Thursday, November 23, 2006

The case for trading Mark Teahen

Perhaps this should be called the case for shopping Mark Teahen. I really like him as a player and think the strides he made last year were real.

Let’s recap Mark’s season:

April: stunk—678 OPS
May: demoted—stunk for a few games and then got smokin’ hot
June: warmed up—816 OPS
July: smokin’—1135 OPS
August: hot—905 OPS
September: shoulder surgery

He finished with an 874 OPS—good for 2nd in the AL for third basemen and 8th for all third baseman. As we approach 2007, Teahen is being readied for the outfield because of Mr. Alex Gordon. Teahen’s numbers actually translate well to the OF as his OPS would rank 6th out of all LFers and 5th out of all RFers. However with the lack of pitching the Royals have, it seems prudent that they should listen to offers for Teahen.

What I would look for is: established young starters not close to free agency. Perhaps a pitching prospect might be accepted but it would have to be a great prospect. A couple of teams that need a third basemen are the Twins and Angels. The Twins have got a ton of pitching prospects: Matt Garza, Kevin Slowery, Anthony Swarzak…just to name a few. But it would be tough to trade within the division (even though I really like Garza and Swarzak). To me the perfect solution is the Angels—they have depth in positions we need. We provide them with a cheap third baseman which would allow them to go out and sign Alfonso Soriano this offseason. The Angels reportedly offered Ervin Santana and Erick Aybar for Miguel Tejada in the middle of last season. The Orioles foolishly turned it down. They apparently wanted Tejada to play 3rd. Tejada is a great player—but an expensive one also. I would target getting the same package from the Angels by pairing Teahen with Mike Sweeney and kicking in $8 million dollars to make Sweeney look more attractive.

The upside for the Angels is that they can acquire Teahen and Sweeney and still have money to Alfonso Soriano. They would then have one of the most potent lineups around and a great pitching staff with Lackey, Weaver, Escobar, Saunders.

Santana was 23 last year and went 16-8 with a 4.28 ERA. His WHIP was 1.23 and he struck out 141 with 70 walks in 204ip. He allowed a .265 average on balls in play (which means he was awfully lucky). He has an outside chance to turn into an elite pitcher but more than likely will settle into being a very good pitcher with an ERA that will hover around 4 or a little below. Santana has flyball tendencies that would fit in well at the K.

Aybar is sparkplug SS. His defense is still uneven and he hasn’t fully harnessed his speed. But he has shown the ability to hit. This past year, his OPS was well into the 800s for most of the year. He got called up and sat on the bench for awhile with the big club and then slumped horribly at the end of the year leaving his OPS at AAA at 740 as a 22 year old. I think he could develop into a good defensive SS with an above average (perhaps well above average) bat for the position.

I think the Angels are desperate to make some big moves and improve their offense. The Angels signing of Gary Matthews Jr. to a 5 year/$50 million contract shows that they might just be desperate. The signing of Matthews also seems to signal that they will not pursue Vernon Wells and I still doubt they want to take on Manny. Perhaps they will set their eyes again on Miguel Tejada. If the Angels are not as desperate for offense as I think they are, then we stick with what we’ve got—Teahen--a young player with outstanding offensive skills and the ability to play a premium position.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

2007 Options

2007 Options

It is such a stab in the dark trying to predict what any given team will do in the offseason. I hope to look at the Royals position by position and see what the feasible options are—perhaps by covering more ground we will have a greater chance of stumbling on the acquitions that Dayton Moore is looking to make for next year. Feel free to add you own prognostications.

Catcher:
The 2006 crew:

John Buck was the starter and didn’t make the desired strides offensively that many of us hoped—his OPS hovering around 700. It is very difficult to accurately measure a catcher since a lot of value can come from working with pitchers. Buck seems to be decent defensively. Catchers tend to develop offensively later than other positional prospects—but that is no gurantee that Buck can raise his OPS to 750ish range.

Paul Bako stunk. He won’t be coming back.

Down on the farm:

Paul Phillips and Matt Tupman are not going to be starting catcher but either could be an improvement over Bako. I look for Philips to be the backup and Tupman to be in Omaha.

