Tag Archive | "George Brett"

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.

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Is George Brett making the Royals a better team?

A couple of weeks ago, the Royals were in their worst funk of the season. After losing seven games in a row by May 29 and with a 21-29 record, the Royals made a change and reassigned hitting coaches Jack Maloof and Andre David to the Minor Leagues. In their place, the Royals hired interim hitting coach George Brett. Yes, the Royals legend George Brett.

George and Ned

At the time, it appeared to be a move done by the Royals to show they’re trying to do something and placate a cynical fan base. Hiring the Hall of Famer and the all-time Royals hits leader on an interim basis could either be a brilliant move that sparks the team into winning or become another flop that’s plagued the Royals for almost two decades.

So what happened on Brett’s first day of his job? The Royals beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2, snapping the losing streak. Then the Royals went on to an 8-4 run with a six-game winning streak thrown in. Sure, the majority of the winning streak was against the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros, teams they should beat. But a win streak is a win streak and they did take two out of their last three games with the A.L. Central leading Detroit Tigers.

So with the addition of George Brett, the Royals should be hitting for higher average, hitting more home runs and scoring more runs per game, right? Well, not exactly. When Brett joined the Royals, the team had a .261/.314/.375 average. Now they have a .256/.310/.365 average. They’re still last in the A.L. with 33 home runs, with just two home runs hit in June. Since Brett was hired, the Royals average 3.3 runs a game. They averaged 4.0 runs before Brett was hired. And if that’s not enough, Mike Moustakas has a .184/.250/.286 average, Chris Getz is at .211/.247/.319 and Alcides Escobar is at .238/.263/.313. The Royals won’t win many games if these team and individual stats don’t improve.

So does Brett bring any value to the Royals? I believe he does. Just his presence in the dugout should inspire confidence among the players to play better and the coaches and manager Ned Yost to perform better. When Brett talks about hitting, offense and baseball, I’m sure the players will listen. And while the stats don’t reflect it, the bottom line is the team is getting timely hits and winning games. It doesn’t hurt the pitching staff has an A.L. leading 3.45 ERA either.

George Brett didn’t need this job. He had a good life as a retired Royals legend. He could do what he wanted when he wanted. His legacy as a Royal was secure. Brett knows he’s risking his legacy and perhaps reputation by taking this job, even if it’s only an interim basis. As the hitting coach, Brett will work long hours and spend a lot of time on the road, making players less than half his age listen to him concerning hitting, offense and baseball. But at 60 years old, Brett still has that competitive fire and still looks for a challenge. And it’s obvious Brett has a passion for the Royals to succeed or else he wouldn’t take the job.

The Royals have made it clear Brett will decide at the end of the month if he stays with the team or lets someone else be the hitting coach. And if the Royals keep playing well, Brett might have a real hard decision to make.

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George Brett Takes Over As Hitting Coach


KANSAS CITY, MO (May 30, 2013) – The Kansas City Royals announced today that George Brett and Pedro Grifol will assume the interim hitting coach and major league special assignment coach roles, respectively, effective tonight when the Royals play in St. Louis at 7:15 p.m.  In a corresponding move, the Royals have reassigned coaches Jack Maloof and Andre David to the minor league organization.

“Obviously things have not gone as we would have expected and in light of the downturn in offensive production and poor results we’ve decided to make a change,” said Dayton Moore, Royals’ Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager.  “First of all, I can’t thank Jack and Andre enough for accepting this challenge with the Major League club.  They are both tremendously knowledgeable and hard working men who have already made our organization stronger by their work in the system.  I’m thankful that this organization has one of the greatest hitters and more importantly one of the greatest competitors our game has ever seen in George Brett and he has accepted our offer to join the coaching staff on an interim basis.  We’ve also added Pedro Grifol, who brings a wealth of knowledge to our staff and will work various aspects of the coaching staff.”

