Saturday, December 26, 2009

Top Prospects #36: Jose Bonilla

#36 Jose Bonilla

Age: 21
HT/WT: 5-10/188
Pos: C
Bats/Throws: R/R
Signed: International Free Agent 9/5/2006
Birthplace: Santiago, Dominican Republic

Bonilla is the second of the young high upside catching prospects in the organization that we will discuss here at Royal Revival. According to Baseball America Bonilla's tools are stronger than the aforementioned Salvador Perez however, his tools may not grade out as strongly in the long term. Like many I had my fingers crossed that Bonilla's numbers in the Arizona League would translate to full season ball in his first opportunity, however this was not the case. His offensive numbers fell from .357/.405/.625 in 2008 to .217/.281/.311 in 2009. Even though Bonilla's numbers fell off drastically in 2009 I expect to see him receive another promotion to start 2010 due to the influx of catching prospects behind him. If Bonilla could cut down on the strikeouts (26.2%K) and his Babip is a little more fair to him he could see drastic improvement in his offensive numbers. However, if he does get the bump to Wilmington Frawley Stadium could wipe out those improvements on his numbers for 2010.

I like Bonilla but I don't see him as the long term solution at catcher. We will see my long term solution later in the countdown. Much, much later

Friday, December 25, 2009

Top Prospects #37: Kurt Mertins

#37 Kurt Mertins

Age: 23
HT/WT: 6-0/175
Pos: 2B
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted: 13th Round, Pick 377 in 2006 Rule IV Draft
College: College of the Desert

Mertins has been fairly consistent during his time with the Royals organization and while Dayton Moore was not in charge of the 2006 draft, he wasn't a Baird selection either. Mertins has played nearly all of his games at second base, but has also got some experience at third. This will play to his favor as he continues to progress through the system and maybe one day attempts to make a major league roster. Mertins has displayed a decent average and on base percentage throughout his career, but his slugging percentage has been lacking. I rank Mertins as the second best second base prospect in the system and the closest to reaching the majors. I expect Mertins to start the season in Omaha and perhaps one day he can make the majors as a bench utility player maybe even getting an occasional opportunity to win a starting job. This season in Omaha I would like to see him continue to develop offensively and get more experience at third and maybe in the outfield.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Royals Sign Two Former First Rounders

After a quick trade to start the offseason the Royals have been relatively quiet compared to years past and have limited their spending to the minor league free agent pool. In fact the only real spending the Royals have done was the signing of Noel Arguelles to a major league deal. Have I mentioned that I love that deal?

The Royals have now added two more minor league free agents, both of which were at one point considered first round talents. Let's start with a pitcher named Phillip Humber. Humber was drafted number 3 overall by the New York Mets and was shipped to Minnesota along with Carlos Gomez for Johan Santanna. Humber possesses a fastball that tops out at about 90 mph, an above average curveball, and an average changeup. Humber will probably be given the opportunity to compete for a bullpen spot in Spring Training but I would bet that he finds himself in Omaha's rotation to start the 2010 season. I like the move simply because there is virtually no risk involved and it provides the organization with an arm that at one point in time seemed to have an incredible amount of potential.

The Royals also have resigned former first round pick Shane Costa to a minor league deal. Costa has had limited time with the big league club, but hasn't ever shown enough to stick as a fourth outfielder. I don't have a problem with this signing but I am also somewhat surprised. Costa missed almost the entire 2009 season after getting injured on opening day for the Omaha Royals. I am surprised because it already looks like there will be a crowded outfield in Omaha for 2010 with David Lough, Jordan Parraz, Tim Smith and maybe even Jarrod Dyson needing sufficient playing in order to develop. The Royals have also signed several minor league free agent outfielder so how the playing time shakes out will be an interesting thing to keep an eye on as Spring develops.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Royals Sign Kendall

Once again I apologize for the lack of posts in the past week or so, but as we all can agree it is extremely busy time of year with Christmas shopping and all that goes with that.

Like me the Royals did a little bit of Christmas shopping a week ago and signed Jason Kendall to a two year deal that will pay him $2.25 mill in the first season and $3.75 mill in the second plus incentives. The Royals then non-tendered catching incumbent John Buck who within thirty hours signed with Toronto on a one year 2 million dollar deal.

Let me first evaluate Jason Kendall. Kendall is a "gritty" veteran that scouts will say possesses all the intangibles that a player should have, hopefully he will provide the team with leadership and wisdom for a still young pitching staff. The problem is that when you have to use the word hopefully when describing a player it probably means that the things you can count on aren't going to be good enough to make a difference. Personally I wouldn't mind the Kendall signing, if it came for a bargain price, but it seems that the popular opinion is that the Royals overpaid for a 35 year old veteran whose numbers have regressed significantly over the past few years.

The free agent market for catcher is weak to say the least and I am confident that had their been an opportunity to acquire a young catcher via trade then Moore would have pulled the trigger on the deal. It seems like it has become the easy thing to criticize the current administration for every deal they make, and believe me if I wanted to I could make a list of all the reasons why this deal shouldn't have been made. But what it comes down to is that the Royals wanted to obtain a better defensive catcher than John Buck or Miguel Olivo and I believe that they did that with this signing. Opinions still vary on defensive metrics but according to the latest Fielding Bible Jason Kendall is a top notch pitch blocker and defensive catcher.

