Monday, May 30, 2011

Poll Results on Standing Prediction

Finally I am going to post the results for our latest poll which asked "In what place do you think the Royals will finish in the AL Central this season?" Here were the results:

  1. 6 votes (17 %)

  2. 5 votes (14%)

  3. 19 votes (54%)

  4. 4 votes (11%)

  5. 1 vote (2%)

The Royals haven't finished in the top three since 2003, when they posted an 83-79 record. At this point they are 0.5 games ahead of the White Sox for third, and 3 games behind Detroit for second. The fact that just 1 person believe the Royals would finish last, tells me that people have really lost faith in the Minnesota Twins, a team that was predicted by many to win the AL Central in 2011.

Be sure to cast your vote in the latest poll regarding who you believe the Royals will select in the upcoming Rule IV draft.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Remembering Splitt

Paul Splittorff has passed from this world, but there is no reason for him to ever pass from Royals lore. Splittorff was drafted in the 25th round of the 1968 draft. At the time he joined an organization that had never played a game at the highest level of competition. He was a tall lefty that wore thick glasses on his face, but he went to the New York Penn League after signing and 3.45 era in 120 innings of work.

The next year was 1969 and Splitt was sent to triple A Omaha for the season. He faired well, but it wasn't until September 23, 1970 that he made his debut. The next season he would join the Royals rotation for good and finished the year with a 2.68 era, which in 1971 was good for only fifth in the Jackie Robinson Award voting.

Splittorff would pitch for the Royals for fifteen seasons and would retire the year before the Royals acheived their ultimate goal. He would never don the uniform of another city, and he was Royal blue until the day he died.

Splittorff finished his career with 166 wins and a 3.81 era. He pitched 2554.2 innings for Kansas City and he was a critical reason for the Royals finding success in such a quick fashion. The man dedicated his life to the organization.

Even after he retired from baseball he returned to the organiation as a play by play guy. By all accounts he was a hard worker in this department just as he had been during his career. Splittorff was never content with getting by on his name. He always wanting to be better because that is what the fans deserved.

I am not the first to propose this, and I am not going to be the first to demand it. But there is a statue missing from monument park and it should be a tall lefty wearing thick glasses on his face.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lack of Posts

I apologize for the lack of posting recently. I have actually left the country for awhile and am currently in London, because of this I haven't had time to get the posts up that I would have liked. Also, I am sure all of you now know about the tragedy that has struck my hometown of Joplin, MO which has also contributed to my lack of posts. I don't mean to make excuses but my mind is currently elsewhere.

Nonetheless I hope to get some things up in the near future. I miss being able to watch or listen to the Royals. There are internet restrictions that don't allow me to stream audio, video, or gamecasts. For this reason I have only been able to check box scores. But even more than that I miss my hometown and I wish that I could be there to help the rebuild.

Please keep Joplin, MO in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, May 16, 2011

What Should the Royals Do?

So the Kyle Davies situation brings about an interesting situation for the Royals and when Ned Yost elected to bring in Tuesday's starter Vin Mazzaro and he imploded it caused an even murkier situation.

It appears that the Royals now need two starters in their big league rotation. So let's look at the possibilities.

Aaron Crow: I don't think I am alone in hoping that the Royals elect to stretch Crow out. If the Royals do this it may take a couple of starts to get Crow's pitch count where it needs to be, but his upside could be the highest among the starter options.

Mike Montgomery: The factors that are preventing Monty from getting immediately promoted are that he got shelled in his last start in Colorado Springs and money. If Montgomery would have dominated in his last start I wouldn't have been shocked at all to see Monty given an opportunity in the big league pen. However, with his struggles with control and his implosion against the Sky Sox, it makes sense that the Royals would leave him in Omaha and make him for their hand.

Danny Duffy: Duffy had perhaps his worst start last time out. But his numbers are still strong enough to warrant a big league promotion. I believe that even if Duffy doesn't live up to the hype he would still represent an upgrade over almost every pitcher in our rotation. A factor working against Duffy though is the service time issue and Super 2.

Jeff Suppan: Suppan could be the option the Royals go with should they chose to pinch pennies. However, there is no reason to believe that he has earned his promotion. He entered tonight with an era around 5 and then proceeded to get shelled.

Nate Adcock: Adcock was viewed as a darkhorse rotation candidate entering the season. Adcock could be granted a few starts as the Royals wait for Monty and/or Duffy to prove themselves and delay their Super 2.

