Tagged: Greg Holland

Tuesday Recap: The Draft, Verdugo, and Another Shutout

Tuesday was a busy day for the Boys in Blue.

The Draft: Rounds 2-15

Apparently Kyle Zimmer wasn’t enough for the Royals. One day after taking Zimmer 5th overall, the Royals selected a total of seven pitchers in rounds 2-15 (3 college, 4 high school).

The Royals took Vanderbilt lefty Sal Selmon in the 2nd round of the 2012 MLB Draft. Photo Credit: Karl B. DeBlaker

They started the day by taking Vanderbilt lefty Sam Selman with pick no. 66. Selman,21, hasn’t been a front-line starter for the Commodores, but he’s a guy that Royals scouts saw get better as the season went on. The Royals took Louisiana high school lefty Colin Rodgers, 18, with their 3rd round pick, their first selection from the high school ranks. Rodgers is currently commited to play baseball at Auburn. He possesses a plus-curveball that normally sits between 75-78 with a sharp break. The Royals addressed their biggest organizational need by selecting three pitchers with their first three picks.

Kansas City finally selected their first position player in round four by selecting Stanford infielder Kenny Diekroeger with the 133rd overall pick. Diekroeger was selected out of high school in the 2nd round by Tampa Bay in the 2009 draft. Opting rather to attend Stanford, Kenny turned down a signing-bonus of $2 million from the Rays. He saw his numbers dip a little bit during his time at Stanford, but Royals scouting director Lonnie Goldberg still sees great potential – “We think this guy has plus-plus makeup. We’re anxious to get a wood bat in his hand. We think he has a ton of upside.” – Goldberg to Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star. During his time at Stanford, Kenny played third base his freshman year before shifting over to shortstop for his sophomore season. He then shifted across the infield again during his junior season by moving over to second base.

They didn’t waste any time picking up their second position player in the next round, drafting catcher Chad Johnson. No, not that Chad Johnson. This Chad Johnson is a high school catcher out of Illinois. The left-handed hitting catcher’s clame to fame is hitting a homerun into the right field seats of Busch Stadium.

Rounds 6-15 went as follows:

6. Zach Lovvorn RHP, Oxford HS (Alabama)

7. Fred Ford 1B/OF, Jefferson Community College (Missouri)

8. Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado OF, Pendleton HS (Florida)

9. Daniel Stumpf LHP, San Jacinto Junior College (Texas)

10. Alexis Rivera OF/1B, Montverde Academy (Florida)

11. Zeb Sneed RHP, Northwest Nazarene Junior College (Idaho)

12. Jackson Williford 2B, Ramona High School (California)

13. Hunter Haynes LHP, Mexico High School (Missouri)

14. Mike Morin C, University of Utah

15. Dylan Sons LHP, Halifax County High School (Virginia)

The draft concludes today with rounds 16-40 taking place via conference call.

Verdugo Promoted, Smith Optioned

Ryan Verdugo

After another rocky outing, the Royals decided to option lefty Will Smith back to Omaha and promote lefty Ryan Verdugo.

Will Smith sandwiched one quality outing with two sub-par starts. He was 1-2 in those three starts, allowing 14 runs in 14 innings pitched.

Verdugo was 3-1 in 11 starts for Omaha and sported a 3.61 ERA. Although he’s been a exclusively a starter this season, he’ll serve his time in Knasas City as a member of the bullpen – likely as a long-reliever.

Verdugo may not be in Kansas City for long, as manager Ned Yost anticipates the Royals adding a position player to the roster before Friday when the Royals travel to Pittsburgh to continue their road portion of interleague schedule. In the mean time, he’ll wear #62 – the number he wore for the Royals in spring training.

The Royals acquired Ryan Verdugo last November, along with lefty Jonathan Sanchez, from the Giants in the Melky Cabrera trade.

Speaking of Interleague Play…

When the Royals travel to Pittsburgh this Friday, don’t expect to see Eric Hosmer roaming the right-side of the infield.