While I don't think Kendall deserved the deal he got, I don't think that this is a deal that is going to prevent the Royals from spending money elsewhere. The Royals will wind up saving roughly 3 or 4 million dollars on this year's catchers (Kendall and Brayan Pena) in comparison with last year's (Olivo and Buck). Hopefully Kendall can post at least a similar slash line as last season's and he can improve a defensive unit that is lacking to say the least.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winter Meetings Wrapup & Rule V

To start the day off the Royals released two extremely disappointing players from the past year: Mike Jacobs and John Bale. Let me say that I am extremely relieved that GM Dayton Moore was able to cut ties with Jacobs and not attempt to save face by sticking with him. In my opinion by cutting ties it shows that Moore is admitted that the move was a mistake and it is a sunk cost and it is time to move on. Hopefully Moore's tenure will not be defined by the trade that sent Leo Nunez to Florida for Mike Jacobs, trading for Yunieskey Betancourt, and overpaying for Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Guillen. But so far these moves have not panned out as Royals fans had hoped and many were against the moves right from the start. Thus making the moves seem in worse in retrospect. The trade that sent Nunez to Florida was an attempt to add some pop in the middle of an order that lacked home run power, but I think that what we are learning is that in Kauffman Stadium home run power should not be valued as highly as it is in other parks.

At the time of the deal I was extremely skeptical and as Spring Training and April unfolded I admit to doing a 180 and becoming a supporter of Jacobs and if Jacobs could have posted a .500+ slug even with a .300 obp I would not mind him so much. But when a guy's only supposed tool is his power and he posts a .410 slug, then it is time to let that player go and I am extremely relieved that he was released today. Fairly or not, as the season progressed he quickly became my least favorite Royal.

I was thinking about the Rule V draft today and I came to the conclusion that for small market teams such as the Royals it is an extremely undervalued method of obtaining talent. When one considers that the league minimum is now over $400,000 then the fee of $50,000 for drafting a player in the Rule V seems like nothing. Every single season there are multiple players that are left unprotected from the draft that going into the season were highly ranked prospects. Some are a few years away and some had rough seasons the year before. However, it seems worth the rest to grab a player for that price and give them an opportunity in spring training to earn a spot on the big league roster. If the player does fail to earn a spot then you return him to his old team for $25,000 or get to keep him in your system. Either way the risk is minimal compared to other methods of acquiring talent.

Yesterday I was begging that the Royals draft a centerfielder named John Raynor from the Marlins organization. However, the Royals were not presented with this opportunity at the number 4 overall pick. Instead Raynor was selected in the second spot by the Pittsburgh Pirates. I would really like to take this moment to be satisfied that I not only predicted a player that would be chosen, but a player that actually went second overall. The player the Royals did choose was a Mexican born pitcher by the name of Edgar Osuna.

Osuna is your classic crafty lefty. He possesses a fastball that sits in the mid to upper 80s, a plus curveball and what Baseball America called the best changeup in the Atlanta Braves system coming into the season. He profiles as a starter, however assuming he produces decent Spring numbers I would wager that he will spend 2010 almost entirely in the Royals bullpen. This is not a bad thing. IF he can't stick with the Royals, then maybe a trade could be worked out in order to keep him in the organization. If not then he probably won't matter anyway. Hopefully though being a Rule V selection will not hinder his development like it has so many players in the past.

The way the bullpen performed last season no one should have guaranteed spots and given that Osuna and Hughes are the only lefties on the 40 man roster they should both be given all the opportunities to make the big league club. Osuna could one day be a solid member of a big league rotation, however, given that he only has a handful of inning at the double a level we will probably see him in the bullpen for now. The search for a lefty continues.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter Meetings Update, Rule V Tomorrow

Let's start this up with a rumor brought to us by Dick Kaegel of He is reporting that the Royals have shown interest in lefty free agent Mark Mulder. Man, if you thought Bedard was an injury give this guy's career a glance, the man hasn't been healthy for an entire season since 2005. While healthy he once was a very solid pitcher, but he has had so many arm and shoulder injuries that this may not hold true anymore. I wouldn't mind signing Mulder to an extremely cheap deal with some incentives but I would much rather the Royals go a bit further and offer Bedard a deal with similar incentives and a large enough base salary to get it done. What do you think would you rather have Mulder for 3 mill guaranteed plus incentives or Bedard for an extra 2 guaranteed? Not sure what the market would warrant for each of them but that would seem to be on the high end of what I would be willing to pay for.

Now I would like to talk about two players that I have slight man crushes on that both could be available to the Royals and perhaps even for a small price. Both are centerfielders that can cover some ground and so both could fill a major need for the Royals. Also, both are "1-3 year guys"
so they would not hurt the Royals financially and could come cheap for several years.
First I will discuss Bret Gardner. According to Jayson Stark of after the completion of the Granderson deal the Royals contacted the Yankees about their fleet foot centerfielder. Now besides the fact that Gardner seems like one of the better guys to ever don the pinstripes he is also a burner on the base paths and in centerfield. On top of his speed and defensive abilities he has displayed a knack for getting on base which is what this team is really starving for right now. He has almost no power, but if he can get on base, steal bases, and display above average range in center then he would be a great centerfielder for the Royals.

