Results tagged ‘ David Lough ’
At 37-47, the Royals had a less than stellar “first half” of the 2012 season. They’re currently in 4th place in the AL Central and 9.5 games back of the Chicago White Sox (47-38).
In what has been a notoriously weak division, the Royals have had many chances to control their own fate within the division. But thanks to a 12-game never-to-be-spoken-of-again losing streak, crippling injuries, terribly inconsistent starting pitching, and slumping bats, the Royals have yet to take that leap into contention. Currently, they’re on-pace for a 71-91 record.
Returning From the DL
The Royals are getting to key players back tonight to kickoff this half of the season. Both Lorenzo Cain and Chris Getz are scheduled to be in the lineup tonight as the Royals take on the White Sox.
Lorenzo Cain has been out since April 10th when he strained his left groin after running into the center field wall in Oakland. He was close to returning to the lineup in late April before he tore his left hip flexor during a rehab assignment with Northwest Arkansas, causing him to extend his stay on the DL until this past Monday.
Chris Getz has been able to see a little more playing time than Cain, even though he’s only played in 36 of the team’s 84 games (partly due to platooning with Yuni). Getz strained his left leg back in mid-June in the 1st inning of that glorious 15-inning win in St. Louis. In his place, the Royals have used Betancourt, Falu, and Giavotella. Before this stint on the DL, Getz was having a fairly good season – .290/.327/.380, 5 doubles, 2 triples, 8 RBI, 12 R, 6 SB (1 CS), and just 9 K to 6 BB. His ability to situationaly hit and steal bases will be welcome additions to a lineup starving to manufacture runs.
The Trade Deadline
The Royals are “sellers” now. Let’s just get that point out there from the get-go. Barring a miraculous winning streak, they’ll be battling it out with the Twins to say who can stay out of the AL Central cellar. But the Royals may have a few attractive trade pieces that could: a) bring value back in return; b) clear the way for a more deserving player; and c) invigorate the fan-base in what could be a long second half.
- Jonathan Broxton: Brox is performing well this season. He’s recorded 21-f0r-24 in converting saves and has a 1.99 ERA in 31 appearances. The former two-time All-Star was one of five players up for the final roster spot on the AL All-Star roster this season – so there’s no doubt as to whether Broxton has regained his form. He’s signed to a one-year, $2 million deal and will be a free agent at the end of the season – where in which the Royals will not be able to collect a compensation pick if he opts to sign elsewhere. His value right now is as high as it will ever be, although relievers anymore don’t often fetch a premium return. The Royals bullpen likely would be able to pick up the slack left by Broxton, with one of Crow, Holland, or Herrera shifting to the closer role. The New York Mets have been mentioned as a possible trade partner, though the Royals are looking for Major League-eady help in return. Me thinks: NY Mets (46-40), Toronto (43-43), or Boston (43-43).
- Jeff Francoeur: It’s time for the Dayton Moore to seriously think about life after Frenchy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Jeff Francoeur. He’s a great guy to have in the clubhouse and I have no doubts in his work ethic at all. He gives all he’s got with every pitch of every game. But he’s hitting just .251/.289/.378 this season, knocking in only 25 runs while managing to hit just 7 homeruns thus far – which is not exactly what you want from a guy who’s trypically the no.5 hitter in the lineup everyday. But the main, loudest, biggest, over riding reason to rid our lineup of Frenchy: he’s blocking Wil Myers. Moving Francoeur won’t be easy. He’s currently in the first year of a two-year, $14 million deal, which is sure to keep trade partners at a minimum. The Royals would have to likely eat most of his contract if they want to move him. Teams in the playoff hunt looking for a lefty-mashing platoon partner will likely fill-up the Francoeur market. He won’t likely command a huge return. Me thinks: Boston (43-43), Pittsburgh (48-37), LA Dodgers (47-40), Cincinnati (47-38), or Miami (41-44).
