Tag Archive | "Brewers"

Predicting the Rest of the Season and How it Looks Good For The Cardinals

MathenyandTheCards

The St. Louis Cardinals are in first place. It’s where they belong, because as I detailed in this article, they are by far the best team in the NL Central. The Cards have a one game lead on The Pirates and two games over the Reds. So, using the schedule ahead for all three teams, I wanted to give a projection of where the teams my end up.

As I pointed out in that same article, The Pirates are a mediocre team getting lucky. At the time, their run differential was +42, which puts them in line with most third place teams. Since then, they have lost control of first place and are now tied for second with The Reds. Their run diff has also slipped even further to +39.

The Reds run diff is climbing (along with their record) to +103. The Cardinals run diff remains at a league best +147.

Now let’s look at the strength of the schedule for the rest of the season for each team.

The Cardinals

The Cardinals have 3 games this week against The Brewers who have a winning pct of .437 and a run differential of -62. Then 3 games against The Marlins who have an awful winning pct of .376 and a run diff of -114. 4 games against The Rockies who have a winning pct of .458 and a run diff of -21. 3 more against The Brewers. 3 games against The Nationals who have a winning pct of .514 and a run diff of -12. And close out the season with 3 games against The Cubs who have a winning pct of .423 and a run diff of -54.

The Cardinals play one team, The Nationals, with a plus winning pct and zero teams with a plus run differential.

The Pirates

The Pirates have 3 games against The Rangers who have a winning pct of .570 and a win diff of +76. 4 games against The Cubs who have a winning pct of .423 and a run diff -54. 4 games against The Padres who have a winning pct of .458 and a run diff of -93. 3 games against The Reds who have a winning pct of .569 and a run diff of +103. 3 more against The Cubs. And end the season with 3 against The Reds again.

The Pirates have 3 series against teams with plus winning pct and plus run differentials.

The Reds

The Reds play 3 games against The Cubs. 3 against The Brewers who have a winning pct of .437 and a run differential of -62. 3 against The Astros who have a winning pct of .329 (wow) and a run diff of -202 (wow again). 3 games against The Pirates who have a winning pct of .570 and a run diff +39. 3 games against The Mets who have a winning pct of .454 and a run diff of -44. And end the season with 3 more against The Pirates.

The Reds have just 2 series against teams with plus winning pct and plus run differentials.

So applying the winning pcts of these opponents that each of these three teams face, the average opponent winning pct for each individual game is as follows:

The Cardinals – .441.

The Pirates – .497

The Reds – .463

So The Cardinals have the lightest schedule per game (since their average opponents winning pct is lowest). But along with almost every team they play having under .500 winning pcts, that average is further brought down by the The Marlins’ especially low winning pct. So along with each team being weaker, they also get to face an especially terrible team. Though the same applies to The Reds who have The Astros to beat up. The Pirates, along with having the toughest schedule, don’t have any terrible teams to beat up on to get a break.

Now let’s look at the average run differential of each of the three team’s opponents going forward. Each of the three teams’ opponents’ average run differential of what they’ve done so far this year per game is as follows:

The Cardinals: -52

The Pirates: +10

The Reds: -47.

Again The Cardinals have the easiest schedule moving forward, followed slightly by The Reds (using run diff) and not so slight using winning pct. The Pirates again have the toughest.

So now we have each team’s opponents going forward in context.

But for a moment, remove those teams and just focus on The Cards, The Pirates and The Reds as teams moving forward. The Cardinals have 19 more games. The Pirates have 20. The Reds have 18. On average, The Cards have scored 4.81 runs this year and allowed 3.78. On average, The Pirates score 3.91 runs a game and give up 3.63. On average, The Reds score 4.35 runs a game and give up 3.63.

So moving forwards, The Cardinals look to score 91.39 runs and allow 71.82. The Pirates look to score 78.2 runs and allow 72.6. And the Reds look to score 78.3 runs and allow 65.34.

So applying Bill James’ Pythagorean expectation theory (which I know gets criticized for being flawed, but it’s still the best of what we have. Or my favorite at least).

