Tag:John Lamb
Posted on: December 1, 2011 12:30 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Kansas City Royals



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

Long a punching bag for fans and media alike, the Kansas City Royals have become a darling in recent years due to their strong farm system. We keep hearing about how they'll be a World Series caliber team by 2014 and the first wave of strong talent hit the bigs in 2011 -- with Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas leading the charge. There's more on the way, too. For the purposes of this exercise, though, the Royals get to add two All-Star veterans to the lineup who have long since departed. Oh, and they get back an aloof ace.

Lineup

1. Alex Gordon, LF
2. Johnny Damon, RF
3. Eric Hosmer, 1B
4. Carlos Beltran, CF
5. Billy Butler, DH
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
7. Salvador Perez, C
8. Johnny Giavotella, 2B
9. Mike Aviles, SS

Starting Rotation

1. Zack Greinke
2. Luke Hochevar
3. Aaron Crow
4. Danny Duffy
5. Chad Durbin

Bullpen

Closer - J.P. Howell
Set up - Jeremy Affeldt, Greg Holland, Blake Wood, Tim Byrdak, Mike MacDougal
Long - Louis Coleman

Notable Bench Players

Matt Treanor, Kila Ka'aihue, Mark Ellis, David DeJesus, Mitch Maier, Jarrod Dyson

What's Good?

That really looks like a nice lineup. There's obviously some growing up to be done in the 6-7-8 spots, but that's a lot easier done when the top five spots are that strong. And remember, Wil Myers is on the way ...

What's Not?

With Beltran and Damon getting up into their high-30s, the outfield defense would lack range. Of course, DeJesus and Dyson are both available off the bench as late-inning defensive replacements, so the situation wouldn't be dire. There is no real closer, but that's a bit overrated anyway. And the starting rotation leaves something to be desired, for now, until Crow and Duffy prove their worth and some of the other prospects (like John Lamb and Mike Montgomery) start to arrive.

Comparison to real 2011

It's actually pretty similar, aside from a few huge names. These Royals have Beltran and Damon instead of Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur, while Greinke has been thrown atop the rotation. Those are upgrades and, remember, the real-life Royals didn't get full seasons out of many of their young players. It's reasonable to put this squad above .500 and maybe even lingering around in the playoff chase into August.

Up Next: Atlanta Braves

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Posted on: September 26, 2011 4:55 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Kansas City Royals

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Kansas City Royals
Record: 70-89, 22 games back in AL Central
Manager: Ned Yost
Best hitter: Alex Gordon -- .303/.376/.502, 23 HR, 87 RBI, 101 R, 45 2B, 17 SB
Best pitcher: Aaron Crow -- 4-4, 2.80 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 64 K, 61 IP

Few seasons that end with a team 22 games back will garner as much optimism as the 2011 Royals, a team with few expectations other than playing time for young players and giving a glimpse of the future. Even before 2011, that future was bright -- but with some of the performances by the Royals' youngsters and even its less-youngsters -- have made that future seem even brighter.

2011 SEASON RECAP

For the 2011 Royals, the wins and losses were never part of the proposition, it was progress by the likes of Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Johnny Giavotella and Salvador Perez. What the Royals found was that Hosmer is an absolute stud, Escobar can contribute enough at the plate to keep his glove in the lineup and Moustakas, after a rough start, has shown the ability that had so many excited. 

Not only were the new toys impressive, so were some of the other, slightly older types, such as Gordon, Billy Butler, Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur (none of whom are older than 27). In all, the Royals were sixth in the American League in runs (719), fourth in batting average (.274) and fifth in OPS (.743) -- all marks better than league average.

The problem for the Royals was finding pitching, finishing 12th out of 14 AL teams in team ERA at 4.46, allowing the third-best OPS by opponent batters (.763) and their starters had a 4.83 ERA. 

2012 AUDIT

The rotation remains a mess, and without a significant trade or two in the offseason will likely stay that way. It's never a good sign when your best starter was Bruce Chen. There are, of course, good pitching prospects, but the arms the organization was banking on breaking through all took steps back in 2011, with lefty John Lamb undergoing Tommy John surgery, another lefty, Mike Montgomery, struggled in Triple-A, while yet another lefty, Chris Dwyer, struggled in Double-A.

