Tag Archive | "Jonathan Broxton"

Greg Holland and Wade Davis struggle early this season

What a difference a week makes. After starting 0-2, the Royals won their third game against the Chicago White Sox. Next, they took two of three from the Phillies and swept the Twins in three games. Now the Royals are 6-3 and first place in the A.L. Central. The offense is scoring runs, the defense only has one error and the starting rotation is pitching well, despite giving up a combined nine home runs.

Greg_Holland

But the anchor of the bullpen, Greg Holland, isn’t pitching well. In four games over three innings, Holland faced 20 batters and threw 82 pitches, 43 of them strikes. He gave up five hits, four runs, six walks and five strikeouts. Last Saturday, he blew a save against the Phillies by walking three and giving up a walk-off double. Last Tuesday night against the Twins, Holland threw 27 pitches and faced six batters in the rain before getting his second save.

Royals manager Ned Yost hasn’t gave up on Holland and it’s not time to panic yet, despite Holland’s trouble finding the strike zone. Early last year, an injured rib cage affected his performance. After Holland recovered, he posted a 2.08 ERA and became the Royals closer after the Royals shipped Jonathan Broxton to the Reds. If Holland continues to struggle, Yost has a good backup closer in Kelvin Herrera, who’s fared well this season.

Wade Davis isn’t struggling like Holland, but his first two starts haven’t been stellar. In last Friday’s game against Philadelphia, Davis only pitched four innings, throwing 76 pitches, facing 19 batters and giving up nine hits, and four runs, two of those home runs. He also struck out two and didn’t walk anybody. The Royals ended up winning the game 13-4, so his performance didn’t hurt the team. For his second start, Davis pitched five innings, throwing 96 pitches, giving up four hits and three walks. But he struck out six and held the Twins scoreless, getting the win.

Davis needs to adjust to the starting rotation after pitching out of the bullpen with the Tampa Bay Rays last year. His next couple of starts will show if Davis becomes an effective starter or is better suited as a reliever.

After the 0-2 start, it’s good to see the Royals playing well and leading the A.L. Central. And Holland and Davis’ issues are minor. But the Royals have tough upcoming series against the Toronto Blue Jays and the Atlanta Braves, followed by the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers. It’s not getting easier for the Royals and the team’s success may depend on the performance of Holland and Davis.

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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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2013: Do or die for the Kansas City Royals

The Kansas City Royals 2012 season started with a lot of hope and optimism. But after April’s 12 game losing streak, it turned into despair and pessimism. And in some ways, it wasn’t a surprise. Most of the rookies of 2011 were in their sophomore campaigns and the League caught up to them, with Eric Hosmer‘s disappointing season as an example. The weak starting rotation wasn’t improved during the offseason. And when the team’s main offseason moves included trading for a back of the rotation starter who didn’t like being a Royal (Jonathan Sanchez), a closer who had success in the past and recovering from injuries (Jonathan Broxton) and injuries to key players during Spring Training and the regular season, it’s not a surprise the team finished 72-91, third in the A.L. Central.

KauffmanStadiumSnow

With all the moves the Royals made so far this offseason and increasing payroll, you’d think fans believe the Royals will have a better season and a chance to make the playoffs. But looking around the Royals blogosphere and comments from some fans, there’s less optimism than this time in 2012, when the roster wasn’t as good.

On paper, the Royals are better. Trading for James Shields, Wade Davis and Ervin Santana and resigning Jeremy Guthrie dramatically improves the rotation. Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar will likely fight for the fifth spot in the rotation. And it’s possible Luis Mendoza or Will Smith gets the fifth spot. The bullpen is still good and the improved rotation means they pitch less innings. A full, healthy season of Lorenzo Cain and Salvador Perez, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer bouncing back and solid performances by Alex Gordon, Billy Butler and Alcides Escobar should score more runs.

