Thursday, October 28, 2010

Prospect Stock Watch: Second Base

The following is a review of the Royals second basemen that intrigue me enough to make a post about. I'm going to offer whether or not the player performed as well, better, or worse than what I personally expected. I'll also give a brief explanation on my thoughts.

Johnny Giavotella (Gain): Prior to the season I expected big things from Giavotella as he made the jump to double A. I pointed out that with park factors, and luck removed from his line his slash last season would have been .329/.410/.478. This line is eerily similar to the line he posted this season in Northwest Arkansas of .322/.395/.460. Giavotella has continued to roll after an incredible second half to post a hot start in the prospect rich Arizona Fall League. He probably should start the year in triple A, if not for any reason other than delaying his arbitration clock because I believe he is as major league ready as any other Royals hitting prospect.

Adam Frost (Steady): Frost was signed prior to 2010 as one of the top Independent League prospects. But even the most optimistic Royals prospect followers could only call him a fringe Willie Bloomquist type.

Fernando Cruz (Loss): I would say a sub .500 OPS is justification for a loss. He's only even mentioned here because of a .392 on base in 2009 and a 25+ steals.

Deivy Batista (Loss): After showing great pop in Idaho Falls as a shortstop in 2009, Batista's entire offensive game regressed in 2010. Throw in the fact that Batista had 24 errors at second and his future is very questionable.

Michael Liberto (Steady): After posting a .317 batting average with good plate discipline and little power the Royals drafted Liberto and can only hope that he manages to become the second coming of Ian Kinsler. Wouldn't that be nice.

Yowill Espinal (Loss): I was really hoping for a breakout year from Espinal, especially since he would be heading to the very hitter friendly Pioneer League. Unfortunately Espinal seemingly replicated his production from 2009 only with less power. He's still very young and an interesting prospect but 24 errors at second aren't very exciting either.

Luis Piterson (Steady): Piterson remains very young and has shown a promising knack for putting the bat on the ball and speed. I don't like him as much as Espinal, but I do like him more than Batista.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Prospect Stock Watch: First Base

The following is a review of the Royals first basemen that intrigue me enough to make a post about. I'm going to offer whether or not the player performed as well, better, or worse than what I personally expected. I'll also give a brief explanation on my thoughts.

Kila Ka'aihue (Gain): This could be the last time I mention Kila Ka'aihue as a prospect, but that is not a bad thing. After posting solid yet mildly disappointing numbers a season ago, Kila returned to Omaha in 2010 and decided he would dominate the Pacific Coast League Circuit. His major league numbers were influenced by some hard luck so I'm optimistic when I project Kila's numbers in 2011.

Clint Robinson (Gain): The 'Alabama Hamma' has been a guy that has intrigued me since he began his professional career by leading the Pioneer League in RBIs and finishing second in home runs. In A ball he continued to post the numbers needed to progress thru the system, but this year in Northwest Arkansas, Robinson decided to go Rogers Hornsby on the Texas League and win the triple crown and now his name is thrown into the discussion of a potential logjam at first base.

Eric Hosmer (Gain): Hosmer was a key factor in 2009's disappointing minor league performance, but he as much as anyone is responsible for the system's incredible rebound in 2010. Hosmer is as complete a hitter as they come and he dominated the Carolina and Texas Leagues despite being under the legal drinking age for the summer. It'll be interesting to see if he returns to Springdale to open 2011, or if the Royals will send him to Omaha.

Ernesto Mejia (Loss): After Mejia won rookie of the year and most valuable player honors in the Venezuelan Winter League I had high hopes that he could be a steal of a minor league signing. Unfortunately his season was okay and he was passed by both Clint Robinson and Eric Hosmer. You could very easily say that Robinson was already ahead of him and that he was merely a stop gap until Hosmer was ready for double A and I wouldn't argue with you. Nonetheless the guy has displayed above average power as a pro and I entered the season optimistically thinking he could put it together.

