Thursday, January 31, 2013

Prospect Countdown: #24 Justin Marks

24. Justin Marks Left Handed Pitcher

photo by
Age: 25
Position: LHP
Height: 6-3
Weight: 195
Acquired: Via trade with OAK on 11/10/10 with Vin Mazzaro for David DeJesus
From: Owensboro, KY

Paden Bennett (NR):  Marks has looked great in the Arizona Fall League, and hopefully he can finally translate that to a full season of consistent pitching.  Marks doesn't have ace stuff but he has above average stuff and I could easily see him making an impact in the Royals rotation as a 3-5 starter.  In order to do that, Marks will have to improve on his control and keep his walk rate down.  In 85 innings with Northwest Arkansas last season, Marks walked 38 batters.  That is too high for him to make the jump he needs to make.  Let's hope his numbers this offseason translate to the regular season.

Joe Cox (NR)Justin Marks is a 6-3, 195 pound left handed pitcher who made some positive strides in 2012.  The Royals like his arm enough to protect him from the rule 5 draft by adding him to the 40 man roster following the season.   Marks turned 25 earlier in January, and will hopefully play in Omaha to start the year.  Marks played primarily in AA last season, and while his numbers from his 17 starts don’t jump out at you, they were solid.  In 85 innings marks compiled 73 strike outs and had a 3.80 ERA.  He did walk too many with 38 free passes, but he has at least shown signs for potential growth.  While Marks does not project to be more than a back end starter or middle relief arm, I do think that he has a chance to be a valuable arm for a team in the Royals that need pitchers like him to stay solid and maintain pitching depth along the organizational ladder. 

Damion Mandalas (23):  I've said it many times, but while there is always a lot of attention placed on front end guys, accumulating prospects with back end potential also is important. Teams will always struggle to fill rotations with the top guys, but if you can fill in the gaps with guys like Justin Marks it can go along way in a team's development. I've heard it said many times, but an organization needs ten starting pitchers that are MLB capable to get through a season. Hopefully, Marks can go to Omaha, and be one of those guys should the Royals need to call upon him in 2013, whether for a spot start or as a trade piece.

It should be noted that Marks had a terrific Arizona Fall League campaign. In 24.1 innings pitched, Marks struck out 22 and walked just 5. He limited hitters to a .253 average. Let's hope this will springboard him into 2013.

Dan Ware (28):  Marks had an acceptable season with Northwest Arkansas in 2012.  Starting in 17 appearances on the mound for the Naturals, he compiled a 3.80 ERA in 85.1 innings.  After impressing coaches and the front office with his performance with the Naturals, he got the call to Omaha.  Let's just say we'll forget about his one and only start, even though we can't ignore him only throwing less than 2 innings, giving up 9 ER, 7 H, walking 3 and didn't record a strikeout.  Not everybody excels in their first AAA start.  This past offseason was "great success" (Borat) for Justin.  Competing in the Arizona Fall League, he started 7 games, ended with a 5-1 record, 2.59 ERA, throwing 24.1 innings, striking out 22 and walking just 5 batters.  If Marks can repeat those numbers for the Naturals this upcoming season, it won't be long before he gets another chance to pitch in Omaha.

Total Points: 11

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Prospect Countdown: #25 David Lough

25. David Lough Outfielder

AP Photo by Reed Hoffmann

Age: 26
Position: OF
Height: 5-11
Weight: 180
B/T: L/L
Acquired: Drafted in 11th Round of 2007 Amateur Draft
From: Akron, OH

Paden Bennett (NR):  Lough has been around for awhile now, and I have always had a soft spot for him.  He just gets it done every season.  A minor league career average of .294 with a .346 obp are awesome numbers.  I've always hoped he would take those numbers to the next level and become a staple in the Royals outfield for years to come but he hasn't ever made that jump but that doesnt mean hes not productive.  Lough can be a very productive player in the majors as a platoon guy, and I think he fits that bill in KC this season.