Brett, 60, is the Royals’ all-time hit leader with 3,154 during a playing career that spanned 1973-1993 and was capped with his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.  His familiar #5 was retired by the organization on May 14, 1994.  He is the only player in Major League history to win batting titles in three different decades, winning the American League crown in 1976, 1980 and 1990.  His 1980 season will always be remembered for his run at the elusive .400 mark, finishing the campaign with a .390 average and winning the American League Most Valuable Player Award.  A 13-time All-Star, Brett is the club’s all-time leader in every offensive category with the exception of stolen bases.  He was also a Rawlings Gold Glove winner for his work at third base.  Retired as a player following the ’93 season, this is Brett’s first-ever in-season coaching role in baseball.  He has served as a Vice President of Baseball Operations since his retirement and has worked on the field during spring training for the organization.

Grifol, 43, is in his first year in the Royals’ organization, initially assigned as the hitting coach for the Surprise Royals.  He joined Kansas City after 13 seasons in the Seattle chain, serving most recently as manager for High Desert (A) in 2012.  Previous roles have included area scout, manager at Everett (2003-05), Coordinator of Instruction (2006-08) and Director of Minor League Operations (2008-11).  Pedro was also on the Mariners’ major league staff for the second half of the 2010 season.  He was also the Winter League manager this past year for the Venezuela squad where Alcides Escobar played.  A Florida native, Grifol was the Florida State High School Player of the Year in 1988 out of Christopher Columbus High School and then helped Florida State University to the College World Series in 1989 and 1991, earning All-America honors in ’91.

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Former Royals Broadcast Legend Fred White Dies

When I heard the news that longtime Royals broadcaster Fred White decided to retire after 40 years with the Royals due to a serious health issue, I hoped he would recover from his illness and enjoy his retirement. But the next day, White died from complications from melanoma.

Fred and Denny

It’s a sad end for a broadcast legend such as White, but he lived full life a lot of folks would envy. In 1973, He began his Royals career as a part-time announcer for the Royals TV broadcasts. When Royals broadcaster Buddy Blattner retired in 1975, White teamed up with Denny Matthews for the Royals radio broadcasts.

Denny and Fred were a fixture of Royals radio broadcasts during the team’s glory days, announcing the 1980 and 1985 World Series and many playoff games. It was White who announced George Brett’s three-run homer off Goose Gossage in the 1980 ALCS and Brett’s 3,000 hit in Anaheim. He also called Bo Jackson’s first big league home run. Denny and Fred worked well together, with their similar announcing styles and their sense of humor. The term “Denny and Fred” or “Fred and Denny” became a lexicon of Royals baseball in the Midwest.

By 1998, the Royals were in decline and the Royals and Entercom, the company responsible for Royals broadcasts, fired Fred White after 25 years with the team. A young broadcaster from Minnesota named Ryan Lefebvre took White’s place. Royals fans were outraged by the move.

After 25 faithful years of service with the Royals, you could understand if White became angry or bitter about being fired. But Fred White wasn’t that type of guy. Instead, he supported Lefebvre and the two became good friends. White took a job with the Royals as the director of broadcast services for the Royals Radio Network, taking a struggling radio affiliate network and making it into the largest baseball radio network in the American League. White also directed activities for former players in the Royals Alumni program.

In 2001, White rejoined the Royals as a part-time announcer. Listening to Denny and Fred again was like listening to the Royals in the old days, even if the current Royals teams weren’t that good.

White didn’t have a catchphrase or even a distinctive voice like Vin Scully. He just had that smooth, Midwestern voice that called a baseball game like it should be called. When I was younger and even recently, listening to Fred White call a game with Denny Matthews or Ryan Lefebvre was a treat, no matter how good or bad the Royals played. Fred will be missed, but he will not be forgotten.

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Kansas City Royals Spring Training Pics From Bob Fescoe

Bob Fescoe spent last week in Surprise, Arizona interviewing Kansas City Royals players and coaches for his morning show on Kansas City’s 610 Sports Radio.

When he was not on the air, he was taking in the sites of early Spring Training and snapping pics that he would later tweet out to his followers.