But it doesn’t mean anything until the team wins more games. And there’s plenty of reasons the Royals could have another disappointing season. Shields and Davis could get injured. Santana might end up pitching like, well, Santana. Guthrie could pitch like he did in Colorado. The bullpen may regress, giving up more late-inning runs. Moustakas and Hosmer could continue their struggles or become injured. Gordon, Butler and Escobar could have disappointing seasons. Jeff Francoeur could make 2012 look like an All-Star season. And with the Royals, that’s usually the rule, not the exception.

And it’s understandable. Being a Royals fan is like being Charlie Brown when Lucy pulls away the football. Fans expect the team to lose or fail because many times the Royals lose and fail. Some fans believe the team spends too little money on players, or too much money on the wrong players. Or the team relies too much on prospects who fail, or if they’re traded, they don’t bring enough value and succeed with other teams. Can’t miss prospects many times miss. The strained relationship of fans and ownership doesn’t help either. This creates and environment of skepticism, followed by cynicism. Until the Royals win more games and contend in their division, it’s warranted.

It’s hard to say what 2013 will bring for the Royals. Will they turn a corner, or turn right into a wall and come crashing down? And if Royals lose like they did early in the 2012 season, how much more will the fan base take?

For the Royals to succeed, many things have to go their way. They’re still a young team and the Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians aren’t pushovers. There’s more reason for hope and optimism in 2013, but until the Royals become winners, that’s all it will be.

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Should Soria stay, or should he go?

Last week, the Royals declined closer Joakim Soria‘s $8MM 2013 option and invoked a $750,000 buyout, making him a free agent. This wasn’t a surprise move, seeing Soria spent 2012 recovering from Tommy John surgery and he’s not expected to pitch until May or June of 2013.

The Royals would like to sign Soria to a lower cost deal with performance bonuses. But his agent, Oscar Suarez, claims eight MLB clubs have an interest in the closer. Soria would also be open as a setup man for the New York Yankees, if they were interested. So far, the Yankees haven’t haven’t contacted Suarez or Soria.

It’s still early in the offseason and Soria doesn’t have any serious offers yet. Whatever the offer, it’s likely to be a low cost deal with performance bonuses. Soria is recovering from his second Tommy John surgery, but he still would generate a lot of interest.

Over his five year Major League career, Soria has 160 saves, a 2.40 ERA and a 3.92 strikeout to walk ratio, making him one of the better closers in the Majors. He did struggle in 2011 with a 4.03 ERA, 28 saves and 3.53 SO/BB ratio, prompting the Royals to briefly move Soria to a set-up role early in the season. His 2012 spring wasn’t much better before the Royals shut him down due to his elbow injury.

There’s some uncertainty how Soria will pitch when he does come back. Will he be the Soria of 2007-2010, or the Soria of 2011? There’s enough uncertainty where a team is unlikely to sign him to an expensive, long-term contract.

Is Soria worth the Royals trying to re-sign him? After he when down, the Royals used Jonathan Broxton as their closer before they traded him to the Cincinnati Reds in late July. Then Greg Holland took over, who had 16 of 20 save opportunities, finishing with a 2.96 ERA and a 2.68 SO/BB ratio.

The Royals say they’re comfortable with Holland being the closer, despite the small sample size of August and September. Holland will be 27 this month, just a year and a half younger than Soria, so age isn’t an issue. However, the team has Holland until 2017, so he could be a long-term solution as the Royals closer if Soria doesn’t come back or only stays a season or two.

It’s safe to say if other teams take a chance signing Soria to a two plus year contract, the Royals will let him walk. A healthy 2012 Soria could have made an already good bullpen that much better, but with Holland’s performance as closer and club-friendly salary, the team figures they could get close to Soria-like results with Holland. Even if Soria signs a one-year, club friendly deal, there’s a good chance they will let Soria walk after 2013, especially if Holland has a great season.

If Soria was a starting pitcher, there’s a good chance the club would pay the $8MM option and hope he would contribute to the starting rotation. But the Royals believe they have a capable, low-cost closer in Holland and while having Soria in 2013 would be nice, he’s not essential. The team will make an effort to sign him, but they’re not going to be too disappointed if Soria goes elsewhere.