The second player I am going to mention is a player named John Raynor. John Raynor would cost nearly nothing out of David Glass' pockets, because he has been left unprotected for the Rule V draft which occurs tomorrow. This season he put up a pedestrian .257/.327/.360 triple slash but for his minor league career he has posted a line of .299/.383/.452 line with 142 steals in just 4 seasons. Unless the Royals make a trade for a centerfielder by the time the draft starts tomorrow, they absolutely have to draft this guy and if you do find someone else, you simply return him back to his previous club and you are out 25 grand. When you consider that Dayton Moore has blown several times that amount simply by non tendering players at the wrong times (Gathright, Gobble) then a $50,000 purchase of Raynor seems like a brilliant back up plan. If the Marlins don't pay you back the $25,000 and allow you to keep him if he doesn't make the major league team then that is fine as well and he provides some depth.

Coming into the season Raynor was ranked 11th in the Marlins system according to Baseball America, which is stocked full of elite hitting prospects. Baseball America also said Raynor was the fastest player in the system and possessed the tools to one day be a top notch lead off hitter. I am begging that the organization draft this guy tomorrow and throw the Marlins $50,000. I may be wrong and he never turns out to be anything, but in the grand scheme of things that amount of money is chump change for a professional baseball team.

Royals Offer Jason Kendall 2 Year Deal

Sorry about the lack of posts in recent days, but finally we have something to report on in these winter meetings. According to Bob Dutton of the KC star the Royals have offered Jason Kendall a two year deal. Last season Kendall had a triple slash of .241/.331/.305 and for this season baseball guru Bill James predicts a similar line of .254/.338/.320. Kendall will be 35 on opening day and while he is not the player that he once was he does seem to be one of the more bearable options of this year's free agent crop. I would prefer that the Royals pry a young catcher away from another team that we can have for the minimum a couple of years. However, since I doubt this opportunity will present itself a one or two year stopgap seems like a good strategy given the depth of catching prospects at the lower levels of the system.

The Royals have also been linked with Ivan Rodriguez, before he signed with the Nationals, Rod Barajas, Yorvit Torrealba, and Jose Molina. The Royals need to find a cheap catching option and as far as the catchers listed here, Kendall is probably in the middle of the pack so if he can be had for a cheap price on a two year deal, then it is a move that is not going to hurt us down the road. The last thing the Royals should do though is annie up 7+ million over the next two for a catcher that is average at best.

Hopefully, if Kendall accepts the deal his offense can stay where it has been the last few years, he can strengthen the defense, and his veteranship can provide positives for the pitching staff.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Search for a Lefty: Royals Sign Arguellas

The Royals made their first free agent splash of the winter today by announcing the signing of 19 year old Cuban defector Noel Arguellas to a 5 year, $7 million deal plus an extra $2 million in incentives.

Arguellas and teammate Jose Iglesias defected this past summer from the Cuban National Team while the team was in Canada. Iglesias, a shortstop, signed with the Boston Red Sox for an $8.25 million dollar deal. Arguellas has a reported mid 90s fastball and to developing plus pitches in his curveball and changeup. Arguellas is said to have went in the top 10 had he been in the 2009 Rule IV draft in June. Arguellas immediately becomes a top 5 prospect in the Royals system, and it has been rumored that he will start 2010 in A ball on the fast track to the majors given the major league deal.

This is a very good signing for the Royals, signing a potential ace for little more than $1 million per season. Arguellas adds to a very promising crop of pitchers that are making their way through the minor league system.

Update: There seems to be varying opinions as to how to spell his last name, but it is either Arguellas or Arguelles. Keith Law thinks it will take him 3 or 4 years to reach the majors. I am confused as to if the 7 mill is a bonus that will be stretched over 5 years, or if the Royals will only have Arguellas for 5 years. Either way he should be on the fast track to the Bigs.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Top Prospects: #38 Salvador Perez

#38 Salvador Perez

Age: 19
HT/WT: 6-3/175
Pos: Catcher
B/T: R/R
Signed: Non-Drafted International Free Agent September 27, 2006
Birthplace: Valencia, Venezuela
ETA: 2014

Perez is a part of an interesting group of young catchers that the Royals have in the lower levels of the system. When Dayton Moore became general manager of the Kansas City Royals he promised to increase spending on international free agents and he inherited a cupboard that was bare of catching. Perez represents an increased spending and dedication in both areas.

Coming into the season Perez was ranked the #19 Royals prospect by Baseball America and the top defensive catcher in the system with an above average arm and improving blocking abilities. But it was the bat he displayed in 2008 that made him really exciting given that typically the bat is the last thing to come for catching prospects. In 2008 he posted a slash line of .361/.409/.482 in 83 at bats between short season Burlington and rookie league Idaho Falls.

As a teenager Perez was given an opportunity to prove his skills in full season ball in low A Burlington, Iowa. However, Perez struggled mightily and was shut down for a period and then returned to Idaho Falls in an attempt to salvage the season for the hitter, he rebounded and put up solid numbers and should get another opportunity in 2010 to play full season ball. The issue though is that there is a potential log jam at the lower levels and playing time is going to be difficult to distribute. Perez should be in Burlington, but Jose Bonilla should probably return to Burlington as well after posting less than stellar numbers and the same could be said for Sean McCauley. Also, there is bonus baby Wil Myers, Benjamin Theriot, and Joey Lewis that are all ready for full season ball after posting strong numbers in Idaho Falls. Playing time will be an issue but hopefully the front office can come up with a plan and not hinder any of the aforementioned players development.