With Bob’s permission, we share those pics with you below:

Billy Butler BP

Picture 1 of 42

Billy Butler takes BP with Frenchy and Hosmer looking on

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

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Royals Fans Need To Embrace A Chance

We have all been embarrassed by our own family. Whether it’s an overzealous parent, a misbehaving kid, a drunken uncle, or a senile grandparent…we all know the feeling. It’s uncomfortable because we love our family and we understand them better than anyone. It’s also uncomfortable because it usually happens in public, in front of people that don’t love or understand the offending party. That’s exactly how I’ve felt on Twitter the past 24 hours.

I get it, I really do. Wil Myers is going to be Dale Murphy, at least. Just like Alex Gordon was George Brett (I wrote that), Eric Hosmer was Albert Pujols (me again), and Luke Hochevar was a right handed Tom Glavine (okay, no one really said that). Baseball loves prospects and nowhere is that more true than in Kansas City. There are several reasons for that, not the least of which is the fact that prospects are seemingly all we ever have.

Another reason is that we have an incredible network of bloggers in this town that have a great grasp on talent evaluation and advanced metrics. This reason gets overlooked because for the most part these bloggers are looked down upon. They’re seen as cynical, all-knowing nerds that eat pop tarts in their parent’s basement. I’m obviously not in the business of disparaging bloggers, and I love reading what they write. I truly believe we have one of the most knowledgeable networks of baseball bloggers in MLB. That being said, their reaction to the Kansas City Royals’ trade for James Shields has been embarrassing.

For 25 years now we’ve watched and bemoaned the fact that the Royals are always on the opposite side of this trade. Even as recently as two years ago we were trading away Zack Greinke for a wheel barrow full of prospects and jokes about this franchise as a farm club for the rest of MLB remained alive and well. Well, that farm club has been extremely productive recently and we find ourselves with an abundance of position players with potential and nary a pitcher.

The obvious answer in a small market like Kansas City is to turn those prospects into the missing piece(s) for your ball club. Dayton Moore did just that…and he’s being crucified for it. Now I know my community of bloggers and I know that they value being right more than just about anything else. The whole pursuit of advanced statistics is just a pursuit to see who can find the truest “right”. Unfortunately, Dayton Moore has been wrong so many times that in second guessing him, we now always think we’re right. Here are the three main arguments, and my problems with them.

James Shields is not an ace. This is the one that’s gotten me most fired up this week, but it’s also the easiest to debate. After all, what is an “ace”? There is no standard definition. You could say that it’s the #1 starter for a major league team, but that would mean that Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar have both been aces. You could say that it’s an exclusive club of Cy Young winners I suppose, but that seems too stringent. I don’t really care how you choose to define it, Shields is an ace. John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press thinks so. So does Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports. Whether he fits your definition of ace or not, there’s no denying he’s one of the 20 best pitchers in baseball, meaning for the first time since Greinke left our ace would also be an ace on several other teams.

We gave up too much. Wil Myers may be a Hall of Famer…but the odds are against it. Jake Odorizzi may turn into James Shields, but no one is predicting that. The Rays are going to fix Mike Montgomery…well we sure couldn’t. The fact that all of these things are still possibilities is precisely because none of these players have done anything at the major league level. We may one day come to find that we did give too much, but it’s ridiculous to presume you know that now. How many times have we been on the flip side of this? How many times have we complained that we’re always giving up something real for something hoped for? We got the real side this time guys, get excited!

We can’t compete with the Tigers even after this move. This may be the most reasonable of the arguments, but it still irks me. If you truly believe this (of course I don’t) then nothing Dayton Moore does matters. The Royals weren’t going to compete with Wil Myers, no matter how awesome he is, and the current pitching staff. Jake Odorizzi could have maybe been a #3 starter, Mike Montgomery was going nowhere fast in this organization. I’ve heard several say we should have picked up Anibal Sanchez and kept Myers. That works except Sanchez is MUCH more expensive, may not even want to play in KC, and IS NOWHERE CLOSE TO THE PITCHER JAMES SHIELDS IS!

