25 September 2010

The Pipeline's Top 20 Royals Prospects 2010

OK....I couldn't resist. After looking at last year's list, I wasn't as disappointed with it as I thought I'd be. Yeah, Lough was probably a little high at 5, I had Dwyer low at 17 and rolled the dice on Billo at 19, but it wasn't bad. And Billo didn't have a great year but his K rate improved, which is a good sign. And he's still only 20. Something tells me the Royals' system is gonna get a nice boost when the experts' system ratings come out next spring. Most every big prospect in the system stepped up his game this season, and the prospect reports for BA and BP were rife with Royal names. BA already has released it's top 20 AZL prospects and 3 of the top 10 were Royals (Yordano Ventura, Robinson Yambati and Cheslor Cuthbert). I expect that trend to continue (albeit likely skipping the Appy League and Pioneer League lists) as the lists move up the rungs.

The heavy hitters lead the way as the most recognizable names take up the top 8 spots. The last 2 of the top 10 are players who really stepped forward this season and shone through. The second 10 is marked by up and comers and shouldabeens who weren't this season and thus their stock slipped somewhat.

As disappointed and burned out as I was as 2009 came to a close, I have to admit although the burnout is still there from grinding out another 150-or-so RotF reports, I'm not as down on the organization as I was at this point last year. Having so many good seasons to follow this year helps a lot. It took my attention off another crappy season in KC. At some point these prospects are gonna have to start producing in KC, however, which makes me nervous when it comes to Dayton handling things right. He already blew the Moustakas September call-up with me, although after reading Rany Jazayerli's rehash of it, it wasn't as bad a misstep. I'd grade out the teams as Omaha at a B, NWA at an A, Wilmington at a C+, Burlington at a D, Idaho Falls at a C-, Burlington (Rookie) at a C and the AZL at a C-. Alas, this is the last year for the Burlington Bees on the report as the Royals have shifted their Midwest League base to the Kane County Cougars, which makes sense with the KC initials and all. Plus KC (er, Kane County) has way better local support from what I've read.

Here's the spiel... 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. That means Kila is sadly phased out, as is Jordan Parraz. Kila would definitely have hit the list, Parraz would have dropped but maybe settled in the bottom 5 still.

1. Mike Moustakas, 3B
, 22 (last year: 3) -- .293/.314/.564 (.878 OPS), 36 RS, 16 2B, 15 HR, 48 RBI, 8 BB/25 K, 2/2 SB, 8 E in 52 G/225 ABs in Omaha, .347/.413/.687 (1.100 OPS), 58 RS, 25 2B, 21 HR, 76 RBI, 26 BB/42 K, 0/1 SB, 13 E in 66 G/259 ABs in NW Arkansas.

*** I was as impressed with Moustakas' 2010 as I was disappointed in his 2009 when he posted a .718 OPS in Wilmington. He absolutely tore up the Texas League for 66 games, then moved to AAA and forgot how to take a walk but still came on late to post pretty good numbers. Overall he posted a .999 OPS with 41 2B, 36 HR, 124 RBI. In the high minors. I still say he deserved a taste of the big leagues in September, but Dayton can make up for it by putting him on the opening day roster in 2011. I bet he'll take the usual route of a call-up in June or July (barring injury, please God) and hopefully he can stick. I posted this in last season's list: "
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." That's check, incomplete and check, as I think he showed a little better glove from reports. I also said he had something to prove in AA. Point taken. I hope and pray the discipline will join the power soon.

2. Wil Myers, C
, 19 (last year: 7) -- .346/.453/.512 (.966 OPS with the rounding), 28 RS, 14 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 38 RBI, 37 BB/39 K, 2/5 SB, 1 E in 58 G/205 ABs in Wilmington, .289/.408/.500 (.908 OPS), 42 RS, 19 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 45 RBI, 48 BB/55 K, 10/13 SB, 4 E in 68 G/242 ABs in Burlington (A).

*** Good God, after looking back over his numbers this is a close race for #1 with Moose. Myers could be 1A, 1AAAAAAAAA, it's so close. He's got the power plus the discipline. That's a combined .934 OPS, 33 2B, 14 HR, 83 RBI and 85 BB/94 K in 447 ABs. There's some talk of whether he can stick at C but that just gives him another edge if he can stick it out, as C is a premium position and, if you play fantasy baseball, you know that great hitting Cs don't just grow on trees. I said this year he blew up on the Royals' map in his pro debut. This year he left a mushroom cloud behind. He got the power going late in Wilmington but neither the MWL nor Carolina League, especially Frawley Field, is exactly a hitter's paradise. One of the main questions going into 2011 is whether he'll start the season in Wilmington or NWA. I'm rooting for NWA but we'll see. I think they want all the big shots coming up in two waves, with Myers in the second, so NW Arkansas would make sense. He can rake, there's all there is to it.

3. Mike Montgomery, LH,
21 (last year: 1) -- 5-4, 3.47 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, .255 OAV, 4 HRA, 26 BB/48 K in 13 starts/59 2/3 IP in NWA, 2-0, 1.09 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, .165 OAV, 4 BB/33 K in 4 starts/24 2/3 IP at Wilmington.

*** Last year's #1 suffers from some injury concerns on my part and some growing pains in AA on this year's list. He dominated the Carolina League so much that he got the quick promotion to AA, had to hit the shelf for a while with nagging arm problems and then encountered some resistance in the Texas League. The numbers weren't bad, they were fairly average. I'd expect much better in AA to start 2011 tho. I bet he's back on track then, but he is pitching in the AFL this fall and I hope the organization gives him some time for his arm to recover for another season. Actually I saw this coming....from last year's list: "
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." I'm as surprised as anyone that I got that right. The K rate didn't sustain in AA as well, and neither did the K/BB, but like I said I expect a recovery in 2011. Also from last year: "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." I can say that again...

4. Eric Hosmer, 1B,
19 (last year: 6) -- .313/.365/.615 (.980 OPS), 39 RS, 14 2B, 3 3B, 13 HR, 35 RBI, 15 BB/27 K, 3/4 SB, 2 E in 50 G/195 ABs in NW Arkansas, .354/.429/.545 (.974 OPS), 48 RS, 29 2B, 6 3B, 7 HR, 51 RBI, 44 BB/39 K, 11/12 SB, 8 E in 87 G/325 ABs in Wilmington.

*** His modest jump on the list despite an overall .977 OPS, 43 2B, 9 3B, 20 HR, 86 RBI and 14/16 SB tells you all you need to know about how stacked the Royals' minors were in 2010. Any other year he woulda jumped up to top 3 easy. His numbers took the hit from the jump to AA but not as much as one would think they might. And his power, like Moustakas' going from Wilmington to NWA, erupted this season, although it had already done so in Wilmington, which neither Moustakas nor Myers could boast. The hits keep coming...from last year's report: "I assume he'll be back in Wilmington to start 2010 with a shot to make it to AA if things go well" and "He could easily be back in the top 3 with a monster 2010. I think the power will come along." Not exactly bold predictions, don't get me wrong, but boom goes the dynamite. The question now, like with Myers, is will it be NWA or Omaha to start 2011? I'm thinking he has a solid shot at Omaha. It would be cool to see him and Moustakas in the same lineup again.

5. John Lamb, LH
, 20 (last year: 12) -- 2-1, 5.45 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, .280 OAV, 2 HRA, 13 BB/26 K in 7 starts/33 IP at NW Arkansas, 6-3, 1.45 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, .219 OAV, 1 HRA, 15 BB/90 K in 13 starts/74 2/3 IP at Wilmington, 2-3, 1.58 ERA, little over 1-pt. WHIP, .188 OAV, 2 HRA, 17 BB/43 K in 8 starts/40 IP at Burlington (A).

*** Lamb shot up the charts in the organization in 2010 for one of the biggest jumps on the list. He was dominant in several ways with the Bees for 40 IP, then moved up to Wilmington and played Godzilla on Carolina League foes for way better numbers before getting the rare follow-up promotion (for this organization) to AA. He met his match in the Texas League, but hey, he's only 20. He started the year in the Midwest League and finished it in a title run in AA. Let's take it for what it is and look forward to more in 2011. The Royals shut him down for workload reasons in 2009, then proceeded to load on more than double the IP in 2010, which doesn't make much sense to me. Isn't the rule of thumb a 30-inning jump from year to year? Not a 79-inning jump? I'm assuming they were monitoring him closely and decided his arm could take it, but if he doesn't make it through 2011 many are going to be pissed. He is only 20 after all, not 27. Let's not get too much of a good thing at this point. But the cart is after the horse at this point. He should get another run at AA in 2011 with a part to play in that second wave of Royals prospects set to hit the majors in 2012-2013.

6. Danny Duffy, LH,
21 (last year: 2) -- 5-2, 2.95 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, .255 OAV, 1 CG, 1 ShO, 3 HRA, 9 BB/41 K in 7 starts/39 1/3 IP at NW Arkansas, 0-0, 2.57 ERA, 1-pt WHIP, .170 OAV, 2 HRA, 7 BB/18 K in 3 starts/14 IP at Wilmington, also stops in AZL and Pioneer League.

*** I was worried in last season's list about Duffy's back problems but I guess I should have been more worried about his brain, as he dropped the bombshell in spring training that he needed to take some time away from the game. Following a standout 2009 in Wilmington, he was slated to be part of a formidable AA rotation in 2010. Five months into the season, he was, after making the decision to come back in the summer months. He made quick stops in the AZL and Idaho Falls, stayed in Wilmington long enough to prove he still had the Carolina League in his pocket, then moved up to NW Arkansas. He got 7 regular season starts with the Naturals in which he sprinkled in 2 stinkers with five other starts in which he allowed no more than 1 ER. He then proved his worth in the playoffs with some good performances in helping lead the Nats to the Texas League title. I'm hoping he's in Omaha to start 2011 ready to face another challenge and not back in California once again mulling his baseball future. He's getting some more work in this fall in the AFL. The argument for top dog last year was between Montgomery and Duffy. This year both had their ups and downs but Duffy proved more ready for AA competition. If being part of a winner in the KC organization for once doesn't help get his mind right, then what will?

7. Christian Colon, SS, 21 (last year: N/A) --
.278/.326/.380 (.705 OPS), 38 RS, 12 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 30 RBI, 13 BB/33 K, 2/6 SB, 17 E in 60 G/245 ABs at Wilmington.

*** The Royals got their #1 pick signed quickly in 2010, for a change, and Colon stumbled out of the gate but recovered to post a .748 OPS in August as things were looking up as the Carolina League schedule ran out of gas. Seventeen errors in 60 games doesn't exactly speak of sparkling defense but it's still early in his pro career and he was coming off the workload of a full college baseball season. He has had some knee issues in the past but he seemed to hold up well this season and hopefully that continues moving forward. The Royals are in dire need of a SS, as they haven't had one consistently since Freddie Patek (who wasn't that great, and Jay Bell, Greg Gagne and Rey Sanchez all had faults in their game in one place or another, and weren't with the team that long). Hopefully he follows Moustakas' trend of a slow year in Frawley and his bat awakes when he gets to AA in 2011. If he breaks out the bat I bet he makes his way to Omaha at some point. I surmise KC views him as a little more major-league ready than the rest of the big shots. If he pans out, I can drop the whole Grant Green angst, which would be nice.

Chris Dwyer, LH, 22 (last year: 17) -- 2-1, 3.06 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, .175 OAV, 2 HRA, 10 BB/20 K in 4 starts/17 2/3 IP in NWA, 6-3, 2.99 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .246 OAV, 1 CG, 3 HRA, 33 BB/93 K in 15 starts/84 1/3 IP in Wilmington.

*** A year after omitting Tim Melville from the list all together, I put Dwyer too low at 17 in 2009, which he soundly proved wrong in 2010. But he did struggle in a small sample size at Idaho Falls in 2009. He got off to a middling start but picked it up at Wilmington to earn a call-up to NW Arkansas with a great K-rate and solid K/BB ratio. He made his presence felt at AA with a K/BB that took a hit but his K rate stayed good. Then he was injured and didn't return. He leap-frogged Burlington on his trip up the ladder to start 2010 but I bet he's back in AA to start 2011 if healthy. This may not be the right place for him, I'm not 100% sold on him at 8 but I think he earned it this season. Now I hope he can live up to it and exceed it in 2011.

Clint Robinson, 1B, 25 (last year: 18) -- .335/.410/.625 (1.035 OPS), 90 RS, 41 2B*, 5 3B, 29 HR*, 98 RBI*, 58 BB/86 K*, 4/7 SB, 15 E* in 129 G/477 ABs at NW Arkansas.

*** The fact that KC already has Billy Butler and Kila Ka'aihue blocking the way at first likely means something's got to give. One of them probably won't be with the organization, or maybe even shouldn't be, by this time next season. I don't put it past Dayton tho to just let Clint rot at AA or AAA until he goes somewhere else via minors free agency. Or package him with a low minors pitching prospect for a 38-year-old that can block Moustakas or something. It's arguable this is high for Clint. After all he is 25 and is just now possibly hitting AAA, when he'll be turning 26. But he did absolutely rake this season, and he DID win the Texas League triple crown. It can be argued he was the Nats' player of the year this season. He also must have suffered from the Frawley flu in 2009 as his numbers surged big time with the jump to AA. From last year's report..."He should be in AA to start 2010, and I can see him hitting well there. Just have a feeling." Hopefully he can keep it up when he hits Sarpy County next season. Like I said, something's gonna have to give, tho, to get him to KC. If this is a couple spots too high, he at least backed it up this season.

