Tag Archive | "Falu"

Eric Hosmer to join Team USA for the World Baseball Classic

Due to a strained right wrist and forearm from Team USA and Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, Eric Hosmer gets the opportunity to join Team USA for the World Baseball Classic.

World Baseball Classic

After getting permission from general manager Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost, Hosmer joined team USA Wednesday night to play an exhibition game against the Colorado Rockies. Team USA begins WBC play against Mexico this Friday night at Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ.

Hosmer joins fellow Royal Tim Collins on the USA team and is the ninth Royals player to take part in the World Baseball Classic. Other Royals players are reliever Kelvin Herrera, infielder Miguel Tejada and reliever Atahualpa Severino playing for the Dominican Republic, catcher Salvador Perez with Venezuela, pitcher Luis Mendoza with Mexico, infielder Irving Falu with Puerto Rico and Minor League outfielder Paulo Orlando with Brazil.

Now there might be some concerns about Hosmer being away from the Royals to play in the WBC, but to put into perspective, the WBC is like Spring Training: the games really don’t matter. Of course it’s an honor to represent your country in the WBC, but the games are the same as Spring Training games. And Hosmer will be the Royals first baseman this season, so it’s not like he’s competing for a job. He’ll get to play with different players and be managed by Team USA manager Joe Torre, which is a good thing. There’s the risk of injury, but that can happen in Spring Training games too. Overall, it’s a good experience for Hosmer and the other Royals players participating in the WBC. Oh yeah, Go Team USA!

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Royals Winter League Wrap Up


SPRINGDALE, AR –Although the 2012 minor league season officially ended in September, 20 current and former Northwest Arkansas Naturals continued their work on the diamond as they participated in the Puerto Rican, Venezuelan and Australian Winter Leagues. With pitchers and catchers set to report to Spring Training in less than two weeks, all of the former Naturals have completed their winter seasons.

Puerto Rican League Wrap-up

The Puerto Rican League welcomed five Naturals alums, but a recent Natural created the most headlines. Christian Colon was named the Puerto Rican League Rookie of the Year. The Royals first round pick (fourth overall) in 2010, Colon led the league with 13 stolen bases in 39 games for the Leones de Ponce (Ponce Lions). While at the plate, Colon batted .301 with eight doubles and 26 runs scored. In 2012, Colon played in 73 games with the Naturals, batting .289 with nine doubles and 13 stolen bases and five home runs. A Texas League Mid-Season All-Star, Colon finished the season with Triple-A Omaha. Colon has earned a non-roster invite to Spring Training with the Royals.

Infielder Rey Navarro finished second in the league with a .333 batting average in 114 at-bats and 18 RBI for league champion Criollos de Caguas (Caguas Creoles).  In 2012, Navarro appeared in 109 games for the Naturals before being promoted to Omaha on August 18.

Infielder Irving Falu led the league with 30 runs scored and four triples while playing for Indios de Mayaguez (Mayaguez Indians). Falu batted .324 with eight doubles and 16 RBI in 36 games.  A member of the 2008 Naturals squad, Falu spent 2012 with both Kansas City and Omaha and is on the Royals 40-man roster.

Outfielder Geraldo Valentin, another member of the Naturals’ inaugural team, drove in 10 runs while batting .277 for Cangrejeros de Santurce (Santurce Crabbers). Valentin batted .250 with 10 doubles and 19 RBI in 70 games during his lone season with the Naturals.

Pitcher Kelvin Villa went 3-2 with a 2.93 ERA in nine games for Criollos de Caguas. Villa was also named a Post-Season All-Star. Villa was 1-0 in nine appearances during his time with the Naturals in 2010.

Venezuelan League Wrap-up

2011 Naturals catcher Salvador Perez earned Rookie of the Year honors in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League as a member of Tiburones de La Guaira (La Guaira Sharks). Perez batted .371 in 32 games with eight home runs, 10 doubles and 39 RBI with a .412 On Base Percentage. As a Natural, Perez was named to the 2011 Texas League Mid and Post-Season All-Star teams. Perez, who missed the early part of the 2012 season due to injury, batted .301 in 76 games for Kansas City and is the projected starting catcher for the Royals for 2013.

