Tag Archive | "Robinson Tejeda"

Minors Wrap Up: More Pitching Help Needed In 2012

If, as Dayton Moore is so fond of saying, “pitching is the currency of baseball,” then the Royals drew pretty heavily from their account this season, dipping into the minors for nearly every capable reliever they could find.

Aaron Crow, hardly ready for the big leagues at this time last year, was promoted to the big league bullpen, as were several others who could probably have benefited from a little more work at Triple-A. Any of the cast of newbies – Tim Collins, Everett Teaford, Louis Coleman and Greg Holland – probably should have been on the list of 2012 top prospects, were it not for the big league club’s urgent need for arms. Throw in Nate Adcock and it was basically a Triple-A cast of characters.

But they held their own. The bullpen is now the strength of the pitching staff, and the team needs desperately to find some starters worthy of the collection of talent now manning the fielding positions.

There may be some help on the horizon, but nothing in the Royals’ farm system looks like a sure thing for 2012. In this, the second part of a post-season evaluation of the Royals’ top minor league prospects, I-70 Baseball.com highlights the pitchers. See the first part of the series for a look at the top prospects at the fielding positions for 2012.

(This article will ignore many of the pitchers who might well play a role in the Royals’ future, such as Robinson Tejeda, Vin Mazarro and Sean O’Sullivan. They’ve had their chances, and they are at this point nothing more than interchangeable parts.)

Right-handed starters:

There is a need for more top-flight righties in the system. The top righty however, Jake Odorizzi, might wind up being the best prospect in the entire organization. Will he be another Greinke, as was originally advertised?

Jake Odorizzi – he will rate very high in the next version of Baseball America’s rankings. Is he ready to make the jump to Kansas City? He will most likely be given at least a shot at a rotation spot in the spring.

Jason Adam – one of the Royals’ most prized developmental projects, Adam made 21 starts for Kane County in his first professional season. Though his numbers weren’t great, the potential is there.

Greg Billo – turned 21 at mid-season for Kane County. Pitched well as a starter and out of the pen, registering a 1.93 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP.

Left-handed starters:

Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas got most of the ink last winter, but it was the Royals’ wealth of left-handed pitching that made their farm-system truly phenomenal. With Danny Duffy, Collins and Teaford in this mix, they were simply loaded with top-flight lefties. But now the Royals need some of the remaining talent to give their big-league starting rotation a makeover.

Mike Montgomery – going into 2011, he was without a doubt the Royals’ most dynamic pitching prospect. But Montgomery never quite harnessed his tremendous ability this year. He battled the organization over training methods, and his 5-11 record, 5.32 ERA and 1.500 WHIP were all disappointments. Nonetheless, he will probably start the season in the KC rotation, and the team desperately needs him to develop into a quality big league starter.

Chris Dwyer – was up and down, but probably has a shot at making the Royals’ rotation next season. If not he will probably be second only to Odorizzi amongst the Royals’ top farm hands next season.

John Lamb – possibly the biggest disappointment in the whole farm system was the arm injury suffered by Lamb early in the season. Going into the year, there were many who considered Lamb the Royals’ top pitching prospect and one of the best in game. Now Lamb begins the long (approximately one year) road back from Tommy John surgery. According to the customary timeframe, he could be pitching by June of next year.

Noel Arguelles – many doubted this guy would ever wear a uniform, so secret and mysterious were his arm problems. But the Cuban signee finally did take to the field and he was solid if not spectacular. Time will tell if he can recover the arm strength that made him a coveted international prospect.

Right-handed relievers:

Former big-leaguers Tejeda and Jeremy Jeffress remain options at this spot in spite of their struggles.

Kelvin Herrera – the best prospect that never showed up on anyone’s radar, neither before the season nor during it. He quietly put together a dazzling season, jumping from Wilmington to Northwest Arkansas to Omaha in a whirlwind campaign. Batters at each of the three levels failed to hit .200 against him. His WHIP was an uncanny .842. Herrera will turn 22 on New Years Eve, and could make next year a happy one for Royals’ fans.

Jeremy Jeffress – everyone else acquired in the Greinke trade had a great season. This guy went the wrong direction, getting demoted twice in one year.