Johnny Giavotella, 2B, 23 (last year: 14) -- .322/.395/.460 (.855 OPS), 92 RS*, 35 2B, 5 3B, 9 HR, 65 RBI, 61 BB*/67 K, 13/20 SB, 13 E in 134 G*/522 ABs* at NW Arkansas.

*** He didn't outwalk his K's this season but he did exceed his Wilmington 2009 BA by 64 points and his Wilmington OPS by 124 points. He's been one of the more consistent prospects the last couple seasons. He was consistently mediocre in A-Advanced but the Frawley effect has to have come into play there. It can't be a coincidence that almost every Royals hitting prospect has some struggles at Wilmington. Between it being a pitcher's park and the good competition in the Carolina League, it's like they're freed from a cage when they move up to AA. I guess I prefer that rather than the other way around where they rocked the California League in High Desert then their numbers plummeted to normal levels at old Wichita. Giavotella's numbers didn't exactly outshine the others, obviously, he's 10th, but you can count on him to hit for average every season, show good plate discipline, not strike out a ton, and his pop has improved. Plus he cut down on the errors this season at second. It's exciting to see a couple middle infield prospects actually do well and move up in the system. That hasn't happened any time since I started these reports. We've always had the Berroa-A. Sanchez-Gotay pupu platter. Unfortunately guys like Marc Maddox and Kurt Mertins have kind of played themselves to the fringe rather than stepping up. I'm optimistic Giavotella won't go that route when he hits Omaha next season.

Aaron Crow, RH, 23 (last year: 4) -- 7-7*, 5.66 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, .279 OAV, 13 HRA*, 59 BB*/90 K in 22 G/119 1/3 IP* at NW Arkansas, 2-3, 5.93 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, .290 OAV, 6 HRA, 6 BB/53 K in 7 starts/44 IP at Wilmington.

*** Crow struggled while other, younger pitchers flourished this season for the organization. I hope we can just chalk some of it up to it being his first pro season and him feeling out the competition somewhat. Consistency was a problem at both stops for Crow, as his 7 Wilmington starts were marked by two 8-run starts (8 ER in one, 6 ER in the other), 4 4-run starts and a 6 2/3 IP, 3-hit gem with 1 BB/13 K. I think he showed at times he could be good but he's gonna have to put it together a little more often to stick. This should motivate him to work harder this offseason to prove the bad numbers were a fluke. How he responds in 2011 may be the biggest key story to watch in the organization. Still, look at that K/BB and K rate at Wilmington. He's got the stuff. I expect a rebound in NW Arkansas and a move to Omaha in 2011.

12. Tim Collins, RH, 21 (last year: N/A) --
2-1, 1.33 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, .127 OAV, 4 SV, 8 BB/21 K in 20 1/3 IP in Omaha.

*** The Royals rewarded Collins, the fruit of the Rick Ankiel/Kyle Farnsworth deal (almost as good as the Parraz for Lumsden deal), with his first trip to AAA and he answered the call. He posted 16 BB/73 K in only 43 IP with the Jays' AA team before getting swapped to the Braves, who only used him for 8 IP at AA before flipping him to KC. He didn't quite match that insane K rate at Omaha but he did post an OAV 47 points lower than at the Jays' AA stop. Some short sample size surely skews some stats, alliteration aside. The things I do to keep myself entertained here. I expect Collins to keep dealing at Omaha to start 2011 with a probably decent shot to break camp with KC. The Royals could use some good middle relief and, if the right deal for Soria comes along, we have a plug-in closer. Being only 5-7, he's gonna get some nickname like The Microwave or something, so be prepared.

13. David Lough, OF
, 24 (last year: 5) -- 280/.346/.437 (.783 OPS), 65 RS, 15 2B, 12 3B*, 11 HR, 58 RBI, 40 BB/72 K, 14/19 SB, 4 E in 120 G/460 ABs in Omaha.

*** Lough got the AAA shot I hoped he would get in last year's list and....he played like a guy in his first shot at AAA. He ended up holding his own but I bet he's back for some more seasoning in 2011. He was the only Royals farmhand I can recall off-hand (oh wait, see #17) to post double digit doubles, triples and HR, and as I hoped last year, his plate discipline improved some as he drew 40 walks compared to 24 combined at two levels in 2009. It's still not great, but he's headed the right direction, and he's still only 24. You can't teach athleticism, and he's got it. The drop on the list is mainly because of the stellar seasons of other players and the fact he had to adjust to AAA. I'd bet he does a better job of tearing up the Pac Coast League in 2011.

14. Will Smith, LH, 21 (last year: N/A) --
4-1, 2.80 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, .233 OAV, 6 HRA, 4 BB/51 K in 8 starts/54 2/3 IP at Wilmington.

*** The main get in the Alberto Callaspo deal pitched very well at Wilmington, then stepped up for a good playoff start to help the Naturals to their title. He started 2010 in the California League with the Angels' affiliate, posted a Cal-League special 4.58 ERA with 49 H and BB in 37 1/3 IP, leapfrogged AA for 53 mediocre IP at Salt Lake City (.305 OAV, 85 H/BB in 53 IP), bounced back to AA where he continued to struggle in 18 2/3 IP (was it a confidence thing? 9 BB/8 K), which probably made it easier for the Angels to rationalize shipping him to KC. So 2010 was kind of a long strange trip for Will, probably. Anyway, he started at A-Advanced in Wilmington and has to have regained some confidence as he took advantage of Frawley and posted a brilliant nearly 13-1 K/BB ratio in 54 2/3 IP. The move to AA for the playoffs and a good start in the TLCS was just the cherry on top of that line. He turns 22 in 2011 and should be part of that great NW Arkansas rotation to start the season with a hot start to the season probably earning him a ride to Omaha. After seeing him do well against Idaho Falls and the Bees in the past, it's nice to have him on the good side.

Crawford Simmons, LH, 19 (last year: NR) -- 6*-2, 2.77 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, .220 OAV, 7 HRA*, 19 BB/70 K* in 14 starts/78 IP in Burlington (Rookie).

*** Crawford made his long-awaited pro debut this year and he made it count as one of the B-Royals' best 2 pitchers along with Leonel Santiago. A 6-inning, 1-hit, 6 K start in July was enhanced in August in back-to-back 7 shutout IP starts with a combined 3 walks and 15 Ks, altho 11 Ks came in 1 start. He allowed 1 ER in each of his last 3 starts. He allowed only a .191 OAV in 8 road starts. Actually 15 could be a little low but it feels right to me. He should get a promotion to A-ball to start 2011 and we'll see how he does in Kane County. Hopefully he's part of a third wave of Royals prospects coming up. All in all, he laid one pretty solid foundation for his career if it's only upwards and onwards from here.

16. Louis Coleman, RH, 24 (last year: 15) -- 2-1, 2.09 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, .171 OAV, 6 SV, 5 HRA, 14 BB/55 K in 21 G (1 start)/51 2/3 IP at NW Arkansas, 5-2, 2.23 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, .215 OAV, 1 SV, 2 HRA, 11 BB/48 K in 21 G/40 1/3 IP in Omaha.

*** Louis ranks higher on some lists, I'm sure, as he and Collins could comprise a formidable duo in the KC pen as soon as next season. He dips a spot this season more for the performance of others than his own. He was stellar at both AA and AAA with good K rates at both levels and a roughly 4-1 K/BB at both stops as well. At this point it looks like a step up to the majors is just a spring training away. I'm gonna go out on a short limb here and say he and Collins are both set-up guys in the KC pen by September 2011. My verve for Coleman is tempered by the fact he's a reliever. Starters are going to be the key to the Royals' rebirth. Yes, a solid pen is part of the puzzle but I think that's an easier part of the puzzle to put together. Coleman should be a good one, tho.

17. Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B, 18 (last year: NR) -- .265/.342/.412 (.754 OPS), 14 RS, 3 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 6 BB/19 K, 1/2 SB, 6 E in 18 G/68 ABs in the AZL, .233/.281/.433 (.715 OPS), 10 RS, 4 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 3 BB/16 K, 1/1 SB, 1 E in 14 G/60 ABs in Idaho Falls.

*** Another potential third wave guy is Cheslor, who played only 32 games this season but had his share of big moments. Enough, anyway, to make me a fan of the Nicaraguan. He kind of dropped out of sight abruptly at Idaho Falls, but did enough that hopefully he gets put in Kane County to start 2011. I wouldn't be too surprised if they held him back for Idaho Falls and short-season ball again. He still looked pretty raw in the Pioneer League this season as the stats show. He seems to have the tools, though. I bet his line in rookie ball improves next season.

. Carlo Testa, OF, 23 (24 in December) (last year: NR) -- .275/.365/.466 (.831 OPS), 83 RS*, 24 2B, 14 3B*, 12 HR*, 50 RBI*, 60 BB*/125 K*, 28/37 SB, 5 E in 128 G*/461 ABs* with the Bees.

*** On a bad final Bees team, Testa was the main bright spot. Like David Lough, Testa is about tools and athleticism and brings a little big of everything to the table. Unlike Lough, Testa keeps getting buried in the system. Lough is 24 and in AAA, Testa is 23 and for some reason can't get a ticket to Wilmington despite joining Lough with double digits in doubles, triples and HR. Yes, he strikes out too much, but can also draw a walk and can steal a base, run and play defense. I hope they'll give him a shot at Wilmington and he can respond in 2011. He deserves to be given a shot as part of that third wave heading to KC. Here's your dark horse candidate for a breakout in 2011. But I like Carlo.

Brett Eibner, OF/P, turns 22 in December (last year: N/A) -- no stats yet

*** Eibner inked late as the second round powerhouse hitter and also reportedly a good pitcher out of the U of Arkansas. He was added to the Idaho Falls roster but never played a game for whatever reason. He supposedly has the tools but we'll have to wait and see. Will he start 2011 in Kane County? I usually shy away from putting the unknowns on here, but I'm making an exception in Eibner's case. Let's hope he lives up to the billing.

20. Salvador Perez, C, 20 (last year: NR) -- .290/.322/.411 (.732 OPS), 35 RS, 21 2B, 3B, 7 HR, 53 RBI, 18 BB/38 K, 1/2 SB, 6 E in 99 G/365 ABs at Wilmington.

*** Despite his struggles with the Bees in 2009 (a .466 OPS in 36 games), Perez was given the chance as the youngest player in the Carolina League (until Wil Myers came along, that is) and responded with an .847 OPS in May. He then went on a June-July tailspin but pulled out of it in August to the tune of a .390 BA and 1.035 OPS to end the season on a sweet note. His game is in consistency, usually a hit a night, some pop and timely hitting. He needs to develop better plate patience to keep moving up through the system, especially with Lucas May and Wil Myers ahead of him at the C spot. I assume he and Myers will make up 2 of the youngest players in the Texas League once 2011 rolls around. Oddly enough, he laughed off the Frawley effect to hit .351 with an .894 OPS at home but struggled with a .236 BA/.585 OPS on the road. He also seemed to struggle in night games with a .689 OPS but put together a 1.004 OPS in day games. All around, tho, his stats improved dramatically after the all-star break, which is a good sign.

Others....incomplete grades go to Jeff Bianchi (last year's #11) and 5th rounder Jason Adam, who is highly touted out of a KC area high school but we won't see until short-season ball in 2011. Same goes for Matt Mitchell, who pitched with the Bees but was coming back off arm surgery. Omaha: Ed Lucas had a good year, but is 27. Lucas May has also gotten a September call to KC but is 26 and out of the running here. RP Blaine Hardy would also be one of the top 5 left off, and he's only 23, but his status as a reliever cut him down some. NW Arkansas: Patrick Keating stood out this year but also falls into the reliever category. I would have liked to include Everett Teaford here, and I still think he could produce at the majors level, but he's 26 and therefore didn't qualify. Paulo Orlando and Jamie Romak stood out this year, but not enough to make the top 20 in a great season for the organization (below the major league level of course). The rest of the NW Arkansas OF could also have an argument. Derrick Robinson gets a lot of press as being toolsy (speed wise, anyway), Tim Smith had a good season when given the chance to play, and Nick Van Stratten made the list last season but had some struggles in 2010. Wilmington: Buddy Baumann had some good starts for the Rocks but needs another season like this, preferably better, to make it into the top 20. 2010 draftee Kevin Chapman had his ups and downs out of the pen in his pro debut. Brendan Lafferty fell into the Keating camp. A good season but not good enough to make the list. Tim Melville is an arguable omission here but he just didn't do enough this season. He'd also likely be in the top 5 not listed. Nick Francis had a good year coming back from a drug suspension, and Adrian Ortiz is still in the mix but both have some work to do to get back into the prospect picture. Burlington (A): Chas Byrne had a middling pro debut as he dominated the rookie level but struggled with the Bees. Keaton Hayenga, Mitch Hodge and Sam Runion are off the map until they actually pitch well for any kind of extended period of time. Dusty Odenbach goes in with Baumann in that he came out of nowhere to post some good starts for the Bees but wasn't consistent enough to sniff the list. Elisaul Pimentel came over from the Dodgers in the Podsednik deal but stunk out loud for Burlington. Tyler Sample was also on the list last season but his control problems lingered and he was bypassed by several players in my estimation. Fernando Cruz is still only 20 but has yet to stand out at any level in the organization offensively. Jake Kuebler took a step up in 2010 but is still a ways away from consideration. Alex McClure struggled in his pro debut but is another toolsy guy. At 21, he has a lot of work to do to get somewhere with KC. OFs Tim Ferguson and Whit Merrifield made their pro debuts, and Merrifield impressed at times in all facets of the game, but both will have to prove their worth at Wilmington in 2011. Idaho Falls: Greg Billo didn't quite make the list this season but still wasn't poor, just not good enough for the list. Scott Alexander, Chad Blauer, Eric Cantrell and several others made their debuts on the mound but none stand out. At C, Dale Cornstubble and Kevin David debuted with David having the early advantage. Yowill Espinal also made the list last year but didn't progress much this season. At 19, he still has a ways to go, tho, so he could rebound at Kane County in 2011. Murray Watts led the crop of draftees at IF but the monster DH is 23 and needs to be on the fast track to have any chance at making a go of it. Burlington (R): Willian Avinazar would likely have been another member of the top 5 left off after a great season for the Royals. Same for Leonel Santiago. None of the 2010 draftees really stood out here, as Ryan Jenkins did all right at C but that was about it. Luis Piterson started hot but cooled to ice by season's end. Brian Fletcher got 1 good game in before missing the rest of the season with injury. Alex Llanos is in Cruz's boat as a high draftee who has yet to show much as a pro. AZL: Robinson Yambati and Yordano Ventura were both bandied about for the list but in the end I left both off. They're both only 19 so hopefully they can leap forward in 2011. Jin-Ho Shin struggled in his US debut. Mike Antonio was a high draftee who struggled somewhat and should see short-season ball again, likely at Burlington, in 2011. Henry Moreno was the man at 1B but is 21 and therefore a little old for the AZL. I liked OF Ysmelin Alcantara but at 20 he'll have to start moving soon to have any shot. Jerico Blanco was horrible but is only 18. I also liked 2010 draftee Darian Sandford but he's already 23 and was in the AZL, so he's behind the 8-ball moving forward.

