The Royals have made a bundle of moves today.
In oder to protect certain farmhands from possibly being selected in December’s Rule 5 Draft, the Royals elected to designate seven players from their 40-man roster for assignment:
- Chris Volstad RHP
- Vin Mazzaro RHP
- Ryan Verdugo LHP
- Brayan Pena C
- Adam Moore C
- Clint Robinson 1B
- Derrick Robinson OF
The biggest shocker from this list is probably Brayan Pena. The catcher will be going through arbitration for the third time this winter and was likely to make upwards of $1 million. With Brett Hayes now on board, he’ll likely serve as the Royals’ backup option next season.
Ryan Verdugo was another surprise DFA given his solid season in Omaha in 2012 and the fact that he could serve any number of roles in a pitching staff.
If any of these players pass through waivers, they can still be retained by the club by being outrighted to one of the minor league clubs.
The moves cleared space on the 40-man roster for the following (including Jeremy Guthrie):
- John Lamb LHP
- Mike Montgomery LHP
- Chris Dwyer LHP
- Donnie Joseph LHP
- Justin Marks LHP
- J.C. Gutierrez RHP
It’s no surprise to see the team add Lamb, Montgomery, and Dwyer to the 40-man roster. Given their history as top 100 prospects, if left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft, all three were likely to be off the board fairly quickly.
Donnie Joseph came to Kansas City from Cincinnati as a part of the Jonathan Broxton trade in July. He’ll likely contend for a bullpen spot out of spring training, as you can never have enough left-handed pitching.
Justin Marks, part of the David DeJesus trade with the A’s, had a terrific season in the Arizona Fall League where he went 5-1 with a 2.59 ERA in 7 starts. He reached NW Arkansas this season where he was named a Texas League All-Star by going 3-5 in 17 starts with a 3.80 ERA.
At 29, J.C. Gutierrez is a journey-man at this point in his career. He does have big league experience, making 150 appearances (3 starts) with a 4.79 ERA and 152 K in 167.1 IP. At most, he could be a long-relief option for the Royals at some point in 2013.
Jonathan Sanchez has been DFA’d. Jason Bourgeois was optioned to Triple-A Omaha.
That’s it. We’ve seen enough. Jonathan Sanchez, it’s time for you to go.
The Royals were down 5-0 to the Mariners last night before Sanchez recorded an out; yet, he was trotted out again to start the 2nd inning. Two runs and one out later, Yost decided he had finally, finally seen enough. He exited to an ovation worthy of Robinson Cano after throwing 50 pitches through 1.1 innings, giving up 7 hits and 7 earned runs. But hey, he only walked one.
At 1-6, Jonathan Sanchez hasn’t won a game since April 8th – his first start of the season. His 7.76 ERA ranks 2nd worst all-time in club history for a pitcher with at least 50 innings pitched (#1: Chad Durbin – 8.21). For this season, he’s averaging 4.1 innings per start, 92 pitches per start, and 7.4 walks to 6.1 strikeouts. His longest start of the season? Six innings aginst Houston. His fewest pitches thrown? Fifty pitches through 1.1 innings last night. His best full month? April: 1-2, 6.75 ERA, 17 BB, 13 K.
His fastball velocity is noticeably down. In seasons passed, Sanchez’s fastball velocity normally sat in the 91-93 range with the ability to dial it up to 94-95 if needed. But now, he’s lucky if his fastball touches 90 mph. He’s constantly sitting somewhere in the Chen-esque 86-89 range. But that works for Bruce. He isn’t a strikeout guy, and he knows it, so he uses an economy of pitches and arm angles to get guys out. Sanchez used to be a stikeout pitcher when he was able to get the radar gun to flash numbers in the low-to-mid 90’s. But with a decrease in velocity, his approach never changed. His once unhittable fastball has become something of the past.
Do you really need any more information to decide whether or not this guy is worth a roster spot?
On top of that, his love for the game is constantly in question. Time and time again, Sanchez has looked completely apathetic on the mound. His apathy was further eveidenced when he told Kansas City reporters, when questioned about his high pitch and walk totals, “That’s just the way I pitch.”