Perez wasn’t the only former Natural to end the Venezuelan League campaign with an award, as Juan Gutierrez was named the Venezuelan League Relief Pitcher of the Year. Gutierrez was 1-1 with a 0.81 ERA, 14 saves and 21 strikeouts in 24 appearances for Leones del Caracas (Caracas Lions).  Gutierrez recorded three saves in five games with the Naturals in 2012 after reporting to the team in July following rehab outings in the Arizona League. Gutierrez has also spent parts of three seasons in the Major Leagues, each with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Outfielder Mario Lisson batted .262 with four doubles, five home runs and 26 RBI in 43 games with Navegantes del Magallanes (Magellen’s Navigators).  Lisson has worn the Naturals uniform in every season except 2010, and is the franchise leader in games played, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, home runs and RBI.

Paulo Orlando hit seven doubles and drove in 16 runs in 32 games with Cardenales de Lara (Lara Cardinals). Orlando’s .346 batting average would have finished second in the Venezuelan League, but Orlando didn’t have the required number of plate appearances. Orlando has spent the last three seasons with the Naturals and is the franchise leader with 18 triples.

Ernesto Mejia was named the Most Valuable Player for the Venezuelan League, batting .298 with 16 home runs and 48 RBI in 62 games as a member of Cardenales de Lara. An Opening Day starter and member of the 2010 Texas League Champion Naturals, Mejia spent 2012 in the Atlanta Braves organization at Triple-A Gwinnett (Ga.).

Pitcher Victor Marte was 2-1 with a 4.40 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 13 games for Navegantes del Magallanes (Magellen’s Navigators). Marte was 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 13 games with the Naturals in 2009. Marte made his Royals debut that season, winning three of his 22 relief appearances.

Pitcher Dusty Hughes was 1-0 in 12 games for Navegantes del Magallanes. Hughes didn’t surrender a run in 9 1/3 innings pitched. Hughes was 5-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 20 games for the Naturals in 2008.

Dominican League Wrap-up

Catcher Julio Rodriguez appeared in one game for Gigantes del Cibao (Cibao Giants), striking out in his lone plate appearance. Rodriguez spent his first full AA season with the Naturals in 2012, with a .234 average and 17 RBI in 67 games.

Pitcher Sugar Ray Marimon pitched in two games with Leones del Escogido (Escogido Lions). In five innings of work, Marimon struck out two batters and surrendered one run. Marimon made 12 starts for the Naturals last season, posting a 3-6 record with a 4.59 ERA. Marimon was named a Carolina League Mid-Season All-Star in 2012.

Pitcher Carlos Rosa appeared in three games for league champion Gigantes del Cibao (Cibao Giants), giving up three earned runs in nine innings. Rosa went 4-2 with a 1.20 ERA in eight starts with the Naturals in 2008. Rosa pitched in two games for the Royals that season, giving up a run in 3 1/3 innings of work. Rosa’s last appearance in the Royals organization was with Triple-A Omaha in 2010.

Pitcher Roman Colon spent time in the Dominican League as a member of Gigantes as well as in the Mexican Pacific League with Yaquis de Obregon. Colon was 0-2 in 10 games with Gigantes and concluded the season with a 0-0 record in two appearances with three-time defending Mexican Pacific League champion Yaquis. Colon was 2-0 with a save in 10 games with the Naturals in 2008.

Pitcher Willy Lebron was 1-1 with a 2.28 ERA in 16 games for Estrellas de Oriente. Lebron was 3-1 with a 3.83 ERA in 23 games for the Naturals in 2011.

Outfielder Jamie Romak hit .280 in six games with Toros del Este (Este Bulls). Romak spent part of the 2010 season and all of the 2011 season with the Naturals, playing in 168 games with the franchise while hitting 29 home runs and driving in 87 runs. Romak spent the 2012 season with Triple-A Omaha and in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

Australian League Wrap-up

Outfielder Carlo Testa was the lone player with Naturals ties in the Land Down Under this winter. Testa played in 46 games for the Melbourne Aces, batting .294 with seven doubles and six home runs with 19 RBI. Testa also stole 10 bases for the Aces. In 2012, Testa completed his first season at the Double-A level with 16 doubles, 15 home runs and 12 stolen bases in 113 games.