The fact is we gave up a lot of potential for two starting pitchers. One of those starting pitchers ranks ninth in WAR over the last two seasons (slightly ahead of Zack Greinke) and struck out 15 batters while walking NONE in the last game he started. This same pitcher has postseason experience, eats up innings like Prince Fielder eats bratwursts, and seems genuinely happy to be a Royal. We also go a guy that just turned 27 that is markedly better than Luke Hochevar will ever be.

The other fact is we reacted as if Dayton Moore had just traded Ed Hearn for David Cone. While some national pundits are praising Moore for taking a chance…While baseball executives are saying they liked the deal for the Royals…we threw a hissy fit for everyone to see. We diminished Shields’ possible impact to the point of saying that Wil Myers would have made as much of an impact as Shields will….in 2013!

I’ve often said that Kansas City is a great baseball town, and that if we built a winner we would support them as well as any city in America. Well, David Glass has spent the money. Dayton Moore has put his job on the line. Are we going to sit around and complain about losing a prospect or get excited about our new ace? There’s been plenty of time to complain and second guess. We’ve been right plenty of those times too. Now it’s time to support our new pitcher, support our new contender, and go win a damn division!

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Billy Butler Awarded Silver Slugger

Kansas City, MO (November 8, 2012) – Louisville Slugger announced this evening that Royals player Billy Butler is the 2012 Silver Slugger™ Award winner at Designated Hitter in the American League.  Butler becomes the seventh-different Royals player to win a Silver Slugger award (10th time overall), the first since third baseman Dean Palmer in 1998.

The Silver Slugger award winners were determined by a vote of Major League Baseball coaches and managers who named the players they felt were the best offensive producers at each position in both the American and National leagues in 2012. Selections were based on a combination of offensive statistics, including batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, as well as the coaches’ and managers’ general impressions of a player’s overall offensive value.  Managers and coaches were not allowed to vote for players on their own teams. Tabulation of the balloting was verified by the accounting firm of Mountjoy Chilton Medley LLP.

Butler, 26, was awarded his third Les Milgram Royals Player of the Year award (also 2009 and 2010) yesterday.  Appearing in 138 games as the Royals designated hitter, Butler batted .315 (170-for-539) with 23 home runs, 29 doubles and 93 RBI.  He led all designated hitters with 61 runs, 170 hits, 29 doubles and 93 RBI while ranking second in average and home runs.  Overall, Butler batted .313 with 32 doubles, 29 home runs and 107 RBI in 161 contests.

Royals Silver Slugger Award winners (award was instituted in 1980):
George Brett – 1980, 1985 and 1988 (1980 and 1985 at third base, 1988 at first base)
Willie Wilson – 1980 and 1982 (outfield)
Hal McRae – 1982 (designated hitter)
Frank White – 1986 (second base)
Gary Gaetti – 1995 (third base)
Dean Palmer – 1998 (third base)
Billy Butler – 2012 (designated hitter)

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Butler Named 2012 Les Milgram Award Winner

Kansas City, MO (November 7, 2012) – The Kansas City Royals have announced that designated hitter Billy Butler has been named the 2012 Les Milgram Player of the Year.  The award was voted on by the Kansas City Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).

Butler, 26, earned his third Les Milgram Player of the Year award (also 2009 and 2010) after leading the Royals with a .313 average, 29 home runs and 107 RBI.  Butler is the fourth player to win the award at least three times, joining George Brett (1975-76, 1979-80, 1985, 1988, 1990 and 1992), Amos Otis (1971, 1973 and 1978) and Mike Sweeney (2000, 2002 and 2005).  He recorded the eighth season in franchise history with at least a .300 average, 25 home runs and 100 RBI and the first since 2003.  The 2012 All-Star finished fifth in the American League with 192 hits, sixth in RBI and eighth in average.  His 29 home runs were the most by a Royal since Jermaine Dye hit 33 in 2000.  Butler tied for third in baseball with 10 home runs in the eighth inning or later.  The 10 late-inning home runs included three game-tying blasts and three go-ahead home runs.

The Royals announced Monday that shortstop Alcides Escobar won the 2012 Joe Burke Special Achievement award while Greg Holland was announced as the 2012 Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year yesterday.

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Is .390 the greatest Royals record?