Kendal Volz – came over in a mid-season trade. He’ll be given a crack at the Omaha pen next year.

Left-handed relievers:

There aren’t many lefty-relievers at the top levels of the farm system. Considering the shakiness of Collins and Teaford, more help may be needed, sooner rather than later.

Kevin Chapman – at Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas he struck out a combined 13.1 per nine innings. Due to the lack of lefty relievers ahead of him, Chapman should play a key role in the Omaha pen, just a phone call away from KC.

The big story come spring training will be who will make up KC’s starting rotation. Montgomery, Dwyer and Odorizzi should all receive a very long look. Judging by the rocky season Duffy just suffered through, fans should brace for the steep learning curve facing any rookie who makes the rotation. The bullpen looks more set, but Herrera and Jeffress will probably get a shot at making the big club.

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Seller/Buyer Options For The Royals

I heard an interesting and quite likely theory today: the 2011 Kansas City Royals could have a completely different starting rotation at the end of the season than they did at the beginning of the year.

For that matter, the Royals could also have a different infield, outfield and bullpen.

It all depends on where the Royals sit in the standings come the few weeks before the trade deadline: if they are out of the race, the Royals will likely be sellers. If they are in the hunt, they’ll probably be looking to bring players in.

Let’s take a look at the players the Royals could be shipping out if they’re sellers, and the players they could bring in if they’re buyers:

SELL: Melky Cabrera

The player: Melky has played extremely well this year, and the Royals could (and should) capitalize on that if they’re out of the race by July.

The return: How about a right-handed pitching prospect to complement the lefties in the farm system?

BUY: Chone Figgins

The player: Seattle’s Figgins could make a good fit at second base and batting if a contending Royals team doesn’t have faith in Chris Getz.

The return: Salary relief for the Mariners and/or a bullpen arm.

SELL: Robinson Tejeda or Kanekoa Texeira

The players: Speaking of bullpen arms. The trade deadline is a great time to flip relievers to contenders. Tejeda would have to get healthy and prove he can bounce back to 2010 form to be tradable.

The return: Not much. A B-level prospect or two.

BUY: Mike Pelfrey, Chris Young or Aaron Harang

The players: Pelfrey and Young of the Mets and Harang of the Padres are stable veterans who could boost the Royals’ rotation if they’re in the race. These are not front-of-the-rotation guys, but they’re definitely an improvement over Kyle Davies.

The return: Again, salary relief, or…

SELL: Mike Aviles or Wilson Betemit

The players: Even if the Royals are in contention, it’s likely at least one of these guys will be on the trading block. The hot corner belongs to Mike Moustakas come June.

The return: A major league starter or an outfield prospect.

BUY: A front-line starter, such as Felix Hernandez

The player: A Cy Young winner, Felix may or not be on the block come the trade deadline. But if he is, a team like the Royals could pry him loose with their salary flexibility. But it would take a lot.

The return: Like I said, a lot. Kansas City would have to give up one of their top-line prospects, a major league-ready starter (like Jeff Francis) and a couple B-level prospects. This would only be a worthwhile venture if the Royals are truly in the race.

SELL: Billy Butler

The player: Butler has been the anchor of this team’s lineup for a few years. But with the emergence of Eric Hosmer, the presence of Clint Robinson at AAA, and Kila Ka’aihue hanging around as a stopgap, Butler could become expendable. He also has a team-friendly contract, which is attractive to opposing teams.

The return: It would have to be overwhelming. How about top-rated catcher prospect, a right-handed starter and a young first baseman to replace Butler in the system?

BUY: Albert Pujols

The player: Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?

The return: The farm. As in, the entire farm system.

Matt Kelsey is a Royals writer and associate editor for I-70 Baseball. He can be reached at mattkelsey14@yahoo.com.

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Kansas City Fantasy Report Week 6

A lot of buzz around Kansas City last week with the arrival of prospect Eric Hosmer.

Let’s take a look at what we can expect from him and the Royals as we move into week 6.

Photo Courtesy of Minda Haas

The Midwest boys will head east this week squaring off with the Yankees and the Tigers. In the Bronx, they face Garcia, Burnett and Nova. Then in Motown they will see the 100 MPH throwing, two-time no-hitting pitcher, Justin Verlander, Brad Penny, and Max Scherzer.