Instead, you’ll be seeing Hoz snagging flyballs in right field.

In an effort to maximize offense, the Royals plan to use Billy Butler at first base. In turn, Hosmer will be in right field, thus shifting Jeff Francoeur to center field and Jarrod Dyson to the bench.

Hosmer got a handful of innings in the outfield this spring in preparation for interleague play.

Pitching and Defense Does it Again

Bruce Chen pitched seven scoreless innings Tuesday night against the Minnesota Twins. Photo Credit: John Sleezer

For the third time in the past five games, the Royals have shutout their opponent.

It all got started last Friday when Felipe Paulino, Kelvin Herrera, Greg Holland, and Jonathan Broxton combined for a three-hit shutout over the A’s (final 2-0). They matched that 2-0 victory over the A’s by earning another 2-0 shutout over them that following Sunday. The bullpen combination of Herrera, Holland, and Broxton worked just as well this time behind starter Vin Mazzaro.

Then last night came. Bruce Chen pitched a masterful seven innings  against the Twins. He surrendering only four hits, striking out five, and walking zero. Greg Holland followed suit by striking out the side in the eighth. Broxton came in to close the ninth in typical Jonathan Broxton fashion (one hit, one walk, tying and winning runs on base).

The only offense the Royals got (and needed, apparently) came in the bottom of the second. With two outs, after reaching on a fielder’s choice, Eric Hosmer swiped second base off of Twins starter Francisco Liriano. The move paid off when Brayan Pena brought Hosmer home on a single to left field.

The Royals will look to take the series  2-1 tonight at The K. Felipe Paulino (3-1, 1.70 ERA) will take the hill for the Royals. he’ll be pitted against the recenelty promoted Twins righty Nick Blackburn (1-4, 8.37 ERA).

Etc.

  • The Royals are 7-3 in their last 10 games. They have outscored their opponents 42-34 in that stretch.
    • Jonathan Broxton has recorded a save in six of the last ten games.
  • They have won their last three series’, and have won six of their last nine series’.
  • Six Royals are listed among the leaders in the balloting for the All-Star game: SS Alcides Escobar (4th), DH Billy Butler (4th), 3B Mike Moustakas (5th), 2B Chris Getz (5th), OF Jeff Francoeur (10th), and OF Alex Gordon (13th).
  • The Royals are averaging nearly 23,000 fans at home this season thus far. At this point last season, they were averaging just over 17,600 fans per home game.
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Royals Bleach the White Sox 9-1, Take the Series

With last night’s victory over the Chicago Red White Sox, the Royals are 6-4 in their last 10 games, and are 10-6 in their last 16. IF, and that’s a very big if (get it?), this team can maintain a .600 clip, they could very well find themselves right back in the mix of things in the AL Central and Wild Card race. A .600 winning % equals out to roughly 97 wins a season. But in order for the Royals to win 97 games, they’d have to play much better than .600 baseball.

Regardless, winning 6 of your last 10 and taking two series’ in a row (not to mention taking 2 of 4 from the Yankees) is great news for this team. Let’s look at the series that was…

Dunn In

It looks like the Donkey is back on his old trail again. In the 1st inning of Friday night’s game, Dunn blasted a solo-shot to deep right off of Felipe Paulino to give the Sox an early 1-0 lead. The South Siders never looked back after that as they went on to win 5-0.

Paulino had a fairly decent performance in his second outing of the season. He gave up seven four runs (all earned) on seven hits while striking out six and walking one in 5.2 innings.

Holland Returns

After spending two weeks on the DL with a rib injury and taking part in a joint-effort no-hitter in a rehab assignment with Northwest Arkansas, Greg Holland rejoined the big league team in Chicago and reassumed his role in the bullpen. To make room for Greg, Nate Adcock was reassigned back to Triple A Omaha.

Holland appeared in the final two games of the series against the White Sox, throwing 1.1 scoreless innings in late-relief. He recorded 4 K’s to 2 BB’s while surrendering a lone hit.