As it becomes more and more apparent that Billy Butler will not be breaking the most embarrassing record in Kansas City Royals history I thought it would be a good time to look at the opposite side of the spectrum. More specifically, if Steve Balboni’s 36 home runs are the most embarrassing, then what single season record is the greatest in Royals history? Greatest can mean a lot of things, and I’m talking about all of them; least likely to be broken, most impressive in its time, and most indicative of a great season. I know a lot of you have probably already thought that this has to end with .390, so instead, I’m going to start there.

The Record: George Brett’s .390 batting average in 1980

Likelihood of being broken: Highly unlikely. Ichiro is the only hitter in the major leagues to come within 20 points of .390 in the last ten years and Tony Gwynn (.394) is the only player to top .390 since Brett did 32 years ago.

How impressive was it in its time: Brett’s .390 was the best batting average in the majors since Ted Williams famously topped .400 in 1941, so yeah, it was pretty impressive. What was really more impressive was how long he flirted with .400, though. Looking at strictly in terms of where he finished the season, he was only .002 higher than Rod Carew hit in 1977.

Indication of great season: Make no mistake; Brett’s 1980 season was by all statistical accounts the greatest of his career. His 203 OPS+ ranks as the 43rd best season in the history of the game and there have only been nine better in the last 32 years…six of those nine were Barry Bonds.

Final judgment: This is clearly the standard by which all Royals records are measured, but is it the greatest? Let’s take a look at the challengers…

The Record: Willie Wilson’s 230 hits in 1980

Likelihood of being broken: In the last 25 years the Royals have had three hitters (Johnny Damon, Kevin Seitzer, and Joe Randa) top 200 hits so this one certainly seems possible. Ichiro is the only major leaguer to top 230 since 2000, but since Wilson did it there have been five American League hitters top the mark.

How impressive was it in its time: Other than Rod Carew Wilson was the first American League player with 230 hits since 1932 (Earl Averill). Of course, the fact that Rod Carew had 239 hits and Brett was making a run at .400 certainly took away from the accomplishment.

Indication of great season: More than anything it was an indication of great stamina. Wilson also set the club record with 705 at bats in 1980. It was a good year for Wilson, and great if you consider his gold glove and 79 stolen bases, but it wasn’t even the best offensive year of his career.

Final judgment: A great record, but when you’re overshadowed the year of the accomplishment, you can’t be the greatest

The Record: Mike Sweeney’s 144 RBI in 1980

Likelihood of being broken: During the steroid era, 144 RBI really wasn’t that big of a deal, but no one in baseball has done it for four years now. In fact, no one in the American League has even gotten within 10% of that number. When you factor in Kauffman Stadium and the contributions you need from those in front of you in the order, this at least seems less likely than Wilson’s to be broken.

How impressive was it in its time: Sweeney’s 144 RBI didn’t even lead the league that season, he finished season to Edgar Martinez. The year before Manny Ramirez drove in 165 runs, the year after Sammy Sosa drove in 160.

Indication of great season: Sweeney had a great year in 2000, his greatest in terms of cumulative statistics but a lot of that was because he stayed healthy and had an incredible offense around him. In terms of OPS+ it was his third best year.

Final judgment: Maybe the greatest record in the last thirty years, but the era takes away from so much of it.

The Record: Bret Saberhagen’s 23 wins in 1989

Likelihood of being broken: By a Royals pitcher? Ha! No Royals pitcher has come within six wins of the mark in the last ten years, and no one has come within 20% since Saberhagen set the record. Justin Verlander is the only pitcher in the majors to win more than 23 in the last ten years.

How impressive was it in its time: Frank Viola won 24 in ’88 and Bob Welch won 27 in ’90, so not that impressive right? Well, except for the fact that Sabes’ 23 wins accounted for 25% of all the clubs wins that year, yeah that’s pretty impressive.

Indication of great season: It’s become very fashionable as of late to argue against wins as a barometer of a pitcher’s success, but it’s pretty hard to argue against Saberhagen’s 1989 season. He led the league in innings pitched (262.1), complete games (12), ERA (2.16), WHIP (0.961), and K/BB ratio (4.49). It was easily his greatest season and arguably the greatest season by any Royals pitcher.