Mexican Pacific League Wrap-up

Outfielder Cory Aldridge batted .268 with 19 home runs and 42 RBI in 61 games for Tomateros de Culican (Culican Tomato Growers). A member of the inaugural Naturals team, Aldridge batted .269 with six doubles and 10 home runs and 40 RBI in 49 games for the Naturals in 2008 and was named the Texas League Player of the Week for August 25.

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark, located in Springdale.  Visit our website, nwanaturals.com, for information on season tickets and ticket plans.

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Royals This and That

Royals news is slow this time of year, but a few things happened last week.

Kauffman Cover Photo

The World Baseball Classic announced provisional rosters and nine Royals will be a part of the Classic. Players include left-handed pitchers Bruce Chen (China) and Tim Collins (USA), right-handed pitchers Kelvin Herrera (Dominican Republic), Luis Mendoza (Mexico), J.C. Sulbaran (The Netherlands), catcher Salvador Perez (Venezuela), infielders Irving Falu (Puerto Rico) and Miguel Tejada (Dominican Republic) and outfielder Paulo Orlando (Brazil). The Classic will be held March 2-19, during Major League Spring Training.

While the WBC is a way to promote baseball internationally, I’m sure it makes some Major League managers and teams nervous. There’s a chance of injury during the WBC and fringe players like Mendoza, Falu and Tejada have less time with the Royals to make the roster. Players from eliminated teams will come back to Spring Training, but it could affect a player’s performance this spring and their role on the team.

The Royals and Luke Hochevar avoid arbitration and Hochevar gets a raise: A lot of fans wanted the Royals to release Hochevar and move on. Instead, he receives a one-year, $4.56 million contract, a raise from the $3.51 million he received last year. Arbitration all but guarantees a player gets a raise, even for a dismal performance like Hochevar had last year.

It’s easy to get worked up over this, giving the maddening inconsistency over his career. But Hochevar isn’t The Man anymore. He’s a guy fighting for a fifth starter spot with Bruce Chen. There’s a chance he might not make the rotation and end up in the bullpen or even AAA Omaha. I think Hochevar knows this is his last chance with the Royals. If he improves his consistency and becomes the pitcher the Royals hoped for, good. If not, he’ll be gone soon enough. Let’s hope the rest of the rotation stays healthy so Hochevar doesn’t win a roster spot by default.

Last weekend, the Royals Fan Fest and Royals Caravan gave fans the opportunity to meet players, get autographs and talk about Royals baseball. From the amount of fans who attended the events there’s a lot of enthusiasm for the 2013 season.

Finally, the Royals announced their promotions and giveaways for 2013, featuring a Billy Butler bobblehead, a retro powder blue jersey and Ketchup, Mustard and Relish bobbleheads. Sadly, there isn’t a Eric Hosmer Amish Warrior bobblehead like I proposed last year. Oh well, there’s always 2014.

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I-70 Teams Combine For 13 WBC Roster Spots

The i70baseball teams, the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals, will combine to send 13 players to the World Baseball Classic in 2013.  Among those 13, nine of them will come from the Kansas City organization.


In addition to the large amount of players being sent to the WBC, the Royals will also achieve a historic moment for one team.  Bruce Chen will pitch for the team from China, becoming the first major league ball player to do so in the history of the event.

The Royals press release states:

The selections are as follows:  Left-handed pitchers Bruce Chen (China) and Tim Collins (United States), right-handed pitchers Kelvin Herrera (Dominican Republic), Luis Mendoza (Mexico) and J.C. Sulbaran (The Netherlands), catcher Salvador Perez (Venezuela), infielders Irving Falu (Puerto Rico) and Miguel Tejada (Dominican Republic), and outfielder Paulo Orlando (Brazil).

You will notice three of those players have yet to play in Kansas City as a member of the Royals: Tejada is a non-roster invitee to spring training and Orlando and Sulbaran spent last season in Double-A.

According to the Cardinals press release:

Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina were among four Cardinals named to participate in the 2013 World Baseball Classic (WBC). Both will be on Team Puerto Rico and this marks the third WBC appearance for each.

Relievers Mitchell Boggs and Fernando Salas were also selected for this year’s WBC. Boggs will play for Team USA while Salas will be on the roster for Mexico.

The major concern for the Cardinals was an earlier rumor about Jaime Garcia being invited to pitch for the team from Mexico.  The bullet may have been dodged as it appears he was left off the roster while teammate Salas gets the nod. Editor’s note: more on this subject tomorrow as i70 writer Jacob Mayer takes an in depth look at Garcia not pitching in the WBC.