Royals Search for a Catcher

There are a couple of positions that we know the Royals will be searching for this offseason and one of those is catcher. Currently the Royals have built up quite a list of intriguing names at the position in the lower levels of the system, but even if those names become more than intriguing it will be years before any of those players are ready to contribute. On September 4, the Royals traded the strong yet entitled pitching prospect Danny Gutierrez to Texas and obtained Tim Smith and Manuel Pina a 21 year old Latin American catcher. Many scouts view Pina as a strong defensive catcher, but that he lacks the bat to ever become a legitimate starter at the major league level. Nonetheless he is probably the closest catching prospect to the majors, having already completed a season in double A. Pina is still a year away (at least), although if he has a strong season maybe he can force the Royals hand just a bit.

So what does this all mean for 2010? Well currently the Royals have two catchers in the entire organization that could qualify as big league catchers. One has been a major disappointment since being acquired in the trade that sent Carlos Beltran to Houston and the other is a little old for a guy that has hardly had a full season in the majors. One is a nontender candidate and the other lost his bat at the end of last season, and never brought his glove. So far this offseason the signs and quotations from Royals GM Dayton Moore have pointed to an overhaul of the catching corps going into 2010.

What are the options? Well Moore has already stated that the primary goal this offseason is to acquire as many 1-3 guys as possible. (1-3 refers to the amount of service time the players has in years, thus making him a cheaper and presumably younger option.) Catching is such a difficult position to come by that the Royals might not be able to find many options on the trade market. Especially if they want young cheap players. The most interesting name that I have heard as far as the catching market is concerned is probably Ryan Doumit of the Pittsburgh Pirates and it wouldn't seem to me like the Royals match up with the Pirates considering they are both looking to get younger at the time being.

Earlier in the offseason it was reported by a writer for the Kansas City Star that the Royals were shopping Alberto Callaspo and that the Dodgers' A.J. Ellis had been linked. A.J. Ellis is probably as old as you can be to still be considered a prospect and reviews of his defense have been outstanding. Oh, and wait til you hear this: Ellis has posted an obp of over .400 in back to back season for the Dodgers' AAA team. I have a couple of issues with the rumor though. First, if we are going to sell high on Callaspo then it would seem like we should be able to acquire more than a blocked veteran prospect. Second, Ellis has absolutely zero power, so while his on base skills are dandy in triple A, those tend to not translate so well when the player has no power to speak of and is not a burner on the basepaths.

Let's look at the other option that the Royals have for their acquirement of a catcher: Free Agency. If the Royals are not able to obtain a young, defensive first catcher via trade then I would prefer that they acquire a sort of one or two year stop gap, until one or two of the younger guys begin to emerge. It was rumored that the Royals offered Brian Schneider a contract, however he took a contract from the Phillies instead. This is most likely a good thing although Schneider's less than impressive numbers from last season will no doubt be inflated in Philadelphia.

Now for the strongest rumor that we have heard regarding the Royals' search for catching. The Royals are rumored to be interested in one of the most successful hitters in Kauffman Stadium history: Ivan Rodriguez. Ivan Rodriguez is still an above average fielder and even though his hitting skills have declined he is still an above replacement level player. If the price is right I would love to see the Royals make a move for Rodriguez. Hopefully there will be more to come with regards to this rumor.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Top Prospects: #39 Crawford Simmons

#39 Crawford Simmons

Age: 19
HT/WT: 6-2/185
Drafted: 14th Round, pick 442 in 2009 Rule IV Draft
School: Statesboro High School (GA)
ETA: 2014

Simmons is the latest of the addition of the Royals front office taking advantage of the lack of a hard slotting system. Simmons who had a commitment to Georgia Tech University fell all the way to the fourteenth round where the Royals nabbed him and signed him for a 450K signing bonus. Simmons has extra appeal given that he is a projectible lefty and a guy that scouts can dream on. Simmons has an average fastball that could potentially gain some velocity as he fills out his 6 foot two inch frame. His curveball and change up could also potentially be plus pitches.

Simmons is probably four years or more away from the majors, unless things click quicker then expected. I would bet that Simmons will stay in extended Spring Training for the start of 2010 and then either follow the Melville path and join a potentially very good Burlington Bees' rotation or go to a short season club like Sample did. Either way the Royals are sure to take there time with Simmons.

The odds are against Simmons, but there is the possibility that things click and he becomes a top of the rotation guy. For this reason he makes the Royal Revival top 42 prospects list. The potential is there and this is the perfect kind of guy for the Royals to take a chance on as the draft progresses.

I'd like to add that there are rumors that Selig is pushing extremely hard for a hard slotting system for the draft and on the surface this would appear to favor the small market clubs that can't afford to pay the big bonuses. However, given how the Royals currently function this would hurt them just as much as any club in baseball and maybe even more. They have been extremely aggressive in the draft since Moore took over and for this reason I am able to keep faith in the current administration which will not be defined by the first few year's win totals but by the fruits that the farm system begins to bare next season and maybe even a small way this season.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Top Prospects: #40 Chris Hayes

#40 Chris "Disco" Hayes

Age: 26
HT/WT: 6-1/195
Pos: RHP
Signed: Non-Drafted Free Agent March 2, 2006
College: Northwestern University
ETA: 2010

If Rowdy Hardy has the best name in all of professional sports then Chris "Disco" Hayes has one of the top nicknames. Why is his nickname "Disco" you ask? Because he survives with pitch speeds in the 60's and 70's. Disco's fastball makes Hardy look like the next Randy Johnson. But all kidding aside Hayes can get outs, so well in fact that through nearly forty innings in Springdale this past season he maintained an era under 1.00 and a k:bb rate of nearly 3:1.