Joey Lewis (Loss): Lewis had some big time power during his SEC days and while I never expected too much of him I'm disappointed that his power hasn't translated into his professional career.

Jacob Kuebler (Steady): The only reason Kuebler makes this list is because he displayed decent power during his stint with Idaho Falls this season. He is still young and maybe, just maybe he can figure something out.

Murray Watts (Gain): Could be this draft's version of Clint Robinson. Posted very similar numbers to Clint in the Pioneer League and has a good blend of power and plate discipline. He's old for his league so he has little room for error and must continue to prove himself at ever level.

Henry Moreno (Gain): After posting extremely unimpressive numbers in the Arizona League a season ago, Moreno returned to Surprise with a vengence in 2010. He tore up the league to a slash line of .327/.396/.599. Out of the guys on the bottom part of this list, he probably has the best shot at a major league career.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Prospect Stock Watch: Catchers

The following is a review of the Royals catchers that intrigue me enough to make a post about. I'm going to offer whether or not the player performed as well, better, or worse than what I personally expected. I'll also give a brief explanation on my thoughts. So let's begin.

Lucas May (Steady): Lucas May came over from the Dodgers system with some pretty impressive offensive numbers that many thought would regress once he was out of the hitter's paradise of triple A. However, his numbers stayed pretty consistent and actually showed small improvement. I don't think May is a long term solution for the Royals at catcher, but I do believe that he is good enough to help hold down the fort until a long term solution is found or is ready.

Manny Pina (Loss): I was able to watch Pina all season long and I can attest to the fact that his defensive skills are top notch. However, this was his second stint in the Texas League and he moved into a more hitter friendly park in Springdale and posted basically identical offensive numbers as his first season. He's got some promise to be a defensive oriented major league back up, but the bat has to improve.

Ben Theriot (Gain): Last season Theriot played in Idaho Falls and showed that he has a good feel for the strike zone and pretty good contact ability. This season Theriot bounced all around the Royals system in a way that shows the organization probably doesn't view him as anything more than an organizational guy. This season his contact improved as he hit full season ball and I'm going to say that he beat expectations by simply filling in for Northwest Arkansas and hitting .310 over 19 games.

Salvador Perez (Gain): Because so many Royals prospects had dominating seasons, Salvador Perez's quiet but impressive season has basically flown under the radar. Salvador Perez began the season as the youngest player in the Carolina League, in a league brutal on hitters, and a park brutal on hitters. Yet Perez was able to post solid numbers with a slash line of .290/.322/.411 in his first stop on the circuit. Perez has gotten the opportunity to play in the Arizona Fall League and with Myers beginning to take flyballs in the outfield, Perez may be the future for the Royals at catcher.

Wil Myers (Gain): Myers may be the top prospect in the entire Royals system after cleaning up the Midwest League, then seeing his numbers improve upon becoming the youngest hitter in the Carolina League. Myers could be a superstar in the outfield, but his value is greater if he can stay behind the plate. But as previously stated he has begun to take flyballs in the outfield during instructional league.

Travis Jones (Loss): After last year's draft there was some talk that Jones' power could make him a late round steal, but a year later we still haven't seen any of that batting practice power transferred into gametime at bats.

Jose Bonilla (Loss): Because of Baseball America's rating of Bonilla in their top 30 the past couple of years Bonilla has been pretty disappointing to Royals fans. I expected him to rebound this year in his second stint in low A. However, he struggled once again and it's hard to be to optimistic regarding Bonilla's future.

Kevin David (Gain): Like Jones, Kevin David has gotten some publicity as a guy that has displayed impressive power in instructional league and batting practice. He didn't show it in the games, but at this point his stock is higher than where it was when he was drafted in the 19th round.

Jin Ho Shin (Loss): At the time of Jin Ho Shin's signing he received the largest international signing bonus in team history on the Pacific Rim. Unfortunately he struggled in his professional debut in the Arizona League. He's very young and I remain very optimistic with Shin's future with the Royals.