The WBC will commence in March as these 13 players take the field for their respective countries in an exciting and competitive environment.

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

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What’s On Second?

Spring Training starts in about a month. Barring injury or a terrible performance, the Kansas City Royals lineup is pretty much set, except for second base. Like last year, Chris Getz and Johnny Giavotella will compete for the job at second. But this year, Tony Abreu and Irving Falu could be in the mix as well.


Going into Spring Training, Getz is the likely favorite, despite an injury-filled 2012 and only playing 61 games at second. While the Royals praised Getz’s ability to drive the ball, he hit only 10 doubles, three triples and no homers with a .275/.312/.360 average and a 0.4 WAR in 210 plate appearances.

But the Royals were more concerned about his defense, where he had a .983 fielding percentage at second and a 4.43 RF/9. The league average fielding percentage was .983 and the league RF/9 was 4.63, making Getz a league average second baseman. If he keeps that up, he’ll be the Royals starting second baseman. If he stays healthy.

Many fans would like to see Johnny Giavotella at second, but so far he hasn’t done enough to win the job. He struggled last spring and started the season in AAA Omaha. He played 21 games with the Royals in May and June before coming back for good in August and September after Getz suffered a season-ending thumb injury.

In the Minors, Giavotella played well offensively, but needed work on his defense. But in 189 Major League plate appearances, Giavotella hit seven doubles, one triple and one home run with a .238/.270/.304 average and a -0.6 WAR. Giavotella played 45 games at second, with a .967 fielding percentage and a 4.23 RF/9. the league average fielding percentage was .983 and the league RF/9 was 4.63, which made Giavotella a below average second baseman. He’ll get an opportunity to win the second base job, but unless he starts hitting Major League pitching and his defense improves, Giavotella will start the season in Omaha.

Tony Abreu was a Spring Training non-roster invitee last year and got called up in August after the Royals released Yuni Betancourt. Abreu saw limited playing time, appearing in 22 games, 11 of those at second. In 74 plate appearances, Abreu hit two doubles, one triple and one home run with a .257/.284/.357 average and a -0.2 WAR.

With a small sample size of 11 games at second in 2012, it’s better to compare Abreu’s career playing second. In four seasons at second, Abreu has a .975 fielding percentage and a 4.59 RF/9. The league fielding percentage was .984 and the league RF/9 was 4.77, which at best makes Abreu a utility infielder. Seeing the most games Abreu played at second was 25 in 2007, the League tends to agree. If he makes the club, it will be as a utility infielder.

A possible dark horse at second is longtime Royals farmhand Irving Falu. In 24 games with the Royals last year, Falu played 14 of those games at second. In 996 games over his Minor League career, Falu played 315 of them at second. The most games he played in a season at second was 63 with Omaha in 2009, so even in the Minors, Falu was a part-time second baseman. He’ll get his opportunities in Spring Training, but it’s a long shot for Falu to make the Opening Day roster, much less as the Royals starting second baseman.

Second base was a weak position last year and it will be again in 2013. If the Royals can get league average offense and defense out of second, they’re in good shape, as far as second base goes.

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Rearranging the deck chairs on the S.S. Royals

In an unexpected move last Sunday, the Royals designated infielder Yuniesky Betancourt for assignment. I’m sure there’s some Royals fans who think this is an elaborate joke being played on them and the Yunibomber will be back. But it’s true. Yuni is no longer a Royal. Really! (I think.)

Remember when the Royals signed Betancourt to a one-year, two million dollar contract, telling shocked and disappointed Royals fans Yuni was going to be a part-time utility infielder? So what happened? Yuni got more playing time than fans wanted and he even had a decent June. But then Yuni became Yuni and went back to his worst everyday player in baseball self.

No team wanted to trade for him or claim him on waivers, so the Royals let Yuni go. Was it for his lack of defensive range? No. Was it for his .228 batting average? No. Was it for his -1.2 WAR? No. Yuni wanted more playing time, so the Royals cut him loose. According to Manager Ned Yost, one of the reasons Yuni was let go was to change the Royals losing culture. Are they serious? Did the Royals think signing Yuni would bring in a winning culture?