Other options.
FA Greg Zaun has already been linked to KC. But if he returned, it would probably be as a started-which means Buck would have to be flipped. Some guys I like if we wanted to trade include Yorvit Torrealba-COL and Kelly Shoppach from CLE—both are decent offensively and supposed to be good defensively and are blocked currently. Signing someone like Mike Piazza could be a smart move--he could catch a little (a very little) play some 1st and some DH when Sweeney gets hurt. But it won't happen.

2007 predictions: Buck and Philips--What should happen Buck and Piazza

Third Base
The 2006 Crew:

The resurgent Mark Teahen—played great—874 OPS. But it sounds like he is already being prepped to go to the outfield when his shoulder heals. I like Teahen—a lot—but I would hope the Royals would listen to trade offers (Ervin Santana?) for him. Unless we are blown away—we hang on to him and let him play RF (assuming his shoulder heals, his arm would be more valuable in RF than LF)

Down on the Farm:
Teahen is just holding the spot for Alex Gordon. The only drama is here is will Gordon break ST with the Club or get to return home to Nebraska for a month or two

Other Options: not needed

2007 predictions: It now appears Gordon may start the year with the big club. What should happen: First, I think the idea of trading Teahen should be seriously explored. If we don't get a good offer, then Teahen leans the OF during ST and then starts year at 3rd until June when Gordon is called up

SS
The 2006 crew:


Angel Berroa was the worst regular in baseball last year—stunk at the plate, stunk in the field, stunk on the basepaths. Fortunately he’s signed for the next 2 years for a total of $8 million. The Royals aren’t contending for the division crown, so it won’t kill us to put him back out there, it will just be very painful. Besides, he can’t be worse than he was last year….right?

Down on the Farm:
Andres Blanco has a worse bat (if you can believe it) than Berroa but better glove but he had surgery is probably out until mid year. Angel Sanchez is a bit of an enigma as a lot of people like his tools but hasn’t performed that well. We won’t count on either on of those guys for next year

Other Options:
Craig Counsell and Alex Gonzalez are out on the FA market and either one would be a big upgrade. Counsell is not young but his defense is good and he would probably give us more offensive production than Berroa did last year. Gonzalez defense is supposed to be pretty good he is capable of being a decent offensive player but seems to be somewhat streaky. On the trade front, many Royals fans have long salivated over the idea of trading for the Angels Erick Aybar. I see him almost certainly being moved this offseason—but probably not to us. I have heard the Angels really want to upgrade CF, 3B, 1B. I’m not sure David Dejesus is their kind of player (and it would take more than Aybar for me to give up DDJ) and Gathright is not going to get it done. We are short on 1B already. As for 3B, well read below.

2007 Prediction: Craig Counsell signs a 2 year/ $6million deal. Berroa is one expensive backup What should happen: Erick Aybar

2nd Base
The 2006 Crew:
No position boasts as many option for the Royals as 2nd base. Gold Glover Mark Grudzalanek will be back putting up a 740ish OPS. He could again be very attractive at the trade deadline. Esteban German will probably return to his role as “super sub”. I really hope he gets at least 400 Abs. The other option is he might be traded (how many 2nd basemen are there with an OPS of 880?). Again, I don’t trade him unless I get some good young pitching.

Down on the Farm:

Jeff Keppinger was picked up in a deal with the Mets. He isn’t young but has posted a high batting average everywhere he’s went. He will be nice to have around should the injure bug hit. Donnie Murphy is a longshot for 2007, but I still like this guy in the future.

Other Options: We have more than enough help at 2nd base.

2007 predictions: Grudz and German. What should happen: Grudz should be traded for a decent prospect and German should be our full time second baseman.

1st Base
The 2006 Crew:

Minky won’t be back so I won’t waste much time on him. The Rockies were nice enough to practically give us Ryan Shealy last year. He struggled the first few weeks but brought his OPS up to 789. This year he will be expected to hit with more power and get that OPS up toward at least 850. His defense was surprisingly good.

Down on the Farm:
We got nothin’ in the way of 1st base prospects in the High Minors.

Other Options: my guess is someone like Mark Teahen, or Emil Brown will be the back up 1st baseman if Shealy goes down.