I have had the pleasure of seeing Hayes pitch on (I think) four separate occasions. I say pleasure because there are not that many opportunities for a baseball fan to watch professional hitters whiff on 78 mph fastballs and 67 mph curve balls. Some would rather see a flame thrower blow balls past hitters, but I can tell you now that I thoroughly enjoy watching Hayes baffle hitters into strikeouts or what is most common a groundout to the pitcher. Last season Hayes produced a groundball rate of 55% and for his career has a rate of 57%. You see when a pitcher causes groundball rates of these percentages he is going to have an incredibly easy time getting outs and as long as the defense behind him isn't Alberto Callaspo he is going to be an extremely effective pitcher. Wait... Kansas City's second baseman is Alberto Callaspo. Well he should still be effective nonetheless.

Chris Hayes is able to produce such high groundball rates because, as you can see in the picture, he is a submarine style pitcher. Not sidearm, but full fledged submarine. With this arm angle hitters not only are forced to find the ball in a place that they are not used to finding it, but also Hayes is able to produce a wicked spinning effect that causes the ball to find the turf as soon as possible after the impact with the bat. I went to a game in Springdale this past season and three consecutive batters pounded the ball into the ground in front of homeplate so hard that I was sure they would have to replace the divots with sod.

Hayes numbers in Omaha are somewhat deceiving and he has been hurt by a fairly high opponent's babip. Also, I am going to guess that the infield defense was pretty sketchy this past season for the O-Royals. Surely this is a good guess considering they finished in last place in their division. I also think that Hayes wasn't used in his best role in Omaha and often times they used him in long relief, when judging by his numbers he is much more effective in one or two inning appearances.

Hayes reminds me a lot of Chad Bradford and I am positive that I am not alone in this feeling. However, Bradford is an extremely shy guy and hates to even see himself on camera. Hayes on the other hand seems to be a little bit different. While he is extremely humble like Bradford he also connects with fans much more than the average ball players. Hayes has his own blog ( which is probably much better writing than my own blog considering he went to one of the top journalism schools in the country. Hayes also has done several question and answers with which you can also find online if you are interested.

I believe that Hayes should have been given a Spetember call-up and added to the 40-man roster but with an era of nearly 4.60 in Omaha I can see why he wasn't. Although like I just stated I don't think his era was a fair assessment of his tenure with the O-Royals. I really hope that Hayes is not yet eligible for the Rule V draft (I don't think he is), because it would really be a shame to lose him when he could be a key to strengthening an awful 2009 bullpen. If the Royals are wise Hayes will at least be invited to big league spring training and given a shot at winning a job in the pen to start 2010. If not hopefully Hayes can dominate the Pacific Coast League and then become a fan favorite in Kansas City.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Top Prospects #41: Adrian Ortiz

#41 Adrian Ortiz

Age: 22
HT/WT: 6-0/172
Pos: CF
Bats/Throws: L/R
Drafted: 5th Round, pick 156 in 2007 Rule IV Draft
College: Pepperdine University
ETA: 2012

2008 Accolades: Midseason Midwest League All-Star

Adrian Ortiz is an example of the current administration's push to acquire more athleticism in the system. Ortiz is one of several fleet footed outfielder that the Royals have acquired that have some tools, but have had issues swinging the bat. It had not always been this way for Ortiz however. Entering the 2009 season Ortiz had posted a career minor league slash line of .314/.346/.381 and while the slugging percentage wasn't there the on base percentage was slightly above average and when you are talking about a guy who has the type of speed that Ortiz had this was be a major asset for a ball club.

Unfortunately as you can see above Ortiz struggled to hit in the wretched confines of Wilmington's Frawley Stadium. A park that is considered by many to be the harshest park on hitters in the entire minor leagues. Ortiz is not the first hitter to have been shamed by Frawley's dimensions and thick sea air, but after a season like the one he just put together it would be hard to justify ranking him much higher on this list. Especially when one considers that even after a demotion to the Midwest League Ortiz wasn't able to rekindle that hot bat that he had in 2008.

By all accounts Ortiz is an above average fielder and should progress into at least a league average centerfielder with an above average and accurate arm. But Ortiz's best strength is his speeds which to put it in scouting terms is a true 80 on the 20-80 scale. In 2008, Ortiz used the speed often slapping the ball to the third base side and legging out grounders to first. However, as he moves through the minor league system this ability is going to dwindle as defenses and the pitching against him improve. Ortiz is going to need to improve his plate discipline and his putrid walk rate. Only then will he be able to really take advantage of his speed and begin stealing bases.

The upcoming season is going to be very important for Adrian Ortiz. He could either be given another shot in Wilmington at redemption or he could be sent back to the Midwest League in the hopes that he can get back some of that contact ability. Either way it will be extremely important that he puts on a better display in this go around or else he will be moving the wrong way on the prospect charts.

Top Prospects: #42 Rowdy Hardy

#42 Rowdy Hardy

Age: 27
HT/WT: 6-4/170
Pos: LHP
Signed: Non-Drafted Free Agent May 27, 2006
College: Austin Peay
ETA: 2010

2006 Accolades: Pioneer League All-Star, Pioneer League Pitcher of the Week and Idaho Falls Pitcher of the Year. Third in League in innings pitched and third in League in ERA.

2007 Accolades: 2-time Carolina League Pitcher of the Week, Carolina League Midseason and Postseason All-Star, and Pitcher of the Year for both the Wilmington Blue Rocks and Carolina League. Led all Royals minor leaguers in wins, led Carolina League in wins and innings pitched, and was second in Carolina League in ERA.