Hosmer Moves Down

In an effort to take a little pressure off his bat, Ned Yost has decided to shift Eric Hosmer from his usual all-important no. 4 slot in the lineup to the no. 6 slot on Saturday. Yost said the down shift was mostly due to the fact that the Royals were facing a left-handed starter that day (Chris Sale) and that Hosmer has been “fighting it a little bit”. AKA – he’s trying too hard.

Hosmer went 2-for-9 during his two games in the 6 slot with a run scored an a RBI. He managed to get up his batting average to .180. He’s batting just .163/.200/.233 in the month of May (7-for-43) with just 2 XBH (0 HR) and 4 RBI. He’s only managed to work two walks this month; on a positive note, he’s struck out only five times – meaning he’s making consistent contact. He’s just been really, really unlucky (evidenced by his .171 BAbip).

The team hopes that moving him down in the order will help Hosmer relax a little more at the plate and help change his mentality at the plate. instead of coming to the plate knowing that he’s the guy, he can go up there and just look for a base hit to help set the table.

Moose Takes a Seat

After playing in the first game of the series in Chicago, Mike Moustakas was held out of the final two games with what was termed as a sore hamstring. Mike also missed the final game of the series against Boston with the same issue. Utility-man Irving Falu filled in for Moose in each of those games, going 5-for-13 in the three games while playing comparable defense.

Mike is currently leading the Royals with a .308 AVG and has at least one hit in 7 of the 8 games he’s played this month.

Right now it looks like Moose will be in the lineup tonight as the Royals take on the Rangers in Arlington, TX.

Hochevar Rebounds

Luke Hochevar continued his season-long Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde act on Saturday night by shutting down Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn and the Pale Hose for 7 solid innings. Hoch struck out five and walked one while giving up just three hits, earning his third win of the season.

The Royals’ offense backed him early by scoring three runs in the top of the first. The only “threat” the White Sox poised against Hochevar was in the bottom of the 2nd. With one down, Hoch walked A.J. Pierzynski and gave up a single to Alex Rios. But he got the next batter, Alexei Ramirez, to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

In his previous two outings, Hochevar had given up a total of 16 runs, 19 hits, and 4 BB in just 6.1 innings.

With the win, Hochevar (3-3) lowered his ERA from 9.00 to 7.20.

Royals Sign Doug Davis

Given the Royals’ recent injury problems, the team went out and signed veteran left-handed starter Doug Davis. Davis, at 36, is a 13-year veteran who has a 92-108 career record in 306 games spread throughout five different organizations. Doug was assigned to extended Spring Training in Arizona where he will workout in anticipation of being sent to Omaha.

This was strictly a veteran depth move – very similar to when the Royals inked Jeff Suppan last year.

Duffy Exits Early

After throwing just 13 pitches and recording two outs in the bottom of the 1st on Sunday afternoon, catcher Humberto Quintero signaled for Ned Yost and head trainer Nick Kinney to come out to the mound and check on Danny Duffy’s arm. Although there were no clear visual signs of discomfort, Quintero saw Duffy shake his out his arm after a pitch.

Yost came out and talked to Duffy, who revealed that he was experiencing soreness in his left elbow, prompting Ned to pull him from the game and call-in swing-man Luis Mendoza. Mendoza pitched terrifically, going 5.2 innings, giving up only one run and striking out seven.

If you recall, Duffy has already missed a start this season due to an elbow issue. Instead of sending him to the DL, the team merely skipped his turn in the rotation in hopes that it was only a minor issue.

After undergoing an MRI today in Kansas City, the Royals have decided to send Duffy to the 15-day DL and recall the recently optioned Nate Adcock to fill his roster spot.

Gio Comes Through

In the top of the 7th, the Royals were down 1-0 with Alcides Escobar on first, the White Sox brought in lefty Matt Thornton to face left-handed hitters Jarrod Dyson and Chris Getz. Thornton lead off his night by walking Dyson, which moved Escobar to second (agruably the team’s two fastest runners). In order to play the match-up game, Ned opted to pinch-hit the right-handed Johnny Giavotella for the lefty Chris Getz.