In his last 5 starts, he’s given up 3 ER, 4 BB, 6 IP (Houston); 6 ER, 6 BB, 5.2 IP (St. Louis); 6 ER, 6 BB, 4.1 IP (Minnesota); 4 ER, 3 BB, 5.2 IP (Detroit); and 7 ER, 1 BB, 1.1 IP (Seattle) for a grand total of 26 ER and 20 BB in 23 IP.
Sanchez’s most recent outing caused the Royals to burn their bullpen again. Louis Coleman (2.2 IP) and Everett Teaford (5 IP) combined to finish out the game. Teaford was scheduled to start tonight’s game against Seattle, but 79 pitches and five innings of relief work will cause the Royals to scramble to fill that spot in the rotation.
Word is that the team will call-up either LHP Ryan Verdugo (the other piece of the Melky trade) or LHP Doug Davis to start the game, as well as RHP Vin Mazzaro to serve as the bullpen’s long reliever – now a key position in the Royals’ bullpen.
In accordance, a major roster move will likely need to be made. Could this possibly spell the end of Jonathan Sanchez’s time in Kansas City?
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.
I’m going to take a step away from my usual optimistic take on the Royals right now. Now standing at 31-39, 6 games back of the White Sox, and just 1.5 games ahead of the lowly Twins, the Royals just had their most heart-breaking series as of yet. The Cardinals outscored them 30-14 during the weekend series in Kansas City. The Royals’ starting pitchers (Vin Mazzaro, Luis Mendoza, and Jonathan Sanchez) combined for 11.1 innings, 17 runs (all earned), 7 Ks, 10 BBs (6 from Jonathan Sanchez), and 238 pitches (101 of which were balls).
Something has to change.
Here is how the current rotation is fairing according to WAR (Wins Above Replacement).
- Bruce Chen: 6-6, 4.54 ERA, 6.4 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 0.6 WAR
- Vin Mazzaro: 3-2, 5.14 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 0.0 WAR
- Luis Mendoza: 2-4, 4.95 ERA, 4.5 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, -0.1 WAR
- Luke Hochevar: 4-7, 5.65 ERA, 6.9 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, -0.3 WAR
- Jonathan Sanchez: 1-3, 6.21 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 7.3 BB/9 -0.3 WAR
Now, given, the Royals’ starting rotation has taken an absolute beating this season when it comes to health. Both Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino are Tommy John victims; Duffy, Paulino, Sanchez have had stints on the DL; basically every starter outside of Bruce Chen has had extreme bouts of inconsistency.
The bottom line is this: No self-respecting organization would consistently trot a rotation like this one out to the mound 5-7 days a week.
The losses of Duffy (6 starts, 2-2, 3.90 ERA, 9.1 K/9, 5.9 BB/9) and Paulino (7 starts, 3-1, 1.67 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 3.6 BB/9) really hurt this team, as they were arguably the most effective and consistent starters the Royals have had this season.
The Royals have had a myriad of mostly ineffective fill-ins and spot-starters this season: Luis Mendoza (13 games, 8 starts), Vin Mazzaro (6 games, 5 starts), Will Smith (3 games, 3 starts), Nate Adcock (9 games, 2 starts), and Everett Teaford (3 games, 1 start). All in all, the Royals have had 10 different starting pitchers to date.
I’ll say it again: Something has to change.
Clearly, the type of work that has been done by Sanchez, Mendoza, Mazzaro, Hochevar, Smith, Adcock, and Teaford can be at least matched – if not bested – by almost anybody else (combined 253.1 IP, 11-22 record, 155 ER, 6.12 ERA).
Fans, bloggers, reporters, writers, radio hosts, and the like are all calling for the Royals to make a change.
Do something we haven’t seen before.
And most importantly for each and every Royals fan: Give us a reason to believe in this team. Show us that you want to give this organization the best chance to win.
Because these guys aren’t it.
I’m sure Dayton Moore hears us all clamoring for the team to make a move. Afterall, being harolded as a great baseball minded individual, he can’t possibly think that this is the best we can do. I’m sure he’s fielding trade offers to some degree, keeping in mind that Jake Odorizzi and Wil Myers are off the table.
