Tag Archive | "Good Job"

Is Donnie Joseph for real, or a spring mirage?

You can’t take too much stock in Spring Training performances. For instance, there’s left-handed reliever Donnie Joseph. In two one-inning relief appearances, Joseph faced and struck out six batters, which is impressive. Of course the batters he faced were AAA level players and five of them were left-handed. But if a pitcher is going to make a good impression in Spring Training, Joseph is doing a good job of it.

John Sleezer/The Kansas City Star

Last July, the Royals got Joseph when they sent veteran reliever Jonathan Broxton to Cincinnati. In four Minor League seasons, Joseph pitched in 193 games over 225.1 innings with a 3.55 ERA and a 3.01 SO/BB ratio, all in relief.

Joseph struggled when he went to AAA Omaha. In 11 games over 17.1 innings, his ERA was 4.15. He struck out 19 batters and gave up 13 walks, ending up with a 1.46 SO/BB ratio.

Despite the two good outings striking out the side, Joseph is a long shot to make the team. His command of the strike zone is inconsistent, and he’s only pitched 29 games in AAA. And there’s the current makeup of the bullpen. The Royals plan to carry seven relievers and for now Greg Holland, Kelvin Herrera, Tim Collins and Aaron Crow are locks. And who doesn’t get the fifth starter job between Bruce Chen, Luke Hochevar and Luis Mendoza will join the bullpen as long relievers. That leaves one spot and 14 pitchers are vying for that spot, including Joseph.

As a lefty, Joseph could be the left-handed specialist if he makes the team. He’s on the on 40-man roster and has options remaining, so even with a great spring, Joseph might end up in Omaha, especially with the strength of the Royals bullpen. If he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster, it wouldn’t hurt Joseph to get more experience facing AAA batters and improving his command. Even if he starts the season in Omaha, it’s likely he’ll be with the Royals sometime this year.

Donnie Joseph isn’t for real yet, but he’s not a mirage either.

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Hall Monitor: Baseball Reference Ranks Royals’ Chances at Cooperstown

For failing to garner 5% of votes cast this year, Juan Gonzalez will be dropped from the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot next year, leaving the Kansas City Royals with no former players on the regular ballot.

Jason Kendall

Do the Royals have any chance of getting a player in the Hall anytime soon? It’s looking like it will be a very long time.

As I documented in a previous article, few former Royals have ever received significant support to be in the Hall. In fact, few have ever even received the requisite 5% to remain eligible.

Two current players with an outside chance at making it might even consider wearing the Royals’ cap, were they to make it to Cooperstown. Carlos Beltran and Johnny Damon have a shot, and each spent a significant portion of his career in KC.

But according to a Baseball-Reference ranking system, a couple of other former Royals might actually have a better shot at making the hall. A graph called the Hall of Fame Monitor shows that the next in line with the best shot at the Hall is actually none other than… Jason Kendall.

Shocked? I was.

Next after Kendall? Roberto Hernandez.

Disgusted? I was.

The system ranks former players and attempts to predict the chances of current and recently retired players of being elected to the Hall. It awards points for a variety of accomplishments and especially rewards longevity and offensive output from catchers and shortstops. The system describes itself as follows:

This is another Jamesian creation. It attempts to assess how likely (not how deserving) an active player is to make the Hall of Fame. It’s rough scale is 100 means a good possibility and 130 is a virtual cinch. It isn’t hard and fast, but it does a pretty good job.

Gonzalez actually came in with a rating of 120, the exact same rating as the newly inducted Barry Larkin. Gonzalez ranks ahead of a number of Hall of Famers, including recently elected outfielder Andre Dawson. But Gonzalez was undoubtedly penalized for his link to performance-enhancing drugs.

With Gonzalez now gonzo, the former Royal with the most reasonable chance now is Kendall with a 108 ranking. But while the system says a 100 ranking would indicate a chance, don’t tell that to former Royals Vida Blue, David Cone and Bob Boone. Each was over 100 and got nary a sniff from the voters.

Beltran comes in surprisingly low (in my mind) at just 92. He is penalized mostly for a low number of career hits and a low career average. When he reaches 400 homers and 2000 career hits (this season?), his ranking will jump considerably.

Damon sits currently at 90 points. If he could somehow reach the 3000 hit mark (273 away) he would become a virtual lock for the Hall. According to the system, that’s about his only shot.

Such systems are not without flaws, and it’s not hard to find some rankings you disagree with. Personally I don’t like seeing Hernandez (93 points) come in ahead of Dan Quisenberry (77) and Jeff Montgomery (74).

But like the system or not, it illustrates the sad truth. Unless the Royals acquire some aged star who’s playing out the twilight of his career (see former Royals Harmon Killebrew, Gaylord Perry and Orlando Cepeda), it could be more than a decade before we think about a Royal joining George Brett in Cooperstown.