It’s things like this which frustrate Royals fans to no end. Never mind the team could have used infielder Tony Abreu, who they signed as a non-roster invitee, as a low-cost utility infielder. Or longtime Royals farmhand Irving Falu, who’s toiled ten seasons in the team’s minor league system. Instead, the Royals signed Yuni for two million and he performed like Yuni.

And the kicker? Abreu, the player who replaced Yuni, has some offensive pop but his defense is suspect. That sounds like a player the Royals just designated for assignment. Oh well, better late than never.

In another move, Doug Sisson was fired last Saturday. Doug who? You know, Doug Sisson, the former first base, base-running, outfield and bunting coach. Taking his place is Rusty Kuntz, who spent the last year and a half as a special assistant to the general manager while Sisson was first base coach. Now Kuntz is back, taking over Sisson’s duties. Why was Sisson fired? It’s hard to say. Maybe the players didn’t like him or his coaching, or perhaps Sisson and Yost weren’t on the same page.

Will this make a difference? Doubtful. It’s true Kuntz helped Alex Gordon convert to left field and he’s worked with outfielders Jarrod Dyson and Lorenzo Cain. But the Royals changing their first base coach in the middle of the season is just a symbolic blip in a long, disappointing season.

Then last Monday afternoon the Royals allowed the San Francisco Giants to claim situational lefty Jose Mijares off waivers. In return, the Royals got a $20,000 waiver claim fee. In other words, the Royals let Mijares go for next to nothing. The Royals did try to trade Mijares, but there wasn’t any takers.

Mijares wasn’t a bad pitcher. He had a 2-2 record with a 2.56 ERA, pitching 38.2 innings in 51 games. But the Royals didn’t see Mijares in their long-term plans. Even though he wasn’t eligible for free agency until 2014, it’s possible Mijares would make $2.5 million in arbitration. The Royals felt that was too much money for a situational lefty.

Taking his place is lefty Francisley Bueno, who the Royals signed as a non-roster invitee. For AAA Omaha, Bueno had a 1-4 record with a 2.75 ERA, pitching 55.2 innings over 35 games. He also appeared in three games for the Royals.

The Royals believe Bueno is more of a long-term fit and could be more effective against right-handers than Mijares. Ok, fair enough. But if that’s the case, why did the Royals sign Mijares in the first place? I’m sure Bueno would be more affordable and if he was good, the Royals would have better luck signing him than Mijares. And if Bueno wasn’t bueno, the Royals could cut him loose with minimum fuss.

The Royals 2012 season is sinking into oblivion and these moves aren’t going to turn the team around or reverse what Yost calls a “losing culture.” But it’s doing something, and for the Royals, doing something is better than doing nothing.

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Royals Farm Report: June 19


The Omaha Storm Chasers (Pacific Coast League) went 4-2 over the last week improving to 44-27 on the season.  The Storm are leading the Northern Division by 14 games over the Iowa Cubs.

Who’s Hot

The Storm Chasers have continued to pile up runs on offense.  One of the best offenses in minor league baseball, got great weeks from Wil Myers and Irving Falu.  Myers, has lived on the hot list all season long.  In his past ten games he is hitting .350 (14-for-40) with three home runs, nine RBI, and 13 runs scored.  Falu has not been far behind hitting .351 (13-for-37) with three home runs and 12 RBI, to go along with 11 runs scored in his last ten games.  Blaine Hardy turned in his best Triple-A performance this past week. He went four innings allowing just one-hit while striking out four against Round Rock.

Who’s Not

Outfielder Jason Bourgeois is on the cold list despite heating up of late.  The outfielder is hitting .231 with two runs scored in his last five games.  Will Smith has hit a rough patch after being sent down from Kansas City to Omaha.  In his last two starts, the left-hander is 0-1, having worked ten and a third innings allowing 16 hits and nine runs.


The Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Texas League) went 3-4 over the past week getting swept by Tulsa on the road, splitting a four-game set with the Cardinals on the road, and taking the first of an eight game home stand against the Drillers.  The Naturals sit in second place in the Texas League’s North Division four games behind Tulsa.

Who’s Hot

Paulo Orlando seems to be returning to the form that many fans remember.  After a spring injury and a cool start, Orlando’s bat has heated up in June.  The outfielder is hitting .378 (14-for-37) over his last nine games with six runs scored.  On the mound for the Naturals Buddy Baumann turned in a solid week in relief.  The left-hander appeared in three games for the Naturals working four innings allowing three hits, while striking out five.  He also picked up his first save of the season on June 17 in Springfield.