- Yuniesky Betancourt: Outside of his defensive shortcomings, Yuni has been serviceable this season at second base. He’s been platooning there most of the season with a combination of Getz, Falu, and Giavotella and has even played a few games at third. Although his defense isn’t anything to write home about, he does have the ability to play second base almost every day while filling in at both shortstop and third, thus increasing his value to teams with injuries or teams looking for versatility off the bench. The Royals have an adequate replacement for Yuni in Irving Falu, so losing him won’t necessarily create any holes. He’s hitting just .242 and doesn’t take many walks, but he also doesn’t strikeout a ton and has adequate power (6 HR and 31 RBI in 165 AB). He’s only signed through 2012, so moving his contract won’t be an issue. Practically every team could use a versitile bench guy with some pop. Yuni may be able to be flipped for a reliever. Me thinks: San Francisco (46-40), Tampa Bay (45-41), Atlanta (46-39), or Texas (52-34).
- Jose Mijares: The Royals signed Mijares this offseason to a one-year deal after he was non-tendered by the Twins, and the lefty has been worth every penny thus far. In 41 appearances, covering just 33.1 innings, Jose has recorded 32 K to just 7 BB while surrendering just 6 earned runs (1.62 ERA). Given his IP vs. appearances, it’s easy to see that he’s a lefty specialist – a bullpen piece that nearly every big league manager covets. He’s able to be under team control for the next five years due to arbitration, which could be attractive to willing trade partners. A LOOGY by trade, he could be had fairly easily. Me thinks: Any team in playoff contention.
Both Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi have been dominant at the Triple-A level this season. Having said that, both are likely to see some playing time in Kansas City this season. The question is when.
Jeff Francoeur is still on the roster and Lorenzo Cain is going to be given every opportunity to show what he can do in center field – effectively blocking Myers’ path. At sone point though, his number will be called; whether it be from a trade, injury, or as a September call-up.
Odorizzi, on the other hand, will likely get the nod for the starting rotation soon. Other than Bruce Chen and maybe Luke Hochevar, nobody in the current starting rotation should be blocking Izzy’s path to Kansas City. The Royals’ rotation is atrocious right now, and giving Odorizzi a shot to prove himself can only make it better.
Then you have guys like LHPs Will Smith and Ryan Verdugo, OFers David Lough and Derrick Robinson, and 2B Johnny Giavotella who all have potential and could make an impact in Kansas City in the coming months.
Finally Having the Optimal Lineup
For the first time this season, the Royals will debut the batting order they thought they would have coming out of Spring Training. But then Salvador Perez went to the DL, followed by Lorenzo Cain and then Chris Getz. But now that all three are back and presumably healthy, the Royals’ lineup should look a lot like this:
- LF Gordon L
- SS Escobar R
- 1B Hosmer L
- DH Butler R
- 3B Moustakas L
- RF Francoeur R
- C Perez R
- 2B Getz L / Betancourt R
- CF Cain R
If KC had this lineup to begin the season, we might be thinking about the trade deadline a little differently.
Jonathan Sanchez Drama
Okay, drama might not be the right word. For now, at least. But it is baffling to me that the Royals are still letting Jonathan Sanchez trot out to the mound every fifth day while he’s still surrendering more walks than strikeouts. “That’s just the way I pitch,” was Sanchez’s rebuttle when asked about his high walk totals.
That may be the way he pitches, but that’s not the way any team wins. The guy’s body language stinks – which you’ve probably heard Rex Hudler say once or twice before. He has all the demeanor of a guy who either doesn’t love baseball or doesn’t want to be here.
Either way, he’s gotta go.
I know we gave up Melky for him, and gosh does that look bad right about now. But at the time, most of us probably would have made the same deal that Dayton did.
He’s a free agent at the end of 2012, and the Royals can’t possibly be contemplating bring him back for 2013 and beyond. But with a 1-5 record and a 6.75 ERA while giving up an average of 7.4 BB/9 to just 5.4 K/9 (not to mention a WHIP of nearly 2.00), trading him for anything but a bag of peanuts is likely out of the question.
Shape up, or ship out.
Coming into Spring Training this year, the Royals were pretty much set at every position, with a few exceptions: 2B, CF, #4 and #5 starters, and LH relievers. That may seem like a lot of positions to have uncertainty at, but a lot of them are truly position battles. In the darker days of this franchise, it used to be there was one clear-cut favorite for a position. And no matter how he did, all he had to do was basically show up every day and the job was his. The Royals have some legitimate position battles going on this Spring, and within these battles there is always at least one dark horse.
