Tag Archive | "Jeff Francoeur"

Kansas City Royals: Still a ways to go

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

DaytonMoore

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

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

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

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

Posted in RoyalsComments (0)

Triple Play: Michael Cuddyer, Jeff Francoeur, Lance Berkman

This week’s Triple Play finds us at the half-way point of the season. As the All-Star break comes into view, we look at a record-setting Rockies outfielder, the end of an error in Kansas City, our weekly Wainwright Walk Watch, and more. Off we go:

AndrewMcCutchen2

Who’s Hot?

Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies

At first glance, it looks like Cuddyer picked a perfect time to go on an extended hot streak. With shortstop and team leader Troy Tulowitzki injured and not expected back until mid-to-late July, Cuddyer has set a Rockies franchise record for longest hitting streak (27 games). During that time, he has put up a .344/.370/.563 batting line, with five home runs, 14 RBI, and 15 runs scored. If you look a little closer, though, you see that Cuddyer has been hitting well all season:

  • April – .313/383/.563, .946 OPS
  • May – .396/.441/.660, 1.101 OPS
  • June – .352/.381/.593, .975

For the season, Cuddyer has mashed 14 home runs, 48 RBI, scored 38 runs and even swiped six bases. After injuries contributed to a disappointing 2012, Rockies fans are seeing why the team was willing to sign Cuddyer to a three-year, $31.5 million dollar deal before the 2012 season. He hasn’t just been a Coors Field hitter, either; he has more extra-base hits and RBI in road games. With the Rockies’ historical propensity to struggle on the road, that has been a godsend for the team. Cuddyer’s history (lifetime .275/.344/.462 hitter) suggests that he will not continue this pace, but given how the Rockies have scuffled without Tulo (6-10 while on the DL), they have to be thrilled with what Cuddyer has given them this season. If you own him in your fantasy league, it might be time to consider selling high; his value will never be higher.

Who’s Not?

Jeff Francoeur, Kansas City Royals

Royals fans rejoice! Your team has finally seen the light. You will no longer have to suffer through watching Jeff Francouer bumble his way through another terrible at-bat, as he was designated for assignment Saturday. Maybe it was the batting average (.209). Maybe it was the complete and utter lack of production since May 1 (2 HR, 6 RBI, 9 runs). Whatever the case, Frenchy’s time in Kansas City is over. Royals fans can look forward to watching David Lough and Jarrod Dyson share duties in right field for the remainder of the season (barring a trade, of course). For the season, Francoeur has tallied just 3 homers and 13 RBI in 182 at-bats over 58 games. As June went on, the Royals began to play Lough more and more while Francoeur found himself on the bench. Once the fleet-footed Dyson was activated from the DL, the choice became clear: the team would be far better served by giving extended playing time to the 27-year-old Lough and 28-year-old Dyson instead of the 29-year-old Francoeur. Seeing that Frenchy is only 29 made me do a double take. Doesn’t it seem like he has been around for about about 15 years? Maybe that’s just how it feels to watch him flail away helplessly at the plate night after night.

In any case, it has become clear that he does not belong in the major leagues. Naturally, the New York media immediately speculated that the Mets may be interested in bringing Francoeur back. Considering that the Mets’ outfield Saturday consisted of Eric Young Jr, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Marlon Byrd (and their signing of Rick Ankiel already this season), one can never be sure.

Playing the Name Game

Player A: 31 HR, 80 RBI, 60 runs, .329/.408/.724, 201 OPS+

Player B: 25 HR, 82 RBI, 64 runs, .373/.463/.676, 202 OPS+

Player A is Chris Davis. Like a certain commercial character, Davis just keeps going and going and…..well, you get the idea. After belting two more home runs in Saturday’s win over the Yankees, Davis became the first player in baseball history to belt at least 30 home runs and 25 doubles by the end of June (according to the Elias Sports Bureau). In addition to 50 doubles, he is on pace for 60 homers, 158 RBI, 118 runs scored and a .333 batting average. As it is, Davis has already met or exceeded many of the SEASON projections analysts forecasted for him. If things continue this way, the Davis/Tommy Hunter-for-Koji Uehara trade is going to go down as one of the greatest in Orioles history.