2007 Prediction: Shealy--and that is what should happen.

LF
The 2006 Crew:
Emil Brown and his 815 OPS were more than solid. His defense was better. The guy is solid—but he is due a raise in arbitration and he could be prime trade bait. I think this guy is underrated and should only be traded for value (Juan Gutierrez—HOU prospect).

Down on the Farm:
Does Justin Huber have leprosy? The way he was treated this year you might think so. So first base is not his thing—sounds like things are going well in LF. I’m guessing a pretty safe bet is that one of these two guys will be traded this offseason—perhaps both.

Other Options:
Again, Teahen could end up in LF

2007 Prediction: Emil Brown--Huber traded. What should happen--Brown should be shopped for a pitcher and Huber should start in LF.

The 2006 Crew
David Dejesus had his obligatory injury and then came back got real hot and then cooled off towards the end of the year. Dejesus could go out next year and have an 850 OPS or he could be hurt for 3 months. From all accounts his defense out in CF is decent but Dayton Moore’s first move was to pick up Joey Gathright-who is fast. Unfortunately, he can’t hit, can’t hit for power, and doesn’t get good jumps (unless it’s over a parked car). Gathright has had good OBP in the minors, but I think he is someone whose minor league numbers don’t translate very well to the Big Show. A team like the Marlins could use him. I’ll steal this trade straight from futuregm over on the Scout board: Gathright for Yusmeiro Petit.

Down on the Farm:
Nothing

Other Options:
Not that it is a place of real need but I think Reggie Willits-LAA and Ryan Church-WAS are underrated.

2007 Prediction: Dejesus—Gathright traded--and that is what should happen unless you can pick up Willits or Church on the cheap--in which case-you could trade both CFers (I know a crazy idea)

RF
The 2006 Crew:


Never fight a land war in Asia. Never sign Reggie Sanders in an even year. He didn’t hit and then got injured, landed on the DL where he continued not to hit. Reggie could be trade bait. Perhaps he could go to the Yankees for Carl Pavano—Carl would need to waive his no-trade clause and I have no idea why he would do that to come to KC (unless we guaranteed picking up his 2009 option for $13 million). Of course, the Yankees would need to send us something like $15-25 million (depending on the option situation). Dayton made this kind of trade of Odalis and I like the risk/reward on this. Shane Costa didn’t hit great in 250 ABs but he raked down at Omaha. I am going to pencil in Teahen.

Down on the Farm:
Billy Butler will be hitting the cover off the ball in Omaha but should probably spend the majority of the year in AAA.

Other options:
There was a small rumor that the Royals might be interested in Jose Guillen if they trade Reggie. Jose can be a good player but his attitude is Sheffieldesque-so I would take a pass unless it’s a really good bargain (something like 1 year/$2 million)

2007 Prediction: Teahen with Costa playing second fiddle--if we can trade Teahen then Costa gets a shot to start until Butler is ready.

DH
The 2006 Crew:


Stairs is gone so we now have the indestructible Mike Sweeney as our only full time DH on the roster. Mike missed a lot of time last year, even by his standards. His hitting when he was healthy was also sub-par. But he looks to be here for $11 million next year, so we might as well make the best of it.

Down on the Farm
Other Options:

Nada

2007 Prediction: Sweeney—if healthy could be traded mid-year. What should happen--perhaps Sweeney can be traded and someone like Piazza could DH for us.

Starting Pitching
The 2006 Crew:

Runelvys Hernandez was awful with an occasion good start. Redman, Elarton and Mays were predictably not good. Luke Hudson emerged as “reliable” in the sense that he was better than anything else we had. Odalis Perez was picked up in a good high reward trade. Zack Greinke battled back from his issues to pitch pretty well at AA. Jorge De La Rosa couldn’t control his pitches. The starting rotation was and is a mess.

Down on the Farm:
Tyler Lumsden and Luke Hochevar cannot be counted on for next year. As I mentioned Zach Greinke showed he deserves a shot at the rotation come spring.

