Tag Archive | "League Rosters"

The Royals And Latin America

As we all know, Kansas City has carried a dismal baseball franchise since 1985. But as spring training rolls around, we have to again acknowledge how well the Royals have done in the Latin American talent market.

LatinAmericanBaseball

Everyone who pays very much attention to the Royals will directly turn there heads up to the sky and wink at their mental image of Salvador Perez, the Royals’ up and coming catcher. The Royals, though, have made some fantastic signings from Latin America. There are also some tremendous advantages to scouting in Latin America. Some of those will follow.

When you are hunting the streets of some small town in the midwest looking for the high school stadium to try to find the next Hank Aaron, you have to wait until he is 18. When you go to Latin America to try to find the future face of your franchise, the face can be younger. You can sign a 16 year old to a major league contract. So your Latin Mike Trout is more likely to begin his career just as Mike Trout did, under the age of 20.

If there is a tremendous amount of talent in some random high school in America, you probably wouldn’t be the only one to see it. Chances are, if he really is the next Ted Williams, there will be you and 29 other major league scouts sitting in the stands. The more scouts, the more money. No matter how humble a high school kid is, he will go to the highest bidder, which is generally a lot of money. In Latin America, roughly 28% of the people are in poverty. More will go for smaller amounts of money. This allows small market teams, like the Royals, to upgrade their minor league talent.

It isn’t just the Royals that do this though. On Opening Day 2012, 27.3 percent of players on Major League rosters were Latino. Teams are rightly buying into this gigantic talent base, and the Royals are very good at identifying talent in Latin America. This is why we get to have that mental image of Salvador Perez winking at us. The Major Leagues, and the Royals, have been, and will be, greatly enhanced by this pool of talent staring at us in the face. We would be idiots to ignore it.

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Cooperstown Choices: Reggie Sanders

With the Hall Of Fame election announcement coming on January 9, 2013, it is time to review the ballot, go over the names, and decide who belongs in the Hall Of Fame.

There are twenty four men on the ballot for the first time this year and we will take a look at each one individually prior to official announcements. You can find all of the profiles in the I-70 Baseball Exclusives: Cooperstown Choices 2013 menu at the top of the page.

In this article, we take a look at Reggie Sanders

 

Reggie Sanders
Reggie’s 17-year career placed him on eight major league rosters.  He was selected to the 1995 All Star Game.

Year Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
1991 CIN 9 40 6 8 0 0 1 3 1 0 9 .200 .200 .275 .475 31
1992 CIN 116 385 62 104 26 6 12 36 16 48 98 .270 .356 .462 .819 127
1993 CIN 138 496 90 136 16 4 20 83 27 51 118 .274 .343 .444 .786 109
1994 CIN 107 400 66 105 20 8 17 62 21 41 114 .263 .332 .480 .812 110
1995 CIN 133 484 91 148 36 6 28 99 36 69 122 .306 .397 .579 .975 155
1996 CIN 81 287 49 72 17 1 14 33 24 44 86 .251 .353 .463 .817 114
1997 CIN 86 312 52 79 19 2 19 56 13 42 93 .253 .347 .510 .857 120
1998 CIN 135 481 83 129 18 6 14 59 20 51 137 .268 .346 .418 .764 99
1999 SDP 133 478 92 136 24 7 26 72 36 65 108 .285 .376 .527 .904 134
2000 ATL 103 340 43 79 23 1 11 37 21 32 78 .232 .302 .403 .705 76
2001 ARI 126 441 84 116 21 3 33 90 14 46 126 .263 .337 .549 .886 117
2002 SFG 140 505 75 126 23 6 23 85 18 47 121 .250 .324 .455 .779 107
2003 PIT 130 453 74 129 27 4 31 87 15 38 110 .285 .345 .567 .913 131
2004 STL 135 446 64 116 27 3 22 67 21 33 118 .260 .315 .482 .797 103
2005 STL 93 295 49 80 14 2 21 54 14 28 75 .271 .340 .546 .886 127
2006 KCR 88 325 45 80 23 1 11 49 7 28 86 .246 .304 .425 .729 86
2007 KCR 24 73 12 23 7 0 2 11 0 11 15 .315 .412 .493 .905 138
17 Yrs 1777 6241 1037 1666 341 60 305 983 304 674 1614 .267 .343 .487 .830 115
162 Game Avg. 162 569 95 152 31 5 28 90 28 61 147 .267 .343 .487 .830 115
G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
CIN (8 yrs) 805 2885 499 781 152 33 125 431 158 346 777 .271 .353 .476 .829 118
KCR (2 yrs) 112 398 57 103 30 1 13 60 7 39 101 .259 .325 .437 .762 95
STL (2 yrs) 228 741 113 196 41 5 43 121 35 61 193 .265 .325 .507 .833 113
ARI (1 yr) 126 441 84 116 21 3 33 90 14 46 126 .263 .337 .549 .886 117
PIT (1 yr) 130 453 74 129 27 4 31 87 15 38 110 .285 .345 .567 .913 131
SFG (1 yr) 140 505 75 126 23 6 23 85 18 47 121 .250 .324 .455 .779 107
ATL (1 yr) 103 340 43 79 23 1 11 37 21 32 78 .232 .302 .403 .705 76
SDP (1 yr) 133 478 92 136 24 7 26 72 36 65 108 .285 .376 .527 .904 134
NL (15 yrs) 1665 5843 980 1563 311 59 292 923 297 635 1513 .267 .344 .491 .835 116
AL (2 yrs) 112 398 57 103 30 1 13 60 7 39 101 .259 .325 .437 .762 95
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/12/2012.