Final Judgment: If only it had been in something less arbitrary than wins.

It’s pretty clear at this point that .390 is still the greatest Royals single season record, and probably always will be. None of the four records above are likely to be broken by a Royal any time soon, it’s not often that we see (positive) records broken by Royals players these days, not even franchise records.

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Royals name minor league players and pitchers of the year

KANSAS CITY, MO (August 31, 2012) – The Kansas City Royals have named their Minor League Pitchers and Players of the Year for their respective affiliates.  The Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year and George Brett Hitter of the Year will be announced this offseason.

A majority of the players are expected to be at Kauffman Stadium for Futures Night on Friday, September 14, where they will take part in an autograph session at Gate A from 5:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., as well as be honored in an on-field presentation prior to the Royals game against the Angels.


Right-handed pitcher Jake Odorizzi has been named the Omaha Pitcher of the Year.  The 22-year-old is 11-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) for the playoff-bound Storm Chasers after going 4-2 with a 3.32 ERA in seven starts with Northwest Arkansas (AA) to begin the campaign.  Odorizzi’s 15 combined victories are tied for the second-most in the minors.  He started for the U.S. squad in the SiriusXM MLB All-Star Futures Game this July at Kauffman Stadium, tossing an inning.  Odorizzi, who was acquired with shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress from the Milwaukee Brewers on December 19, 2010, was the 2011 Wilmington Pitcher of the Year.

Wil Myers was named the Omaha Player of the Year.  The 21-year-old, like Odorizzi, began the 2012 season with Northwest Arkansas.  After batting .343 with 13 home runs and 30 RBI in 35 games, the Royals third-round selection from 2009 was promoted to Omaha where he is hitting .293 with 23 home runs and 75 RBI in 95 games.  The 2010 Burlington (IA) Player of the Year’s 36 combined home runs are the second-most in the minor leagues while his 105 RBI place him seventh.  An outfielder on the 12-member All-PCL team, Myers also competed in the SiriusXM MLB All-Star Futures Game this July at Kauffman Stadium, was named the “Star of Stars” at the Triple-A All-Star Game and is a finalist forUSA Today Minor League Player of the Year.


Right-handed pitcher Michael Mariot, 23, has been named the Northwest Arkansas Pitcher of the Year.  The University of Nebraska alum, who was recently promoted to Omaha, went 6-3 with one save and a 3.40 ERA in 31 games, including 14 starts, for the Naturals.  Mariot was the club’s eighth-round pick in 2010.

23-year-old Christian Colon is the Northwest Arkansas Player of the Year.  The middle infielder saw his season end prematurely in mid-August due to a right eye injury after batting .412 in five games for Omaha.  Colon, the club’s first round pick (fourth overall) in 2010 out of Cal State-Fullerton, hit .289 with five home runs and 12 stolen bases in 73 games for Northwest Arkansas.  The right-handed batter drew 37 walks and struck out just 27 times in 85 combined contests in 2012.


Right-handed starter Yordano Ventura was named Wilmington Pitcher of the Year.  The 21-year-old, who started and tossed a scoreless inning for the World team in the SiriusXM MLB All-Star Futures Game this July at Kauffman Stadium, is currently pitching with Northwest Arkansas.  He opened the 2012 season with Wilmington, posting a 3-5 record with a 3.30 ERA in 16 starts, striking out 98 in 76.1 innings.  The five-foot-11 Ventura was signed out of Samana, Dominican Republic, as a non-drafted free agent on October 8, 2008.

Whit Merrifield, 23, is the Wilmington Player of the Year.  Now at Northwest Arkansas, the former national champion from the University of South Carolina hit .258 with 20 doubles, eight homers, 59 runs scored and 25 stolen bases in 30 attempts in 101 games for the Blue Rocks.  Merrifield, who has played extensively in both the infield and outfield, was the Royals’ ninth-round pick in the 2010 Draft.


