Thursday, October 26, 2006

Out in Left Field

For the Royals, Emil Brown and David DeJesus split left field duty in 2006. Brown started 84 games in left and batted .287 with 15 HR and 81 RBI. Emil's OPS was .815. DeJesus batted .295 with 8 HR and 56 RBI and an .810 OPS. Brown is arbitration eligible after making $1.775 M in 2006. He will be due another big raise for 2007. The Royals could use Brown as trade bait to try to land some pitching help. DeJesus has been a center fielder to this point in his career, but switched to left field for 60 games to make room for Joey Gathright to play center. It is kind of up in the air as to what will happen with the Royals outfield over the winter. There could be some moves made on the major league level or some of the minor league guys could be packaged and dealt.

Omaha Royals (AAA)
24 year old, Justin Huber, started 68 games in left field for the Omaha Royals in 2006. Justin's season has already been discussed as a first baseman, but I'll leave this in anyway. Huber was acquired by the Royals on July 30, 2004 in the deal that sent Kris Benson from Pittsburgh to the Mets. When we acquired Huber, he was catching. In fact, he was injured in his last game in the Mets organization at a play at the plate, which caused him to miss the remainder of the 2004 season after the trade. The Royals moved Huber out from behind the dish to 1B. Huber started 38 games at 1B for the ORoyals in 2006 before moving out to left field. Huber put up pretty decent AAA numbers. He batted .278 with 15 HR and 44 RBI in 352 at bats. His 2006 OPS was .838 (.480 slugging %). The Royals brought Huber to KC during the summer where he sat the bench. I'm not sure exactly how long Huber was on the 25 man roster this year, but I think it was about two weeks. During that time, Huber accumulated a total of 10 at bats. He was 2 for 10 with a double. He's a good offensive prospect. The Royals just need to find a place for him to play in the field.

Wichita Wranglers (AA)
Chris Lubanski (21 years old) started 108 games in left field for the Wranglers in 2006. Lubanksi was drafted by the Royals in the 1st round (5th overall) in the 2003 draft. He was drafted out of a Pennsylvania high school and signed on June 6th. Overall, Lubanski batted .282 with 15 HR and 70 RBI for the Wranglers with an OPS of .844. He also stole 11 bases in 18 attempts. Lubanski walked 72 times this season, which was tied for the team lead. Up until the 2006 season, Chris had a K:BB ratio of 2.90. In 2006, he did a much better job with a K/BB ratio of 1.56. Lubanski did improve as the season went on, as well. From July 1 to the end of the season, Lubanski hit .314 with 10 HR. His K/BB ratio also improved from July 1 on. During that time span, Lubanski had 1.27 K's per BB (47 K's, 37 BB's). When Lubanski was drafted, he was described as having blazing speed. Now, it appears he has slowed down a few ticks although he did lead the team with 11 triples, but his power numbers have improved. It is a very good sign that he is improving his K/BB ratio.

High Desert Mavericks (Advanced A)
The Mavs had two guys to get significant starts in left field, but neither is a prospect. James Tomlin (24 years old) started 58 games in left and batted .301 and a .762 OPS for the Mavs in '06. Geraldo Valentin(23 years old) signed with the Royals as a non drafted free agent in 2003. Valentin started in left for the Mavs 47 times and batted .283 with an OPS of .718 in 406 ABs. I'd hate to think how bad the offensive numbers would be if they hadn't been in High Desert.

Burlington Bees (Low A)
Ethian Santana was the primary left fielder for the Bees in 2006. He started 67 games for the Bees and batted .244 with an OPS of .615 in 312 at bats. He has stolen 20+ bases in each of the last three seasons since being drafted. Santana was drafted by the Astros in the 2002 and 2003 drafts, but signed with KC after being drafted in the 22nd round of the 2004 draft. Santana was a Pioneer league all star last season after batting .300 with an OPS of .813 for the Chukars. He did bat .286 in his last 35 games of the season from August 1 until the end of the season. I wouldn't call him a prospect, though. He is 22 years old, but he'll need to do more with the bat than a .615 OPS in low A ball to be considered a prospect.