Former Royals Chances of Making the Hall of Fame, According to the Baseball Reference Hall of Fame Monitor:

Batters eligible – Top 200 all time (rank #, total points):

#116 (tie) Juan Gonzalez – 120 points
#153 (tie) Bob Boone – 102 points
#176 Vada Pinson – 95 points
#177 (tie) Benito Santiago – 94 points

Batters not yet eligible – Top 100 (rank #, total points):

#27 (tie) Jason Kendall – 108 points
#38 Carlos Beltran – 92 points
#40 Johnny Damon – 90 points
#77 Mark Grudzielanek – 49 points
#78 (tie) Jermaine Dye – 48 points
#78 (tie) Mike Sweeney – 48 points

Pitchers eligible – Top 200 (rank #, total points):

#78 (tie) Vida Blue – 114 points
#93 David Cone – 103 points
#152 (tie) Dan Quisenberry – 77 points
#161 (tie) Jeff Montgomery – 74 points
#167 (tie) Bret Saberhagen – 70 points

Pitchers not yet eligible – Top 100 (rank #, total points):

#17 Roberto Hernandez – 93 points
#43 (tie) Tom Gordon – 47 points
#58 (tie) Joakim Soria – 34 points
#67 (tie) Zach Greinke – 22 points
#95 (tie) Octavio Dotel – 19 points

Batters already in – Top 200 (rank #, total points):

#39 George Brett – 210 points
#55 (tie) Harmon Killebrew – 178 points
#108 (tie) Orlando Cepeda – 126 points

Pitchers already in – Top 200 (rank #, total points):

#29 Gaylord Perry – 177 points

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United Cardinal Bloggers Get To Know Each Other

Since the launch of this site, i70baseball has been a member of the United Cardinal Bloggers (UCB) and we have always been anxious to help out with any projects or events they wish to have us help out with.

This month, the UCB decided to have writers from various sites around the internet do a brief interview of each other and introduce the fans of our site to a writer from another site that you may or may not know. You can read the entirety of the posts over at the main site.

That being said, I proudly present to you Dustin (DJ) McClure, the guy behind Welcome To Baseball Heaven.

DJ McClure

Where do you currently live? Originally from?

O’Fallon, MO / Originally from Iowa

What made you follow/become a fan of the Cards?

Well like I said I’m originally from Iowa and we didn’t have an MLB team. Every summer my Dad and I would go on trips to see different parks in our general vicinity (KC, STL, Chicago, etc.). Our first trip to St. Louis I believe was in 1992 or so. I immediately fell in love with the atmosphere at Busch and I’ve been a Cards fan ever since.

Who was your favorite player as a child? Now?

My favorite players past to present: Ray Lankford, Jim Edmonds, Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter.

What do you wish the team would do different?

Score more runs. Pitch better. Win more games. Just kidding. Unfortunately we don’t have the personnel to play better defense and put more runners in motion so I’ve got nothing. Well maybe no more crazy TLR lineups.

What do you think the team does well now?

This year’s version of the Cardinals does a good job of battling and playing hard. It’s not always pretty and the outcome is not always what we want but I always feel this team plays a hard nine on a consistent basis.

When someone goes to your site, what can they expect (Shameless Self Promotion)?

As of right now not a whole lot. My writing has taken a backseat to some pretty cool stuff taking place in my personal life. I promise my mediocre writing will be returning soon to capture the hearts of a few.

Do you write or appear on other sites?

I have not as of yet. I’d welcome the opportunity to guest post in the future.

Give me one Cardinal, current or past, that you just never liked…

Easy. J.D. Drew. Scott Boras as his agent. Disabled list every season as a Cardinal. I did always enjoy referring to him as “Nancy” Drew. The best thing about Drew was the fact he brought us Adam Wainwright.

Same questions for any MLB player…

Francisco Rodriguez or “K-Rod” Anytime dude gets a save or a big strikeout to end an inning he celebrates as if he’s just won the World Series. He’s always had electric stuff but other than that he’s just a tool.

What do you do professionally (“real job”)?

I work in the wireless industry.

What would your dream job be?

Anything that would allow me to be involved in the daily operations of the Cardinals or any MLB organization and also travel with the team.

The United Cardinal Bloggers is a group of writers that have come together in a network to complete writing projects about the St Louis Cardinals. UCB has also developed a weekly radio show/podcast called the UCB Radio Hour.

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Royals Potpourri I

It’s been said that the Major League Baseball season is a grind. Night-in, night-out, day-after-day. I’m sure it gets old for the players and the ancillary support employees. But I’m not feeling sorry for them, not even the ancillary non millionaire employees. Would you rather have a real job? Or a real job that involves baseball on some level? I know which one I would choose.