During Gio’s AB, Escobar and Dyson advanced a base on Thornton’s wild pitch.

Giavotella worked a great at-bat against Thorton and eventually sent a 1-2 fastball that was away down the right field line for a two-run double – his first hit of the season – Royals lead 2-1.

Frenchy Finally Goes Yard

The Royals extended their 2-1 lead in the 8th wneh Jeff Francoeur sent Nate Jone’s pitch to deep left field to the tune of a 400+ foot solo shot, his first of the season. This was his first homerun since September 23 of last season, which ironically was in U.S. Cellular Field.

Frenchy hit 20 HR last season and had 22 SB. He has yet to steal a base this season.

Hanging Six

The 3-1 lead was more than enough for the Royals to get the victory last night, but that didn’t stop them from adding six insurance runs in the top of the 9th.

The Royals sent 11 batters to the plate in the top of the 9th, with both Alcides Escobar and Humberto Quintero batting twice in the inning. The runs scored on a passed ball (1), a bases loaded hit-by-pitch (1), an infield single (1), a fielder’s choice (1), a single to center (1), and a single to right (1).

To recap. that’s six runs on one mistake pitch, 3 singles, a hit batter, and a fielder’s choice.

The Royals forced Addison Reed and Eric Stults to throw 46 pitches combined in the inning.

Coming Up

The Royals will be in Arlington tonight to take on the AL-leading Texas Rangers in game one of a short two-game series.

The Royals (13-20) now stand just 4.5 games back of the first-place Cleveland Indians. The team has won four of their last five games and and have won or split each of their last five series (2 wins, 3 splits). The Royals boast a road record of 9-7.

The Rangers (23-12) have the best record in the American League and are sitting 5 games ahead of second place Oakland. Josh Hamilton is the hottest hitter in baseball, leading the entire league in batting average (.402), home runs (18), and RBI (44). They’re 6-4 in their last 10 and have a home record of 10-6.

Since 2005, the Rangers are 39-19 against the Royals.

Tonight’s game begins at 7:05 CT. It will be Bruce Chen (1-4, 4.83 ERA) for the Royals against Scott Feldman (0-0, 4.35 ERA) of the Rangers.

 

Greg Holland Heads to the DL

Photo Credit: John Sleezer

Greg Holland now has more to worry about than opposing hitters.

On Saturday, the Royals decided to place Holland on the 15-Day DL for what they’re calling a “left rib stress reaction”. It isn’t being termed as a fracture at the moment, which could mean much worse news for Holland and the Royals.

A stint on the DL might be just what the doctor ordered, as Holland has been a shell of his former self thus far. In 7 appearances, he’s given up 8 ER (11.37 ERA), 13 hits (.408 AVG against), 10 K, 7 BB (3 IBB) and 2.68 WHIP. No matter what team you’re on, your “8th or 9th inning guy” should never have numbers like this. Yet another pitcher falling curse to a specified bullpen role…

Given his injury, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that Holland has been giving maximum effort. But for some reason, he just hasn’t been able to keep any of his pitches away from opposing bats.

Right-hander Jeremy Jeffress has been summoned from Triple A Omaha to take Holland’s spot on the roster. In 6 appearances this season for the Storm Chasers, Jeffress has been solid: 2-0, 1.50 ERA, 4 hits, 8 K. Yeah, he is still battling with the free-bases bug (evidenced by his 6 BB), but he has the ability to crank it up to 97-99 mph on any given pitch.

Aaron Crow will take Holland’s place as the de facto late-inning reliever alongside Broxton.

Royals, Hochevar Top Halos 6-3

We’ve been waiting all offseason for this: the first of what we hope will be many victories for the Royals. And on a nationally televised game, Kansas City did not disappoint.

