Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ouch. Is it really this bad?


Unfortunately, yes. I wanted to take today to go through a roster run down, and see just how many positions the Royals need to improve. Sorry to our millions of readers, but it has been hard for me to think or write about the Royals in such an unbelievably frustrating stretch. The most positive thing that's happened for this team in the last month or so, besides Gil Meche, was the way Mitch Maier took that fastball off of his cheek last night. Maier took what initially looked like a helmet shot, but proved to be a straight shot to the face, like a true champion. I've liked the approach that Mitch takes to the game: gritty, emotional, 100% hustle. The Royals could use a lot more of that. Let's check out the roster:

Catcher: C+
John Buck: What was looking like a decent offensive season has blossomed into a disaster. OPS+ of 72? yowzba. Done a decent job calling games, terrible job with baserunners (caught only 8 of 53).

Miguel Olivo: Exactly what we expected, very good against lefties, bad against righties. Bad game calling, decent arm.

Summary: I want John Buck to improve, but he just hasn't... and won't. The catcher of the future isn't in the organization right now.

Solution: Draft of free-agency.

1st Base: D
Ross Gload: 3 homer everyday first baseman? Umm... no. Decent glove, but give me a break Royals, this is ridiculous.

Billy Butler: Really pissing me off. Clearly content to be in the bigs and not playing to his potential with the bat. 81 OPS+ ain't gonna cut it for a slow, worthless fielder.

Summary: As bad as Butler has been, he should still be at the bag every single day. Still a lot of potential in Billy's bat.

Solution: Ka'aihue is making strides, but came out of nowhere. Butler is still ideal. Ryan Shealy is apparently out of the picture, but deserves another shot.

2nd Base: C-
Grud: Grud is Grud. Decent bat, good glove, old and hurt.

Esteban German: Awful season. Has completely demolished his trade value. Thanks a lot, Steve. 62 OPS+ just is flat out terrible.

Summary: Grud has seen his last action in KC. German isn't the answer. Callaspo's a drunk.

Solution: Mike Aviles moves to second. Good bat, solid glove. Problem solved.

SS: B+
Mike Aviles: What more is there to say about the Royals player of the year. A 122 OPS+ and solid defense has been way more than a pleasant surprise.

Tony Pena Jr.: Absolute DISASTER. Needs to be expelled from the organization. Get ready for this... OPS+? 2. 2!!!!!!!! Sweet lord, make it stop. Also, extremely overrated defensively.

Summary: Yay Aviles. Boo Pena.

Solution: Pony up for Rafael Furcal and move Aviles to second.

3rd Base: B-
Alex Gordon: His ability to draw walks has been great. His inability to have more homers than Alexi Ramirez and 40 other American Leaguers has been bad.

Summary: Is Gordon a Major League 3B? Yes. Is he a future All-Star? Probably not.

Solution: OK with Gordon for now, if we find a 30 HR first baseman.

Right Field: D
Mark Teahen: I've seen and had enough of the T-Bag. He's a fourth outfielder for a contending team.

Summary: There just isn't enough out there with such a lack of power from the corners.

Solution: Moustakas to the outfield? Maybe. Either that or better success with free-agency. Outfield is bare down on the farm.

Center Field: B
David Dejesus: Been pretty good for this team this year. We missed an opportunity, in my opinion, to sell-high after Dejesus capped off a sensational power and average run with a walk-off homer at the K.

Joey Gathright: Just not enough pop and not enough walks.

Mitch Maier: A good, solid fourth outfielder for a contender. And apparently a badass.

Summary: Dejesus looks like he'll be a Royal for a long time, which is fine (again) if we get better power on the corners. Dejesus would be a phenomenal number two hitter.

Solution: Dejesus works for now.

Left Field: D
Jose Guillen: I retract a statement from my last post which claimed that I was content with Guillen. At $36 million dollars, an 86 OPS+ just isn't going to cut it. Too many Ks, and a pathetic amount of walks (17!!!!!!) is really getting frustrating. Eric Hinske has more homers than Guillen. Emil Brown has a better OBP than Jose Guillen. I'll stop there.

Summary: Looks like a big waste of $36 million as I don't expect much improvement, if not a decrease in production.

Solution: ???
Starting Pitching: C
Gil Meche: Once again earning his $11 million a year, all-be-it not in spectacular fashion. His velocity, as well as strikeouts (on pace for about 175-180 compared to 156 last year), is up and next season could be a big year for Meche. A very solid number 2 starter.

Zack Greinke: Still has top ten stuff in the league but doesn't have the mental make-up to handle it. Some days dominant, some days lazy and ineffective. A solid number 2 or 3.

Brian Bannister: Barf. He's still got minimal value, but his potential peaks as a number 4 starter... at very best. He needs to go back to pitching to contact and locating instead of reaching back for the K so often.

Luke Hochevar: Probably not worth the #1 draft pick, but still has potential. Decent stuff, and perhaps the making of a good #3.

Kyle Davies: I still like this guy for whatever reason. His peripherals are terrible, but I like his stuff.

John Bale: Maybe a serviceable lefty starter in the #5 spot, if doors stop taunting him that is.

Summary: Not nearly what we thought we had at the beginning of the year, but still some potential left there. I still really like Meche and Greinke, but Bannister has been a disappointment. Hochevar isn't a bust, but maybe isn't what the Royals thought they were drafting.

Solution: There is some help in the minors, Rosa and Cortes in particular, but we still need more. Next year's draft and maybe a free agent of some kind. We need to find a true #1 and I just don't think he's in the organization.

Bullpen: B+
Joakim Soria: Sensational. The main reason that the grade is so high. I know statistics point to at least trying Soria as a starter, but I don't want to mess with it.

Ramon Ramirez: What did we give up for him? Oh yeah, Jorge De La Rosa. Yep, we win this one. He's done a really nice job up until lately.

Ron Mahay: Did we miss a chance to trade him? Yeah, but the prospects in return really wouldn't have been worth it (most likely), and he's been one of the best lefty relievers in baseball all year long.

Leo Nunez: Really wish he wouldn't have got hurt, but he's little and throws hard so there's always that possibility. Hope he's ready for next year.

Robinson Tejeda: Nice pick up. Good strikeout numbers.

Joel Peralta, Jimmy Gobble, Yasuhiko Yabuta, Jeff Fulchino, Josh Newman: Disappointing bunch, but the only really big disappointment is Yasuhiko Yabuta who's $3 million goes to waste this year. Will next year be different for Shake Yabuta? I sure hope so. He really needs to ditch the shiney blue spandex, however.

What have we learned from all this? The Royals have a long, long way to go. 2010 seems like a strectch. Hopefully they make the playoffs before I'm 30 (8 years away).

Today's Lesson: I'm proud of you if you made it through this whole post.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Thank You, Jim Caple: or, why I hate the Save

Joakim Soria is great. In fact, there's a possibility that he's even better than great. But as good as lock-down, all-world closers can be, aren't they infinitely more valuable as starters if they have the ability to start?

Soria's got a good repertoire of pitches, at least three good major league pitches that he can throw for strikes. And while we locked Soria up a while back for a fraction of his likely free agent value (not really a factor due to Major League service rules) , the deal has some serious escalators that could make the potential six-year agreement into a $32 million dollar contract. Not too shabby.

However, in Jim Caple's wonderful (though a little long) article this morning on ESPN's Page 2 (Page 2 still exists? How the mighty have fallen) examines the "most overrated statistic in baseball," the save. I will go even further than Mr. Caple, going on record to say that the save is the most overrated statistic in all of sports.

The Angels' Francisco Rodriguez is on pace to break Bobby Thigpen's single season save record, yet the Angels are not feverishly trying to lock up the free-agent-to-be. Likely, they're going to let him walk. Crazy? Hardly.

In the Major League, the save is loosely defined as the successful closing of a game by a relief pitcher where the tying run either comes to the plate or is on deck. Sometimes, the closer faces the team's best hitters. More often, however, they face weaker parts of the order.

Here's the situation. Your starter is struggling in the fifth inning, and he loads the bases with one out in a tie game. You need a strikeout. Needing a strikeout, who would you logically put in the game? Your best strikeout pitcher, who in almost every case, is your closer, the best reliever in the bullpen. What do the 30 Major League teams do, defying this logic? They put someone else in the game.

ISN'T THAT INSANE? You need a strikeout, and you don't put in the pitcher most likely to deliver that need. Instead, you wait to put K-Rod or Trevor Hoffman in the game against the 7-8-9 hitters. WHAT?!

The save is a salary inflating statistic. Look, the Angels have a great back of the bullpen. They will easily just plug someone in when K-Rod leaves in free agency. You see this all of the time, and for good reason.

From what I saw in the Joba Chamberlain situation, Joakim Soria deserves a chance to start. Chamberlain was a lights-out reliever (39 appearances, 47.2 IP, 28 H, 64 K, 1.32 ERA look ok to you?), and now he's the reason that the Yanks have made a little resurgence. Heck, I heard Cy Young talk before he tweaked his shoulder yesterday. Soria, while he doesn't throw the heat like Joba, has just as many good major league pitches. Why waste this potential at closer, especially if we don't know exactly what his ceiling is as a starter?

Some pitchers are born relievers. Mariano Rivera relies so heavily on his cut fastball that he hardly throws anything else. Billy Wagner throws high nineties heat, a decent slider, but a sub-average changeup. Some of these guys aren't cut out to be starters, because they wouldn't be able to retire the same batters three or more times. However, guys like Joakim Soria, Jonathan Papelbon, and Joba Chamberlain could be much more valuable as starters.