Injury Front:

Jarrod Dyson made his way back to the field this week and looks like he’ll avoid the DL. Still worth monitoring (with his good speed) but not worth a roster spot just yet.

Robinson Tejeda began a rehab assignment this week. In holds leagues there are many other better options available at this point.

Playing Time:

Kila Ka’aihue was demoted this week with Eric Hosmer’s arrival. Hosmer was the first round pick for the Royals in 2008. At only 21, he was considered to be one of the top hitting prospects in all of baseball. He broke out last season slugging 20 home runs between three leagues. His plate discipline has been excellent and he has the ability to hit for power with 78 extra base hits last season. With just over 100 at bats at AAA this season, he was batting .439 and earned the promotion. If Hosmer sticks, which is highly likely given his discipline, he should hit around .270 with 10-15 HR and drive in 60. He’s worthy of a roster spot in mixed leagues. In keeper leagues, he is definitely one you should grab now if somehow he is still available.

Who’s HOT:

Jeff Francoeur continues to be a steady force in the middle of the lineup. If you look at his peripherals, his HR/FB% is 21%, which is clearly unsustainable. However, he is having better success hitting the fastball and that has been the pitch he has been weak on in years past. The slider and off-speed pitches have been the pitches that Fracoeur has had success with. Naturally, pitchers have stayed away from that to throw more heat. Jeff has capitalized on some better plate discipline as well and at only 27 still has prime years in him. He still has a propensity to swing at pitches out of the zone (39%), so it’s not a bad idea to see what the trade market will bring as his value may not ever be higher.

Who’s NOT:

Jeff Francis has hit a rough stretch. He’s given up five or more earned runs his last three outings. If you are hanging on hoping he’ll shape back into what he was the first two weeks of the season, you have to let that notion go.

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Kansas City Fantasy Report Week 4

A split of a four game series with the Indians was fine but a 3-game sweep at the hands of the Rangers drops the Royals to 12-10.

This week, the Royals will pay Cleveland a visit for a three game set after an off day Monday. They will return home for another three versus the Twins. Kansas City has truly faced some tough opposing pitching the first month of the season, that doesn’t change for week 4. It’s Masterson, Tomlin and Carmona again from the Indians then Duensing, Pavano and Liriano from the Twins.

Injury Front:

Robinson Tejeda threw a bullpen session last week but remains off the radar for this week.

Playing Time:

Mike Aviles’ playing time is still hit and miss. He sat the first two against the Rangers and then exploded in the last game going 3-4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and a SB. He’s frustrating to owners, playing second fiddle to Wilson Betemit. Even with a huge game Sunday, he’s only worth a spot on your bench until playing time clears up.


Alex Gordon might actually be for real. He extended his hitting streak to 18 games this week, the longest active streak in the AL. There may be no better time to deal Gordon as hit hot start has his trade value at an all time high. He is currently sporting a .435 BABIP and although he is making better contact than ever (80%) he is chasing a lot of pitches outside the zone (35%). Also, at this point, his home run pace only lands him at about 10-15 for the season.

Jeff Francoeur has a fourteen game hitting streak of his own. His numbers are a little more substantiated than Gordon’s as he has not been chasing as much and has improved his contact at the plate thus far. He’s worth a spec claim in deeper leagues.


There is no one exactly frigid on this week’s list, only a warning that you must pick your spots wisely with the Royals starting pitching. Sunday’s start for Bruce Chen in Arlington would not have been a wise one. Luke Hochevar getting rocked against Cleveland was hard to see coming. He does have a favorable two-start week pitching in Cleveland then facing a punch-less Twins team at home.

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Kansas City Fantasy Report Week 3

Four more wins this week for the Royals as they and the Cleveland Indians continue to surprise atop the AL Central.

The Indians come into town for four and an early divisional battle for first place. The Royals will then head south to Texas. Once again they face a tough schedule drawing the solid pitching of Cleveland in Carrasco, Talbot, Masterson, and Tomlin. Together they have thrown eight straight quality starts. They will then get Holland, Ogando, and Wilson for the Rangers who have thrown five quality starts in their last six outings.