The Royals got off to a very quick start. After Alex Gordon grounded out to begin the game, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, and Billy Butler recorded three consecutive singles – loading the bases for Jeff Francoeur. Frenchy then proceeded to knock a single into center, bringing Cain and Hosmer around to score (2-0 KC).

Another run was put on the board in the top of the 2nd when Humberto Quintero scored on LoCain’s sacrifice fly to RF (3-0 KC).

Leading off the top of the 5th inning, Eric Hosmer kept the runs coming by sending Dan Haren’s pitch over the wall in right-center, furthering the lead to 4-0. Mike Moustakas must have thought that was pretty cool, since he lead off the 6th inning with a long-ball to right, making the score now 5-0.

The Angels were able to put 2 runs on the board in the bottom of the 7th, one on a double by Bobby Abreu and another on a groundout by Vernon Wells.

Chris Getz was able to add another run in the top of the 8th when he stole third base, causing an overthrow by Angels catcher Bobby Wilson. Getz went home on the error, 6-2 Boys in Blue.

Bobby Abreu brought Kendrys Morales home in the 9th with a sac fly, making the score 6-3. But Vernon Wells grounded into a 5-4-3 double-play to end the game.

Luke Hochevar was solid yesterday, going 6.1 innings, allowing 5 hits, 2 ER, 2BBs, while recording 4 Ks, with 3 of those Ks coming from the bottom of the 5th where he struck out the side (Abreu, Wells, and Callaspo). Oh yeah, he also was able to keep Albert Pujols from hurting the Royals for the second day in a row.

Pujols did manage to get a double off of Hoch in the bottom of the 4th, but that was negated when Albert tried to score on Morales’ single to LF. Alex Gordon came up throwing and nailed Pujols at the plate. So sorry, Albert.

Lefty Tim Collins followed Hochevar, allowing 2 runs to score in the 7th (both charged to Hochevar). He ended the inning by striking out Callaspo.

Holland pitched a scoreless 8th which included striking out Pujols.

Jonathan Broxton came into the 9th with a 6-2 lead. He surrendered a leadoff double to Morales, followed by a bunt single by Torii Hunter – making it runners on 1st and 3rd with nobody out. Bobby Abreu hit a sac fly to LF, bringing in Morales. Gordo’s throw to second kept Hunter at first, which was paramount, keeping the double-play in order. Vernon wells proceeded to hit a sharp grounder to Moose, inducing the game ending double-play.

The Royals and Angels will finish the three game series today in Anaheim at 2:35 pm CT. It’ll be new Royals lefty Jonathan Sanchez vs. Ervin Santana.

Game 1 of 162 – Angels 5 Royals 0

Through 7 innings, this one was an absolute pitcher’s duel. Bruce Chen and Aaron Crow were matching Jered Weaver pitch for pitch.

Photo Credit: Mark Terrill / AP

On the flip side, the Royals hitters just looked lost against Weaver and the Angels. The top four in the oder (Gordon, Cain, Hosmer, and Butler) went a combined 0 for 16 with 10 Ks (Gordon and Cain – 3, Hosmer and Butler – 2), leaving 6 runners on base.

The Royals managed only 4 hits last night – one apiece by Francoeur, Betancourt, Pena, and Escobar – and only had one real scoring chance which was nullified by Weaver picking off Francoeur at 2B in the top of the 7th.

Bruce pitched 6 terrific innings throwing 75 pitches, striking out 4, allowing only 3 hits, and getting 2 inning-ending double plays.

Aaron Crow entered to begin the 7th inning, where he proceeded to strike out Howie Kendrick, Albert Pujols, and Torii Hunter in order. But he struggled in the top of the 8th. After retiring Vernon Wells to begin the inning, Crow gave up three straight singles to Morales, Trumbo, and Ianetta before Yost pulled him in favor of Greg Holland.

Holland gave up an infield single to Peter Bourjos, allowing a run to score (1-0) and the bases to stay loaded. The next hitter was Erick Aybar, who ripped a liner down the RF line for a bases clearing triple, making the score 4-0. The Angels would manage to score one more run in the inning on a soft single to right by Hunter, moving the score to 5-0.