We've all seen Soria pitches dozens and dozens of times now. He's retired the side so quietly sometimes that I'm still not back from the fridge. Do you have any doubt that he couldn't get those same guys out again?

I don't.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Billy Butler Interview on "Country Fastball"


Check out a live interview with the Royals DH (and future AL batting champ), Billy Butler over at Country Fastball, a Las Vegas radio show. The show is on Sundays at 8 p.m. Central.

Here's the link: http://www.countryfastball.com

Other News: First-half negatives to be reviewed tomorrow

Today's Lesson: David Dejesus's stock has maxed out.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Catch Up Post.......


We are back. After taking a premature Allstar break from the blogosphere (due to a surprisingly busy Summer schedule), CatR has returned in its full, flowing-robed glory. The trumpets are sounding and the angels (not of the Berroa or Sanchez variety) are singing!
I welcome you back on this steaming Kansas evening because the Royals proved to me today that they have not given up on the season. Today's hard-fought, come-back win over the Rays salvaged a journey to the East that was a near disaster. 3-5 ain't great, but it sure as hell beats 2-6. John Buck celebrated his 28th birthday today by nearly knocking over the foul poll in left, and driving in what proved to be the game winning runs. Mike Aviles had a nice bounce back game (he was 0 for his last 16 before going 3 for 5 today with a homer), and Royals AllStar Joakim Soria notched his first win of the season after blowing a save in the ninth. Just a few comments before I review the first half of the season.
  • What the hell is up with Carlos Pena and Daniel Cabrera??? These guys have just plain sucked in the first half, especially lately for Daniel Cabrera, and just demolished the Royals. Cabrera throws a complete game (with ZERO WALKS!!!!), and Pena has an 8 RBI series including a game-tying homer off of the afore mentioned, and seemingly unhittable, Joakim Soria. Bizarre. I know Pena had 46 dongers last year, but it was a career year, and he probably will never approach 40 again.
  • Ok, Evan Longoria is pretty damn good. It makes me sick that our supposed "future superstar" at third is hitting .250 in his sophomore season while Longoria mashes like the Ryan Braun rookie of '07! What the hell? There are 3B mashers all over the place, and our can't-miss, perfect-swing lefty can't hit the sea from a boat! Argh. Anyway, hear we go
Positives from the first half of '08...
  1. Jose Guillen: Great signing. I realize that a .272/.297/.465 line is really nothing to write home about, but do you remember how he started the season? I sure do. After April, his line looks like this: .310/.330/.517. Other season totals so far: 13 homers, 28 doubles, and 64 RBIs. The down side? 65 Ks and only 10 (yes, 10) BBs. Little plate discipline, Jose. Please. I'm aware that Guillen has never been a big walker, but he is on pace for less than 20. Not cool. While his average and OPS are nothing to be particularly proud of, and certainly not AllStar numbers, this is what we wanted from this guy. On pace for over 25 homers and 100 RBIs is good enough in my book. I would say that the main concern right now is that his OPS+ is at a league-average 100. Ouch.
  2. David Dejesus: Trade, trade, trade, trade, trade. My good God, could this guys stock be any higher? .312/.370/.475 coming into today's game in which he went 3 for 6 with a triple. You could say that he is reaching his prime right now at age 28, or you could say that this year is a fluke and this team needs as many prospects as possible. I don't necessarily think this is a fluke, but I vote for the prospects. It's still pretty barren down on the farm for the Royals right now. Besides, Dejesus is not a true center fielder. He is a left fielder, and is 18 homers with 10 stolen bases a year good enough? Yeah, but that's if you're center fielder isn't Joey Gathright. Look at the Rays for instance. BJ Upton has an OBP of close to .400 and is on pace for 50 plus steals. Would the Rays like DD over Eric Hinske? I think so. Dejesus's stock is maximized, and the Royals still need a lot of help. Make the move, Daytona Moora. Forgot to mention the ridiculous .470 batting average with runners in scoring position. One-way ticket to trade city.
  3. Mike Aviles: Has his thrill-ride tapered off a little bit? Sure, but this has still been a treat. I was talking to a friend in the Spring about the pathetic farm system and lack of potential MLB players, and he asked, "What about Mike Aviles?" All I could do was laugh, but maybe I was wrong. Let's let the Aviles train ride the tracks for the rest of the season, and see if it derails in the Rockies or makes it all the way to the Pacific!
  4. Mark Grudzielanek: Just Grud being Grud folks, just Grud being Grud. Could be decent trade bait before the month is up...
  5. Zack Greinke: Yes, it has been a struggle lately, but for God's sake, can we sign this guy already? 7-5, 3.62 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 96 Ks. Are you kidding me? I would have signed that contract at the beginning of the season if you asked if I'd be happy with that line. The ace of the foreseeable future.
  6. The Mexicutioner: What's there to say about Soria that hasn't already been said? I'm a stats guy, and percentages guy (Economics major will do that to you), but I'm also a gut feeling and semi-superstitious guy. All signs point to putting Soria into the rotation, but I'm not buying it. The guy seems like he was born to close out ball games. His attitude, look, and stuff are perfect for the role he's in. I'm just not convinced that he can dominate hitters over 6 innings with a high-eighties/low-nineties fastball. What a first half though. He belongs in New York on the 15th, there is no doubt about that (not like Harvey or Redman is my point).
  7. Back end of the bullpen: Ron Mahay, Leo Nunez, Ramon and Horacio Ramirez have all been great. If Nunez comes back healthy, I'm going to feel a lot better about this pitching staff. I also like the addition of Robinson Tejeda.
Ok, that's enough blogging for one day. I'll go over the many, many negatives of the first half tomorrow.

Today's Lesson: F%$# AT & T's internet service!

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Aviles Factor



When Mike Aviles is in the lineup, the Royals are averaging over two runs a game more than when Mr. Aviles is not in the lineup. In yesterday's marathon 11-10 comback victory over the Giants, Aviles delivered a crucial two-run double that to tie the game at 10 in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Royals, who with every additional game against the National League can fully regret their decision to stay in the American league, crawled back within nine games of first in the super-underachieving AL Central division (the TWINS are a game out for crying out loud!)

In baseball, the batter/pitcher showdown is a battle of individuals, but Aviles's performance at the plate really helps everyone in the order. By my count, the Royals' bottom of the lineup was responsible for scoring seven runs, which meant they had to be on base. It helped when Pena (who got the start) was pulled for Callaspo, but the bottom of the lineup got on base for the top-of-the-order guys.

Our starters had been going so well and it was probably time for a letdown, as the pitching in this game was pretty awful (except for Mahay/Soria). However, if the Royals can give David DeJesus and Jose Guillen opportunities to drive in runs, maybe this team isn't so doomed after all.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Kauffman Magic!!!


These Royals sure know how to energize a home crowd! Fresh off of a five game winning streak, the Royals came home to a sellout (for freakin' fireworks?), and boy, did they stink the joint up. A 4-0 lead evaporated into a 8-4 deficit faster than a Neal Musser demotion. Innings 4 through 9 were slower than a Yasuhiko Yabuta fastball, an more boring than a Coldplay concert. Let's face it, the game last night flat out sucked. The Royals are really making a good effort in disinteresting the city from going out to the K. I've attended ten or eleven games this year. 2 of those games they have won. In 4 (!!!!) of those games, they have blown leads of 4 or more runs, twice after the seventh inning. Could this home stand have been set up any better for the Royals? The pitching has been red-hot, and you get to play six games against the hapless Giants and Rockies, then 3 more against a Pujols-less Cardinals. Nice start, fellahs.

I am a little confused as to why Luke was pulled so early. He had only thrown 72 pitches, and wasn't really getting bashed around. A couple of bloop hits, accompanied by some ground balls that found holes, and a couple of runs had crossed the plate. Big deal, I'd rather have a semi-struggling Hochevar in there than Yasuhomer Yabuta. Nice four-pitch, 2-out walk, Yabu.

One more thing: Could David Dejesus's trade value be any higher than it is right now??? I'd like to think that some very interesting offers are coming our way right now.

Today's Lesson: The Kansas City Sky Show was a tremendous let down.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Suck it, Cardinals



Even as an oft-dejected Royals fan, little feels better than going into St. Louis and beating the Cardinals in two straight with a little (hold on while I look how to spell it in the dictionary, as it is rarely used in the Royals vernacular) Clutch Hitting. Gordon's bomb was a no-doubter and DeJesus's hot streak is causing Dayton Moore's cellie to blow up like he's P. Diddy.

Jose Guillen also doled out his sixth outfield assist, further distancing himself talent-wise from the rest of the team as his average climbs into the high .200s. When reporters asked recently ousted Mariners GM Bill Bavasi what decisions he regretted, he said that not re-signing Jose Guillen (his option was for $9 mil, we paid $12 mil) was his biggest mistake for the 2008 campaign, and this is coming from a guy who padlocked the clubhouse a couple weeks ago to try to wake up the terrible and terribly overpaid M's (that Richie Sexson deal just reeks from awfulness; you can even catch a whiff of it in the midwest).

Things have gotten much better since the Tomko-down Aviles-up moves. Sweep tonight?

We really should've moved to the National League, huh.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Concession



Dylan, since I have fallen behind so far in the "Great Tomko Battle of 2008," a war that will likely be reproduced in fifth grade history textbooks, I have made this crappy photoshop (I'M LEARNING THE PROGRAM!) as a trophy for my concession.

What a pitcher.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Day on the Farm!!! Baaa! Mooo!


