Thursday, December 22, 2005

The 2006 Kansas City Royals: Part II

The 2006 Royals' pitching staff is almost complete. The Royals may still add another free agent starter, preferably one with some upside (BH Kim or Wade Miller). The Royals' two biggest additions to the rotation were veteran starters Mark Redman and Scott Elarton. Bobby Madritsch (surgery), Victor Santos (Rule V), and Sean Etherton (Rule V) may help the Royals at some point during the season, but that depends on individual circumstances). The bullpen returns a core of power arms that pitched very well last year. The Royals need them to continue to pitch well in 2006.

Starting Rotation:

#1 Runelvys Hernandez
#2 Zack Greinke
#3 Mark Redman
#4 Scott Elarton
#5 Jeremy Affeldt/Kim or Miller

AAA rotation: Bobby Madritsch, JP Howell, Jimmy Gobble, Brian Bass (has yet to master AA, but it's about time to find out if he's worth a spot on the 40-man)

I previewed the Royals' rotation recently: Starting Rotation Post, so I won't go into much detail. On paper, the Royals' rotation still looks pretty bad. The Royals' rotation has some upside with Greinke, Hernandez, and Affeldt. The Royals' rotation will improve the most if those three pitch up to their potential. Redman and Elarton will improve the rotation some, but are probably the difference between finishing 28th in starter ERA as opposed to 30th. Howell will probably start at AAA. The Royals have okay depth from their AAA rotation. Gobble might get consideration for the bullpen because there's just one lefty (Sisco), but his numbers against lefties aren't good.

Bullpen: Mike Wood, Elmer Dessens, Joel Peralta, Denny Bautista, Andrew Sisco, Ambiorix Burgos, Mike MacDougal (CL)

The Royals' bullpen was one of the few bright spots last year. MacDougal, Burgos, and Sisco were lights out during the last 3 innings of games last year. All three had ERAs under 4 and averaged more than 1 strikeout per inning. The Royals should still have a strong core of power arms, with the new face probably being Denny Bautista. The bullpen could be very strong overall with two solid middle relievers (Wood and Dessens) at the front of the bullpen. However, I am concerned about the consistency of MacDougal, especially in Hansen's absence. MacDougal and Affeldt have been very inconsistent throughout their careers so far, so I'm also concerned that Burgos and Sisco will show the same inconsistencies. It's difficult for hard throwers to have consistent mechanics and I don't expect the Royals' pitching instruction to be very helpful. The bullpen should be pretty good with the talent at the back-end and has the potential to be outstanding.

Offseason Notes:

The Royals appear to be close to signing Reggie Sanders to a 2-year, $10 million deal. Sanders offers help in three badly needed areas: power, speed, and OF defense. Sanders has averaged 23 HRs and 17 SBs over the past 3 years and is a solid average defender. He would allow the Royals to move Brown to left, where he won't be as great a liability on defense. I'd much prefer a one-year deal with an option, but the contract isn't too bad. It is a fairly substantial risk for an injury-prone 38-year-old outfielder. Although, I'm not too concerned about it because he only had a broken leg, neck injury, and a sprained back last year.

In other news, the Royals have traded Matt Diaz and Chris DeMaria for Ricardo F. Rodriguez and Justin Barnes. Neither are particularly young, but both have pretty good strikeout numbers. Barnes, in particular, pitched well at Class A last year, striking out 79 in 76 IP and walking just 25.


At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now the Royals have really blown it. Signing Reggie Sanders? Now there is no way in hell they will break the '62 Mets' alltime record. They may not even be as bad as next year's Marlins, for crying out loud! The Royals can't even get suckitude right!

At 7:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you think about Denny Bautista's chances of becoming the setup man or closer in 2006?


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