Other Options:
Let’s start with trade options: We could always pick up overpaid vets like Jarrod Washburn or Carl Pavano—they could probably be had fairly cheap in terms of talent to give up, if we were willing to take on salary. Young pitching is just about the hardest thing to find on the trade market. Perhaps the Twins will trade someone like Scott Baker, but I don’t think they will do it within the division. Baltimore might be willing to trade Hayden Penn, but I’m not sure Justin Huber or Emil Brown would be enough to get it done (but they are Baltimore). There were some whispers that Paul Maholm might be available in Pittsburgh—he would be a good pickup. As I mentioned above, I would like to go after Ervin Santana—but I think I’ll do a whole post devoted to that.

The FA market is flush with #3/#4 starters. We start with the conviction that none of the top guys will sign with us. Below are some guys in our range (maybe). I cut and paste some stats that Georgia Royals was kind enough to provide on a message board. I also estimate what it would take to sign them.

Ted Lilly (30 years old) 15-13, 4.31 ERA in 32 games (181.1 innings). 1.43 whip, .254 obaa. 4 yrs/$40 million

Vincente Padilla (29 years old) 15-10, 4.50 ERA in 200ip, 1.38 WHIP 4yrs/$36 million

Gil Meche (28 years old) 11-8, 4.46 ERA in 32 games (186.2 innings). 1.43 whip, .256 obaa. Made $3.7 M in '06. 3 yrs/$27 millionAdam Eaton (28 years old) 7-4, 5.12 ERA in 13 games (65.0 innings). 1.57 whip, .299 obaa. $4.65 M in '06. 3yrs/$25 million

Randy Wolf (30 years old) 4-0, 5.56 ERA in 12 games (56.2 innings). 1.69 whip, .285 obaa. 3 yrs/$21 million

Tomo Ohka (30 years old) 4-5, 4.82 ERA in 18 games (97.0 innings). 1.37 whip, .266 obaa. 2yrs/$15 million

John Thomson (33 years old) 2-7, 4.82 ERA in 18 games (80.1 innings). 1.56 whip, .295 obaa. 2 yr/ $12 million

Tony Armas (28 years old) 9-12, 5.03 ERA in 30 games (154.0 innings). 1.50 whip, .279 obaa. 2 yr/$12 million

Jeff Weaver (30 years old) 3yrs/$27 million

Bruce Chen (29 years old) 1 yr/$4million

Looking at that list, I would go after Adam Eaton (Randy Wolf is my backup plan) and then try to pick Chen up cheap.

2007 Predictions: Eaton, Perez, Hudson, Chen, Greinke. What should happen: Ervin Santana, Eaton, Perez, Hudson, Greinke.

Relief Pitchers
The 2006 crew:

Jimmy Gobble, Todd Wellermeyer, Joel Peralta and Joe Nelson have earned a shot in the pen next year. Youngsters Ambiriox Burgos, Andy Sisco, and Ryan Braun will have to earn a shot. Someone like Jorge De La Rosa could be sent to the pen if he doesn’t cut it as a starter.

Down on the Farm:
Ryan Braun had some great numbers, can he translate those to the big show? Leo Nunez has some great stuff but may need a little more time in Omaha.

Other options:
There are always a slew of options out there to trade for. Signing a guy like David Riske would be a smart move. The Royals also picked up Ken Ray on waivers from the Braves

2007 prediction:Gobble, Wellermeyer, Nelson, Braun, Peralta, Ray and Riske? with Sisco and Burgos figuring things out in AAA--and that is what I think should happen too.

I'll follow up with a post showing my "predicted" team as well as "my" plan...

Friday, November 10, 2006

The "Right" Stuff

This entry will focus on the right handed starters that the Royals have throughout the system. About the only one worth mentioning from the ORoyals is right hander Danny Tamayo. Fellow 2001 draftee Angel Sanchez beat Tamayo to the majors with his 2006 September call up. The only other guy from the 2001 draft that could eventually get to KC is Devon Lowery, who had regained his stock a little of late. Tamayo saw limited action in 2006. I don't know this for sure, but I'd guess he was set back by injury. He was 3-2 with an ERA of 4.21 in 7 games (3 starts) for Omaha. Again, barely worth mentioning at all.