What more perfect guy to begin our prospect countdown than Rowdy Hardy, who very likely has the best name in all of professional sports. Hardy went undrafted in 2006 and signed with the Royals for $1,000 as a fifth year senior out of Austin Peay University where he set an Ohio Valley Conference record with 32 career victories. Hardy is an underdog in every form of the word and has not just gotten by but exceeded expectations at every stop during his baseball career.

Hardy gets by with below average stuff and perhaps the best command in the entire Royals system. His fastball hits 86 mph on a good night but usually sits in the 82-84 mph range. Hardy does get movement on his fastball and shows no fear in throwing inside to hitters. Hardy also has an above average change up that has a late sink action to it. Hardy also has a still developing curveball.

After a rough 2008 in Springdale, the Royals attempted to convert Hardy into a sidearm style reliever for the 2009 season. Although the results weren't terrible the Royals seemed to have a change in heart and moved him back into the rotation where he returned to dominate form in several starts for the Blue Rocks. He was then promoted back to the Texas League where he pitched much better in his second go around, becoming the best pitcher in the Naturals' rotation.

It is tough to say whether or not the Royals view Hardy as a legitimate prospect, but given his track record he would be a guy that I would never bet against. He is twenty-seven so I think that the Royals should give him a spot in Omaha's rotation to start 2010, however I would not be surprised to see him in Springdale again occupying a starting role until another pitcher is ready to step in. I really hope this isn't the case but so goes the career of a "soft-tosser" that is consistently older than the players he is playing against.

I am not saying that I think that Hardy if given the chance is going to be the next Jamie Moyer. But I am not saying that he won't either. What I am saying is that the guy has found a way to succeed at every stop and until he can't figure it out he should be allowed to progress.

Top Prospect List

My top prospects list is on the way. The formatting is much more difficult than I anticipated and I insist on not publishing until it looks the way I expect it too. The list will be a countdown of the top 42 Royals minor league prospects in my opinion. The age listed will be the prospect's age as of 1/1/10. Please comment on the players and critique my rankings that's why I do this so that we can have a place to get a little bit of conversation going about the team we love.

Oh and I chose to do 42 prospects because 2010 will be the fourty-second season of Royals' baseball. Enjoy.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tug Hulett traded to Red Sox

About a week ago Tug Hulett was designated for assignment by the Kansas City Royals and now he has been traded to the Boston Red Sox. I am probably not alone in my feeling that simply by being of interest to Boston Hulett's value has been raised in my mind. Last spring the Royals claimed Hulett off waivers from the Mariners and many thought that Hulett might be given an opportunity at second base for Kansas City at some point during the 2009 season. However, Callaspo became a pleasant surprise offensively and Hulett spent most of the year in Omaha doing what he has always done in the minor leagues. Hit.

Hulett has a career slash of .284/.394/.418 in the minor leagues and even has over a hundred career steals there. However, his numbers have failed to translate in limited at bats in the majors and he has yet to get over the Mendoza line. Hulett may be the classic quadruple A players that can tear up triple A but can't cut it in the majors, but to this point he has not gotten a fair chance in the big leagues and the limited number of plate appearance that he has had aren't enough to put to rest the conversation of if Tug could cut it in the majors.

In this deal the Royals will receive either cash or a player to be named from the Red Sox. Don't expect to get any great prospect, but maybe the Royals will snag either a fringe guy or maybe an older arm that hasn't advanced like the Red Sox had hoped. Losing Tug shouldn't hurt the Royals, but this deal more than likely won't help the Royals, unless you consider that they will be receiving more from the trade than if Tug had simply been let go.

What are your thoughts? What do you think Tug's role will be with Boston for the upcoming season?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Minor League Free Agent Signings

Let's take a look at the minor league free agents for the Kansas City Royals signings so far:

Edwin Bellorin, C: Last season in triple A Colorado Springs Bellorin posted a triple slash line of .277/.308/.351 he also received 8 at bats with the big league club. Bellorin is nothing more then a triple A roster filler, he does show off some decent contact but I see nothing in his career numbers to suggest that he could be an everyday catcher and probably not even a back up. As of now the Omaha Royals will probably have Bellorin and Cody Clark to start the season and at some point Manuel Pina as long as he progresses as hoped.

Wilson Betemit, 3B: Former top prospect for the Atlanta Braves... cue groans... he has since not lived up to his potential in virtually every way and has become nothing more than a journeyman AAAA player. Betemit could probably fill in on the big league roster in a pinch due to his limited versatility and big league experience. But, if Betemit gets more than a short stint in Kansas City in the upcoming season then the Royals are going to have plenty worse problems to worry about. Betemit provides a little Major League depth but other then that he is nothing more than a triple A roster filler. I hope.

Buck Coats, OF: Buck Coats is another guy who has had a cup of coffee in the majors, however he will probably not be back to eat bagels and take advantage of the free high speed internet again. Instead, I see him as a guy who provides a little minor league depth in either Omaha or Springdale. Omaha this season should already have and outfield or Jordan Parraz, Tim Smith, David Lough, and Jarrod Dyson. So unless the Royals decide to start a couple of the aforementioned players in double A for a little more Texas League refinement then Coats probably won't receive much playing time in Omaha this season.

Reggie Taylor, OF: Out of all the players described in this post, Taylor is probably the least exciting and that is really saying something. I can't even find any sort of press release announcing this signing and only know of the because I was looking through the Royals October transaction log. Taylor spent all of last season in the Mexican League and put up less than impressive numbers. No power. No speed. No discipline. I would say his destination and roles for the upcoming season would be similar to Coats.

