA after ASB, should ease way into Wilmington pen in 2010, turns 23 in March
> RP Barry Bowden 1.01 WHIP -- 3-2, 2.28, 10 SV*, 2 HRA, 22 BB/64 K in 38 G/51 1/3 IP -- earned call to Wilmington after posting .168 OAV, turns 25 in Nov., tho, should start 2010 in AA, hopefully
> SP Mike Montgomery 1.14 WHIP -- 2-3, 2.17, HRA, 24 BB/52 K in 12 starts/58 IP -- turned 20 in July, .206 OAV in Burlington got better in Wilmington, may start 2010 in AA
> RP Zach Peterson 1.18 WHIP -- 3-2, 3.63, 6 HRA, 10 BB/21 K in 10 G (6 starts)/39 2/3 IP -- turns 25 in Nov., .250 OAV, finished better in Wilmington


> I left out Louis Coleman, who led with a 0.41 WHIP but only threw 7 1/3 IP before moving up, rightfully, and Kelvin Herrera, who was put on the shelf after a 0.60 WHIP in 5 IP
> SP Tim Melville 1.36 WHIP -- 7-7, 3.79, 10 HRA, 43 BB/96 K* in 21 starts/97 1/3 IP -- room for improvement but solid pro debut, should be in Wilmington in 2010...turns 20 in October, .245 OAV, had his ugly starts and great starts, but that's to be expected. Pitched much better in home games. Better in most stats after all-star break.
> Position player David Wood had a 1.36 WHIP in 7 1/3 IP, which is remarkable
> SP Manauris Baez 1.39 WHIP -- 8*-6, 3.41, 1 SV, 6 HRA, 48 BB/85 K in 30 G (20 starts)/132 IP -- turned 24 in August, .269 OAV, lefties hit .332 off him, had up-and-down season, probably in Wilmington mix in 2010
> P Luis Cota 1.42 WHIP -- 0-2, 4.26, 5 BB/15 K in 4 starts/19 IP -- injury derailed another season for once-hot Royals prospect, turned 24 in August. Still time for comeback...
> P Dusty Odenbach 1.46 WHIP -- 2-1, 3.97, HRA, 10 BB/22 K in 11 G/22 2/3 IP -- nice K rate in pro debut, .267 OAV after great pro debut in rookie Burlington, either back with Bees or in Wilmington for 2010, turned 22 this month
> SP Ivor Hodgson 1.48 WHIP -- 3-1, 3.98, 2 HRA, 15 BB/37 K in 9 G (7 starts)/40 2/3 IP -- turned 23 in April, did better than I thought he would with Bees, .285 OAV, much better on road than in Burlington, also much better at night than day, had decent finish to season, should be back in rotation to start 2010
> RP Cole White 1.50 WHIP -- 0-0, 2.16, HRA, 9 BB/13 K in 8 G/16 2/3 IP -- turns 22 in January, .258 OAV after good pro debut in IF, may be in Burlington or Wilmington to start 2010
> RP James Thompson 1.55 WHIP -- 5-3, 2.71, 8 SV, 5 HRA, 51 BB/79 K in 44 G*/66 1/3 IP -- turned 22 in August, .219 OAV, did best work at home and at night, July was only down month, should be in Wilmington in 2010
> SP Mike Lehmann 1.72 WHIP -- 5-7, 5.85, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 9 HRA, 56 BB/51 K in 22 G (18 starts)/95 1/3 IP -- never good when you have more BB than K as a pitcher, turned 20 in May, .298 OAV, numbers fell apart in August and Sept., probably back for 2010
> SP Sam Runion 1.76 WHIP -- 5-11*, 6.60, 17 HRA*, 193 hits allowed, 45 BB/62 K in 28 starts*/135 IP* -- I really don't mean to pick on the kid with all the comments I've made this year, but I had to note this line. Plus the fact he led the team in starts and IP! It's like Lima-Time all over again, only I know they're only hoping he'll develop. Turns 21 in Nov, .337 OAV, showed 0 improvement over 2008, lowest OAV in any month was .315, the Royals release pitchers like this every season, but I assume he's getting more rope because the Royals (and Dayton) picked him in the 2nd round in 2007. I also forgot to note, he got some playoff starting action, too.

