Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sending Davies down the right choice

I have no problems with this whatsoever, he is struggling and the bullpen could use Tejeda back. It's starting to look more and more like that 2008 was an aberration so letting him go out every fifth day and get rocked is not an attractive option. He has had some fine starts this year but he tends to bunch his good ones and bad ones together. He'll do good for a few starts and then get shelled his next three times out.

Starts Record ERA K/9 BB/9
1-3 1-0 2.89 10.1 3.8
4-6 1-1 9.60 2.4 4.8
7-9 0-2 2.84 7.1 3.3
10-14 1-4 7.67 4.6 6.0

Right now he is going through a rough time and maybe he'll figure it out but he maybe he won't. Either way he is in dire need of a confidence boost, which is something I'm sure he'll get pitching in Omaha.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Notes from Wilmington

Our Wilmington Blue Rocks correspondent Jason Kaul provides us with another 
update (and some pics) on the Royals minor league team. He wrote this last week but I am just now finding the time to post it. Apologies to Jason.
Looking at the Northern Carolina League standings and noticing that the Rocks are in 3rd place is a bit deceiving.  Really, if it were not for Pedro Alvarez and the red hot Lynchburg Hillcats, the Rocks would be in a very tight pennant race.  They have a better record than the entire Southern Carolina League, yet are still 5 ½ games out of first place in the North. But, that’s why they split the season up into two halves I suppose.

The hitting has been decent, as the Rocks have 4 guys batting over .275, and 3 guys with an OPS over .800.  But the real story has been the pitching.  Rocks pitchers have combined for an all time team record of 38 consecutive scoreless innings (and counting) and 4 consecutive shutout games.  I knew Duffy was going to be good coming into the season, but Everett Teaford REALLY caught me by surprise.  He has emerged as the ace of the staff leading the starting 5 in Wins (7), ERA (2.39), WHIP (0.98), and K:BB ratio (4:1).  He’s a workhorse too, leading the team in innings pitched.

Teaford was one of four Rocks named to the Carolina league All-Star team (only the Fredrick Keys, with six, will send more players to California).  The other Rocks that were voted to the team were Duffy, Moustakas, and David Lough.

Speaking of David Lough… He really seems to be a player that is flying under the radar of a lot of prospectors.  Right now he’s leading the team in BA (.316) and OBP (.372), and has a good glove (only committing one error).

With the good, also comes the bad.  I can’t for the life of me figure out why Paulo Orlando continues getting playing time when he is struggling just to stay above the Mendoza Line.  Also, Geo (Johnny Giavotella) has come back down to earth after really impressing early.  Currently, he’s batting just over .200 and is second on the team with 11 errors.  One has to wonder if Brian Rupp has been putting him in the lineup because he has no other options at 2nd base.  And speaking of errors in the infield, Moose really needs to step up his defense if he is going to continue being streaky at the plate.  He leads the team with 13 errors, and has recently been pulling some DH duty (presumably for that reason).  What’s especially disconcerting about his numbers is comparing them to first baseman Clint Robinson.  They are nearly identical in every offensive category (Runs, Hits, Doubles, HR, RBI, Total Bases, Walks, Strikeouts, OBP, Slugging).  What
 separates them is Clint is batting 15 points higher, and has committed 9 fewer errors.  Plus, Clint has just as cool of a nickname as Moustakas (He’s been dubbed “The Alabama Hammah”).  I say he has just as much of a shot at the big leagues as Moose.  And for what it’s worth, he’s a good human being too.  (Not that I’ve ever seen Moose turn down a kid for an autograph… But, I’ve never seen him stay after a losing game for nearly 20 minutes signing like I saw Clint doing last week).

In closing… These are the guys to watch for: Teaford, Duffy, Moose, Lough, Clint Robinson, and Jeff Bianchi.

Bianchi scoring the winning run in extra innings.

Moustakas at the bat.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

132 pitches? So what?

Meche followed up his best game as a Royal with his best game as a Royal. Last nights complete game shutout produced a game score of 84 but because it took him 132 pitches there will probably be some that  second guess Trey's decision to let Meche pitch the ninth inning. I personally had no problem with it. This was just the fifth time that he threw 120+ pitches as a Royal so it's not like it's an every fifth day occurrence. Looking at the previous four times we see that there haven't been any long term side effects.

7/25/07 - 120 pitches. Meche wasn't particularly sharp giving up five runs in seven innings.  His next start he gave up just two runs in seven innings (of course it wasn't enough as he took the loss in this one too). The start after that he got rocked but then he ended the '07 season with ten straight starts where he gave up three runs or less.