Kevin Pucetas/Luis Mendoza/Blake Johnson: All are on the 40-man roster so the Royals could use them as stop gaps until they believe one of the prospects are ready. If the Royals aren't comfortable with the previous options then it is safe to assume that they would write off Mazzaro's poor performance tonight to circumstance and allow him to continue work until the farm is ready.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Harvest of the Process

Well that was probably the shortest shelf life ever for a Royals blog poll. Just over twenty-four hours ago I asked the fans: which of the Royals elite prospects would be the first to reach the Majors. Of course if it is any consolation Eric Hosmer was leading the race with 6 votes compared to 2 for Danny Duffy and 1 for Mike Moustakas.

Eric Hosmer's promotion to the majors has already become a symbol for the Royals' fan base. It reprsents the moment that the Royals transitioned to a new stage of the Process. The stage in which the Process transitions from an underground operation with a cult following into the limelight with every Royals fan taking notice on a daily basis.

Sure the Royals have already received major contributions from several rookies. Actually six are already on the roster. Aaron Crow has been dominant in the back end of the bullpen. Jeremy Jeffress has dazzled fans with an upper 90s fastball. Tim Collins has corkscrewed his way into a key relief role. Louis Coleman has deceived hitters throughout his first couple of weeks in Royal blue. Nate Adcock has transitioned from mop up duty to sinker ball specialist. Jarrod Dyson has almost single handedly stolen multiple wins from the jaws of defeat.

But now the Royals will finally tap into that cashcrop of prospects that set a record for placing the most players ever on the Baseball America top 100 prospect list. Eric Hosmer, who many regard as the third best hitting prospect in all of Minor League baseball will make his debut tonight.

We are no longer tasting the appetizer and we are no longer seeing the tip of the iceberg. What is about to happen in Kansas City will be the main course of what Royals hope will be a five course dinner that leads to multiple postseason appearances and dare we say World Series titles.

Prior to the season it seemed that every major publication that predicted future World Series winners was calling for big time results in Kansas City as soon as 2013. Royals fans have even discussed Mission:2012 as the calling card for the Royals ascension to contention. But now, with the Royals 17-14, just 4.5 behind the surprise Cleveland Indians and tied for first in the AL Wilcard race. Royals fans look at how Detroit, Chicago and Minnesota are struggling.

Royals fans look at Alex Gordon, Jeff Francoeur, and Wilson Betemit, all guys who have been previously regarded as top prospects who are now entering the prime of their careers. All of which are currently in the process of breaking out. Sure in a month we could be talking about how all have fallen off after their blazing starts. But is it totally unreasonable to hope or even assume that this could be more?

What if Gordon, Francoeur, and Betemit really have turned a corner in their careers? Shouldn't the Royals attempt to grab the race by the throat and go for it? Apparently the organization feels like they should. With the promotion of Eric Hosmer the Royals have announced to the rest of the AL Central and the American League that it is time to stop messing around. If Gordon, Francoeur, and Betemit can continue to rake we won't be looking forward to 2012 anymore. Instead the Process will be looking at Operation:2011.

Tonight the Royals will improve the heart of their order by hitting Eric Hosmer sixth and they will improve their infield with Eric Hosmer at first. Eric Hosmer will be granted the luxury of hitting in the middle of the order with hot sticks in front of him and on most nights Wilson Betemit hitting behind him.

I prefer Hosmer in this spot. It is the perfect place where Hosmer can produce and come up to the plate in important situations, but also not have the weight of the offense on his back. I also believe that on night's when Wilson Betemit is hitting 7th Hosmer will benefit from a strong bat in the on deck circle. Teams will be forced to pitch to the rookie much more than if his protection was Matt Traenor or Brayan Pena.

This brings up an interesting point. Was Kila Ka'aihue really granted a fair opportunity? He hit in the heart of the order at the start of the season but after a dreadful start was bumped all the way down to the 7th spot. Once there he was afforded no protection and continued to struggle. Eventually he found himself in a platoon and finally he found himself on the bench before his eventual demotion.

In Kila's last eight games there was evidence that he had begun to turn things aroud from a statistical standpoint. Obviously these cues were lost on Manager Ned Yost and General Manager Dayton Moore. Kila Ka'aihue will likely join the immortal likes of Calvin Pickering and Ken Harvey in the Royals blogosphere. Always wondering what could have been had he been granted a longer opportunity or not struggled so much out of the gate in 2011.

Ultimately though the Royals future didn't fall on the back of Kila Ka'aihue in anyway. Truth be told the best case was that he raked in 2011 and the Royals could have netted a decent prospect in return. It came to a point though that Eric Hosmer could no longer hold Hosmer back.

With just another month to go before the organization could have held off Super 2 status the team decided that Hosmer was too ready to hold back. Hosmer was hitting .439/.525/.582 through twenty-six games in Omaha. It was time to make the switch. The organization clearly felt that from both a developmental and competitive standpoint it was Hosmer's time to shine in Kansas City.