Meanwhile, Miguel Cabrera (Player B) has been so ridiculously good for so long now that we take it for granted. Going into Sunday’s games, Cabrera led the American League in the following categories: hits (118), runs scored, RBI, walks (48), on-base percentage, OPS (1.139), and park-adjusted OPS+. He is on pace for a 49-166-129-.374 batting line this season, which would actually surpass his Triple Crown-winning season in 2012. Watching these two players slug it out for the rest of the season is going to be great fun.

Player A: .324/.428/.351, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 SB, 9 runs

Player B: .466/.578/.889, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 5 SB, 11 runs

Player A is the Yankees’ Robinson Cano, generally considered the best second baseman in the American League (particularly in fantasy baseball). Player B is Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis. Over the past two weeks, nobody in baseball – not Chris Davis, not Miguel Cabrera, not Pedro Alvarez, not Michael Cuddyer – has been hotter than the Tribe’s 26-year-old middle sacker. Cano is on pace for a 30 HR-100 RBI-10 SB-90 run season, which is elite territory in fantasy baseball for second baseman. Kipnis is on pace for 25-105-39-90, which would better Cano in every category except home runs. Considering the dearth of speed in fantasy baseball these days, the extra steals give Kipnis a bump in value over Cano. At 26, Kipnis figures to only get better. As a fan of Kipnis going into the 2012 season, I’m calling it now: by the end of 2013, he will end the season as the top-rated fantasy second baseman in the American League. That’s not a knock on Cano, who remains the top power-hitting second baseman in either league. But a player who can offer 25-homer/40-steal potential is worth top dollar – and Kipnis is that guy.

Random Thoughts

  • Wainwright Walk Watch: Adam Wainwright pitched 37 innings this season before walking his first batter. Since then, he has continued to be the stingiest starting pitcher in baseball when it comes to issuing free passes. As such, we are tracking his total for the 2013 season. Saturday night, Wainwright rebounded from a couple of tough starts to handcuff the Oakland A’s in a 7-1 victory. The Cardinals’ ace fanned eight batters, allowed five hits and walked a pair while improving his record to 11-5. For the season, Wainwright has punched out 114 batters while walking just 12; that 9.5 ratio is still tops in the National League, although it has dropped from the double-digit ratio it had been throughout the season. In the American League, only Bartolo Colon has a similar walk total (13), but Colon has struck out barely half the hitters as Wainwright. The American League leader in K/BB ratio is Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma, at 5.94. That measure tells you just how in control Wainwright has been this season.
  • Scheduled pitchers for St. Louis against the Angels this week are Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, and Wainwright. Wainwright vs. Pujols will be some must-see TV on Thursday. Get your popcorn ready.
  • Pittsburgh is the first team in 2013 to win 50 games, marking the first time that has happened since 1960. You might recall that the season ended pretty happily for the Pirates and their fans that year.
  • Speaking of the Pirates, here’s an idea: trade for Cliff Lee. The Phillies aren’t going anywhere this season and need to rebuild. Pittsburgh has a deep farm system and a real chance to play October baseball for the first time in 21 years. Lee would represent a huge financial commitment for the Pirates ($25 million per season through 2015) and would probably require the Pirates to surrender two or three of their best prospects. Yes, that is an exorbitant price. But it’s been 21 years. An entire generation of Pittsburgh fans has no idea what it is like for the local baseball team to be good. Acquiring Lee to anchor the rotation would send a message that there will be no collapse like 2011-12.
  • Incidentally, for those of you wondering why Dustin Pedroia wasn’t included in the Kipnis/Cano note above about the best second basemen in the AL, it’s very simple: you all get back to me when he has more home runs than Brian Dozier and we’ll talk. The laser show has gotten pretty lame.
  • There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground in a Derek Holland start. It’s either the penthouse or the outhouse. You either get the complete-game, two-hit shutout version like the Yankees saw last Thursday night, or you’re stuck with the version that allowed a combined 20 baserunners in 10 1/3 innings and eight runs earlier this month versus the Blue Jays and Indians. I’m sure Ron Washington wishes he knew which one he would get every fifth day.
  • All the Alex Rodriguez drama has overshadowed the Yankees’ tailspin. Since June 1, when New York was one game back in the AL East, they are 11-16 and have lost five in a row. They find themselves two games away from the division basement. Is that where they will be when Derek Jeter returns to the field?
  • The Giants are in trouble as well. After being swept by Colorado, the defending world champions have sunk to fourth in the NL West, only one game ahead of last-place Los Angeles. Guess who is headed to the bay for a weekend series?
  • Sunday’s win over the Rockies notwithstanding, the Giants’ offense has been putrid since losing outfielder Angel Pagan to injury. Buster Posey can’t carry the team by himself.
  • In related news, Francoeur’s agent already has called Giants’ GM Brian Sabean (NOTE: I have no more evidence of this than any other baseball writer).
  • Despite not playing since May 26, Bryce Harper ranks 2nd on the Nationals in home runs, 4th in RBI, and 5th in runs scored. No wonder Washington is 14th in the NL in hitting. Safe to say he’ll be welcomed back this week with open arms.
  • Lance Berkman Is A National Treasure, Volume 58: the Big Puma evidently slipped and fell down the stairs of the Rangers’ charter plane after returning home from New York last week, making for a sore knee and some missed games. A reporter asked Berkman if it was just a freak accident. “No,” Berkman replied, “Premeditated.”  How great is that?

