Tag Archive | "Billy Butler"

Royals September call-ups playing a different role this season

From September 1 to the end of the season, Major League Baseball allows teams to expand their rosters from 25 to a maximum of 40 players. Teams call up players from the minors to give them major league playing time, or to add depth for a team’s potential playoff run. For many years, the Royals were out of the playoff hunt by September. So to make games somewhat interesting, the team called up minor league prospects to give them a taste of the majors and give fans a glimpse of the future. But this year, things are different.

Johnny-Giavotella

The Royals called up eight players from the minors this week: Catcher Brett Hayes, pitchers Francisley Bueno, Louis Coleman, Wade Davis and Donnie Joesph, and infielders Johnny Giavotella, Pedro Ciriaco and Carlos Pena. Except for Ciriaco and Pena, the others spent time on the Royals roster this season and only Joseph could be considered a prospect. But these players aren’t with the team to just get some playing time and audition for a roster spot next season. They’re with the Royals to provide depth on the bench and the bullpen and help the Royals win games down the stretch.

Hayes provides catching depth while Bueno and Joseph join Tim Collins and Will Smith as the Royals lefty relievers. Coleman shuttled between Omaha and Kansas City this season, giving the team solid outings while the struggling Davis is in the pen to regain his consistency. Giavotella will play second base as Chris Getz recovers from a possible concussion. Ciriaco will backup Alcides Escobar at shortstop. Pena signed with the Royals last week and played a few games for Omaha before joining the major league club. He provides a power bat off the bench and lets Eric Hosmer DH and Billy Butler play at first if needed.

With 23 games left in the season, each player will make the most of their playing time to help the team and to help themselves. And barring injuries by the starting players, their role will be to provide depth from the bench or the bullpen. How they play this month may decide if the Royals make the playoffs, or finish above or below .500. Whatever happens, it’s good to see the Royals play meaningful games in September.

Posted in RoyalsComments (0)

Second half story lines for the Royals

The Royals needed the All-Star break to refresh and regroup after losing five straight games. Kansas City now has a record of 43-49 and sits eight games behind the first place Tigers. The second half of the season should offer up many story lines for the Royals. Here are a few worth highlighting:

Eric Hosmer Savior

Can Eric Hosmer continue his hot hitting?
After a very slow start, especially in the power department, Hosmer has turned around his season in a big way. Over the past month, Hosmer is swinging a hot bat. He is hitting .317 with 7 home runs, 16 RBI and 16 runs. The 7 home runs are significant because Hosmer didn’t hit his second homer until June 13. The Royals are currently a below average offensive team (24th in runs scored and 29th in home runs) and they will count on Hosmer to provide a resurgence in the second half.

Will Billy Butler rediscover his power stroke?
Butler had a breakout year in 2012, clubbing a career-high 29 homers and driving in 107 runs. The big DH has only 8 home runs and 49 RBI before the All-Star break and his batting average is down to .271. Butler has three seasons with a batting average over .300 and is a .297 lifetime hitter, so his average should see a boost in the second half. But the question is whether his power will return or if 2012 was just an anomaly. Before last season Butler was known as more of a doubles hitter than a home run masher. His previous high in home runs was 21 in 2009. As mentioned previously, the Royals are second to last overall in home runs. If they want to move up in this category, their clean up hitter will need to pick up his pace.

Will Danny Duffy join the starting rotation?
Duffy is currently rehabbing from the Tommy John surgery he underwent in June of 2012. On Wednesday, Duffy fanned 13 batters in 5.1 innings for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Duffy is clearly talented enough to earn back a spot in the rotation, and there is an opportunity with Bruce Chen now in the fifth spot. The question is really whether Duffy will make a complete comeback from the surgery and become the promising pitcher he was before the operation.

Is Wade Davis better off in the bullpen?
It’s no secret that Davis has struggled as a starting pitcher this year. After coming over from Tampa Bay in the off-season, the Royals had high expectations for the right-hander. So far he has disappointed. His ERA is approaching 6.00 and he is 4-8 in the first half. Davis had a career year with Tampa Bay in his 2012 role as a reliever. He appeared in 54 games, all in relief, and pitched to a 2.43 ERA and posted a career-high 11.1 K/9. He clearly has the skills to be effective pitching out of the bullpen. If the Royals want to make the move, it could be a major shot in the arm for what is already a very good bullpen.