Joe Cox (20)David Lough is a player that could find himself on the major league roster for the entire 2013 season if he stays productive.  Lough is an athletic outfielder who can play all three positions and has shown throughout his minor league career that he can do a little bit of everything.  The soon to be 27 year old Lough got his first taste of the majors as a September call-up last season hitting .237 in 59 major league AB’s.  Lough earned the call-up after hitting .275/.317/.420 with AAA Omaha.  I read somewhere that Lough could be the Royals next Mitch Maier and I think that makes a lot of sense.  His defense and speed make him a valuable major league bench player, and on a team that currently has a thin outfield, Kansas City could use him in fairly regularly in 2013.

Damion Mandalas (NR): I've always been a David Lough fan. I really like what Joe said regarding a potential future as a Major League fourth outfielder. He's a guy that will likely never provide the production to be a first division regular, but he could be a valuable fourth or fifth outfielder. He has enough speed to steal and pinch run. He has enough contact and power to be a decent pinch hitter. He has enough range to fill in at any outfield spot. I like Lough and I think he is valuable as a depth piece moving forward. 

Dan Ware (NR):  Lough has endured his fair share of minor league ballgames.  640 to be exact.  That's quite the number for a 27 year old.  Although his short stint in Kansas City last season wasn't spectacular, at least he finally got a chance to play at Kauffman.  I'd like to see Lough in a Royals uniform all come April, but with our OF situation and Jarrod Dyson being the likely candidate for the 4th OF spot, David could see a lot more plate appearances in Omaha, rather than KC.  You can't argue with his solid career in the minors, the guy deserves a shot ("We said that about Ka'aihue and look what happened to him").  Not only has Lough been consistent with the bat over the years, he's got plus speed and he's a great in the outfield.  I hate to say this, but if he's going to be an everyday OF, I don't think it will be in a Royals uniform.

Total Points: 11

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Prospect Countdown: #26 Tim Melville

26. Tim Melville Right Handed Pitcher

photo courtesy of: Brad Glazier,
Age: 23
Position: RHP
Height: 6-5
Weight: 210
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Drafted in the 4th Round of the 2008 Amateur Draft
From: Wentzville, MO

Paden Bennett (NR):  Melville was one of my favorite Royals prospects for his first couple seasons, but as the years have gone on he has been one of the most frustrating prospects in recent memory.  He has excellent stuff but Melville just cant seem to figure it out.  He has struggled to find an "out pitch" or a good secondary pitch to go along with his great fastball.  My hopes are all but gone for Melville.

Joe Cox (25)Melville will be entering is age 23 season, and needs to show major improvements if he wants to progress through the minors.  Melville has a projectable frame at 6-5 210 pounds, and was a top prospect coming into the 2008 amateur draft.  The Royals swooped on him later in the draft because of sign-ability issues, but have yet to reap any benefits from Melville.  2012 proved to be his worst professional season to date, as he showed continued problems with command and was also injured for much of the year.   Melville’s fastball can touch 95, and anyone who can do that has hope.  For Melville a move to the pen appears to be in order.  If he can find any secondary pitch and can somehow find the zone his ceiling looks to be that of a middle reliever if he makes it to the majors at all.

Damion Mandalas (NR): At this point Tim Melville's stock on prospect ratings is based purely off his pedigree. In his first three seasons, Melville was average at best relative to his league competition. Last season, Melville was limited to just 34.1 innings and was atrocious. Hopefully, poor health played into his performance, but I have trouble seeing him as anything more than a bust. With such strong stuff and the fact that he is going to be just 23 for 2013, perhaps he can regain some sort of form and confidence and find some semblance in a bullpen role.

Dan Ware (26):  Tim's 4 year career in the minors has been, for the most part, a disappointment.  A lot of people seem to think that he'll never even get to the wear the Royals uniform at Kauffman because of his performance in the minors.  Here's another guy on my list that I want to see improve drastically to get a call to the show.  Perhaps it's being the same age and growing up just a few hours away from my hometown.  I see a situation with Melville similar to what we've recently discussed with Brett Eibner.  It wouldn't surprise me if Tim were given one more chance to prove himself in the rotation before coaches decide to put him in the 'pen.  If he can work the kinks out of his control issues, he'll be deadly.  

