Tag Archive | "Mlb Amateur Draft"

Royals Draft The Youngest Player In Baseball History

Royals Draft The Youngest Player In Baseball History
Alfredo Escalera projected to stand out despite his young age

Released on: June 06, 2012, 8:00 pm (ET)
Author: Globalize LLC

Bradenton, FL – The Kansas City Royal’s baseball organization announced yesterday the selection of Alfredo Escalera as KC’s number 8th pick in the 2012 First- Year Player Draft. With this selection, the Royals opted for the youngest player to ever be drafted since the insertion of the MLB Amateur Draft in 1965 based on the research of publicaly recorded date of birth of the players selected.

Originally from Puerto Rico, Escalera moved to Florida to join the IMG Academies Baseball program in 2008. At IMG, Escalera was able to excel in both the athletic and academic aspects. Escalera, a National Honor Society student got committed to attend (D1) Stetson University and was presented with several athletic awards throughout his high school years. “I am fortunate to be given every opportunity possible to show my abilities, not only at IMG where I joined the Varsity team when I was 16, but also in the Puerto Rico 18U Palomino Summer League in which I played at 15”.

Escalera’s young age seems more relevant after most MLB organizations became more aware about the benefits of drafting young talent. Last year, Dr. Rany Jazayerli presented a research study in which he concluded that the very young players return more value than expected by their draft slots. In Jazayerli’s study, he looked at the statistics and broke high school draftees up into 5 distinctive groups based on their age on draft day. Dr. Jazayerli’s define a “very young” players are those who are younger than 17 years and 296 days on draft day. Escalera was only 17 years and 114 days old on draft day. Despite the fact that the study was limited to the top 100 draft picks, its conclusion seems to apply across the board. “I truly believe that by drafting me, the Royals are mixing their highly regarded top-ranked minor league system, with my athletic ability and youth, expecting that this combination will produce an extraordinary positive results” affirmed Escalera.

The main concern when drafting a young talent is how these athletes will handle the physical and mental challenges typical of professional baseball. This does not seem to concern Escalera, a 6’2” and 175 pound who is seemingly a mentally mature individual. It is evident that when it comes to physical development, Escalera has a high ceiling to get stronger. He has a loose angular body built outstandingly fit but without a mature muscular depth. This has not affected Alfredo’s competitive abilities. At the age of 16, Alfredo achieved the highest score in the Combine 360 among all the high school Florida’s baseball players tested, and was able to be in the top 10% of all the athletes tested including those in basketball, football and tennis.

“I see some of my older peers and I get impressed because they really look big and muscular, but that has motivated me to work harder during the summer and the off season” affirmed the young player. It seems that his effort paid off, he has a low tension swing, backed by a high level bat speed which causes the ball to jump hard giving him power potential. His offensive power, speed and arm strength competes very well with other top players of the remarkable 2012 class.

On the field, his physical ability has consistently matched and commonly surpassed his older peers as evident by his accomplishment at the IMG Academy where the level of training and competition was extremely demanding.

Alfredo realized that in order to achieve his goal as a professional minor league player, it is required that the development of his already remarkable athletic skills as well as a strong mental conditioning. “Baseball is an unforgiving sport which challenges ones mental toughness in each at bat and with every play…I truly believe that I am ready to face any challenge,” stated a confident Escalera. In a letter dated last year, his Varsity Coach Jason Elias described Alfredo’s aptitude by stating that, “he understands the ups and downs of the game and handles adversity well. He understands what it takes to be successful and has the mental component of the game in his grasp”.

You can take a look at some videos of the young draft pick by clicking here.

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Where Are They Now: Brendan Ryan

Being an outspoken defender and ever-faithful fan of Brendan “Boog” Ryan, I was both delighted to be asked to contribute a piece dedicated to my favorite shortstop and yet bummed about the context. Hearing the label “former Cardinal” attached to Brendan still tugs at my heart, and seeing Brendan in a Mariners uniform this year will be bittersweet.

During the offseason, the Cardinals openly shopped Brendan Ryan amid cruel rumblings that Ryan had become a distraction in the Cardinals’ clubhouse. Brendan was eventually traded to the Seattle Mariners for Class A pitcher, Maikel Cleto. Those of us who enjoyed Brendan’s personality and marveled at his valuable defensive wizardry were appalled by the seemingly lopsided deal. But I digress…

This spring as in countless years before, fans all over the nation will be coming out of hibernation to reunite with baseball. Cardinal fans will notice new names on the roster, and the infield will showcase a different glove with #3 Ryan Theriot replacing #13 Brendan Ryan at shortstop.