Will anyone emerge at second base?
The Royals just optioned Johnny Giavotella to Triple-A Omaha after what was basically a 10-game audition. Giavotella was not impressive in his limited time with the Royals, posting a line of .210/.289/.265. The choices now at second base include Elliot Johnson, Chris Getz and Miguel Tejada. Johnson has flashed good speed this season, with 12 stolen bases in the first half. He stole 18 last year in limited action with the Rays. His batting average is not good (.210), however, so he will need to improve in that regard. Getz isn’t hitting much better at .214 for the year. Tejada has only started seven games at second base this year, but is the best hitter of the three, sporting a .278 batting average. Three of his last six starts have come at second base though, so he might be settling in as the top option.

Will the group of Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson and David Lough be enough in the outfield?
Alex Gordon is locked in to the job in left field, but the other two outfield spots are going to be split between Cain, Dyson and Lough. With Jeff Francoeur no longer on the roster, this outfield trio will be counted on in the second half. Cain is an intriguing source of speed with some power, while Dyson is an even better source of speed with virtually no power. Lough is more of a pure hitter with some speed and power. One, or even two, of these three will need to have a strong second half if the Royals want to be competitive this year.

Will the Royals be buyers or sellers?
The Royals should be active at the deadline one way or the other. If they can hold their ground or move up in the standings, they could become buyers. Because they were so aggressive in the off-season, it may be tough to sell assets at the break. There are plenty of players that could fetch good returns, but the Royals saw themselves as contenders after a busy off-season and might be reluctant to give up on the season. The schedule leading up to the July 31 trade deadline includes a three game set with the Tigers, four home games against the Orioles, three road games against the White Sox and two road games against the Twins. The first seven games will be tough and could be key in determining the Royals’ course of action. One option if they do become sellers would be to target a big return for current closer Greg Holland. Holland could return the Royals a package of top-tier prospects and they have depth in the back-end of the bullpen with Tim Collins, Aaron Crow and Kelvin Herrera. If things go well after the break, the Royals could look for an upgrade at second base (there have been some Chase Utley rumors) or to add another arm for the starting rotation.

Can the Royals make a move in the AL Central?
The Royals have a big opportunity to quickly make up some ground in the division. They open the second half with a three games series with the Tigers at Kauffman Stadium. If they want to contend in the Central, the Royals will have to catch up to the Indians as well, who currently sit 1.5 games behind the Tigers. In order to climb the standings over two very good teams, the Royals will need to make some savvy moves (whether buying or selling). They will also need many of the previously mentioned story lines to end up in their favor. It should be an exciting second half of the season and the Royals will play a role in deciding the outcome of the AL Central. Whether it is as a contender or as a spoiler remains to be determined.

Posted in RoyalsComments (0)

Kansas City Royals: Still a ways to go

After May, it looked like another typical Royals season. But approaching the All-Star break, the Royals are around .500 and within striking distance of the A.L. Central. It’s a position the Royals haven’t been in since 2003, when they had marquee names like Darrel May, Ken Harvey and Desi Relaford (those were the days). The team is playing better baseball, but they’re not playing good enough baseball.

DaytonMoore

Things are getting better. Eric Hosmer is playing like he should. Jeff Francoeur is gone and signed with the San Francisco Giants. Fan favorite Johnny Giavotella has the chance to be the everyday second baseman. Greg Holland is one of the best closers in baseball. The outfield is solid with All-Star Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, David Lough and Jarrod Dyson. All-Star catcher Salvador Perez is the cornerstone of the team and he’s only 23 years old. The offense is waking up. Yes, the Royals are the best they’ve been in years.

But there’s still a ways to go. Besides James Shields and Ervin Santana, the starting rotation is hit-or-miss. One start, Jeremy Guthrie is great, another start he’s lousy. Wade Davis is failing as a starter and Luis Mendoza is back in the bullpen, with Bruce Chen taking his place. The bullpen doesn’t have a go-to guy for the eight inning. Inconsistent reliever Kelvin Herrera spends too much time on I-29 shuffling between Kansas City and Omaha. Giavotella is the everyday second baseman, but after seven games he’s at .208/.269/.292. Mike Moustakas isn’t where he needs to be and Billy Butler is at .270/.374/.407, which is almost pedestrian for the Royals designated hitter.