I thought it would be a good idea to check in on some of the minor leaguers who were (or still are) thought to be a part of the future. Check it out!

A Burlington Bees:

SS, Mike Moustakas AKA The Big One
: 236 ABs, .225/.281/.377, 8 HRs, 29 RBI, OUCH.

UTIL, Jason Taylor (2nd Round, '06): 201 Abs, .224/.367/.413, 9 HRs, 27 RBI, MEH.

OF, Adrian Ortiz (5th Round, '07): 265 Abs, .298/.320/.377, All-Star, MEH.

SP, Danny Duffy (3rd Round, '07): 22.1 IP, 2-2, 4.43 ERA, 29 Ks, 1.21 WHIP, NOT BAD.

A+ Wilmington Blue Rocks:

IF, Jeff Bianchi (2nd Round, '05): 156 Abs, .263/.293/.423, MEH.

OF, Derrick Robinson (4th Round, '06): 239 Abs, .268/.320/.335, 30 SBs, MEH.

Thoughts: Pretty, pretty, pretty thin. Moose Tacos has struggled, but it's far to early to be overly concerned. Duffy has some nice strike out numbers. Ortiz made the All-Star team as a rookie which is good to see. Bianchi has been a disappointment, and Derrick Robinson is a Single A version of Joey Gathright. Aside from Moustakas, there is absolutely nothing to get excited about here. AA and AAA later or tomorrow!!!

Today's Lesson: The Royals farms are barren.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Poor Mr. Aviles...


Sigh. Let me preface this rant by saying that Mike Aviles is not the savior of the pathetic offensive attack (more like a pillow fight) that the Royals throw out on the diamond every night. That being said... what the hell are we trying to do with this guy? He gets the call and starts on his first day in the bigs. Yeah, he went 0-3 with a K, but so did every other Royal in the lineup that night! Since then, it's been a shortstop merry-go-round. I don't know if Aviles should be out there everyday or not, but certainly every other day at the least.

Side note: I do know that Tony Pena should never be out there before the seventh inning as a defensive replacement. This is really getting ridiculous. Not only is his bat sub-Larueian, but a misplay last night led to four runs. Sure, he'll make the spectacular play every now and again, but he is far from perfect, and has had more than his fair share of booted balls this year. If you're going to hit .150, you better be the best damn defensive shortstop to ever play the game.

Anyway, back to the Royals Hubering of Mike Aviles. What's the point of even bringing him up? We essentially have 3 utility infielders on the team at this point. I understand giving at-bats to Esteban German in hopes of him raising his average and becoming decent trade bait. I understand playing Callaspo at 2nd once a series to see if he can be our 2B of the future, but he should not play short anymore. The range of the Albertross (stupidest nick name ever. except for maybe "Thunder", which C and I applied to the legendary Dee Brown) is pretty pathetic. As for Aviles, I just feel bad for him. The guy was simply beating the stitches off the ball in Omaha, and what did it get him? 3 at-bats. What a waste. Try and move him somewhere for a pitching prospect or something if the organization has given up on him. I'm really sick of this team's piss poor developement and misuse of its players.

Moving on... to say I'm not concerned about Zack's outing last night would be a little bit of a fib. 4 homers is a lot, and he may have lost his chance of making the All-Star squad. I know he has struggled in the South Side (to the tune of 0-6, 6.6 ERA), but this was an Elarton-esque outing. Hopefully he rebounds in Da Bronx on Sunday (gulp).

Final order of business. The following is in response to C saying that I believe too much in curses and such:

Listen, I love stats as much as the next guy. I'm an Econ major, and math has always been my favorite subject. But, there are some things in the world, and the sports world, that can't be explained by simple statistics. The specific example that comes to mind for me is the home run and the not home run hit by Jose Guillen over the weekend. On Saturday, he pounds a ball off of Professor Meatball, Joe Borowski, a ball that was gone in the minds of everyone watching, at the stadium or in their living rooms. Only it got caught at the wall. Even Trey Hillman admitted to thinking it was a walk-off. The next day, Guillen takes a half-swing with his hands touching his belt buckle and it sails out of the yard. Also, Paul Bird was on the mound, so Newton's law (equal and opposite reaction) isn't really working in your favor. There are things that happen in this game and everywhere else that truly can't be explained. Hell, the Kansas Jayhawks won a National Championship Game on the 20th anniversary of their last Championship. Only everyone in the country that was watching knew that Memphis had won the game. It was an impossible deficit to make up against a team that good. Yet Mario Chalmers made the most improbable of shots after the most improbable of comebacks (I took that running fade away forty times with no defense and no pressure, and made it just once). So, yeah, I believe that there are other forces at work besides science and statistics. To quote Danny Glover in the 1994 classic Angels in the Outfield, "You can call it faith. You can call it angels. You can call it whatever you want."

Today's Lesson: "We're always watching!" Christopher Lloyd as Al the angel

Monday, June 02, 2008

My Night in the Reds' Forum



Tonight, I was the perfect combination of 1) Curious and 2) Bored, I went over the Cincinnati Reds' fan forum to see if there was any buzz about Adam Dunn and his potential availability. Upon the initial scan of the forum, I didn't see anything about Adam Dunn and the Royals initially...but I did pop into the thread entitled (this very much piqued my interest) Zack Greinke.

Dylan has often mentioned the possibility of trading Zack, a notion I find a little bit perplexing, but I'm coming around. It's easy to say you'd part with a good young pitcher for the "right deal," but there's a lot of differing opinions on what the "right deal" should be. In the following paragraphs, I'm going to run down what I think it would take to deal Greinke, and then I will prescribe what I think the Royals should do. It's going to be an enthralling read, so shine your spectacles and put a pot of coffee on.

The Royals seek a left-handed power bat and the whole league knows it. This is where Dunn fits; however, from the scouring of this Greinke thread, it looks like Reds fans think that Dunn won't go so easily to KC--he wouldn't agree to the deal or sign an extension if he came here. So, the next option would be to deal Greinke for a talented pack of prosects, a la what the D-Backs did to acquire Dan Haren. The Reds have some untouchable prospects, among them the molten-hot Jay Bruce, rookie Edinson Volquez (acquired from Texas for CF Josh Hamilton, ML leader in RBIs), and First Baseman Joey Votto. So what premier prospects are left?

1. Homer Bailey: The Reds have become frustrated with Bailey and his velocity, which has fallen off since his early dominance of the minor leagues, dominance which had many publications drolling, often naming him the best prospect in baseball. However, there are many issues with Bailey, motivation and determination becoming clear roadblocks in his development. Heaps of hype, but would the Royals really trade a proven commodity (Greinke) for underachieving upside? Sounds like a burn to me.

2. Drew Stubbs: Highly regarded outfield prospect...in single A. I'm not exactly comfortable with all of this.

The Reds will probably have to blow us away for us to move Greinke, including both Bailey, Stubbs, and several others. New Reds GM Walt Jocketty will want to shake things up, and the Royals could get some talent in return.

Greinke has a lot of MLB service for a 23-year old, dating back to 2004. He will be arbitration eligible soon and we'll probably lose him when he is a free agent in 2-3 years. But we shouldn't trade a guy just because he'll be hard to keep.

The Royals main developmental goal is restocking a poor minors system with talent. If the Reds can give us four to five highly-regarded prospects, I think we'd have to do it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Same S#$t, Different Year AKA Realization Post...

Loyal CatR readers, something dawned on me this evening, as the Royals dropped their tenth straight in simply amazing fashion, but let me preface it by making this simple statement: WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED? We got sixteen hits, our ace threw an eight-inning gem, and we still managed to lose the game. And Chip "Chump" Ambres (you all remember that debacle in '05, right?) wasn't even patrolling left field! But anyway, there is only so much yelling you can do on a blog, so let's get to the meat of this post...

There is nothing we can do. We can bring in all the Barry Bondses and Adam Dunns that we want, but nothing will change. The Royals have had their damn tires stuck in the mud for so long that the damn battery in the damn car went dead from spinning the wheels. We keep telling ourselves, "Well, guys, just be patient. Once the offense gets going we'll start winning ball games!" That was after we told ourselves, "Relax, fellas! We gots a GM and a manager that know what thur doin, finally!" And that was after we told ourselves, "Easy, son. Put down the pistol; it's only baseball." What we have here in Kansas City is a franchise that simply is not allowed to win. We're just not. The baseball muses are punishing us for making two huge mistakes. Mistake numero uno was not moving to the NL central when we had the chance. Mistake deux was turning down repeated passes to build a downtown ball park. Let's face it, we don't deserve a real baseball team if our city is too numb-skulled to realize how obvious those decisions are. But, back to the point. It just isn't going to happen. Our pitching staff isn't what we thought it would be, and the offense appears to be one of the worst in the history of baseball. I was watching ESPN tonight and saw that Corey Ross (catcher for the fish in Miami) came into the game tonight having 6 of his last 7 hits go for homers. He hit two more tonight. Then I saw Endy Freakin' Chaves go yard for the Mets. Why don't things like that happen for the Royals ever? We had sixteen hits tonight and two of the went for extra bases. A double by Olivo (the Royals best hitter. A guy we signed to be a backup catcher is our best hitter), and a "double" by Gordon that was a typical Alex Gordon fly ball to the warning track, misplayed by Mike Cuddyer. Good God. No offense to Rany's blog (I love it), but asking Royals fans to come up with nick names for this pathetic bunch might as well be the same as asking us to come up with nick names for the T-Bones. Splash Gordon? Sure, it's somewhat clever, but the dude's on pace for fifteen homers. Throw me a freakin' bone here (a T-bone if you wish).