Follow me on Twitter: @ccaylor10

Posted in Cardinals, I-70 Baseball Exclusives, MLB, RoyalsComments (0)

Dyson stealing his way into fans’ hearts

Speed kills and Jarrod Dyson has speed to burn.

JarrodDyson4

 

In the third inning of Tuesday’s game against the Braves, this was on full display. Dyson bunted down the third base line for a single to lead off the inning. He wasted no time stealing second base. He ended up being stranded on third base, but he showed how dangerous his speed can be for opposing teams. Without hitting the ball out of the infield, he had himself in scoring position.

This is what Dyson brings to the table for the Royals. His elite speed gives the team an added weapon that they were missing while Dyson was on the DL (he missed over a month with a high ankle sprain).

The Royals are currently fourth in the majors with 60 steals and Dyson’s return from the DL should only help add to that number. In his first three games back, Dyson had three steals. In 102 games last season, Dyson swiped 30 bases and he stole over 30 bases in four different minor league seasons.

Dyson isn’t the only threat on the bases for the Royals. Alcides Escobar and Elliot Johnson have 11 steals each and Lorenzo Cain has nine. Even first baseman Eric Hosmer has seven steals.

The Royals now have a log jam in the outfield with five players more than capable of manning the position. Alex Gordon should stick in left field. Dyson, Cain, and David Lough can all play center field and Jeff Francoeur is still around to play right field. On Wednesday, Cain played in center with Francouer in right against left-hander Mike Minor. In the previous two games, Dyson played in center with Lough in right, while Cain and Francoeur sat.

With Dyson in the lineup, the Royals are one of the fastest teams in the majors, especially if Dyson, Cain, Escobar and Johnson are all on the field at the same time.

Dyson currently sports a slash line of .292/.320/.604. If he continues to hit and get on base, he should force his way into the lineup, especially against right-handed pitchers.

Because the outfield is so crowded, Dyson may not see everyday at-bats. But even in limited plate appearances, Dyson could threaten the 30 steals mark on the season, which will only help the speedy Royals push the envelope on the base paths.

Posted in RoyalsComments (0)

Lately the Royals offense is more lucky than good

After being ten games below .500 at one point, the Kansas City Royals made it to the .500 mark early this week before losing two in a row to the Cleveland Indians, falling to a 34-36 record.