So far, the Royals can’t get to .500. They had a chance against the Yankees Wednesday night, but lost 8-1, and now are two games under .500.

The trade deadline is at the end of the month and the team has to decide if they want to make a trade for a run for the A.L. Central or stay where they are and hope things get better. So far, there’s no real trade rumors, big or small. It depends how the Royals play the next couple of weeks.

Posted in RoyalsComments (0)

The state of the Royals offense

If you are a fan of the long ball, the Kansas City Royals may not be the team for you.

billy 595

Kansas City has 54 home runs as a team this year. This puts them second to last in the MLB, in front of only the Marlins. The Royals are the only team in baseball that doesn’t have a player with 10 or more home runs. Eric Hosmer leads the team with nine homers, including five home runs in the teams’ last eight games. Alex Gordon is second on the team with eight home runs.

The Royals have only four players with five or more round-trippers. Billy Butler has six and Mike Moustakas has five. As a point of reference, the Orioles lead the league in homers and have eight players with five or more and four players with 10 or more.

Last year Butler led the team with 29 homers and Moustakas added 20, but both are well off the pace they set in 2012.

Not only does Kansas City struggle to hit home runs, but they also don’t walk and thus they are in the bottom half of the league in runs scored.

With 210 walks on the season, the Royals rank 26th in the majors. Kansas City is 21st in the league with 334 runs scored. They are also in the bottom half of the league in on-base percentage, slugging and OPS.

The strengths of the Royals’ offense are hitting for average and being aggressive in the running game. As a team, Kansas City is hitting .260 on the year and is 4th in the majors with 60 stolen bases.

For the offense to get better, they must get more runners on base, especially via the walk. With more base runners, the Royals can attack on the base paths and have more chances to hit with runners in scoring position.

George Brett, the new Royals hitting coach, needs to stress the importance of drawing walks and having a patient approach. Kansas City has plenty of good hitters, even if hitting home runs is not their strength. With more walks the team should see a spike in runs scored and will give the Royals’ pitchers the run support they’ve been lacking.

The sixth inning of Thursday’s game against the Indians was a good example of the power of drawing a walk. Hosmer and Butler drew back-to-back free passes off of Ubaldo Jimenez and after Moustakas reached on an error, Lorenzo Cain launched a grand slam. It was nice that Cain came up with the big hit, but it was all set up by the lead-off walks.

The Royals took advantage of eight walks in the game and hit three home runs in a 10-7 victory over Cleveland.

More of the same would be nice for Royals fans.

Posted in RoyalsComments (0)

Francoeur had his chance, Giavotella gets another chance

Last Saturday, the Royals cut ties with outfielder Jeff Francoeur, designating him for assignment. Taking his place is infielder Johnny Giavotella, who will get regular playing time at second base.

Johnny-Giavotella

Royals fans clamored for these moves, but it’s too early to tell if they will make a difference. This year, Francoeur spent most of his time on the bench and ended up with a .208/.249/.322 line with three home runs and 13 RBI. Giavotella went three for four with two RBI in his 2013 debut against the Minnesota Twins and went 0-3 with a walk against the Cleveland Indians Tuesday night.

Giavotella will get plenty of playing time at second, with Chris Getz being sent down to AAA Omaha. Giavotella still doesn’t have the defensive prowess of an Elliot Johnson (or Chris Getz for that matter), but he does have offense, something desperately needed in the Royals lineup. Giavotella didn’t make the most of his opportunities at second base the other times he was on the team, but with Getz in Omaha, Giavotella will get an opportunity to see if he belongs in the Big Leagues.

As for Francoeur, it was a move that needed to be done. He couldn’t find his hitting stroke and with David Lough and Jarrod Dyson playing well, the Royals weren’t doing themselves or Francoeur any favors. The players and the team like Francoeur and he does have leadership qualities, but he wasn’t getting it done on the field. And Francoeur would be the first to admit he wasn’t playing well enough to stay with the Royals.

These moves needed to be done, but there’s still more issues the Royals need to overcome if they hope to become contenders in the A.L. Central. Mike Moustakas is improving with a .218/.279/.326 average, but he still has a long way to go. Wade Davis is 0-3 in his last three starts and Jeremy Guthrie went 1-1 with a no decision. In those games, the Royals went 1-5. Billy Butler is still being Billy Butler, but he isn’t hitting with power, with only one home run in June. Alex Gordon had a rough June with only three extra base hits, but with his grand slam Tuesday night, he appeared to be getting on track again. That is, until Gordon left Wednesday night’s game with a concussion and a hip contusion. Let’s hope Gordon makes a quick recovery.

