Tag Archive | "Baserunning"

Royals Announce Minor League Staff Additions

KANSAS CITY, MO (November 5, 2012) — The Kansas City Royals today announced that Terry Bradshaw was named the organization’s minor league hitting coordinator.  In addition, Jose Castro was named the assistant minor league hitting coordinator while Milt Thompson was named outfield, bunting and baserunning coordinator.

“Terry has been an integral part in the success of our young minor league hitters as they have progressed through our system and reached Kansas City,” said Royals Director of Player Development Scott Sharp.  “He now will have the ability to positively impact our hitters throughout all levels of the organization.”

“Jose is held in high esteem as a hitting coach,” said Sharp.  “We are excited that he will join the Royals and assist Terry in preparing our young players for the challenges of professional baseball.”

“Milt has a tremendous reputation in the game as being one of the best instructors in outfield, base running and bunting,” Sharp continued.  “We are very fortunate to have him join the Royals and know he will make an immediate impact on our young players.”

Bradshaw has spent the past four seasons as a hitting coach for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (AA).  Prior to that, he served five seasons with Triple-A Omaha.  Bradshaw played for parts of the two seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1995 and 1996.

Castro joins the organization from the Seattle Mariners where he served as the minor league hitting coordinator for the past five seasons, including 2010 when he worked in several roles including interim Major League hitting coach and was named Staff Member of the Year.  2012 was Castro’s 24th as a professional hitting coach.  He played 13 seasons in the minor leagues from 1977-89 after being drafted by the Phillies in 1977.  Castro and his wife, Lisa, reside in Miami, Fla., and have two children, Rachel and Matthew.

Thompson has worked the past two seasons as the Houston Astros minor league roving outfield and baserunning instructor.  After retiring from a 13-year Major League career with the Braves, Phillies, Cardinals, Astros, Dodgers and Rockies in 1996, Thompson has served as an instructor and coach for the last 16 years with the Rays, Phillies and Astros.  He joined the Phillies as the Major League first base coach during 2003 and later worked for more than five seasons as the club’s Major League hitting coach, including the 2008 World Series title campaign. As a player, the left-handed hitting outfielder batted .274 with 214 stolen bases in his big league career and was a key member of the 1993 World Series champion Phillies, recording 5 RBI in Game 4 of the World Series.  Thompson resides in Sewell, N.J., with his family.

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This Loss Is Not The End

Throughout the post-season, Tony LaRussa has been praised for his in-game strategy, and rightly so – on multiple occasions, his aggressiveness turned a game in St Louis’ favor. Every now and then, however, his moves backfire. Call it the law of averages catching up to him. It happened during the season, and it happened in Game 2.

Last night, the decision to remove Jason Motte with second and third and no out is the one that doomed the Cardinals. With Josh Hamilton due, LaRussa opted to go with Arthur Rhodes. Hamilton is suffering from a groin injury even he admitted would have placed him on the DL if it was earlier in the season. Hamilton is not a threat to drive the ball, and if he can’t turn his lower body he likely can’t catch up to a good fastball.

Rhodes faced him in Game 1, and after falling behind him 2-0 and 3-1, retired the 201o AL MVP on a fly ball to center. That fact alone should have given LaRussa pause. In Game 2, all the Rangers needed was a fly ball to tie the game. What the Cardinals really needed in that situation was a strikeout. Motte possesses the necessary hard stuff to get that strike out. And, with runners already in scoring position (having advanced as far as they could without scoring), Motte would just have to worry about the hitter and no baserunning. Motte seemed the better choice in that situation.

Obviously that’s not how it happened. Rhodes allowed a sacrifice fly to Hamilton, and the runner on second (Elvis Andrus) advanced to third. Lance Lynn came in and allowed a sacrifice fly to Michael Young, scoring Andrus. The Rangers won 2-1. Given that the Cardinals were three outs away from a 2-0 lead in the series, this was a tough loss to take.

But all is not lost. This series is far from over. If this Cardinals team has proven anything over their past eight weeks, it is that they are resilient. The last devastating, season-ending loss St Louis suffered happened on 22 September against the Mets. I’m sure you remember – St Louis blew a 4-run lead in the ninth and lost that day 8-6. The lost the next day too; then won four of their last five to finish the season.

If they close like that over the next 5 games they win the World Series.

One other thing to consider. Perhaps this World Series had to go this way. St Louis has hosted the first two games of the Fall Classic seven times (including this year). In every other year – 1982, 1964, 1946, 1944, 1942, and 1931 – they split the first two games at home. Every other year they had home field advantage, they eventually won the World Series.

Tony LaRussa will learn from his Game 2 mistakes. The team will rebound. There are at least three games left, and anything can happen.

Mike Metzger is an I-70 contributor and life-long Cardinals fan watching the Fall Classic from the edge of his couch. He writes Padres Trail, a San Diego Padres blog. Follow Mike on Twitter @metzgermg.

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12 Reasons to be Excited for 2012

1) Eric Hosmer

This one’s too easy. One of the front-runners for 2011 A.L. Rookie of the Year, Hosmer is easily the Royals’ most exciting player to watch going into 2012. This year, he hit .293 with 19 Homeruns, 27 doubles, 78 RBI’s, and a .799 OPS. He did all this while only playing in 128 games. His defense was stellar and his baserunning turnEd Heads because of his size (6’4” 228 lbs). He is the complete package and it will be interesting to see what he can do in a full 162 game season.

2) Offense, Offense, Offense

While starting pitching is the biggest concern this offseason, the lineup looks set in stone. There could be a few order changes here and there, but the players should remain the same. The only thing that could be different is if Melky Cabrera gets traded and Lorenzo Cain replaces him.