18 September 2009

Royals on the Farm 9/17 -- Crow in the nest, Bees laid to rest

Aaron Crow is signed....just in time to report to fall ball in Arizona. He'll start 2010 in AA with a major league contract in hand. I have no opinion on it. It's good he signed, wish it could have happened earlier. We'll see if he lives up to the hype or if he's another Hochevar. Dayton Moore can't dodge credit/blame on this one. Rotoworld is already reporting scouts as saying he's perhaps better suited for a bullpen role. If the Royals passed up an as-yet-unproven-pro-but-highly-touted-college SS in Grant Green for a setup guy, that's a dumb move. With the way KC is set in the SS department.

AA - NW Arkansas: off day

Game 3 in the TLCS is tonight in NWA's friendly confines of Arvest Ballpark. Blake Johnson (8-8, 4.57) takes the hill versus Midland righty and '99 Royals draftee Kyle Middleton (5-2, 2.69).

A - Burlington: Fort Wayne 4, Bees 3 (TinCaps win MWL title, 3-0)

C Graterol 2-4, HR, RBI, K, RS -- .429
2B F. Garcia 2-3, RS, 2 SB, E (2) -- .304
RF Ortiz 1-4, RBI (5), picked off -- .387
CF Norris 0-4, K, RS -- .167, not much production at top of lineup in playoffs for Norris
DH Taylor 0-4 -- .407, bat wasn't as potent in CS, shoulder injury factoring in?
SS R. Wood 0-3, K, E -- .125

Baez 5 IP, 4 R (3 ER), 6 H, 2 BB, 4 K, HRA -- L, 1-1, 3.60 ERA
Thompson 2 IP, H, K -- 0.00 ERA
B. Hardy 2 IP, 2 H, BB, K, pickoff -- 0.00 ERA

*** A Bees comeback fell just short and the TinCaps celebrated a Midwest League title in Burlington Thursday. The TinCaps scratched out their first run in the 2nd before stranding 2 and then scored again in the 3rd before stranding 2 more. Manauris Baez gave up a 2-run homer in the 5th before stranding 2 more. Juan Graterol led off the Bees 5th with his 1st playoff homer and Fernando Garcia hit a 2-out single, stole two bases and scored on a Fort Wayne error before an Adrian Ortiz RBI single cut the lead to 1. Ortiz was picked off to end the rally and the Bees stranded 2 in the 6th. The last 10 Bees went down in order. TinCaps SP Mike Watt went 5 1/3 IP for the win and LF Jaff Decker had 3 hits and 2 RBI.

The Bees finished 64-75. Stat wrap tomorrow. This year marked the first time since '77 and '78 the Bees made the playoffs in back-to-back years.

17 September 2009

Royals on the Farm 9/16 -- TLCS tied, Bees against the proverbial wall

AA - NW Arkansas: Midland 7, Naturals 6 (best-of-5 tied, 1-1)

CF Dyson 3-5, 3B -- .320
1B C. Smith 2-4, RBI, K, RS -- .381
LF Lough 2-4, RS, E -- .500
C Clark 1-3, BB, 2B, 2 RBI (6), RS -- .294
2B Maddox 1-4, HR (2), 2 RBI (5), K, RS -- .250
DH V. Wilson 1-4, RBI (4), K, RS -- .412
SS Bianchi 1-4, K, RS -- .348

R. Hardy 5 1/3 IP, 5 ER, 8 H, BB, K, 2 HRA -- 3.55 ERA
Orvella 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, BB, K, HRA -- BS, 1, L, 1-1, 9.00 ERA
Swaggerty IP, BB, K -- 0.00 ERA
Hartsock IP, H, K -- 0.00 ERA

*** Both teams had 5-run rallies but it was Midland's that was the backbreaker in the series-tying game 2 win for the RockHounds. The Naturals squandered a Jarrod Dyson leadoff triple in the 1st as he was doubled off third to end the inning. Vance Wilson got NWA on the board to kickstart a rally in the 2nd with an RBI single followed by a 2-run Cody Clark double and 2-run Marc Maddox homer to make it 5-0 NWA. Rowdy Hardy gave up 2 runs in the 2nd to get Midland on the board and then stranded 2 in the 4th and 5th. Two solo homers in the 6th cut the lead to 1 and Hardy was pulled for Chad Orvella with 1 on and 1 out. Orvella gave up a single, and then the key hit, a 3-run blast by Hounds DH Jemile Weeks, to make it 7-5 Midland. Corey Smith hit a 2-out RBI single in the 8th but the Nats stranded 2 and left the tying run at first in the 9th. Midland SP Graham Godfrey got the win despite allowing 5 ER over 6 IP...other than the ugly 2nd he was very good. Three Hounds had 2 hits.