If Salvador Perez hadn’t torn his left meniscus the other day, there wouldn’t be any questions as to who the two catchers on the roster would be coming out of camp. But now that it’s looking like Sal could be out until at least mid-June or later, a few new names have come up as the potential #2 to Brayan Pena.
Cody Clark – 30
At 30 years young, Cody Clark is hardly a young up-and-comer. He’s spent the last 2 seasons at Triple A Omaha, primarily as the backup catcher. He isn’t a great hitter, but his numbers are pretty much what you’d expect from a catcher (career .254/.320/.394). And although his arm isn’t much to brag about (33% career caught stealing), his glove is major league quality (career .992 Fld%), never committing more than 6 E in one season.
He is making his first start of the Spring today against Cleveland, ahead of Max Ramirez.
Max Ramirez – 27
Max Ramirez is an offensive-first catcher, period. Once a top catching prospect for the Rangers, Max has done nothing but hit during his 8 seasons in the minors, with a line of .295/.389/.478 with 85 HR and 146 2B. His glove is average at best, and his arm is less than stellar (27% CS).
With Brayan Pena already on the roster, having two mostly offensive catchers might not make much sense. But if Max keeps hitting like he has been this Spring (7 for 15, 3 HR, 9 RBI) it’d be hard not to bring him on board.
Kevin Kouzmanoff – 30
Kouz has been playing well this Spring, going 3 for 10 in 7 games played, including a walk-off double. He’s always had the ability to hit if given the chance. But the real reasons he’s here are the fact that he’s a vacuum over at 3B, and he’s a right-handed hitting alternative to Mike Moustakas against tough lefties.
If the Royals keep Johnny Giavotella and Yuni Betancourt (thus sending Chris Getz to Triple A), Kouz has a real shot at breaking camp with the Royals as the backup corner infielder.
Clint Robinson – 27
He may be a AAAA player, but right now he’s just a guy who’s never gotten a real chance to show his stuff. Clint profiles as a DH/1B, mostly due to his size (6’5″ 235) and raw power. He won the hitter’s triple crown in 2010 in Double A(.335/.410/.625 29 HR, 98 RBI, 41 2B, 58:86 BB:K ratio, and almost replicated those numbers again last year in Triple A (.326/.399/.533 23 HR, 100 RBI, 35 2B, 58:86 BB:K ratio). If he had been in almost any other organization, there’s no doubt that Robinson would have made his Major League debut by now. But since he’s been blocked by Billy Butler, Eric Homser, and Kila Ka’aihue, he has yet to see an at-bat in KC.
If he wants to make the team out of Spring, he’ll need to log more innings at one of the corner OF spots and prove he isn’t enough of a defensive liability to offset his bat. He could be a great left-handed power bat coming off the bench for Ned in 2012.
David Lough – 26
Lough does everything right. He hits, runs, and fields well, while occasionally flashing a little bit of power. He’s been compared to David DeJesus, except that he runs much better. He’s already hit 2 triples this Spring, and has logged significant innings at all 3 OF spots. Lough could very well supplant Mitch Maier as the 4th OFer on this roster.
Luis Mendoza RHP – 28
Without a doubt, Luis Mendoza has been the Royals’ most outstanding pitcher this Spring. He’s 3-0 in 10.2 IP with a 0.84 ERA, 11:1 K:BB ratio, .135 AVG against, and 0.56 WHIP. He seemed to get is act together last year in Omaha, and was called up to Kansas City to make two starts in September, going 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA in 14.2 IP.
Mendoza is in an all out brawl with Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino for that 4th or 5th spot in the rotation. At this point, Mendoza is almost a near lock to make the team out of Spring Training. But the question is whether he winds up as a part of the rotation or the bullpen.
Kelvin Herrera RHP – 22
After being converted from a starter to a reliever and pitching at almost every level in the organization last year, Herrera has an outside shot to start the season in KC. He’s got a true power arm, being able to hit the upper-90′s consistently. He currently sports a 1.50 ERA in 6 IP this Spring with 9 K to 2 BB and a .190 AVG against.