Idaho Falls Chukars (Advanced Rookie Ball- short season)
Brett Bigler and Alvi Morel split duty in left field for the Chukars in '06. Both are 22 years old. Bigler was a 7th round draft pick in the 2006 draft out of UC-Riverside. His game is high OBP and speed. He came as advertised. He batted .276, but had an OBP of .392 on the season. He appears to be a slap hitter. Of his 58 hits, only 5 were for extra bases (all doubles). He stole 20 bases in 22 attempts for the Chukars, and he struck out 8 fewer times than he walked (27 K's, 39 BB's). His OPS on the year was only .692, due in most part to his pretty sad slugging percentage of .300. I like him, though. I like the fact that he's got fantastic speed and his got a great eye and doesn't strike out much. Alvi Morel was signed by the Royals as a non drafted free agent on 11/8/02 out of the Dominican as an 18 year old (I'm guessing we thought he was 16 at the time). Morel started 41 games in left for Idaho Falls, and batted .301 with 1 HR and an OPS of .757. The vast majority of his at bats were from the leadoff spot.

Arizona Royals (Rookie Ball-short season)
The left fielders for the AZ Royals were Jarrod Dyson (50th rounder in the 2006 draft) and Nick Francis (15th rounder in '06). Nick posted a good batting average (.303) and OBP (.366) in his professional debut. He ended the season with an OPS of .792 in 155 ABs. Dyson batted .273 in 161 at bats, but appears to be a burner. He stole 19 bases in 23 attempts this season. He seems to keep the ball in play (18 walks and 30 strikeouts). His OBP was .373, but his slugging percentage was a paltry .373.

The Royals seem to be stockpiling some speedy left fielders in the minor league system. Dyson, Bigler, Santana, and even Lubanski all run very well. In terms of who brings the most to the table, I'd rank the Royals left fielders in this way:
1. Chris Lubanski -mix of power and speed.
2. Justin Huber-good bat, but no real position, yet. DH?
3. Brett Bigler-I liked this guy from the draft. A good batting eye and speed don't slump.
4. Nick Francis-barely worth ranking at this point. Put up decent numbers in pro debut.
5. Ethian Santana-didn't hit in the pitcher friendly Midwest League. He'll need to hit at least in the .270's with an OPS of around .750 to contribute much.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

First Base Rankings

I have heard on numerous occasions people talk about the glut of 1st baseman the Royals. Quite simply there is no glut. People just assumed that you could pencil in Huber, Butler, Teahen in there. Well Dayton smartly went out and got Ryan Shealy. He should be an league average firstbaseman for the next few years. It’s a good thing because the Royals have very little depth in the minors. Of course, the good news is that you shift people to play first easily.

Omaha:
Justin Huber
—Huber is no longer a firstbaseman but the Royals don’t have a lot of first base prospects and I wanted to write about someone good. Whoever is writing about LF can feature Huber again.

I still like Huber. I think he can be a good LF-perhaps even an above average LFer. Just a year ago, this guy hit 343/432/570 in the Texas league. I fear that Dayton is not as high on this guy and may trade him for something less valuable. Huber got off to a blistering start, was called up to ride the bench and then got sent down where he went into an awful slump, got hurt and then rebounded to have an 838 OPS. He certainly seems to have no future with this club as it is expected that Mark Teahen will move to LF. Huber could definitely come in handy when Mike Sweeney get hurts.

If Dayton is going to trade him, I would want someone like Erik Aybar or Hayden Penn.

Wichita:
Kila Kaaihue
—I really likedKila coming into the year—coming off his 925 OPS at High Desert. Sure it would drop some as he entered more sane hitting environments. But Kila’s OPS this year was 602. Ouch. He was a little better after the All Star break by having an 787 OPS—still nothing to write home about from a firstbaseman. Perhaps he will move to Omaha and try to regain the plate discipline that helped him look like a poor man’s Nick Johnson.