The teams take a day off before resuming with game 3 tomorrow in Springdale.

A - Burlington: Fort Wayne 2, Bees 0 (4-hitter, TinCaps lead best-of-5, 2-0)

2B F. Garcia 2-3, picked off, E -- .250
3B Morales 1-3, 2B, K -- .235
CF Norris 1-4, K -- .192
LF Ortiz 0-4, K -- .407
1B Taylor 0-3, K -- .478
C Bonilla 0-3 -- .087
SS R. Wood 0-3, K -- .154

Lehmann 2 1/3 IP, ER, 3 H, 3 BB, K, WP -- L, 0-1, 3.86 ERA
Lafferty 3 IP, ER, 2 H, BB, 2 K, HRA -- 1.29 ERA
C. White 1 2/3 IP, BB, 2 K -- 1.80 ERA
Thompson IP, 2 H, K -- 0.00 ERA

*** Chris Fetter and 3 TinCaps relievers combined on a 4-hit shutout as the Fort Wayne juggernaut closed in on a MWL title. The only run Mike Lehmann allowed came on a wild pitch in the 2nd as he stranded 2 in scoring position. The Bees stranded 2 in the 3rd and Brendan Lafferty gave up a solo homer in the 6th for the other run of the game. The Bees stranded a runner at third in the 8th but went down in order in the 9th. Two 'Caps had 2 hits.

The Bees will try to survive tonight in a do-or-die game 3 at home as Manauris Baez (8-6, 3.41) faces TinCaps lefty Mike Watt (7-4, 4.17).

16 September 2009

Royals on the Farm 9/15 -- Nats up, Bees down

AA - NW Arkansas: Naturals 11, Midland 5 (Nats lead TLCS best-of-5, 1-0)

DH V. Wilson 3-3, BB, 2 2B, RBI (3), 2 RS, SB -- .462
LF Lough 3-5, RBI (2), RS -- .500
SS Bianchi 3-6, 2B (2), RBI (4), K -- .368
3B Mertins 2-4, BB, SF, 2B (2), 2 RBI (7), 2 RS -- .294
C Clark 2-4, BB, 2 RBI (4), RS -- .286
1B C. Smith 2-5, K, 2 RS -- .353
PH-DH Howell 1-1, RBI -- 1.000
CF Dyson 1-6, K, 2 RS -- .250
2B Maddox 1-4, BB, RBI (3) -- .250
* NWA stranded 12.

Lerew 6 IP, ER, 8 H, 4 BB, 6 K, HRA -- W, 2-0, 0.60 ERA, WHIP wasn't helped, but he'll take the W
Swaggerty IP, BB, K -- 0.00 ERA
J. Bannister IP, 2 H, K -- 0.00 ERA
Abreu 2/3 IP, 4 ER, H, 3 BB -- 54.00 ERA
Godin 1/3 IP, 2 H, K -- 0.00 ERA

*** It was Midland coming into the TLCS with the vaunted offense, but the Naturals put on a run-scoring display of their own Tuesday with runs in each inning from the 2nd through the 8th en route to taking a 1-0 series lead. Anthony Lerew labored to leave the bases loaded in the 1st and NWA took the early lead in the 2nd on a Vance Wilson RBI single. Lerew stranded 2 more in the 2nd and two errors on one play helped the Nats to another run in the 3rd. Lerew gave up a solo homer in the 3rd but the Nats got the run back in the 4th on another run-scoring RockHound error. Jeff Bianchi and David Lough hit RBI singles in the 5th and Lerew worked out of another bases-loaded jam that inning. Cody Clark and Kurt Mertins singled home runs in the 6th and Clark singled in another run in the 7th before Marc Maddox worked a bases-loaded walk and a Mertins sac fly made it 10-1. Pinch-hitter Jeff Howell finished the Naturals' scoring with an RBI single in the 8th. Juan Abreu walked the bases loaded in the 9th and the RockHounds were able to scrape out 4 runs before Jason Godin finally shut the door. The Nats got to all 4 Midland pitchers, but 5 'Hounds had multi-hit games.