Recap: The Cardinal Years

Brendan Ryan was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 7th round of the 2003 MLB amateur draft (215th overall) at age 21. Working his way up the farm system, Ryan was promoted to Class AA Springfield Cardinals by the middle of 2005. A wrist injury limited his playing time considerably for the 2006 season. However Brendan rebounded in 2007, playing at both AAA Memphis and the big club, making his major league debut with the Cardinals on June 2, 2007. In 2007 Brendan split his time among 2nd base, 3rd base and shortstop. In 2008 Brendan played primarily middle infield and notably hit his first career grand slam on August 20th at San Diego, giving the Cardinals a 5-1 win.

Brendan’s 2008 sophomore batting average slumped to .244 from .289 in 2007, but then rebounded to an impressive .292 for 2009 when Brendan also showcased a breakout season as the Cardinals’ everyday shortstop. Ryan turned heads with his brilliant defense and spectacular range (1st in the NL that season). His .984 fielding percentage ranked him 4th among all shortstops for 2009 and Brendan also led the NL in assists during both the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

The 2010 season started out bumpy for Ryan who opted for wrist surgery in February after battling pain and discomfort for years. The surgery delayed his Spring Training progress and after an attempt to retool his swing under the guidance of Cardinals hitting coach, Mark McGwire, Brendan started the season struggling to find his comfort at the plate. His 2010 batting average danced around the Mendoza line much of the year, ending at a meager .223 (a far cry from the .292 he posted in 2009.)

Looking Ahead:

In January, Ryan avoided arbitration, signing a 2-year, $2.75 million contract with his new ballclub. He enters Spring Training in competition for the Mariners starting shortstop position with 33-year-old incumbent shortstop, Jack Wilson. Wilson spent most of last season plagued by injuries and is in his final year of a 2-year, $10 million contract. Brendan’s chances to start at either shortstop or 2nd base are considered extremely good.

I expect Brendan Ryan to rebound from his poor offensive showing in 2010. Mariners fans will delight in his range and defense while a new ballclub, manager and league may provide the perfect fresh environment for Brendan’s unbridled passion and enthusiasm for the game.

Keep your eyes on the 2011 highlight reels. I predict we will be seeing a lot of Brendan Ryan this year, even though he will not be wearing the Birds on the Bat.

Go Boog, Go! ;)

Erika Lynn is a contributor for i70baseball.com, BaseballDigest.com and writes about the Cardinals at Cardinal Diamond Diaries. You can also find her on Twitter: @Erika4stlcards

References: Baseball-Reference.com and mlb.com

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Royals Responsibilities Shift From Acquiring Talent to Developing It

Producing a successful MLB team can be broken down into two oversimplified steps: 1. Acquire quality talent. 2. Properly developing quality talent to produce consistently.

These two steps obviously contain multiple different processes only attempted by the games sharpest minds. The majority of the time even those who’ve lived and studied baseball prove futile in their talent development skills.

It is now widely accepted the Kansas City Royals have out done the other 29 MLB organizations in acquiring quality talent. Not only the best group of talent gathered the last few seasons, but maybe ever.

There is a distinct difference between prospect talent and MLB proven talent. Over the last decade Royals fans have come to know prospect talent, but haven’t seen a group of MLB proven talent. For the purposes of the argument, it doesn’t matter what type of talent you acquire (prospect/MLB).

Essentially, as long as talent is present and combined with proper player development coaches/staff, the coaching staff will be able to mine the talent for production. The development process lands on the shoulders of every coaching staff from the Royals throughout the farm system, even spilling over to the front office.

Most of those roles will go unnoticed, with the burden falling on a few public figures for fans to assess daily. There has been scrutiny surrounding GM Dayton Moore’s ability to acquire talent, but over the next few summers it will shift onto the shoulders of Ned Yost.

Yost will be expected to turn top tier talent into wins.

Ned Yost

Yost’s past offers an increasingly common path, through Atlanta, for Royals player and personnel. His playing and managing career seem like a “catch 22” for Royals fans.

Yost was the seventh pick of the 1974 MLB Amateur Draft, by the Milwaukee Brewers. Yost, of Eureka, California, broke into the big leagues six years later at 25. He spent four seasons in Milwaukee, mostly as a backup catcher. As a Brewer, Yost hit .233, 10 HR, 39 RBI.

