Tagged: Kevin Kouzmanoff

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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Analyzing the 25-Man Roster

It’s set. That’s it. No take backs, do overs, quitsies, or anti-quitsies. Triple stamped it, no erasies, touch blue make it true. (Dumb & Dumber, for the layperson)

The Royals have officially set their 2012 Opening Day 25-man roster. And aside from maybe one or two guys, it’s pretty much what we all should have expected it to be. So they’ll break camp with 13 hitters and 12 pitchers.

Catchers (2): Brayan Pena, Humberto Quintero

Photo Credit: John Sommers II / Getty Images

  • C’mon… Did you really expect Cody Clark to make the team? Quintero is a proven catch and throw guy, who will give the Royals solid defense when he’s behind the plate 3-4 days a week.

Infielders (6): Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler, Chris Getz, Yuniesky Betancourt, Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas

Photo Credit: Kyle Terada / US Presswire

  • The demotion of Johnny Giavotella (and thus the presence of Chris Getz) was the only real surprise here. Yuni and Getz will share the 2B/Utility role until Gio earns another look. Other than that, after the Yuni signing, you could have pegged everyone else from the get go.

Outfielders (5): Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, Jeff Francoeur, Jason Bourgeois, Mitch Maier

Photo Credit: James Guillory / US Presswire

  • The addition of the speedy and versatile Bourgeois made light-hitting Jarrod Dyson expendable. Bourgeois mashed lefties in 2011 (.395 AVG), and spent significant time at all 3 OF positions, as well as a few games at 2B. He also can play at 3B if needed.
  • Lorenzo Cain has been off the charts this Spring, leading the league in what seems to be almost every offensive category. I don’t think we’ll see any loss of production from Melky to Zo in CF.

Starters (5): Bruce Chen-L, Luke Hochevar-R, Jonathan Sanchez-L, Luis Mendoza-R, Danny Duffy-L

Photo Credit: AP

  • Flip Paulino going to the DL really set up the rotation. If it weren’t for his injury, Duffy would have most likely been reassigned to Triple A.
  • Luis Mendoza has arguably been the best pitcher in baseball this Spring, essentially forcing the Royals to give him a spot in the rotation.

Bullpen (7): Greg Holland-R, Jonathan Broxton-R, Jose Mijares-L, Aaron Crow-R, Tim Collins- L, Everett Teaford-L, Kelvin Herrera-R

Photo Credit: Chris Vleisides / Royals

  • Once again, Paulino’s injury helped someone else make the roster: Everett Teaford. By all accounts, Teaford earned his spot on the team, but without Paulino or Mendoza in the bullpen, Teaford becomes the long reliever / spot-starter.
  • Kelvin Herrera was the true dark horse here. Louis Coleman had the job locked down until he allowed runs in 5 of his last 6 appearances, basically handing the job over to Herrera. Kelvin has been dominant so far, even earning himself 2 Saves this Spring.

Disabled List (5): Salvador Perez (60 day), Manny Pina (60 day), Joakim Soria (IR), Felipe Paulino (15 day), Blake Wood (15 day)

  • How disappointing… The loss of Sal Perez stings the most. Given the severity of his injury, he most likely won’t be able to return to the team until after the All-Star break.
  • Losing Soria, although it may appear huge on the surface, doesn’t really affect the Royals as much as people may think. Yes, he is a proven performer, but he plays a position that is way overvalued. He got knocked around in ST, looking an awful lot like he did at the beginning of 2011.

And incase you’re wondering where everyone else who was left in camp went, here you go:

Reassigned to Triple A Omaha (2): Louis Coleman-R, Jeremy Jeffress-R

Reassigned to Minor League Camp (4): Tommy Hottovy-L, Francisely Bueno-L, Max Ramirez-C, Kevin Kouzmanoff-3B

This flurry of moves leaves the Royals with 26 healthy players in camp. But you can only break Spring Training with 25 players on your active roster, so one guy has to go. And that man is…

Sean O’Sullivan.

SOS is out of minor league options. So in order for the Royals to rid him for good, they’ll have to place him on waivers, meaning any other team can claim him for themselves. O’Sullivan will be the starter for tonight’s game against the White Sox, basically auditioning for any team who might think about claiming him.