It might take an injury to one of Coleman, Holland, or Broxton for Herrera to make the 25-man roster this April, though anything can happen between now and then.
Tommy Hottovy LHP – 30
The hometown kid has been impressive in his short time as a Royal. He hasn’t surrendered a run in 4.2 IP thus far, giving up only 5 hits while striking out 5 and walking 0. Tommy has started games before earlier in his minor league career, though his TJ surgery probably put that part of his career in the rear view. But he is capable of going more than one or two innings.
Yost has stated that he wants more than just one lefty in the bullpen, and Tommy could be that guy given the fact that he could fill a number of bullpen roles (long reliever, middle reliever, situational lefty).
Even though the real strength of the Royals minor league system lies within it’s pitching ranks, the OF isn’t far behind it in terms of potential. And given the Royals major league outfielder’s performances last season, this talented list becomes that much better. Here’s my top 10 OFers for 2012. Enjoy with a healthy side enthusiasm!
10. David Lough (Omaha) age 26
Up until now, some of you may have never heard of David Lough. For those of you who fall into that category, here is a glimpse at what David Lough is:
-11th round selection in 2007 draft, Mercyhurst College
-5 Minor League seasons, career .299/.354/.468, 52 HR, 38 3B, 65 SB, 1.93:1 K:BB ratio, .980 Fld%, all the while logging significant innings at all 3 OF positions.
David has spent the past two seasons in Triple A Omaha, biding his time until his name is called. He’s been nothing but consistent, both in the field and in the batter’s box. So why hasn’t Lough seen any time in Kansas City?
Grade: C+. I actually really like Lough. He draws a lot of comparisons to David DeJesus but with much better speed. As a Royals fan, that’s great news to me. Now if he could only pry that 4th OF spot away from the likes of Mitch Maier and Jarrod Dyson. This guy will get his shot sometime soon, but not necessarily in Kansas City.
9. Jorge Bonifacio (Burlington-Rookie) age 18
Jorge Bonifacio is still extremely young and a relatively unpolished prospect. But from what scouts have seen from him so far, they have no doubt that he will be an impact bat in the middle of the Royals’ lineup one day. He is projected to have terrific power and will play above-average defense while possessing good speed. He still needs to work on his pitch recognition, as he often finds himself out ahead of breaking pitches. But he’s got quick hands and a projectable body that will add mass in time, and mass+quick hands= power.
Grade: B. I can’t wait to see what he can do with a full season of work under his belt. His position isn’t set as of now, but he’ll be either a LF or a RF.
8. Jarrod Dyson (Omaha/Kansas City) age 27
We all know what Jarrod Dyson is: speed. If he makes the opening day roster, it will be for that reason, and for that reason only. His speed literally changes the game. He can turn a sac bunt into a single, a walk into a double, and a lazily played double into a triple.
He won’t ever really hit for average in the majors without consistent playing time due to the fact the he generally enters the game in low-success situations (sacrifices/bunt single attempts), or he enters as a pinch runner. He doesn’t get relatively great jumps on fly balls, nor does he run great routes. And his arm has never and will never be there. But his speed more than makes up for it.
Grade: C. Dyson is “Juan Pierre-lite” at his best, and “Joey Gathright-lite” at his worst. His speed will keep him in/around the majors for years to come, whether it be in Kansas City or anywhere else. There’s no denying the fact the he simply changes games.
7. Elier Hernandez (Instructional) age 17
The Royals signed Elier Hernandez this past summer out of the Dominican for a $3.05 mil. bonus, setting a club record for the International signing period. As of now, Hernandez is still relatively unknown. But at 6’4″ and 200 lbs at the tender age of 17, he’s already got the body of a big leaguer. At that size, scouts project him to be a corner OF, most likely RF due to the fact that he will probably slow a bit as he adds on weight and muscle mass. Because that’s all 17 year olds do. He’s described as a “quick-twitch athlete” and “a high-risk, high-reward type”.