19 September 2010

Royals on the Farm 9/19 -- wrapping up the Naturals

AA - NW Arkansas: The champion Naturals finished the regular season 86-54.

NWA OPS leaders (other than Moustakas at 1.100 with 21 HR in 76 G and 1.080 from Josh Fields in 11 games, * - led team)

Clint Robinson 1.035 -- .335/.410/.625, 90 RS, 41 2B*, 5 3B, 29 HR*, 98 RBI*, 58 BB/86 K*, 4/7 SB, 15 E* in 129 G/477 ABs -- who else than the triple crown winner? Altho I gave Moustakas the team BA title at .347. When they include Clint in some crap deal this winter, I'm gonna be sick.
Eric Hosmer .980 -- .313/.365/.615, 39 RS, 14 2B, 3 3B, 13 HR, 35 RBI, 15 BB/27 K, 3/4 SB, 2 E in 50 G/195 ABs -- 13 HR in 50 G at AA after 7 HR in 87 G at A-Adv., breakout season, .977 OPS overall, playoff performance was just cherry on top
Johnny Giavotella .855 -- .322/.395/.460, 92 RS*, 35 2B, 5 3B, 9 HR, 65 RBI, 61 BB*/67 K, 13/20 SB, 13 E in 134 G*/522 ABs* -- also a great season all-around, little bit of everything
Jamie Romak .847 -- .278/.389/.459, 23 RS, 6 2B, 6 HR, 16 RBI, 19 BB/30 K, 0/3 SB, 2 E in 45 G/133 ABs -- scrap-heap-type pickup fared well at Wilmington and NW Arkansas, I think they should keep him around
Paulo Orlando .846 -- .305/.366/.480, 84 RS, 22 2B, 6 3B, 13 HR, 64 RBI, 24 BB/62 K, 25/35 SB, 13 E in 121 G/419 ABs -- showed some speed and some power but also kept up the lack of plate discipline, still a good season tho

Others....Tim Smith .825 (.306/.372/.453, 18 2B, 9 HR, 33 BB/42 K, 15/20 SB in 95 G/307 ABs, solid year when he got a chance), Derrick Robinson .725 (.286/.345/.380, 74 RS, 26 2B, 8 3B*, 2 HR, 48 RBI, 45 BB/86 K, 50/67 SB, 9 E in 127 G/511 ABs, those aren't good leadoff numbers, I'm sorry, tho it did look like a small step forward from 2009), Manny Pina .717 (16 2B, 7 HR, 24 BB/37 K, only .319 OBP in 74 G/266 ABs, also 12 E), Anthony Seratelli .695 (.361 OBP, 9 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 49 BB/65 K, 15/21 SB, 14 E, rare flashes during season, then almost doubled HR total in playoffs), Nick Van Stratten .676 (18 2B, 2 HR, 28 BB/41 K, 8/13 SB, 3 E in 86 G/302 ABs, he'll be back in 2011), and Chris McConnell .670 (5 3B, 49 BB/76 K, 11/18 SB, 15 E, think his time with KC is past with Colon in the organization, just couldn't get it done consistently higher than lower rungs).

NWA WHIP leaders (other than Blaine Hardy's 0.73 and Louis Coleman's 0.87 as they both moved up to AAA)
Henry Barrera 0.96 -- 3-1, 1.80, 1 SV, HRA, 7 BB/25 K in 25 IP, comeback trail started solidly
Edgar Osuna 1.16 -- 6-2, 2.95*, 11 HRA, 11 BB/64 K in 17 starts/94 2/3 IP, didn't do much in AAA chance
Danny Duffy 1.18 -- 5-2, 2.95, 1 CG, 1 ShO, 3 HRA, 9 BB/41 K in 7 starts/39 1/3 IP, hopefully this keeps his verve for playing going, looked to be in old form by season's end
Chris Dwyer 1.19 -- 2-1, 3.06, 2 HRA, 10 BB/20 K in 4 starts/17 2/3 IP -- hope injury isn't something that takes serious time away
Everett Teaford 1.24 -- 14*-3, 3.36, 7 HRA, 32 BB/113 K* in 27 G (12 starts)/99 IP -- great season for Everett, very nice K/BB, will they keep him starting or move him to pen? Didn't do great in AAA but didn't get much of an audition

Others....Patrick Keating 1.28 (3.10, 10 SV*, 3 HRA, 19 BB/60 K in 40 2/3 IP, man, good K/BB and great K rate, will he get shot at Omaha to start 2011?), Mario Santiago 1.30 (6-6, 3.56, 1 CG, 6 HRA, 25 BB/60 K in 18 G (17 starts)/93 2/3 IP, had his moments), Rowdy Hardy 1.31 (3.44, 3 SV, 4 HRA, 18 BB/57 K in 81 IP, Rowdy-like numbers, didn't do nearly as well in playoffs), Mike Montgomery 1.37 (5-4, 3.47, 4 HRA, 26 BB/48 K in 13 starts/59 2/3 IP, not a spectacular debut but he's young, should start in AA in 2011), Alex Caldera 1.45 (3-2, 5.12, 8 HRA, 18 BB/28 K, also an unspectacular debut, hopefully his injury isn't the lingering type either, should be in AA rotation in 2011), Brandon Sisk 1.47 (4-6, 4.46, 9 SV, 7 HRA, 28 BB/63 K in 68 2/3 IP, got deposed from closer role by Keating after some struggles, hopefully this can be his off-year), John Lamb 1.52 (2-1, 5.45, 2 HRA, 13 BB/26 K in 7 starts/33 IP, came up with big TLCS start, AA rotation could be awesome to watch again in 2011), Aaron Crow 1.58 (7-7*, 5.66, 13 HRA*, 59 BB*/90 K in 22 G/119 1/3 IP*, should be able to press restart in 2011)

and that's your Royals minors for 2010. A great end to a promising season. I haven't decided whether I'm gonna do a top prospects list or not. We'll see....

18 September 2010

Royals on the Farm 9/18 -- Northwest Arkansas brings it home

AA - NW Arkansas: Naturals 2, Midland 0 (Naturals win Texas League Championship Series, 3-1)

3B Seratelli 3-4, 3B, K, RS -- .455
1B Hosmer 1-4, RBI (12) -- .286
C Eigsti 0-3, RBI -- .143
CF D. Robinson 1-4, K, SB -- .216
2B Giavotella 1-4, RS -- .355
DH C. Robinson 1-4, 3B, K -- .286

W. Smith 6 2/3 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 6 K -- W, 1-0, 2.25 ERA, clutch
Barrera 1 1/3 IP, nothing -- 2.45 ERA
Keating IP, H, K -- SV, 4, 2.57 ERA

* A group of the same guys that won a Midwest League title in Burlington in 2008 actually got to finish off a title Saturday as they locked down the Texas League title. (I say that because, if you remember, the Bees took the first 2 games of the MWLCS in 2008 but then the rest were rained out.) I really have to say this is the best minors team I think the Royals have had in the six seasons I've been doing these reports. Clint Robinson, Johnny Giavotella, Ryan Eigsti, Danny Duffy, Nick Van Stratten, Brandon Sisk, and Alex Caldera can all say they were part of both the Burlington and NWA champions. It was Will Smith who held the RockHounds in check Saturday to give the offense the wiggle room to make 2 runs stand. NWA stranded 2 in the 2nd and left Derrick Robinson at third in the 3rd. The Naturals threw a runner out at the plate to end the Midland 3rd and Anthony Seratelli came through again with a leadoff triple in the 5th before scoring on a Ryan Eigsti groundout. The Nats wasted a Clint Robinson 2-out triple in the 6th and Smith seemed to tire in the 7th as he put 2 on with 0 out, then got 2 outs before Henry Barrera came in to strand 2 in scoring position. Giavotella hit a 2-out single in the 8th, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on an Eric Hosmer single to give the Naturals some insurance. Barrera pitched a perfect 8th and Patrick Keating worked around a leadoff double in the 9th for his 4th playoff save. They're probably still popping corks or pulling tabs or unscrewing tops, however they roll in AA, right now. Great season. I'll wrap it up tomorrow.

17 September 2010

Royals on the Farm 9/17 -- One more win

AA - NW Arkansas: Naturals 2, Midland 1 (NWA leads TLCS, 2-1)

1B Hosmer 1-2, BB, HBP, HR (6), 2 RBI (11), RS -- .290, bat woke up at exactly the right time
2B Giavotella 1-3, BB, K -- .370
CF D. Robinson 0-3, BB, RS -- .212
DH C. Robinson 0-4, 3 K -- .290

Lamb 6 2/3 IP, ER, 2 H, BB, 5 K, HRA, E -- 3.12 ERA, I'd say that's stepping up
Barrera 1 1/3 IP, 2 H -- W, 1-0, 3.00 ERA
Keating IP, 2 H, 2 K -- SV, 3, 3.00 ERA

* This one is gonna be hard to beat as the best of the series. Just when it appeared the offense had let John Lamb down after a good start, Eric Hosmer proved why his stock has skyrocketed this season for the organization. Both Lamb and Midland SP Ryan Edell had faced the minimum until the bottom of the 3rd when Lamb was helped by having a runner thrown out at the plate and the game stayed scoreless. NWA stranded 2 in the 4th and stranded 2 more in the 6th as Edell took a 1-hitter into the 7th. Oakland SS prospect Grant Green went deep off Lamb in the 6th to make it 1-0 RockHounds (I won't get into the fact that Green is playing in a meaningful AA series this year (mainly because he hasn't exactly knocked the cover off the ball in AA) while Aaron Crow didn't exactly dominate high-A ball this season.). Mickey Storey took over for Edell in the 8th and issued a 1-out walk to Derrick Robinson. After a Johnny Giavotella pop out, Hosmer took Storey out of the park for his 6th of the playoffs to make it 2-1 Naturals. Henry Barrera stranded 2 in the 8th and Patrick Keating stranded 2 in the 9th to get the Naturals a pivotal win. Will Smith should start game 4 as NW Arkansas needs 1 more win for a Texas League title.

16 September 2010

Royals on the Farm 9/16 -- NWA falls in the 9th

AA - NW Arkansas: Midland 5, Naturals 2 (TLCS tied, 1-1)

RF Van Stratten 1-2, 2 BB, RS -- .188
SS McConnell 1-2, S, RBI (2) -- .208
CF D. Robinson 0-3, BB, 2 K, RS, OF assist at home -- .233
1B Hosmer 0-4 -- .276, that's no '05 Lubanski
DH C. Robinson 0-3, BB -- .333
2B Giavotella 0-3, BB, K, E -- .375, error was key
Yes, that's a 2-hit night.

Teaford 6 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 3 K, WP -- 1.35 ERA
R. Hardy 2 1/3 IP, 3 UER, 4 H, BB, K -- L, 0-2, 14.73 ERA
Swaggerty 1/3 IP, nothing -- 0.00 ERA

* Midland broke a deadlock in the 9th off Rowdy Hardy to even the TLCS at 1 game each. Derrick Robinson walked and scored on two errors on a pickoff play to give NWA a 1-0 lead in the 3rd despite not having a hit. Midland answered with 2 in the 4th off Everett Teaford and the Naturals continued to be no-hit by Midland SP Anthony Capra until he was pulled to start the 7th. Derrick Robinson threw a runner out at the plate in the 6th to keep the deficit at 1 and NWA manufactured a run on (their only) 2 hits in the 7th as Chris McConnell singled in a run off RP Mickey Storey. A Johnny Giavotella error helped load the bases with 1 out in the 9th and Hardy got the second out before 2 singles scored 3 runs to break it open. The last 7 Nats after McConnell's game-tying single went down in order to end it. The game marked NWA's final one at home this season as the series shifts to Midland for the final 3 games starting Friday. It's John Lamb's turn in the rotation, so the Nats need a big start out of Lamb.