Why He Should Get In
Sanders was a rounded player that hit 305 home runs and stole 304 bases over the course of his career.

Why He Should Not Get In
His overall numbers fall short with less than 2,000 hits, less than 1,000 runs batted in, and less than 400 doubles.  He was a good, not great, baseball player.

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

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Hispanic Heritage in KC: Royals Are Now a Player in Latin America

A quick perusal of the Royals All-Time Hispanic Heritage Team is enough to realize that the team has not had much of a history in Latin America. The team’s system produced just one true star of Hispanic decent – Carlos Beltran – in its first 42 years.

You would think when they watched Beltran quickly bloom into a dynamic five-tool star that they would have begun searching high and low for other such talents.

But they didn’t. A few good Hispanic players came along, most of them acquired via trades. But the number, documented in a previous article, was shockingly low.

Mining Latin America for young talent just wasn’t a part of the plan. While the percentage of Latin players on major league rosters climbed to 27% last year, the Royals lagged behind.

But under Dayton Moore, that approach has changed. Signing players from Latin America is a way to augment annual draft classes and quickly bulk up a minor league system. The Royals are now one of the primary players in Latin America, competing to sign the top free agents and fill their system with dynamic prospects.

It is significant that two of the brightest hopes for the Royals future were signed in Moore’s first year on the job. Salvador Perez, from Venezuela, and Kelvin Herrera, from the Dominican Republic, shot so fast through the minor leagues that they never even showed up on rankings of top prospects.

Since then, other top Hispanic prospects have joined the organization, and the minor league system is filling up with Hispanics following in the footsteps of Perez and Herrera.

Not all will work out, obviously. The Royals dug deep into their pocketbooks to ink Noel Arguellas at the same time the Reds broke the bank to sign Aroldis Chapman. Sad to say, the Royals have not had the same success with Arguellas.

2006:

Sugar Ray Marimon (23): During the same off-season that KC signed Perez and Herrera, they also added this right-handed starter from Colombia. Shoulder problems have slowed him, but he advanced to Double-A mid-season.

2008:

Robinson Yambati (21): The Dominican righty received a mid-year promotion to High A Wilmington for his solid relief pitching. He may be following in the footsteps of Herrera.

Yordano Ventura (21): This Dominican got the start for the international team in the Futures Game, heralded as one of the hardest throwers in the minor leagues. Boasting a 100 mph heater, Ventura tore up Carolina League hitters (98 Ks in 76 innings), adjusted slowly to Double-A.

2009:

Cheslor Cuthbert (19): A pup who’s been slowly climbing the minor league ladder, Cuthbert gets rave reviews, but has yet to explode on the field. The Nicaraguan remains a top third base prospect, but hit just .240 with 7 homers at High A Wilmington.