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Royals Arizona Fall League roster

So I assumed you’ve already tuned out the playoffs, what with the Tigers, Yankees and Cardinals all advancing. Instead, let’s take a look at October baseball Kansas City Royals style, the Arizona Fall League. The Royals sent eight players to Arizona, here’s a little bit about each of them and what we can hope to see.

J.C. Sulbaran- Absolutely the most interesting prospect in Arizona. He came over in the Jonathan Broxton trade and struggled mightily after joining Northwest Arkansas but that was almost entirely due to control issues. At just 22 years old, there is plenty of time for Sulbaran to blossom into a back of the rotation starter. Sulbaran has yet to take the mound yet in Arizona. A great sign for the Royals would be if Sulbaran dominates the lesser competition in Arizona and keeps his walks down.

Edwin Carl- 24 year-old pitcher with impressive peripherals, but that’s what you’d expect from a 24 year old that’s yet to get to AA. Carl has struck out over 11 batters per nine innings in his minor league career with an outstanding 5.4-1 K/BB ratio. Carl gave up two hits including a home run in his fall league debut.

John Keck- 24 year-old left handed relief pitcher that finally dominated high-A ball this season, earning a promotion to AA. Keck does not stike a lot of people out, and he struggles with his control. It’s a major long shot that we ever see him in Kansas City. Keck has already given up 3 unearned runs on 5 hits in just 1.1 innings this fall.

Justin Marks- 24 year-old left handed starting pitcher that pitched well in AA this season. Marks came to the Royals as part of the David DeJesus trade. A great performance is Anrizona could lead to an assignment in Omaha in 2012, putting him in line to fill a gap once the third or fourth Tommy John injury is sustained. Marks threw three hitless innings in his Fall League debut, walking two and striking out two.

Alex McClure- 23 year-old shortstop that has shown no ability to hit at any level. Played half a season in Northwest Arkansas in 2012 and posted an OPS of .525, which is just slightly below his career OPS. Mcclure is 1/6 wuth an error in two fall games thus far.

Whit Merrifield- 23 year-old outfielder/second baseman that has shown limited promise in his time in the organization. This is likely his last chance to make an impression on the organization. Merrifield has started the fall 2/8 with two runs scored, he’s also committed an error.

Brian Fletcher- 23 (soon to be 24) year-old outfielder that progressed to AA mid-season. Fletcher has 31 home runs in 857 career minor league at bats, but he would have to have an impressive fall and outstanding 2013 to have any chance to figure in the Royals long term plans. Fletcher is 3/10 with an RBI in three games of Arizona Fall League action.

Orlando Calixte- 20 year-old SS from the Dominican Republic that committed 46 errors in 123 games in 2012. Calixte did have his best year at the plate in 2012, smacking 14 home runs and posting a respectable .759 OPS. At 20, and already with 60 games at High-A ball under his belt, Calixte could really benefit if the time in Arizone helps him with the glove. Calixte is 3/9 in three games, and he’s yet to commit an error. An outstaning sign for the Royals would be if Calixte could end the fall with the same number of errors he has now, more realistically he needs to improve drastically on his ratio of an error every three games.

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The Royals 2012 season comes to a merciful end

Many fans hoped the Royals might make the playoffs, or at least finish at or above .500. But it didn’t end up that way, finishing the season at 72-90 and third in the A.L. Central. They improved on their 71-91 2011 record, but the season was still a disappointment.

A lot of things didn’t go the Royals way. A 12 game losing streak in April killed any momentum the team had and the recent six game losing streak stopped any hope of finishing at or near .500. Pitchers Danny Duffy, Felipe Paulino, Blake Wood and Joakim Soria had season ending Tommy John surgery. Injuries to key position players Lorenzo Cain and Salvador Perez for most of the season made fans wonder, “what if they were healthy the whole season?”

The Royals off season acquisitions were either traded or released. The team traded Jonathan Broxton for two minor leaguers, The San Francisco Giants claimed Jose Mijares off waivers, Jonathan Sanchez was traded for Jeremy Guthrie and the Royals came to their senses and released Yuni Betancourt.