Left-hander Danny Duffy had his ups and downs, going 4-8 with a 5.64 ERA in the big leagues, but his stuff was never in question. Many talented young pitchers have struggled in the big leagues before finding their control.

Former Astro Felipe Paulino (an actual right-hander) pitched relatively well this season for the Royals, going 3-6 with a 4.10 ERA for the Royals in 118 2/3 innings. Luke Hochevar, a former No. 1 overall pick, has teased with his talent -- but seems to do so every year. If this is the year he puts it all together…

FREE AGENTS
C Jason Kendall
RHP Kyle Davies
LHP Bruce Chen
LHP Jeff Francis

OFFSEASON FOCUS

The offseason focus is pitching, namely starting pitching. Of course, few teams aren't looking for starting pitching. The difference is the Royals still have some talented prospects to dangle.

  • Every offseason there seems to be a pitcher that most didn't think was available, but yet the thoughts of a big-named prospect can get another GM excited (think Shaun Marcum last offseason). The Royals have the prospects to flip for a high-quality pitcher -- and any chance they get, they should take.
  • The Royals missed their shot to trade high on Joakim Soria, who went from one of the game's best closers to being that guy in Kansas City. That said, he has a track record and team-friendly contract. He could bring back a starter for a team desperate for a reliever. The Royals have a $6 million options or 2012 and options for 2013-14. He does have a limited no-trade clause, but that could be waived.
  • Move Crow from the bullpen to the starting rotation. He can always go back, and going back is easier during the season than moving into the rotation. Crow was a starter until this season and still projects as one.
  • Offer arbitration to Melky Cabrera -- sure, he's due to regress and he'll probably make more than he's worth right now, but he could bring something at the trade deadline if nothing else works out. It also doesn't seem like the team has a center fielder ready to take over quite yet.
  • Ricky Nolasco has talent, but his recent struggles mean the Royals won't have to give up much to get the right-hander from Florida. A middle-tier Royals prospect is better than some team's top-tier prospects and it may not even take that to get Nolasco. Kauffman Stadium is a place where pitchers can succeed, so a change of scenery could help. He's owed 20.5 million over the next two seasons, but the Royals are said to have some money to play with. If they take his salary, they won't even have to give up much in prospects.
The Royals are unlikely to contend in 2012, but the promising start of 2011 should continue and if the pitching talent develops or the team makes some big moves to get pitchers to Kansas City, the playoffs could reach KC by 2013.

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Posted on: May 18, 2011 5:17 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 5:19 pm
 

On Deck: Duffy's coronation


By C. Trent Rosecrans

ROYAL DEBUT: We recently saw the start of the Royals' rich minor league system infiltrate the big leagues with the promotion of Eric Hosmer (.270/.349/.568 in 10 games), and now we're beginning to see what really may be the strength of the team's system -- left-handed pitching. Duffy is one of four left-handed starters ranked in the top 10 of Baseball America's ranking of Royals prospects (deemed perhaps the best system ever) -- and third among those, behind John Lamb and Mike Montgomery. Duffy was 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA in seven starts in Triple-A, has above-average stuff, including a mid-90s fastball. Rangers at Royals, 8:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

Jorge De La RosaCole HamelsLEFTY BONANZA: The pitching matchup of the night leans further left than Dennis Kucinich -- the Rockies' Jorge De La Rosa against Philadelphia's Cole Hamels. De La Rosa has struggled in his career against the Phillies, going 0-3 with a 9.78 ERA, but he's had better results this year than in years past, accumulating a 5-1 record with a 3.70 ERA. Looking a little closer to his numbers, there's not a whole lot of difference between De La Rosa last year and this year, his xFIP is similar (3.61 this season, 3.65 last). The biggest differences are that he's walking fewer batters (3.70 walks per 9), getting more ground balls (42 percent this season, 52.3 last) and fewer of his fly balls are traveling for homers (7.7 percent this season, 7.7 last). Hamels struggled a little in his first and last start, but in the six in between those two, he's 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA. Rockies at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

Bud NorrisBAD MATCHUP: As Matt wrote earlier, Albert Pujols has tied his career-long with 22 games without a homer. For the most part, you'd expect him to own a guy named Bud -- but a look at the stats say no. Against Astros starter Bud Norris, Pujols is hitting .235/.316/.353 with two doubles in 19 plate appearances -- and no home runs. In seven career starts against the Cardinals, Norris is 5-1 with a 1.97 ERA and 4-0 with a 1.73 ERA at Busch Stadium. Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse didn't allow a run in seven innings against the Astros in a win on April 27. Astros at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET (Watch live)

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Posted on: March 2, 2011 5:55 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 8:27 pm
 

Royals flush with talent, primed for run

HosmerBy Evan Brunell

The Kansas City Royals are flush with prospects, giving pained K.C. fans hope after the major league club flailed in recent years. While these prospects aren't quite ready for prime time, the first influx should start arriving in the summer and continue through 2012.

