Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Royals Break Camp

Pitchers and catchers have reported for the Royals. As usual, we have some ridiculous optimism coming from the Royals' manager, at least it's in English this time:

“We have to think of ourselves as a playoff team. I believe that. We have to figure out a way to get it done. With the acquisitions we made over the winter, I think those guys give us a much better chance.”

“I’m pretty realistic,” he said. “This has to be our goal. That’s No. 1. And only time will tell if it’s realistic.

Oh well, anything that gets rid of the losing attitude that the team has had for the past two years. Another thing that hasn't changed is that the Royals will ask a veteran to make a fool of themselves on Opening Day. This year's victim will be either Mark Redman or Scott Elarton. Redman and Elarton are locks for the rotation. Greinke and Hernandez are also locks for the rotation, barring a horrible spring. The Royals have indicated otherwise, but I don't buy it. The fifth spot appeared to be open, although Bob Dutton mentioned in the Kansas City Star that it might not be after all. Bob Dutton said that Joe Mays was a good bet to win the job because of his $1 million salary. The rotation should be better this year, as it would be nearly impossible to be worse.

The rotation appears to be pretty well set, with Affeldt and Bautista maybe getting a shot at the fifth spot if they have a great spring. I'll be rooting for one of those two. The Royals need more talent in the rotation. Aside from Zack Greinke, the Royals have no talent in the rotation. Most of the Royals' young pitching talent is in the bullpen, moping up the 13-1 games that are over in the 4th inning. Andrew Sisco comments on the Royals' unique bullpen situation:

"We do have something rare in a bullpen and that's some youth," Sisco said. "It's not a position where you see a lot of younger guys."

Maybe it's rare because most teams would rather take a very talented pitcher and get 200 innings out of them as the staff ace rather than 75 in middle relief or set-up roles?

The Royals' roster appears to be mostly set. Once the Spring Training games gets started, I'll focus on the candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation, fourth outfielder position, and the other spots still up for grabs.

Kansas City Star Spring Training Coverage

Monday, February 06, 2006

Organizational Analysis: Outfielders

Here's the final part of the organization's personnel. The Royals' outfield is set for 2006, with Emil Brown in LF, David DeJesus in CF, and Reggie Sanders in RF. The Royals signed Sanders to a two-year deal, so he and DeJesus will be fixtures in the Royals' outfield for the next two seasons. DeJesus and Brown were fairly productive offensively last year and with the addition of Sanders, the Royals will probably have at least an average OF offense. DeJesus and Sanders are pretty average defenders and Brown is a well-below average defender. Overall, I expect the Royals' outfield to be slightly-below average. The Royals' outfield is pretty old at the corner outfield spots (Brown 31, Sanders 38), so the Royals' corner outfield production may fall off. Emil Brown's one-year spike in production doesn't inspire optimism that he'll continue to be a productive everyday player in 2006.

Left Fielders:

Emil Brown will likely be the Royals' everyday left fielder. Brown's .804 OPS and 10 stolen bases make him an asset to the team, even with his defensive liabilities. Guiel may see playing time in LF if Brown's production falls off.

Prospects: Billy Butler, Chris Lubanski, Shane Costa

Butler is probably a longshot to play OF in the majors. But, his bat gives him tremendous upside and will force the Royals to find him a spot. Chris Lubanski is still a bit of a mystery. He had a terrific season at High Desert and put up some very impressive numbers, even for a hitter's league. AA will be a big test for Lubanski. Lubanski needs to improve his plate discipline as well as his defense if he is going to remain in CF. Shane Costa has tremendous raw strength, but it hasn't shown so far in his career. Costa is a good contact hitter. So, if he can utilize his strength, he might be capable of hitting 20+ HRs. Otherwise, he'll likely be a AAAA player.


David DeJesus has the centerfield position locked down for the foreseeable future. DeJesus is a solid baseball player in all aspects of the game. He has very good on-base skills and has decent gap power. DeJesus's main job is to get on base so Mike Sweeney and Reggie Sanders can have more RBI-opportunities.

Prospects: Chris Lubanski, Mitch Maier, Joseph Dickerson

Chris Lubanski is still a bit of a mystery. He had a terrific season at High Desert and put up some very impressive numbers, even for a hitter's league. AA will be a big test for Lubanski. Lubanski needs to improve his plate discipline as well as his defense if he is going to remain in CF. Mitch Maier is similar to DeJesus in that he's good but not great in each facet of the game. Maier doesn't have DeJesus's on-base skills, but has better base-stealing ability. Joseph Dickerson had a nice debut in the Arizona Rookie League and will likely go to Idaho Falls.


Reggie Sanders will be the Royals' rightfielder. Sanders has pretty good power, hitting 20+ homeruns in each of the last 5 seasons. Sanders also steals 15-20 bases each year with a good SB%.

Prospects: Alex Gordon?, Mitch Maier

Maier has the arm strength to play RF as does Gordon. If Teahen is productive enough at 3rd base, then Gordon may get moved to RF.

Just 11 days until Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training. The new baseball season is almost here finally.

1. Current Outfielders' Performance: D+ (poor defense, having to watch Terrence Long last year)
2. Current Outfielders' Potential: C
3. Current Prospects Depth: A (pretty good; options at each OF position)
4. Current Prospects Potential: A (Butler and Gordon are premier talents)