15 September 2010

Royals on the Farm 9/15 -- NWA grabs game 1

AA - NW Arkansas: Naturals 7, Midland 2 (NWA leads TLCS, 1-0)

3B Seratelli 2-3, 2 HR (5), 4 RBI (8), 2 RS -- .438, trying to steal Hosmer's thunder?
DH C. Robinson 1-4, HR (2), RBI (8), RS -- .375
C Pina 1-2, HBP, HR, 2 RBI (4), K, 2 RS -- .105
CF D. Robinson 0-4, K -- .259
1B Hosmer 1-4, K, E -- .320
2B Giavotella 1-3, BB, K -- .429

Duffy 5 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, BB, 5 K, pickoff -- W, 1-0, 1.69 ERA
B. Johnson 2 2/3 IP, H, 2 BB, 2 K -- 3.12 ERA
Keating 1 1/3 IP, BB, 2 K -- SV, 2, 3.60 ERA

* Midland took a 2-0 lead early but it was all Naturals thereafter as NW Arkansas grabbed the advantage in the Texas League Championship Series. Johnny Giavotella was thrown out at the plate in the NWA 1st, and Danny Duffy loaded the bases with 0 out in the 2nd and ended up giving up 2 runs before the dust settled. The offense picked him up quick as Manny Pina drove a 2-run homer to left for his 1st of the playoffs in the bottom of the 2nd. Anthony Seratelli hit a 2-out, 2-run homer in the 4th for his 4th of the playoffs to make it 4-2 NWA and Duffy left the bases full in the 5th. Seratelli slugged another 2-run longball in the 7th for his 2nd of the game and 5th of the playoffs, and Clint Robinson went solo in the 8th for his 2nd homer of the playoffs. Blake Johnson and Patrick Keating combined for 4 scoreless innings in relief of Duffy. Game 2 is Thursday in Springdale. I assume it'll be Everett Teaford on the mound for the Nats.

In other Royals minors news....Omaha has announced the 24 names up for the new team name -- I voted for the Windwalkers, Diamond Dogs and Hailstorm, even though I'm not big on the collective names....I disliked in particular the Prairie Thunder, Omahogs, Storm Chasers, and the Pride. Thunderbolts, Locomotives, and Thunderbats would make the cut for me.........In Wilmington, Wil Myers was named to the Sporting News' All-Minors Team.

14 September 2010

Royals on the Farm 9/14 -- Game 1 postponed

AA - NWA: game 1 of the Texas League Championship Series was postponed to tomorrow because of unplayable field conditions. The Naturals and Midland split the season series down the middle, 6-6. I was wrong yesterday, it is a best-of-5.

13 September 2010

Royals on the Farm 9/13 -- the Naturals prevail!!!

AA - NW Arkansas: Naturals 8, Springfield 4 (Nats win best-of-5, 3-2)

DH C. Robinson 4-5, 3 2B, 4 RBI (7), K, 2 RS -- .400, played like a triple crown winner Monday
CF D. Robinson 3-5, RS -- .304
C Pina 1-3, S, 2 RBI -- .059
3B Seratelli 1-3, BB, HR (3), RBI (4), K, RS, 2 E -- .385
1B Hosmer 0-3, 2 BB, 2 RS -- .333, homer parade takes a break for one night
2B Giavotella 0-2, 2 BB, HBP, 2 RS, CS (2) -- .444
NWA stranded 10. RF Nick Van Stratten had an assist at third.

Montgomery 6 1/3 IP, 4 R (3 ER), 7 H, BB, 6 K, HRA, WP -- W, 1-0, 4.26 ERA
Barrera 2 2/3 IP, BB, 2 K, balk -- SV, 1, 3.86 ERA

* Clint Robinson led the way to the Texas League Championship Series Monday as the Nats knocked Springfield's starter out of the game without registering an out. Mike Montgomery got out to a shaky start as Springfield scored a run on 2 hits in the 1st but Nick Van Stratten teamed up with SS Chris McConnell to nail a runner at third to end the inning. The Naturals loaded the bases with 0 out in the 1st off Trey Hearne and Clint Robinson cleared the bases with a double before scoring on an error to make it 4-1 Cards and sending Hearne to the showers. NWA left the bases full. Clint Robinson came back up with 2 on and 0 out in the 2nd and singled in a run. With the bases full again, Manny Pina hit a 2-run single to make it 7-1. Montgomery allowed a run on a wild pitch and a sac fly cut it to 7-3 in the 4th. Montgomery gave up a solo homer before getting pulled in the 7th with a 7-4 lead. Anthony Seratelli got a run back with a leadoff homer in the 7th for his 3rd of the playoffs as he quietly had a good series. Henry Barrera mopped up with 2 2/3 hitless innings of work for a big 1st postseason save. It's on to the big one for NWA as they'll play a best-of-7 with the Midland RockHounds (AA Athletics) for the whole bag of TL marbles. It's a rematch of last year's TLCS won by Midland. The Nats get no rest as game 1 is Tuesday in Springdale.

12 September 2010

Royals on the Farm 9/12 -- Yes, there will be a game 5

I gotta be honest, I have a hard time giving baseball any attention anymore when football season starts. Right now I'm basking in the warm glow of having Arian Foster and Hakeem Nicks in my starting fantasy football lineup Sunday. Wake me up baseball-wise when the Royals are relevant.

AA - NW Arkansas: Naturals 6, Springfield 5 (best-of-5 tied, 2-2)

1B Hosmer 2-4, 2 HR (5), 4 RBI (9), K, 2 RS -- .389, shades of 2005 Chris Lubanski in the Cal League playoffs, and that's saying something
2B Giavotella 3-4, 3 RS -- .500
DH C. Robinson 1-4, HR, 2 RBI (3), K, RS -- .267
CF D. Robinson 0-4, K -- .222

W. Smith 5 1/3 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, BB, 4 K, HRA -- 5.06 ERA
B. Johnson 1 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 3 K -- BS, 1, W, 1-0, 4.50 ERA
Keating 2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 K -- SV, 1, 4.91 ERA

* Will Smith made his first Royals' AA start a passable one and Eric Hosmer continued his great play in the batter's box as the Naturals forced a decisive game 5. For a second-straight game, Hosmer slammed a 2-run homer in the 1st for his 4th of the playoffs but the Cardinals got a run off Smith in each of the first 3 innings to take the lead. Clint Robinson turned it around with a 2-run homer in the 6th for his 1st of the playoffs but Blake Johnson gave up 3 straight doubles in the bottom of the inning to make it 5-4 Springfield. Johnson stranded 2 in the 7th and Hosmer greeted RP Scott Gorgen with another 2-run homer in the 8th for his 5th of the playoffs and 2nd of the game. Patrick Keating stranded the bases full in the 8th but struck out the side around a single in the 9th to keep NWA alive. Game 5 is Monday evening in Springdale. Will we see Mike Montgomery start game 5?

11 September 2010

Royals on the Farm 9/11 -- Naturals on the brink

Hard to believe it's already been 9 years since a beyond-tragic Tuesday. Anyone who, like me, has a strange fascination with Sept. 11th documentaries should watch 9/11 made by two French brothers who were following one fire battalion at the time of the terrorist strikes. They were actually with the firemen in tower one right after the first plane hit. My wife and I watched it a month or so ago. It really shows the best and worst of that day. My thoughts and prayers go out to anyone who lost a loved one that day, but really we all lost something that day.

AA - NW Arkansas: Springfield 13, Naturals 9 (Cardinals lead best-of-5, 2-1)

1B Hosmer 2-5, HR (3), 2 RBI (5), RS -- .357
3B Seratelli 2-4, HR (2), 2 RBI (3), K, 2 RS -- .500
2B Giavotella 2-4, BB, 2B, 2 RBI (3), 2 RS -- .417
SS McConnell 2-4, 2B, RBI, 2 K, RS -- .273
CF D. Robinson 1-5, RBI, 2 K, RS, E -- .286
DH C. Robinson 1-5, RBI, 2 K -- .273

Lamb 2 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 3 K -- 9.00 ERA
R. Hardy IP, 6 ER, 5 H -- L, 0-1, 40.50 ERA
Sisk 1 1/3 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, BB, 2 K -- 27.00 ERA
Paulino 2 2/3 IP, UER, 2 H, 3 K -- 0.00 ERA
Swaggerty IP, H, BB, K -- 0.00 ERA

* The Naturals picked a bad time for one of their worst games of the season and are now a game away from going home for the winter. Things started out good as Eric Hosmer kept up his strong play with a 2-run homer in the 1st for his 3rd in 3 playoff games. That's about where the good stuff stopped happening. The Cardinals tied it off John Lamb and Rowdy Hardy in the 3rd and then started rolling in the 4th. They started the inning with 4 straight singles off Hardy, who was soon replaced with Brandon Sisk, who allowed 5 runs to score before escaping the jam with a 10-2 Springfield lead. Sisk and Eduardo Paulino allowed 2 more runs in the 5th. Anthony Seratelli smacked a 2-run homer in the 7th but Paulino gave up another run in the bottom of the inning to make it 13-4. Chris McConnell hit an RBI double, Derrick Robinson singled home a run and Johnny Giavotella hit a 2-run double with Clint Robinson adding an RBI single in the 9th, but the torrid rally stopped there. Blake King got the final out to give the Cards a 2-1 advantage in the series. The pivotal game 4 is Sunday afternoon.

10 September 2010

Royals on the Farm 9/10 -- NWA strikes back

The Royals have signed former West Virginia and Dolphins QB Pat White to a minor-league deal. He was a 4th round pick by the Angels out of high school before concentrating on football. Hey, it's a nice publicity move and if they get any upside out of him at all, it's a win.

In other news, Mike Moustakas won the Joe Bauman Home Run Award as the minors' best HR hitter this season.

AA - NW Arkansas: Naturals 5, Springfield 2 (best-of-5 tied, 1-1)

1B Hosmer 2-4, 3B, HR (2), 2 RBI (3), K, 2 RS -- .333, like how he's stepped it up in playoffs thus far
2B Giavotella 2-2, BB, SF, RBI, RS, CS -- .375
3B Seratelli 1-3, HR, RBI, RS -- .500
CF D. Robinson 1-4, 2 K, RS -- .333
DH C. Robinson 0-2, 2 BB, K -- .333

Teaford 7 IP, 3 H, BB, 6 K -- W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, ah yeah
Barrera 2 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB -- 9.00 ERA, ah nooooo

* Everett Teaford pitched like one of the best hurlers in the TL, which he looked to be this season, and the TL semifinal series is down to a best of 3. Derrick Robinson led off the NW Arkansas 1st with a single and made it to third on an error to set up a Johnny Giavotella sac fly to spot the Nats the lead early. Anthony Seratelli clubbed a solo homer in the 2nd and Teaford held it down. Eric Hosmer led off the NWA 6th with his 2nd homer of the postseason and then tripled home a run in the 7th and scored on an error to make it 5-0. Henry Barrera came on in the 8th and stranded 2 but then gave up 2 runs on 4 hits in the 9th before closing it out. The series shifts to Springfield tomorrow for game 3.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: The Chukars won the series finale, 9-5, to finish 11-27 on the second half and 27-49 overall.