His next stop was in Texas. As a Ranger in 1984, Yost played his most games in a season in his career, 80. In 1985, Yost played five games with the Expos and then was relegated back to the minor leagues for the next two seasons. After splitting 49 games between AA and AAA in 1987, Yost ended his playing career at 32.

While Yost’s talents as a player didn’t turn out as expected, the things he learned in 14 professional seasons as a catcher provided a more promising career. Nearly 3,000 professional at-bats, combined with six seasons of living in the bullpen gave Yost a unique knowledge to fallback on.

The Atlanta Braves were the first to take a chance on Yost as a coach. In 1991, Yost signed on as the Braves bullpen coach. Bobby Cox had taken over the helm during the 1990 campaign and added Yost to his staff to begin his first full season in Atlanta.

Yost acted as bullpen coach from 1991-98, then took over as third base coach from 1998-2002. In his 12 seasons with the Braves, Atlanta won their division every season expect the strike shortened 1994. The Braves also made nine NLCS and five World Series appearances during the 12 year span.

On October 29, 2002, Yost was named manager of the Milwaukee Brewers. In 2003, Yost inherited a Brewers club built around Richie Sexson, Eric Young, Jose Hernandez, and Geoff Jenkins. The squad tanked in 2003 and 2004, finishing last in the NL Central.

After 2004, the roster began to change drastically, allowing Yost the chance to mold his own contender. The Brewers slowly climbed the NL Central finishing third in 2005 and second in 2007.

By 2008, the Brewers were relying mostly on Prince Fielder (24), Rickie Weeks (25), J.J. Hardy (25), Ryan Braun (24), Corey Hart (26), Manny Parra (25), and Carlos Villanueva (24). Every one of these players made their MLB debuts under Yost, not to mention the talent waiting in the wings, including Alicides Escobar (21), Mat Gamel (22), and Yovani Gallardo (22).

It was late in the 2007 season when Yost first came under fire in Milwaukee. While the turn around was impressive, the front office was more focused on the late season collapse. The Brewers owned an 8½ game lead over the Cubs three weeks into June, but fell two games short of winning the division.

After a four game sweep at the hands of Philadelphia, costing the Brewers the wild card lead on September 15, 2008, the Brewers announced third base coach Dale Sveum as Yost’s replacement.

The Brewers won the NL wild card during the remaining 12 games. The Phillies came back to finish the job, taking down the Brewers 3-1 in the NLDS, eventually winning the World Series.

As the manager of the Brewers, Yost went 457-502. His choice of lineups, bullpen, and bench use ultimately caused his demise in Milwaukee.

A MLB manager’s duties are a laundry list. While in-game decisions are usually the most dissected, they are only a small part of what a manager does. His biggest responsibilities lie in properly handling the media, player’s health/ego/etc., as well as developing players on the Major League level.

Jeff Zimmerman, of Royals Review, recently took a look at Yost’s in-game strategies. Zimmerman maps out some of Yost’s tendencies in Milwaukee and Kansas City against league averages.

The numbers are interesting, Yost proved to be much more aggressive while managing the Brewers. This could be caused by many different factors; managing in the NL vs. AL, differences in roster, and sample size.

The stats pertain only to sacrifice bunt, sacrifice hits, and steal attempts. It still offers a good gauge of Yost’s tendencies.

Jorge Ortiz, of USA Today, posted a piece on February 1, 2011, taking a look at a continuing trend in MLB baseball, managers getting their second chance at success. Yost is in a growing group of “retread” managers; Clint Hurdle (Pirates), Fredi Gonzalez (Braves), Eric Wedge (Mariners), and Terry Collins (Mets).

Ortiz talks about managers being able to find a comfort zone the second time around. Yost was quoted in the piece about his thoughts of a managers duties and being better equipped to handle them with expertise:

“I think managing is … being able to deal with the press and to be able to deal with your players,” said Yost. “And then manage the game. But it’s being able to handle the whole thing.”

The experience acquired by breading an extremely young and talented nucleus of players in Milwaukee to success is one of the main reasons Moore extended Yost during 2010.

Baseball has recognized the Royals ability to complete the first step in the formula to success. The talent will eventually only be as good as the men developing them.

Yost’s player development skills have been well honed, but his ability to transform talent into sustained playoff success will ultimately determine how he will be remembered in Kansas City a decade from now.