On a positive note, the Royals were able to keep Albert Pujols’ Angels debut a quiet one by allowing him to only reach base once on an intentional walk. He ended the game 0 for 3 with a K.

Photo Credit: Mark Terrill / AP

Jered Weaver was just too much for the Royals lineup tonight, going 8 innings, allowing only 4 hits while striking out 10 and walking 0. Lefty Scott Downs pitched a scoreless 9th to end the game.

Game 2 of the series pits two righties – Luke Hochevar (KC) vs. Dan Haren (LAA). Game time is 3:05 pm CT.

Season’s Greetings

Finally. After a long and tortuous winter (not really, actually), Opening Day is here – although it’ll be like the fourth different Opening Day this season. The Royals will officially take the field for the first time this season tonight in Anaheim against the newly-rich Angels. These are the respective lineups:

Kansas City Royals 

1. Alex Gordon (L/R) LF

2. Lorenzo Cain (R/R) CF

3. Eric Hosmer (L/L) 1B

4. Billy Butler (R/R) DH

5. Jeff Francoeur (R/R) RF

6. Yuniesky Betancourt (R/R) 2B

7. Mike Moustakas (L/R) 3B

8. Brayan Pena (S/R) C

9. Alcides Escobar (R/R) SS

Pitcher – Bruce Chen LHP

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 

1. Erick Aybar (S/R) SS

2. Howie Kendrick (R/R) 2B

3. Albert Pujols (R/R) 1B

4. Torii Hunter (R/R) RF

5. Vernon Wells (R/R) LF

6. Kendrys Morales (S/R) DH

7. Mark Trumbo (R/R) 3B

8. Chris Ianetta (R/R) C

9. Peter Bourjos (R/R) CF

Picher – Jered Weaver RHP

Tonight, “Our Time” officially begins.

Broxton Will Close

Photo Credit: James Guillory / US Presswire

Even though I don’t understand why, Ned Yost has announced that Jonathan Broxton will be the team’s closer to start the season.

“It’s not going to be a tandem. Broxton is coming in if we have a save situation in the ninth inning. If we have a save situation in the eighth inning, Holland is coming in, and then we’re going to turn it over to Broxton.” – Ned Yost

I really don’t see the reason in naming a closer right now, particularly because nobody really stole the job this Spring. But, then again, I’m not the biggest advocate for the closer position. If the situation calls for a certain type of pitcher, then you bring in that pitcher. But that’s a different story for a different day.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/04/05/3538770/broxton-to-open-season-as-royals.html#storylink=cpy

Yuni Gets the Nod at Second

Yuniesky Betancourt will get the Opening Day start at 2B for the Royals tonight. You may wonder why Yost is choosing to start Yuni, a right-handed hitter, over Chris Getz, a left-handed hitter, against right-hander Jered Weaver.

Well, the reason is simple.

Aside from Alex Gordon, Yuni has the highest career AVG against Jered Weaver at .286 (12 for 42).

When it comes to who plays when at second to begin the season, it looks like Ned is going to play more toward the numbers of a particular matchup rather than just simply playing the lefty/righty card.

Red Right Hands

The Angels starting lineup leans a little heavy on the right side. And by a little heavy, I mean they have ansolutely zero left-handed hitters in their lineup (they have two switch-hitters in Aybar and Morales).

Which means that Royals left-hander Bruce Chen is going to have his hands full tonight.

Chen is known as a “crafty lefty”, meaning that he has to rely more on movement, location, and deception rather than pure stuff – which Bruce does very well. He utilizes a few different arm slots in order to add as much deception to the pitch as he possibly can.

He doesn’t strike out a lot of hitters (career 6.8 K/9), so Bruce has to pitch more to contact. Deception (and Jamie Moyer-like speed) allows him to get hitters out on their front foot and either roll their wrists over to induce a groundball or cause them to be under the ball and pop it up.