Names like Matt Garza, Wandy Rodriguez, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Dempster, Joe Blanton, and many others are all floating around the rumor mill – with the Royals having possible interest in nearly all of them. Garza, as young and talented as he is, would command a major return since he isn’t arbitration eligible until after 2013. Rodriguez and Dempster fall more under the veteran rent-a-pitcher category for teams in a playoff push as they are both in the final year of their respective contracts. Guthrie and Blanton are both well-seasoned, over-paid veterans who could fill a spot in just about every team’s starting rotation – albeit as a teams third, fourth, or fifth starter. Outside of Matt Garza, acquiring any of the other names I mentioned would be virtual waste of time and prospects given the Royals current spot in the standings.
Of course, the other consideration: call somebody up!
Although the Royals pitching depth at the Triple-A level isn’t overwhelming right now, there are a few names who could do the same or better than what the Royals have in Kansas City right now.
- Jake Odorizzi: Izzy is the concensus’ top pitching prospect in the Royals’ system (and maybe even the organization’s best pitcher talent-wise). At 22, the right-hander has been dominating minor league hitters at both the Double-A and Triple-A levels. In his first 7 starts, while at Double-A NW Arkansas, Jake was 4-2 with a 3.32 ERA in 38 IP with a K:BB ratio of 4.7:1 and a WHIP of 0.97. Jake has continued to roll through minor league lineups after being promoted to Omaha to the tune of a 5-0 record with an ERA of just 2.72, a K:BB ratio of 3.2:1, and a 1.36 WHIP in 7 games (6 starts) totaling 39.2 innings. At this point, what more does he have to accomplish at the minor league level? This guy is big league ready in my opinion. It’s time for him to make the jump.
- Mike Montgomery: Monty has been passed by Odorizzi in the prospect rankings lately, as he has seen his performance decline since being promoted to Omaha in 2011. Struggles aside, Mike still has the stuff to pitch in the big leagues. So far, Mike has a 3-4 record in 14 starts this season with a less-than-stellar 4.76 ERA. He has 53 Ks in 79.1 IP, but he also has 38 BB – a 1.4 K:BB ratio (a 2:1 ratio is the standard). His performance as of late has been progressing, but it’s the lack of talent in Kansas City right now that could warrant his promotion. Maybe he just needs a change of scenery.
- Ryan Verdugo: The other guy KC got in the Melky Cabrera-Jonathan Sanchez trade, lefty Ryan Verdugo has been fairly good this season in Omaha. Before last season, Duggy had been used primarily as a reliever. He was converted into a starter while still in the Giants organization and has continued to start for the Storm Chasers. He’s 5-2 in 14 starts (79 IP), owning a 3.65 ERA, a 1.5:1 K:BB ratio, and a WHIP of 1.28. He was called up to the big league club back in June to serve out of the bullpen, but he never made an appearance before being optioned back down to Omaha. Given his numbers this season, Verdugo appears to be a serviceable rotation arm who should garner a serious look in Kansas City.
- Nate Adcock: After being selected by the Royals in the 2010-11 Rule 5 Draft, Adcock spent all of last season in Kansas City as the long-reliever/spot-starter – and did a failry decent job. The 24 year old sinkerballer was 1-1 with a 4.62 ERA in 24 games (3 starts) totaling 60.1 innings. In 2012, Nate has split time between Omaha (where he’s in the rotation) and Kansas City (in the same role he had last season). He’s done well enough in both spots (Omaha: 6 games/5 starts, 3-2, 3.03 ERA, 1.07 WHIP; KC: 9 games/2 starts, 0-3, 3.12 ERA, 1.57 WHIP) that one could assume that he could replicate those numbers against big league lineups. He at least deserves a chance.
- Everett Teaford: After toiling around in the minor leagues for 5+ seasons, lefty Everett Teaford, now 28, made his big league debut last season to the tune of a 2-1 record and 3.27 ERA in 26 games (3 starts). Like Adcock, Teaford has split time between Omaha and KC. In 3 games with Kansas City this season, he’s left a little to be desired given his 5.73 ERA and 7 walks in 3 games (1 start, 11 IP). But he’s pitched very well in Omaha, thus far going 4-0 with a 1.09 ERA in 7 games (6 starts). His WHIP is solid at 0.97, and he’s striking out nearly 7 hitters per 9 innings. He’s the most likely to be called up soon in my mind since he’s a lefty and can fill a hole in either the rotation or the ‘pen.