Who’s Not

Eric Duncan seems to always come through with a big clutch hit, but is hitting just .188 (6-for-32) with one home run and three RBI.  Elisaul Pimentel had been on a hot streak, but had a rough outing on his last trip to the hill.  Pimentel is 0-2, having worked nine innings allowing 18 hits and 11 earned runs.

Class-A Advanced

The Wilmington Blue Rocks (Carolina League) went 1-5 over the past week dropping to 29-41 on the season.  The Blue Rocks have fallen to third place in the North Division and trail the Lynchburg Hillcats by 10.0 games for the division lead.

Who’s Hot

The Blue Rocks offense has continued to be sparked by shortstop Alex McClure.  McClure hit .304 (7-for-23) over the team’s last ten games.  He entered the season well-known for his defensive abilities.  Edwin Carl has continued to shine on the mound for the Blue Rocks since being promoted from Kane County.  In two outings last week he worked four and a third innings allowing just three hits and striking out five.

Who’s Not

Brian Fletcher has fallen into a slump.  The outfielder is still tops on the team in hitting with a .289 batting average, but has hit just .159 over the team’s last ten games.  Cole White has been hit hard in his last two outings in relief.  White has allowed six hits and six runs, while issuing seven walks in his last five innings of work.


The Kane County Cougars went 1-5 over the past week making them 34-36 on the season.  The Cougars fell to fifth place in the Midwest League’s western division and are 10.5 games out of first place.

Who’s Hot

Outfielder Jorge Bonifacio is hitting everything that pitchers are throwing to him right now.  The 19-year-old is hitting .333 over his last ten games with two home runs and an impressive 15 RBI.  On the mound for the Cougars, Jason Mitchell has turned things around.  In his last two trips to the hill Mitchell has worked 11 innings allowing eight hits and one run while striking out 10.

Who’s Not

Infielder Michael Antonio went through a tough week last week for the Cougars.  He hit just .143 (5-for-35) with one run scored and one RBI.  Aaron Brooks has not been missing many bats lately on the mound.  The right-hander has allowed 21 hits and 14 runs in his last 11.2 innings (2 appearances).

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark, located in Springdale.  Visit our website, nwanaturals.com, for information on season tickets and ticket plans.

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The return of YuniGetz

When infielder Chris Getz returned from the disabled list Tuesday night, the Royals sent infielder Johnny Giavotella to AAA Omaha. And when infielder Yuniesky Betancourt returned from the DL earlier this month, long time minor league infielder Irving Falu went back to Omaha.

If you read some of the articles and comments on Royals blogs and websites, it’s obvious Getz and Betancourt are not fan favorites. And with Betancourt’s lack of defensive range and Getz’s lack of power, it’s easy to see why. But are the players they replaced, Falu and Giavotella, any better? Or are Betancourt and Getz the best the Royals have for now?

For the sake of comparison, I’ll compare the positions of second base and utility infielder. For second base, I’ll compare second basemen Chris Getz and Johnny Giavotella. For utility infielders, I’ll compare Yuniesky Betancourt and Irving Falu.

Comparing the offensive numbers of Getz and Giavotella, they’re similar in many ways, but some stats stand out.

      Chris Getz Johnny Giavotella
Games 30 21
PA 94 73
Hits 23 15
Runs 9 8
RBI 8 6
BA/OBP/SLG .277/.322/.386 .217/.260/.261
Strikeouts 8 6







Getz has more games and plate appearances than Giavotella and edges Gio in runs RBI and strikeouts. But Getz has seven more hits and a much higher batting average, on base percentage and slugging. Neither player has a home run, but second base is not a power position. Offense is important, but defense is key for asecond baseman. Here’s their defensive numbers:

Chris Getz Johnny Giavotella
Fld% .991 .939
lgFld% .981 .981
RF/9 4.52 4.06
lgRF/9 4.61 4.61

Defensive stats aren’t as reliable as offensive stats due to a lot of factors I won’t list here. But Getz’s fielding percentage is 52 points over Giavotella’s and Getz is 10 points over the league fielding percentage. Giavotella is 42 points less than league average. And with range factor per nine innings, Getz is close to league average, but way ahead of Giavotella. So looking at statistics, one can see why the Royals say Getz’s defense has the edge and at least for 2012, Getz’s offense has the edge overGiavotella. Like it or not, Getz is playing better than Giavotella and until that changes, Giavotella will be staying in Omaha.