Bruce has a tough task tonight, especially now that the Halos have Pujols in the 3-spot and Kendrys Morales has made his way back from two years of injuries. I wouldn’t expect to see many lefties throwing tonight for the Royals.

2012 Spring Training Recap

With a 7-6 victory over the Padres last night, the Royals wrapped up Spring Training at 16-15. Hey, take it for what it is. Yeah, it’s only Spring Training. But you have to start somewhere, right?

The Royals 2012 Spring Training was… interesting. We saw injuries (both significant and not), position battles/tinkering, rotation and bullpen shuffles, promotions, demotions, trades, off-the-chart performances, contract extensions, etc.

So here’s a quick recap of it all:

  • Significant Injuries
    • Manny Pina C: Feb. 22 – torn right meniscus (knee), 60 Day DL
    • Salvador Perez C: Mar. 14 – torn left meniscus (knee), 60 Day DL
    • Joakim Soria RHP: Mar. 19 – Tommy John surgery (right elbow), 15 Day DL – will miss 2012
  • Slightly Less Significant Injuries
    • Blake Wood RHP: Mar. 26 – sore right elbow (ulner nerve), 15 Day DL
    • Felipe Paulino RHP: Mar. 26 – sore right elbow/forearm, 15 Day DL

Each one of the injuries required reactionary moves from the club. The injuries to Pina and Perez forced the Royals to look for a veteran, defense-first catcher; leading to the acquisition of Humberto Quintero. Soria’s injury opened up the closer role to one or all of Holland, Broxton, and Crow. It also opened up a full-time spot in the bullpen for a fresh face. Blake Wood’s spot became up for grabs, but he was a fringe bullpen guy to begin with. The loss of Felipe opened up two rotation spots for Mendoza and Duffy, as well as the long-relief spot for Everett Teaford.

  • Position Battles
    • Second base

      Photo Credit: Rob Tringali / Getty Images

      • Injuries aside, the combo of Chris Getz and Yuniesky Betancourt winning the 2B job over Johnny Giavotella was the biggest shock of the Spring. Virtually everyone, myself included, basically gave Gio the job before the Royals arrived in Surprise. But, to their credit, Getz and Yuni outperformed Gio and currently present better options defensively for KC.
    • Fifth Starter
      • The first three rotation spots were a given: Chen, Hochevar, and Sanchez. The last two spots were up for grabs, but Paulno and Duffy basically had dibs on the spots. But the performance of Luis Mendoza changed all of that. He was without a dout the best pitcher in Royals camp, forcing the Royals to give him a rotation spot. And once Paulino went to the DL, Duffy had the fifth spot locked up.
    • Lefty Relievers
      • No lefty had a bullpen spot given to them coming into Sporing Training, although Jose Mijares was close. Every bullpen should have at least one lefty, but two would be more ideal, and three would be perfect; and that’s what the Royals wound up with. Jose Mijares, Tim Collins, and Everett Teaford comprise the left-side of the bullpen – beating out other lefties Tommy Hottovy and Francisely Bueno. Mijares and Collins will serve as middle relief/situational lefties, while Teaford will be the swing-man/spot-starter
  • Eric Hosmer: Right Fielder