Total Points: 11

Saturday, January 26, 2013

KC Claims Kottaras

The Royals found their 2013 backup catcher by claiming George Kottaras off of waivers this afternoon.  Kottaras designated for assignment by the Oakland A's after he became expendable when they acquired John Jaso in a trade last week.  Before the acquisition of Jaso, Kottaras appeared to be in line for a part time job splitting time with Derek Norris.  Now Kottaras will be the primary back up for Salvador Perez in Kansas City.  Kottaras avoided arbitration with the A's earlier in the winter and will be earning $1 million dollars this season.

The only way Kottaras will see regular playing time with the Royals would be due to an injury from Perez, so clearly Royals fans will prefer to not see too much from Kottaras this season.  He does, however, represent a big upgrade in the back up backstop role over Brett Hayes.  While Kottaras is not known as a great defender behind the plate, he can hold is own and has been a solid catcher for the Red Sox, Brewers, A's over the last few years.

At the plate Kottaras is a three true outcome hitter.  Last season with the Brewers and A's he hit only .211, but got on base 35% of the time thanks to a walk percentage just over 17%.  He also struck out 48 times in his 171 at bats, so he is suspect to the strike out.  Kottaras has more power than most back-up catchers cranking nine homers last season.

It is a low risk pick up by the Royals that certainly helps the major league roster.  Kottaras could be one of the better back-up catchers in baseball this year, and will surely handle his role behind Sal Perez well.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Rant of the Week: Imaginary Giveaways

This week is different from other weeks. I’m going to spend this post not ranting about something that ticks me off, I’m going to rant about how GREAT something is. What could have made me change the entire purpose of my rants you ask? The fantastic collective imagination of marketing individuals in baseball would be the answer!

I’m sure you’ve heard the words Manti Te’o, hoax, and imaginary girlfriend several hundred times this week. And while the whole story is messed up, what’s not messed up is a baseball team using one Notre Dame Linebacker’s embarrassment to their advantage. As I first heard from Darren Rovell of, an independent baseball team, the Florence Freedom in Florence, Ky., announced it would have Manti Te'o Girlfriend Bobblehead Day.

“As part of the promotion in late May, fans would get an empty bobblehead box, there will be a pretend kiss cam for fans to kiss their imaginary friends and there will be an imaginary food fight in the kids' area, as well as an air guitar contest.”

And if there’s anything better than the promotion, it’s probably the Freedom’s General Manager and his nonchalant attitude about the event: “There's not a lot to do to get attention in January," said the team's general manager Josh Anderson. "You have to find some way to get the buzz."

The Freedom aren't the first team to do an imaginary giveaway. As Rovell mentioned, the Peoria Chiefs, the Chicago Cubs single-A affiliate, gave out imaginary Lebron James championship rings in 2011 after James and his Heat lost to the Mavericks in the NBA Finals. But as much of a punch line James used to be, this Te’o scandal is really igniting a lot of imaginations; some better than others.

The New York Mets’ Class A Brooklyn Cyclones will hold a “Fictitious Friday” on June 21. Sid Finch will make his professional debut against Roy Hobbs and the New York Knights — all fictional. The Cyclones said they will have a petting zoo “featuring a unicorn, a mermaid and a Minotaur,” adding they “are also in discussions with the Loch Ness Monster and Big Foot to throw out a ceremonial first pitch.”

“Fans should be sure to arrive early because prior to the game, The Beatles will reunite for a once-in-a-lifetime concert event,” Cyclones spokesman Jason Solomon said in an email to the Associated Press, adding, “OK, that’s apparently not true either, but this girl I met online told me she could make it happen.”