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Famous Amos And The One Handed Catch



There hasn’t been much to cheer or chant about around Kauffman over the last decade. The circumstances were much different four decades ago as baseball broke in the funkadelic 1970s with green plastic grass and much bigger hair. During those days, it was hard to make it to a game not featuring a chorus of enraged fans chanting in unison…



A hungry fan base surrounded the 1969 expansion Kansas City Royals. One of the first player’s die hard Royals fans latched onto was “AO,” center fielder Amos Otis. Otis played 14 years for Kansas City and was instrumental transforming an expansion club into a perennial pennant contender less than a decade later.

Otis, a Mobile, Alabama native, was a highly sought after prospect in high school. His graduation fatefully aligned with the inaugural MLB Amateur Draft in 1965. Despite participating with the Mets in scouting camps, the Red Sox drafted Otis as a shortstop in the fifth round.

At 18, Otis played his first year of professional baseball Rookie League, where he shifted to third base. In 1966, the Red Sox left Otis unprotected and the Mets seized the opportunity they had squandered a year earlier and drafted Otis in the 1966 Minor League Draft.

New York immediately promoted him to AAA and moved him into the outfield. The Mets quickly realized the potential Otis possessed. Met’s Farm Director and third base coach, Whitey Herzog, labeled Otis as “the best piece of property we’ve got.”

Otis, now 20, made his MLB debut during a 1967 September call-up. The Mets sent him back to AAA for 1968, but the front office had apparently taken Herzog’s sentiments to heart. In 1969, when the Braves were shopping catcher Joe Torre, GM Johnny Murphy refused to make a deal involving Otis, marking him as ‘untouchable.’

The Gold Glover had already made five All-Star squads, and because of Murphy’s unwillingness to part with Otis, went on to make four more All-Star appearances and win an MVP with St. Louis.

Mets Manager, Gil Hodges, already had his outfield penciled in for 1969. With a hole at third, the Mets felt it was time to debut their versatile prospect at the hot corner.

“I was a shortstop originally and played all positions in high school,” said Otis in an interview with Baseball Almanac’s Harold Friend. “The Mets wanted me to play third base. In 1969 they had Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee, and Ron Swoboda in the outfield.

I was supposed to be the Opening Day third baseman that year but Gil Hodges, the Mets manager, thought that I would be too nervous and I didn’t play. I really wanted to play center field, not third because I had been an All-Star center fielder in the minors. I was one of the fastest players on the team so why did they want to put me a third base?”

The Mets quickly sent Otis back to AAA in search of a big league third baseman. Their eyes ultimately turned to New York native Joe Foy, 26, whom the Royals had selected from the Boston Red Sox with their fourth pick of the expansion draft. In 1965, Foy dominated the International League winning the MVP and Rookie of the Year by leading the league in hitting, .302, while adding 14 HR and 73 RBIs.

Foy produced three solid years to start his career in Boston. In his first and only year with Kansas City, Foy his .262, 11 HR, 37 SB, and a career high 71 RBI. Coming off a 1969 World Series Championship, the Mets saw Foy as an upgrade at third on a squad already set, making Otis available.

The Mets sent Otis and pitcher Bob Johnson to Kansas City for Foy. In 1970, Foy hit .236, 6 HR, and 37 RBIs. He was criticized in the clubhouse for his marijuana use and was out of baseball a year later.

“I was watching the Today Show, recalled Otis, “when Joe Garagiola announced that Amos Otis had been traded to the Kansas City Royals, along with pitcher Bob Johnson, for third baseman Joey Foy. I was caught off guard but it was December 3, 1969, which is my father’s birthday, and he said it was for the best. I went from the team that had won the World Series to an expansion team that had just finished its first season.”

Royals GM Cedric Tallis jumped on the opportunity to bring in Otis, but had his eye on more young talent to shape the infantile franchise. During his tenure Tallis is credited with bringing in the likes of Otis, Lou Piniella, Buck Martinez, Cookie Rojas, John Mayberry, Hal McRae, and would deal Bob Johnson a season later for Freddie Patek.

Tallis chose Charlie Metro to lead the 1970 Royals.

“I was standing in the outfield not far from the right-field foul line when I saw Charlie Metro walking toward me,” said Otis in a 1971 interview with the New York Times. “I didn’t even know what to say to him and so I headed toward center field. I looked again and he was coming my way. Finally he pinned me against the left-field fence. ‘Amos,’ he said, ‘you’re my center fielder for as long as you can hold the job.’”