Game 2 is tonight as Rowdy Hardy (4-4, 3.43) faces RockHounds righty Graham Godfrey (11-8, 3.50). No matter the series outcome, the Naturals will finish the season at home as games 3-5 are in Springdale.

A - Burlington: Fort Wayne 6, Bees 2 (Bees trail MWLCS best-of-5, 1-0)

3B Taylor 2-4, RBI (7), K -- .550
RF Ortiz 2-4, 2 K, RS, SB (3) -- .478
DH Griffin 1-4, RBI (4) -- .160
CF Norris 0-4 -- .182
C Bonilla 0-3, BB, 2 K -- .100
LF H. Richardson 0-3 -- .000

Melville 5 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 4 K, WP, balk, pickoff -- 1.64 ERA
J. Garcia IP, 3 ER, 4 H, BB -- L, 0-1, 34.71 ERA
Odenbach 2 IP, ER, H, 3 BB, 3 K, 2 WP -- 4.50 ERA

*** Fort Wayne got the game tied in the 5th and took over for good in the 6th. The Bees rallied with 2 out in the 1st as Shawn Griffin hit an RBI single but the bases were left loaded. Tim Melville allowed a run in the 1st but Jason Taylor hit an RBI single in the 3rd to make it 2-1 Bees. Melville balked home the tying run in the 5th before leaving the bases full. Justin Garcia took over in the 6th and was battered for 3 runs. The Bees' offense went dead in the 5th as the last 13 Bees went down in order. They only had 1 baserunner after Taylor's RBI single in the 3rd as FW SP Erik Davis got the win.

Game 2 is tonight as Mike Lehmann (5-7, 5.85) faces TinCaps righty Chris Fetter (2-1, 2.22). As with the Naturals' series, the Bees will also finish the season at home as games 3-5 are in Burlington. I guess 94 wins doesn't get you home-field advantage in the MWL.

15 September 2009

Royals on the Farm 9/14 -- Bees on to MWL finals to defend title

AA - NW Arkansas: game 1 in TLCS tonight at Midland

The Naturals will send Anthony Lerew (10-6, 4.09) to the mound versus RockHounds righty Arnold Leon (2-3, 3.51).

A-Adv. - Wilmington: done at 84-55

OPS check (* - led team)

>OF David Lough .843 OPS -- .320*/.370/.473*, 28 RS, 15 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 30 RBI, 12 BB/34 K, 6/10 SB, 1 E in 65 G/222 ABs -- hit even better in AA, likely Royals Minors Player of the Year?
>1B Clint Robinson .819 OPS -- .298/.356/.463, 65 RS, 31 2B, 3B, 13 HR, 57 RBI, 35 BB/79 K, 4/7 SB, 8 E in 124 G/436 ABs -- have to remember Wilmington's park is very pitcher friendly, explains in part some lower OPS numbers, Clint was hanging with Moustakas in RBI for a while, then Mike left him in the dust...only June had under .700 OPS, best OPS was in April but had good August, too...will be interesting to see how he does in Texas League next year
>SS Jeff Bianchi .787 OPS -- .300/.360/.427, 32 RS, 12 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 28 RBI, 20 BB/47 K, 12/14 SB, 6 E in 60 G/220 ABs -- hit for 10 points better OPS in AA, he and Lough might get a shot at the big team coming out of 2010 ST....but knowing this organization, they probably won't.
>OF Nick Van Stratten .774 OPS -- .288/.371*/.403, 18 RS, 7 2B, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 13 BB/19 K, 5/7 SB, 4 E in 42 G/139 ABs -- hit for .437 OPS in first 11 games, then hit for .868 OPS in August, so made the necessary adjustments...actually hit better at home with Wilmington than away, hit for .852 OPS with RISP...hopefully gets shot at AA to start 2010
>IF Chase Fontaine .767 OPS -- .288/.404/.363, 8 RS, 3 2B, HR, 16 RBI, 16 BB/22 K, 3/6 SB, 6 E in 29 G/80 ABs -- another of Dayton's ex-Braves, got on base, at least, cooled after hot July, hit for .854 OPS with RISP, like Van Stratten and Robinson, not exactly a spring chick at 24 (next month) in A-ball...