The Cards expected record the rest of the year independent of strength/weakness of opponents is 12-7. The Pirates is 11-9. The Reds is 10-8.

Applying that to the current record, the projected final record of the season will be

St Louis Cardinals – 95-67   

Cincinnati Reds     -  92-70   

Pittsburgh Pirates  – 92 -70

So that’s where the math ends. Now I’m going to reapply the strength of the schedule back in and logically predict (completely my opinion based on the numbers) of what I feel the final record in the standings will be. The earlier conclusions lead me to believe that both The Cardinals and Reds will win 1 more additional game while The Pirates’ tough schedule will lead them to lose 2 more than predicted.

So my final prediction is as follows

St Louis Cardinals – 96-66

Cincinnati Reds      – 93-69

Pittsburgh Pirates   – 90-72

So there you go. All 3 teams will make the playoffs. But it will be nice if The Cards can avoid the annoying wild card game this year.

For those biting their nails and stressing over how tight of a race it is in the NL Central this year, I hope this article brings a little relief. A very formula-based article that may not represent the heart and desire of a pennant race, so let me wrap it up and summarize it in one very enthusiastic, pennant race fever sentence,

It looks very good for the Cardinals.

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St. Louis Cardinal Fan Catches Allen Craig’s Homer In Milwaukee

Allen Craig lifted his 12th homerun of the season this afternoon in Milwaukee, extending the St. Louis Cardinals’ lead to 7-0 at the time.

The more impressive feat was that of the fan who covered a lot of ground to track down the ball and snag it out of the air.

Check out the video below and tip your cap to a Cards fan in a visiting ballpark giving maximum effort to bring home the souvenir.

Craig’s solo homer8/21/13: Allen Craig launches a solo homer to left-center field, giving the Cardinals a 7-0 lead over the Brewers in the top of the second

Embedly Powered

via Mlb

But who was the fan?  Well, thanks to the wonderful world of Social Media (and @gr33nazn on Twitter), we discover that it is none other than “Milwaukee’s Ballhawk” Shawn.  You can read more about The Ballhawk at his blog by clicking this link.  He claims to be a Cardinal fan, especially Ryan Franklin, and is sporting a Franklin shirsey in the video.

Well done, Ballhawk, well done.

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Heroes

Hero.  That word gets thrown around a lot, especially when we look at the men who wear the uniforms of our favorite sports teams.  We want to believe that the super-talented players that grace the field of play before us are also good human beings that we can look up to, admire, and believe in.  We put our faith into them to continue to be someone that our children can desire to grow and become.

RyanBraun4

On Yahoo! today, I took a look at how Ryan Braun and Mark McGwire have both let fans down and how Cardinals’ fans can identify with Brewers’ fans on the subject.  You can read that article by clicking here.

But heroes fall.

We fail to remember that they are, in fact, human.  They make mistakes.  Some bigger than others.

As humans sometimes do, our heroes make a mistake and then attempt to cover it up.  They try to deflect the blame, sometimes bringing other people, honest people, down in the process.  They do all they can to ensure that the people that love and adore them continue to do so.  They do not want to let us down any more than we want to let down someone who loves us.  They want to stay on top and be the hero that we all so desperately need in our lives sometimes.

But heroes fall.

They fall into the pratfalls of life on this earth.  Sometimes it is due to substance abuse.  Sometimes it is greed.  Other times it is blatant dishonesty.  True, their are times that encompass all three and many more.  We watch players that have been a part of our team for many years depart for more money, claiming a level of disrespect that turns a fan’s stomach.  We watch a player adamantly deny the use of performance enhancing drugs, despite all the facts compiled against them, just to watch them be proven wrong and have to issue apologies for their actions.  We watch a young player make a poor decision and lose his life driving drunk.  Yet another player comes along and we find reason to place him on the now empty pedestal vacated by the last.

But heroes fall.

The lesson is simple, it would seem.  Allowing our children to aspire to hold the job of these men is one thing.  Allowing them to aspire to be these men is another.  We want to tell our children to look up to a person, the way they live their life, the way they handle themselves, but it opens them up to failure.  They are then forced to learn the harsh realities of life and the fact that humans make mistakes.