I hate to jump the ship in late May, but this is really getting ridiculous. I heard Jose Guillen absolutely explode in the clubhouse after the game. I really have never heard a professional baseball player drop that many F-bombs in a three minute stretch. He's only been here for 2 MONTHS, and he already can't take it anymore. You don't even know, Jose, you don't even know. Try fifteen years on for size, then you can start freakin' out in the clubhouse.

At the beginning of the year I saw some signs that this team was headed in the right direction, but now those hopes are fading. We don't have a Jay Bruce to call up and start mashing immediately. We don't have a David Price waiting in the wings, and ready to start dazzling big league hitters. We have twenty five chumps in Blue and White sitting at Kaufmann stadium with hundreds of even bigger chumps toiling in the swampy depths of the minors. This sucks, and good night.

Today's Lesson: Read the above.

A Case for Adam Dunn



Pictured above is Reds minor-league phenom Jay Bruce, an OF prospect that was called up Tuesday by the Cincinnati Reds. This call-up has particular trade market significance, since the Reds already carry three fairly high-profile outfielders--Corey Patterson (arguably "high profile" but bear with me), Ken "I was really good once" Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn. Rationally, at least two, if not all, of these outfielders instantly hit the trading block for the sinking Reds when Bruce was called up.

There have been some faint murmurs about the possibility of an Adam Dunn trade in the KC clubhouse and regional media, but I think the addition of Adam Dunn would give the Royals some much-needed offensive punch.

Dunn makes $13 million this year, so he's not exactly available at low cost. However, while Adam Dunn's batting average hovers in the .250s (career BA .249...but BA is such a bourgeois statistic!), his career OBP is .382 and he's at .405 this season even with a slow start. Career OPS? .903

Now, let's plug in Adam Dunn to Dylan and my dream Royal middle-of-the-order (career numbers)

3. Barry Lamar Bonds (.298/.444/.607)
4. Jose Manuel Guillen (.272/.323/.446)
5. Adam Troy Dunn (.249/.382/.521)

How could that lineup NOT score runs? I don't care if you put six Tony Pena Jr.'s in the lineup.

Another reason we should get Adam Dunn: dude can seriously crush home run balls. I don't think the media has done a good job portraying just how huge Dunn's dingers have been over the years. Once he hit a ball out of Great American Ballpark that splashed into the Ohio River...on the Kentucky side. He routinely hits balls 40 rows into the seats. Unlike the massive Ryan Shealy, Dunn actually uses his bulk (6'6'', 275) to boost baseballs.

I think KC would really embrace a player like Adam Dunn. He's played some 1st base, so he could fit in there. He hits tape measure shots like we haven't seen since Bo, and a lot of Royals fans still haven't gotten over his amazing feats.

I know it's a lot of money, but it's something to think about, as this Royals offense sputters into July.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Time For A Change?


Yes, this is the worst stretch of baseball I can remember seeing, and obviously the offense is at the root of this team's problems. But let's face it: as predicted, Brett Tomko really isn't helping anything. Another tough, tough outing for the Tomkat today (homers given up to big boppers Greg Zaun and Marco Scutaro), and I have to wonder when Kyle Davies gets the call. Davies had another strong outing for AAA Omaha today (7 IP 5 H 0 BB 5 K), and improved his season numbers to look a little something like this:

6-2, 2.06 ERA, 56.2 IP, 1.18 WHIP, 37 K, 20 BB

I'm not completely ignoring the fact that 37 Ks in 56 innings is far from impressive, but you have to admire the rest of the numbers, and the 1.18 WHIP leads me to believe that the numbers are legit. Tomko's ERA ballooned to 6.11 today. Ouch. Time to make the call.

Side Note:
"The Great Tomko Battle of '08" looks a little something like this:
Appearance 1: .5 point to Dylan (Mediocre outing, blown save)
2: 2 points to CG (Great outing, win)
3: 1 point to CG (Good outing, loss)
4: 2 points to Dylan (Bad outing, loss)
5: 2 points to Dylan (Awful outing, loss)
6: 1.5 points to Dylan (Awful outing, no decision)
7: 2 points to CG (Outstanding outing, no decision)
8: 3 points to Dylan (Terrible outing, loss)
9: 1.5 points to CG (Good outing, win)
10: 2 points to Dylan (Awful, loss)
11: 3 points to Dylan (Atrocious, loss)

Standings: Dylan 14, CG 6.5

Scoring System:
.5 points (Mediocre outing, no decision)
1 point: (Good outing, no decision/loss), (Bad outing, no decision)
1.5 points: (Good outing, win), (Awful outing, no decision/win)
2 points: (Good/Great outing, win), (Bad outing, loss)
3 points: (Outstanding/Awesome outing, win), (Terrible/Atrocious outing, loss)

Today's Lesson: Get over the Carlos Quentin thing. It's in the past, my friends.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Jose, Jose


As CGmentioned below, Jose Guillen is red hot, but what exactly does the 12 million dollar man mean to this team? Well, a hell of a lot. I was perusing the amazing www.baseballreference.com and taking a peak at JG's splits this season. Take a look at his splits in Royal wins vs. Royal losses:

Wins
.314/.344/.570

Losses
.191/.217/.337

Pretty dramatic, eh? So holding all other factors constant (pitching, defense, batters around him), I think it's safe to assume that if Jose's current increase of production stays consistent we can expect more wins.

Note: Don't get too beat up over the Boston series. I was pretty dejected/frustrated/crying yesterday, but we need to realize that the Sox are by far the best team in baseball. It would have been nice to get ONE win, but it's not the end of the world, nor the season. Keep your chin up, Royals nation, good things are just over the horizon.

Today's Lesson: The sun's always brighter in Canada.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Crashing Back To Reality


Nothing like playing four at Fenway to put you in your place. A lot of people, myself included, got excited after taking two of three against the first place (ridiculous with that pitching staff) Marlins. Only 2 games out of first, competing for the division title suddenly didn't seem so ridiculous. We may still compete, but the Red Sox have truly smashed us back to our senses. It started with a no-no, then an incredibly difficult 2-1 defeat, and another hard loss yesterday. Now, it's all up to Brain Bannister, and he's going against a guy that's only 7-0 with a 2.15 ERA. Not looking good. I'm not sure that our division is going to get much better, but I'm also not sure that our offense is enough to hang around, even if we get stellar pitching the rest of the way out. Here's are some reasons for and against competing this year.

Reasons we will compete:
1.) Meche is back. Meche had one of his best starts as a Royal on Tuesday. His velocity was back in the mid-low nineties, his curveball was sharp, and he located as well as he has all year. I don't care how bad your offense is, Zack, Gil, and Brain can carry a team.
2.) If Gordon or Butler gets hot, Guillen will produce. Alex Gordon appears to be on the verge of a break out. If he can find a way to get on base against tough lefties, and hit average lefties, a lot of pressure will be lifted off of Guillen. We saw a 10-day stretch of what Jose is capable of, and it was beautiful. We need to see it more, and as Alex heats up, the RBIs will pile up. Guillen will finish with at least 90.
3.) Los Tres Diablos (Leo Nunez, Ramon Ramirez, Joakim Soria) are as good as any back of the bullpen in the league. The combination of Leo's power, Ramon's splitter, and Joakim's utter domination instill enough confidence in me that any lead after six is as good as a win.

Reasons we will not compete:
1.) Mark Teahen, Billy Butler, Tony Pena, Joey Gathright. I hate to group Billy in this group, but he just doesn't look good at the plate right now. Maybe he will heat up, but a dramatic spike in power numbers simply can't be expected. These are three regulars (the fourth, Gathright, has over 100 ABs), and they have combined for 3 homers and 44 RBIs. That just isn't good enough to be a playoff team. For as much as I have come to love Marvelous Mark Teahen, I can't see him being anymore than a 4th outfielder. His lack of power is really frustrating, and his feebleness against lefties is a sad sight.
2.) Yasuhiko Yabuta. John Buck said before the season started that "Shake" Yabuta has the best change-up he has ever seen. Well, he failed to ignore the flat-as-Kansas, high-eighties fastball that has been feasted on this season by the opposition. I don't think Yabuta has pitched in a game closer than 4 runs since the first two weeks of the season. He's looking like a little bit of a bust, and I only say a little because he really isn't making all that much cash (relatively).
3.) Barry Bonds. Our ticket to contending for the AL Central is sitting around, wading through legal issues, and waiting by the phone. I think 25 would be hard pressed to turn down a 6 million dollar contract right now. I know he's 44, but don't even try to tell me that he couldn't hit 20-25 homers the rest of the way with an .800 OPS. I realize that this is never going to happen, but it seems like a pretty reasonable idea. Corb and I have agreed on this one from the get go.

While competing for the division may be too much to ask in the 2008 season, I think shooting for .500 is more than reasonable.

Today's Lesson: Don't let bad NL pitching get you excited.

Today's Second Lesson: Yep, the Red Sox are pretty good.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

NO!!!!



Five hits in two nights? Glurg.

Nothing like some serious negative national attention! As reported in today's KC Star, the Royals have scored one run eleven times this season, and (you guessed it!) have lost every single contest. That of course means we are 21-13 in games where we score more than 1 run, which shouldn't be too hard considering this is a major league baseball club, but it's at least kind of inspiring.

(a couple hours delay)...a promising 2-1 lead could not propel the Royals to victory. Sox win 6-3.

Glurg.

Monday, May 19, 2008

YEAH!!!