    Photo Credit: John Sleezer

    • Say what? That can’t be right, can it? Yep. It happened. A few times, actually. In order to maximize offense against NL teams, the Royals tinkered around with Eric Hosmer in RF (and Jeff Francoeur in CF) so they could have both Hoz and Billy Butler in the lineup. Hosmer is a good enough athlete that playing RF shouldn’t be difficult at all for him. He has a terrific arm and good enough speed that I thought he could have been an everyday right fielder in the minors (this was all before we had Frenchy, Wil Myers was still a catcher, and Kila Ka’aihue was mashing in Omaha).
  • 12 Man Shuffle
    • Rotation (5)
      • Chen L, Hochevar R, Sanchez L, Mendoza R, Duffy L
        • No, Montgomery won’t be opening the season in Kansas City. Neither will Felipe Paulino, but not for the same reasons. Monty didn’t perform well in his few outings, and Paulino was sent to the DL, which opened up spots for Mendoza and Duffy.
    • Bullpen (7)
      • Holland R, Broxton R, Crow R, Herrera R, Mijares L, Collins L, Teaford L
        • Without Soria, the roles in back-end of the bullpen are up in the air. Holland and Broxton are the clear front-runners for the closing position, with Aaron Crow not far behind.
        • The most notable surprise here was Kelvin Herrera taking a spot away from Louis Coleman. Herrera had a great Spring, and Coleman scuffed a bit as roster cuts loomed. Herrera has the potential to be a closer someday. Luckily for him, someday may come soon.
  • Notable Promotions
    • Kelvin Herrera RHP, Everett Teaford LHP
      • See above.
  • Notable Demotions
    • Johnny Giavotella 2B, Louis Coleman RHP, Jarrod Dyson OF, Sean O’Sullivan RHP
      • If you’ve been reading, you already know why Gio and Sweet Lou were demoted to Omaha.
      • Jarrod Dyson became expendable with the acquistion of OF/U Jason Bourgeois. Dyson has the speed and defensive tools down, but he really needs to learn how to keep his flyball rates down so he can appropriately use his speed (similar to Juan pierre). Afterall, you can’t hustle out a pop-up.
      • The demotion of Sean O’Sullivan is no surprise. But in order to do so (since SOS was out of minor league options), the Royals had to place him on waivers – making him available to the rest of the league. Since nobody placed a claim on him, the Royals were able to send him to Triple A.
  • Trades
    • LHP Kevin Chapman and a PTBNL (KC) for C Humberto Quintero and OF/U Jason Bourgeois (HOU)
      • Chapman is a solid C+ to B- lefty reliever who would have been a welcome addition to the Royals in the future, but he (along with an unknown) helped the Royals land two veterans who can help the team this season.
      • Quintero is a career backup, but has seen enough playing time throughout his career that you pretty much know what you’llget out of him. Solid defense, below-average-but-acceptable offense. He’ll compliment Brayan Pena, as they’ll likely be splitting time at the catcher position until Sal Perez returns.
      • Jason Bourgeois is capable of playing all three OF positions, as well as some 2B and 3B. So, needless to say, his versatility is his biggest tool. And although he isn’t as fast as Dyson, he provides extra speed off the bench.
    • OF Greg Golson (KC) for cash considerations (CWS)
      • The Royals made an inter-divisional trade by shipping Golson to the White Sox for cash. Golson is a quick OF capable of filling in at each spot, but his bat has never really been there. He was a non-roster invitee this Spring, so nothing was really lost. He never really had a shot to make the roster anyway.
  • Performance Reviews

    Mark Kartozian - US Presswire

    • Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, and Billy Butler each hit over .360 this Spring, with Hosmer leading the league in RBI. If they can carry their performances into the season, the Royals may have one of the best 1-4 hitters in baseball in 2012.
    • Hopefully, since Mike Moustakas is a notorious “slow starter”, he got all of that out of the way this Spring. He only his .240, but came around a little bit as ST came to an end.
    • Bruce Chen and Jonathan Sanchez had rough Springs, as did Danny Duffy (even though he did show flashes of dominance).
    • Luke Hochevar showed that he may have gotten his career on the right track, and Luis Mendoza made Royals fans, scouts, and coaches a believer.
  • Extensions
    • Dayton Moore was hard at work this offseason, signing three key Royals to long-term contract extensions.
      • Salvador Perez through 2016 with club options for ’17, ’18, and ’19
      • Alcides Escobar through 2015 with club options for ’16 and ’17
      • Alex Gordon through 2015 with a player option for 2016

The season begins tomorrow night in Anaheim against Prince Albert and the Angels at 9:05 CT. It’ll be Bruce Chen vs. Jered Weaver.

Here’s to hoping the Royals can make this a fun, interesting, and competitive season! Do your part and get out to The K!