How they handle the mistakes, how they recover and atone for their errors, can still provide a chance to learn.  A person’s acceptance of responsibility, repentance of their wrong doings, and sincere apologies to all those that were affected by their wrong doings can go a long way in helping them restore their character.

MarkMcGwire

Far too often we have seen athletes simply turn the page without taking ownership of the situation.  Far too often they don’t want to “talk about the past” and simply want to move on.

Ryan Braun has the chance to step up right now and do just that.  For many fans in the Milwaukee area, many of which are young fans who look up to Braun, the next few weeks will speak volumes about the man.  It will give him the opportunity to salvage a small portion of his reputation.

But heroes fall.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
You can follow him on Twitter by 
clicking here.

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Cardinals/Cubs: Three Things To Walk With

The St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs began the newest chapter in one of sport’s greatest rivalries on Tuesday. While the Cardinals entered the series with National League’s best record and riding a six-game win streak that ran completely over the Brewers, in series between these two clubs, anything can happen…and it actually did. The Cubs entered with an opposite record and place in the NL Central, yet when the series started everybody was on equal ground as usual between these two teams.

st-louis-cardinals-v-chicago-20130508-143423-610

The series played out to show that equality as well, as the two clubs split the mid-week series, and played two intense games that took some timely baseball to work out and win. In the end, both games were won on the backs of each club’s closer-of-the moment, as well as some tight relief pitching, as well as by a grand total of one run in club’s favor. Yet the Cardinals survived their brush with their oldest rivals, and still sit with the best record in baseball. Here are three factors that made that possible:

1. Lynn’s Strange Start: Lance Lynn took the mound on Tuesday night riding more momentum than anybody else on the club. He was the winner of five straight contests, and was looking to win his NL-best sixth contest already. He also entered the start as a beneficiary of just over eight runs of support per game, a league-best level of assistance. After Allen Craig’s second inning home run, the Cardinals failed to score another run. The one run was the lowest amount of support he’d received since September 13th last year, a 2-1 game that ended in his favor.

This time the game didn’t end on his side, as he dropped his first start since April 3rd despite the fact he surrendered only two runs off four hits over seven innings. By not gaining the victory, he failed to match the longest winning streak by a Cardinals pitcher since Chris Carpenter in 2011.

2. Yadi giveth and taketh away: One of the oddest (or at least telling) turns of the Cardinal approach over the past few years is that Yadier Molina is among the most active base runners on the team. Despite his obvious lack of natural deftness, he has managed to steal at least eight bases in three of the last four seasons, including 12 a year ago. His trip to Chicago was a showing in both crapping and cashing out with gambles on the bases for him. In game one, in the midst of an eighth inning comeback, he followed a single up by stealing second with two outs. However, then after nearly being picked off on a long lead based on inducing a balk from the sometimes erratic Marmol, he took too far of a lead was cleanly picked off after the next pitch, ending the inning and the Cardinal hopes for the evening.

The next day, his footwork made the deciding difference. In a similar situation to the night before, Molina found himself back at second, but this time Jon Jay came through with a single into center field, where Molina turned the corner at third and scored the game’s final run. The gambling man continues to pay out…even if it’s just breaking even.

3. Who’s the Man(ess): Recently promoted righty Seth Maness has wasted no time in making an impact with the big club, and has done so under pressure each time out. He has produced game-saving, eighth inning double plays in both of his last two times on the mound, and has taken home the win in two of his first three appearances. He recorded the last five outs of Wednesday’s game, and has retired seven of the eight batters he’s faced. He has been a major factor in steadying the late game situations that sank the club repeatedly over the first month, and is doing a lot to make his first cup coffee up count.

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Royals Claim Kottaras Off Waivers

GeorgeKottaras

KANSAS CITY, MO (January 25, 2013) – The Kansas City Royals today have claimed catcher George Kottaras on Outright Waivers from the Oakland Athletics.  To create room on the 40-man roster, the club designated infielder Tony Abreu for assignment.

