Monday, June 06, 2005

Monday Notes: MVP -- Emil Brown?

-- Predictably, the fun of a four-game winning streak ended with the appearance of Jose Lima (and Steve Stemle - ouch). Jose is the ultimate buzzkill. Somehow, the Royals saw fit upon Jeremy Affeldt's return to DFA Ryan Jensen, who has been reasonably effective in 2 of 3 outings, instead of releasing Lima outright. Maybe there are some 40-man roster issues there that limited their hand, but the Royals must let his guy go as soon as it makes sense roster-wise.

-- Zack Greinke was roughed up yesterday as well. It seems to me that Zach might be the kind of pitcher who might thrive on weak-to-mediocre hitting teams but get beaten up by strong hitting clubs like the Rangers. I'd have to do some research to confirm the hypothesis (and of course every pitcher will be more successful against weak hitting teams), but my sense is that Zack has struggled disproportionately against strong hitting ballclubs because he lacks a strikeout pitch. I think we have to remember that Zack is still very young and learning on the job, so he's going to have the occasional string of subpar outings. But I'm beginning to wonder if he might ultimately settle at a #2 type pitcher, simply because he's never going to develop the strikeout repertoire necessary to be a truly dominant #1 pitcher. Apologists like to point to Maddux as evidence that it can happen, but I think it proves just the opposite - its so exceedingly rare for a finesse artist to become an elite pitcher that we shouldn't hold our breath on Zack Greinke.

-- Jeremy Affeldt, fresh off another stint on the DL, is adding "Whiner" to his repertoire of unfavorable labels. He grumbled to the Star about MacDougal being the closer and thinks he deserves to return to that spot after spending nearly 2 months on the DL. If there were ever a poster boy for the spoiled, bratty athlete, its Jeremy Affeldt. Affeldt has been a complete bust with the Royals and has become worse and more injury-prone every season. In addition, he's whines to the media about his poor treatment at the hand of the nasty Royals. I've never understood why so many people think the Royals screwed him by challenging him in arbitration over a $200,000.

Here's a novel idea: how 'bout we see Jeremy pitch well consistently for at least a couple of months and stay off the disabled list. Then, and only then, perhaps he can talk about what he "deserves". Frankly, I don't see that day happening.

-- What the hell is happening with Denny Bautista? It always concerns me when the Royals keep silent on an injured player.

-- The MVP on the worst team in baseball is a pyrrhic honor, but since someone must receive it I think to this point it might have to go to Emil Brown simply because he's been so surprisingly good. At the end of April, he was probably the last candidate for MVP, sporting a frostbitten .161/.254/.339 line. But he rebounded nicely to post a .313./.389/.506 line in May and has been even better thus far in June. I think his defensive play has also improved throughout the season and despite some high profile mistakes early his defensive skills are at least adequate.

He's not the most productive Royal hitter, but I think you could make the case that his all-around contribution is at or near the top on a dreadful team.

-- The draft is tomorrow. All signs continue to point to Alex Gordon. Stay tuned.


At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't call Affeldt a "whiner" because of the comments he made. He did say he was "disappointed," and who wouldn't be? Affeldt was named the permanent closer ever since making the transition back to the bullpen last year. It also seemed like the Royals held him out on the DL longer than Affeldt felt necessary, perhaps to experiment with all the new arms in the bullpen. Nonetheless, he praised MacDougal and admitted he needed to work his way back to reclaim his role. Yes, you can sense some frustration with the organization, but honestly, who isn't frustrated with this organization?


At 2:35 PM, Blogger Joe Bazinet said...

Affeldt has been a complete bust with the Royals

I'm not sure how you can label Affeldt a complete bust. A 4.41 career ERA may not be what fans were hoping for from Affeldt, but it is good enough to keep him from being a bust. Chris George, Jimmy Gobblr, thet are busts.

I think it is a bit harsh to call him a whiner too. I'm sure from his seat on the bench, the way the Royals have used him would seem a bit off. He wanted to stay in the rotation and the Royals pulled him from the rotation to make him the closer. He went into the closer role and now he has lost that too. All the while, he is looking at the string of ineffective arms that have started for KC since he went to the bullpen and now sees a pitcher who has been far more erratic take the closer spot. I can see why he wouldn't be thrilled.

At 4:03 PM, Blogger DL said...

I think Affeldt has been a bust to this point based on expectations. Unlike George and Gobble, though, I think he still has an opportunity to turn it around. Anyway, I don't think he has any reason to stake his claim to a specific role on the pitching staff given his past performance. Perhaps I took a bit of literary license calling him a whiner, but this isn't the first time I've heard him grumble about his role on the team.


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