Injury Front:

Bruce Chen hurt his back this week but should not miss his next scheduled start. He’s been solid in 3 starts with a 2.37 ERA. Not a bad fill-in if you are desperate in deeper leagues. Robinson Tejeda hit the DL this week with right shoulder inflammation. The team does not have a clear-cut set-up man and will play it by matchups.

Playing Time:

Jeremy Jeffress did pick up a spec save this week, which may be indicative of who would be next in line given a Soria injury or trade. Wilson Betemit still has seen playing time with his hot bat, however, Mike Aviles is still getting his chances and raked in 8 RBI this week.


Luke Hochevar has posted back-to-back quality starts. He’s been prone to the long ball giving up 6 jacks. He’s also been very lucky sporting a .203 BABIP. He has displayed a good K/BB rate at 16/4 and his WHIP is 1.01. He shut down the Mariners this week only allowing one hit through seven innings. At this point, he’s a decent spot starter if the match-up is right. Remember, he once was the top overall pick.

Wilson Betemit’s bat remains hot as he slugged .824 over the last week with a 1.424 OPS. It’s hard to know what Ned Yost will do from game to game so watch your daily lineups closely and expect Betemit to keep getting looks as long as he is hot. Both he and Aviles are just keeping the spot warm for Mike Moustakas until June 1st.


Kyle Davies should not be owned in any league. He’s surrendered 23 hits in 14 innings as opponents are hitting .383 off him. If the Royals continue to contend, Davies will have to be dismissed in favor of Dan Duffy who is polished and ready at AAA Omaha.

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The Good, The Bad, And The Faux Hawk

The excitement of Opening Day is tangible in Kansas City, even if everyone knows this 2011 team is only going to be a footnote to the real future of the team.

But that’s not to say 2011 is not an important footnote.

A quick look at the Opening Day roster shows five rookies, all of whom could realistically be a part of a Royals renaissance:

RHP Nate Adcock, LHP Bruce Chen, LHP Tim Collins, RHP Aaron Crow, RHP Kyle Davies, LHP Jeff Francis, RHP Luke Hochevar, RHP Jeremy Jeffress, RHP Sean O’Sullivan, RHP Joakim Soria, RHP Robinson Tejeda, RHP Kanekoa Texeira, C Brayan Peña, C Matt Treanor, INF Mike Aviles, INF Wilson Betemit, INF Billy Butler, INF Alcides Escobar, INF Chris Getz, INF Kila Ka’aihue, OF Melky Cabrera, OF Jarrod Dyson, OF Jeff Francoeur, OF Alex Gordon, OF Mitch Maier

* Rookies listed in bold

As you can see, the rookies are all pitchers with the exception of speedster Jarrod Dyson, who was a September callup last year but did not play in enough games to disqualify him as a “rookie” in 2011. In fact, half of the eight-man bullpen is made up of rookies. And some of them have even promised to wear a “faux hawk” in 2011, a style inspired by closer Joakim Soria. Who knows, maybe it will become a winning trend, like the shaggy-faced Red Sox of a few years ago.

What can we take away from all these rookie pitchers?

Well, folks, for those of you who are skeptical of a Royals renaissance, guess what? The first wave is here. It’s these four pitchers. With the possible exception of Adcock, a Rule 5 pick who has to be offered back to the if he doesn’t stay on the roster the full season, all of these guys have a serious chance to be involved in the next wave of Royals greatness. And we can go to Kauffman Stadium and watch them play right now.

And Aaron Crow has already proven to be an intriguing member of the team.

As I’ve written before on this site, I’m a huge fan of Jarrod Dyson. I really think he could be an every-day center fielder in this league. And I’m thrilled that he made the roster over Gregor Blanco who probably doesn’t have a chance at every-day duty.

The thing about Dyson, though, is he’s blocked: currently, Melky Cabrera patrols center field, and although Melky is probably not a long-term fit for this team, after him is Lorenzo Cain, who was brought over in the Zack Greinke trade and probably has even more upside (i.e. offense) than Dyson.

At the very least, Dyson could be trade bait in the future.