Idaho Falls' OPS leaders
Murray Watts .895 -- .279/.389/506, 37 RS, 13 2B, 3B, 14 HR (more than triple anyone else on the team), 57 RBI (28 better than any other Chukar), 45 BB*/75 K*, 2/2 SB, 3 E in 69 G*/251 ABs -- good enough to see what he can do in A-ball next year surely
Jake Kuebler .888 -- .330/.366/.521, 9 2B, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 6 BB/26 K, 3/5 SB, 3 E in 23 G/94 ABs -- worthy of mention even if he did finish with the Bees
Kevin David .758 -- .277/.342/.415, 14 RS, 12 2B, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 10 BB/29 K, 2/3 SB, 4 E in 37 G/130 ABs -- solid pro debut
Lane Adams .747 -- .282/.347/.400, 31 RS, 8 2B, 3 3B*, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 18 BB/38 K, 8/8 SB, 1 E in 41 G/170 ABs -- had his moments
Reggie Taylor .743 -- .242/.354/.389, 15 RS, 5 2B, 3 3B, HR, 9 RBI, 15 BB/27 K, 4/4 SB, 6 E in 32 G/95 ABs -- finished in Appy League

Others....Cameron Monger .731 (Pads product played 14 games then dropped off the map), Cheslor Cuthbert .715 (only .281 OBP, got in 14 G then dropped off the map), Tim Ferguson .706 (coulda used a little more pop but will likely start 2011 with the Bees), Justin Trapp .669 (led team with 33 E, 39 RS, 14 2B, 21/27 SB), Yowill Espinal .651 (24 E, 26 BB/61 K, 16/22 SB, not much to brag about in 2010), Tom Zebroski .618 (struggled with Chukars), Malcom Culver .618 (pro struggles continued), Dale Cornstubble .614 (.265 BA was pretty empty, only slugged .294)

Chukars WHIP leaders
Mike Mariot 1.18 -- 2-2, 3.54, 4 HR, 16 BB/64 K in 15 G/56 IP -- that's why he was IF pitcher of the year
Edwin Carl 1.38 -- 1-1, 7.02, 2 SV*, 4 HRA, 6 BB/28 K in 10 G/16 2/3 IP -- latecomer to Chukars had his struggles
Brennon Martin 1.45 -- 4-3, 4.36, 8 HRA, 5 BB/45 K in 12 G/43 1/3 IP -- gotta like the K/BB
Starling De La Rosa 1.45 -- 0-3, 6.10, HRA, 5 BB/22 K in 6 G/20 2/3 IP
Greg Billo 1.47 -- 4-8, 5.17, 11 HRA*, 23 BB/79 K* in 17 G/78 1/3 IP* -- worked way into top 5, led team in both wins (along with Martin) and losses, posted good K rate, could see numbers improve in A-ball

Others...Nick Graffeo 1.50 (4.05, HRA, 14 BB/46 K in 33 1/3 IP, posted great K rate in pro debut), Eric Cantrell 1.50 (only 2 IP in pro debut), Chad Blauer 1.52 (6.14, 9 BB/47 K in 51 1/3 IP), Leondy Perez 1.57 (5.70, 7 HRA, 28 BB*/75 K in 66 1/3 IP, good enough to get to Burlington, I guess), Jordan Roualdes 1.63 (8 BB/13 K in 22 2/3 IP, meh), Scott Alexander 1.73 (5.73, 6 HRA, 22 BB/41 K in 55 IP), Jason Mitchell 1.83 (13 BB/19 K in 23 IP), Brian Peacock 1.93 (6.86, 3 HRA, 18 BB/30 K in 39 1/3 IP, hey, was part of a no-hitter), Tyler Graham 1.96 (20 BB/27 K in first 30 2/3 pro IP)

09 September 2010

Royals on the Farm 9/9 -- NWA falls in extras

AA - NW Arkansas: Springfield 4, Naturals 2 (12) (Springfield leads best-of-5, 1-0)

DH C. Robinson 2-4, BB -- .500
CF D. Robinson 2-5, S, CS -- .400
LF T. Smith 2-5, E -- .400
1B Hosmer 1-5, BB, HR, RBI, K, RS -- .200
2B Giavotella 1-6, K -- .167
NWA stranded 10.

Duffy 5 2/3 IP, UER, 4 H, 3 BB, 10 K, pickoff -- 0.00 ERA, nice outing anyway
B. Johnson 4 1/3 IP, ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K, HRA -- 2.08 ERA
Hardy 1/3 IP, nothing -- 0.00 ERA
Keating 1 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 4 K, HRA -- L, 0-1, 10.80 ERA

* The Naturals forced extras with an 8th-inning run but fell in 12 as the Cardinals seized home field advantage. The Cards scored thanks to a Tim Smith error in the 2nd but Danny Duffy recovered to strike out the side in the 3rd. Derrick Robinson was caught stealing with Eric Hosmer at the plate in the 3rd and Hosmer proceeded to go solo for his 1st postseason homer as Robinson's CS loomed large later on. Duffy struck out the side again in the 5th and Blake Johnson pitched well in relief but gave up a solo homer in the 8th to make it 2-1 Cards. Triple crown winner Clint Robinson came through with a clutch RBI single in the bottom of the inning but the Nats stranded 2. Patrick Keating gave up a 2-run homer to SS Pete Kozma (his 2nd of the game) in the 12th and the Nats left the bases full in the bottom of the inning. Game 2 is Friday as the Nats try to knot the series. Mike Moustakas was named the Sporting News MiLB Hitter of the Year. I haven't seen who the game 2 starter is. Everett Teaford maybe?

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Chukars 9, Casper 2 in the 9th

SS Trapp 3-4, 2 BB, 2 2B (14), 2 RBI (21), 2 RS, E (33) -- .269
LF Pickett 2-4, BB, 3B, 2 RBI (3), RS -- .387
C T. Jones 2-5, RBI (18), RS, PB (10) -- .284
1B Culver 2-4, BB, RS -- .217
2B Espinal 1-4, BB, SF, RBI (27), RS, SB (16), E (24) -- .252
3B Liberto 1-4, BB, 2B (2), RBI (4), K, 2 RS -- .400
DH Watts 0-2, 2 BB, K, RS -- .279
CF Conner 1-6, 2B (2), 3 K -- .175
IF stranded 12.

Garrido 3 IP, ER, 3 H, BB, 2 K -- 6.06 ERA
Billo IP, K -- 5.17 ERA
Lohden 3 2/3 IP, ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 2 K -- 7.20 ERA
Rivers 1/3 IP, H -- 4.55 ERA

* IF is looking to go out winners in Thursday's series finale. Yowill Espinal hit a sac fly in the 1st but Casper scratched out a run in the 2nd. A run-scoring passed ball, Travis Jones RBI single, Mike Liberto RBI double and 2-run Jovan Pickett triple added up to a 5-run 4th as IF surged ahead. Justin Trapp hit a 2-out, 2-run double in the 6th and a run-scoring error made it 9-1 Chukars. Alex Rivers allowed an RBI single in the 8th but the lead is still 7 going into the bottom of the 9th. Not to get presumptuous here but a win would wrap the Chukars at 11-27. I'll wrap up the IF season tomorrow. The Chukars lost in the 9th Wednesday as they stranded 2 in the top of the inning and Tyler Graham gave up back-to-back doubles with 2 out in the bottom of the inning.

08 September 2010

Royals on the Farm 9/8 -- NWA has to wait

AA - NW Arkansas: Game 1 postponed

* Rain washed out game 1 of the TL semifinal series and it will instead take place Thursday. Will Smith was called up to AA to join the Naturals while Barry Bowden was sent back to Wilmington.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: The Chukars are up, 8-7, on Casper in the 8th

1B Watts 2-4, 2 2B (13), RBI (57), K, 2 RS -- .281
RF Taylor 2-4, 2B (5), RS, E (6) -- .242
C Cornstubble 1-4, 2B (3), 2 RBI (10), K, E (7), PB (4), pickoff -- .279
CF Conner 1-4, RBI (3), K -- .182
LF Culver 1-3, BB, RBI (22), 2 K, RS -- .213
3B Liberto 1-4, RBI (3), RS -- .438

Blauer 4 1/3 IP, 5 ER, 9 H, 4 K -- 6.14 ERA
Roualdes IP, ER, H, 2 BB, HRA -- 5.96 ERA
Penny 2 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, BB, 3 K, balk -- 3.18 ERA

* This score has already changed as Casper has tied it at 8 in the 8th. That's been the tone of the game. The Chukars scored 2 in the 1st on a Murray Watts RBI double and Malcom Culver RBI single. Casper got a run back in their half of the inning off Chad Blauer, but IF scored 3 in the 2nd on a Cameron Conner RBI groundout and a rare 2-run wild pitch that made it 5-1 IF. Blauer stranded 2 in the 4th but the lead vanished in a 4-run Casper 5th off Blauer and Jordan Roualdes. Roualdes gave up a solo homer in the 6th and Robert Penny allowed another run in the 7th to make it 7-5. The Chukars launched a comeback in the 8th as Mike Liberto hit an RBI single and Dale Cornstubble hit a 2-run double to make it 8-7. Penny balked in the tying run in the 8th. We'll see how it shakes out. The Chukars finish their season Thursday.

07 September 2010

Royals on the Farm 9/7 -- wrapping up 3 more teams

AAA - Omaha: Omaha finished 81-63

Omaha's best in OPS (behind Kila at 1.060 (led team in BA at .315, HR with 24, BB with 88) and Alex Gordon at 1.019)
Ed Lucas .878 -- .315/.398/.480, 52 RS, 20 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 50 RBI, 52 BB/68 K, 7/8 SB, 12 E in 99 G/352 ABs -- third try was charm for Ed as his previous best OPS at AAA was .425, turned 28 in May tho
Mike Moustakas .878 -- .293/.314/.564, 36 RS, 16 2B, 15 HR, 48 RBI, 8 BB/25 K, 2/2 SB, 8 E in 52 G/225 ABs -- hit for .985 OPS in August, numbers at AAA don't pop overall, still thought he shoulda gotten a September call tho
Lucas May .856 -- .291/.355/.501, 61 RS, 20 2B, 3 3B, 16 HR, 58 RBI, 34 BB/79 K, 4/6 SB, 1 E in 97 G/351 ABs -- put up best #s with Omaha -- .878 OPS with O-Royals
Scott Thorman .839 -- .280/.348/.491, 78 RS*, 31 2B*, 2 3B, 22 HR, 85 RBI*, 48 BB/75 K, 6/10 SB, 5 E in 125 G*/479 ABs -- was a consistent contributor, even if numbers aren't awesome
Jai Miller .815 -- .252/.326/.490, 47 RS, 24 2B, 2 3B, 18 HR, 57 RBI, 38 BB/132 K*!, 5/8 SB, 1 E in 94 G/345 ABs -- led in Ks by more than 50, contributed in streaks

Others....David Lough .783 (.280/.346/.437, 65 RS, 15 2B, 12 3B*, 11 HR, 58 RBI, 40 BB/72 K, 14/19 SB, 4 E in 120 G/460 ABs, only player with double figs in each XBH, held his own at AAA in first try, will probably get another shot in 2011), Jordan Parraz .760 (.266/.350/.410, 58 RS, 27 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR, 61 RBI, 39 BB/78 K, 8/13 SB, 6 E in 123 G/432 ABs, stunk in April, was good in May/June, stunk out loud in July/August, raked in Sept.), Jarrod Dyson .676 (12 XBH, 16 BB/32 K, 13/16 SB, 2 E in 46 G/195 ABs, didn't crack .350 in either OBP or SLG), Irving Falu .657 (led team with 503 ABs, 137 H, had 42 BB/39 K, 15/19 SB, 23 E in 119 G, got off to hot start then didn't do much after June 1), Kurt Mertins .641 (.289 OBP, 19 XBH, 16 BB/50 K in 70 G/253 ABs, didn't make best of playing time).

Omaha's WHIP leaders
Tim Collins 0.84 -- only 20 1/3 IP, 2-1, 1.33, 4 SV, 8 BB/21 K, lived up to billing
Louis Coleman 1.04 -- 5-2, 2.23, 1 SV, 2 HRA, 11 BB/48 K in 21 G/40 1/3 IP, wonder if he'll start 2011 in KC pen
Bryan Bullington 1.12 -- 8-2, 2.82, 1 CG, 8 HRA, 28 BB/73 K in 20 G/102 IP, looked like #1 pick at times
Federico Castaneda 1.16 -- 4-2, 3.69, 13 HRA, 30 BB/54 K in 31 G/75 2/3 IP
Phil Humber 1.27 -- 5-6, 4.47, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 17 HRA, 20 BB/80 K in 21 G/118 2/3 IP, also had his moments

Others....Blaine Hardy 1.28 (3.49, 3 SV, 9 HRA, 21 BB/48 K in 28 G/67 IP, had a rough August but also posted career high in IP by a little bit, he is only 23), Anthony Lerew 1.33 (led PCL with 2.55 ERA, only gave up 4 HR, had 44 BB/74 K in 22 G/123 2/3 IP, that part's not as impressive), Luis Mendoza 1.34 (co-leader in wins with 10, 13 HRA, 32 BB/59 K in 131 2/3 IP), Gaby Hernandez 1.35 (also had 10 wins, 4.91 ERA, 31 HRA!, 56 BB/114 K* in 144 2/3 IP, only Omaha pitcher to break triple digits in Ks, only allowed 6 HR after July 1)

AA - NW Arkansas: off day

* The Nats need to finish strong and that starts with the best-of-5 TL semifinal with Springfield, which starts Wednesday in Springdale.

A-Adv. - Wilmington: The Rocks finished 68-70

Rocks best in OPS (behind Eric Hosmer's .974)
Wil Myers .966 -- .346/.453/.512, 28 RS, 14 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 38 RBI, 37 BB/39 K, 2/5 SB, 1 E in 58 G/205 ABs -- keeps getting it done wherever he goes, hit for .982 OPS in August
Nick Francis .844 -- .284/.328/.516, 55 RS, 24 2B, 3 3B, 16 HR*, 61 RBI*, 19 BB/85 K, 8/12 SB, 6 E in 84 G/335 ABs -- came back nicely from drug suspension
Ernesto Mejia .817 -- .288/.340/.476, 25 RS, 13 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 14 BB/41 K, 3 E in 43 G/170 ABs -- figured he'd do better in the Carolina League
Salvador Perez .732 -- .290/.322/.411, 35 RS, 21 2B, 3B, 7 HR, 53 RBI, 18 BB/38 K, 1/2 SB, 6 E in 99 G/365 ABs -- still adjusting to full season ball, would like to see him and Myers splitting C ABs in NWA in 2011
Christian Colon .705 -- .278/.326/.380, 38 RS, 12 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 30 RBI, 13 BB/33 K, 2/6 SB, 17 E in 60 G/245 ABs -- nice to see him in top 5, adjusted well, hit for .748 OPS in August and .907 OPS in 4 Sept. games

Others...Adrian Ortiz .700 (only .322 OBP isn't gonna cut it as leadoff guy, 17 2B, led team with 8 3B, 22 BB/71 K, 32/47 SB* in 106 G/436 ABs), Patrick Norris .639 (only .311 OBP isn't gonna cut it as leadoff guy, 69 RS, 20 2B, 7 3B, HR, 41 BB/102 K*, 30/47 SB, 9 E in 122 G/442 ABs*, Ortiz has edge on him in most categories, but it's a pretty mediocre comparison both ways), Rey Navarro .590 (.260 OBP....21 E led team), Joey Lewis .576 (only 18 G).