This is what this offense’s 2011 MLB Ranks look like:

Runs Scored: 10th

Hits: 3rd

Doubles: 2nd

Triples: 2nd

RBI’s: 6th

Average: 4th

On-Base Pct: 8th

Slugging Pct: 7th

You would have to think that these numbers should only go up considering nobody in the lineup will be over 28 going into 2012.

3) Jeff Francoeur’s Arm

Seriously, how much fun is it to watch this guy? Frenchy is always wearing that grin that looks like it came straight off an 8-year-old’s face during a little league game. You can tell he genuinely loves playing the game and doing it for the Kansas City Royals.

His arm strength is nothing short of unbelievable and he has shown it throughout his 6 years (yes, only 6) in the league. If you aren’t pumped every time Francoeur gets the chance to throw out a runner then its pretty likely that you don’t like the sport of baseball.

4) Alcides Escobar’s Glove

It sure was nice to have a daily human highlight reel at the most important defensive position that isn’t called “catcher.” Rarely did a game go by without Escobar making one of those “Wow, did you see that?” plays in the field.

His glove saved more games in 2011 than most fans would realize and he will only be 25 at the beginning of next year. His ceiling is sky-high.

5) Salvador Perez’s Arm/Glove Combo

Speaking of amazing defense, what about Salvador Perez? He made an instant impact behind the plate picking off runners at first and third in his major league debut. He was also close to completing a catcher’s hat-trick by missing a pick-off at second base by about an inch. No other Royals catcher picked off a runner (did they even attempt one?) and Perez’s glove work was easily tops in the organization.

He will still only be 21 on Opening Day 2012 and it’s safe to say he isn’t too far away from winning a Gold Glove. Look for his pickoff numbers to increase from here on out.

6) Mike Moustakas’ Bat

Throughout Moustakas’ professional baseball career, he has struggled while moving up levels in the Royals’ farm system. He proved that to be no different when he jumped from Triple A to the Majors in early June. He went through major hitting droughts and his batting average got as low as .182 in the middle of August.

He ended the year with a .263 average, after having a tremendous September. He hit .352 for the month and recorded 4 HR’s, 6 doubles, and 8 RBI’s in the last 14 games of the season. His learning period is over and 2012 should give him a fresh start.

7) An Opening Day Lineup Kansas City can really get behind

2011 Opening Day Lineup

Mike Aviles 3B
Melky Cabrera CF
Alex Gordon LF
Billy Butler DH
Kila Ka’aihue 1B
Jeff Francoeur RF
Alcides Escobar SS
Matt Treanor C
Chris Getz 2B

2012 (Projected) Opening Day Lineup

Alex Gordon LF
Melky Cabrera CF
Billy Butler DH
Eric Hosmer 1B
Jeff Francoeur RF
Mike Moustakas 3B
Johnny Giavotella 2B
Salvador Perez C
Alcides Escobar SS

Looks a lot better, huh?

8) The “Old Vets”

Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Luke Hochevar, and Joakim Soria have been the only impact players that have been on the team since 2007. They all debuted in Kansas City during that year and are still major pieces going into 2012.

The leadership they have shown on and off the field were a major reason the youngsters made such big strides in 2011. Barring any trades, it will be fun to watch their continued success within this organization.

9) The “New Arms”

Aaron Crow, Greg Holland, and Danny Duffy highlight the young pitchers who will continue to make an impact in 2012. Crow had a slow finish but was still the Royals’ representative at the 2011 All-Star Game. He could find his new home being in the starting rotation rather than the bullpen next year, which would help fill a huge need for Kansas City.

Holland was the best bullpen pitcher this year and should be the anchor of next year’s bullpen as well. He was the guy to get the Royals out of late-inning jams and is expected to continue his role as “fireman” next year.

Duffy should only get better next year. He will provide the rotation a solid 3 or 4 starter, as he has the most electric stuff on the staff.

10) More filled seats at “the K”

If the last homestretch of the 2011 season is any indication of what 2012 will be like, Kauffman Stadium will be a brand new environment. Over the final 8 home games, there was an average of over 25,400 people. That includes two Tuesday games, and two Wednesday games, while the team was 20 games out of first place.

Expectations haven’t been higher since Dayton Moore arrived, and the fans are ready to have a contender. Kauffman will maintain a solid average throughout the season, as long as the team is winning. If that’s the case, all fans under the age of 25 will experience Royals’ games like they never have before.

11) New player walk-up songs

Let’s be real. At the beginning of the season, it was pretty cool hearing/watching Alex Gordon walk up to the plate to Drake’s “Over.” I’m not gonna lie, every time I hear “I Wanna Rock” or “Take Me Home Tonight,” I think of Jeff Francoeur. Billy Butler’s “Dirt Road Anthem” by Jason Aldean didn’t exactly get me pumped up, but it seemed like a song that “Country Breakfast” would sing at the top of his lungs in his car (or most likely truck).

By September though, these songs definitely wore out. It’s time for new, hopefully better, walk-up songs. It’s time to put 2011 in the rear-view mirror. Who has any suggestions for new player walk-up songs?

And last but not least…

12) The 2012 All-Star Game in Kansas City

Kansas City hasn’t been the center of the baseball world since Game 7 of the 1985 World Series. The Royals haven’t hosted the All-Star Game since 1973.

The All-Star festivities will bring new life to Kansas City and especially bring attention back to the Royals. Baseball hasn’t been the top sport in this town since the 80’s, but the tide could be turning.

With these 12 reasons listed above, how could you not be excited for the Royals’ future?

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