Chris_Getz

After the debacle of May, it’s good the see the Royals playing better baseball. But they’re not playing good enough to contend for the A. L. Central, much less be a playoff contending team. Losing two out of three games to the Indians proves that. The team batting average is .257, which is only point better than last week. They’re also dead last in the A. L. with 37 home runs and a .368 slugging average, so the power isn’t there.

While first baseman Eric Hosmer shows improvement with a revised swing, third baseman Mike Moustakas is stuck with a .189 batting average and calls from some fans to send him down to the Minors and move Alex Gordon to third. Sending Moustakas to the Minors might help, but moving Gordon to third is a bad idea. Remember one of the reasons the Royals moved Gordon to the outfield? It’s because he wasn’t that good at third base.

And then there’s the Jarrod Dyson coming back from the DL problem. Dyson isn’t the problem. Outfielder Jeff Francoeur is the problem. Francoeur is at .214/.257/.335 and spends more time on the bench while David Lough patrols the outfield. Lough was called up when Dyson went on the DL, and Lough has done well with a .296/.310/.418 line and made a couple of spectacular defensive plays. He’s proven to be at least a league average outfielder and better than Francoeur is now. Which means Lough will likely be sent down to the Minors when Dyson returns.

Yes, it doesn’t make sense, but sometimes the realities of baseball doesn’t make sense. Dyson doesn’t have options remaining, so if the Royals don’t add Dyson to the major league roster, they have to trade, option or release him, which the Royals won’t do. However, Lough does have options remaining and the Royals can send him back to Omaha with no restrictions.

The Royals could release Francoeur and eat his remaining $4 million salary, but it’s unlikely the team would do that either, seeing they still believe Francoeur will come out of his hitting slump. The likely scenario when Dyson returns is to start him in the outfield, have Francoeur on the bench and send Lough to Omaha. It’s not the fair decision or frankly the most logical decision. But if Francoeur doesn’t show improvement, the club will have no choice but to cut him loose and call Lough up as a Royals outfielder, which could happen sooner rather than later.

Next is Chris Getz, the Jeff Francoeur of the infield. Getz has a .216/.278/.288 average and platoons with Elliot Johnson, who has a better .252/.284/.342 average. But is Johnson an everyday second baseman? Seeing Johnson appeared in 47 games and Getz in 46 games, the Royals don’t think so. Second basemen aren’t known for their power like first or third basemen, but if a team isn’t getting much production from the corners, then the second baseman has to pick up the slack. That’s not happening with Getz and it’s uncertain if it would happen if Johnson was an everyday player.

Then the usual offensive stalwarts, Alex Gordon and Billy Butler, are having “down” years. Gordon is at .288/.344/.416 and Butler at .273/.379/.399. They’re not bad numbers, but the Royals need to find offense where they can get it.

The Royals did a good job improving their starting rotation and despite some rough outings from the bullpen, the ‘pen is holding its own. The Royals pitching staff leads the A. L. with a 3.41 ERA and has kept the team from falling into oblivion. But the hoped for production from the lineup hasn’t been consistent. If the offense doesn’t improve, it could be another Royals season like it’s been the last ten to twenty years.

Posted in RoyalsComments (0)

Are These The Final Days Of Jeff Francoeur For The Kansas City Royals?

The Kansas City Royals are playing solid baseball and winning games, bringing them closer to the division leading Detroit Tigers.  The team is hitting well and is about to get a punch in the arm from rehabbing speedster Jarrod Dyson when he returns from his minor league rehab assignment.

Jarrod_Dyson

That leaves the Royals with a roster choice to make at the big league level and the choice may be simple: it’s time to release Jeff Francoeur.

Francoeur, known as “Frenchy” to many fans, has been a very likable and fan-friendly player in Kansas City.  The team has capitalized on his popularity with ticket specials, the “Frenchy Quarter” section in the ballpark, and many items bearing his name in the gift shops.  His popularity, however, has not transferred to solid play on the field.

He has been used sparingly in the month of June, yielding playing time to David Lough in right field.  Meanwhile, Lough has played well enough to deserve his spot on the big league roster, showing flashes of power and speed that may make him a solid option off the bench as the Royals enter a playoff run that has been a long time coming.