Jorge Bonifacio (19): The Dominican outfielder rocketed out of the blocks last spring at Low A Kane County. He slowed over the season, but finished with a .282 average, 10 homers and 61 RBIs in 105 games.

2010:

Orlando Calixte (20): Looks like he has all the skills necessary to play shortstop. Hit well enough at two levels of A-ball to inspire hope for the future.

Noel Arguelles (22): This signing has been disastrous for the pitching-starved Royals. After giving the Cuban defector $7 million, the Royals had to wonder if Arguelles would ever take the field. After about a year on the sidelines nursing arm troubles, Arguelles has been essentially a batting practice pitcher at Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas. Don’t check out his numbers if you have a weak stomach: 4-14, 6.41 ERA, 1.777 WHIP.

Humberto Arteaga (18): Could follow in the footsteps of fellow Venezuelan shortstop Alcides Escobar – a tall, lanky line-drive hitter. He hit .274 for Burlington last season, but struck out a ton.

2011:

Eliar Hernandez (17): Signed for $3 million, expectations are high for the Dominican outfielder. He is tall and athletic, but failed to hit in his first professional season – .208 with no homers at Idaho Falls. The Royals hope he’ll develop into a Wil Myers-type outfielder.

Adalberto Mondesi (17): Yet another shortstop at the low minors, the son of Raul Mondesi doesn’t exactly fit the criteria for this article. Though he was signed out of the Dominican, he was actually born in Los Angeles. Mondesi spent the season at Idaho Falls, even though he didn’t turn 17 until the end of the summer.  He was solid enough considering his age; he hit .290 with 3 homers in 50 games.

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Meet The New Guys

The Cardinals put a bow on a trade that set the team up for a run in 2011 and potentially a strong future. In the meantime, the team has added four players to the major league roster, three of which made their Cardinal debuts on Thursday night.

NewGuys

The team added two bullpen arms, a starting pitcher, and a veteran outfielder that projects to see playing time in left and center field. I-70 takes a deeper look at who these players are…

Octavio Dotel, Relief Pitcher
Dotel joins the club as the type of pitcher that Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan seem to thrive on. A veteran pitcher from the Dominican Republic who is 37 years old and has spent time on 11 major league rosters before his move to St. Louis, Dotel has been a starter, reliever and even a closer for various franchises. Most recently, Dotel has spent his time completely out of the bullpen having not made a start since 2001. A player that can project to be an inning eater reliever, he will most likely see time late in games serving as a setup type reliever and helping shorten games for the starting staff. Cardinal fans can expect to see Dotel late in games in pressure situations, helping to get the game from the starting pitchers to the closer.

Dotel can be streaky and has been an up-and-down pitcher from time to time, but he tends to stay consistently around a high three to low four earned run average, 30-60 innings pitched, and 10 strikeouts per nine innings over the last few years. He may be advanced in age, but he still has a live arm that can be dominant and is a smart pitcher overall.

Edwin Jackson, Starting Pitcher
Many experts seem to focus on Jackson as the centerpiece of this deal. The young right-hander appears to be on the Mike Morgan plan as he joins his seventh team at twenty-seven years old. Statistically speaking, Jackson is the most promising player that can have a major impact on the Cardinals this season. With a sub 4 earned run average, 97 strikeouts over 121 innings, has only walked 39 hitters and is scouted as a ground ball pitcher. Jackson is the type of pitcher that usually benefits from the tutelage of Dave Duncan. Ground ball pitchers who have played for multiple teams and are open to making adjustments can find an improvement in St. Louis. An improvement over what he has been doing would land him as a number two or three starter on most teams.

The side note on Jackson might be the possibility of a contract extension to keep him in St. Louis for the future instead of the rental player many are projecting him to be. Many times in the past, including last year’s Jake Westbrook acquisition, the Cardinals have brought a player to the city for the end of the season to judge to possibility of keeping him here for much longer. Jackson is represented by Scott Boras which would suggest that he will at least test the free agent market, but the team has a good history with the super agent and John Mozeliak will not be afraid to approach him if the team sees a strong fit. Time will tell whether Jackson is here for a few months or here for a long term.