High Desert:
Mike Stodolka
—the #4 pick in the 2000 draft moved from the mound to the batters’ box with decent results. He posted an 845 OPS. He also has hit well in 30 AB’s in the Hawaian Baseball League, posting a 1033 OPS. Of course being a 25 year old first baseman in the Cal League puts those numbers in perspective. He had a 911 OPS at home and 778 on the road. Stodolka is a nice story but not much of a prospect.

Burlington:
Miguel Vega
has got good power and that’s about it. He had a 271 OBP. That is Berroa-esqe. He had 13 walks and 121 K’s. Vega was a 4th round pick a few years ago, but will probably get eaten alive in Wilmington this year.

Short Season Clubs:
Scott Lucas, Carlos Avila, and Jase Turner
played 1st for our Short Season Clubs—none of them look like they are prospects.

Rankings:

Huber
Kaaihue
Stodolka
Vega
Avila
Lucas/Turner

Thursday, October 19, 2006

What's on Second

The Royals have gone through a never-ending carousel of second basemen since heralded prospect Carlos Febles disappeared. Since Febles left, the Royals have struggled to find a regular second basemen and the Royals cycled through a variety of prospects and utility infielders looking for a solution. Ruben Gotay and Donnie Murphy were considered the second basemen of the future, but they weren’t ready for full-time duty in 2005.

Last season, Allard signed Mark Grudzielanek to a one-year deal and the signing turned out to be his best signing of the offseason and one of the few bright spots in his horrible tenure as general manager. Grudzielanek was the Royals’ most consistent defender, helping to alleviate the damage caused by his teammate on the other side of second. Grudzielanek led the team in hits and had 43 extra base hits. The Royals resigned Grudzielanek for 2007 season, so the second base position is good shape.

Baird also acquired Esteban German from the Rangers in exchange for the Royals’ Rule V Pick last season. German turned out to be one of the bright spots in the Royals’ 2006 season, posting a team-high .880 OPS. German is an on-base machine with very good speed. German would allow the Royals to move DeJesus into the #2 spot in the lineup and have an excellent tandem of speed and on-base ability at the top of the lineup. That should set the stage for plenty of RBI opportunities for Butler, Gordon, Shealy, and Teahen over the next few years.

As you may have noticed, I haven’t talked about the minor league second basemen much and that’s because there’s not much to talk about. The Royals’ top second base prospect is Donnie Murphy. Murphy showed pretty good power this season at AA, hitting 25 doubles and 14 HRs. However, he drew just 19 walks in 366 ABs, so his plate discipline has a ways to go. Murphy is a pretty good defender, with above-average range for second. Murphy hits righties much better than lefties, with a .786 OPS against righties vs. a .531 OPS against lefties.

The Royals other option near the majors is Jeff Keppinger. Keppinger had a nice season for Omaha, hitting .354/.407/.465 in 127 ABs. Keppinger hit .267/.323/.400 in 60 ABs with the big league club. He's 26 years old, so he isn't much of a prospect at this point.

Wilver Perez was the Mavericks’ second basemen. Perez hit .262/.343/.350 in 351 ABs. Perez is 23 years old, so he’s a bit too old for High A ball. He is most likely an organizational player at this point.

Josh Johnson was the Royals’ third round pick in the 2004 draft and Burlington’s second basemen this season. Johnson hit .241/.391/.312 in 381 ABs and walked 93 times! He showed good speed, swiping 18 bases in 27 attempts. Johnson’s defense improved from 2005, making just 10 errors in 2006. Johnson is a decent sleeper prospect and might develop into a decent leadoff hitter with his excellent plate discipline and good speed.

Kurt Mertins had a nice professional debut. The 20-year-old from the College of Desert hit .342/.397/.431. Mertins also stole 26 bases in 30 attempts (only played in 61 games). Mertins might be worth watching for the same reasons as Johnson.

Marc Maddox was another collegiate second basemen drafted by the Royals this season. Maddox hit .336/.428/.504 in 232 ABs. Maddox showed more power than Mertins, with 29 extra base hits in 62 games.

