Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The 2006 Kansas City Royals

The 2006 Royals roster is almost complete. The Royals may still add a corner outfielder and/or another starter. Overall, the Royals have made considerable changes to the roster by adding several stopgap players. The difference between this year and last year is the quality of the stopgap players. The Royals have added some decent veteran players who should improve the ballclub in 2006. How much improvement will occur is the big question. The recent additions probably add 10 wins to the Royals' record. Any additional improvement will come from the Royals' youth.

The Infielders:

Catchers (2): John Buck, Paul Bako
First Basemen (3): Mike Sweeney, Matt Stairs, Doug Mientkiewicz
Second Basemen (2): Mark Grudzielanek, Esteban German
Shortstop (1): Angel Berroa
Third Basemen (1): Mark Teahen

The Royals' infield should be improved. The Royals got a consistent hitter in Grudzielanek who can get on-base for Mike Sweeney. Last year, the Royals' trio of 2nd base prospects combined for a .578 OPS and their FRAA was -6. Mark Grudzielanek had a .741 OPS and his FRAA was 0. So, Grudzielanek should bring much more consistent production offensively and defensively. The Royals' other second basemen, Esteban German, should also improve the top of the lineup with speed and good on-base skills. Overall, I think this will be the most improved position. The catcher and shortstop positions production probably won't change much. I expect Teahen to improve offensively and defensively after being rushed last year. The Royals' production at first should stay about the same, but the defense will improve some. Mientkiewicz provides good insurance in case Sweeney gets hurt and his defense will be helpful.


LF: Chip Ambres, Aaron Guiel (hopefully replaced with FA)
CF: David DeJesus
RF: Emil Brown

The outfield is very similar to last year without a free agent signing. Ambres and Guiel should match Long's production (.699 OPS and -7 FRAA). Emil Brown is a terrible fielder in RF (-14 FRAA). The Royals' corner outfield defense was pathetic last year. Long and Brown dropped more balls than the Sooner's freshman receivers. Ideally, the Royals should sign a good defensive RF and move Brown to LF.

If the Royals keep the status quo in the outfield, the outfield will be well below-average. If the Royals can add Jeromy Burnitz, Reggie Sanders, or Preston Wilson, the outfield would improve substantially. Not only would that add a 20+ HR hitter to the middle of the lineup, but it would vastly improve the Royals' outfield defense which needs help badly.

Potential 2006 Lineup

David DeJesus CF (.359 OBP)
Mark Grudzielanek 2B (.334 OBP)
Mike Sweeney DH
Jeromy Burnitz RF
Emil Brown LF
Doug Mientkiewicz 1B
Mark Teahen 3B
John Buck C
Angel Berroa SS

The top of the lineup looks much better. DeJesus and Grudzielanek give the Royals two batters who can get on base for Sweeney, Burnitz, and Brown. I feel comfortable with the first 3 hitters in the lineup. But, after that, the lineup is well-below average. The lineup still lacks power and speed, but it is an improvement over last season.

I'll discuss the 2006 pitching staff shortly.


At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Mark (YoungPhenom) said...

Yeah, a good example of a quality stop-gap we could have had last years but we didn't, would be Joe Randa. We could have used his option and then traded him when and if we felt Teahan was ready. Perhaps the Royals are learning that AAAA players as stop gaps aren't a good idea, but neither is rushing your prospects.

At 10:34 PM, Blogger SoonerRoyal said...

I think the Royals' rationale against Randa was that Teahen would be ready during the season. However, that really wasn't the case. Randa's contract had a no-trade clause, but he surely would have waived it to play for a contender.

At 11:41 PM, Anonymous Mark (Youngphenom) said...

Yeah, and didn't the Reds get some nice products in return for him. Yet another missed opportunity to strengthen our farm system.


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