The Royals' offense wasn't very good this year. A mix of first and second year players struggling and some lousy veterans produced an amenic offense to which Royals fans have become accustomed. The Royals' offense should improve as they add potential impact bats like Gordon, Huber, and Butler. The grades are based mainly on the expectations for the players and their improvements.Infield:
John Buck: Buck had a slow start to the 2005 season. But, he put together a respectable sophomore season, hitting .242 with 12 HRs. Defensively, Buck threw out 34 percent of baserunners, which ranks in the top half of catchers in the league. He made just 3 errors and allowed just 3 passed balls. So, considering his solid defense and power, Buck has had a pretty good season. I think Buck will become a .250 hitter with 15-20 HR power over the next few years.
Mike Sweeney: Sweeney had a pretty good season when he was playing. Sweeney's power dipped a bit, showing more gap power (39 doubles). But, Sweeney had 470 ABs, the most since 2002 and didn't miss any substantial time due to his back. So, in that respect, he made some progress.
Matt Stairs: Stairs also pretty much met expectations. Stairs did a good job of getting on base and filling in for Sweeney as necessary.
Justin Huber: Huber's debut was disappointing, hitting just .218/.271/.256 in 71 ABs. Huber may start at AAA next year to get a bit more polish in the minors. But, his outstanding performance at AA/AAA is still impressive.
Ruben Gotay: Gotay made the team after a strong spring. But, he didn't really impress anyone during the first half of the season. Gotay's defense still needs a lot of work. He'll likely spend some time at AA or AAA next year.
Donnie Murphy: Murphy was promptly promoted after a couple good months at AA. Murphy's defense is pretty good and his offense should come. He'll start in the minors with Gotay in all likelihood and could still be a pretty good 2nd basemen.
Angel Berroa: Berroa is still living off his great rookie season. Berroa's OPS fell for the 2nd straight season. Berroa's plate discipline hasn't shown any improvements and neither has his defense. Berroa's stolen base percentage dropped and he only had 7 stolen bases. Unfortunately, the Royals are financially committed to Berroa through 2008.
Mark Teahan: Teahan struggled for most of the season, but made some good adjustments throughout the season, particularly to his plate discipline. Teahan's power was also becoming more evident toward the end of the season. Overall, 29 doubles and 7 HRs was about what I expected. Teahan's defense was pretty good, although he still needs to be more consistent.
Joe McEwing/Denny Hocking: I hope we never see either in a Royals' uniform again. They performed at the level I expected, but I'm going to fail them anyway.
Terrence Long: Terrence Long was pretty much performed as expected: good 4th outfielder, bad everyday outfielder. Terrence Long is a terrible everyday outfielder, but I can't blame that on him.
David DeJesus: DeJesus had a very solid sophomore season. DeJesus has become a solid player overall. DeJesus got on-base and had 46 extra-base hits.
Emil Brown: Brown was a nice surprise this year. Brown hit 31 doubles and 17 HRs, leading the Royals' outfielders in both categories. Brown's defense isn't very good, but his offense made up for it.
Chip Ambres: Ambres played pretty well for the Royals. He has a nice combination of speed, power, and on-base skills.
Grade: BFront Office/Management:
David Glass: Whether or not Glass or Baird was responsible for the reduced payroll, he didn't seem to encourage Baird to improve the team much. For letting Baird finish his contract, Glass's grade is severely hurt. But, allocating the money to sign Gordon helps his case some.
Allard Baird: The usual pathetic Baird offseason signings led to a ballclub that was forced to call upon McEwing, Long, and other AAA quality players for regular playing time. Baird's only major signing, Jose Lima, was a complete bust. Lima was the worst starter in all of baseball. Baird didn't really make any moves to improve the team. Drafting Gordon and Sisco are no-brainers, but I'll give him some credit for that. Still, the Royals' biggest problem remain unsolved (rotation). I have no faith in Baird making good moves during this offseason, but I guess we're stuck with him.
Tony Pena: Pena didn't come up with a good slogan for the Royals this year, which ultimately caused the team's failure.
Buddy Bell: The Royals got off to a good start under Bell, playing almost .500 baseball for 50 games. But, things inevitably evened out. I really don't think the manager is the Royals' problem. I don't think Bell is a very good manager, but it really doesn't matter.