Wilmington WHIP leaders
Will Smith 0.95 -- 4-1, 2.80, 6 HRA, 4 BB/51 K (insanity!) in 8 starts/54 2/3 IP, those BB/K #s are eyepopping
Brendan Lafferty 1.11 -- 4-1, 3.15, 1 SV, 4 HRA, 18 BB/57 K in 28 G/65 2/3 IP
Buddy Baumann 1.12 -- 4-2, 2.24*, 4 SV, 3 HRA, 36 BB/113 K* in 31 G (14 starts)/100 1/3 IP, very nice
Harold Mozingo 1.28 -- 5-2, 4.42, 3 SV, 8 HRA, 15 BB/53 K in 53 1/3 IP, recovery from arm surgery continues
Aaron Crow 1.30 -- 2-3, 5.93, 6 HRA, 6 BB/53 K in 7 starts/44 IP, better K rate than Smith but not as good K/BB, but not by much, opponents hit .290 off him tho

Others....Tim Melville 1.38 (led team with 12 Ls, 10 HRA, 54 BB/90 K in team-leading 112 1/3 IP), Chris Dwyer and John Lamb led the team with 6 Ws but neither finished the season in Wilmington, Kevin Chapman 1.56 (5.50 ERA, 1 SV, 1 HRA, 8 BB/20 K in 18 IP, some good, some bad in pro debut), Bryan Paukovits 1.57 (should be back to start 2011)

A - Burlington: The Bees finished 46-90

Bees OPS leaders (after Myers' .908)
Carlo Testa .831 -- .275/.365/.466, 83 RS*, 24 2B, 14 3B*, 12 HR*, 50 RBI* scary that led team, 60 BB*/125 K*, 28/37 SB, 5 E in 128 G*/461 ABs* -- gets no love from organization, makes it much easier to lead team when you're there all year
Whit Merrifield .726 -- .253/.317/.409, 24 RS, 8 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 15 BB/42 K, 5/8 SB, 1 E in 47 G/186 ABs -- nothing great in pro debut but I've got a good feeling about him, did a little something almost every game in one facet or another, hit for .747 OPS in August
Jake Kuebler .682 -- .265/.339/.343, 17 RS, 7 2B, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 18 BB/35 K, 4 E in 45 G/166 ABs -- nice season for AG's cousin, should be back with Bees in 2011
Jose Bonilla .682 -- .239/.344/.338, 35 RS, 8 2B, 4 3B, 4 HR, 38 RBI, 38 BB/70 K, 3/6 SB, 6 E in 88 G/284 ABs -- hasn't lived up to potential from rookie ball
Deivy Batista .630 -- .236/.293/.337, 55 RS, 14 2B, 4 3B, 6 HR, 32 RBI, 34 BB/100 K, 18/23 SB, 24 E in 108 G/398 ABs -- when a .630 OPS is in your top 5, you lose 90 games

Others....Gerard Hall .627 (hit .224 but posted .310 OBP, 67 RS, 25 2B*, 55 BB/109 K, 19/27 SB, 28 E* in 120 G/433 ABs), Hilton Richardson .588 (only .272 OBP, 6 3B, 33 BB/79 K, 33/40 SB*, 9 E in 107 G/367 ABs, dragged BA up to .204 at season's end), Alex McClure .581 (.275 OBP, 8 BB/28 K, 5 E in 27 G/111 ABs), Fernando Cruz .536 (15 2B, 21 E in 106 G/376 ABs, great pick),

WHIP leaders in the Hive (behind Paukovits 0.95 and Lamb 1.08 and Lafferty 1.21)
Elisaul Pimentel 1.31 -- 10*-6, 3.98, 7 HRA, 51 BB/116 K* in 22 G/115 1/3 IP -- not as good as it looks, posted 5.76 ERA with Bees and .299 OAV with 16 BB/19 K in 25 IP
Ryan Dennick 1.35 -- 3-4, 4.33, 6 SV*, 2 HRA, 15 BB/41 K in 43 2/3 IP
Sugar Ray Marimon 1.43 -- 2-6, 5.91, 7 HRA, 27 BB/50 K in 14 G/70 IP
Matt Morizio 1.44 -- 1-2, 4.86, 1 SV, 3 HRA, 5 BB/20 K in 16 2/3 IP, nice K rate for ex C
Scott Kelley 1.46 -- 1-3, 3.84, 3 SV, 6 HRA, 45 BB/50 K in 42 G/68 IP

Others...Matt Mitchell 1.61 (1-9, 5.60, 12 HRA*, 49 BB/82 K in 98 IP, working way back from injury), Tyler Sample 1.65 (6-10, 4.69, 8 HRA, 95 BB/115 K in 121 IP, has to cut down BB), Dusty Odenbach 1.67 (8-10, 5.21, 6 HRA, 56 BB/92 K in 102 IP), Keaton Hayenga 1.68 (3-12*, 6.13, 12 HRA*, 47 BB/43 K, had sub-5 ERAs and sub-.300 OAVs in July and August), Sam Runion 1.73 (6.45, 1 SV, 14 BB/24 K in 37 2/3 IP), Mitch Hodge 1.76 (45 BB/44 K in 66 2/3 IP, the Bees somehow found a way to have crappy pitching in a league that favors pitchers), Chas Byrne 2.43 (only 7 IP, probably will be back in 2011).

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Casper 7, Chukars 6

DH Watts 2-4, BB, 2B (11), 2 RBI (56), 2 K, RS -- .278
C T. Jones 2-5, 2B (7), 2 RBI (17) -- .279
2B Espinal 2-4, BB, K, 2 RS -- .254
SS Trapp 1-5, 2B (12), RBI (19), 2 RS, SB (19) -- .262
CF Conner 0-4, BB, K -- .172
3B Liberto 1-3, BB, K -- .500

B. Martin 7 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, 8 K, WP -- 4.36 ERA
Carl IP, 4 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 K -- BS, 1, L, 1-1, 7.02 ERA

* Casper plated 4 runs in the 8th to take down the Chukars again. Murray Watts hit an RBI double in the 1st but Casper scored 2 off Brennon Martin in the 2nd on 4 hits. Yowill Espinal and Watts hit RBI singles in the 3rd and Travis Jones doubled in a run to make it 4-2. The Ghosts scored a run in the 6th but Martin had a solid start to hand Edwin Carl a 5-3 lead as Jones singled in a run in the 8th. Carl loaded the bases with 0 out in the 8th and a 2-run single and 2-run double flipped the lead to 7-5 Casper. A run-scoring error cut the lead to 1 in the 9th and the Chukars loaded the bases with 1 out but couldn't get it tied. IF is 10-26. Game 3 is Wednesday. Murray Watts was named the Pioneer League All-Star DH.

06 September 2010

Royals on the Farm 9/6 -- And then there were two...and a triple crown for Clint

AAA - Omaha: O-Royals 9, Oklahoma City 1

DH Maddox 2-6, 2B (19), 3B (3), 2 RBI (39), RS -- .263
RF Parraz 2-4, BB, RBI (61), 2 K, RS, SB (8) -- .266
SS Falu 2-5, BB, 3B (6), RBI (46), RS -- .272
1B Thorman 2-5, RS, SB (6) -- .280
LF Lucas 2-4, BB, RS, SB (7) -- .307
3B Moustakas 1-6, RBI (48), K -- .293
CF Lough 1-2, BB, S, SF, RBI (58), E (4) -- .280
PH-C Bonilla 1-1, RS -- 1.000, AAA debut
Omaha stranded 12.

Herges 6 IP, ER, 5 H, 4 K -- W, 9-4, 4.63 ERA
Rupe IP, 2 H -- 2.92 ERA
B. Anderson IP, 2 H, K -- 2.57 ERA
Collins IP, nothing -- 1.33 ERA

* Omaha finished the season strong with the rout of the RedHawks. Omaha stranded 2 in the 2nd and Matt Herges allowed Oklahoma City's only run in the 2nd. Irving Falu hit an RBI groundout in the 5th and a 2-run error made it 3-1 Omaha. Jordan Parraz hit an RBI single and David Lough added a sac fly in the 6th to make it 5-1. Falu and Marc Maddox hit back-to-back triples in the 7th and a wild pitch scored Maddox to stretch it to 7-1. Mike Moustakas notched his final minor league RBI of the season with an 8th inning single and Maddox doubled in a run in the 9th. Omaha finished 81-63 for the 5th 80-win season in the 42 years of Omaha history. Anthony Lerew won the PCL ERA title at 2.55. Herges' start was his last pro baseball appearance as according to the team site, he's retiring. The 81-63 record is Omaha's best mark since 1999. OF Jarrod Dyson is getting a shot at KC.

AA - NW Arkansas: Naturals 9, Tulsa 0 (4-hitter)

CF D. Robinson 3-5, 2 2B (26), 2 RBI (48), K, 2 RS -- .286, showed improvement at plate in 2010
DH C. Robinson 2-2, SF, 2B (41), 3 RBI (98) -- .335, earned special honor Monday
2B Giavotella 1-3, BB, 2B (35), 2 RBI (65), 2 RS -- .322
1B Seratelli 1-5, 2B (9), RBI (39), K, RS -- .254
RF Van Stratten 1-4, K, RS -- .262
LF T. Smith 1-4 -- .306

Paulino 6 IP, 3 H, BB, 5 K -- W, 8-5, 4.04 ERA
Keating IP, H, 3 K -- 3.10 ERA
Barrera IP, K -- 1.80 ERA
Sisk IP, nothing -- 4.46 ERA

* The Naturals coasted to another win to complete one of the best regular seasons ever for a Royals affiliate. While Mike Moustakas left NWA with a triple crown intact, it was instead teammate Clint Robinson who seized the Texas League triple crown. The Nats got it started Monday with a Anthony Seratelli RBI double and Clint Robinson sac fly in the 1st. Johnny Giavotella ripped a 2-run double in the 3rd and Clint Robinson followed with an RBI single to make it 5-0. Robinson hit an RBI double in his next AB to continue a great final game. NWA starter Eduardo Paulino and three relievers scattered 4 singles in a lockdown performance. A run-scoring wild pitch and 2-run Derrick Robinson double in the 8th laid the Drillers to rest. NWA finished 44-26 in the second half and 86-54 overall. A best-of-5 TL semifinal series with the Springfield Cardinals (38-32) starts Wednesday. Clint Robinson finished with a .335 BA (plus a 1.035 OPS), 29 HR and 98 RBI to be the first TL triple crown winner in 11 years. He won the RBI title by 1 as his 3 RBI Monday were crucial. Adam Piatt was the last TL player to win a triple crown. For the honor, Robinson got a curtain call from the crowd. Danny Duffy is set to start game 1 with Springfield.

A-Adv. - Wilmington: Frederick 14, Blue Rocks 8

C S. Perez 4-5, RS -- .290
SS Colon 3-5, BB, 2B (12), 3B (2), RBI (30), 2 RS -- .278, came along nicely in pro debut
DH Myers 2-4, BB, 2 2B (18), 3 RBI (38), RS -- .346, finished on 11-game hit streak
RF Francis 2-5, 2B (24), HR (16), 3 RBI (61), RS -- .284
2B F. Garcia 1-4, BB, RBI (11), 2 K, RS -- .186
CF Ortiz 1-5, BB, K, 2 RS -- .289
Wilmington stranded 12.

Crow 4 2/3 IP, 8 ER, 10 H, BB, 7 K, 2 WP -- L, 2-3, 5.93 ERA, at least his BB/K is looking solid
Dennick IP, ER, 3 H, BB, WP -- 4.97 ERA
Basurto 1 1/3 IP, UER, H, BB, K, WP -- 3.46 ERA
Paukovits 2 IP, 4 ER, 5 H -- 5.88 ERA

* It was 8-7 at one point before the Keys took off to take the season finale. Aaron Crow's final 2010 start didn't go favorably as Frederick scored 3 runs in the 1st on 3 hits and a wild pitch. Crow stranded 2 in the 2nd but the Rocks scored 2 in the 3rd on a Christian Colon RBI triple and Wil Myers RBI double. Crow and Ryan Dennick were victimized for 5 runs in the 5th, but the Rocks answered all 5 runs with a 2-run Myers double and 3-run Nick Francis homer for his 16th of the season. Dennick allowed another run in the 6th before Eric Basurto stranded the bases full. Basurto allowed a run in the 7th and Bryan Paukovits gave up 4 runs in the 8th. The Rocks left the bases full in the 8th and got a Fernando Garcia RBI single in the 9th before leaving 'em loaded again. That was Garcia's first hit since July 15. The Blue Rocks finished 36-32 and 68-70 overall. Eric Hosmer ended up with the Carolina League batting title at .354 despite not playing for the Rocks for the last month. He still had enough ABs to qualify.