Since I committed to blogging about the Royals once I week I’ve done a good job of coming up with stuff to write about. But now almost a third into the season it’s starting to feel like a grind. I’ve got some serious writers block, or if I’ve offended some of the formally educated writers, bloggers block. I have a few ideas marinating, but not enough time to do the necessary research before the deadline.

I have a few thoughts on this past weeks Royal’s action that I have not seen expressed by others. However, by themselves aren’t enough to write an entire blog entry worth anyone’s time. So I’ll just combine them like a potpourri:

-The Royals are 2-7 against the Indians this season. This is highly troubling to me as a Royals fan. The Royals are the second youngest team in the majors. The only team that’s younger is the Indians. It maybe true the Indians are a little ahead of the Royals in their development, and there are still pieces of the future down in Omaha. Strategically these teams are in the same place. These games haven’t been close. The Indians have throttled the Royals. If the Royals are to ever win this division they’re going to have to beat the current Indians team. They’re not going any where, and they will get better. The fact that the Royals young guys are getting beat by the Indians young guys is cause for concern. Look for this rivalry to develop a little more over the years.

-As Royals fans we’ve seen our share of losing. Not just losing, but embarrassing, comical, historically bad losing. The list of bloopers is so long I could probably write a whole post about it. But I’m not. And my favorite you can’t even quantify in a highlight real. I have a favorite blooper. Mainly because I was in attendance. On July 1st, 2005 against the LAA Angels David DeJesus and Angel Berroa batted out of order in the first inning. 2005 was also the year of the 19 game losing streak. Historical, pathetic, and embarrassing. I thought the dark days of 2005 were behind us. But this week the Royals brought us two more Yackety Sax moments in one week:

Vin Mazzaro’s 14 run performance against the Indians was the first. So bad it made not just national sports headlines, but national news headlines. You can blame Ned Yost for keeping him out there. You can blame Vin Mazzaro for being terrible. Either way it was an organizational failure that resulted in something so bad it had not been done before. However, there was some good news. Vin Mazzaro got Danny Duffy’s Nexrad Laptop, Mesonet, and barometer.

Photo Courtesy of Minda Haas

But the Royals weren’t done with the goofyness. During Wednesday’s game Jerod Dyson and Mike Aviles got picked off first as pinch runners in the 9th inning. Think about that. They were brought in to run bases, and got picked off. Two pinch runners being picked off in the same inning not happened since 1896. At least it’s happened before.

I can deal with some losing. After all, I still care enough about the Royals to watch, listen, and write. But is it too much to ask to not be historically terrible along the way?

-Finally, This weekend is the first round of the 2011 I70 Series. I kind of feel obligated to mention it…since it’s the title of the site and all. I have to admit. I vaguely remember the 1985 World Series as I was too young. All of my memories of that would be second hand, or after the fact. I did not catch on to the full ramifications of the Kansas City – St Louis rivalry until I moved to Kansas City in 2003. Growing up in Wichita I thought it was OK to root for the Cardinals as an NL Team. I quickly learned that liking both the Royals and Cardinals is sort of bad form in either city. In 2003 the Royals had their swagger back, and I attended 2 of 3 games at Kauffman Stadium. My brother and I ran our mouths to the St Louis fans and had a good time even though the Royals lost two of three in that series. I also remember the return series in St Louis ending with Mike MacDougal, yes that Mike MacDougal striking out the Great Pujols looking with a nasty 12-6 curve ball. Royals and Cards split the 2003 I70 Series. Since the Royals have been so bad since then I really haven’t taken notice of the series since then. But since leaving Kansas City…I still kind of root for the Cardinals, but don’t tell anyone.

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Taking a Look…

A Royal Review

Opening up at home after a good spring training is just the thing this young ball club needed after showing off to mainly Arizona natives and a handful or reporters. A chance to show off their energy that made this writer intrigued for the first time in awhile.

I was extremely skeptical of what this team would look like after seeing the off-season transactions that took place. Two all-star caliber players off to new teams, a veteran taking one for the team (good job Gil) and lots of young, inexperienced but very energetic and enthused players.

Opening Day, the bats were as cool as the weather. The Royals went scoreless until late in the game and came up short in the end. However, the defense committed three errors, which was a problem reminiscent of last season. Any time you commit an error, it gives you an extra out and the Royals gave a whole extra inning to the Angels on Thursday.

Friday night was a different story however. The game was tight from start to finish despite the both defenses making what could have been costly errors but did not come back to haunt either team. However, in the bottom of the ninth Kila Ka’aihue blasted a ball over the right field wall for the game winning home run.