Although it was Metro who couldn’t hold his job, Otis held on to his for the next 14 seasons. After only 52 games, Bob Lemon was selected to talk over as the Royals skipper.

“AO’s” impact was immediate. In his first full season Otis tied for the most doubles (36) in the league along with 11 HR, 33 SB, and 58 RBI. Otis reached base in 136 of his 159 games and earned his first All-Star appearance. He made the one-hop 12th inning throw from center field that was an instant late to catcher Ray Fosse. By the time the ball got to the plate Pete Rose had already separated Fosse’s shoulder and earned a victory for the NL.

Otis told the Sports Collectors Digest, his nickname, Famous Amos was credited to the play, “because I made that great throw from center field. It was a one-hop throw. That’s the way baseball’s supposed to be played.”

Famous Amos had arrived.

The next season Otis improved on nearly every offensive category, leading the Royals to their first winning season in franchise history. In 1971, Otis led the league with 52 stolen bases; five came in a single game against the Brewers on September 7th.

“It was the first time in forty-four years that someone stole five bases in a game,” said Otis. “I beat out three infield hits and stole second each time. Going to the bottom of the seventh, the score was 3-3. With two outs and no one on, I hit a line drive single to center, stole second, stole third, and scored the eventual winning run when catcher Darrell Porter threw wildly to third trying to throw me out.

Otis went on to hit .301, 15 HR, and 79 RBIs. It was good enough for his second All-Star appearance and first Gold Glove Award. A lurking defender in center field, Otis had become the complete player everyone expected in the Mets system.

By 1973, Otis had made an impact throughout the league. Known for his speed and defense, Otis showed off his power potential in ’73, crushing 26 homers while knocking in 93 RBIs. Otis’ power surge helped the Royals win a record 88 games. He was also selected to his fourth consecutive All-Star game while winning his second of three Gold Gloves.

It was enough to inspire Royals Manager Jack McKeon to describe Otis as, “The best center fielder in baseball. No question about it. Amos is the most complete player in the majors, one of the most complete I’ve ever seen.”

Otis slipped a bit in 1974, hitting .284, 12 HR, 18 SB, and 73 RBIs, but still won his third and final Gold Glove. The Royals fell under .500 again at season’s end. Some grumblings from officials and fans started trickling in about Otis’ casual and nonchalant style of play.

“I can’t help it if I make things look easy,” said Otis in response to his play to Joe McGuff. “Even in 1973, when I had my best year, people said I could do better. Last year I didn’t have the year I wanted to have. I got to pressing. It was just something I couldn’t overcome. Everything I do on this team, I’m first or second. I can’t do much more than that. I know I didn’t have the year I wanted, but you can’t always do it. I got so I hated to come to the park. It was embarrassing.… As soon as you came out of the dugout, they were on you. After a while, you just hated to play.”

Otis had popularized a common practice in MLB outfields today, the one handed catch. Many saw Otis one handed antics as lazy or showy, Otis claimed it helped him get to the ball and release it quicker.

“I had always caught using two hands,” said Otis, “but we had an outfielder with the Royals named Pat Kelly, who was Cleveland Browns’ star running back LeRoy Kelly’s brother. Pat used to get nervous trying to catch a fly ball. His hands started to shake and he dropped too many of them. I told him to wait for the last second and then catch the ball with one hand. He was successful. Using one hand let me get rid of the ball faster. Sometimes, when I had to be sure, I would use two hands. It was actually Rico Carty who started catching with one hand the year before.”

With the talent in place, Tallis made a final move which sparked the Royals. He replaced Jack McKeon with Whitey Herzog at the helm. Herzog was instrumental in Otis’ development as a youngster during their time together with the Mets. Herzog’s aggressive style on the base paths and on defense was a perfect fit for Otis’ game.

Otis played his fewest games of the 70s in 1975, because of a midseason tonsillectomy. He hit a career low .247, but still produced an OBP of .342 while swiping 39 bags. They Royals won a team record 91 games, but finished seven games behind Oakland.

Tallis saw things differently, tired of coming up short, he sparked a deal with the Pirates which would send Cookie Rojas and Otis to Pittsburgh for rising star 1B/OF Al Oliver.

Because of Rojas’ league status, 10 years in the league and five with one team, league rules allowed Rojas to veto the deal.

Otis roamed the Kauffman turf until 1983, while Rojas held on until 1977, playing only 127 games in his final two seasons.