Jorge Campillo, RHP: This may be the most exciting minor league signing thus far for the Royals. Last season Campillo was limited to just 9.1 innings, but just the year before he was a solid piece of a major league rotation in Atlanta. In 2008, Campillo went 8-7 with a 3.91 era and a k:bb rate of 107:38. For his minor league career he has a 3.12 era and a k:bb rate of almost 3:1. Campillo is 31 years old, but I think he will be given an outside shot at a rotation spot in spring training and will probably find himself in the Omaha rotation to start the season. Because most all of the Royals pitching prospects are at NWA or lower Campillo could be the guy receiving the call if the Royals need a spot start.

Brad Thompson, RHP: While Thompson has posted less than stellar career major league numbers he has been a decent option for a bullpen. He has pitched in 385.2 innings and has a career era of 4.36. Thompson will be 28 on opening day so he should be entering his pitching prime and given the current situation of the Royals bullpen may be able to win a spot out of spring training. Personally, I have always been of the belief that the bullpen is the most unpredictable aspects of the team and is better filled with reliefs prospects, waiver pickups, and minor league free agents then overpaid veterans.

Bryan Bullington RHP: A former number 1 overall selection, Bullington hasn't even came close to becoming what Pirates scouts envisioned. Then again not a lot Pirate draft choices from the early 2000s became what the scouts envisioned. Bullington at least has tasted the major leagues and has put up decent minor league numbers, especially as a relief pitcher. The rumor is that the Royals will make him a reliever this season and this is going to be his best chance to help the major league club. Perhaps by focusing solely on coming out of the pen he regain some of that former top pick gusto.

Josh Rupe, RHP: Another potential reliever Rupe spent last season in the Rangers organization. Rupe doesn't seem to have a lot going for him, but maybe he can surprise me. He has the worst shot of any of these pitchers to help out the big league club in 2010. I am going to go out on a limb and say that he doesn't end 2010 in the Royals organization.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rumor: Guillen for Pagan

For the second time in as many days it has been reported that the Mets and Royals have discussed a possible deal for Jose Guillen. The Royals would also send cash New York's way to cover the $12 million albatross that Guillen is owed in 2010. Oh hello Mets fans I didn't see you there, of course I didn't say albatross. Anyways, the Royals have inquired on twenty-eight year old outfielder Angel Pagan.

Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News is the reporter of this rumor and according to his translation of a Dominican Newspaper. There was a story about Guillen and the 2010 season with the Royals and in that story it states "Jose Guillen would approve a trade to the Mets. Guillen is aware the 2010 season will not be with the Kansas City." Pretty strong statement, and I think a lot of Royals fans would rejoice the day when this became a reality.

Don't get me wrong there is the possibility that Guillen will rebound from his injury filled 2009 season and hit the ball extremely well in his contract year. However, he is a clogger on the bases and has become a major liability in the outfield. If the Royals can manage to acquire a young outfielder and unload even part of Guillen's salary for 2010 it would be a great deal for the Royals.

As for Pagan he plays an average centerfield and an above average left. Pagan also hit the ball extremely well last season posting a slash line of .306/.350/.487 if this deal does happen and Pagan could manage to put up similar numbers next season he would probably be the Royals second or third best hitter. Currently the Royals have one starting outfielder for the 2010 season and his name is David DeJesus. Acquiring Pagan would help fill out that oufield picture or be the first piece to a brand new outfield in 2010 should the Royals decide to deal perhaps their strongest chip: David DeJesus.

Link to article:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rumor: Royals Push for Bedard

It is an historic day for Royal Revival. This will be the first rumor ever discussed here. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports the Royals are making a very strong push for free agent starter Erik Bedard. Last season in 15 starts Bedard threw 83 innings and had a k:bb rate of 90:34 plus an era of 2.82. For his career Bedard is 51-41 with a 3.71 era and and k:bb rate of 831:325.

Obviously the major drawback to Bedard would be the injury risk, but let's be realistic here he wouldn't be available to the Royals without this drawback. The Royals have several options for their rotation for the upcoming season (Davies, Hochevar, Tejeda, and Bannister) and two locks in Meche and Greinke. Bedard is the perfect kind of guys for the Royals to attempt to sign to a one year incentive laden contract. No big risks involved but very high rewards. If Bedard is able to stay healthy then the rotation either helps carry the team to a surprise season or you flip him at the deadline for a couple of prospects. If he isn't able to stay healthy no loss he wasn't blocking a prized prospect anyway.

Right now the Royals are stockpiling a great amount of high potential arms, but they are all at least a full season away, except for maybe 2009 first round pick Aaron Crow. Signing Bedard would be a great deal for Kansas City for the right price and even if he flops it would not hurt the future of the club. The potential gains though could be huge. Let's hope that Dayton Moore continues to push.

Update: This information comes from a very questionable source, but Bleacher Report has reported that Bedard has signed a one year deal worth 3.2 million dollars with the Kansas City Royals.

Update: Bleacher Report was obviously wrong, as usual.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Belated Analysis of the Teahen Trade

So for the second straight year the Royals, led by General Manager Dayton Moore kicked off the offseason by sending Mark Teahen and reported $1 million to Chicago for Josh Fields and Chris Getz. At first glance most Royals fans are probably going to look at this trade and be angered that Kansas City Royals would trade off a fan favorite and only get back to sub-par major league players. Kansas City fans are going to remember the power surge that Mark Teahen had in the second half of 2006. Fans are going to remember the funny videos of Mark Teahen that were shown on the Royals pregame show, and in between innings at Kauffman Stadium. I will go ahead and say this now, but I love this trade.