Overall, the Royals have some depth at second base. The Royals already have a quality starting second basemen in Mark Grudzielanek and a solid player waiting to take over after the 2007 season in Esteban German. This should give the Royals an opportunity to add some more high-ceiling talent at second base. The Royals don’t have any standout prospects at second base, but have some young players who could emerge as second base prospects over the next few years.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Long and "Short" of it

On January 8, 2001, the Royals traded Johnny Damon to the A’s and received their shortstop of the future in Angel Berroa. The Royals also traded current A’s second baseman, Mark Ellis and received AJ Hinch and Roberto Hernandez. The Royals thought they were getting a 19 year old who was named an Arizona League All Star in 2000 while playing for the Arizona A’s and even logged 17 at bats in AA Midland. As it turned out, Angel was really two years older than the Royals thought. He made is Major League debut as a 22 year old on September 18, 2001. He won the AL Rookie of the year award after his 2003 season. He batted .287 with 17 HR and 73 RBI. He also stole 21 bases. His OPS has dropped each season since 2003 and he posted a sub .600 OPS in 2006. Angel has become known for his mental lapses and his reckless abandon at bat. He committed a career low 18 errors in 2006, and had a fielding percentage of .969. He is our current shortstop. He signed a 4 year/$11 million deal in May of 2004. He is due $3.25 M in 2007 and $4.75 M in 2008. The Royals hold a $5.5 M option for 2009 or could opt to buy the contract out at $500 K. So, with Angel under contract for the next two seasons, it is more than likely his job. Dayton could attempt to move him, but I’m guessing the list of suitors for a 29 year old SS with a sub .600 OPS and an $8 M price tag over the next two years is pretty short, if it exists at all. Anyway, here are the footsteps that Angel is currently hearing.

Andres Blanco and Angel Sanchez (11th rounder in ‘01) are the two prospects the Royals have that have already spent some time in Kansas City. Blanco, who will be turning 23 in April of 2007, has already notched 226 major league at bats. He signed as a non drafted free agent out of Venezuela on 8/20/00 as a 16 year old. He then moved very quickly through the system, despite posting very low offensive numbers at every stop. He made his major league debut in 2004 as a 20 year old. In just under 1,400 minor league at bats, Andres has hit .247 with 6 HR and 106 RBI. He has a career .625 minor league OPS. Due to his lack of any kind of offensive production, I’ve always been a little leary of Blanco. He is regarded as a better defensive SS than Berroa, but his offense is not there (although, at the rate Berroa is going, Angel will catch Andres, soon). I view Blanco as a Rey Sanchez, except not as good of a hitter. He’s a slap hitter who’s good with the glove. In 87 Abs with the Royals this season, he batted .241 with an OPS of .600.

Angel Sanchez is 23 years old and just finished 2006 in Wichita. He has posted much better offensive numbers than Blanco. Sanchez batted .282 with 4 HR and 57 RBI last season for the Wranglers. His OPS was .691 (.339 OBP). He is also regarded as an advanced defensive player. Blanco and Sanchez may split time in Omaha in 2007 between SS and 2B, unless Berroa is moved over the winter. Sanchez made his major league debut this season and batted .222 with an OPS of .436 in 27 Abs.

At the lower levels, the Royals SS prospects include Irving Falu (Mavericks), Chris McConnell (Burlington/Idaho Falls), and Jeff Bianchi (AZ Royals). There are some other names down there, but I don’t know any of them to be prospects. Michael Gaffney started 18 games at SS for the Mavericks this season. He will be 25 next season. Gilbert Gil started 17 games at SS for the Chukars in ‘06 and has one of the best names ever! Good ole Gil Gil (Gil2). He’s 21, but didn’t put up very good numbers. He hit .223 in 103 Abs, but the name made him worth talking about. Manual Juan is a player out of the Dominican. He might be the best of the rest. He is 19 years old and batted .271 with 3 HR and 27 RBI for the AZ Royals. His OPS was only .709, so nothing that is too special. There’s a "17" year old kid playing on the Dominican Summer League team. He batted .296 with 39 walks and 31 K’s. He posted an OPS of .804 with 15 stolen bases. Who knows if his age will change later or if they’ve got the age thing all figured out, yet.