My favorite part of that promotion, however, is that all player headshots on the video board that night will be photos of random people throughout the stadium. Genius.

I'm not done. According to their release, the San Jose Giants will kick off their 2013 promotional schedule with an ode to the biggest, and strangest, sports story to break so far this year. On Friday, April 12 the organization will host Lennay Kekua Night at Municipal Stadium. Items such as catfish will be featured on the Turkey Mike's BBQ menu and fans who purchase a game ticket can bring their imaginary or real significant other to the game for free. A meet and greet will also take place prior to the game for all couples to introduce their significant others to their parents, to avoid any confusion about the existence of a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Two free future game tickets will be given to all fans who dress like Manti Te'o and to all Stanford University students because they may know or be Te'o's girlfriend. During the game, promotions will include individuals and their imaginary significant others competing to win great prizes.

To take a man’s most embarrassing and vulnerable moment and to exploit it for profit is absolutely genius, and I say that because I believe Te’o was in on the hoax and he is a d-bag. A d-bag that is about to make a Thirsty Thursday promotion an afterthought while his imaginary girlfriend’s bobblehead makes her way around Kentucky faster than Te’o began hiring a lawyer after the Deadspin article came out.

And it’s glorious.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Rant of the Week: The Fan Vote

On Monday, the uber-popular video game MLB 13: The Show, launched a fan vote contest for the cover athlete. It was between Andrew McCutchen, Matt Kemp, Buster Posey, Bryce Harper, Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera and CC Sabathia. And although McCutchen won, the fan vote, once again, opened up the risk of small markets being left in the dust.

Fan votes are like political elections, except for the fact there are 30+ different politicians, and they all have varying populations of constituents. So the politicians from the New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago districts will always receive more votes than those from, say, the Kansas City area. It’s not those larger areas fault for having more people, that’s just the way it is. But when it comes to fan votes, there is a designed biased that is almost impossible to overcome.

If I had to guess the reason McCutchen, who plays for the not-so-big Pittsburgh market, won is that it was not a 30 team selection, it was a seven player selection. And while the markets of New York and Los Angeles had their representatives (I mean, CC Sabathia as the ONLY pitcher to make the finalists stinks of New York biased appeasement), Braun and McCutchen were also finalists. If there’s one thing small market fans have in common, is that we HATE big market teams. So with a group of seven, the small market fans cast their vote(s) towards a small market player and one that didn’t have any history with performance enhancing drugs, even if that history has been kept in a fridge and then dropped in a court of law.

But even the small markets colluding to vote in an underdog isn’t good. My example is and always will be the first ever fan-vote that decided the cover athlete of Madden 12. Peyton Hillis. PEYTON HILLIS! Yeah, he had a 1,000 yard season, and was good throughout the year for the Browns, but for him to be the face for one of the most popular sports franchise games of all time is laughable. And it wasn’t like Electronic Arts, the creator of the game, put Hillis in a good position to succeed; as a 10th seed, Hillis went head-to-head in the voting against Ray Rice (7 seed), Matt Ryan (2 seed), Jamaal Charles (6 seed), and Aaron Rodgers (1 seed) before finally beating Michael Vick, a 3 seed, in the championship round.

This is the downfall of a fan vote. When guy’s like Hillis are winning. Sure, Madden 13 fan vote corrected itself with Calvin Johnson winning, but the damage has been done. That doesn’t mean I don’t like participating myself. I voted in the MLB 13 fan vote. I voted in both Madden fan votes. And you better be dang sure I stuff the ballot box as much as I can for the NFL Pro Bowl and MLB All-Star Game. Fan votes allow fans to feel like they have a voice, and that their voice will be heard. And there are a lot of players that don’t get the media coverage in small markets but get into those games because of grassroot campaigns started by the fans. Heck, I voted for Alex Gordon to get into the All-Star game so much in 2011 that the Royals gave me two free tickets to a game. Don’t’ get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy the fan vote, but I recognize the pitfalls.