Obviously when evaluating trades we never know for sure what other offers were on the table so it is important to evaluate the trade as is and not what the rumors stated could have been. However, I think it would be naive to believe that the Royals maximized value on Teahen and considering how the 2009 season played out it probably would have been wise to sell high on season near the trading deadline, as opposed to the offseason when he is about to command a raise in arbitration that makes him a non-tender candidate.

Back to the deal at hand. Let's start with Teahen. Teahen was a personal favorite of mine, but his potential to become an above average major league player while in Kansas City had all but vanished. Fans have made excuses for Teahen and I do believe that one of the downfalls of Teahen's offensive potential were probably a result of him spending offseason preparing for a new position for the upcoming year. I think that there is a decent possibility that Teahen could go to the Windy City and see his offensive numbers improve by a considerable margin, and I think it is possible that he could even get back to the high teens as far as home run totals as a result of moving to a much more hitter-friendly park and knowing his role for an entire offseason.

Now for Chris Getz. Last season in Getz' rookie year for Chicago he posted a slash line of .261/.324/.347 with 25 steals in 27 chances. However, in the minors Getz posted a of .286/.362/.380 career line. Scouts would also say that Getz is an average fielder and even if his metrics at second last season didn't live up to that billing it would be impossible for him to be a worse defensive second baseman than Callaspo. Getz will provide depth at second base and allows the Royals the flexibility to shop Callaspo after coming off what could become his career year. Getz also has 5 years left of service time and most likely wont be arbitration eligible until after the 2011 season.

The other player in the deal is third baseman Josh Fields. Former quarterback for the Oklahoma State University Cowboys, Fields probably has the athleticism that would be required for a move into a corner outfield spot and if the Royals do not make anymore moves this offseason (not going to happen) I believe that Fields should be given the starting gig in right field to begin 2010. Fields best season thus far in his young career came in his rookie season when he clubbed 23 home runs, however since then Fields has not been able to put together a full season, much less a solid slash line.

In his career Fields has punished lefties for a .285/.356/.580 career line and has a .206/.280/.348 against righties. Unlike Getz, Fields is out of minor league options though so the Royals will not have the luxury of giving him some more time in triple A to figure out right handed pitcher. Perhaps though Fields can make an adjustment and become a solid middle of the order bat. If not he provides the Royals with a cheap alternative at third, first and perhaps even left and right field.

Overall I think this is a very good trade for the Royals. They trade one year for averageness in Mark Teahen for five years of Getz and Fields. The Royals will also save about 3.5 million dollars in the deal and I assume that unlike the pre-Dayton era, David Glass will not pocket the money and instead invest into another aspect of the club. Teahen will be missed, but I like the depth that Getz and Fields provide the Royals.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Introduction to Royal Revival

The last twenty years have been a dark age for Royals fans. After such a promising beginning that was capped off with the ultimate prize in 1985, the franchise stumbled. Kansas City went from being a league icon to becoming the joke of the league. Perhaps, the rock bottom came when they were the punchline to a joke in the 2005 romantic comedy Fever Pitch. More embarrassing than being a joke in a romantic comedy was probably the fact that the joke was made by Jimmy Fallon.

I have been a life long Royals fan and have to say that I haven't one had the privilege of watching the Royals in a playoff game. But I do have hope. As my fellow Royals fans know hope is an integral part of our being. Without hope and optimism it would be impossible to look forward to that crisp March day when hope springs eternal. In the past decade times have been particularly harsh and the must fun season is the offseason, when all that is possible is dreaming of the promise the new season brings.

I considered starting this blog months ago it was a time when all was well in Royal Nation and the season that was approaching just felt different. However after an 18-11 mirage the team tanked. So it is probably not a coincidence that I decided to start this blog in the offseason when I knew that I could have at least four months of optimism before the potential reality of the upcoming season set in.

There has been a lot of talk recently about the fans needing to "trust in the process." A lot of people think that the front office is foolish and thinks that the team without the injuries could have actually won the division. I disagree. I believe that the front office made several moves over the offseason that were designed to excite the fans for a year that the Central was obviously down and the gates to a New Kauffman Stadium would be opened. I think that they were successful in creating excitement and even successful in convincing Zack Greinke that this was a place that was committed to winning.

Personally I feel that as terrible as last season was for Royals fans I do not feel as though it will hamper the long term goals of an organization that will be defined by its ability to build a farm system that can flood the major league roster with talent. This is the true process that Royals fans must focus on and while we cannot say with certainty which prospects will and will not be successful Major League players, we can say that the Royals system has been gaining praise and the front office does appear to be putting all of the necessary resources to create a productive farm.

Many are already writing the Royals off for the 2010 season and this is probably fair considering the decade that Royals have had and the disappointment that 2009 provided. However, on this blog we will not be pessimistic when talking about the upcoming Royals season. We will be realistic and do our best to offer unbiased analysis of all Royals moves and rumors. This blog will also have a strong focus on the minor league system, because currently this is where Royals fans can be excited without being overly optimistic. The Royals also have the best pitcher in baseball and an all star closer locked up through 2012, and perhaps the best homegrown hitter in the past decade locked up through 2013. There is reason to be excited. There is reason to hope. And most importantly there is reason to expect a Royal Revival.