The only right handed starter worth mentioning from the Wranglers (since Zach Greinke isn't really a "prospect" anymore since losing his rookie status) is 23 year old Billy Buckner. Buckner appears to be a ground ball pitcher. He averaged 2.28 ground outs per fly out in '06, which undoubtedly led to his success while with the Mavericks. He began the season in High Desert and ended in Wichita where he made 13 starts for the Wranglers. In those 13 starts, he was 5-3, 4.64 in 75.2 innings. His opponents batting average was .265. He needs to cut down on his walks. He averaged 1.62 K/BB and sported a whip of 1.55 despite allowing about a hit per inning. In 2006, Buckner was averaging about 5 walks per 9 innings. He ended the season with two straight scoreless outings.

I thought there were a couple of guys worthy of note from the Mavericks in 2006, and one of them ended the season with an ERA of over 7.00 in 26 starts! Luis Cota is that guy. Cota is 21 years old and was signed by the Royals as a draft and follow out of the 2003 draft. He was signed just before the 2004 draft. On the whole, Cota was 5-11, 7.09 in 132.0 IP in '06. Blah! His opponents batting average was .290 and his whip was 1.64. He produces slightly more ground outs than fly outs at 1.09 ground outs per fly out. He allowed 19 dingers this season which translates to 1 about every 7 innings. This is a bit high. Usually 1 HR per 10 innings is considered acceptable. Of the 19 homers allowed, though, 12 were allowed at home. Here's where it really gets interesting. His HR/9 inning average was 1.67 at home and 0.94 on the road. His OPS against average at home was .940 vs. .797 on the road. His opponents were hitting .317 against him at home, but only .265 on the road. His H/9 average was much better on the road in 2006. So, the numbers look much better under the microscope and I look for this 21 year old right hander to put up some very strong numbers while in the Wichita rotation in 2007. The other Maverick worthy of mention is Kyle Crist. Crist is a 23 year old, 6'3" right hander that was a 34th round pick of the Royals in 2004. Crist has good velocity from what I've read (93-95 neighborhood) and has been a bit of a pleasant surprise for the Royals. Crist was 5-2, 4.15 in 15 starts for the Mavs. He's a ground ball pitcher, who produced twice as many ground ball outs than fly outs in '06. Of the 6 homers Kyle allowed this season, 5 of them were at home, but his overall numbers don't appear to be skewed very much like Cota's were.

The Bees had some very strong pitching in 2006 and they were led by the big three of Carlos Rosa (minor league pitcher of the year), Chris Nicoll and Matt Kniginyzky (Na-gin-skee, I think). 21 year old Carlos Rosa was 8-6, 2.53 in 24 starts with the Bees. His opponents hit only .239 against him. He keeps it in the park. He allowed a homer every 23 innings. He got 11.1 innings in HD to end 2006, and will likely begin 2007 in Wilmington. Rosa was obtained by the Royals as a non drafted free agent out of the Dominican in 2001. Rosa reached America as a 17 year old in 2002. He was the Royals 15th best prosepect a few years back before missing the majority of the '04 season due to injury. Chris Nicoll is a 23 year old 3rd rounder in the '05 draft. Nicoll turned in an excellent first full season as a pro. He was 4-9 (and a special thanks goes out to the Bees bats for that one) with an ERA of 2.82 in 23 starts. His last three starts of the season came in a High Desert uniform. His numbers for the Bees were very solid. His whip was 1.08, 7.05 H/9, opponents batting average against was a paltry .210. He should be in Wilmington in 2007 and should do very well in the pitcher friendly Carolina League. Kniginyzky is the oldest of the three at 24 years of age. He was acqired by the Royals as a 23rd rounder in the '05 draft. He was 9-5, 3.51 in 23 starts and his opponents hit only .255 against him. He allowed a homer every 8 innings although the ratio of ground ball outs to fly ball outs suggest that he's a slight ground ball pitcher. Erik Cordier is a legit prospect. He was drafted early in the 2004 draft, but has suffered some injury problems. 2007 will have him on the shelf after Tommy John surgery. As a 20 year old, Erik was 4-1 with an ERA of 2.91 in 10 combined starts for the Bees and Chukars. Luke Hochevar was the number 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft when the Royals passed up on Andrew Miller in favor of Luke, who had held out after being picked by the Dodgers in the 2005 draft. Hochevar was 0-1, 1.17 in 4 starts for the Bees. He held his opponents to a .148 batting average while striking out 16 in 15.1 innings and only walking 2. He is currently on the shelf resting his arm after experiencing some tenderness while pitching in the Arizona Fall League. He'll probably start 2007 in Wichita, and will probably be in KC some time during the season. Daniel Cortes was acquired by Dayton Moore from the White Sox in the Mike MacDougal trade last year. Cortes will not turn 20 until March. Before the trade, Cortes was 3-9 with a 4.01 ERA in 107.2 innings for Kannapolis of the SAL. After the trade, he was 1-2, 6.69 for the Bees in the Midwest League (both are A ball). Combined, he was 4-11, 4.67 in 26 starts. His opponents batting average was .266 , his K:BB ratio was 2.29, and his K rate was 7.95 K's per 9 innings. His whip was 1.43 on the season. He's a young kid, and hopefully he was just adjusting to getting traded and such. I'd expect him to be in Wilmington in 2007.