Jose Guillen's been hitting .500 since May 7 (he's now up to .245). Zack Greinke gave up 3 ER in 6 IP, but emerged with the victory, improving his record to 5-1 (he also had two hits, including a double). The Royals took two of three from the first place Marlins and have won six out of their last seven. The Boys in Blue are one game under .500 and two games out of first. What happened?!

A big reason for our recent success has definitely, definitely been the rise of Jose Guillen at the plate. When a guy is stroking the ball like that, it just makes everyone in the lineup that much better if pitchers are now forced to pitch around (or at least be more careful) with Guillen. Dude is just crushing the ball right now.

Also, the continued consistency of the pitching staff still has me completely baffled. The Royals will have at least two All-Stars--Greinke and Soria--both of whom are pitchers, something I don't think the Royals are quite familiar with. The bullpen has been solid, the rotation has been pretty good if not great, and I think the guys are really gelling in their roles. The problem was no run support, and one of the reasons for that was those laughable SLG%'s Dylan posted last week.

If Jose Guillen can get going, our offense could be much stronger due to the importance of his spot in the lineup and its impact on other spots.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

'Bout Damn Time!


My goodness. It only took 22 months for the Royals to remember how to beat the powerhouse that is the Baltimore Orioles. I didn't get to watch much of the game, but judging by the stat line (8 IP, 5 K, 2 H, 2 BB, 0 ER), Brain Bannister was phenomenal. Only his 110 pitch count kept him from going out for the ninth, but Joakim Soria did his usual and closed out the Royals 4th shutout of the season. This is all great, but we did just drop 3 out of 4 to the wicked birds of the east... at home. Ouch. Luckily, the AL central continues to stink it up, leaving the Royals just 3.5 out of first. We've got three against the Tigers starting on Tuesday, and we need at least two. Greinke is a good way to get it started.

As you can see, the last post dealt with team slugging percentage, but I just wanted to give you a little closer look at the Royals as a whole. Today's starting lineup.
Dejesus .453
Grud .384
Gordon .444
Guillen .356
Butler .358
Teahen .361
Olivo .523
Callaspo .333
Gathright .281

Ummm.... what? That is pretty absurd. .400 is about league average this year, and as you can see, that isn't happening much on this roster. The team is dead last in the league (.359, Boston is first at .451, Youkilis at .603!!!!), and it might not get much better. Gordon and Guillen have been cranking it up a little bit, but where will the power come from other than those two? Teahen? Butler? Grud? Gathright? Obviously, we're not expecting power surges from the latter two, but Butler and Teahen have only hit one a piece, and we've long eclipsed the 100 at bat mark. Will Teahen make at run at matching the magical powerless stretch he suffered in '07? It's possible. He's not exactly crushing the ball right now. This team just isn't good enough offensively, and I don't think it's going to get a lot better. (Is Moustakis ready yet?)

Today's Lesson: (no lesson, Dylan is in the cages working on his homer swing)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Tomko Battle and Player SLG %


First things first... Tomko was brilliant two days ago. Originally, I was so excited that I was willing to give CG 2 full points in the "Great Brett Tomko Battle of '08". After settling down, I realized that, while it's not his fault, I simply can't give 2 points to a pitcher that didn't get the win. This may be harsh, but I simply can't do it. Instead, I am willing to settle on awarding CG1.5 points, which brings the current Tom(s)ko(re) to Dylan 4, CG 3.5. Tomko, who was definitely riding the edge of the hot seat, just saved himself an early season demotion. I'm not confident that this trend will continue, but I'll be thrilled if it does.

Now, the depressing part of today's post. The AL average slugging percentage last year was .423. Now that is a LEAGUE AVERAGE, so not a "good" slugging percentage. Know how many Royals are over that number right now? Three, and just barely. They consist of a back-up catcher (Miguel Olivo at .582), a back-up infielder (Alberto Callaspo at .425), and our regular center fielder (Degeez at .424). Then next closest would be Alex Gordon at .413. My good, sweet god. This is obviously a pretty good indication of how terrible this offense has been, if it wasn't enough just watching the team live. Maybe starting Olivo every day isn't such a bad idea, and, apparently, putting DDJ in the 3-hole isn't as absurd as I thought. He does have as many homers as Billy Butler and Mark Teahen combined in approximately half of the games. Here's what I propose for lineups against righties and lefties.

RHP
1.) David Dejesus CF
2.) Mark Teahen RF
3.) Jose Guillen LF
4.) Alex Gordon 3B
5.) Billy Butler DH
6.) Mark Grudzielanek 2B
7.) Ross Gload 1B
8.) John Buck C
9.) Alberto Callaspo SS

LHP
1.) Alberto Callaspo SS
2.) Mark Gruzielanek 2B
3.) Miguel Olivo DH/C
4.) Jose Guillen LF
5.) Billy Butler 1B
6.) David Dejesus CF
7.) John Buck DH/C
8.) Alex Gordon 3B
9.) Mark Teahen RF

If you're confused about Gordon and Teahen, a quick trip over to baseballreference.com might change your mind. These are '08 stats:

Gordon against RHP: .326/.381/.494
Gordon against LHP: .156/.250/.188
-One extra base hit against LHP

Teahen against RHP: .296/.387/.457
Teahen against LHP: .216/.275/.216
-ZERO(!!!) extra base hits against LHP

Here's the case for Olivo batting 3 against lefties:

Olivo against RHP: .250/.270/.417
Olivo against LHP: .316/.350/.895

The only other thing of note is AC starting in both lineups. I think all of us are pretty upset with TPJ at this point in time.

Today's Lesson: I'm still pretty serious about signing Bonds. When I saw the lineup last night as I arrived at the K, I just broke out laughing.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Formal Apologies to All Royals Fans...

I am truly sorry for the last post. If a jinx post has ever been posted, then that was it. Ervin Santana was better than Johan Santana tonight, and for that, I am sorry.

The Two Faces of Ervin Santana


Doing a little research today, I came across some extremely interesting splits for the Angels starter this evening. Check out Ervin Santana's home and away splits for 2007 and 2006:

2006
Home: 116.1 IP, 10/2 W/L (17 starts), 3.02 ERA, 76 K, 35 BB, 93 H, 8 HR allowed, .251 BABIP
Away: 87.2 IP, 6/6 W/L (16 starts), 5.95 ERA, 65 K, 35 BB, 88 H, 13 HR allowed, .287 BABIP

Interesting. Almost an identical WHIP, very similar K/BB ratio, and a few more homers on the road. The Brian Bannister statistic, BABIP, is what really sticks out. .036 points higher on the road, and that is quite the difference. Now, check out the 2007 splits.

2007
Home: 77 IP, 6/4 W/L (12 starts), 3.27 ERA, 61 K, 24 BB, 74 H, 7 HR, .293 BABIP
Away: 73 IP, 1/10 W/L (16 GP, 14 starts), 8.38 ERA, 65 K, 34 BB, 100 H, 19 HR, .360 BABIP

At home, Ervin pitched like Johan Santana, and on the road, he pitched how I imagine Carlos Santana would. That is a mind-boggling difference. 12 more homers given up on the road, BABIP is .067!!!!!! points higher on the road. I don't really know how to analyze this because I'm too lazy to do all of the park factor research, but this had to have been mainly a mental problem. His ERA was a full 5 points higher away from LA. Hopefully, we will see more of the same tonight.

Today's Lesson: Never underestimate Carlos Santana's pitching abilities.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Door Totally Started It



Some Notes from Corby:

Well, it looks like Kyle Davies' return path to the majors has been greased as John Bale's continued feud with doors around the world finally came to a tumultuous confrontation that led to Bale breaking his hand. The rotation candidate, who was set to rejoin the team next week, couldn't let the door get the last laugh. I understand his plight.

Are the Royals finally becoming respectable? The whole pitching thing helps...throw out the horrendous Hideo "Juggs Machine" Nomo numbers and our bullpen is mad credible. Dayton knows what he's doing.

Zack Greinke is one hell of a pitcher. He displayed that he's got the reins back on that curveball and he's making guys look hideous at the plate (including 2 Ks of major league RBI leader Josh Hamilton, who is as natural a hitter is there is). Woo that pitch is freaky...and complimented with a fastball that rides anywhere from 89 mph to 97 mph. Yipes.

As Dylan mentioned to me today, Angel Berroa's numbers in Omaha ain't too shabby. Only two errors. We may have a dilemma here, as TPJ's bat looks worse than ever though the defense keeps him in the lineup.

I like Hillman's continual shaking up of the lineup and willingness to try anything to generate runs. Sometimes it burns us, but we just need some guys to start driving the ball and everything will improve across the board.

Round 7 of "The Great Brian Tomko" debate starts tomorrow and can be viewed on FSN Kansas City. If you want some in-game commentary, call Dylan at 1-800-KITTENS. Thank you and good night!

Thank God... He's Back!


Whew! Royals fans can breathe easy... for now. Gil Meche returned to his '07 form today as he breezed through 7 innings of no run, four hit ball. The big stat of the day??? 0 Walks. While the Indians haven't exactly been mashing lately, they did hang a 15 spot on us last week, so this one feels pretty good. CG and I were discussing the importance of Gil Meche to this team, and came to the conclusion that he is currently the perfect guy to lead this rotation. Behind him are three incredibly young guys (soon to be four as Kyle Davies, 3-2 2.60 ERA in Omaha, is bound to replace the predictably ineffective Brett Tomko), two of whom may easily become better pitchers than Meche, but need to have as little pressure on them as possible. The Royals have made mistakes in the past by putting too much pressure on young pitchers deemed as the team's "ace". While Meche isn't exactly Cy Young material, he is an above average starter with the right mentality to lead a pitching staff. If you ever fall under the impression that Gil is making to much money, just think about this guy. I'm still expecting Meche to finish the season with a record over .500, and an ERA right around 4.00.