When the options are a big market hero and a small market underdog, maybe we should just leave it to the professionals. Because isn’t it better to be pissed off at EA than pissed off at the rest of America?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Prospect Countdown: #27 Humberto Artenaga

27. Humberto Arteaga Short Stop

photo courtesy of:

Age: 18
Position: SS
Height: 6-1
Weight: 160
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Signed as International Free Agent on 8/10/10 for $1.1 million
From: Caracas, Venezuela

Paden Bennett (NR):  Arteage is a young pup, but it doesn't seem to be phasing him.  He has been called a smooth fielding shortstop with great hands.  His defense is what has people salivating right now but his hitting also has been better than I expected at his age.  His .274 avg last season is something to get excited about.  Keep your eye on this kid.

Joe Cox (28): Arteaga played his second professional season in the Appalachian League and impressed in every facet of his game.  Fangraphs Mike Newman ranked him as his 10th best Shortstop prospect in 2012, and was very impressed with how 'smooth' he was playing shortstop.  While Arteaga's best gift may be his glove, he also improved at the plate last season.  Arteaga only turns 19 in January and will look to continue to show an ability to hit older competition.  While Arteaga is a long ways away from the majors, he is a raw talent and an exciting prospect to keep your eye on in 2013.

Damion Mandalas (22): There was a brief moment following the breaking of the James Shields trade in which it seemed Arteaga would no longer after Clint Scoles incorrectly tweeted that he heard Arteaga was on the move. Ultimately, fellow Burlington Royal infielder Patrick Leonard was sent to Tampa Bay as the fourth piece in the deal. As a result, the Royals system will continue to possess a wealth of prospects at the lower levels of the system.

I like Arteaga and was impressed by his season in a tough hitting environment in the Appalachian League. It will be interesting to see how the Royals handle their shortstop prospects for the 2013 season. Quite frankly, there are three Royals short stop prospects that it could be argued should be assigned to Low-A Lexington. Adalberto Mondesi impressed in Idaho Falls and is clearly ready for full season ball. Humberto Arteaga had a nice debut in Burlington, and Jack Lopez could benefit from a return trip to Low-A. We will see how the Royals navigate this, but if I had to guess, I'd expect to see Arteaga get the large majority of his 2013 at bats in Idaho Falls. 

Dan Ware (NR): At age 18, Humberto possesses great potential at SS as he has an extremely advanced glove in the field, amazing range, strong and accurate arm, along with quality fundamentals.  A much improved line of .274/.313/.380 in 2012 should only improve with his short, compact swing, which has received great praise.  Some extra pop could always turn up at some point in the future, but the Royals aren't expecting much more than what he has presently.  Hopefully we can see Arteaga begin his 2013 campaign in Idaho Falls.

Total Points: 9

ZIPS Projections

Fangraphs released their 2013 Kansas City Royals ZIPs projections today. If you haven't checked them out, you can do so here. With the new projections, I wanted to take a moment to plug them into Royal Review's wonderful projection machine to determine what kind of win output we could expect if the Royals play to their ZIPs projections in 2013.

Just a refresher, the Bill James projections spit out a 94-68 record. Cairo called for 83-79. Repeat performances in 2012 with health called for 86-76. However, the ZIPs win total isn't as rosy projecting Kansas City to go 78-84 in 2013. To be blunt, this type of performance would likely result in an administration overhaul entering the 2013-14 offseason.

Averaging out the four projection systems, we see the Royals at an 85-77 mark. If the Royals can reach 85 wins, I think a lot of us would be pretty happy with that sort of step in the right direction. To be blunt, meaningful games in September would be enough to make this season a success in my eyes.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Prospect Countdown: #28 Brett Eibner

28. Brett Eibner Centerfielder

Age: 24
Position: OF
Height: 6-3
Weight: 195
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Drafted in the 2nd Round of 2010 Amateur Draft
From: The Woodlands, TX

Paden Bennett (28):  I love Brett Eibner. I said it.  Although there hasn't been much to love so far in his brief career.  Eibner has always been appealing to me because of his athleticism, his power, and his ability to see pitches.  He has shown the ability to draw walks in his 2 seasons of A ball and also has raw power.  This is a big season for Eibner, he has to show an ability to hit for a decent average somewhere in the .250 range while also maintaining his good power and plate discipline.