The Chukars had some very solid right handed starters this past season. Blake Wood was a surprise 3rd round pick of the Royals in the 2006 draft out of Georgia Tech. He did put up a very solid debut in professional ball. He was 3-1, 4.50 in 52 innings. He struck out three times as many as he walked and his whip was 1.25. On the road, he was 2-1, 4.08 with a whip of 1.05. His K rate was better on the road as well as his K/BB rate, which was 4.00. Look for him in Burlington to begin the '07 season. Harold Mozingo was considered a steal in the 6th round of this year's draft, but went on to post a 3-1 record with a 6.17 ERA for the Chukars. This one, like Luis Cota, needed the microscope. His obaa at home was .361, but only .236 on the road. His home whip was 2.01, while his road whip was 1.19. The difference in OPS was staggering. He allowed an OPS of 1.051 at home, but only .657 on the road. He walked far fewer on the road and gave up half as many homers on the road. He'll be in the pitcher friendly Midwest League in 2007, so look for him to put up some great numbers. Jason Godin only pitched in 6 games for the Chukars and started 4 of them. However, I don't think his future with the club is as a starter. He was 0-1, 2.49 in his 6 games this year. As a starter, he was 0-1, 2.93 in 15.1 innings. He was a 5th rounder in '06. Josh Cribb struggled mightily in his pro debut posting record of 2-6 with a 5.19 ERA. Perhaps he'll bounce back while in Burlington next year. Tyler Chambliss (11th rounder in '06) was 4-3, 4.20 in 12 games (6 starts) for the Chukars. He was 3-1, 3.41 as a starter with a whip of 1.10 and a .223 obaa. He allowed 1 HR in 29 innings as a starter.

In Arizona, Paul Raglione was 3-0, 3.11 ERA in 10 games (7 starts). He averaged 2.5 ground outs per fly out in '06. Paul will turn 20 in January. He struck out 48 batters in 46.1 innings of work. He had a K/BB raio of almost 5.00 (48 K's, 10 BB's), and he only allowed 1 HR. Henry Arias put up some good numbers for AZ. He was 4-5 with an ERA of 3.59. He allowed fewer hits than IP, and only allowed 1 HR in 57 innings.

If I was going to rank the right handed starters that have pitched above rookie ball, I'd probably do something like this:

1. Luke Hochevar (Wichita)
2. Carlos Rosa (Wilmington)
3. Luis Cota (Wichita)
4. Billy Buckner (Omaha)
5. Eric Cordier (out for '07)
6. Chris Nicoll (Wilmington)
7. Daniel Cortes (Burlington or Wilminton)
8. Matt Kniginysky (Wilmington)
9. Kyle Crist (Wilmington or Wichita)
10. Danny Tamayo (Omaha)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Who's the next Beltran?

The centerfield position has become a pretty solid position for the Royals. Between David DeJesus and Joey Gathright, the Royals should be able to have quality centerfield play for at least the next 5 years. The main question is whether or not Gathright will hit enough to become an everyday player. DeJesus is an average to slightly above-average defender in the outfield. He’s an above-average hitter as a centerfielder and a fringe average hitter as a left fielder. So, unless Gathright improves his production offensively, I think DeJesus will eventually move back to center, especially with Teahen, Huber, Lubanski and maybe Butler become options as corner outfielders. The Royals’ corner outfield depth is much stronger than there centerfielder depth, so having two good options for centerfielders is crucial.