The next bit of business to discuss would be Joakim Soria. At what point in time do the Royals consider inking this guy to a long term contract? He has been unbelievable this year, and is probably the third best arm on the 40-man roster (1. Greinke, 2. Hochevar). We saw the shenanigans that the Rays (formally prefaced by "Devil") pulled off with Longoria a couple weeks ago, and I think guys like Soria and Greinke ought to be inked up as soon as possible. Rany agrees.

Yes, going 3-2 on this road trip was a big success. Yes, we got some really great pitching against the Indians. Yes, Jose Guillen is really starting to drive me crazy. If he starts to heat up, along with continued consistency from the starters and back of the bullpen, the Royals could make the race in the central very interesting.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

De La Rosa Gone/Tomko Battle


Well, the day has finally come. The ultimate "Royals" player, Jorge De La Rosa, is finally out of the organization. Good luck, Colorado. De La Rosa is a perfect example of the type of player that has plagued the Royals in the last 5 years or so. A guy with "great stuff", though I never saw this "great stuff", who just couldn't put it over the plate. Good riddance. Now on to the important stuff....


After CG got off to an early 2-1 lead, questioned by some, the "Great Tomko Battle of '08" has quickly swung in Dallas's favor. Surrendering 16 ER in his last 14.1 IP has vaulted Dallas to a 4-2 lead. With Kyle Davies looming in AAA with a 1.8 ERA, Corban's time may be running out.


Finally, I would like to make an extremely brief and amateur analysis of Brian Bannister. Let me preface this by saying that I love Brian "Brain" Bannister. That being said, he can never be the type of pitcher that we all dream him to be. The reason for this is that he simply can't be effective in the elements. Too many of his starts will take place in windy conditions, and for a guy that pitches to contact with limited raw talent, he is bound to get shelled in a stiff wind. You could tell how much he was bothered by the wind in Texas yesterday as he served up a nice batting practice session to the Rangers. Even the smartest of pitchers can't control the wind. I think we as fans should reasonably expect somewhere around the 4 ERA he has settled into for the remainder of the season. He will have some great starts, but he will throw in his fair share of Brian Andersons as well.


Note: Zack Greinke is smokin' right now. 6 Ks in 4 IP against the Rangers.


Today's Lesson: New otter exhibit at the KC Zoo!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Heating Up?


Boy, I sure hope so. The Royals pathetic offense showed some signs of life last night as they beat the hapless Rangers. Wow. That team can just flat out not pitch to save their lives. The hangin' breakin' ball that Guillen belted into the upper deck was one of the meatiest pitches I've ever seen. Even Brent Abernathy could have put a good swing on that one. Then Teahen went to work on a nice, juicy pitch from Benoit that ended in a three bagger. (Editor's note: is anything more fun than watching Gathright score from first? Man alive, that young man can run!). Hopefully, the Royals offense takes advantage of the worst pitching team in the majors in the remainder of the season.

On Jose Guillen: It's about damn time. That is the type of night that we signed the man for! This team will go as Jose goes. Was anyone else surprised by the intentional walk to Gordon to face Guillen with the bases juiced? I guess it's not quite as ridiculous as walking Tony Pena intentionally (check out the bottom of this box score).

Thought of the day: Ryan Shealy now has 7 homers on the season for Omaha.... He is batting just about .220 with a .300 OBP, but is this team not desperate for power? Just an idea. I had another idea (*cough* bonds *cough*), but nobody seems to buy that one.

Today's Lesson: The Rangers are the new Royals, as pointed out by Mr. Mellinger.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stocks and Bonds...

We are only two games under .500 right now, and I don't feel good about it. That to me is a sign of an effective culture change. I am starting to think that maybe, just maybe, this team is closer to competing than we think. I'm still not panicking about Meche or Guillen, but I'm getting close, and with Jose's four 4K performance yesterday (and I'm not talking about finishing 80% of a cross country run) ... well, let's just say it wasn't exactly pretty. Where am I going with this? Well if you were clever enough (i.e. an IQ of a chimp) to decipher the title of the post, then you already know I was going to talk about Barry Bonds. What does this offense lack? Everything, I suppose, but mainly OBP and power. Hmmmm... what possible free agents have been the archetype for those statistics in the past decade or so? A guy who was wearing 2-5 for the Giants certainly comes to mind. If Dayton thinks that this team can compete now, then I see no reason not to. A possibility is that David Glass (a close friend of Bud Selig) wouldn't allow us to pull the trigger on this, but barring owner's restraint, I think this is a realistic move. It should cost about 5-8 million dollars, and we can certainly afford it. We'd only be $456 million short of the Tigers payroll! This means that Billy B would play extensively at 1st base, while Barry would (gasp) occasionally play left field. Now, let's clear one thing up: I hate Barry Bonds. Do I hate enough to sacrifice a division title chase? NO. The old cliche, "this is a business" directly applies. The seats would be filled, and the product would be improved, no question. My final verdict: Go for it. I can't sit through too many more 1 and 2 run games.

On yesterday's total massacre: did anyone not see this thing coming a mile away? I'm not talking so much about the 15 runs, so much as I am the Sabathia Barge. I was gonna say "Sabathia Express", but at 6'7", 290 lbs, I don't think he exactly exemplifies the word "express". Last year's Cy Young winner had simply been awful (just ask my fantasy team), and there is nothing like facing the worst offense in baseball to come out of your funk. 6 IP, 11 Ks ought to do the trick.

Today's Lesson: $12 million is a lot of money....

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Yuh-Oh



There are a number of terrible stat-lines I can throw at you from this evening's Royal's debacle, but here are a few particularly gruesome details:

Gil Meche, 3.1 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 2 HR, horrible command during a short night for the $11 Million man

Jose Guillen, 0-4, 4 K, now hitting a dazzling .165

As Bradford Doolittle wrote this morning, the Royals' offense is struggling. While I know that seems pretty freakin' obvious, he brings up some disturbing stats regarding our poor plate discipline, something the new management has been harping on since the end of last season.

Also, the Royals have little power. The team's OPS is a paltry .666 (a bad number no matter how you look at it). The Royals OBP is .313, 130 points lower than Adam Dunn's.

Listen, things surely will pick up a little. However, Zack Greinke and Brian Bannister are probably not going to keep their ERAs in the low 1's unless the MLB resurrects the deadball era. The Royals sit at 9-10, good enough for second place in the Central in the extreme earlygoing of the 2008 season.

The Royals are probably where they should've been the entire time, hot start or no. It wasn't a good night for Barack and it wasn't a good night for the Royals, a surefire connection that many analysts are making tonight. Let's hope that the Royals (and Barack) will rally and begin to make some adjustments.

Is it time to call Barry Bonds or Frank Thomas?

I'm not sure it would hurt.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Time for a Change!


Well, first things first... the post counts are finally even! Since, Monkeyass.com is already taken (seriously), we here at CatR will continue to operate under CatR. I mean, we don't want to mislead our millions of dedicated readers with a complicated website name-change.

Let's continue that theme of "change" as discuss the somewhat struggling Royals. Luke Hochevar is up and makes his first start of 2008 at 3 this afternoon. I don't wish injury on anyone, but this is probably the best thing that's happened to the Royals so far this season. Luke Duke should have been up with the club since the get go, but at least it's only mid-April instead of mid-August. I'm extremely interested to see what the kid can do as a regular in the rotation. The other nice change that coincides with the emergence of Hochevar is the inevitable banishment of Hideo Nomo. Thank. God. Why Hideo Nomo was on this team when a younger, better, less fat version of himself (Joel Peralta) toiled away in Omaha is beyond me. Extremely similar pitch repertoire with about 6-7 more MPH on a fastball with a heck of a lot more movement. But, it seems that everything worked out from a fan perspective, so we won't harp on it anymore.

Next order of business: Jose Guillen. Get ready, KC. Guillen is extremely close to exploding on offense. While the AVG and OBP aren't there yet, the power is. Jose leads the team with seven doubles and just laced a line-drive bomb to left yesterday for his first dongarama in Royal blue. He is starting to get a little bit of swagger, and a confident Jose Guillen at the dish will be deadly.

Final order of business: Tony Pena hit-and-run. Are you kidding me? Not only has this mistake been made once, but quite frequently actually. Nobody in their right mind sends John Buck from first with TPJ at the plate. I think our chances would be better with Billy Crystal or Garth Brooks at the plate. On the subject of TPJ, it's time to give Callaspo an extended look. You just can't hit .120 and make errors that cost your team games. I like Tony as a human being, but he's simply not major-league capable.

Today's Lesson: Be happy that we are a .500 ball club right now!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Link of the Day...

You must find your way over to www.ranyontheroyals.com today if you haven't already. Crazy, crazy post that will blow your mind.

Today's Lesson: You should seriously reevaluate your Royals fanhood if you are reading this site and not Rany J's.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Tomkat on the Prowl...