Moving on to the utility infielders, here’s the offensive numbers of Yuniesky Betancourt and Irving Falu:

Yuniesky Betancourt Irving Falu
Games 22 12
PA 82 45
Hits 20 14
Runs 9 7
RBI 10 1
BA/OBP/SLG .267/.309/.467 .326/.326/.442
Strikeouts 8 7

Betancourt has a lot more games and plate appearances compared to Falu, but Falu has a decent number of hits with his limited playing time, which increases his batting average. And Falu was close to Betancourt in runs. However, Betancourt drove in more runs and Falu almost had as many strikeouts as Betancourt. Yuni has the edge in offense, but if Falu played as much as Betancourt, I have a feeling the numbers would be similar.

How about defense? That’s the bread and butter of an utility infielder and here’s the defensive numbers of Betancourt and Falu:

Yuniesky Betancourt Irving Falu
Fld% .918 .957
lgFld% .969 .969
RF/9 3.39 3.79
lgRF/9 3.88 3.88

These defensive numbers are the average of second base, shortstop and third base, all positions Betancourt and Falu played. Both Betancourt and Falu are below league average in all categories, but Betancourt’s numbers are lower than Falu’s. The numbers tell us what we’ve known all along: Betancourt’s defense and range are below average and he’s not a good fielder. And Falu would likely do a better job as an utility infielder than Betancourt and provide almost the same level of offense.

So instead of playing Falu, a longtime minor leaguer who’s been with the Royals for years and would play at league minimum pay, the Royals play Betancourt, who has worse defense and is getting two million dollars that could be spent on pitching. And don’t forget the Royals like to platoon Betancourt and Getz at second base. These are the things which frustrate Royals fans.

These players alone aren’t going to get the Royals towards .500, let alone winning the American League Central. But for now, Chris Getz is the best player at second base and the Royals should dump Betancourt and call up Falu as their utility infielder.

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Zimmer aims to continue Royals’ run of first round success

The Royals took Kyle Zimmer with their first pick in the 2012 draft, and though the team isn’t exactly in the hunt for a pennant, they have been winners on draft day the past several years.

Zimmer, a 6’4” right-hander from the University of San Francisco, is expected to move quickly to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, if he doesn’t start his career there. In desperate need of advanced pitching prospects, the Royals found themselves in a fortunate position when the first three choices in the draft were position players.

The Royals have chosen pitchers with their first pick twice in the past decade. They have to hope Zimmer develops into an anchor of their rotation. Thus far Luke Hochevar and Aaron Crow have not.

The Royals’ current lineup is peppered with choices from the past decade of drafts. And while we’d like for Hochevar to pitch like a number one pick, and we’d like for Alex Gordon to live up to his draft-day expectations, there is no argument that the Royals have built an up-and-coming unit through the draft.

That’s 14 members of the 2012 Royals who were drafted and developed by the team. That’s what a small-market team that’s not dipping into the free-agent market has to do.

Compare the Royals’ 14 to the New York Yankees’ 6 – Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner, DJ Mitchell, Phil Hughes, David Robertson and David Phelps. Without deep pockets, the Royals have to draft smarter and get better results from their picks.

Making the Grade:

No team gets it right every year, but the Royals have done quite well the past several drafts with their first round picks. With Zimmer left to sign, they hope that last year’s pick – Bubba Starling – and 2010’s selection – Christian Colon – can keep up the string of success.

Last year I gave the Royals a grade for each draft going back to 2002. See how each class is progressing.