- Will Smith: Will got a shot at being a member of the big league rotation in late May and early June, sandwiching one quality start with two less-than-quality outings (1-2, 9.00 ERA). His record in Omaha doesn’t look much much better (1-4, 11 starts), but he has a semi-respectable 4.65 ERA and a 3:1 K:BB ratio. At 22 years old, Will may not have been ready to play with the big boys when he was first called up. And he may not be ready if his name is called once again. But, as I’ve said before, he presents more hope and potential than most of the starters the Royals a currently sending to the mound.
- Doug Davis: At 36, Doug Davis is hardly a top prospect. But, for what it’s worth, the 13-year veteran is pitching well in Omaha. In 7 games (3 starts) Doug is 3-1 and sports a 3.08 ERA in 26.1 IP. I wouldn’t particularly like to see him take up space on the big league roster, but I guess there are worse choices.
Or just call up Wil Myers already. #FreeWilly
If you pay attention to Royals news, then you probably already knew this move was coming.
In an effort to bolster their bench with some much-need left-handed power while playing in National League venues, the Royals demoted lefty Ryan Verdugo back to Omaha and promoted 1B Clint Robinson to Kansas City.
At 27 years old, C-Rob is finally getting his first shot at the big leagues. His story has been well-documented by Royals faithful. Ever since being picked in the 25th round of the 2007 draft, the former Troy University star has done nothing but hit. In 2010, while playing at Double A Northwest Arkansas, Clint hit .335 with 29 HRs en route to winning the Texas League Triple Crown. He followed that up in 2011 by .326 with 58 XBH (35 2B, 23 HR). Before his promotion, Robinson was continuing his hitting ways to the tune of .314/.418/.500 with 37 RBI and 27 XBH.
But Clint has been blocked by more highly-touted prospects all along the way like Billy Butler, Kila Ka’aihue, and this Eric Hosmer guy.
Robinson’s stay with the big league club may not last very long, for this just seems like a push for a little extra offense while on the road. The Royals have routinely carried an extra pitcher on their roster this season (and if you’ve been watching the Royals, you know exactly why).
If Clint sees any playing time in Pittsburgh this weekend, it’ll most likely be as a pich-hitter / injury replacement. This could be a terrific platform for Clint, however, to prove he belongs in the majors. If not in Kansas City, then with another big league team with a 1B/DH opening.
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).
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
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
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).
- 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.
The Royals’ minor league system has been vaunted as one of the best stockpiles of young talent in baseball history. Last season Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez, Johnny Giavotella, Danny Duffy, Aaron Crow, Tim Collins, Louis Coleman were all a part of the system’s “first wave of talent” to make their way to Kauffman Stadium.
But even though most of the system’s more notable names have gone on to play in bigger and better games, the Royals still boast one of the league’s top farm systems (Baseball America no.2, Keith Law no.5, Baseball Prospectus no.5, John Sickels no.6) with names like Bubba Starling, Wil Myers, Mike Montgomery, Jake Odorizzi, Cheslor Cuthbert, John Lamb, Christian Colon, and Jason Adam.
Well on Wednesday night, another Royals farm-hand made his major league debut. Left-handed starter Will Smith got the call from Omaha to make his first career start againt the Yankees. In New York. Needless to say, his first big league appearance didn’t go as well as he had wished. He only lasted 3.1 innings while giving up 5 earned runs on 6 hits (3 homeruns).
With the call-up of Will Smith from Omaha to KC and the recent promotions of Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi from Northwest Arkansas to Omaha, the “second wave of talent” could be making its way to Kansas City sometime soon.
Here is my take on who could be the next minor leaguers to reasonably make the jump to the big leagues relatively soon:
Mike Montgomery LHP, 22
Monty’s struggles at the Triple-A level have been well documented. He was 5-11 last season in Omaha with a 5+ ERA and is 2-1 with a 4.38 ERA thus far in 2012. His walk rates are way up (4.2 BB/9) and is averaging less than 6 innings per outing.