Given all the Royals troubles this year, they’re still hanging in there. They had a 16-11 June and were 38-42 on July 2, 5.5 games back of the Indians. But they need to do more than tread water. They need to win games and win series to get above .500 and contend.

Posted in RoyalsComments (0)

Royals Weekly Rundown: A-ced in Oakland, Butler’s Back

Well so much for the offensive revival.  After the Royals out-slugged the Angels to take two of three, they finish the week at 2-4 after getting swept by the A’s.  Nonetheless, there’s a silver lining in all of this.  The club still sits at .500 and a few Royals hitters are mashing up the month of May.

Best of the Week:  Billy Butler

What a difference a week makes.  Big Old Country Breakfast bounced back from last week’s worst to this weeks best including a celebratory 5-for-5, 5 RBI night against the Angels.  Butler hit safely in five of six games this week and .480 overall (12-for-25) with a homer and 10 RBI.  As a result, Butler’s average has risen 45 points from .228 to .273.

He joins Alex Gordon, who deserves honorable mention this week, as the Royals two hottest hitters.  Gordon also hit .480 this week (12-for-25) and now has hit safely in 14 of 16 games in the month of May.  Gordon’s current .343 average ties him with Boston’s Dustin Pedroia for third in the American League.

Worst of the Week:  A-ced in Oakland

What hurts isn’t so much that they were swept by a struggling team, it’s how they lost.  The Royals led late in all three games, but ultimately dropped three straight one-run games.  The Royals bullpen, arguably the club’s biggest strength, blew two of those leads in the eighth including Sunday night’s thanks to a 403 foot blast by Yoenis Cespedes.

Kansas City’s bullpen still ranks third in the AL with a 3.07 ERA, so I believe this weekend’s sweep highlights the issue of their struggling offense rather than their pitching.  On paper, the Royals lineup is as deep as any in the AL including three players hitting over .300 in Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, and Salvador Perez.

However, the Royals still rank 13th out of 15 in runs scored (only the Mariners and White Sox have scored less).  A lot of the struggles derive from the lack of production from the heart of the order.

Butler appears to have turned things around, but Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas are in the midst of a serious slump.  They hit a combined 5-for-49 last week, a frightening .102.

The Road Ahead:  Eastbound and Down

Kansas City begins a three-game series with Houston on Monday night to wrap up the road trip.  Make no mistake, these are games the Royals have to take advantage of if they want to keep pace with Cleveland and Detroit.

They finished off the week with a four-game home series against the Angels.

Probable Pitchers at Houston Astros:

Monday at 7:10 CT:  Jeremy Guthrie (5-1, 2.82 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (0-1, 4.82 ERA)

Tuesday at 7:10 CT:  Wade Davis (3-3, 5.98 ERA) vs. Bud Norris (4-4, 4.32 ERA)

Wednesday at 7:10 CT:  James Shields (2-4, 2.45 ERA) vs. Jordan Lyles (1-1, 6.63 ERA)

Probable Pitchers vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim:

Thursday at 7:10 CT:  Ervin Santana (3-3, 2.77 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (0-7, 6.62 ERA)

Friday at 7:10 CT:  Luis Mendoza (1-2, 5.50 ERA) vs. Jason Vargas (3-3, 3.55 ERA)

Saturday at 1:10 CT:  Jeremy Guthrie (5-1, 2.82 ERA) vs.  TBA

Sunday at 1:10 CT:  Wade Davis (3-3, 5.98 ERA) vs. C.J. Wilson (3-3, 3.72 ERA)

Follow Adam Rozwadowski on Twitter @adam_roz

Posted in RoyalsComments (0)

Kansas City Royals Power Rankings 5-19

It’s week three of the I70 Baseball Royals Power Rankings, as we basically reach the end of the first quarter of the season. This was an up and down week that ended at 2-4. There are many years that 2-4 in California wouldn’t sound that bad and neither would 20-20.

July 8, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon (4) in the dugout during the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

#5 Billy Butler (Previously: NR) Butler finally broke loose with his best series of the season against the Angels. In the series Butler went 8/13 with a home run and 9 RBI. His contact numbers still aren’t on par with his standards but he’s now on pace for 20 home runs and 120 RBI.