High Minors:

The Royals don’t really have any CF prospects at AAA. Chad Allen is the only outfielder listed on the Omaha Royals roster at the moment, and he isn’t a centerfielder. Mitch Maier is the Royals’ best centerfield prospect. Maier is a solid player all-around, with at average to above-average power, speed, and defense in centerfield. Maier’s strong arm will allow him to play all three outfield positions, which should make him at least a good fourth outfielder. Overall, Maier had a good season, hitting .306/.357/.473 with 35 2Bs and 13 HRs. He’ll likely start at Omaha and could work his way on to the big league club at some point during this season.

Low Minors:

The Royals don’t have any CF prospects at High Desert or Burlington.

Rookie Ball:

Dickerson has put together two nice seasons in a row. Dickerson hit 14 doubles and 7 HRs in 242 ABs for Idaho Falls. His overall line of .281/.338/.789 is pretty good overall. As a rookie, Dickerson hit .294/.371/.491, so he has a pretty solid track record going. His defense is supposed to be his best asset and he should develop modest power with time. Dickerson will likely start at Burlington next year.

Derrick Robinson was the Royals’ 4th round pick this season. He turned down a football scholarship to sign with the Royals. His pro debut was very lackluster, hitting just .233/.335/.318. Robinson’s speed is phenomenal and he stole 20 bases, but also got caught 14 times. If he can learn how to get on-base regularly, he might have a chance to use his speed in the big leagues.

Overall: The Royals are in good shape in centerfield. DeJesus should be a solid player for several years and the Royals have good depth overall. There aren't any Damon or Beltran-like talents on the way, but no one is complaining with DeJesus in centerfield.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Future Royal Right Fielders

It seems to be a trend--the Royals have one blue-chip prospect at a positition and not much else. The good news is that it seems possible that Butler will stay in RF which would definitely be a big plus.

Right Field

Omaha--Chad Allen

Chad will be 32 in February—not exactly prime prospect age. He had an 861 OPS at Omaha and seems like a good guy to have down at AAA should you need an emergency outfielder.

Wichita—Billy Butler
Billy was 20 last year and tore up AA to the tune of 331/388/499. He is probably the best pure hitter in the minors. That doesn’t mean he is perfect. His ops vs. lefties was 1246! But vs. righties was 807. While you can’t complain about the batting average, his walk rate suffered last year. His power was also not what you would expect—slugging under 500. However, Butler is such a professional hitter, I think he will improve those numbers in AAA in 2007. I also think he was working more on his defense to where his hitting suffered some.

A scout once called Butler “the worst defensive player he’s ever seen” (this was before the move to RF). I’ve only seen some tape of him in RF and while I wouldn’t call him graceful, he seems passable and he’s gotten better. He’s also got a heck of an arm.

Butler should start the year in AAA and I would expect him to destroy the pitching there for a few months and probably get called up after the All-Star Break

High Desert—Brian McFall
McFall was a 3rd round pick a few years ago. He had a 769 OPS at High Desert—933 at home, 612 on the road. He had 30 walks and 120 K’s. He’s playing the Hawaiian Baseball League and got a 618 OPS there. A suspect, not a prospect.

Burlington—Carlos Arroyo
25 year old in Low-A with a 666 ops-next!

High Desert—OD Gonzalez
OD (Oscar) was a 23rd round draft choice back in 04. He’s 22 and had a 769 OPS. Not great but we’ll keep an eye on how he does in Burlington this year.

AZ Royals-Nick Van Stratten
Nick was a 10th round pick from the St. Louis area and had a good debut. He played most of his games in Arizona before getting a cup of coffee in Idaho. Overall, he had a 819 OPS. He is supposed to be athletic and projects well and is already being called a steal from the 10th round. He’s 21 and will probably start next year in Burlington.

Rank ‘em
Butler
Van Stratten
Gonzalez
McFall
Allen
Arroyo