Joe Cox (29): Eibner is a natural athlete and former 2nd round pick in the 2010 amateur draft.  Coming into 2012, Eibner was a prospect on the lookout for Kansas City if he could continue to display power and an ability to take walks, while providing solid defense in the outfield.  The problem with Eibner in 2012 was that he took a step back in his first season at high A, and at 24 is running out of time considering his level.  He was able to hit 15 home runs in 423 at bats, but struck out a robust 34% of the time.  Clearly Eibner is going to have to hit over the Mendoza line if he wants to have a bounce back season in 2013.  

Damion Mandalas (NR): Since Kansas City's high-A affiliate returned to Wilmington in 2007, only ten players have hit double digit home runs. Only five times during that span has a player hit more home runs than Eibner's 15 in 2012. There is no doubt that he offers power. However, as has been previously stated, he has to make strides with the bat. Eibner has one more season before he will be eligible for the Rule V draft if he is not protected. Due to his arm, there is a chance that another organization could take him with the idea of transitioning him to the mound (though I find this extremely unlikely). Either way, we need to see big strides from Eibner in 2013. 

Dan Ware (27):  Eibner is still on my personal list of favorites in the minors.  Ever since his days at Arkansas mashing walk-offs and firing his 97 mph fastball from the mound, he was indeed fun to watch, especially during the College World Series.  Since being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft, he hasn't lived up to expectations.  He's a definite 4 tools player: above average runner, great defender in center, good arm and great power.  Last season in Wilmington, he posted a HR/OFB% of 13.9.  Just a shade under his 2010 percentage, but well above the Carolina League average.

The only problem with Eibner is that he is a below average contact hitter.  Although, scouts have said he has good plate discipline, in that he doesn't swing at pitches outside the zone all that often, his long and violent swing make for a lot of swing-and-miss.  I do believe this will be the deciding year for Brett on whether a move back to the mound will be necessary.

Total Points: 9

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Disappointment in Pete

The subject of this post is Pete Grathoff's Saturday article regarding Jeff Francoeur. If you haven't read Pete Grathoff's article, you can read it here. If you've never heard of Pete Grathoff, then you are not unlike myself.

First off, let me just say that yes, the general premise of the article is correct. A team can make the playoffs with a player like Jeff Francoeur. Let me go on to say that I do expect Jeff Francoeur to be better in 2013 than he was in 2012. Although, I don't expect him to be that much better.

Back to the article, which I don't think should be taken seriously as a quality piece of sports writing. Actually, when I think of what the article represents, I think of Pete writing it up to try and salvage a last bit of pride after his friend tore him apart in a debate over Jeff Francoeur's value. What probably happened was Pete was defending Francoeur saying things like: "well, he's got a great arm and was a Gold Glove finalist" or "come on, he wasn't that bad" and of course Pete would have said something like "well metrics can't quantify Jeff Francoeur's intangibles."

Of course, by the end of the argument Pete probably felt as though he had been beaten down. In a last ditch effort to save face he wrote an article as a way to save face. Pete likely remembered his friend triumphantly saying "See! The Royals cannot make the playoffs with Jeff Francoeur on the team!" This was the line that Pete kept dwelling on. As he sat down for dinner it played through his head. As he showered the thought kept ringing in his mind.

Eventually, he said to himself "Well dammit! I am going to look at the sabermathematics thing ma-bobs and I'm going to prove to my no-good dirty rotten pig stealin' friend that the Royals can make the playoffs with Frenchy!" And that is what he did.