Irving Falu (21st rounder in ‘03) batted .299 with 3 HR and 49 RBI for the Mavericks in ‘06. He stole more than 30 bases in a season for the second straight season. He posted an OPS of .737 this season. Whenever a guy plays at High Desert, you have to take a look at the splits (thankfully, that is the last year of that). Irving looks as though he definitely benefitted from being in High Desert. At home, he batted .344 with a .450 SLG and an OPS of .838. On the road, he batted .256 with a .320 SLG and an OPS of .638. During the month of August, Falu batted .398 in 123 Abs with an OPS of .948. On the whole, the numbers look good, but under the microscope, there are some question marks, there.

Chris McConnell (9th rounder in ‘04) had a rough go in 2006. The 20 year old began the year in Burlington and struggled mightily while with the Bees. He hit only .172 with a .455 OPS in 239 Abs. When Idaho Falls began play, McConnell was moved to the Pioneer League to play for the Chukars where he was an All Star in ‘05. Things got better, but it was not a return to the way things were. He hit .262 with 4 HR and 35 RBI for the Chukars over the summer. I imagine, he’ll return to Burlington in ‘07 (perhaps Wilmington if Bianchi is ready for Burlington) and try to answer some of the questions about what the Royals really have in him.

Jeff Bianchi (2nd rounder in ‘05) has accumulated 140 Abs with the AZ Royals over the past two seasons. He has a batting average of .414 and has an OPS of 1.221. He’s just having a hard time staying healthy. It appears that the Royals have something pretty special, here, but we’ll have to wait to see just how special. It was thought that he was an overdraft as a 2nd rounder, but he quickly hushed the critics by becoming a league All Star the summer after being drafted. He was limited to just 98 Abs that summer due to injury. He had 42 Abs in 2006.

Here’s how I’d rank them:

1. Jeff Bianchi (just turned 20 years old). Jeff has the best chance to be an impact major leaguer, but must stay healthy. I’d think the best case scenario still has him in KC no earlier than 2010. 2007 team...Burlington (if healthy)

2. Angel Sanchez (just turned 23 years old). I’d guess that Sanchez would project as a .250ish hitter in the majors with 4 or 5 HR. OPS would be in the range of .685. 2007 team...Omaha.

3. Irving Falu (23 years old). Irving has some good speed. His splits are very skewed, so I’m not sure what to expect, and he’s too far away from the majors to do much projection to the majors. I’d expect him to hit in the neighborhood of .260 next year in Wichita. 2007 team...Wichita.

4. Andres Blanco (23 years old). Those of you that know me know that I am not high on Blanco. He is a career .247 hitter in the minors with an OPS of .625. If he’s going to follow the same career path as Omar Vizquel, we’ll have to wait about 4 or 5 more years to see anything with the bat. 2007 team...Omaha/KC

5. Chris McConnell (20 years old). Chris is a big question mark right now. Is he the .330 hitter that was in Idaho Falls in ‘05 or the .170 hitter that was in Burlington in ‘06? 2007 will help answer many questions that face McConnell. I’ll stick him at the bottom until he does something else. 2007 team...Wilmington.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Third Base on the farm

I get to look at who we’ve got in the pipeline at third base.

Omaha:
Rick Bell and Mike Coolbaugh split time playing 3rd at Omaha. This is exactly the thing I hope Dayton Moore never uses AAA for—holding on to bad players with no upside.

High Desert:
Ed Lucas was an 8th round pick in 2004 from Dartmouth. As a 25 year old in High-A, he hit 281/349/409/ in the hitter friendly confines that are the California League (his OPS at home was 890). Not a prospect at this point—just organizational filler.

Burlington:
Mario Lisson is an interesting guy. I picked him for a breakout last season. But he repeated Burlington and had almost the exact same season
2005 OPS—794
2006 OPS---789
He also stole 41 out of 52 bases. He was 22 last season and Burlington is tough ballpark for hitters. Not a great prospect and life won’t get any easier playing at Wilmington next year. But he has some tool and is worth keeping tabs on.

Idaho Falls:
Luis Catillo had a great year in limited AB’s for the Chukars. He had a 1025 OPS. On the negative side, he will be 23 soon. Organizational player.