While all those things are promising, one thing in particular has me troubled: the trade that brought Matt Treanor to the team. To put it bluntly, I think this is just about the dumbest move the team could make.

According to the organization, veteran catcher Jason Kendall is about a month away from returning to active duty (whether or not that’s a good thing is a topic for a whole other article). So the Royals went out and brought in Treanor for… what, exactly? A month?

There’s this illusion that Matt Treanor brings veteran leadership to this team. That’s BS. Matt Treanor is 35 years old and has played in 362 Major League games as of Saturday. Being old does not make one a veteran. Brayan Pena, currently the Royals’ other catcher, has played in 196 games. Does that make him less of a veteran?

Fans of the Treanor move (if you can find any) say he brings better defense to the table. I argue that for the 2011 Royals, that’s completely irrelevant. Although they’re off to a 2-1 start, the Royals are still likely to lose 100 games this season. A good defensive catcher may mean the team only loses 98 games.


The real tragedy of this move is that the organization has probably lost Lucas May, a catcher who is younger than both Pena and Treanor and, in my opinion, was the only one of the trio with a chance to be a long-term part of the team. But he’s out of options, so he’s likely a goner.

My biggest fear now is that when Kendall returns, the Royals will choose to keep Treanor as the backup – he has gotten off to a good start – and send Pena down to the minors. Pena is also out of options.


The catcher position aside, the 2011 Kansas City Royals could be remembered as the foundation upon which a championship was built. And that’s pretty exciting.

Matt Kelsey is a Royals writer and associate editor for I-70 Baseball. He can be reached at mattkelsey14@yahoo.com.

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Kansas City Royals 2011 Fantasy Preview

The season is quickly coming upon us and here at I-70 Baseball, we want to give you a sneak peak at the fantasy outlook for both teams. Here is a look at the Kansas City Royals in 2011.

Projected Starting Lineup & Stats

3B Mike Aviles .287/11/60 – 12 SB

CF Melky Cabrera .263/7/45

1B Billy Butler .310/18/93

DH Kila Ka’aihue .255/20/75

RF Jeff Francoeur .260/12/65

LF Alex Gordon .264/18/67 – 10 SB

C Brayan Pena .273/5/30

2B Chris Getz .262/2/30 – 17 SB

SS Alcides Escobar .270/5/50 – 22 SB



3B Mike Moustakas .290/17/45

IF Wilson Betemit .265/13/55

OF Mitch Maier .265/5/40

OF Lorenzo Cain .290/5/47 – 30 SB


Starting Rotation:

Luke Hochevar 8 W 4.62 ERA 125 K 1.41 WHIP

Jeff Francis 9 W 4.35 ERA 108 K 1.37 WHIP

Kyle Davies 8 W 4.85 ERA 125 K 1.55 WHIP

Bruce Chen 8 W 4.39 ERA 120 K 1.40 WHIP

Vin Mazzaro 6 W 4.47 ERA 90 K 1.46 WHIP



SU – Robinson Tejeda 3.60 ERA 60 K 1.33 WHIP – 15 Holds

Closer – Joakim Soria 2.27 ERA 72 K 1.05 WHIP – 42 SV

What to Watch For:

Will Billy Butler’s power ever develop? If so, then he will quickly become one of the more coveted first basemen in fantasy circles. If not, you still have a guy who is a lot like John Olerud. He will have a great average and knock out 15-20. First base has plenty of options and winding up with Butler could be a nice place to be given his possible upside. Alex Gordon has moved to left. If you are still waiting for the superstar then you need to look elsewhere. That being said, with the attention now seemingly deflected away from him, Gordon might settle in and become a decent fantasy option. Mike Moustakas may begin the season at AAA, but he would be worth snatching the minute he is called up. The youngster enjoyed a breakout season last year (36 HR in AA & AAA combined) and looks to be in the majors soon.

Who to Stay Away From:

Is there a starting pitcher on this team you’d want to own? We might as well go ahead and say, “Stay away from them all”. The only one that might help in desperate times would be Jeff Francis. If he can recover some of his old form, he’d be a decent spot starter or back end option. However, you should really just steer clear of the whole situation.