Is this for real? I don't know. The "this" I'm referring to is, of course, the Royals' #5 starter, Bret Tomko. So far, CG (an unexplainable Tomko supporter) is up 2-1 on the Tomkometer. He claims the "1" is questionable because his bullpen appearance was effective, but I'm not buying it. A game-tying homer is a game-tying homer. Anyway, that's not the point. I will admit (happily) that Tomko looks a lot better than I thought he would. He is not Scott Elarton II as I expected. The reemergence of a curveball that supposedly has been missing for 6 years (Bob McClure needs to be chained to the dugout to make sure he never leaves this team), and a moving fastball that has reached 95 MPH have got me the littlest bit excited. I really, really hope I'm wrong, but I still can't get behind this guy when we've got Luke Hochevar sitting in the minors. Now, if we are actually going to make a push to contend (wake up, Jose Guillen), I understand leaving Luke in the minors. A couple months of solid Tomko action, and we will see what we actually have.

I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time on this next point, but... Jose Guillen has been infuriating. The dropped fly ball in the first inning of today's game was truly an atrocious act. It would be one thing if his .122 average was accompanied by a bunch of hard hit balls right at people, but his 12 strike outs and countless weak ground balls and pop ups would beg to differ with that theory. Something needs to change quick, and that something is a lineup mix-up. Gordon to fifth, Guillen to sixth.

Today's Lesson (Trivia): What former Royal leads the league in total bases? The answer lies in the jumbled letters below!

NALI BUAZRE

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Uni-nimous Disappointment



Despite the Royals' atrocious run-less streak (24 innings and counting!), their was something much more disturbing afoot Saturday night.

The Royals' new alternate uniforms.

First of all, for those unfamiliar with all the developments, Royals fans have been clamoring for the powder blues to come back for as long as I can remember. We went through some pretty poor wardrobe decisions over the last decade. The vest thing. The inclusion of black.

Over the past couple years, the Royals decided to return to the more "classic" Royals look; that is, no black, no beer-league softball vestature, also including the much needed banishment of the "C" on Mike Sweeney's jersey (as well as Mike Sweeney in general). Early this year, I heard rumors of the return of the powder blues that immediately evoked images of this, or this.

However, like all Royals marketing decisions over the last 15 years, we screwed it up. What could've been an awesome throwback like the Phillies' new alternates this year, we chose to couple the new powder blues (with blue lettering...what?!) with white pants as to make it another "alternate" jersey, like those batting practice ones you see major league teams thrown on from time to time when the clubhouse laundry machine is broken (presumably).

The Phillies and the Blue Jays heeded the call of their fans and brought back real throwbacks, not a bastardized version of the timeless uni.

If we can't get the jersey right, how in the world are we going to get the on-field product right?

Twenty years and counting.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Free Pass...


A couple of posts ago, I mentioned how I was somewhat concerned with the lack of walks taken by the team in the first six games. Well, I guess Hillball got the message across to them as they have taken eleven in the first two games of the series against the Yanks. Mark Teahen alone has walked four times in the series. Is Twins pitching really THAT in control? I doubt it, especially with guys like Livan Hernandez and Boof Bonser who have struggled with location in the past. Hopefully, the Royals continue what has seemed like a much more effective approach as the season progresses.

Today's lesson: You down with OBP? I'm down with OBP!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Caution: Extreme Optimism Follows...


After tonight's extremely wet dismantling of the Yankees, the question has to be asked... is this team for real? A good friend of mine (top Senior in his civil engineering class, so I guess he's smart or something), made an interesting analogy to me this evening. He asked (paraphrased), "Do you remember when Kansas football kept winning games, and we kept joking about a perfect season, and then they turned out to be a really good team? Well, when does that point arrive for the KC Royals." Well, it may be sooner than we think. If you truly want to make a comparison, eight games of a baseball season is approximately equal to 1/2 of the first game of the year of a college football season. With that said, I can't help but be extremely excited.

Three reasons why the Royals will win the division (NOT a prediction):

1.)Bullpen. The Royals bullpen has been electric. Just 2 runs in 22 innings is obviously ridiculous, but what is really a great sign is this number: 28 Ks in those 22 innings. That is just an astonishing number, and is a real indicator that this bullpen may be for real. But it's not just the Royals bullpen that excites me. The bullpens of the two division favorites (Cleveland and Detroit, duh) are far from impressive. Since the Royals will more than likely not score as much as these teams (Ok, there's no way we score as much as these teams), a dominant bullpen will be essential. The thing is, we may have one.

2.)Ace-Brain-Kook. The Royals big three is legit. Zack Greinke's eight shutout innings tonight obviously helped that cause, but I really believe in these three pitchers. Gil Meche has been far from great, but if there is a proven commodity in our rotation, he's it. Brain (intentional you doofuses) Bannister is one of the best minds in baseball, and I believe that his approach will be effective, if not outstanding.

3.)This is the year of the Kansas/Kansas City. After the Kansas Jayhawks football team, who was predicted for a 8-9 win maximum by most, won the Orange Bowl, I was ecstatic. After the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team came back from 9 points down with a little over 2 minutes left, I couldn't think straight. Right now, anything seems possible, and any sports pessimisms that have overtaken me in the past have been thrust into the molten lavas of Mount Doom (sorry, I just watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Nerd alert). This leaves me with the inability to rule out a division championship, and actually have the thought in the back of my mind that it is going to happen.

Four players that will carry the Royals to a division championship:

1.) Bill "The Thrill" Butler. My sweet, sweet lord can this kid hit the baseball. Right field, left field, center field... he hits to all fields, on every kind of pitch. I will say it again: I am going to be truly shocked if he hits less than .300 this year.

2.) "Marvelous" Mark Teahen. Don't expect 25 dongaromas, but this may be the year of the Teahen. Thus far, he is driving the ball to right and left, has a 6/4 BB/K ratio, and is running the bases as well as anyone in the game. He may approach .300 with a .360-.370 OBP this year.

3.) Zack "Kooky" Greinke. Only 5 Ks in dos starts so far... but, it's harder to argue with 1 ER in 15 IP!!! ZG has finally arrived. I truly believe that he has figured it out, and will wow people like we've been expecting for 3 years or so. 18 wins is not out of the question.

4.) Joakim Soria. I understand that statistics show (drastically) that a starting pitcher is more valuable than a closer, and Soria has the repertoire of pitches to be just that. But it's hard to measure the value of fan excitement, and crowd impact. There is almost nothing (walk-off homer, probably) more exciting than a dominant closer coming in the ninth inning, crowd on their feet, and slamming the door with authority. Joakim Soria can, and will, do just that for the next several years.


So there it is. You are free to get excited now, Royals fans, because it is possible for this team to compete... RIGHT NOW.

Today's Lesson: Do not interpret this post as a prediction of a division championship. My optimism is running at an all-time high, and nothing can stop me (for now).

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Not Too Shabby!


Ok, first things first: 4-2 road trip is an incredible success. The Royals were able to take 1 out of 3 against the Twins (all I expected), and stand atop the division on their way back to KC. A couple of notes from the first week of the season...

-Bullpen has been pretty great. Gobble looks like he has truly found his calling in big league baseball. His drop-down, three-quarter release is devastating to lefties. Leo Nunez has truly wowed me so far this year. Joakim Soria looks like he could be just as dominant as he was last year; his three-k ninth today was pretty special.

-If we can get performances at all resemblant to what Tomko and Bale gave us this weekend, we will be in great shape (for a .500 season that is). Obviously, neither performance was mind blowing, but both were definitely acceptable.

Side note to CG: You win round 2 of the Tomko battle. Score: Dylan 1, CG 1.

-Our approach at the plate is really awful looking right now. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is swinging at everything early in the count. Opposing starters (despite giving up some runs) have simply cruised through the first 5-6 innings of each game so far. Their has been way too many less than 10 pitch innings for opposing starters. Obviously, this kind of approach would lead to a serious lack of walks as well (8 total for the team, none by Gordon and Butler). For a manager that absolutely preaches OBP (quoted as saying that it's a "no-brainer"), Hillman needs to correct the current approach.

-Don't worry about Gathright. It's only been six games so calm down. So, the question is... Dejesus or Gathright? Dejesus will have a better OBP, but Gathright can create runs by himself when he's on base. I also think Gathright has become the better defender of the two. My vote still goes to Gathright.

To conclude, it's really hard to find too many flaws in a 4-2 road trip against division opponents, but there are some obvious ways that the team needs to improve if they want to contend (starting to think that it may actually be possible). Next up is the Yanks, and 2 wins would be great.

Today's Lesson: If you're looking for Roy Williams, you can find him on top of the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill mumbling to himself about how lucky he was to coach "Psycho B."

Thursday, April 03, 2008

An Ace, A Brain, and A Kook = Sweep!


Hard to not be extremely excited right now. Fantastic pitching, once again, as Greinke, Ramirez, and Soria hold the Tigers to 1 run. For all of you non-math majors out there, that's five total runs in the series. Yikes. I did not expect this, not in the least. Before the season started, I was telling myself, "Dylan, you have to accept that it's ok if the Royals come back with 2 wins on this road trip. Anything more than that, and you should be extremely happy." My conscience is so wise... but, anyway... we have 3 wins on the trip, and we still have 3 games to play. We do have to remember that John Bale and Brett Tomko will be starting two of those games, so expectations need to be tempered. I think 2 wins would be sensational, and 1 win would certainly be acceptable. Worst case scenario, we come home .500, and I have no problem with that! If the Royals get starting pitching like this from the Ace, the Brains, and the Kook, we will win a bunch of games this year. Couple of notes:

1.) Jose Guillen: Not fantastic to this point in time, but he does have 2 2-out RBIs on absolute missiles to left field.
2.) Billy Butler: Guy can mash. It's ridiculous how good of a hitter this kid already is. I would be disappointed (this is ridiculous) if he hits under .300 this year.
3.) Alex Gordon: Very Adam Dunn-esque early in the season. 14 ABs, 2 Bombs (average over 400 feet), 1 other hit, and 5 Ks. This may be the year a Royal finally hits 30 again.
4.) Mark Grudzielanek: The crafty veteran continues to show that he can still play with the best of them.
5.) Mark Teahen: Bounce back year.
6.) Gathright: Yep, he's pretty fast.