The 2012 Royals offense had some talent and potential, but failed to live up to it. Before Wednesday night’s finale against the Detroit Tigers, the Royals were fourth in the A.L in batting average (.265), 12th in scoring runs (676), 12th in RBI (643) and tied for last place with the Minnesota Twins in home runs (131). The team could hit, but not drive in runs.

A season long slump by Eric Hosmer, the regressing to the mean play of Jeff Francoeur and an up and down season by Mike Moustakas didn’t deliver the offense the Royals needed.

The offense had some bright spots. Billy Butler led the team in batting average (.312), RBI (107) and home runs (29). Alex Gordon led the team in doubles (51) and runs (93). Alcides Escobar led the team in stolen bases (35).

The Royals defense was good, especially the outfield. The Royals led the MLB in outfield assists with Francoeur leading the MLB with 19 and Gordon in second with 17 assists. Moustakas, Escobar and Chris Getz provided solid infield defense.

The Royals bullpen was an asset, with a collective 3.19 ERA, a 2.36 SO/BB ratio and opponents hitting .250. Greg Holland proved he had what it takes to be a closer and Kelvin Herrera, Tim Collins and Aaron Crow were the workhorses of the bullpen.

The starting rotation was the Royals weakness. They had a collective 5.04 ERA, a 2.04 SO/BB ratio and opponents hitting .283. Only Luis Mendoza and Jeremy Guthrie had a sub 5.00 ERA and the bright spot of the rotation, Guthrie, only started 14 games.

The Royals had three winning months in May, June and August with a combined 46-37 record. But in the three losing months of April, July and September, they had a 25-52 record. if the Royals went .500 during their 12 and six game losing streaks, going 9-9, they would have 81 wins. Not enough to make the playoffs, but enough to finish at .500 since 2003.

The 2012 season is over and once again the Royals and their fans look forward to next year. But if you watched the team this season, you saw some glimmer of hope of a better future. The lineup is pretty much set, young and have room to improve. The bullpen was solid as always. And if Royals owner David Glass keeps his promise to spend money on starting pitching, the Royals may have a chance.

The Royals begin the 2013 season April 1 against the Chicago White Sox. Will 2013 be the year the Royals turn the corner and become contenders? I hope so, because it will be a lot more fun writing about the Royals when they’re winning.

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Royals pitching woes extend to the farm

It will undoubtedly be the number one mission of Dayton Moore to improve the pitching for his Kansas City Royals in the off-season. While history shows that inking a true #1 starter is probably out of Moore’s reach, there has been some hope amongst fans that a steady #2 could be coming along with help from the minors. Today we’ll take a look at the top pitching prospects, and how they’re performing in the minors.

Jake Odorizzi (12-4, 3.22 ERA, 118 K, 41 BB) Easily the best hope for Royals fans hoping to find a young pitcher that can help this club in 2013. Odorizzi has put up acceptable numbers in AAA, especially for a 22 year-old, but he’s averaging less than six innings per start in Omaha and his WHIP has increased dramatically since his promotion while his strikeout numbers have plummeted.

Mike Montgomery (5-9, 5.64 ERA, 91 K, 57 BB) Montgomery has taken the opposite route as Odorizzi this year, putting up a 5.69 ERA in Omaha before getting demoted this summer. Once thought to be a possible ace in the Royals’ future, the 23 year-old is now looking like he may be a long shot to ever turn into even a decent starter. The results haven’t been much more promising since his demotion as he still sports an ERA over 5 and his k/9 inning rate has actually dropped to 6.0.

J.C. Sulbaran (7-7, 3.98 ERA, 113 K, 57BB) This 22 year-old righthander was a part of the Jonathan Broxton trade. He has electric stuff, striking out more than a batter an inning at every level so far, but far too many walks still. In his first start in Northwest Arkansas he walked three and gave up three hits in just four innings, but only allowed one run to score.