Dyson has not been a massive success during his rehab in Omaha, posting a paltry batting average just over .200.  He has, however, been getting on base, showing patience at the plate, and doing what he does best: running.  His place on the major league roster has always been speed off the bench, solid defense, and an occasional start.  A platoon situation in right field that features Lough sharing time with Dyson would be a huge upgrade from what Francoeur has provided the last few seasons.

The Royals are primed to make a run at a playoff spot this year.  To do so, they will need the best 25 men they can find to put on the field on an everyday basis.

When Dyson is activated, it will be time to say goodbye to Jeff Francoeur.

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

Posted in Minors, RoyalsComments (0)

It’s only two games, but…

It’s only two games. It’s early in the season. It’s Chicago cold and damp compared to the hot, dry air of Arizona. Yes, there’s reasons to not worry about the Royals 0-2 start. But It’s the way they’ve lost those two games which cause concern, even this early in the season.

openingday2013

Opening Day in Chicago. James Shields pitched well, striking out six and giving up eight hits and a home run over six innings, a performance worthy of an ace starter. But Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale was that much better, striking out seven, giving up seven hits over 7.2 scoreless innings, keeping a faltering Royals offense in check on the way to a 1-0 Chicago victory.

The hot Royals Spring Training offense cooled off with seven hits, all singles. They drew three walks and had nine strikeouts. There was a glimmer of hope in the Royals ninth, with Eric Hosmer at second with two outs. But the free-swinging Jeff Francoeur hacked at the first pitched offered, a weak groundout to the shortstop to end the game. It’s only one game and 2008 was the last time the Royals won on Opening Day. But the way they lost was troubling, because it was like the way they’ve lost before. But there’s always the next game.

Game two Royals starter Ervin Santana gave up a league leading 39 home runs last season. He has a habit of giving up home runs, but it was another cold day in Chicago, so the long ball shouldn’t be a factor for Santana.

In the second game, Santana pitched six innings, giving up five hits and four earned runs, striking out eight and issuing a walk. Not a bad outing. Oh, I forgot to mention three of the four earned runs were home runs. Maybe it wasn’t such a good outing.

White Sox starter Jake Peavy pitched six innings, giving up four hits, two runs, striking out six and didn’t walk anyone. The Sox bullpen kept the Royals scoreless, giving the Sox a 5-2 victory.

The Royals offense had five hits this time, one of them a double. But the team only walked once and struck out seven times, with a .182 team batting average. Once again, Francoeur was the last Royal to bat in the ninth, but this time he took a called strike before grounding out to the pitcher to end the game. At least Francoeur took a pitch before swinging.

There was a bright spot in both games. In four innings of work, the Royals bullpen struck out three and gave up two walks and a run. By the way, the run was a home run gave up by Luke Hochevar. At least he didn’t give up four or five runs like he usually does, so there’s the bright spot.

It’s only two games in early April. The weather will warm up and so will the Royals. But the same old pattern of losing by not walking, not scoring runs and having the pitching staff give up home runs will test an already frustrated fan base. It makes it too easy to say “It’s the same old Royals.” And last April’s 12 game losing streak is still fresh in fan’s minds. If the Royals win Thursday’s game and play well in Philadelphia, these first two games won’t matter. But if the 2013 Royals play like the 2012 Royals, it’s going to be a long season.

Posted in RoyalsComments (0)

Are the Royals For Real This Year?

I believe the Royals will do well this year. I know, there’s been a few years when it seemed the Royals would do well and they fell flat (like 2004, 2009 and 2012). If there’s any team out there who crushes fan’s expectations and pulls the rug out from underneath their fans, it’s the Kansas City Royals.

Kauffman Stadium

But 2013 isn’t like the hopeful mirage of the 2012 season. Yes, there was optimism in 2012, but with the exception of the bullpen, the team wasn’t that good. Throw in the injuries, the dismal play of Eric Hosmer and Jeff Francoeur, the inconsistent play of Mike Moustakas and the 12-game losing streak in April, it’s a surprise the Royals finished as well as they did.