#4 Ervin Santana- (Previously: #5) Santana bounced back with an excellent outing against the A’s in what would be one of three wasted gems on the road trip. His control continues to be remarkable and his 1.46 BB/9Ip is fifth in the American League.

#3 Jeremy Guthrie- (Previously: #2) Guthrie finally took the loss that we had been expecting and just doesn’t look quite as sharp as he did earlier in the season. A part of that is just the fact that very few pitchers are as sharp as Guthrie was early all year long. He’ll get a chance to start a new streak this week vs. Houston.

#2 James Shields- (Previously: #3) Shields continues to move up the rankings despite the fact that he simply cannot buy a win right now. After another outstanding start Shields now ranks 6th in the AL in ERA, 8th in Ks, and 3rd in inning pitches. No one that ranks ahead of him in ERA or innings has less than 5 wins.

#1 Alex Gordon (Previously: #1) Gordon’s 4 hit day on Sunday capped off another outstanding week. He’s on pace to break all kinds of Royals’ records including Willie Wilson’s single season hit record of 232. He carries a 7 game hit streak to Houston and has multiple hits in 20 of the team’s first 40 games.

Honorable mention: Salvador Perez- Perez has yet to show much power in 2013 but he’s been hot at the plate the last week. His nine hits on the week raised his average to .307 on a team that struggled mightily at the plate. Perez has still been a beast on behind the plate as well save for the couple of mental lapses we’ve seen this season.

Posted in FeaturedComments (0)

Royals Weekly Rundown

After a strong start to 2013, the Kansas City Royals ended last week losing a three in a row to the injury plagued New York Yankees.  The Royals finished the week losing six of seven and find themselves two games behind the first place Indians with a record of 18-16.

In the first edition of Royals Weekend Rundown, let’s recap the week that was shall we?

Spring Training 2009 vs texas

Best of the Week:  Alex Gordon

Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer deserve some credit for getting the monkey off their backs and belting their first home runs of the season (Moustakas hit three this week).  This still doesn’t top Gordon’s monstrous week in which he slugged three homers, scored five runs, drove in eight, and hit .393.

Ned Yost made perhaps his best move as Royals skipper by moving Gordon to the three-hole to generate more run production.  Right now he’s hitting .400 with a 1.108 OPS in that spot.

While the production is over a small sample size, its a testament to Gordon’s growth as a ballplayer and the Royal’s patience the last few years.  Look at the numbers from the two halves of his career to date:

2007-2010:  .244 Avg. / 45 HR / 161 RBI / .320 OBP / .404 SLG

2011-2013:  .301 Avg. / 43 HR / 187 RBI / .365 OBP / .482 SLG

Gordon has gone from the brink of receiving the dreaded “bust” and demotion to making a name for himself as a cornerstone player for the club.  If he keeps this up for another two months, I would be shocked if he isn’t selected to his first All Star team.

Worst of the Week:  Billy Butler and Alcides Escobar

One could argue that this should go to the entire Royals offense except for the aforementioned Alex Gordon.  The team hit an abysmal .233 this week averaging around four runs per game.

While Escobar and Butler don’t deserve all the blame, they stand out because they hit first and fourth in the order respectively and hit a combined .105 (6-for-57) this week.  No need to worry, I expect both will bounce back soon in the next couple weeks against weaker pitching.

The Road Ahead:  Go West Young Men…

Monday night marks the first of a 10-game road West Coast road trip starting in Anaheim against the soul-searching Angels.  The Halos begin the series with a record of 14-23 and have at least found some rhythm on offense.  However, their pitching staff is still a mess.  Kansas City will face Joe Blanton, Jason Vargas, and Barry Enright who are a combined 1-10 and could help the Royals heat up.  After the three game stint in Anaheim, the Royals head to Oakland for a three game set with the A’s.

Probable Pitchers vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim:

Monday at 9:05 CT:  Luis Mendoza (0-2, 6.38 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (0-6, 5.66 ERA)

Tuesday at 9:05 CT:  Jeremy Guthrie (5-0, 2.28 ERA) vs. Jason Vargas (1-3, 4.26 ERA)

Wednesday at 9:05 CT:  Wade Davis (2-3, 5.86 ERA) vs. Barry Enright (0-1, 11.37 ERA)

Follow Adam Rozwadowski on Twitter @adam_roz

Posted in RoyalsComments (0)

Are Butler and Gordon Nearing Royalty?