Grade: B. Note- I’m handing out this grade without Hernandez ever playing in a professional game. His power potential is though the roof, and he could work his way into the Royals’ list of top 10 prospects by season’s end. Keep this in mind: Hernandez is just 17 years old. The Royals are going to give him as much time as he needs to fully develop on and off the field, so don’t expect to see him in Kansas City until at least 2016-2017.
6. Brett Eibner (Kane County) age 23
Eibner, now primarily a CF, was a two-way player at the University of Arkansas, leading many to believe that he could have been drafted as either an OF or a pitcher. If he were to enter the draft as a pitcher, he would have most likely gone in the 1st round, mostly due to his 97 mph fastball. But luckily for the Royals, he chose to hit, and fell right into their lap in the 2nd round.
Thus far, Eibner has been bitten by the injury bug, hampering his ability to really show the plus-power that he possesses at the plate. He’s known as a bit of a free swinger, and that may never go away. But he does show the ability to take a walk, evidenced by his 90:48 K:BB ratio and his .340 OBP in 2011, despite his .213 AVG in 76 games. He did manage to flash some of his God given power by sailing 12 balls over the fence. He also has a solid glove (.994 Fld% / 1 error) to go with the gun attached to his right shoulder.
Grade: B. He needs to evade the DL this coming season if he wants to progress quickly through the ranks. He’s a great athlete who has the ability to stick at CF, but may be more likely to end up in RF because of his extremely strong arm. If he sticks at CF though, he could be on the fast track to supplant Lorenzo Cain within 2 years.
5. Lorenzo Cain (Omaha/Kansas City) age 25
Another piece of the Zack Greinke/Yunibomber trade, Cain may have outperformed all of the former Brewers that came along with him to the Royals, with an inspiring slash line of .312/.380/.497, with 16 HR, 28 2B, 7 3B, 81 RBI, 16 SB, 40 BB, 102 K in 128 games in Omaha, all the while hitting for the cycle and leading the Storm Chasers to the PCL championship. So why was Lorenzo just another September call-up?
Because the Royals’ outfield last year was just that damn good.
Gordon, Melky, and Frenchy all revitalized their careers. Many saw Melky and Frenchy as guys whom Dayton should have flipped at the July 31 trade deadline, and he very well could have. Just dealing one of them would have paved the way for Cain to Kauffman. But GMDM decided to keep the record setting group together for the rest of the season. So save for a cup of coffee at the big league level as a September call-up, Lorenzo was just plain old blocked. But with the trade of the Melkman to San Francisco, the way has been cleared for Cain.
Grade: B-. Cain is probably a better athlete than he is a baseball player. But he has the potential to be a Gold Glove-caliber CF who can steal 25+ bases and eventually become the leadoff hitter, moving Alex to the middle of the lineup where he belongs. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Cain can do at the K this summer.
4. Jeff Francoeur (Kansas City) age 28
I couldn’t wait to put this picture up…
To say Fenchy surpassed all of our expectations last season is an understatement. He blew them out of the freaking water.
Nobody was surprised last winter when GMDM inked the former Atlanta Brave to a one-year deal. We all, Dayton included, believed this to be another one-year, low-risk signings that the Royals would flip at the deadline for future puzzle pieces a la Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel. Afterall, Frenchy’s career appeared to be on a downward slope at the ripe age of 26. He was traded from his hometown Braves in 2009 to the Mets for Ryan Church, a career backup OF. He was with the Mets through the first half of 2010 before they shipped him off to Texas in exchange for Joaquin Arias, another underachieving former top prospect. He platooned while with the Rangers, getting most of his playing time against lefties, earning him 6 AB’s in the World Series.
Dayton Moore snatched him up that winter, and the rest is history.
Frenchy tore it up last season, hitting .285/.329/.476, 20 HR, 47 2B(career high), 87 RBI, 22 SB (career high), becoming the Royals first 20/20 player since Carlos Beltran. He also formed 1/3 of arguably the best OF in all of baseball last season, contributing 16 OF assists (and a handful of ridiculous plays – see bottom) while only committing 5 errors. Not to mention, the guy is a bonafide leader in the clubhouse as well as a total media darling.