The 29-year-old Kottaras (kuh-tar-us) has played for the Red Sox (2008-09), Brewers (2010-12) and Athletics (2012), batting .220 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI in 249 Major League contests.  The left-handed hitter posted a .351 on-base percentage while drawing a career-high 37 walks in 85 games for Milwaukee and Oakland in 2012 while helping the A’s win the American League West after being acquired on July 29.  He blasted six home runs for Oakland in just 27 games and then appeared in four games during the A’s Divisional Series vs. Detroit.  Born in Scarbourough, Ontario, Canada, Kottaras now resides in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Abreu, 28, hit .257 in 22 games for the Royals in 2012 after spending a majority of the campaign at Triple-A Omaha.

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United Cardinal Blogger Awards Ballot 2012

Every year the group known as the United Cardinal Bloggers (UCB) come together to vote for a bevy or year-end awards.  In the interest of transparency  each member posts their ballot live to the masses with explanations for their choices.  What follows is i70baseball’s entry in the 2012 awards voting.

Player Of The Year
Nominated: Allen Craig, Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday

The nod from i70 goes to Yadier Molina.  Not only a presence behind the plate as the field general for the team, but his offense has steadily increased and this year was no exception.  He became a middle of the order hitter that more teams feared while continuing to be the catcher that baserunners refused to steal against.

Pitcher Of The Year
Nominated: Kyle Lohse, Lance Lynn, Jason Motte

I am going with Jason Motte here.  For the first time in years, there was confidence at the end of the game.  With Motte locking down the ninth inning, this team was able to shorten the starters and have clear, defined roles for the bullpen guys.  Motte at the back end of ball games improved the entire pitching staff.

Game Of The Year
Nominated: 6/13 vs. White Sox (1-0 Lynn win), 7/16 vs. Brewers (9th inning rally), 7/21 vs. Cubs (12-run inning)

I’m going with the 7/16 contest with the Brewers.  It’s not that the other games were not impressive, but this team needed a come-from-behind victory against a legitimate foe in a big way.  The team proved that it could win games even when trailing, that it could pick up a pitcher from a loss, and that it could do so against a team that seemed to have their number.

Performance Of The Year
Nominated: Chris Carpenter’s five innings against Chicago, Adam Wainwright’s shutout of San Diego, Shelby Miller’s first start vs. Cincinnati, Carlos Beltran 3-4, 2 HR, 5 RBI vs. Washington

I want to go with Carp, I mean the guy did give a rib for this season.  But, I cannot deny my excitement watching rookie Shelby Miller take a no-no five innings deep in his first start in The Bigs.  The future with this kid looks bright and that game, though utterly meaningless, gave us just a small glimpse.

Surprise Player Of The Year
Nominated: David Freese, Jon Jay, Pete Kozma, Lance Lynn

Personally, I have to go with Jon Jay.  I really felt this guy was destined to continue to be a fourth outfielder and not quite able to grab the opportunity in front of him.  For the first time, Jay solidified himself as a legitimate starter in this lineup.  It was something I didn’t think he was capable of.

Disappointing Player Of The Year
Nominated: Lance Berkman, Daniel Descalso, Rafael Furcal, Marc Rzepczynski

I don’t know that I was really disappointed with any of the Cardinals this year.  Honestly, most of them performed as I anticipated.  If I was forced to choose, and in this case I am, I would have to go with Lance Berkman simply due to his extended injury time this year.  He remained a positive influence on the youth of this team and a refreshingly honest product of the game, but the team would have been much better if he would have remained on the field throughout the season.

Rookie Of The Year
Nominated: Matt Adams, Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal

This is a close race between Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal, but my vote goes to Kelly.  He had a greater impact on the team for a longer period of time.  Otherwise, I don’t think Rosenthal even lost his rookie status this year, so I hold off to include him next year with a full season under his belt.

Acquisition Of The Year
Nominated: Carlos Beltran, Edward Mujica

I was surprised that the team was as quiet as it was this year.  Given his production, his leadership, and the amount of pressure put on him to produce in the wake of Albert Pujols leaving the franchise, Carlos Beltran has to be the acquisition of the year.  If he produces well in the second year of his contract and avoids being the next Berkman, he will quickly become one of the best moves that John Mozeliak has made for this team.