But there are many reasons why he’s been ranked in Baseball America’s Top 50 Prospects three years running (2010 – no.39, 2011 – no.19, 2012 – no.23). Mike is a tall, powerful lefty with the ability to throw three plus pitches. Keep in mind, he’s only 22 years old and is pitching in his second season in the Pacific Coast League (a notorious hitter’s league).
If Mike can turnout solid, consistent outings, he could soon force his way into the big league rotation. Barring an injury or a trade, I don’t think we see Monty until after the All-Star break.
Wil Myers OF, 21
Wil Myers has been absolutely tearing up minor league pitching this season. In 35 games at the Double-A level, he hit a ridiculous .343/.414/.731 with 25 of his 46 hits going for extra bases (11 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR). He scored 32 runs, drove in 30, and even managed to swipe 4 bases while logging time in RF, CF, and even 3B.
He’s continued his swing since being promoted to Triple-A Omaha to the tune of .314/.385/.657 with 5 XBH (1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR), 6 RBI, and 5 runs scored.
The Royals have been moving Wil around the field essentially to get his bat to Kansas City as quickly as possible. But in he end, he’ll most likely stick somewhere in the outfield.
Now even though Jeff Francoeur is riding a hot streak right now, his time in Kansas City could be close to expiring. It’s not his fault really. One of the game’s top outfield prospects is waiting in the wings and is doing everything he can to get to Kansas City as soon as possible.
Jake Odorizzi RHP, 22
Of all of the names on this list, Jake Odorizzi most likely will be the first to get the big league call. The right-hander has a fastball that can touch 95 mph, but usually works more efficiently at 90-94 mph. He also possesses an above average curveball and changeup. His slider is still developing, but his first three pitches alone should be enough to translate unto big league success.
In 9 combined starts between Double-A and Triple-A, Izzy is 5-2 with a solid 3.20 ERA. He also is averaging a spectacular 10.2 K/9 while only allowing an average of 2.0 BB/9.
Jake is compared to Zack Greinke by scouts, given their simliar frame (6’2″, 185 lbs), smooth delivery, and strong command of the strike zone. However, scouts do differ when it comes to projecting Izzy’s future role in the big league rotation. Some say he’s a future ace (ahead of Mike Montgomery), while other’s see him more as a no. 2 or no. 3 guy.
Given the Royals’ rotation struggles this season, with both health and consitency, Odorizzi looks primed for a big league promotion sometime before September.
Ryan Verdugo LHP, 25
Duggy is already a member of the Royals’ 40-man roster, so promoting him to the big leagues wouldn;t require removing anyone from the 40-man. This fact alone makes him primed for a 2012 call-up.
After coming over to Kansas City via the Melky Cabrera-Jonathan Sanchez trade, Verdugo has been pitching at Triple-A Omaha exclusively as a starter (he had started only 1 game before 2011 when he started 25 games in Double-A). So far, he’s been impressive. He has a 3-1 record with a 3.61 ERA. He’s always had great strikeout numbers (career: 10.4 K/9, 2012: 7.2 K/9), but his walk rate is a little discouraging (career: 4.5 BB/9, 2012: 4.4 BB/9). He’s averaging nearly 6 innings per start this season and has a solid WHIP of 1.186.
Ryan has a three-pitch arsenal, consisting of a fastball, a changeup, and a slider. MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo had this to say about RyanVerdugo:
|The 24-year-old has an aggressive approach and goes right after hitters. His fastball is a tick above average, occasionally plus. His breaking ball, a slider, is Major League average, but he uses it well. He throws an average changeup, too.|
Verdugo gives the Royals organizational depth and flexibility given the fact that he’s logged considerable time in the ‘pen (75 relief appearances, 13-1 record, 2.64 ERA, 13.4 K/9) and as a starter (36 starts, 11-7 record, 4.13 ERA, 8.6 K/9).
If Verdugo is brought up to Kansas City at some point in 2012, he would likely fill the same role as Everett Teaford – a lefty that can pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen as well as start games as needed.