Surprise Royals:
Jason Taylor was our 2nd round pick in last year’s draft. Many thought he would be drafted in later rounds. But the reports are that the Royals loved his athleticism and his bat. Some observers have questioned how athletic Taylor really is. He certainly didn’t stand out in his pro-ball debut. His OPS was 699 in 151 ABs. He was ranked as the 9th best prospect in Baseball America’s Arizona League Prospect rankings.


Wichita:
Oh, I forgot one guy. Of course the only reason it doesn’t really matter what these guys did is because of the fact that the BA Minor League POY was down at Wichita. Alex Gordon is the best prospect in baseball. He hit 325/427/588 and stole 22 out of 25 bases for good measure. He played good, sometimes great defense. His numbers would have been even better had he not had a nagging injury for about 5 weeks in May/June. His post All-Star break numbers were sick as he hit: 346/448/658. Think Scott Rolen, thinkMark Texeira, think of the Royals having a franchise player. The time is quickly approaching where the Royals will have to decide what to do with Mark Teahen (all signs point to a move towards OF).







Ranked:
Gordon
--BIG GAP--
Lisson
Taylor
Lucas
Castillo

Friday, October 13, 2006

Catching Down on the Farm

Over the next few weeks, the Daily Lancer team will be doing an in-depth analysis of the Royals' minor league talent at each position. We'll let you know where the Royals' best depth and talent lies and how soon the Royals' prospects will make an impact on the big league club.

We begin with probably the weakest position in the farm system, catching. John Buck's lackluster performance over the past two seasons has made the catching position an increasing concern. Buck finished the season with an OPS of .702, a slight 26 point improvement over 2005. He's a solid defender behind the plate, which helps compensate for his weakness at the plate. He's the catcher of the future because the Royals simply don't have any better options in the minors.

Near the Majors: We begin our look at the minors with Paul Phillips and Matt Tupman. Paul Phillips has already seen some big league action, with 137 career at-bats and an unimpressive .270/.279/.380 line. He's walked just once in 137 at-bats, contributing to his low OPS. Matt Tupman's plate discipline is much better, with drawing 56 walks to just 33 strikeouts this season. However, his lack of power(SLG %.334) will keep him from becoming more than a backup. Both players are in their upper 20s, appear to be no more than AAAA players and backup catchers.

A/AA: Adam Donachie highlights the A/AA list. Donachie's prowess is his defense behind the plate, which is very good. His weakness is his bat. He struggled after being promoted to Wichita, with a .633 OPS. His home/road splits at Wichita also showed a strong home bias, with an OPS 148 points higher at home. Donachie is still young (22 years old), particularly for a catcher. So, his bat may improve considerably over the next few seasons.

The Royals drafted 3 college catchers in the 2005 draft, Kiel Thibault, Jeffrey Howell, and Brady Everett. All three did well in rookie ball, but only Thibault continued his success into this season. Thibault hit very well (.340/.398/.485 line) at High Desert, but struggled in the less hitter-friendly Midwest League.

I looked through the Rookie Leagues, but didn't find any prospects worth noting. Overall, catcher is a significant weakness in the organization. The Royals could use a good left-handed bat to counter Buck's weakness against righties. The Royals don't have any catching prospects who project as major league regulars, so the Royals will need to improve their depth in the upcoming draft and with any offseason moves.

Grades:
Depth: D-
Impact Talent: F

Up next: Third Basemen (i.e. Alex Gordon)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

NWroyal is here.

Thanks to David for the invite--I'm glad to be part of the team. I'm Darren, I live in Eugene, Oregon, but grew up in Grandview. I'm nwroyal on the scout board. I had just turned 8 when the Royals won it all in 1985. That started my interest in baseball. It was so fun to be a part of a winner--the World Champions. I figured this kind of success would follow the Royals and I started following them very closely. 21 years later and I'm still waiting for the next playoff game. But perhaps, even in the midst of 3 straight 100 loss seasons, we are closer than we have been in a long time to fielding a good baseball team. As the team floundered, perhaps it was natural that I turned some of my attention to the Royals minor leagues--I enjoy seeing the promise of young players. It is all too tempting to try imagine the "next" Brett or White or Saberhagen. I tend to be overly optimistic.