21-year-old Angel Baez was named the Kane County Pitcher of the Year.  The six-foot-three right-hander is 6-5 with a 3.17 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) with the Cougars, striking out 83 in 76.2 innings.  Baez, a resident of Juan Baron, Dominican Republic, was acquired as a non-drafted free agent on July 21, 2008.

19-year-old outfielder Jorge Bonifacio was named the Kane County Player of the Year.  Bonifacio will make his third-consecutive trip to Kansas City after being named the 2010 Dominican Royals Player of the Year and the 2011 Burlington Royals Player of the Year.  The younger brother of Marlins outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, he is batting .282 with 20 doubles, six triples, 10 home runs, 61 RBI and 54 runs scored in 105 games for the Cougars.  Born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Bonifacio was signed by the Royals as a non-drafted free agent on December 9, 2009.


Left-handed pitcher Sam Selman, selected by Kansas City in the second round this June, is the Idaho Falls Pitcher of the Year.  Selman, 21, was recently named the Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year.  He is 5-3 with a league-leading 2.11 ERA in 12 games (11 starts), allowing just 41 hits in 55.1 innings, holding Pioneer League batters to a .202 average, best in the circuit.  The six-foot-three hurler from Austin, Texas, by way of Vanderbilt University, has struck out a league-best 84 and walked just 22.

Outfielder Ethan Chapman, 22, has been named the Idaho Falls Player of the Year.  Chapman, selected in the 30th round of the 2012 Draft out of Cal State San Bernardino, is batting .314 with eight triples, tied for third in the league, 52 runs scored, fifth in the league, and 22 stolen bases, tied for second in the league.


18-year-old left-handed pitcher Colin Rodgers has been named the Burlington Pitcher of the Year.  Rodgers, the team’s third-round selection in this year’s draft out of Parkview Baptist School in Louisiana, went 3-1 with a 2.05 ERA in 11 starts for the B-Royals, allowing opponents to hit just .226 against him.  Rodgers made the start last night in the second game of Burlington’s first-round playoff series.

Outfielder Bubba Starling, 20, is the Burlington Royals Player of the Year in 2012.  The club’s first-round pick (fifth overall) in last year’s draft out of Gardner-Edgerton (Kan.) High School batted .275 with 10 home runs, 33 RBI and 35 runs scored in 53 regular season games.  The six-foot-five centerfielder also swiped 10 bases in 11 attempts.  Starling last night was 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI as Burlington evened their best-of-three playoff series at a game apiece.


Matt Tenuta, an 18-year-old left-hander, has been named the Surprise Royals Pitcher of the Year.  The six-foot-four hurler from Apex High in North Carolina went 3-5 with a 4.58 ERA in 13 games (one start) with Surprise, surrendering just one home run in 39.1 innings.  Tenuta was selected in the 25th round of the 2012 Draft.

Outfielder Alexis Rivera has been named the Surprise Royals Player of the Year.  Rivera, 18, was sixth in the league batting .341 with seven doubles, four triples, three home runs, 34 RBI and 35 runs scored in 48 games and was named to the Arizona League All-Star team.  The left-handed hitter originally from Ponce, Puerto Rico, was the Royals’ 10th round pick 2012 out of Montverde Academy in Florida.


Right-handed pitcher Miguel Almonte is the Dominican Royals Pitcher of the Year.  The 19-year-old made 10 starts for the Dominican Royals, recording a 6-1 record with a 1.44 ERA, allowing just 34 hits and 8 walks with 46 strikeouts in 50.0 innings.  The six-foot-two resident of Santiago, Dominican Republic, who signed as a non-drafted free agent on November 20, 2010, is currently pitching for Burlington after a brief stint with the Surprise Royals in Arizona where he went 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA in six games (two starts).

Infielder Wander Franco, signed by Kansas City as a non-drafted free agent on September 26, 2011, is the Dominican Royals Player of the Year.  Franco, 17, hit .315 with 14 doubles, five triples, 38 RBI, 45 runs scored and 13 stolen bases in 66 games.  The switch hitter currently resides in Bani, Dominican Republic.

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