Coming Up

The Royals will finish their four game series with the Angels with a game on Saturday and Sunday. It may also be noted that there will be a special double header following Saturday’s game featuring the Storm Chasers and the Naturals, the Royals AAA and AA affiliates, respectively.

The Royals then have Monday off as they prepare to host the Chicago White Sox for a quick two game series. After that series, the Royals will have another day off before having a weekend series against another central division foe, the Detroit Tigers.

The Royals struggled against both of these teams last year. Accumulating a below par 16-20 combined record against these teams last year, the Royals look to improve upon those numbers. If they are going to compete this year, they are going to have to be able to consistently play well against division opponents.

Having these two days off this coming week will keep the Royals well rested before hitting a string of thirteen straight playing days beginning on April 12. The good news is that eight of those thirteen games are at home and against teams that finished off last season in just as bad shape as the Royals did (Cleveland and Seattle). However, before the Royals can get to these two teams, the Royals have to go to Detroit and then to Minnesota.

Solid pitching, timely hitting and executing on defense are the ways to win ball games. If the Royals can do that, they can compete with anyone.

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Cardinals Schedule Outlook: August

August heats up for the Cardinals and everyone currently predicts they will still be in the hunt of things when it does.

If in fact the Cardinals do find themselves deep in the division competition, one of the predicted top of the division foes will be the Milwaukee Brewers. The two teams will surely find some separation this month as they face of eight times in the Midwest heat.

The Cardinals will also find themselves on the road for most of August and facing other division foes like the Cubs and Pirates who, despite their records, seem to do a good job of playing spoiler.

August Breakdown:

Total Games: 28

Home: 13

Road: 15

Vs teams with winning records in 2010: 10

Vs teams with losing records in 2010: 18

Vs teams in the NL Central: 18

Key Series:

August 1-3 at Milwaukee, 9-11 vs Milwaukee, 30-31 at Milwaukee – the Brewers will look to untuck the Cardinals playoff hopes before September arrives while the boys in red will attempt to prove that all the pitching help Milwaukee employed during the off-season will not help them win a pennant.

While the Brewers were the most improved team in the NL Central this off-season, many pundits question whether they did enough. Over the course of these three series in August, we should find out just what the team is made of.

August 22-24 vs Los Angeles – The boys of Dodger Blue come calling near the end of the month and may have a chip on their shoulder to prove as well. A team stuck in the middle of a youth movement and a contender, the Dodgers may or may not find themselves in the thick of things by late summer depending on who you ask. Either way, these two storied franchises will challenge the thermometer to keep up with the play on the field as they light it up for a Summer classic in St. Louis.

Key To a Hot August:

The August schedule is an interesting one. There are teams the Cardinals should, and honestly have to, beat as well as contenders and division foes. It will be a challenge for the Cardinals as the season really heats up. This is the month that lineups and rotations have to prove they are healthy and can compete as their bodies are giving out.

At the end of August:

If the Cardinals have 14+ wins… they are not playing well enough to win this division. With 18 games against teams within the division, the Cardinals have to over-achieve a bit in August.

If the Cardinals are above .500… they have a start towards a playoff run. Honestly, this team does not need to finish above .500 in August, it needs to finish well above .500 in August. Anything less than 18 wins and September will be real interesting.

If the Cardinals are below .500… the season is looking down a barrel of the nastiest kind. If this team is under-achieving to this level and expects the Pujols contract not to be a distraction, everyone is fooled. If the Cardinals want to keep Pujols on the back burner and the season in focus, they cannot lose the month of August.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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St. Louis Cardinals Monday Morning Links: December 20

It has been a quiet week on the Cardinals front, but not so much for the division. The Brewers got better by working with the other I-70 team, but you will find the rundown of all of that on the Royals links today.

A few of the Cardinal sites out there paused for a few minutes to pay tribute to Bob Feller. You can read Retrosimba’s look at a young Rapid Robert by clicking here and I-70’s own Michael Metzger paying tribute to a fellow serviceman on his site, Stan Musial’s Stance, by clicking here.

Another alumni of the site, Bob Netherton, runs his own site that takes frequent walks down memory lane. This week, Bob takes a stance on the player (or the type of player) the Cardinals really need. Read up on Vince Coleman and what he did for the Cards by clicking here.

Our good friends over at CardsGM take a look at the Cardinals, with a Black Eyed Peas twist. You can give it a read by clicking here.

JD over at Bleed Cardinal Red With Me takes a look at John Sickel’s top 20 list of Cardinal Prospects for the upcoming season. Give it a read by clicking here.

If all else fails and you are feeling brave, drop by our friends at Cards Diaspora and check out the 12 Days of Cardinals Crapmas. Be careful though, they are not the most family friendly site.

It’s a slow time of year for Cardinal news, but the sites above do a good job of giving some quality content during the cold months.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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