>I left out IF Josh Johnson at .847 as he only played 12 games, and struggled at AA for a good part of the season...
>2B Johnny Giavotella .731 OPS -- .258/.351/.380, 84 RS*, 24 2B, 8 3B*, 6 HR, 52 RBI, 66 BB*/54 K, 26/35 SB, 21 E in 133 G*/476 ABs -- only 22, vs. L/R OPS split was .813/.683, hit for 110 points better OPS on road, .648 May OPS dragged down numbers, fairly consistent otherwise, August wasn't great...another one to watch at AA next year...
>3B Mike Moustakas .718 OPS -- .250/.297/.421, 66 RS, 32 2B*, 2 3B, 16 HR*, 86 RBI*, 32 BB/90 K, 10/16 SB, 24 E* in 129 G/492 ABs -- sub-.300 OBP is disappointing for prospect of his hype, just turned 21, only Ryan Eigsti kept him from leading team in Ks, hit for .640 OPS versus lefties, hit 144 points better in OPS on road, hit for .827 OPS in April, then didn't top .700 OPS in month again until .819 August...hit .196 with .628 OPS in July...did hit for .965 OPS with RISP, so he produced when needed...hit 25 points worse in OPS after all-star break...defense was no great shakes, we'll see if he can rebound, and if he plays third at NWA
>IF Anthony Seratelli .696 OPS -- 21 E, 21/29 SB -- already 26, so really, unfortunately, a non-prospect
>OF Paulo Orlando .655 OPS -- 20 2B, but 15 BB/80 K -- Brazilian turns 24 in Nov., hit for ugly .556 OPS versus LH, and he hits righty, had decent June and July and every other month was poor...
>OF Jamar Walton .648 OPS -- 26 BB/76 K, 7/15 SB -- turns 24 in January, mediocre versus RH, bad versus LH, couldn't follow up .906 OPS in 9 April games...
>OF Derrick Robinson .614 OPS -- .239/.290/.324, 72 RS, 19 2B, 5 3B, 5 HR, 47 RBI, 35 BB/90 K, 69/92 SB, 5 E in 128 G/522 ABs* -- and they hit him leadoff ALL season, it's a miracle they had the record they did (shows you how good the pitching was), hit for .874 OPS in August or numbers would be way worse, didn't hit for better than .622 OPS in any other month...actually worse than subpar '08 line of .245/.316/.322, SB % went down too...only 22 this month
>C Ryan Eigsti .584 OPS -- .201, but .306 OBP, 42 BB/95 K* -- and he was their best hitting catcher...here's a crazy idea, let him back up Myers at AA next year, give the younger kid a chance to sink or swim, if Myers struggles in April, move him back to Wilmington...
>1B Eric Hosmer .579 OPS -- .206/.280/.299, 9 RS, 2 2B, 2 3B, HR, 10 RBI, 9 BB/22 K, 1 E in 27 G/97 ABs -- and a notable prescription glasses episode...only 20 in October, hit OK but nothing special in Burlington, then got odd callup to high-A and couldn't even slug .300. Maybe his eyesight issues are behind him.
>OF Adrian Ortiz .556 OPS -- 9 BB/47 K, 12/18 SB, hit a whopping 24 points better in OPS at a lower level after demotion...turns 23 in January
>C Matt Morizio .418 OPS -- made Eigsti look like a slugger...interestingly enough, is being moved to pitcher this offseason...

WHIP check

>P Louis Coleman 0.77 WHIP -- 3-1, 1.26, 1 SV, 3 BB/16 K in 10 G/14 1/3 IP -- .157 OAV, between this and Burlington's even better performance, did very well in pro debut...should be in AA to start 2010...
>P Brandon Sisk 0.79 WHIP -- 2-3, 1.92*, 21 SV*, 2 HRA, 18 BB/78 K in 45 G*/61 IP -- already 24, .151 OAV, only down month was May and he had a .220 OAV that month, should be closing in NWA next season...damn, that's a nice K rate and BB/K, I'll give him ERA title too, as others didn't pitch as much
>P Aaron Hartsock 0.86 WHIP -- 1-0, 0.48, 11 SV, HRA, 3 BB/17 K in 15 G/18 2/3 IP -- those are the kind of numbers that help you end the season a level higher, .197 OAV....too bad Sisk didn't join him...he is a year older, tho, than Sisk.
>P Mike Montgomery 0.96 WHIP -- 4-1, 2.25, 12 BB/46 K in 9 starts/52 IP -- how many top Royals prospects lists will he be #1 on? only 20 years old, .196 OAV (10 points better than what he did with the Bees), had it all working this season, hopefully stays on track next season...
>P Everett Teaford 0.98 WHIP -- 7-1, 2.39, 7 HRA, 12 BB/49 K in 11 starts/64 IP -- earned call to AA, where hasn't done as well, .219 OAV with Wilmington, 50 points higher in AA...