At this point in time I have little reason to doubt the Royals ability to develop prospects. Hosmer had a babip of nearly .500 and almost all of his offensive value while at Omaha had come by hitting singles. It isn't exactly what you'd hope for when it comes for a middle of the order bat, but reports are that Hosmer was hitting the ball hard almost every time up to the plate.

Hosmer has great plate discipline. He has a sweet stroke and uses the opposite field with ease. He commands the strikezone. He has been compared Joey Votto, Will Clark, Mark Teixeira, and Adrian Gonzalez. His line in Omaha doesn't scream power, but I have little doubt that he is going to rake in the Majors. He is the rare prospect whose back is going to immediately impact the Major League level.

Mark Hosmer's promotion as another tick in David Glass' favor as he continues to rebuild his fickle image. While reports that this promotion will cost the Royals upwards of $15 mill are exaggerated. There is a strong possibility that by promoting Hosmer on May 5th instead of June 15th, the Royals will have cost themselves some leverage in negotiating a long term deal and even about $7 million in his first arbitration case.

Although I don't think anyone would complain if Hosmer was awarded Ryan Howard's $10 million as a first time Super 2 arbitration eligible, given that it would mean that Hosmer will have already won an MVP award.

What Royals fans are all probably hoping is that the Royals will lock up Eric Hosmer sooner rather than later and all of the arbitration talk will be moot. It has become a popular move to provide a top young player financial security while also buying out arbitration and a couple of years of free agency.

Evan Longoria was promoted to the Majors with such a deal in place and now it is generally regarded as the most team friendly deal in all of baseball. There is a fear though that since Eric Hosmer's agent is Scott Boras the Royals won't even be granted an opportunity to lockup their young star. This fear is not necessary for Royals fans. Look at Carlos Gonzalez who just signed a 7 year, $80 million. Gonzalez, like Hosmer, is also advised by Scott Boras.

I believe that if the Royals win Hosmer will be in Kansas City longer than the typical six years of pre free agency service. Hosmer's best friend is Mike Moustakas and if the Royals start adding to the flags I have little doubt that Dayton Moore and David Glass will do everything they can to keep their superstars in Kansas City for as long as possible.

Speaking of Mike Moustakas. I am going to predict that he gets real hot starting yesterday. The promotion of Eric Hosmer to Kansas City is going to serve as a notice for all of the prospects at the triple A level. If you can help the Big club then you are going to be given that opportunity. The Royals aren't messing around and it is time to get this thing started.

Particularly Mike Moustakas, Danny Duffy, and Mike Montgomery could make impacts on the Major League club. The rotation has struggled this season and Danny Duffy and Mike Montgomery could offer quick and effective upgrades. But guys like David Lough, Lorenzo Cain, and Johnny Giavotella could also get an opportunity to prove their worth this season.

The Royals offense, which is already tops in the American League with 162 runs scored just got another potent weapon to work with. With an offense that strong the Royals should continue to be right in the race and if the pitching staff can get an upgrade the Royals really could be playing meaningful games all season long. Something that I have a hard time even grasping, considering I have never witnessed it in my lifetime.

Perhaps in ten years the Royals won't celebrate on Cinco de Mayo because of Mexican heritage, but instead because they can look back on it as the day that Eric Hosmer got called up, the day the Process hit Kansas City, and the day the Royals organization finally revived itself into an American League power.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Poll Results and Thoughts

In our latest poll I asked the readers what the Royals should do with their prospects should they continue to find themselves in the middle of the AL Central race. One month later this question remains relevant and here are the results:

  • I stick with my Major Leaguers: 3 votes 10%

  • I stay the course: 13 votes 44%

  • I trade them for something useful to the Major League team: 0 votes

  • I promote them even faster: 13 votes 44%

Like the voters I am torn in between the stay the course option and the promote them even faster option. However, at this point I am leaning more towards staying the course. I have been on record saying that I believe Eric Hosmer will immediately produce when called up to the Majors. I also believe that Danny Duffy and Mike Montgomery could provide major upgrades to the big league rotation.

I am going to take this opportunity to say that I don't think now is the time to promote Montgomery. I said he'd be an upgrade, but don't be fooled by his era he is ot big league ready. he has consistently thrown a high percentage of balls in his starts and his strikeout to walk ratio this season hasn't been too flattering.

At this point though I believe the best course of action would be to see how things play out over the next month. We don't want to be fooled by a mirage and at this point I believe that is what might be happening everytime we look at the standings. If we wait a month we will have a larger sample to base decisions on and we will have effectively delayed the arbitratio clocks for any prospects that are called up.

Be sure to vote in the latest poll regarding which prospect you think will be the first to reach the Majors.