Most Anticipated Cardinal
Nominated: Carlos Martinez, Oscar Taveras, Kolten Wong

The future Cardinals may be one of the most exciting things in Cardinal baseball right now.  The two that jump out at me are Taveras and Wong, both for different reasons.

First of all, Wong is a player that this franchise needs.  The second base position has been a merry go round of sorts that has featured players from all over the diamond in the last few years.  If Wong can become a solid option at second for many years to come, he has a profound impact.

That being said, the most exciting of these options and my pick for Most Anticipated Cardinal is Oscar Taveras.  He projects as a corner outfielder with speed and a middle of the order presence.  He could give the team the flexibility to deal from a core of talent that shows some power to supplement the team in other places.  If he is as good as the hype, St. Louis will have a new star to fall in love with very soon.

The rest of the ballot is devoted to our fellow blogs around the United Cardinal Bloggers, recognizing the hard work that we all put into the sites that you enjoy.  The passion among this group for baseball, for the Cardinals, and for sharing those thoughts is nothing short of extraordinary.  I am proud to share my thoughts on some of my contemporaries.

Best Individual Blog

My vote has to go to The Godfather himself and C70 At The Bat.  While it can easily be brushed off as being an easy choice to pick the leader of our group, it truly is the best choice out there.

Over the last few years, Daniel Shoptaw and I have joined forces on multiple projects and have changed places in the “leadership” chair more than once.  When it comes down to it, the content, the frequency, the passion and the quality of Daniel’s work inspires me on a regular basis to continue doing what I love and to do it to the best of my ability.

Best Team Blog

If Daniel has inspired me individually as a writer, the group of guys at Pitchers Hit Eighth inspired the creation of i70baseball in the first place.  They continue to produce funny, informative, and on-point content on a regular basis utilizing some of the best voices of all of baseball writing.

Best Cardinal Media Blog

The fine work by Derrick Goold at Bird Land for the St. Louis Post Dispatch is funny, personal, and informative.  He finds a way to connect with his audience on a personal level, something very rarely seen in today’s media.

Best Cardinal Rookie Blog

Though I personally don’t delve into the subject matter often, advanced statistics are a big part of the game of baseball.  The guys at StanGraphs have brought advanced statistics and “Sabermetrics” to the Cardinal corner of the internet in a fresh and fun way.

Post Of The Year

I strive to connect with my audience, to let them see into my life and to utilize the bridge of baseball to bring it all together.  When I look for a “post of the year”, I want that special something that jumps out from the normal posts and transcends into life and baseball.  To me, “We Don’t Get To Write The Endings” from C70 At The Bat was precisely this type of post.

Best UCB Project

It is a mainstay for years now and happens before and after the season, but I personally enjoy the roundtable discussions that circulate through multiple blogs, polling the “pulse” of so many of us on everything from the stadium to the jerseys to the prospects and veterans on the field.

Most Optimistic Cardinal Blog

Throughout the season, as discussions and frustrations reach their highest points, we are consistently reminded of the history of the game and how this franchise has overcome situations of surprising similarity in the past.  Our resident historian is quick to spin a Twitter tale or a quick post and for that, I give the most Optimistic Blog to Bob Netherton at On The Outside Corner.

Best UCB Podcast

It almost comes across as a “cop-out”, but the UCB Radio Hour pulls together a large amount of bloggers from the UCB and puts a high-quality discussion together consistently every week.

Best UCB Twitterer

This was a tough one for me.  What goes into this decision?  Talking great baseball?  Of course.  Humor and being able to back up your arguments is another quality I admire.  Being able to get your point across in the briefest of settings is another.

All things considered, Dennis Lawson, better known as gr33nazn on Twitter is a good follow that has become a good friend over the years.

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Royals Finally Tire of Yuniesky Betancourt

Sometimes it’s fun to say “I told you so.”

Now, no one wants to read a punk blogger who goes around trying to act like he could run a major league team. So I don’t want to go there.