7.) Joakim Soria: He is a closer. It's what he is meant to be. Don't care what Bill James says.
8.) Leo Nunez: May have found something here.
9.) Ramon Ramirez: Could be a potentially great trade, as it looks like De La Rosa is the infamous "Player to be Named Later."

My optimism is sky-high, and extremely unrealistic right now, but I don't care. When do playoff tickets go on sale again?

Today's Lesson: It's only three games people.... F#*$ THAT, this is awesome!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Hill-ball Strikes!


As CG points out, the Royals win yesterday was one for the ages. It was not the walk-off of '04, but that game was something special. Verlander was absolutely dominating. It looked like he may go all 9, and then Alex Gordon pounds a 3-1 fastball to right. CG and I were borderline depressed before that jolt. I take that back, we were extremely depressed. I'm sure everybody saw the game, so I won't talk much more about it. One small point to make:

Why does Brett Tomko (our #5 STARTER!) pitch two innings of relief in a one-run game? Soria is more than capable of a 6-out save. I understand why Yabuta didn't make an appearance as he was hit with a line drive a couple of days ago, but Tomko is not this team's set-up man. I know the game ended in a win, but was there any doubt in your mind that the Royals would lose after Carlos Guillen deposited a homer to the 24th seat of row 25 in section 105? I thought the game was over right then right there. But, that's what happens when you have followed this team for an extended period of time. I guess that's about it, and let's see if we can beat Kenny "The Dyin' Gabler" Rogers for the series win!

Today's lesson: Dinosaurs are generally dangerous, especially left-handed dinosaurs, but Kenny Rogers doesn't worry me.

Monday, March 31, 2008

WOOOOOOOOOO!!!



Awesome game. We found some good swings against Jason Verlander, who was really dealing there for a while, and used a clutch bullpen performance to stick it to a team that spent tens of millions in the offseason. If you're a small market baseball fan, wins like these feel pretty damn good.

Some notes:
--I remember a few years back reading a piece evaluating the outfield arms that the LA Angels had in their outfield and how scouts said that Jose Guillen, not Vlad Guerrero, had the best arm of the three OFs. I'm not doubting that today, as Guillen saved a pair of runs with two absolute lasers to the plate. How's that for initial return on investment?

--Alex Gordon overcame some truly terrible homeplate officiating to hit a monster shot to right field. Kid's a stud.

--Leo! What a great bullpen performance. I was pretty worried about how the 'pen was gonna settle out, and I guess I still am worried, but I loved what I saw today. Even Tomko did all right...but he did allow a huge shot from 1B Carlos Guillen.

--Initially, when we appointed Trey Hillman the manager, I liked the move. I still like it. As Dylan and I talked about when we watched the game, some of his moves are gonna pay off big and some are gonna flop. He made the aggressive decision every time, and I think that makes the average Royals lineup a lot more threatening to our opponents.

Yes, I know it's the first game. But, openers are big statements, and I thought the Royals really performed well playing the Division Favorite at home on Opening Day. Maybe there is some hope for this team...

Also, if you're a baseball uni fan, you MUST READ the preseason Uni Watch column on ESPN's page 2.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Here We Go! (Hopefully.)


Opening day is here! As CG pointed out, Jose Guillen will be in right field this afternoon, which is great because the rest of the team has had a pretty damn hard time with Verlander (career 6-0, sub 2.5 ERA against the Roys). Will Gil Meche repeat his contract-worthy performance of last year? Will Greinke finally bust out? Will Teahen regain his power stroke? Will Alex Gordon become the savior we have been waiting for? Can Billy Butler win a batting title? Will Joey Gathright gets the shot he deserves? Here is my season prediction, for overall record, division placement, and some individual stats.

Part I, AL Central and Playoff Predictions
AL Central:

1.) Cleveland Indians. 99-63. As you may have noticed, I changed my mind from my extremely early division prediction. Grady Sizemore may finally put together a close-to-MVP season. Travis Hafner will regain his power stroke. Sabathia and Carmona make up one of the best one-two punches in baseball. Joe Borowski, while not dominant, was incredibly efficient in converting saves last year. The Indians are just a great all-around baseball team.

2.) Detroit Tigers. 92-70 (Wild Card). There is no doubt in my mind that the Tigers are going to field one of the best offenses in baseball history. An eventual lineup of Granderson, Polanco, Sheffield, Ordonez, Cabrera, Guillen, Rodriguez, Renteria, and Jones is just absurd. For comparison's sake, Jaque Jones would probably hit 5th for the Royals. On the flip side, the Tigers pitching staff may be a concern. Kenny Rogers is on the steady decline, Jeremy Bonderman has been somewhat disappointing, and Dontrelle Willis has had a terrible string and looks like he may struggle. Then there's the bullpen. A bullpen in which Royals and Rockies castaway Denny Bautista is currently the set-up man. Yikes. Unless Rodney and Zumaya find a way to get healthy in a big hurray, the ferocious feline's pen will give up a lot of runs. But, maybe the offense will be enough to counteract the pen's struggles and vault the Tigers to a first place finish. The first two weeks of the season, without Granderson, will be extremely important for Detroit.

3. Minnesota Twins. 83-79. I like what the Twins have done in completely revamping their roster. This team always seems to find a way to get it done. Their offensive success will rely heavily on newly acquired outfielders Carlos Gomez and Delmon Young. It's never a good thing to lose a Cy Young caliber pitcher, but the Twins may have another one if Francisco Liriano finds a way to get healthy. Until then, guys like Scott Baker and Livan Hernandez will have to hold down the fort. I'm sure losing Carlos Silva didn't well up too many tear ducts in Minneapolis.

4. KANSAS CITY ROYALS. 78-84. Finally, out of the cellar! I really think this is the year. The 1,2,3 of Meche, Bannister, and Greinke is extremely appealing and may make for the strongest staff this team has has in well over a decade. People are getting worried about the bullpen... and they shouldn't. Remember how bad it was at the beginning of last year? CG could tell you all about how great David Riske made his Easter Sunday. The lineup will be solid as Gordon, Guillen, Butler, and Teahen form a formidable core. David Dejesus will rebound from his .265 season last year, and Ryan Shealy will eventually take over at first. This team is getting better, and should compete in the next couple of years if a couple good decisions are made, and a couple of prospects pan out.

5. Chicago White Sox. 63-99. I really wanted to predict a hundred loss season, but I felt that my biased hatred for the Pale Hosed Bitches would shine through even more. I've been saying it all along: this team is going to tank. Dye, Thome, and Konerko are all on the steep downslope of their solid careers. While the signing of Nick Swisher (who goes from being one of my favorite players to one of the douchiest players just by swithching jerseys) was really nice, I just don't see this offense as being much better than last year's team... which was god-awful! The Royals should have finished ahead of them last year, according to run differential, and this year it will finally happen.

Playoffs:
AL Divisional Series:
Boston over Detroit
Cleveland over LAAAAAA (Los Angeles Angels of Atrocious Alligator Attacking Anaheimites)

NL Divisional Series:
New York over Arizona
Chicago over Philadelphia

Al Championship:
Boston over Cleveland

NL Championship:
Chicago over New York

World Series:
Chicago over Boston (bout time, Cubs)

Part II, Royals Player Predictions (Don't worry, not everyone is listed)

David Dejesus. A nice rebound year. Still no power or speed, but a decent lead off dude. (Give Joey a chance!)
Stat line: .290/.355/.390 6 homers, 22 doubles, 4 triples, 108 runs

Alex Gordon. Flashes of what will be a phenomenal player.
Stat line: .275/.335/.450 20 homers, 32 doubles, 2 triples, 85 RBI

Jose Guillen. The bat the Royals expected.
Stat line: .280/.330/.460 24 homers, 28 doubles, 90 RBI

Billy Butler. This guy can f'in rake.
Stat line: .315/.355/.445 18 homers, 32 doubles, 85 RBI

Mark Teahen. A little better, but does not turn into the player that will help this team win a championship.
Stat line: .285/.330/.420 12 homers, 26 doubles, 68 RBI

Gil Meche. Continues to prove the doubters wrong. Will be a solid number two for many years.
Stat line: 12-9, 4.00 ERA, 205 IP, 160 Ks

Brian Bannister. Unfortunately the smarts don't overpower the lack of dominant stuff.
Stat line: 11-11, 4.30 ERA, 190 IP, 115 Ks

Zack Greinke. Begins to get people thinking about a possible 2009 Cy Young candidate.
Stat line: 15-8, 3.60 ERA, 200 IP, 185 Ks

Joakim Soria. Not a sophomore slump, but not the dominance of 2007.
Stat line: 30 saves (40 opp.), 3.90 ERA, 75 IP, 65 Ks

So there you have it. Perhaps a little too optimistic, but I guess we will just have to wait and see. only 9 hours and 43 minutes until the first pitch of 2008, weather permitting, of course! Happy Royals day.

Today's Lesson: A win is a win, so stop bitching about how shitty the KU game was today. We won an Orange Bowl, and are in the Final Freakin' Four! Life is great!!!!

Today's Second Lesson: Life is great, but those of you who are winding down your college careers need to figure out what the hell you are doing with your life! (That finger is pointing directly at this humble writer, by the way!)

Au Revoir! (For today.)