Key Additions: Key Subtractions:
Alcides Escobar Zach Greinke
Lorenzo Cain Yuniesky Betancourt
Jeff Francis David DeJesus
Gil Meche

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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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2010 Year In Review: Royals Bullpen

Twenty-two men pitched in relief for the Kansas City Royals in 2010. That seems like an awfully high number, considering a Major League roster only has 25 players. But considering injuries and the constant shuffling of bullpen arms up and down the ranks of the organization, it’s not as much as you’d think.

Of course, when you think of the Royals’ bullpen, only one name comes to mind: Joakim Soria, the team’s closer, the Mexicutioner. And Soria was dominant this year. Besides collecting a career-high 43 saves, he compiled a dazzling 1.78 ERA. But let’s put Soria to the side for now. On Saturday, we’ll unveil the Royals’ 2010 Pitcher of the Year, and I have a hunch we might be discussing Soria then.

The true story of the Royals’ bullpen is the guys who handed the ball to Soria.

For the sake of this article, let’s focus on the four players who pitched the majority of the relief innings for the Royals in 2010: Robinson Tejeda, Dusty Hughes, Blake Wood and Kyle Farnsworth.

We can dispatch with Farnsworth quickly; he was traded to Atlanta in mid-season. But during his 37 appearances in Kansas City, Farnsworth was, surprisingly, brilliant. Over 44.2 innings, he compiled a 2.42 ERA and struck out 36 batters. The first half of the season was probably the best of Farnsworth’s career. In fact, he struggled after the trade to Atlanta, where he posted a 5.40 ERA and pitched only 20 innings for the playoff-bound Braves.

(The moral of the story? This is one of the times when GM Dayton Moore picked exactly the right time to trade a player. The Royals received two mediocre players, Jesse Chavez and Gregor Blanco, and one top-flight prospect, Tim Collins, for Farnsworth and Rick Ankiel.)

Robinson Tejeda was facing a critical year in 2010, and he stepped up to the challenge. Pitching solely out of the bullpen for the first time in his career, Tejeda threw in 54 games and logged 61 innings. His ERA was 3.54, and he struck out 56 batters. Not too shabby. Tejeda is a solid option for setup man next season. Besides Soria, Tejeda has become the biggest sure-thing out of the bullpen.

Dusty Hughes

Behind only Soria, Dusty Hughes appeared in the most games for the Royals’ bullpen in 2010 – 57 – although he threw fewer innings than Tejeda – 56.1. Hughes, a lefty, was given a huge responsibility in 2010 after having only pitched 14 innings of big-league ball in 2009, his first season in the pros. And Hughes, like Tejeda, responded well. His ERA of 3.83 was a touch high, but he was consistently good against both lefties and righties. He’ll definitely be a substantial part of the mix in 2011.

Blake Wood pitched in 51 games for the Royals in 2010, and his ERA was the worst of the Big Four at 5.07. However, Wood could be counted on to eat innings late in the game, and he’ll probably be a part of the bullpen next season.

Royals fans last season also experienced the emergence of Gil Meche as a bullpen arm. After battling injuries, Meche moved himself to the bullpen permanently, and that’s probably where he’ll be in 2011. Over the season, including some rough starts, Meche compiled a 5.69 ERA with 20 appearances, 11 out of the bullpen.

Were there any Royals pitchers who exclusively started last season? Yes, in fact, there were three. Two won’t be surprising: Zack Greinke and Kyle Davies, who made 33 and 32 starts, respectively. The third is a bit of a shocker: Anthony Lerew, who was brilliant in AAA last year but struggled during six starts in the bigs.

Here’s a list of the other players to pitch out of the bullpen for Kansas City in 2010: Brian Bannister (1 game), Bryan Bullington, Jesse Chavez, Bruce Chen, Roman Colon, Juan Cruz, Luke Hochevar (1 game), Greg Holland, Philip Humber, Victor Marte, Luis Mendoza, Sean O’Sullivan (1 game), John Parrish, Josh Rupe, Kanekoa Texeira and Brad Thompson.

Matt Kelsey is a Royals writer and the content editor for I-70 Baseball. He can be reached at mattkelsey14@yahoo.com.

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