Corey Patterson, Outfielder
One of the last names to surface as the deal became public, Corey Patterson seemed to continue the theme of “journeyman veterans” joining the Cardinals in the trade. Patterson joins his eighth team in his major league career at the age of 32 (he will turn 33 in less than a month). A speedy outfielder that is a plus defender in his career, he has found a home on teams recently as a fourth outfielder and a strong presence on the bench. Cardinal fans will see a similarity with last year’s veteran Randy Winn, both good and bad.

The important note on Patterson is for fans to remember that he is, in fact, a rental player that will most likely only be here for the remainder of the 2011 season and he is not the outfielder that will be assuming the Colby Rasmus playing time. Patterson will see time in the field, both off the bench and in a starting role, but Jon Jay stands to benefit the most from the starting centerfielder leaving. In addition, Patterson can be a positive in the running game, should the Cardinals choose to try to employ it a bit more frequently. The team has been a station to station team most of the season, adding a proven stolen base man could help add a new dimension to the strategy of the game.

Marc Rzepczynski, Relief Pitcher
The piece to the deal that was possibly the most attractive to the St. Louis Cardinals was pitcher Marc Rzepczynski. Affectionately known as “Scrabble” to his teammates, Rzepczynski is a piece the Cardinals bullpen has been missing for some time now. A left handed reliever that is extremely tough on left handed hitters, Rzepczynski has held lefties to a minimal .157 batting average and only three extra base hits over 79 plate appearances. Most attractive to the team, however, is that he is not just a lefty specialist. Right handed hitters are only posting a .237 average against him with a bit more success at power numbers.

All of that shows what Rzepczynski is capable of right now. Lost in those numbers are the facts that Rzepczynski is 25 years old, under team control through 2015 and spent his minor league career and the first few years of his major league career as a starting pitcher with mediocre results. The Cardinals see a pitcher that is still maturing, has not found his full identity at the major league level, and has a very live arm overall. The team knows that Rzepczynski has a bright future and it was his arm and ability that made the Cardinals part with Rasmus overall.

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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Spring Training Invitees, Free Agent Rumors Shape Ragged Rotation

It was only a week ago we invited the New Year, but only five short weeks marks a much bigger celebration around select Arizona and Florida cities. February 14th is a day known for its love, but it will be pitchers and catchers who are building chemistry when they report on Valentine’s Day.

As Major League rosters gain shape and Spring Training quickly approaches, it’s beginning to look as if the group in need of the most lovin’ is the Royals pitching staff.

Photo by Erika Lynn

While the Greinke haul looks good projected into 2013 and beyond, it’s like robbing a cupboard with only a few cans of beef broth left for this year’s rotation.

GM Dayton Moore’s first offseason move is already taking immediate effect. Hindsight makes the deal of two young arms for DeJesus obvious after later trading Greinke. Vin Mazzaro, 24, will be asked to take quite a bit of the load for a staff with lots of options, but little consistency.

In his rookie season, Mazzaro only threw 91.1 innings, while he bumped his load to 122.1 innings last season. Mazzaro is slated as a middle of the rotation righty. He doesn’t have spectacular stuff or strikeout rates, but is a solid young arm. In small sample sizes his numbers could be ugly early, but if he is able to throw between 180-200 innings, the marathon will prove Mazzaro worthy.

Three major pieces of the pitching staff’s fate will be decided before every one reports to Spring Training. Starting pitchers Luke Hochevar and Kyle Davies, Royals since 2007, and reliever Robinson Tejeda, since 2008, all have arbitration hearings scheduled during February.

With the departure of Greinke, it looks like the promotion department will be busy as Hochevar seems the next probable Opending Day Candidate.

Hochevar is another young arm, 26, who hasn’t found stability on a big league level. Injuries have unexpectedly posed setbacks during his four year career, but Hochevar has never thrown more than 143 innings in a season. Teams with number one starters who have never made more than 25 starts in a season and have a career 5.60 ERA produce obvious results.

Davies looked like a non-tender candidate, because his $1.8 million salary should see a significant raise. Considering his mediocre stats it’s hard to believe such a big pay bump would be in order. Arbitration rulings are based largely around the field time a player has seen. Since Davies has thrown 470 innings in four seasons with Kansas City, his workload indicates he is willing of a pay raise.