We might be watching a #Royals team consisting of 2 of the best 5 players to ever don the blue and white for KC
@PCBearcat
Ross Martin

 

The tweet above was referencing Billy Butler and Alex Gordon, and more specifically their climb up the Kansas City Royals’ historical hierarchy. It led, as most thought-provoking tweets do, to a lengthy discussion about who are the ten best Royals ever, a debate which has no concrete resolution. While that discussion in itself can be fascinating, what I want to focus on today is whether Butler and Gordon really are on pace to join the all-time Royals greats, and what kind of production they’ll need to get there.

BillyButler

Maybe it’s because I so thoroughly enjoyed his barbecue sauce last night, but I’d like to start with Butler. In Royals history there are two very good comps for Butler in my opinion, Hal McRae and Mike Sweeney. Like Butler, both were doubles machines that were best suited to play DH. Since Butler has just crossed over 3500 career plate appearances, I thought we’d take a look at all three after approximately that much time with the Royals. It should be noted that while Sweeney’s career with the Royals also started at age 21, McRae was a 27-year-old that had spent four part-time seasons with Cincinnati. As a final disclaimer, I would place McRae in my top ten Royals of all-time while I believe Sweeney falls just short. Here is the production for the three up to this point in Butler’s career.

Sweeney McRae Butler
Doubles 187 219 219
Home Runs 123 74 106
RBI 521 446 495
OBP% .379 .362 .363
SLG% .501 .457 .466
OPS+ 123 128 123
WAR 18.0 15.7 11.8

As you can see, Butler matches up pretty well through approximately 3500 plate appearances with the main difference being the era that Sweeney played in and WAR.  Now let’s look at what Sweeney and McRae did over the next five seasons…

Sweeney McRae
Doubles 110 181
Home Runs 74 70
RBI 316 408
OBP% .353 .355
SLG% .476 .476
OPS+ 114 128
WAR 5.2 11.2

This takes us to the end of Mike Sweeney’s career with the Royals while McRae had four seasons left as mostly a part-time DH. While their raw numbers are fairly similar, McRae’s OPS+ accounts for the differences in era and the difference in WAR reveals how much time Sweeney spent on the DL. Both players saw a slight dip in their OBP% but McRae’s SLG% jumped while Sweeney’s lagged. Butler is at the beginning of his prime as a power hitter, which means we could see a slight dip in OBP% and an increase in SLG%, but I thought it would be interesting to look at how Butler would compare  like if he simply had five more seasons with similar statistics to his previous five. Here are the numbers for McRae and Butler in their Royals’ careers compared to what Butler’s numbers could look like five years from now:

Sweeney McRae Butler
Doubles 297 449 415
Home Runs 197 169 201
RBI 837 1012 923
OBP% .369 .356 .364
SLG% .492 .458 .470
OPS+ 120 125 125
WAR 23.2 27.6 22.4

What the chart above shows, I believe, is that Butler is on pace to be in this discussion for the best DH in club history, and one of the ten greatest Royals of all-time. The encouraging thing for Butler is that he is just at the beginning of his prime and could very well improve upon his numbers over the last five years. The final factor may well come down to winning. As you can see also see above, there is not much difference between Hal McRae and Mike Sweeney’s Royals’ career numbers. The difference is something you can’t see above, winning. If Butler matches these totals and the team loses another 450 games over the next five years I would say he’ll be looked at much more like Sweeney. If he leads this club back to the postseason for the first time since McRae was actually playing, there is little doubt he will be viewed amongst the Royals’ greats.

Comparisons are a little bit harder to find for Alex Gordon simply because he’s a very unique player. Offensively, Gordon does not have one skill that stands out but he’s seemingly “good” at everything. He’s not a base swiper on the level of Willie Wilson, he doesn’t have the power numbers of Danny Tartabull, but he has turned into one of the most valuable players in baseball because of his ability to do everything well. I’ve chosen two players to compare Gordon with, Amos Otis and Carlos Beltran. Otis is, in my book, a lock for the top ten Royals ever, while Beltran is just on the outside simply because he falls short in the areas of longevity and contributions to a winner. I stuck with the same statistics for this comparison but it bears mentioning that both Beltran and Otis were much more proficient base stealers than Gordon.