>I left out Patrick Keating, who only put in 2 2/3 IP in his level debut, and had a 0.37 WHIP, and Danny Gutierrez, who got traded with a 0.88 WHIP...
>P Barry Bowden 1.00 WHIP -- only 10 IP, HRA, 2 BB/14 K, should be back in 2010, at least to start season...turns 25 in Nov., tho...
>P Juan Abreu 1.03 WHIP -- 1.69 ERA, 12 SV, HRA, 14 BB/28 K in 20 G/21 1/3 IP -- earned trip to AA where his .114 OAV has jumped to .247, which still isn't horrible. Will probably start 2010 in AA.
>P Zach Peterson 1.06 WHIP -- 2.15 ERA, 3 SV, 2 HRA, 9 BB/15 K in 37 2/3 IP -- K rate has gone south...turns 25 in Nov., .223 OAV was better than what he was doing in Burlington, had 20 BB/82 K in 77 2/3 IP in Burlington in 2008. Overall was 19/36 BB/K in 77 1/3 this season, troubling...still got guys out, tho...
>P Danny Duffy 1.18 WHIP -- 9-3, 2.98, 1 CG, 6 HRA, 41 BB/125 K* in 24 starts/126 2/3 IP -- .230 OAV, battled some back problems that hopefully aren't chronic, had 6.00 ERA in 12 daytime IP, June was kinda rough but every other month was good...should be top 5 organizational prospect...not 21 until December...
>P Eduardo Paulino 1.21 WHIP -- 10*-6, 3.63, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 15 HRA*, 39 BB/84 K in 26 G (22 starts)/138 2/3 IP* -- turns 24 this month, .246 OAV, pitched way better as starter than out of pen, also took advantage of friendly confines, was good after May as got off to a tough start to season, 17 BB/67 K from June on...was 7-1 in last 10 starts...
>P Jason Godin 1.22 WHIP -- 1.63 ERA, 13 BB/32 K in 15 G (3 starts)/38 2/3 IP -- recovered all right from facial fracture that ended his 2008....245 OAV, has struggled in first taste of AA
>I'm leaving out Rowdy Hardy and Ben Swaggerty, Ray Liotta, too, as I'll cover them in AA anyway...
>P Alex Caldera 1.41 WHIP -- 5-10, 4.77, 12 HRA, 53 BB/105 K in 27 starts*/137 2/3 IP -- .268 OAV, didn't follow up his '08 success in Burlington, was 0-5 with 7.77 ERA in June, turns 24 in October, don't know what they'll do with him in 2010
>P Mario Santiago 1.42 WHIP -- 6-13*, 4.30, 1 CG, 8 HRA, 34 BB/97 K in 25 G (24 starts)/136 IP -- turns 25 in December, .298 OAV, lefties hit .347 off him...June was his best month, but not much else good to note...
>P Kelvin Villa 1.46 WHIP -- 6-8, 3.38, 2 SV, 3 HRA, 22 BB/67 K in 35 games (1 start)/77 1/3 IP -- and they start him in the biggest game of the season? .294 OAV, turns 24 in December...
>P Chris Chavez 1.50 WHIP -- 6-1, 1.95, 4 SV, 24 BB/41 K in 25 G/50 2/3 IP -- odd that sub-2.00 ERA goes with that WHIP, .272 OAV, awesome 'stache on his MiLB profile, ended up not in AA but AAA, this organization works funny...just turned 25 on Friday, shoulda wished him a happy birthday along with Moose Tacos...