Coulda done better:

If the Royals had owned a crystal ball the past decade, they probably would have gone this route:

  • 2002 – Prince Fielder and Nick Swisher might not have been any more loyal to KC than Zach Greinke proved to be. Maybe the Royals should have taken Jeff Francoeur back in 2002 when they had the chance.
  • 2003 – Mitch Maier made it. Chris Lubanski didn’t make it. But nobody else looks much better.
  • 2004 – Billy Butler. Keeper.
  • 2005 – Alex Gordon has his moments, but Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun or Troy Tulowitzki would all be better.
  • 2006 – Evan Longoria, Tim Lincecum and Clayton Kershaw would all look better in Royal blue than Luke Hochevar.
  • 2007 – Two years ago, it looked like Jason Heyward would have been a better choice than Mike Moustakas. Now Moustakas looks like a keeper, but good catchers are tough to find. Still, KC would probably keep Moustakas over Matt Wieters and JP Arencibia.
  • 2008 – Eric Hosmer would probably still be the Royals’ choice, although Buster Posey and Jemile Weeks are solid starters elsewhere.
  • 2009 – Aaron Crow has done well enough, but Mike Trout is as coveted a prospect as you’ll find.
  • 2010, 2011 – I’ll give Colon and Starling a little more time before I subject them to this critique.

Feeling a draft:

Read other articles I’ve written in the past about the Royals in the draft.

Two curious washouts – Colt Griffin and Roscoe Crosby – set the team back in 2001

The Royals approach to the draft during the late 90s produced a whole lot of nothing

Why Bubba Starling means so much to Kansas City

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Johnny Giavotella joins the Royals, but for how long?

What an interesting Wednesday for the Kansas City Royals. Before the game with the Boston Red Sox, the Royals called up infielder Johnny Giavotella and put LHP Jonathan Sanchez on the 15-day disabled list with biceps tendinitis. Then for Wednesday’s game, Manager Ned Yost put Giavotella in the lineup as the designated hitter, Billy Butler at first base and Irving Falu at third base. Regulars Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer got the day off and the Royals Twitterverse responded favorably to the moves. If you call bewilderment, frustration and anger favorable.

Photo Courtesy of Minda Haas

The Sanchez to the DL move was a surprise, but the Royals replacing him with Giavotella was more of a surprise. Usually, a team moves a position player with a position player and a pitcher with a pitcher. But not this time.

With the Thursday off day, the Royals won’t need to replace Sanchez until next Tuesday against the Texas Rangers. With the current roster, the Royals could go with Nate Adcock, Luis Mendoza or wait for it, Vin Mazzaro. There’s a chance the team could call up Ryan Verdugo, who is on the 40-man roster and pitching pretty well for the AAA Omaha Storm Chasers with a 2.87 ERA, a 1.63 strikeout to walk ratio and a 1.213 WHIP. Verdugo doesn’t give up a lot of hits, but he leads the Chasers with 19 walks. But it’s more likely the Royals will use Adcock, Mendoza or Mazzaro as a spot starter.

So why is Giavotella with the Royals? According to General Manager Dayton Moore, the Royals will face left handed pitchers over the next week or so and Giavotella gives the team a right handed bat. In Omaha, Giavotella hit .331/.408/.504 with 25 RBI and five home runs. He also drew 18 walks and 11 strikeouts. Giavotella’s offense and being right handed were some of the reasons he joined the Royals.

But what about his defense? For now, the Royals plan to use Chris Getz as the everyday second baseman. There’s no denying Getz is playing well, with a .288/.338/.424 average and good defense. The Royals won’t sit Hosmer or Moustakas for extended periods of time, so unless Giavotella plays second base against left handed pitchers, most of Giavotella’s time with the Royals will be on the bench. I’m sure Giavotella and Mitch Maier will become good buddies.

To be honest, this move is maddening to some Royals fans. Giavotella was expected to be the Royals second baseman of the future and be the starting second baseman this season. Instead, Giavotella was sent to Omaha and Getz and Yuni Betancourt shared time at second, at least until Betancourt got hurt. With this latest move, the Royals are treating Giavotella less like a prized prospect and more like organizational filler.

But then again, perhaps the Royals had little choice but to call up Giavotella. With injuries to right handers Salvador Perez, Lorenzo Cain and Betancourt, the Royals have a left handed heavy lineup of Jarrod Dyson, Getz, Alex Gordon, Hosmer, Maier and Moustakas. And with Giavotella’s strong offense, he does provide a right handed bat.

But how long will Giavotella be in Kansas City? In his projected role, it’s likely he will go back to Omaha when Betancourt comes back from the DL. Or Giavotella might stay if Getz gets hurt or if he plays his way to a permanent spot on the roster. Either way, many fans are wondering what the Royals are doing with Johnny Giavotella. Time will tell.

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