A - Burlington: Bees 7, Clinton 6

CF Merrifield 3-5, 3B (3), 2 RBI (26), K -- .253
2B D. Batista 2-4, HR (6), 2 RBI (32), RS -- .236
3B F. Cruz 2-4, 2B (15), RS, E (21) -- .221
SS McClure 0-4, SF, GW RBI (14), K, E (5) -- .225
C Theriot 1-4, 2B (13), RBI (20), RS -- .300
LF Richardson 1-3, BB, RBI (38), K, RS -- .204
RF Testa 1-4, 2B (24), K, RS -- .275

M. Mitchell 6 1/3 IP, 6 R (3 ER), 7 H, BB, 9 K, 2 HRA -- 5.60 ERA, like to see 9 Ks tho
Encarnacion 1 2/3 IP, 2 H, K -- BS, 3, 8.03 ERA
De La Rosa IP, nothing -- W, 1-1, 5.09 ERA

* A 6-run Bees rally wasn't enough as it took a 9th inning run to get them a walkoff win in the season finale. Matt Mitchell gave up solo homers in the 1st and 4th but Burlington took over that inning with 6 runs on a Ben Theriot RBI double, 2-run Deivy Batista homer (his 6th), Hilton Richardson RBI single and 2-run Whit Merrifield triple. Clinton scratched out a run off Mitchell in the 6th but Mitchell was pulled with 1 out and the bases loaded in the 7th. Rodolfo Encarnacion gave up 2 singles to score 3 runs and tie the game. Julio Aparicio drew a leadoff walk in the 9th, advanced to third on a Merrifield single and scored on an Alex McClure sac fly to end it. McClure had committed an error in the Clinton 7th. The Bees finished 24-43 and 46-90 overall. They are the first MWL team to lose 90 since 2006.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Casper 8, Chukars 4

LF Pickett 3-4, K, 2 RS, SB (3), CS -- .391
RF Polonia 2-4, 2B (4), RBI (8), 2 K -- .238
3B Liberto 2-4, K -- .556
SS Trapp 2-4, K -- .263
1B Culver 1-4, HR (4), 2 RBI (21), RS -- .216
CF Conner 1-5, RBI (2), 2 K, SB (4) -- .200
DH Watts 1-3, BB, 2B (10), K, RS -- .274
C Cornstubble 0-4, 2 K, E (6) -- .281

Billo 4 1/3 IP, 8 R (7 ER), 11 H, 3 BB, 3 K, 2 HRA, E (2), 2 WP -- L, 4-8, 5.59 ERA
Graham 1 2/3 IP, 2 BB, 3 K -- 5.40 ERA
Mariot 2 IP, 2 K -- 3.54 ERA

* Casper pounded Greg Billo and the Chukars Monday. Billo stranded 2 in the 1st but allowed 3 runs in the 2nd on 4 singles and a wild pitch. A 2-run homer and run-scoring Billo error punctuated a 3-run Casper 4th to make it 6-0. Another 2-run dinger in the 5th stretched it to 8-0 and chased Billo. Cameron Conner broke up the shutout with an RBI groundout in the 8th and Malcom Culver rocked a 2-run homer in the 9th for his 4th of the season. Juan Polonia added an RBI double before the Chukars finally ran out of outs. IF is 10-25. Game 2 is Tuesday.

05 September 2010

Royals on the Farm 9/5

AAA - Omaha: O-Royals 9, Oklahoma City 1

3B Moustakas 3-5, 2 2B (16), RS -- .297
2B Maddox 3-5, RBI (37), K, RS, SB (4) -- .262
RF Parraz 3-5, RS -- .264
C Clark 2-5, HR (4), 3 RBI (25), K, RS -- .258
DH Mertins 2-4, BB, 3B (3), RBI (27), K, 2 RS -- .233
1B Thorman 1-5, 2B (31), 2 RBI (85), K, RS, SB (5) -- .278
SS Falu 1-5, RBI (45), K, RS, E (23) -- .271
CF Dyson 0-6, 4 K -- .272
LF Lucas 0-4, BB, K, RS -- .305

Lerew 6 IP, ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 3 K -- W, 9-4, 2.55 ERA
Marte 2 IP, BB, 2 K -- 3.32 ERA
B. Hardy IP, BB, 2 K -- 3.49 ERA

* Omaha is playing for pride, but putting the game away late helped the Royals secure win #80 on the season. Anthony Lerew stranded 2 in both the 1st and 2nd, and Omaha grabbed the lead in the 3rd on a Kurt Mertins RBI triple and Irving Falu RBI groundout. A former big name in baseball made his 2010 debut as a big (minor) leaguer as Mark Prior stranded the bases loaded in the 4th after getting signed by the Rangers. Lerew allowed a run in the 6th but Victor Marte and Blaine Hardy followed with 3 hitless innings of relief. The RedHawks fell victim to a 2-run error in the 7th and Omaha finished it with 5 in the 9th on a Scott Thorman RBI double, a Marc Maddox RBI single, and a 3-run homer by Cody Clark for his 4th of the season. Omaha is 80-63. Matt Herges pitches the season finale Monday.

AA - NW Arkansas: Naturals 4, Tulsa 3

C Pina 2-4, RS -- .259
LF T. Smith 2-4, picked off -- .307
CF Orlando 1-5, HR (13), RBI (64), RS -- .306
1B Hosmer 1-5, 2B (14), GW RBI (35), K -- .308
SS McConnell 1-3, BB, RBI (39), K -- .231
2B Giavotella 0-3, 2 BB, K, RS -- .322
DH C. Robinson 1-4, K -- .333
NWA stranded 11.

Lamb 4 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, BB, 7 K -- 5.45 ERA
Swaggerty 2 1/3 IP, UER, H, 3 BB, K -- 3.81 ERA
Bowden 2 IP, H, BB -- W, 1-1, 5.73 ERA

* The Naturals laid Tulsa's season to rest Sunday and will face Springfield in the first round of the playoffs when play starts Wednesday. The Naturals got started with a bang as Paulo Orlando led off the 1st with his 13th homer. A Tulsa error made it 2-0 Nats in the 2nd, but John Lamb allowed the tying runs on 3 hits in the 4th. Chris McConnell took a bases-loaded walk in the 6th but Jamie Romak made 2 errors on one play to allow the Drillers to tie the game in the 7th. The Nats left the bases loaded in the 8th but Johnny Giavotella led off the 9th with a walk before Eric Hosmer hit a walkoff double to end it. NWA is 43-26 and has clinched both halves of the TL North. With 85 wins overall, the Nats are the winningest Royals AA affiliate ever. Eduardo Paulino starts the regular season finale Monday.

A-Adv. - Wilmington: Blue Rocks 7, Frederick 6

3B Frost 2-3, BB, 2 3B, 4 RBI (16), RS, SB (14) -- .245
LF Ortiz 2-5, 2 SB (32), CS (15) -- .290
DH Myers 2-3, BB, 2B (16), K, RS -- .343
1B Prasch 2-3, BB, K, 2 RS, CS -- .210
CF Norris 1-4, 2B (20), RBI (42), K, RS -- .244
RF Oriental 0-2, BB, SF, RBI (8), RS -- .212

Melville 5 1/3 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 4 K, HRA -- 4.97 ERA
Lafferty 1 2/3 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, BB, 3 K, WP -- BS, 1, W, 4-1, 3.15 ERA
Dennick IP, BB -- 4.63 ERA
M. Baez IP, K -- SV, 4, 4.13 ERA

* The Rocks did enough to hold off the Keys for another win Sunday. Tim Melville gave up a 2-out solo homer in the 1st but held strong until the 6th. Rene Oriental hit a sac fly in the 4th and Adam Frost came through with a 2-run triple to make it 3-1 Wilmington. Melville walked 2 to get pulled with 1 out in the 6th and Brendan Lafferty allowed 2 runs thanks in part to a Joey Lewis throwing error as the Keys tied it. Frost stepped up and hit another 2-run triple in the 6th followed by a Patrick Norris RBI double and run-scoring wild pitch that made it 7-3 Rocks. Lafferty faltered again in the 7th as the Keys plated 3 runs to cut the lead to 1. Ryan Dennick and Manauris Baez pitched 2 solid innings. The Rocks are 36-31. They can play for .500 on the season with a win in Monday's season finale. Aaron Crow starts the last game of the 2010 season for Wilmington.

A - Burlington: Bees 6, Clinton 4

C Theriot 2-4, 2B (12), RBI (19), K, 2 RS -- .302
2B D. Batista 2-3, BB, RBI (30), RS, SB (18) -- .234
CF Merrifield 1-4, HR (5), 2 RBI (24), K, RS -- .243
3B F. Cruz 1-4, 2B (14), RBI (23), 2 RS -- .218
SS McClure 0-4 -- .234
RF Testa 1-4, 2B (23), 2 K, RS -- .276

Hayenga 6 IP, 4 ER, 10 H, K, HRA -- 6.13 ERA
Kelley 3 IP, 2 BB, 2 K -- W, 1-3, 3.84 ERA

* The Bees made a late comeback to beat the LumberKings. Keaton Hayenga gave up a solo homer in the 1st but Fernando Cruz tied it with an RBI double in the 2nd. The Bees stranded 2 in the 2nd but Clinton scored another run in the 4th to regain the lead. The advantage seesawed toward the Bees in the bottom of the inning as Ben Theriot hit an RBI double and Deivy Batista hit an RBI single to make it 3-2 Burlington. Hayenga couldn't hold the lead as Clinton scored 2 in the 5th to move back ahead. With 1 on and 2 out in the 7th, Whit Merrifield cranked his 5th pro homer for a 2-run shot to turn the lead back the Bees' way. A run-scoring error in the 8th gave the Bees an insurance run and Scott Kelley had one of his best relief outings of the season with 3 scoreless for his 1st win for the Bees. The Bees are 23-43. The season comes to a merciful end Monday. The Bees are 45-90 overall.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Chukars 10, Orem 9 (10)

C T. Jones 3-5, BB, 2B (6), 4 RBI (15), K, RS -- .275
3B Liberto 3-5, 2B, 2 RBI, K, 2 RS, 2 SB, E -- .600, nice IF debut
LF Polonia 3-5, RBI (7), K, 2 SB (10) -- .227
SS Trapp 3-6, 2 K, 2 RS, SB (18) -- .259
DH Watts 1-5, BB, RBI (54), 4 K, RS -- .273
CF Conner 0-5, BB, 2 K -- .200
2B Espinal 0-4, 2 HBP, 3 K, 2 RS, SB (15) -- .254
IF stranded 11.

L. Perez 5 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, BB, 8 K, 2 WP -- 5.70 ERA
Lohden 1 1/3 IP, 3 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, K -- 20.25 ERA
Rivers 2 2/3 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, BB, 3 K, WP -- BS, 2, 4.61 ERA
Cornstubble IP, H, 2 BB -- W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, C gets first pro win

* The Chukars blew a 7-3 lead but won in 10. The Chukars stranded 2 in the 1st and the Owlz got the game's first run in the 4th off Leondy Perez before leaving the bases full. IF stranded 2 in the 4th but struck big in the 5th with 6 runs, all with 2 out, on a 3-run Travis Jones double, Mike Liberto RBI single, run-scoring wild pitch and Juan Polonia RBI single. Orem scored 2 in the 6th off Perez and Cole Lohden but Murray Watts made it 7-3 with an RBI single in the bottom of the inning. Lohden and Alex Rivers gave up 3 runs in the 7th but again the Chukars had an answer as Liberto hit an RBI double and stole home to make it 9-6. Back-to-back triples off Rivers in the 8th helped Orem tie the game and Dale Cornstubble got an inning-ending double play for a scoreless 10th in his abnormal battery position of P. Yowill Espinal reached on a force play and stole second before Jones hit a 2-out walkoff single to end it. The Chukars are 10-24. They head to Casper for 4 with the Ghosts (17-16, Rookie Rockies) to end the season.

04 September 2010

Royals on the Farm 9/3 and 9/4

Gonna keep 'em short since I'm doubling up tonight.

AAA - Omaha: Oklahoma City 3, O-Royals 1 (Fri.)

RF Parraz 2-3, 2 2B (27), RBI (59) -- .260
3B Moustakas 1-4 -- .295
LF Lucas 0-3, BB, 2 K, RS -- .308

Mendoza 6 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, BB, 4 K, HRA -- L, 10-9, 4.10 ERA
Rupe 2 IP, 2 H, 2 K -- 2.98 ERA

* All 4 of the game's runs were scored in a 2-inning span. Esteban German singled and stole 2 bases en route to scoring the game's first run in the 4th and OKC added another run in the inning to make it 2-0. Jordan Parraz hit an RBI double in the 5th but the RedHawks got a solo homer that inning to get the run back. Omaha stranded 2 in the 8th.

O-Royals 2, Oklahoma City 0 (4-hitter)

SS Falu 3-4, 2B (14), RS, SB (15) -- .272
LF Lucas 1-3, BB, RBI (50), K, SB (6) -- .308
RF Parraz 1-3, HBP, HR (11), RBI (60), K, RS, CS (5) -- .260
3B Moustakas 0-4, K -- .290

G. Hernandez 6 1/3 IP, 2 H, BB, 8 K -- W, 10-6, 4.91 ERA, responded well to first start in a while
Coleman 2 1/3 IP, 2 H, 2 K -- 2.23 ERA
Collins 1/3 IP, K -- SV, 4, 1.40 ERA

* Omaha won't be playing postseason baseball but is still finishing its best season in a while. Saturday's 4-hit shutout is a nice late-season highlight. Omaha stranded 2 in the 4th but got an Ed Lucas RBI single in the 6th to take the lead. Jordan Parraz went solo in the 7th for his 11th of the season to make it 2-0. Three RedHawk hits came in the 7th as Louis Coleman came in and stranded 2. Tim Collins got the last out for his 4th save. Omaha is 79-63 and 3 games back with 2 to play. With 80 wins it will be the best Omaha season since 1999. Anthony Lerew starts game 3 Sunday.