Grade: B-. Frenchy is just an all-around great guy. He’ll always be a hard-hacking, homerun-hitting, low-walks kind of guy who will give his team everything he’s got on any given day. His 3 year extension this offseason came as a surprise, given he could regress to his old ways. But with Wil Myers presumably waiting in the wings in Omaha (just like Hosmer did last year), be assured that Jeff will be on his game in 2012.
3. Bubba Starling ( Instructional) age 19
Everyone in Kansas City already knows the name Bubba Starling. The local two-way high school super star took Royals Nation by storm last summer, when he dangled Kansas City by a string while he attended summer football workouts at Nebraska. In the end (a few seconds before the signing deadline, to be exact), Bubba decided to take his talents to Kansas City.
This kid is a freak athlete. He has all of the intangibles to become a top-tier major leaguer. And given the fact that he’s a CF, and projects to stay there, his stock is ever rising within baseball circles. He is a legitimate 5-tool guy and could become the face of the franchise before his first major league at-bat.
Grade: A. I really debated between him and Wil Myers for the number2 and 3 spots on this list. Ultimately, I put Starling at 3 just because he doesn’t have any professional experience yet. But ask me again tomorrow and I may flip these two. Think Matt Kemp-level talent. Can’t wait.
2. Wil Myers (Northwest Arkansas) age 21
To me, Wil is the top prospect in the Royals system right now, and he’ll get a chance to show off his talents this coming season for the good folks of Omaha, Nebraska.
To accelerate Wil’s timetable to the bigs, the Royals converted Myers from catcher to RF. And with Sal Perez in Kansas City already, that decision looks like it will pay off. Possibly as soon as this summer.
Myers is one of the top hitting prospects in all of the minors given his ability to hit whatever is thrown at him with authority. He’ll hit for average and power and will get on base at an above-average clip. He has the arm strength and athleticism to stick in RF and become a potential star.
Grade: A-. Can you imagine this OF in 5 years? Gordon, Starling, Myers. That could be a lethal threesome. Combine them with Hosmer, Moose/Cuthbert, Butler, and Perez, and you have the best lineup in the AL in 2017. Screw the Yankees.
1. Alex Gordon (Kansas City) age 28
Alex was arguably the best player in the entire Royals organization last season, breaking out to the tune of .303/23 HR/87 RBI. Oh yeah and he also won a Gold Glove. So there’s that. In his first 3+ seasons in Kansas City, to say Alex struggled would be putting it nicely. ’07 and ’08 were decent (.247/15/60, including a Royals rookie record of 34 2Bs, and .260/16/59). The 2008 season ended with Alex taking a groundball off the schnoz; and he was never the same at 3B after that.
His real struggles begain in 2009. He struggled to begin the season, then tore labral cartilage in his right hip, forcing him to spend 12 weeks on the DL. A month after he recovered, he was demoted to Omaha where he would stay until the annual September call-ups. Final: 49 games, .232 AVG, 6 HR
During Spring Training 2010, Gordo suffered another set back by breaking his thumb, causing him to miss the first few weeks of the season. In May, he was again demoted to Omaha. But this demotion was diferent. Alex was sent to Omaha to get work in LF. After mashing in Triple A, Gordon was reinstated to the big league roster in July to replace former Royals great David DeJesus. Alex seemed to be right at home in LF, thus making a seemless transition to the OF.
And in 2011, Alex just went off (see first sentence). On his way to winning the AL LF Gold Glove, he lead the lead the league with 20 outfield assists (which also broke the Royals’ highest single season marks set by Jermaine Dye and Mark Teahen). Now Alex is in the midst of the arbitration process. The Royals need to handle this situation by locking Gordo up for the next 3-5 years.
Grade: A-. Alex has become the complete player that the Royals hoped he would be after selecting him 2nd overall in 2005. He’s a legit 4 to 5 tool player who can hit anywhere in the lineup, given his ability to get on base, hit in the gaps, hit for power (both pull and oppo), and steal a base. Just as everyone in KC (myself included) was ready to cut their ties with him, he pulls himself together and has a terrific, and more importantly consistent, season. Bravo, Gordo.
Other names to consider: Mitch Maier, Terrance Gore, Yem Prades, Brian Fletcher, Whit Merrifield, Derrick Robinson, Tim Smith, D’Andre Toney