Surprises from Surprise

  • Chris Getz/Yuni combo over Johnny Giavotella
  • Kelvin Herrera over Louis Coleman

Dark Horses

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.

Catchers

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

Photo Credit: John Sleezer

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

Photo Credit: John Sleezer

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.

Infield

Kevin Kouzmanoff – 30

Photo Credit: John Sleezer

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

Clint Robinson

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.

Outfield

David Lough – 26

Photo Credit: Minda Haas

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.

Rotation

Luis Mendoza RHP – 28

Photo Credit: Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

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.

Bullpen

Kelvin Herrera RHP – 22

Photo Credit: Chris Vleisides

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

Tommy Hottovy

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).

Royals, Kouzmanoff Walk-Off Against Rangers

For the second day in a row, the Royals topped the Rangers in Surprise.

Texas jumped out to an early lead against Bruce Chen to the tune of 5 runs (4 earned) in 1.2 IP. Louis Coleman followed Chen with 1.1 scoreless. Mike Montgomery made his Spring debut in the fifth inning and thew 2 successful innings, allowing 1 ER. Chris Dwyer followed suit with 2 scoreless, then Collins and Wood combined for 2 scoreless as well.

Escobar tripled to center in the 5th, which set the stage for Alex Gordon’s 2-run HR to right off of lefty Mitch Stetter. In the 6th, Derrick Robinson hit a bases loaded single that brought in two more runs, closing the gap to 6-5 Texas.

Fast forward to the bottom of the 9th.

With the bases loaded and nobody out, Wil Myers grounded into a Fielder’s Choice 5-2 double play, which brought Kevin Kouzmanoff to the plate with two down and runners on second and first. Kouz proceeded to smoke a 2-0 double into the gap in Left-Center, scoring Moustakas and Myers for the walk off win.

Here’s the Box, via ESPN. Enjoy

TEXAS (6) AT KANSAS CITY (7)

 TEXAS               AB  R  H BI    KANSAS CITY       AB  R  H BI
 I Kinsler 2b        3  2  2  0    A Gordon lf        2  1  1  2
 -G Miclat ph-2b     2  0  0  0    -D Robinson lf     2  0  1  2
 E Andrus ss         3  3  3  1    J Giavotella 2b    3  0  1  0
 -L Hernandez ph-ss  2  0  0  0    -C Getz 2b         1  0  0  0
 J Hamilton cf       3  0  1  0    E Hosmer 1b        3  0  2  0
 -L Martin cf        2  0  0  0    -C Robinson 1b     1  0  0  0
 A Beltre 3b         3  1  3  3     -D Lough pr       0  0  0  0
 -A Gonzalez 3b      1  0  0  0    B Butler dh        2  0  0  0
 M Young 1b          3  0  0  0    -M Moustakas ph-dh 2  1  0  0
 -B Snyder 1b        0  0  0  0    J Francoeur rf     2  1  1  0
 N Cruz rf           3  0  1  0    -W Myers rf        3  2  1  0
 -K Hudson rf        1  0  0  0    L Cain cf          2  0  1  1
 D Murphy lf         2  0  1  1    -J Dyson cf        2  0  1  0
 -E Beltre lf        1  0  0  0     -K Kouzmanoff ph  1  0  1  2
 Y Torrealba c       2  0  0  0    S Perez c          2  0  0  0
 -D Brown c          1  0  0  0    -M Ramirez c       1  0  0  0
  -C Robinson c      1  0  0  0     -G Golson pr      0  0  0  0
 M Moreland dh       2  0  0  0    -C Clark c         0  0  0  0
 -M Olt ph-dh        1  0  0  0    Y Betancourt 3b    2  0  0  0
                                   -I Falu 3b         1  1  1  0
                                   A Escobar ss       2  1  1  0
                                   -T Abreu ss        2  0  1  0
 TOTALS             36  6 11  5     TOTALS           36  7 13  7