But this year, things are different. The Royals overhauled the starting rotation by getting James Shields, Ervin Santana and Wade Davis and resigning Jeremy Guthrie. Last year’s Opening Day starter, Bruce Chen, is in the bullpen. So is Luke Hochevar. The bullpen is strong and should be stronger with the improved starting rotation pitching more innings. Except for the question marks of right fielder Jeff Francoeur and second baseman Chris Getz, the Royals have a competitive lineup, a lineup not relying on washed-up veterans like Juan Gonzalez or Jose Guillen (the jury is still out on Francoeur). And unlike the Injury Bug Attack of Two Aught Twelve which decimated a part of the team, this spring has almost been injury-free. And the Royals are Cactus League Champions, which doesn’t mean anything, but at least they played well.

And the team did things that made sense. Like moving Hochevar to the bullpen instead of forcing him to be a starter. Choosing Luis Mendoza over Chen as the fifth starter. Making Getz the starting second baseman (Johnny Giavotella didn’t play well enough to earn a spot). The Royals didn’t do anything this spring that made you go, “what were they thinking?” Well, Sluggerrr getting a lap dance at a 2005 bachelor party notwithstanding (Google it if you must, But I warn you it’s NSFW and a little, well, awkward).

But we are talking about the Royals. The Royals starters got roughed up in a few Spring Training games. Lately, lefty reliever Tim Collins hasn’t been pitching well. Eric Hosmer might be playing right field and Billy Butler might be at first base in Interleague games. Key players may suffer injuries. The momentum and winning in Spring Training may not continue into the regular season. The Royals might have another 12-game losing streak early in the season. Sure, all this happening is unlikely, but if any team can do it, the Royals can.

But not this year. I believe the Royals will play much better this season. Winning the World Series? Not likely. Winning the American League Pennant? There’s a slim chance. Winning the American League Central? Only if the Detroit Tigers suffer a rash of injuries and their offense, defense and pitching falter. A Wild Card Berth? With good teams in the A.L. East and A.L. West, it’s unlikely. Finishing above .500? I believe an 87-75 record and a second place finish in the A.L. Central behind Detroit is a realistic possibility.

I hope so anyway. I am a Royals fan, after all.

Posted in RoyalsComments (1)

Royals Roster Breeds Little Suspense

It’s a so far, so good Spring Training for the Kansas City Royals. As of Wednesday, March 20, the Royals lead the Cactus League with a 18-6 record. There’s no major injuries. Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer are playing well. The team hasn’t done anything that makes you scratch your head, at least not yet. They even made a good decision moving Hochevar to the bullpen. In other words, it’s an abnormal Royals Spring training.

springtraining2013

There’s some roster spots up for grabs, but they’re more set than the Royals let on. For instance, the “battle” between Bruce Chen and Luis Mendoza for the fifth starting spot. If you go by stats alone, Mendoza is clearly having a better spring, with a 0.82 ERA in three games with 11 innings pitched, giving up an earned run and no home runs. Meanwhile, Chen has a 7.90 ERA in four games with 13.2 innings pitched, giving up 12 earned runs and seven (seven!) homers. So Mendoza should get the fifth starting spot, right?

Royals manager Ned Yost says he’ll decide the starting rotation this Friday and I’m betting Chen will get the fifth starting spot and Mendoza will be a long reliever. Why? Remember, Spring Training stats are meaningless and with Chen’s 14 years in the Majors, he’ll get the benefit of the doubt. Mendoza has six years of Major League experience, but except for 2008 and 2012, he’s had limited playing time. If anything, Yost is a traditionalist and he’ll go with the longtime Royals starter Chen over Mendoza. I’d be surprised if Yost chooses Mendoza over Chen.

This isn’t a battle for a roster spot, but with David Lough having a great spring (a .500/.513/.711 line, with 19 hits, six doubles, a triple and five RBI over 20 games and 38 at-bats), He’s making an argument to have a shot at right field. But it’s likely Lough will go to AAA Omaha.