So Pete poured through the Wins Above Replacement numbers for each of the teams that made the playoffs. Eventually, he found two teams that had players with worse rWARs than Jeff Francoeur. Of course, he couldn't do this with fWAR, because there were no players with worse fWARs than Francoeur, but I digress. The two teams that he did find were the Detroit Tigers with Brennan Boesch and Delmon Young and the Texas Rangers with Michael Young.

Now that the article has been written, it appears that Pete's got us beat. I don't see why we are all complaining about Frenchy so much. It has been proven that the Royals can make the playoffs with a player as dismal as 2012 Francoeur. Although, we should all ignore the fact that outside of Michael Young, the Texas Rangers had one of the most talented rosters of the decade. Let's also not forget that despite their talented roster they lost the division by one game and were forced to play in a one game playoff that ultimately led to their premature elimination. Hey Pete, how many WAR was Michael Young worth again? You can put down your calculator, it was around -1.

Oh, I'm sorry Pete. I forgot about the Detroit Tigers. You know the team with the top 3-4 combination and best pitcher Major League Baseball. The clear preseason favorites in the American League Central. The team that almost pissed it away thanks to the performances of Boesch and Young.

Ultimately, the problem with this article is the undertone that the Royals shouldn't be concerned about Frenchy because other teams have made the playoffs with similar blackholes in their lineup. The obvious difference between Kansas City and the aforementioned teams is that both of those teams were World Series favorites entering the season and the Royals are on the peripheral of contention.

The Royals absolutely can't afford to be complacent at any position. Kansas City has to seek to improve anywhere they can, even if it is marginal. Right field is one area in which the Royals could upgrade simply by subtraction. Royals fans aren't claiming that it is impossible to win with bad players. But Royals fans are smart enough to realize that this team can't afford to cut any corner. Hopefully, a Kansas City Star writer can understand that.

Prospect Countdown: #29 Rey Navarro

29. Rey Navarro Shortstop

Joy R. Absalon/

Age: 23
Position: SS
Height: 5-10
Weight: 175
B/T: S/R
Acquired: Via trade with ARI on 5/1/10 for Carlos Rosa
From: Caguas, Puerto Rico

Paden Bennett (NR):  Navarro is known for his superb defense, has progressed nicely through the system.    His hitting still leaves a lot to be desired but his glove work is above average.  He will have a shot at starting the season in Omaha and hopefully his hitting continues to develop.

Joe Cox (NR): The 23 year-old Navarro has slowly made his way up the minor leagues, and he looks to have a good chance of starting the 2013 in Omaha.  A former top 10 prospect in 2010 with the Diamondbacks organization, Navarro has struggled at the plate for really his entire career.  The skill Navarro seems to impress most with is his glove which makes him valuable depth at the shortstop position, but his inability to hit seems to gives him a ceiling of a backup.  He is still young and makes good contact, so there is still room for growth here.  

Damion Mandalas (NR): I see Navarro's ceiling as that of a glove first utility man on the Major League roster. What separates him from the Royals other utility options (Irving Falu, Anthony Seratelli, Miguel Tejeda, and Tony Abreu) is his ability to straight pick it at short. The bat needs to progress as 2012 was a big step back for him. He's never going to hit for much power, but if he can avoid strikeouts and make solid contact like he displayed with his 18.6% LD% in 2011, he could be a regular. I don't see this happening, but I do expect him to eventually service at the Major League level. 

Dan Ware (23):  With six professional seasons under his belt, at the young age of 23, Navarro has ventured all the way from Rookie League ball to Triple-A as of last year.  In 2012, Rey spent the majority of his time in a Naturals uniform, hitting just .250 in 449 plate appearances   Although, it was a short stint, he had a promising 17 games in Omaha with a line of .300/.391/.400.  Known for his defense at shortstop, the few errors he commits will begin to decrease when age and maturity continues, but the fact that he has great range and athleticism will only benefit him.  Come Spring Training, he'll have some competition to go against in Christian Colon in order to acquire the starting SS spot in Omaha.

Total Points: 8