                           123 456 789     F
 TEXAS                     320 100 000 --  6
 KANSAS CITY               010 022 002 --  7

TWO OUTS WHEN WINNING RUN SCORED
E-J Giavotella (KC), A Beltre (TEX). DP-TEXAS 3, KANSAS CITY 1. LOB--TEXAS 6, KANSAS CITY 9.
2B--K Kouzmanoff (KC), J Francoeur (KC), J Giavotella (KC), L Cain (KC), A Beltre (TEX).
3B--A Escobar (KC), E Andrus (TEX).
HR--A Gordon 1 (1) (off M Stetter) (KC).
SB--C Getz 1 (1) (KC). CS--D Murphy (TEX).
SAC--I Falu.
                                   IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR
  TEXAS
 D Holland                          2   3   1   1   0   1   0
 A Ogando                           2   1   0   0   1   2   0
 M Stetter                          1   3   2   2   0   0   1
 N Cotts                            1   4   2   2   0   2   0
 B Snyder                           1   0   0   0   0   1   0
 T Scheppers (L,0-1)                1   1   1   1   2   1   0
 K De La Cruz                     2/3   1   1   1   1   0   0

  KANSAS CITY
 B Chen                         1 2/3   7   5   4   0   0   0
 L Coleman                      1 1/3   1   0   0   1   0   0
 M Montgomery                       2   3   1   1   1   1   0
 C Dwyer                            2   0   0   0   1   1   0
 T Collins                          1   0   0   0   0   0   0
 B Wood (W,1-0)                     1   0   0   0   0   1   0

 HBP--M Ramirez (KC) by T Scheppers. BALK--N Cotts (TEX). 

 SO--TEX: L Hernandez 2, D Murphy. KC: B Butler, M
 Ramirez, L Cain, W Myers, J Dyson, J Giavotella, D
 Robinson.
 BB--TEX: D Murphy, B Snyder, M Moreland. KC: A Gordon, C Robinson, M Moustakas, C Getz.
 Time--2:53. Attendance--6,449.

Royals Top 5 at the Hot Corner

The Royals have two of their top power hitting prospects at 3B, and just graduated perhaps it’s top power prospect last season. The organization is fairly deep at the hot corner, and it should be a good position to keep an eye on in 2012 and beyond.

5. Mario Lisson (Northwest Arkansas) age 27

Image

Photo Credit: John Owens/Naturals

At 27 years old, Mario Lisson is already a career minor leaguer. The Royals signed him out of Venezuela in 2002 as an athletic, raw infielder. He’s toolsy enough to play virtually any position. In his 9 minor league seasons, he’s logged 501 games at 3B, 207 at SS, 33 at 1B, and even 2 at C. His glove is average at best, but his ability to play all over the field disguises it. His bat isn’t anything to brag about either, but he has shown the ability to work walks at a decent pace (2:1 K:BB ratio), and he did hit 15 HRs and 21 2Bs in 89 games for the Naturals last season. He stole bases at a good clip in his first few minor league seasons (133 from 2004-2008), but has slowed down a little recently (26 from 2009-2011).

He’s never had a true “breakout” season to date, which is probably why he has yet to make it to the bigs.

Grade: C-. Lisson is a true baseball player. He can do anything you need him to, but likely not much better than most others. He’ll most likely never make it to KC, but could be a fit anywhere.

4. Patrick Leonard (Instructional) age 19

Photo Credit: kcscoliny16

Leonard is a 6’3″ 3B/OF prospect who played primarily SS/3B/P in high school who the Royals picked in the 5th round of the 2011 draft. He had a strong commitment to the University of Georgia, but was lured away to the tune of a $600K signing bonus.

Due to his large size and raw power at the plate, Leonard was switched from SS (much like the Royals did with Moustakas) to 3B by the Royals. While some see him staying in the infield, others think he’ll eventually be moved to a corner OF position. His glove and arm are and will be good enough to do either.

Grade: B-. Patrick’s power swing will be good enough to help him advance rather quickly through the Royals’ farm system. So it all really depends on which position he sticks at.

3. Kevin Kouzmanoff (Colorado Rockies) age 30

Photo Credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images North America

Kouz was signed by the Royals last month as an insurance policy to Mike Moustakas. He possesses decent power and a great glove and would serve as a great bench player for Kansas City this season. For more on Kouzmanoff, check out this post: Royal Sign Kevin Kouzmanoff .

Grade: C. If he can make the team out of Spring Training, Kouz will be good for a start a week, pinch hit for Moose against tough lefties, as well as against tough lefties in tight games.