‘Scoop’ Oliver remained a fixture in the middle of the lineup. From 1975-83, Oliver crushed the baseball, .312/.355/.466, 306 2B, 128 HR, 757 RBI. Over the nine year span Oliver made six All-Star appearances, won three Silver Slugger Awards, and finished in the top 20 of MVP voting seven times.

Otis bounced back in 1976, he hit .279, 40 2B, 18 HR, 26 SB, and 86 RBI and earned his final All-Star appearance. More importantly the Herzog/Otis influence helped the Royals to 90 wins and cracked the postseason for the first time in franchise history.

When the Royals clinched their first division title Otis recalled the near trade, “Cookie gets his Series share and 10% of mine. We were on the verge of winning the championship, and I didn’t want to go with another club. I had been with this club during the building years. You don’t want to be a part of something, and then be shipped out before your ship comes in.”

Otis recorded one at-bat against the Yankees in the 1976 ALDS before injuring an ankle. The Yankees went on to a five game victory.

At 31, Otis had questionably his greatest season in 1978. Despite not being selected to All-Star team, he hit .298, 30 2B, 22 HR, 32 SB, and 96 RBI. Otis finished fourth in the MVP voting, the highest of his career.

After winning 102 games in ’77, the Royals won 92 in ’78. Both regular season triumphs ended the same as 1976, a Yankee defeat in the ALDS.

In 1980, with production starting to slip Otis managed .251, 16 2B, 10 HR, 16 SB, 53 RBI. With Otis and McRae the only major pieces still left in place from the first youth movement made by Tallis, a new wave of homegrown youngsters Frank White, Willie Wilson, and George Brett finally busted through the Yankees.

Their reward was a World Series showdown between the Philadelphia Phillies. After years of playing bridesmaid to the Yankees, Otis wouldn’t be denied his chance to be a champion. Otis hit .493 along with two doubles, three dingers, 22 total bases, four runs, and seven RBIs in the six games. Still it wasn’t enough as Steve Carlton mowed down seven in seven innings en route to a 7-1 clincher.

“Winning the World Series is the ultimate goal,” said Otis. “1980 was a heartbreak, because we led in each of the first five games, but the Phillies kept coming back on us and when we lost Game 5, we went into Philadelphia trailing, three games to two. We got ten hits off Carlton in Game 2, but we couldn’t hold a 4-2 lead going into the eighth. You don’t get to Carlton like that too often. He pitched a much better game and won Game 6. It was disappointing.”

In 1981 Otis hit .259, 9 HR, 16 SB, and 57 RBI. The Royals got swept out of the LDS by Oakland in the strike shortened season. It would be the final taste of the postseason for Otis, who had endured repeated playoff ‘heartbreak.’

Otis would be with the club through 1983, but when it came time to pick up his option, the club turned to a younger and speedier candidate, Willie Wilson. Wilson had already been with the Royals for six seasons and the 28 year old was deemed more suitable than the aging Otis. Wilson went on to be a similar fixture, helping the Royals to their 1985 World Series Championship.

Otis found work in Pittsburgh, whom had tried to trade for him nearly a decade ago. Otis only played in 40 games with the Pirates and decided to retire.

Over his 17 year career Otis hit .277, 374 2B, 193 HR, 341 SB, and 1,007 RBI, along with his three Gold Gloves and five All-Star nominations.

In the Bill James Baseball Abstract 1984, James described Otis’ legacy as well as anyone could.

“Amos Otis was an intensely private man leading an intensely public life. He disdained showmanship—probably he hated showmanship—of any type and to any extent. He could never quite deal with the fact that his business was putting on a show. This is what is called ‘moodiness’ by the media.

Yet there was a rare, deep honesty about him that was the defining characteristic of him both as a man and as a ballplayer. He could not stand to do anything for show. He could not charge into walls (and risk his continued existence as a ballplayer) after balls that he could not catch. He could not rouse the fans (and risk his continued existence as a baserunner) with a stirring drive for a base too far.

He never in his career stood at home plate and watched a ball clear the fence. McRae and Brett, they did that sort of thing; Otis would sometimes turn away interview requests with a sardonic comment, ‘Talk to Brett and McRae. They’re the team leaders.’

Famous Amos can be found at the top of nearly every offensive Royals All-Time Leaders list. Only George Brett and Frank White have played more games for Kansas City. Of all the numbers I believe the one which reflects Otis’ tenure the most is this: Otis was the centerfielder for nine of the eleven teams in Royals history which won 85 or more games.

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