John Lamb- It’s still questionable whether he will actually get into game action in 2012. Lamb is fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, but battled tendinitis in his foot just before he was ready to return in July. He’s still just 22 years old but he has a long ways to go before he’ll be considered ready for the majors.

Chris Dwyer (7-11, 5.83 ERA, 94 K, 58 BB) Like many other pitchers in the Royals system Dwyer has lost both the ability to throw strikes and strike people out. His five starts in Omaha have been Jonathan Sanchez-like and at 24 years old it’ll be hard to consider him a prospect much longer.

Yordano Ventura (3-7, 3.78 ERA, 115 K, 38 BB) After his appearance in the Futures Game Ventura was promoted to AA and has seen mixed results. He just turned 21 years old, so a couple of bumps at this level are to be expected, but if he struggles for an extended period many think the Royals may try to turn him into a reliever. His stuff is outstanding but he’s much more likely to help in late 2014 or Opening Day 2015.

Noel Arguelles (3-12, 7.17 ERA, 41 K, 55 BB) A lot of time stats do not tell the full story, I’m not sure these need any explanation.

Jason Adam (3-11, 3.94 ERA, 99 K, 30 BB) A local kid that has been very solid in high-A ball. He just turned 21, and should get his shot in AA next season, but he probably doesn’t profile as anything more than a back-end of the rotation starter at this point.

Kyle Zimmer (1-2, 4.05 ERA, 26 K, 5 BB) The Royals 2012 first round pick started in rookie ball and was absolutely dominant in his three starts there. Since his promotion to Kane County it’s been a little different story, but it’s encouraging for him to be this far along nonetheless. A strong finish could put him in line for a trip to Wilmington in 2013.

With the exception of Odorizzi it is hard to find anyone that might help this club in 2012. What’s perhaps more discouraging is that it’s easy to wonder if Montgomery, Lamb, Dwyer, or Arguelles will ever reach Kauffman Stadium. As the big league team has put up catastrophe after catastrophe, we as fans have held on to the talent in the minors for hope. Now, six years into the process, these are our top nine starting pitching prospects; a hodgepodge collection of Tommy John surgeries, lost command and unfulfilled promise.

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The offense strikes back

After just a horrendous month of July, the Kansas City Royals start off the month of August on a good note.  A sweep, after a bad road trip and an even worse 30 days, is exactly what the Royals needed to get them back on the winning side of the game of baseball.  With timely hitting and some pretty good pitching the Royals started the month of August with two momentum shifting wins.

The month of July ended with the Royals trading their closer Jonathan Broxton to the Cincinnati Reds for two pitching prospects. The prospects look to be a good return for a guy that would, it seems, only be a Royal for two months.  Turning a two month closer into two guys who may or may not make it to the majors seems to be very welcoming by fans in Kansas City.  In the trade the Royals received Class AA right-handed starter J.C. Sulbaran and Class AAA lefty reliever Donnie Joseph. Joseph seemed to be the straw that broke to camels back in the trade.  A guy who by all accounts is a strike out king who may pair well with fellow lefty Tim Collins in the bullpen of the future.  Sulbaran projects to be a back of the rotation guy who won a state championship with first basemen Eric Hosmer in 2008 at American Heritage High School in Florida. So the Royals continue to put guys on a team that have won together before and could win together in years to come.

With Broxton gone and Joakim Soria recovering from season ending Tommy John surgery, right handed reliever Greg Holland assumes the role of closer which he stepped into Wednesday night as he got his first save of the season against the Cleveland Indians in a 5-2 Royals victory.

The stand out development of the Royals beginning to the month of August is the benching of both second basemen Yunieksy Betancourt and right fielder Jeff Franceour.  The problem with them being on the bench is that they may not see much more playing time since both Chris Getz, who took Betancourt’s spot in the order, and Jarrod Dyson, Franceour’s spot, have taken their opportunity by the reigns and excelled with it.  Getz went 3-9 with 4 runs scored and 3 RBI in the three game sweep of the Indians while Dyson went 7-12 with 2 runs scored and two RBI both contributing to run production with stolen bases in the series as well.  So the spots that seem to have been lost by the lack of productivity by Betancourt and Franceour have been given away and so far earned with Getz and Dyson.