2. Cheslor Cuthbert (Kane County) age 19

Photo Credit: scout.com

Cheslor Cuthbert is ranked as the number 5 prospect in the Royals system for 2012 by Baseball America, as well having the best infield arm within the system. At only 19 years old, he looks the part of a big leaguer. In 2011, Cuthbert played the entire season at A-ball as an 18 year old, which is fairly young for that league. He had a line of .267/.345/.397, flashing some of the raw power that scouts claim he possesses (8 HR in 81 games), and displayed slick hands and a powerful arm.

Grade: B+. With his size, soft hands, and plus power potential, Cuthbert has drawn some comparisons to Adrian Beltre. And if he becomes anything like Beltre, he’ll have one hell of a career. No prospect in the system excites me right now more than Cuthbert. At just 19, he’s still got plenty of time to grow within the ranks and could possibly supplant Moustakas within the next 4-5 years.

1. Mike Moustakas (Royals) age 23

Photo Credit: Zimbio

Ever since the Royals selected Mike as the 2nd overall pick in 2007, the Kansas City fanbase has been in love with the power potential Moose would one day bring to the lineup. That day came last June in Los Angeles.. or Anaheim.. wherever it is the Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim play. After the series against the Angels, Moose just seemed to lose his way at the plate, slumping all the way through June, July, and most of August, seeing his AVG fall all the way to .182, with only 1 HR to show for it all (which came in his second career game). But something started clicking, and his AVG began to creep its way back to respectability. He hit .283/.324/.343 in August and a terrific .352/.380/.580 with 4 HR in September and October.

Moose had a little trouble on defense, making an errant throw every now and then, but did pretty well for the most part (ranked 5th in the AL with a 2.57 range factor). But Mike’s true value comes from his bat, specifically his HR potential.

Grade: B+. I expect Mike to be a typical power hitter, with a line of around .260/25 HR/80 RBI. He’ll benefit by being placed behind Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer, and Jeff Francoeur in the lineup for the next few seasons, allowing him to see better pitches. His bat is what brought him to KC, and with guys like Leonard and Cuthbert behind him on the organizational depth chart, it will have to be what keeps him here.

Other names to watch: Mark Threlkeld, Ryan Stovall

Royals Sign Kevin Kouzmanoff

According to ESPN and Baseball America’s Jerry Crasnick, the Royals have signed 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff to a minor league deal that includes an invite to Spring Training. Kouz will make $1M if he makes the big league roster. The deal also includes $300K in performance incentives. He can choose to opt-out of the contract if he isn’t in the majors by May 1st.

Kevin Kouzmanoff’s career started off with a bang in 2006 with the Cleveland Indians. On the very first pitch he had ever seen at the big league level, Kouz hit a grand slam – being the first player ever to do so. In the succeeding offseason, he was dealt along with pitcher Andrew Brown to San Diego for 2B Josh Barfield.

He had the best 3 seasons of his career thus far with the Padres (2007-09). During his time with the Friars, he had a relatively pedestrian average (.263) and a poor OBP (.309). (It should be noted that Kouzmanoff strikes out a ton and takes walks like Miguel Olivo) But his value was in his power (59 HR) and his glove (.966 Fld%). In 2009, he set a MLB record for Fld% by a 3B in a single season by committing only 3 errors in 309 chances (.990 Fld%). In the following offseason though, Kouz was again traded – this time to Oakland (along with 2B Eric Sogard for OF’s Scott Hairston and Aaron Cunningham). This was the beginning of a downward trend for the 3B.

In 143 games with Oakland in 2010, Kouz had a sickly slash line (.247/.283/.396), but still managed to produce a 1.2 WAR (mostly due to 32 doubles, 16 HR, and a .968 Fld%). In 2011, he played in 46 games with the A’s before he was shipped in August to Colorado for a PTBNL/cash. Ouch.

He managed to take part in 27 games with the Rockies at the tail-end of the 2011 season before being outrighted from the 40-man roster and thus electing free agency.

And that brings us to today.

This is most likely an insurance signing for Mike Moustakas. I would say, with how the everything currently looks, Kevin has a very small chance of breaking Spring Training as a part of the 25-man roster. But he does have value as a Defense-First, Power-Second, all-others-last role player. It’s another low-risk, low-cost signing by GMDM. And it, in all likelihood, won’t matter much.