But after writing five articles in the past year and a half about how the Royals butchered any chance of having a useful utility infielder on their team, they finally parted ways with the primary antagonist in the saga – Yuniesky Betancourt.

Any feelings of vindication are of no use, however. The situation is worse than ever. Say what you want about the team’s attachment to Jeff Francoeur, it’s inability to successfully trade for starting pitchers, or its many other shortcomings. In my mind the bungling of the utility infielder role stands as the most inept series of moves on Dayton Moore’s resume in KC.

The other things, the signing of Jeff Francis, the trade of Melky Cabrera for Jonathan Sanchez, etc. Those things at least made some sense when they were attempted. They just didn’t work.

But when the Royals sent Mike Aviles packing, abandoned Yamaico Navarro, and relegated Johnny Giavotella to the minors, it became apparent that Ned Yost was putting a lot of eggs in the Betancourt basket.

“Perhaps I don’t see what the trained baseball eye sees in Betancourt,” I kept thinking. Surely there is more to this guy than a slow, lazy, hot dog who hits into double plays at the worst possible times. Otherwise Moore and Yost wouldn’t keep running him out there.

Well I guess I was right and they were wrong. The Royals gave Betancourt the boot last week and it was none too soon for my taste.

Obviously there was some reason why the Brewers let him go when they had no other real option at shortstop. They must have felt they were better off with no shortstop than a malcontent at shortstop.

Now, while the utility situation in KC seems even more mismanaged than ever, perhaps there is hope. At present, the Royals are running 27-year-old Tony Abreu out as their utility man. Previously, they tried 29-year-old Irving Falu in the role, with some success.  But there’s a reason it’s taken those guys as long as it did to reach the majors.

The long-term answer may be a year away in Christian Colon. He’s not impressed anyone so far. He’s 23 years old and was barely adequate at his stops in Single and Double A. Improvement this season, his second at Northwest Arkansas, finally earned Colon a promotion to Triple A Omaha, two days after Betancourt was designated for assignment.

Though drafted as a shortstop, Colon has been used extensively at both short and second for the past year, as it appears the Royals are grooming for a versatile role. He told me a year ago, that he had some experience at third in the amateur ranks, but at that point, he wasn’t anticipating a switch from short.

Though you’d like to get more out of the number four draft pick KC used on Colon, it may not turn out all bad. The guy’s bio just sounds like a utility infielder: consummate team player, unselfish, a leader, solid in all areas, but spectacular in none of them.

Colon has garnered little fan interest since his drafting. But with Betancourt gone, he will be getting a lot more attention as he becomes the team’s best option for the utility role.

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Checking the Bottom Line on the Greinke Trade

It’s not yet time to close the books on the Zack Greinke trade of a year and a half ago. That day won’t come for a long time.

But now is a great time to check the bottom line, to begin to gauge who is coming out better on the trade – the Royals or Brewers.

It will be years before we can judge just what the Royals let get away in Greinke, what they got in return in Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress, and what the Brewers got in trading away Greinke on Sunday. But we can take a first look now that Greinke’s time in Milwaukee is finished.

By one standard, the Brewers came away from the trade as the decided victors. After all, they did reach the NL Championship series with Greinke, while the Royals haven’t sniffed the playoffs in a generation. After all, in the end, you play to win the World Series. The Brewers did what they could to make a run at it.

But taking a bit more of a long-term perspective, the balance tips currently in favor of the Royals.

While the Brewers have plummeted to fourth in the NL Central (nine games below .500 at the time of the trade), the Royals’ “process” sputters along. The Brewers found themselves in such need of help at a host of positions that it made sense to pack Greinke off rather than attempt to re-sign him.

Meanwhile the Royals are plugging into the process the pieces acquired a year and a half ago.

So the Greinke Adventure in Milwaukee lasted just a year and a half. But how good really was Greinke in Milwaukee?

At the time of the trade that sent him to Anaheim, his ERA of 3.44 this year was just 20th in the National League. His WHIP of 1.20 was also just 20th. His nine wins were tied for 16th. His WAR this year was 2.3, good for 15th among pitchers.