This offseason promises to be one of the most exciting in recent memory as The Great Dayton puts his stamp upon the team. We wil be here to follow it--we'll talk about the moves--trades, FA signings, Rule V draft. We'll break down the minor leagues, rate our prospects, provide info on the draft--I hope we'll have some fun debates. I'm no expert--but I'm a passionate amateur. I hope this will become the place to come to for information on future Royals and I hope you'll join the discussion. Play Ball!

Friday, October 06, 2006

GeorgiaRoyal Introduction

I'm very glad to be on board here at The Daily Lancer. I've been a fan of the Royals since the glory years of the late 1990's. It was actually 1998, to be exact. I know, it seems odd to jump on the bandwagon at that point, but it was going pretty slow and it was pretty easy to get on there. I was just in time to enjoy a 72-89 season in Tony Muser's first full season as manager.

I blame Terry Pendleton, really. I was a Cardinal fan as a kid and Terry Pendleton became my instant favorite player when I met him at an autograph signing at Columbia Mall in Columbia, Missouri. My family moved to the suburbs of Atlanta, GA in 1989 and Terry Pendleton joined the Braves in 1991. After the Braves, Terry bounced around a little, but ended up with the Kansas City Royals. I had never followed AL ball before, and was intrigued by the DH and seeing the other half of the major leagues I'd never paid a lot of attention to. So, I began following Terry and the Royals during the 1998 season. He retired after the 1998 season, but I'm still here. Waiting for the year when it all comes together.

1998 wasn't all bad. Dean Palmer gave the Great Steve Balboni a run with 34 HR. Balboni remains the Royals all time, single season, HR record holder with 36 HR in 1985, as sad as that is here in the steroid era. Tim Belcher and Patt Rapp anchored the pitching staff while a couple of 23 year old lefties (Jose Rosado and Glendon Rusch) showed a hope for the future. At the end of the 1998 sesaon, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Febles made their debuts. "Dos Carlos" was all the hype going into the 1999 season, but only Uno Carlos actually did much after 1999.

The Royals drafted Jeff Austin with the 4th overall pick of the 1998 draft. It was at this point that I began my, as my wife calls it, nerdom about the Royals and their minor league system. I was aware of the draft, but never paid much attention until 1998. I realized that there were teams of players that were working their respective ways to the Bigs. I think I knew this before, but it just didn't register with me. Many won't make it, but they are all playing to be the few that do make it and make a difference in the Major Leagues. That's why I love it. Sure, it's been tainted a bit with all of the million dollar babies. They aren't actually roughing it through the bus leagues and such, but the vast majority of the guys are making huge sacrifices to play ball and cling to the hope that they could be one of the few that gets to play in the Majors.

That's where the hope, as a Royals fan, comes from. There are 7 teams of minor leaguers that are under the Royals control, not to mention the guys down in the Dominican. Which of these guys are destined to be "organizational guys" and which ones are going to be pieces of the championship puzzle? That's why I pay attention. I want to know as much as possible about these guys when they get to KC and I also want to know as much about they guys as possible that are just clinging to the hope that they might one day get there.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Daily Lancer Welcomes Two New Bloggers

I decided to make some changes to the Daily Lancer, the most important being the addition of two new bloggers, georgiaroyal and nwroyal. The names may sound familiar from the scout.com board where they both post regularly. Georgiaroyal and nwroyal both follow the Royals' farm system very closely and will be great additions to the Daily Lancer.

The Daily Lancer is going to be dedicated to providing in-depth coverage of the Royals' farm system. Here's a few of the features that are in the works for the Daily Lancer:

-Nightly minor-league updates during the season
-Top prospect lists and depth chart complied by the Daily Lancer's minor league experts
-In-depth look at the Royals' top prospects, examining their past season's performance and projection/future roles in the organization
-Pre-draft coverage, including photos and first-hand accounts of some top draft prospects
-Photos and first-hand accounts of Royals' top prospects
-Examination of the minor league talent throughout the division

I hope you enjoy it!