9/24/07 - 124 pitches.  Eight inning gem in which he only gave up three runs. Next and final start of '07 he went six innings giving up just two runs and striking out seven.

4/27/08 - 129 pitches. This is the game that turned his '08 season around. He entered with an 8.00 ERA but gave up three runs in 6.2 innings. Next start he pitched seven scoreless innings. He gave up five runs in the start after that but then pitched four straight games where he gave up three or less.

5/08/09 - 120 pitches. He only went 5.2 innings in this one - it wasn't a great start at all. Next start was even worse when he gave up five runs in 4.1 innings. He has had only one bad start since then though and has given up just seven earned runs in his last six starts. Sam has suggested that Meche's next three starts were disasters but that's not really true. His second start after the 120 pitch outing he gave up just two runs in six innings.

I think he'll be okay.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Butler deserves all star write in votes?

According to Dick Kaegel he does.
Maybe it's time for Royals fans to show their support for Billy Butler in the All-Star Game. It'll require write-in votes, however.

Now I know I'm sometimes guilty of flagrant homerism but even I think this is a stretch. Don't get me wrong because I absolutely have no problem with KC fans voting for Royals players but to say Butler deserves it is a little on the ridiculous side. I see some of Kaegel's point in that Butler isn't on the ballot so the only way to vote for him is to write his name in, makes sense. But then Keagel adds:
Even so, a groundswell of support could get him notice when the selections are made for the All-Star reserves..

So Keagel actually believes Butler should be on the team. This would be a worse selection than Harvey in 2004 (should have been Sweeney). Besides KC has an actual legitimate candidate in Greinke who most likely will start the game. Back to Butler though, he is batting .283/.336/.430 which doesn't exactly scream all star. His batting average ranks 8th among AL 1st baseman while his OBP and SLG pct put him 11th and 12th. He'll be an all star some day but it won't be in 2009, nor should it be.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Meche back on track

81 starts into Meche's 55 million dollar contract he had his best start as a Royal. Last nights 7 inning, 0 runs, 11 strikeout gem produced a game score of  77 (his previous best of  75 was also against the Tribe). In his last five starts he has a 2.22 ERA but due to a pathetic offense and woeful bullpen the Royals are just 1-4 in those starts. The Epic has returned and not a moment too soon.
Here's the updated Jacobs/Balboni tracker:
HR # Jacobs Balboni
1 April 13 April16
2 April 15 April 19
3 April 17 April 21
4 April 19 April 22
5 May 5 April 30
6 May 12 May 5
7 May 13 May 15
8 May 15 May 18
9 May 19 June 7
10 June 5 June 7

Seems awful doubtful that Jacobs can do it at this point. In the 13 games between his 9th and 10th home runs he hit .119/.213/.167,  I know the sample size is small (47 PA's) but that is an absolutely dreadful stretch. In case you are wondering Balboni hit numbers 11 and 12 on June 17th.
I don't dwell too much on the draft (and by not too much I really mean not at all) mainly because I don't follow amateur baseball so I really have no opinions on potential draftees. But with that being said I loved the Aaron Crow pick. I know a lot of people had their heart set on Grant Green because of KC's shortstop problems but you don't draft in baseball to fill current needs. I do know that much. You can do that in football and basketball but not in baseball. Crow was the right pick. For more draft analysis check out The Royal Tower's take on day one and Royals Authority take on day two.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Well I still believe but I'm just not sure why

Well I do know why actually, it's because they play in the AL Central and although they have lost nineteen of their last twenty-four games they are still only 5.5 games back. I refuse to believe they are this bad because I think they have too much talent but they are making it awful difficult to watch. Jamey Wright was considered a longshot to make this team and yet on June 4th he is called on in the 8th inning to protect a one run lead. Not Juan Cruz, not Ron Mahay, not even Kyle Farnsworth (who I must admit is pitching pretty well lately), nope Jamey freaking Wright. I guess that is just another sign that the season has gone horribly wrong.

I know it's not like Cruz and Mahay are world beaters right now but Wright has been just as ineffective. And Trey couldn't call on Ramon Ramirez because he now pitches for Boston (1.35 ERA and 0.86 WHIP). I recall people weren't concerned about losing RamRam because of Moore's ability to build an effective bullpen. Didn't happen that way this season and I have to believe their record would be better if DM hadn't traded Ramirez and Nunez.

Still they are only 5.5 games back and are technically still in it but the ship must be righted soon. They aren't this bad and even though they keep trying to prove me wrong I don't believe the season is lost.