I can still hear some of you hecklers out their ragging Davies. I understand the skeptics wondering why a replacement level player should be getting a big raise. The first is he has been in MLB for six years. The second, if Davies is such an awful pitcher, why could the Royals find anyone better to throw his innings?

Davies fate was sealed with the ‘Greinke effect,’ making his potentially pricey contract acceptable for a club with some cash and no big league arms.

The last real roster option who has seen big league time is Sean O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan is another young, 22, arm who is still finding his way at the top level. Bill James projects O’Sullivan to make 23 starts, 131 innings pitched, 4.88 ERA, and 4.90 FIP. While those numbers are far from spectacular, 23 starts from O’Sullivan could help carry a scarce staff through the season.

Everett Teaford

Even with only four fairly solid rotation commitments, I don’t think the Royals are in a panic to fill the void by their recent actions.

The most obvious solution for a team with nearly all of their major contracts gone, as well as Gil Meche’s $12 million coming off the books next year, is pay a major league contract for a MLB starter. Throughout the offseason the Royals have been linked to starters like Kevin Millwood, Carl Pavano, and Jeff Francis. It looks as if Pavano is going to resign with the Twins, making him a division foe once again.

I think Francis would be a cheap alternative, also adding a lefty to complement the four righties in place. Francis had built his innings total to 215, before missing parts of 2008 and 2010, and all of 2009. A torn labrum was the most significant damage, which was the cause for the missed time in 2009-2010.

Injury plagued pitchers are usually a gamble, but not including his injury marred years Francis has never thrown less than 143 innings. A cheap price tag and big league knowledge to pass down to a fleet of up and coming lefties makes me perk my ears.

The other potential solution was released in a January 3, announcement by the Royals. Kansas City released their Spring Training invitations, which included invites to six of the top ten Royals prospects according to Baseball America.

While Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer were obvious position players, LHP John Lamp. LHP Mike Montgomery, LHP Danny Duffy, LHP Chris Dwyer, and RHP Aaron Crow are all possible rotation options depending on spring performances.

Kansas City has also invited several pitching prospect outside the top ten. A few other roster contenders will be LHP Everett Teaford, LHP Noel Arguelles, RHP Nathan Adcock, and RHP Kanekoa Texeira. Adcock was a Rule 5 selection by the Royals grabbing him from Baltimore. His fate will most likely be sealed by the end of Spring Training. To retain a Rule 5 draft pick, the selection must be on the 25 man roster. If Adcock was not, he would be sent back to the

Despite a shaky starting staff, the bullpen should perform admirably depending on their amount of use. Quite frankly any bullpen with Joakim Soria doesn’t need much to make it serviceable.

Soria will anchor a group of Tejeda, Gil Meche, Texeira, and a few others. Tejeda has proved his worth out of the bullpen since coming to Kansas City from Boston. In three seasons as a Royal, Tejeda has a 3.47 ERA in 174 innings.

Gil Meche should offer some support on a diminished workload. Look for Texeira, 24, to improve on the 42 innings he worked in relief for the Royals. Texeira posted a 4.63 ERA with Kansas City.

A few other late additions or starting rotation contenders will be left over to round out the bullpen.

While the pitching performances don’t look to promising, they still should get a boost from multiple defensive upgrades.

Outfielders Jeff Francouer and Melky Cabrera were both major defensive upgrades when signed. Hopefully those two along with the speed and quick jumps from youngster Lorenzo Cain can make up for DeJesus’ outfield prowess.

Alcides Escobar immediately becomes the best Royals shortstop I can remember because of his love with the glove and fast feet. Of course, I’m only 23 which leave me the likes of Angel Berroa, Neifi Perez, and Yuniesky Betancourt.

Moore has constructed a lineup with solid offensive corners and fast, slick fielding up the middle players. With a stable of young arms, it looks like the only missing piece is a catcher.

Unfortunately for Royals fans, the catching question is one Moore could address a while down the road, since a quality product isn’t expected in Kauffman until 2012.

The Royals rotation mystery is a question which will be answered soon. Only a few short months will decide which starters will break into 2011 as a Royal.

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