After a road trip that saw barely any offense outside of designated hitter Billy Butler, the start of the home stand saw a resurgence in the Royal’s offense, scoring 20 runs in the last three games, with the absence of Billy Butler’s bat.  Butler having only two hits in the series and only driving in one run. The brightest spot, outside of the fact that the Royals came back from the dumps and have now won three games in a row, of the sweep of the Indians has to be the walk off win the Royals secured on Thursday.  After jumping out of the gates with 6 runs in the first, highlighted by a lead off home run by Alex Gordon and a three run shot off of the bat of Eric Hosmer, the Royals and struggling starter Bruce Chen let the Indians all the way back and it took extra innings to seal the win.  But it is how they won it in the 11th inning that stands out the most.

After late game at bats in crucial situations that did not see any success, manager Ned Yost had to keep reiterating that the need for shortstop Alcides Escobar to get the experience of late game at bats that could win or lose a ballgame for the Royals club.  Well that all came to fruition on Thursday.  Escobar has come up with clutch hits late in games all season long but none bigger than his walk off single in the 11th inning. It has been a season of firsts for Escobar after his first multi-homerun game of his life, as he stated, and now his first walk off win in the major leagues. To top all of that off he is having a season at the plate that no one saw coming but it needs to continue.

The Royals have done it once again.  They have hooked everyone right back on to what they are doing.  Now that does no mean that they have a chance at the division, which would take a Herculean effort from all 25 men on the roster, but they can give us that little tease that gets us all hyped and ready for the 2013 season.  Maybe then it will be “Our Time.”

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Royals get two minor league pitchers for Jonathan Broxton

Just before Tuesday afternoon’s trade deadline, the Royals traded closer Jonathan Broxton to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for two minor league pitchers, righty J.C. Sulbaran and lefty Donnie Joesph. The Royals were also willing to trade Yuni Betancourt, Jeff Francoeur and Jose Mijares, but Broxton was the only player traded by the deadline.

The Reds lead the National League Central and were looking for a leadoff hitter to bolster their lineup. They weren’t able to get a leadoff hitter, so they made a trade for Broxton, who will join an already strong Reds bullpen as a setup man for lefty closer Aroldis Chapman. Broxton will be at least a two month rental for the Reds before becoming a free agent in the offseason. In return, the Royals get two young, controllable pitchers for the next few years.

The 22 year old Sulbaran is a starting pitcher with a 4.04 ERA, a 9.5 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 ratio and a 2.06 strikeout to walk ratio. Sulbaran pitched 104.2 innings over 19 starts and a 7-7 record for the AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Baseball America ranked Sulbaran 12th among Reds prospects, while MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo ranked him fifth among Reds prospects.

Sulbaran’s best pitch is his curveball. Scouts say he’s a highly competitive power pitcher with good stuff, but there are some concerns about his maturity and secondary pitches. Sulbaran was a teammate of Eric Hosmer at American Heritage High School, winning a state championship during Hosmer’s senior year. The Royals assigned Sulbaran to AA Northwest Arkansas. He projects to be a No. 3 starter, and is likely a year or two away from the Majors.

The 24 year old Joseph is a relief pitcher with a 1.72 ERA, a 11.7 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 ratio and a 2.44 strikeout to walk ratio. Joseph pitched 22 innings over 18 games with a 4-1 record and five saves for the AAA Louisville Bats. Baseball America ranked Joseph 27th among Reds prospects and MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo ranked Joseph seventh among Reds prospects. He was also the Reds Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2010.

Joseph is a power lefty with a mid 90s fastball, a hard slider and curveball. If Joseph can improve his mechanics, scouts say he could be a power reliever in the Majors. The Royals assigned him to AAA Omaha and it’s possible Joesph could be with the big club this year.