A - Burlington: Bees 2, Cedar Rapids 1 (Bees win series, 2-1)

1B Taylor 1-2, 2 BB, HR (2), 2 RBI (6), RS, CS -- .563, put the O on his shoulders this postseason
CF Norris 1-3, S, K -- .222
LF Ortiz 0-2, HBP, S -- .474
C Bonilla 0-4, K -- .118

Hodgson 5 2/3 IP, ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 3 K, WP -- W, 2-0, 0.77 ERA, not pretty, but effective
Lafferty 2 IP, 3 H, 3 K -- 0.00 ERA
B. Hardy 1 1/3 IP, H, K -- SV, 2, 0.00 ERA

*** Jason Taylor provided the offense with a 1st inning 2-run shot and the Bees rode good pitching to defend their title in the Midwest League Championship Series. Taylor's homer came with 2 outs. Cedar Rapids got a run after a leadoff triple in the 3rd but Ivor Hodgson stranded 2 in the 4th and Brendan Lafferty came in to leave 'em loaded in the 6th. The Bees left the bases full in the 8th and Blaine Hardy left the tying run on base in the 9th to pick up his 2nd postseason save. Kernels SP Will Smith allowed only 2 ER over 8 IP to take the loss. Cedar Rapids was 1-14 with RISP.

The Bees get no rest as they face Goliath in the Fort Wayne TinCaps (A Padres), who were 49-21 in the second half and 94-46 overall, which was the best record in the league by 13 wins. Game 1 of the best-of-5 is tonight as Tim Melville (7-7, 3.79) faces TinCaps righty Erik Davis (16-6, 3.64). I think we need to invoke "Hoosiers" here...cue up the 1:55 mark...after all, the Bees were 3-3 versus the TinCaps this year...

14 September 2009

Royals on the Farm 9/13 -- Rocks go down

AA - NW Arkansas: awaiting Tuesday's game 1 with Midland

A-Adv. - Wilmington: Lynchburg 5, Blue Rocks 2 (Hillcats win best-of-5, 3-2)

1B Hosmer 3-4, 2 2B -- .227
3B Moustakas 2-4, HR, RBI (4), K, RS -- .316
DH C. Robinson 2-4, RS -- .167
LF Stovall 0-3, SF, RBI, K -- .000
CF D. Robinson 1-4, OF assist at second -- .174
2B Giavotella 1-4 -- .364
RF Van Stratten 1-4 -- .150

Villa 5 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 5 K -- L, 0-1, 2.84 ERA, little run support
Bowden IP, 2 ER, H, 2 BB -- 5.40 ERA
Coleman IP, ER, H, BB -- 3.38 ERA
Kelley IP, nothing -- 0.00 ERA

*** The Hillcats did more with their 6 hits than Wilmington could do with 10 and the Rocks' season came to a grinding halt in Lynchburg. Ryan Stovall hit a sac fly in the 2nd but Kelvin Villa allowed 2 runs in the 3rd to give Lynchburg the lead. Eric Hosmer doubled but was thrown out at the plate to end the Wilmington 4th and Johnny Giavotella was thrown out at home on a Hosmer single to end the 6th as Hillcats SP Bryan Morris was able to hold the Rocks in check. Louis Coleman allowed a 3-run double to 3B Josh Harrison in the 7th to allow two inherited runners to score and a Mike Moustakas solo homer in the 8th went for naught. RP Ron Uviedo sat down all 4 batters he faced to clinch the series for the Hillcats.

The Rocks finished 46-24 on the second half and 84-55 overall. The Rocks are 1-5 in deciding playoff game 5s in franchise history. The Hillcats will play Salem for the Carolina League title. Stat wrap on the Rocks tomorrow.

A - Burlington: Cedar Rapids 4, Bees 1 (best-of-3 tied, 1-1)

1B Taylor 2-3, BB, K, 2 SB -- .571
LF Ortiz 1-4, RBI (4) -- .529
CF Norris 0-3, BB -- .200
C Bonilla 1-4, 2B -- .154

Runion 4 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, BB, 3 K -- L, 0-1, 3.86 ERA
C. White 1 1/3 IP, ER, H, 2 BB -- 2.70 ERA
J. Garcia IP, ER, H, HRA -- 40.50 ERA
Thompson IP, H -- 0.00 ERA

*** Sam Runion held a 1-0 lead until the 5th, when things went Cedar Rapids' way for good and the series became tied at 1. Runion stranded 2 in the 1st and the Bees took the lead in the 3rd on an Adrian Ortiz RBI forceout before stranding 2 themselves. Runion allowed 2 runs in the 5th before getting pulled and Cole White allowed a run in the 6th before stranding 2. Justin Garcia gave up a solo homer in the 7th and the Bees stranded 2 in their best and last rally chance in the 8th. Manaurys Correa started and got the win for Cedar Rapids.

The big game 3 is tonight as Ivor Hodgson (3-1, 3.98) faces Kernels lefty Will Smith (10-5, 3.76).