It doesn’t matter what Lough does, he’s not supplanting Jeff Francoeur in right field. Yes, over 22 games and 53 at-bats, Frenchy has a .208/.250/.396 line with 11 hits, three doubles, two triples, a home run and seven RBI. Remember when I said Spring Training stats are meaningless? They still are, even when some fans want them to apply to Francoeur.

Like Chen, Frenchy has several years of Major League experience over Lough, who debuted in the Majors last year. Francoeur provides “veteran leadership” managers like Yost want to see. Plus the Royals don’t want to have a $7.5MM a year player on the bench. Unless Francoeur suffers injury or the Royals trade him, Lough will be in Omaha. Or Yost might surprise us all and choose Lough over Jarrod Dyson as a fourth outfielder. But with Dyson’s experience and speed, it’s not likely the Royals choose Lough over Dyson. If Lough stays on fire in Omaha and Francoeur crashes and burns, Lough might get a long-term roster spot with the Royals this season.

In the battle for second base, I believe Chris Getz will start at second base and Johnny Giavotella will go to AAA Omaha. This spring, Getz has a .359/.419/.513 line and over 20 games and 39 at-bats, Getz has 14 hits, three doubles, a home run (yes, Getz hit a home run) and six RBI. Meanwhile, Giavotella has a .273/.289/.409 line over 20 games and 44 at-bats with 12 hits, three doubles, a home run and 11 RBI. Despite Getz’s higher line, they have similar offensive numbers.

But it all comes down to defense, and Getz still has the edge. Like Chen and Francoeur, Getz has more Major League experience than Giavotella and Yost will go with the “safe” bet. Now with Getz’s recent issues with injuries, there’s a good chance Giavotella will be with the team sometime this season. But his offense and defense will need to improve if he wants to stay at second.

Salvador Perez will be the starting catcher this season, but there’s competition between Brett Hays and George Kottaras for the backup catcher role. Both are veteran backup catchers and with similar spring offensive numbers (Hayes with a .241/.313/.483 line, seven hits, a double, two home runs and eight RBI, Kottaras with a .269/.424/.346 line, seven hits, two doubles, and three RBI), it’s honestly a coin flip between the two. Either player will be a good backup catcher and let’s hope Perez stays healthy so Hayes and Kottaras stay backup catchers.

Besides the starting rotation, Yost won’t make his final roster decisions until the end of Spring Training. Unlike previous years, there’s not a real bad choice for Yost to make. But whatever roster decisions the Royals make, everyone on the roster has to play to their potential for the Royals to have a good season.

Posted in Featured, RoyalsComments (0)

The Sights Of Spring: Royals And Rangers

Spring Training opened this past weekend with a few games between the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers.

SurpriseStadiumMain

Finding positives and negatives from Spring games is hard because players may be working on a specific skill set that cause the stat lines to blur.  When a hitter is trying to go the opposite way with every swing, he may go 0-for-4 at the plate.  When a pitcher is working on a new pitch and determining if he can throw it effectively, he may walk quite a few hitters in the process.

What, then, can you take away from Spring Training games, especially early in the year?

Well, baseball is back.  The sights and sounds of the game are filling the air and the teams will be back to their home stadiums before too long.

Here at i70baseball, we are excited to be back into the swing of things.  This site holds credentials with Major League Baseball and, in order to bring our readers the benefits of these credentials, we sent a photographer to the Royals and Rangers opener on Friday.  The below slide show has a sampling of the great pictures that photographer Charles Sollars took that day.

Inside you will find pictures of Jeff Francoeur, Salvador Perez, Billy Butler, Alexi Ogando, Eric Hosmer, Miguel Tejada, Nelson Cruz, and Ned Yost.

Enjoy the sights of Spring and stay tuned…

<b>Adam Moore</b>

Picture 1 of 37


Royals catcher Adam Moore takes a swing

Photo courtesy of Charles Sollars and copyright i70baseball

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

Posted in Featured, Photography, RoyalsComments (0)

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.

Posted in Photography, RoyalsComments (0)

Fantasy Sports Machine