And while the Brewers made a run in the playoffs in 2011, you could argue Greinke was even worse that year than this. Last year his ERA, 3.83, was 34th in the NL. His WHIP of 1.20 was 15th. His WAR was just 1.4, 52nd in the league. His 16 wins did at least tie him for 6th in the NL.

But when the Brewers needed Greinke most, he was far from the star they traded for. His ERA in one playoff game against Arizona ? 7.20. And in two games, one a win and one a loss, in the NLCS versus St. Louis, his ERA was 6.17.

Greinke failed to make the All-Star Game in either season as a Brewer. He was not a fan favorite. He was not popular with teammates. He was not a leader.

In short, Greinke hasn’t been the Greinke of 2009 since, well, since 2009. That season stands out more and more as a statistical anomaly. A one-hit wonder who keeps cranking out tunes, but just can’t quite capture the sound of his Cy Young season.

The Brewers dealt away the shortstop of their future – Alcides Escobar – to get Greinke. So this year they were so in need of a shortstop that that’s essentially what they traded Greinke to get. They got Jean Segura, with a total of one game in the bigs to his credit. He’s currently getting his legs under him at Double A.

Meanwhile, Alcides Escobar may not be an All Star, but he should be. Just three years older than Segura, Escobar has established himself as one of the top fielders and hitters at the position in the American League.

Added recently to the Royals otherwise dismal lineup is Lorenzo Cain. The man who could soften the blow of the Melky Cabrera/Jonathan Sanchez disaster has rebounded from injury to flash some tremendous potential. So far he’s provided some pop with the bat. And when he’s fully healthy, he should be a dynamic fielder in center and a dangerous base runner too.

The Brewers also acquired from the Angels in Sunday’s trade two 23-year-old pitchers who were laboring unspectacularly in Double AA for the Angels.

In contrast, the Royals got in the 2010 Greinke trade 22-year-old Jake Odorizzi, who has asserted himself this year as one of the best pitching prospects in all the minor leagues.

And one final wild card in the equation is Jeremy Jeffress, who is still just 24 and is working to harness the talent that made him a first round draft choice in 2006.

Escobar and Cain are under team control through 2017. If “the process” is to finally succeed, they will be key components of it. Odorizzi will almost certainly be in the KC rotation next season. Jeffress might be back in KC before it’s all over too.

A year ago, the Brewers looked like they made the right move to get Greinke. But the more time passes, the more it looks like the Royals will come out the winners in that trade.

Check back in about a decade to see the final result. But right now, it looks like Dayton Moore is the winner in this trade.

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The Moose is loose

The shoes that have to be filled at third base in Kansas City are rather large and may never be filled by any Kansas City Royal’s player ever.  Right now Mike Moustakas, and his “Moooooooose” call seem to be filling that hole quite well. is definitely beginning to look like he could be a good following to the great third basemen of the Royal’s past, George Brett. Ever since Brett retired the team has been trying to fill a hole at third base that just would not fill up all the way.  Many have tried and many have been good enough to be average to a little above average at best but none have shown the promise that Moustakas has shown this earlier in his career.  All throughout his time in the organization people have known that he would hit and he would hit well but it is the little things that make him a potential All Star third basemen.

After going through his struggles at the Major League level, like he showed at every level when he was first promoted to that level, Moustakas have done nothing but improved every part of his game. Hitting was always at a premium for Moustakas at every level but every one always said that his defense would have to improve to become a great player at the big level.  Over the off-season Moustakas worked tirelessly and continues to work tirelessly everyday to improve his defense which by all accounts this season has looked spectacular.  When the Royals acquired shortstop Alcides Escobar from the Brewers in the Zack Greinke trade, a lot of fans and people in the organization thought he was brought in to help out the future left side of the infield since he is such a superb defender and Moustakas was just average.  But now that the defense of Moustakas has improved, not only could the two end up being the best defensive tandem on the left side of the infield in the league but now that they are both seeming to find their stride at the plate it could end up being the best left side of the infield overall. Moustakas has seemed to improve not only in his accuracy of his throws but also in his range.  Not being the quickest footed guy in the game he has to find ways to get the angle on balls hit to him so that he can make some of the plays that he has made this season.  So now with the addition of his defense it seems that hitters will never want to hit the ball to the left side against the Royals.