AA - NW Arkansas: Naturals 5, Arkansas 1 (Fri.)

3B Romak 2-3, HR (6), RBI (16), K, 2 RS -- .283
DH C. Robinson 2-4, 2B (40), HR (29), RBI (95), K, RS -- .332
1B Hosmer 1-3, BB, HR (13), RBI (33), RS, picked off -- .316
LF Orlando 1-4, HR (12), RBI (62), K, RS -- .308
CF D. Robinson 1-4 -- .283
2B Giavotella 0-4, K -- .324
C Manny Pina picked off 2 runners.

B. Johnson 6 IP, ER, 6 H, BB, 6 K, balk -- W, 5-3, 3.81 ERA
Swaggerty IP, 2 K -- 3.97 ERA
Keating 2 IP, 2 BB, 5 K -- 3.18 ERA

* A 3-run 7th helped the Naturals ice the win Friday. Eric Hosmer broke the ice with a solo homer in the 4th for his 13th AA longball and Jamie Romak went solo in the 5th for his 6th NWA homer. Blake Johnson had another fine start but allowed a run in the 7th to get pulled for Ben Swaggerty. Clint Robinson and Paulo Orlando hit solo shots in the 7th for their 29th and 12th, respectively, and a run-scoring error made it 5-1 Nats. Patrick Keating struck out the side in the 8th and then worked around 2 walks to K 2 more in the 9th.

Tulsa 5, Naturals 2

DH C. Robinson 2-4, K -- .333
RF Orlando 1-4, 2B (22), RBI (63) -- .308
1B Hosmer 0-3, BB, RBI (34), 2 K, RS -- .311
CF D. Robinson 1-4, RS -- .283
2B Giavotella 1-4, 2B (34) -- .324

Montgomery IP, 3 UER, 3 H, K, E -- L, 5-4, 3.47 ERA
R. Hardy 6 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 6 H, BB, K, E -- 3.44 ERA
Sisk IP, nothing -- 6.52 ERA
Barrera IP, H, 2 K -- 1.88 ERA

* Tulsa kept NWA from clinching the second-half title with the win. A 3-run 1st was all the Drillers needed as a 2-out Mike Montgomery error made all 3 runs unearned as he stranded 2 and didn't return for the 2nd. A Rowdy Hardy error helped Tulsa in a 2-run 5th after Eric Hosmer hit an RBI groundout in the 4th. Paulo Orlando ripped an RBI double in the 9th but the Nats would leave the bases loaded. NWA is 42-26 and 2 games up on first with 2 to play. John Lamb starts Sunday's game 3.

A-Adv. - Wilmington: off Friday

Blue Rocks 6, Frederick 3

1B Mejia 3-4, 2B (13), RS -- .295
LF Ortiz 2-4, BB, HR (2), RBI (34), 2 RS -- .289
DH Myers 1-3, BB, RBI (35), K -- .338
3B Prasch 1-3, BB, 2B (12), RBI (18), K -- .201
2B Navarro 1-4, RBI (38), K -- .239
CF Norris 0-2, BB, SF, RBI (41), K -- .244
SS Colon 1-5, 2B (11), RS, E (17) -- .271
C S. Perez 1-4, K, RS -- .283

W. Smith 7 IP, 3 R (1 ER), 9 H, 9 K -- W, 4-1, 2.80 ERA
Chapman 2 IP, 2 H, 3 K -- SV, 1, 5.50 ERA, first pro save

* A 5-run 1st was all Will Smith needed, but the win didn't keep Wilmington from being booted from the playoff race. A run-scoring error and RBI double gave the Keys a 2-0 lead in the 1st but Wilmington answered with 5 runs on a leadoff homer by Adrian Ortiz (his 2nd of the season), a Wil Myers RBI single, an Eddie Prasch bases-loaded walk, a Rey Navarro RBI single and Patrick Norris sac fly. Ortiz scored on a wild pitch in the 4th to make it 6-2. Smith allowed another run in the 5th but he and Kevin Chapman got the rest done. The Rocks are 35-31 and 2 1/2 games back with 2 to play. Game 2 with the Keys (30-38, A-Adv. O's) is Sunday as Tim Melville starts.

A - Burlington: Cedar Rapids 6, Bees 5 (Fri.)

C Theriot 3-4, 2B (11), RS, PB (3) -- .283
DH D. Batista 2-4, RBI (28), K, RS -- .232
3B F. Cruz 2-4, RBI (22) -- .217
CF H. Richardson 2-3, BB, 2B (13), HR (5), RBI (37), RS, SB (32) -- .199, needed more nights like this
1B Kuebler 1-4, 2B (7), RBI (21), RS -- .273
2B Hall 1-4, RBI (41) -- .225
RF Merrifield 1-5, 2 K, CS (3) -- .238
SS McClure 0-3, BB, S, K, RS, E (4) -- .232

Odenbach 5 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 4 K -- 5.21 ERA
Byrne 2 IP, 3 R (2 ER), 4 H, BB, 4 K -- BS, 1, L, 0-1, 7.71 ERA
R. Wood IP, H, 2 K -- 6.75 ERA

* An 8th inning run was the difference for the Kernels. Cedar Rapids scored 3 in the 2nd off Dusty Odenbach but the Bees picked up their starter with a 4-run 4th on a Jake Kuebler RBI double, Deivy Batista RBI single, and RBI singles from Fernando Cruz and Gerard Hall. Chas Byrne gave up 2 triples in a 2-run Kernels 6th but the Bees tied it in the 7th on Hilton Richardson's 5th homer of the season. Byrne gave up another triple in the 8th and it led to the go-ahead run. The Bees stranded 1 in the 9th.

Bees 6, Clinton 1

SS McClure 2-4, 2 RBI (13), K, RS -- .243
C Theriot 2-3, SF, RBI (18) -- .294
LF Richardson 2-4, 2B (14), K, 2 RS -- .202
CF Merrifield 2-5, 2B (8), K, RS -- .243
RF Testa 0-2, BB, SF, RBI (50), RS -- .276
3B D. Batista 0-3, SF, RBI (29), E (24) -- .230

Sample 5 1/3 IP, 3 H, 6 BB, 7 K -- W, 6-10, 4.69 ERA, man, how did he walk so many and not give up a run?
Hodge 1 2/3 IP, ER, H, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 WP -- 6.34 ERA
Morizio 2 IP, K -- 4.86 ERA

* The Bees poured it on early to take the opener with the LumberKings. Alex McClure hit an RBI single and Ben Theriot and Deivy Batista hit sac flies in the 1st to make it 3-0 Bees. A run-scoring error and Carlo Testa sac fly extended it to 5-0 in the 2nd. Tyler Sample left the bases full in the 4th and McClure singled in a run off KU product Nick Czyz in the 4th to make it 6-0. Sample left 'em full again in the 5th and was pulled after walking 2 with 1 out in the 6th. Clinton finally got on the board off Mitch Hodge in the 7th but Matt Morizio followed with 2 perfect innings to finish it. The Bees are 22-43. Game 2 versus the LumberKings (37-31, A Mariners) is Sunday.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Chukars 5, Orem 2 (Fri.)

CF Conner 2-3, 2 BB, RBI, K, RS, 2 SB (3) -- .300
LF Pickett 4-4, 2 RS, SB, picked off -- .333
2B Espinal 0-4, BB, RBI (25), K, RS, SB (14) -- .264
SS Trapp 0-4, SF, RBI (17), 3 K -- .245
DH Watts 0-2, 2 BB, K -- .276
IF stranded 10.

Blauer 6 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 8 K, E (2) -- 5.74 ERA
Carl 3 IP, H, 7 K -- W, 1-0, 5.17 ERA, looks like he was dealing

* IF turned it on late to beat the Owlz. Chad Blauer allowed 2 runs in the 1st but blanked the Owlz over the remainder of his 6 IP. Idaho Falls squandered a few chances and the 2-0 lead held into the 7th. Cameron Conner singled in a run to break up the shutout in the 7th and the Chukars added 3 more on a 2-run Orem error and another run-scoring error. Justin Trapp added a sac fly in the 8th. Edwin Carl followed Blauer by striking out the side in the 7th, striking out 2 in the 8th and K'ing 2 more in the 9th to put it on ice.

Chukars 11, Orem 10

SS Trapp 3-4, BB, RBI (18), K, RS, SB (17), CS (6) -- .253
C Cornstubble 2-4, 2B (2), RBI (8), K, RS, PB (3) -- .300
RF Polonia 2-4, RBI (6), K, RS, picked off, E (3) -- .207
1B Culver 2-4, BB, K, 2 RS -- .218
DH Watts 1-5, GS (14), 4 RBI (53), K -- .275
2B Espinal 0-4, BB, RBI (26), RS -- .259
3B Figueroa 0-2, 2 BB, RBI (3), RS -- .205
CF Conner 1-5, 3B, K, 2 RS -- .267

Garrido 2 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 3 H, 2 K -- 6.26 ERA
Caldwell 2 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, K, HRA, WP -- 9.28 ERA
Graffeo 1 1/3 IP, 6 ER, 7 H, 4 K, WP -- 4.05 ERA
Penny 3 2/3 IP, 2 H, BB, 5 K -- W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, Chukar debut

* A 9-run IF 6th turned around a 10-2 Orem lead in a wild one for the Chukars. Orem scored 2 off Santiago Garrido in the 1st and Yowill Espinal cut into the lead with an RBI groundout that inning. Allen Caldwell gave up a sac fly in the 3rd but Cameron Conner tripled and scored on a Justin Trapp single in the bottom of the inning. Orem took off from there with a solo homer in the 4th (but stranded the bases full, same for IF), 3 runs off Nick Graffeo in the 5th and 3 more off Graffeo and Robert Penny in the 6th. The Chukars loaded the bases with 0 out in the 6th and got a bases-loaded walk from Correy Figueroa, a Juan Polonia RBI single, 2 run-scoring wild pitches, a huge grand slam from Murray Watts (his 14th pro homer) and Dale Cornstubble go-ahead RBI double. Penny was solid down the stretch to finish it. IF is 9-24. The series ends Sunday. Penny and Cole Lohden joined the Chukars from rookie Burlington. IF Mike Liberto has also been added to the Chukar roster for his 4th assignment already as a Royals farmhand.

Rookie - Burlington: The B-Royals finished 34-34

B-Royals OPS leaders (* - led team)
Ryan Stovall .815 (.303*/.359*/.456*, 33 RS, 15 2B*, 5 3B*, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 20 BB*/41 K, 12/20 SB, 9 E in 61 G*/241 ABs*, appeared better on D this year, solid at the plate, but not in chance at A-ball)
Ryan Jenkins .745 (.273/.333/.412, 21 RS, 14 2B, 3 HR, 23 RBI, 15 BB/30 K, 3/6 SB, 4 E in 47 G/165 ABs)
Luis Piterson .702 (.263/.302/.400, 37 RS*, 15 2B*, 6 HR*, 27 RBI*, 9 BB/36 K, 13/22 SB, 10 E in 60 G/240 ABs -- started hot, slid from there)
Alex Llanos .670 (.259/.308/.362, 32 RS, 15 2B*, 3 3B, HR, 26 RBI, 16 BB/60 K, 17/25 SB, 5 E in 60 G/232 ABs -- still not dazzling)
Anthony Howard .651 (.220/.304/.348, 14 RS, 5 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 14 BB/46 K in 43 G/141 ABs)
Others of note... Yunior Figueroa .599 (9 XBH, 2 BB/26 K, 20 E led team in 54 G), Alex McClure .575 (9 BB/35 K, .305 OBP, 6 E in 40 G/148 ABs), Geoff Baldwin .460 (ugly season, .213 SLG, only batted .184, 5 XBH, 13 BB/73 K*, 16 E in 50 G, a year to forget), Drew Robertson .339 (ungood pro debut).

WHIP leaders for the B-Royals
Chas Byrne 0.71 (1-0, 0.81*, 6 SV*, HRA, 5 BB/38 K in 15 G/33 2/3 IP)
Crawford Simmons 1.04 (6*-2, 2.77, 7 HRA*, 19 BB/70 K* in 14 starts/78 IP -- should get a shot at Burlington (A) to start 2011)
Robert Penny 1.06 (1-1, 1.75, 5 SV, HRA, 12 BB/36 K in 19 G/46 1/3 IP)
Willian Avinazar 1.08 (6*-3, 2.63, 4 HRA, 11 BB/67 K in 13 starts/72 IP, nice season)
Leonel Santiago 1.11 (6*-3, 2.78, 5 HRA, 17 BB/66 K in 14 starts/81 IP*, couple bad starts late made stellar numbers little less impressive)
Others of note...Jonathan Dooley 1.31 (4-6*, 4.37, 5 HRA, 12 BB/40 K in 59 2/3 IP), Claudio Bavera 1.31 (led team with 21 appearances), Mike Giovenco 1.65 (0-5, 6.39, 23 BB*/47 K in 43 2/3 IP), Jake Ramsey 1.88 (6.75 ERA, 3 BB/6 K in 8 IP)