Beltran Otis Gordon
Doubles 137 142 189
Home Runs 108 75 85
RBI 465 367 337
OBP% .350 .353 .348
SLG% .478 .441 .441
OPS+ 109 124 113
WAR 22.3 21.4 19.1

At first glance it looks like Gordon is well behind Beltran after nearly 3200 at bats, but a quick glance at OPS+ shows that Gordon compares to his era just as well if not better. It also bears mentioning that both Beltran and Otis played for better offensive teams than Gordon ever has and played a more premium defensive position (at least for this portion of their careers) than does Gordon. Beltran played only another half season with the Royals before being traded to the Houston Astros, and in my book one reason he’s not amongst the Royals’ greats. Otis, on the other hand, still had his best offensive season ahead of him (1978) and spent another ten years in a Royals’ uniform. With Gordon likely to be much more expensive than Butler when he hits free agency, I’m only going to project him out until he’s no longer under club control. Here’s what his numbers could look like assuming he comes close to his production from the last two years.

Beltran Otis Gordon
Doubles 156 365 371
Home Runs 123 193 156
RBI 516 992 638
OBP% .352 .347 .356
SLG% .483 .433 .460
OPS+ 111 118 119
WAR 24.6 44.6 46.1

With Gordon being two years older it isn’t quite as likely that he maintains this level of production for the next four seasons, but I’m not sure he has to to pass Beltran and Otis. Of course, much like Sweeney, Butler and Beltran, Gordon has yet to sniff the postseason while Otis played in 22 postseason games in blue and hit .478 in the 1980 World Series. Otis also had three Gold Gloves at age 27 while Gordon has two at 29, but I think there’s a good chance Gordon catches him this season.

If there’s any conclusions I can draw from all of this it’s that:

A) Ross was spot on with his tweet last Sunday (although not quite as right as he was when he coined the nickname Country Breakfast) especially if either or both of these players finish their career in Kansas City.

and

B) Gordon is much closer to joining the greatest Royals of all-time than is Butler, which is something no one would have thought three years ago.

For arguments sake, my Top Ten Royals of All-Time read like this: George Brett, Willie Wilson, Amos Otis, Frank White, Bret Saberhagen, Kevin Appier, Hal McRae, Dan Quisenberry, Mark Gubicza, and Zack Greinke. Feel free to tell me why I’m wrong below.

Posted in Featured, RoyalsComments (0)

Adam Moore Trying To Make His Case

The Kansas City Royals have very few “up for grabs” spots in Spring Training.  Some players are going to have to really impress to crack the opening day roster this year.

Catcher Adam Moore is making an early attempt at impressing.

Photo by Charles Sollars/i70baseball

Photo by Charles Sollars/i70baseball

Make no mistake, despite his soon to come departure to the World Baseball Classic, Salvador Perez is the Royals catcher and rightfully so.  However, the team has kept an open mind to who will travel with the team as his backup this season.  July of last year shows a waiver transaction that had the Royals claiming Moore from the Seattle  Mariners.  He would appear in four games last year and compiling only twelve plate appearances.

This Spring, Moore has appeared in three of the four games that the Royals have played.  He has shown consistent defense, which is his “calling card”.  A good glove, a strong arm, and a suspect bat.

Two out of three ain’t bad.

Moore forgot that he was supposed to have a suspect bat.  Small sample size and over-analyzing Spring stats will lead you down a dark path, but what you can see is a player that is playing with passion.  In Monday’s 16-4 drumming of the Diamondbacks, Moore hit is second home run of the young spring.  In addition, he held his batting average at .500 (again, small sample size, he has six at bats).  He came into today’s action as a designated hitter, replacing Billy Butler in the process.

None of this means a whole lot at this point, but it does give Royals fans something to pay attention to.  There is currently no guarantee who will be the backup catcher in a little over a month when the team breaks camp but one thing is for sure: starting catcher Salvador Perez leaves the team this week to represent his country in the World Baseball Classic.  That will leave a lot of at bats, as well as a lot of time to get to know the pitching staff, to another player.  That player will gain the opportunity to seize a roster spot and prove to manager Ned Yost why he deserves to be on the team.

Adam Moore can put a strong grip on that spot if he simply continues to do what he is doing right now.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
Follow him on Twitter here.

Posted in RoyalsComments (0)

Fantasy Sports Machine