No question that Moustakas struggled with the bat over the first part of his rookie season but as the season went on he stepped it up a ton and showed fans what they could be watching from him for a long time coming.  The thing that everyone thought at the beginning of this season was that he would be the young star to hit his sophomore slump yet he is the one in talks of playing for the American League in the summer classic at Kauffman Stadium.  With the struggles that Eric Hosmer has shown this season, the fact that Moustakas has stepped up to the plate and just raked and stepped into the three spot in the lineup that was supposed to be filled by Hosmer is one of the reasons that the team finds themselves right in the thick of things in the Central Division.

The Royals have seemed to found themselves a little bit as a team over the past month with a winning June.  Moustakas must continue to play the way he has played this season for the Royals to have success. With the leadership of Billy Butler over the whole team, Moustakas has to step up as the leader of the young guys on this team.  Kind of like the vice president.  And the biggest thing that a leader can do is produce and so far this season the Moose has produces.

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If The Royals Become Buyers…

Currently, the Kansas City Royals sit at 29-35 and 5 games out of 1st place in the American League Central. If they can continue streaking, could they actually become buyers at the trade deadline?

Royals fans are all too used to the same story at the trade deadline every year. Let’s see what assets we have that other contending teams might want and see if we can turn those into anything useful for the future. Is it possible, that with the way the Royals have played since ending their 12 game losing streak in April, that they could actually become buyers at the deadline this year? One can only hope. And barring any injuries to position players, the primary need will be Starting Pitching. So as we sit about 6 weeks away from the trade deadline, let’s examine what starting pitchers might be available for the Royals to pursue.

Cole Hamels (Phillies)-The Philadelphia Phillies are currently 9 games out of first place in the National League East. Hamels is a free agent after this season, and all signs point to the Phils not being able to re-sign him. Assuming they don’t agree to an extension before the deadline, and that the Phillies don’t right the ship, you can bet they will be listening to offers.

Zack Greinke (Brewers)-Same situation as above. Milwaukee is 8.5 games out of first place, Greinke is a free agent, and the chances of the Brewers re-signing him are very slim. If they don’t right their own ship, they will be looking to trade him for a similar package of prospects that they traded away to get him from the Royals.

Shaun Marcum (Brewers)-Again, if the Brewers aren’t in contention, they will be looking to move Marcum, who is also a free agent at the end of 2012 and a Kansas City native as well.

Brandon McCarthy (Athletics)-McCarthy is having another very solid season, and will be a free agent after this season. And the Oakland Athletics are going nowhere in 2012, so it would be shocking to see him finish the season in an A’s uniform.

Francisco Liriano (Twins)-While it is not likely the Minnesota Twins would be willing to trade Liriano to a division rival like the Royals, he is also the guy on this list that would command the least in return. There is no denying his ability, so he would be worth a gamble for the Royals or another team in need of starting pitching for the stretch run.

Wandy Rodriguez (Astros)-The Astros are trying to rebuild, and though Rodriguez is signed through 2013, they don’t figure to be contending until after that. So he will likely be made available at this year’s deadline. The left-hander would be a solid addition to the Royals staff not only this year, but next year as well if they could land him.

Ryan Dempster (Cubs)-Dempster has pitched very well this season, but the Chicago Cubs are the worst team in baseball and Dempster will be a free agent after the 2012 season. It is highly unlikely the rebuilding Cubs would be willing to invest in a multi-year deal with the 35 year-old Dempster, so he is bound to be made available.

Matt Garza (Cubs)-Garza will be arbitration-eligible after this season, and a free agent after the 2013 season. Like the Astros, the Cubs don’t figure to be competitive until long after 2013, so they might as well move him while he has value.

So as you can see, there should be no shortage of capable starting pitchers available at the deadline. And the Royals have no shortage of desirable prospects to deal away. It would sure be nice to have the shoe on the other foot for a change.

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