The Royals wanted a Major League ready starting pitcher, but to be honest, giving up Broxton to get Sulbaran and Joesph was a better deal. If the Royals got a Major League starter, they probably would get another pitcher like Sean O’ Sullivan, Vin Mazzaro, Jeremy Guthrie or Jonathan Sanchez. The Royals have enough of these type of pitchers. At least with this trade, the Royals have a potential No. 3 starter and a power lefty reliever for the future.

It’s unlikely Sulbaran and Joseph will be star players and the Royals still need to sign or trade for a front line starter this offseason. But fans should be glad the Royals traded for the pitchers they got for Broxton, who was going to be a one year player for a losing team if he stayed. And it gives Greg Holland a chance to be the closer for the Royals, which is another plus.

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Kool Aid Drinker’s Crystal Ball (Part 2)

As if this Royals season hasn’t turned depressing enough, I took a look today at the original crystal ball from 1/1/2012. So much was possible then…

* Roy Oswalt was still a free agent

* Danny Duffy, Joakim Soria, and Felipe Paulino were all still in the mix

* Salvador Perez was expected to play a full season

* Eric Hosmer was still thought to be the savior

* Jarrod Dyson wasn’t expected to leave AAA

* Johnny Giavotella was expected to start at second base

* Mike Montgomery was still a real prospect

Looking at that list did something besides depress me though…it inspired me. It’s unreal that this team isn’t 30 games below .500 with the luck they’ve had. They are way overdue right? Let’s go back to the crystal ball and find out:

 July

  • Jonathan Broxton is traded for 2 players we’ll either never hear from again or grow to hate. This opens up the closer’s role for Kelvin Herrera, perhaps the club’s best bullpen arm.
  • Jeff Francoeur finishes the month on a tear, raising trade interest around the league. Dayton Moore refuses all trade offers and takes out a full page ad in the Kansas City Star to write an “Ode to Frenchy”.
  • Lorenzo Cain gets a paper cut playing poker in the clubhouse and is immediately placed on the 60 Day DL. Wil Myers is called up to replace him.

August

  • Eric Hosmer finally gets his batting average over .250 with a 4 hit, 2 home run performance against the Baltimore Orioles.
  • As fans and the media clamor for Jake Odorizzi, Luke Hochevar “figures it out” with a 10 inning shutout in which he throws only 85 pitches. Hochevar credits his cutter, which he says he’s throwing more often.
  • Jeff Francoeur hits .210 with no extra base hits and one RBI for the month. Dayton Moore tells him he’s proud of his effort.

September/October

  • On the birthday of David Glass, fans assemble in the parking lot to celebrate, by boycotting his Royals. When parking lot attendants are unable to disperse the crowd, upper deck ushers are called in to use their notorious intimidation tactics.
  • Jake Odorizzi finally joins the big league club and lasts 4 2/3 innings in each of his big league starts.
  • Billy Butler hits home run number 37 to win the first game of a three game series against the Chicago White Sox. The Royals go on to win their next twelve in a row, costing themselves 4 spots in the draft in the process.

I am not saying the Kool Aid Drinker is giving up on 2012, the club may still have a Rockies-esque run in them. While this is obviously tongue-in-cheek, I don’t think there’s any chance at all the Frenchy gets traded. That probably means that another Cain injury is the only way that Wil Myers gets a call up before September.

As is usually the case in July inKansas City, next year offers much more intrigue, so I’ll leave you with my guesses on that:

Is there any chance the Royals acquire a front line starter? No

What does Dayton do with Wil Myers, Lorenzo Cain, and Jef Francoeur? Frenchy is here for the duration, Myers will have to beat out Cain.

Who really is the second baseman of the future? Chris Getz

Will any of the Royals pitching prospects ever experience sustained success in the majors? Not in 2013.

Do we ever see Joakim Soria in a Royals uniform again? Yes.

Do Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino make it back by the All Start Break next year? Will they still be any good? Duffy comes back better than ever, after the break. Paulino is the wildest of wild cards.

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