On CBSSports.com's Top 100 prospects list, the Royals walked away with a staggering 10 names, far ahead of Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Toronto, which tied for second with six representatives apiece.

In order, the Royals players that are among the 100 best are 1B Eric Hosmer (No. 5), 3B Mike Moustakas (No. 10), RF Wil Myers (No. 11), SP Mike Montgomery (No. 22), SP John Lamb (No. 28), SP Jake Odorizzi (No. 76), SP Danny Duffy (No. 79), SS Christian Colon (No. 84), SP Chris Dwyer (No. 98) and RP Jeremy Jeffress (No. 99).

Sheesh, that's a lot -- and that's not all, as Baseball America ranked right-hander Aaron Crow No. 9 and outfielder Brett Eibner No. 10 on the top 10 organizational prospects list. This was prior to the trade with Milwaukee that netted Odorizzi and Jeffress, but Crow and Eibner are no slouches either.

Once all these prospects hit, the Royals will be flush in elite talent making minimal dollars, so the Royals should be a force in short order. While other AL Central foes are in no hurry to see what K.C. can do, let's take a look at what the club could look like in several years. The only players included on this list are current members of the team, those that appeared on top 10 organizational lists by varied sources or are highly regarded but are unlucky enough to play in a system so stacked they don't fall on a top 10 list although they could in other organizations.

Here's a full 25-man projection:

C Salvador Perez
1B Eric Hosmer (pictured)
2B Christian Colon
3B Mike Moustakas
SS Alcides Escobar
LF Brett Eibner
CF Lorenzo Cain
RF Wil Myers
DH Billy Butler

Bench 1B: Clint Robinson
Bench IF: Johnny Giovatella
Bench IF: Jeff Bianchi
Bench OF: Jarrod Dyson
Bench OF: David Lough

SP Mike Montgomery
SP John Lamb
SP Jake Odorizzi
SP Danny Duffy
SP Chris Dwyer

RHRP Patrick Keatging
RHRP Luis Coleman
LHRP Tim Collins
RHRP Aaron Crow
RHRP Jeremy Jeffress
RH CL Joakim Soria

This potential roster doesn't even list a backup catcher, but it's pretty obvious that K.C. is absolutely stacked with talent -- especially since pitcher Noel Arguelles and others aren't even listed! (Note that Colon is a shortstop but is slotted at second here although questions remain about his ability to play second long-term. He may yet remain at short if Escobar does not pan out.)

Despite the impressive depth, keep in mind not every prospect pans out. Still, the Royals have quite a fair amount of assets at their disposal, as each name above is expected to at the very least debut in the majors at some point.

One gaping hole that appears here, however, is at catcher. Currently, the team is getting by with Jason Kendall, Brayan Pena and Lucas May, although only May figures to still be with the Royals when the full influx of prospects arrive. Salvador Perez is listed by BA as the projected catcher for 2014, which is why he is here. He is reportedly a gifted catcher with limited offensive potential, but who needs a bat behind the dish when you have a lineup like what K.C. projects to have?

That said, the massive amounts of trade chips the Royals have plus the oodles of money that will be at its disposal should import several other impact players into the team. This is a club positioned for one heck of a run in the middle part of the decade.

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Posted on: January 11, 2011 10:49 am
Edited on: January 11, 2011 10:49 am
 

Royals searching for starters

Much to his dismay, it appears Royals general manager Dayton Moore has remembered he must field a team in 2011 -- one with hitters and pitchers.

Bruce Chen So far the Royals rotation is Vin Mazzaro, Luke Hochevar, Kyle Davies and Sean O'Sullivan. The team needs a fifth starter (or first or second or third or fourth, depending on how you look at it) for next season, but with an influx of talent due in Kansas City in 2012, Moore isn't looking to give out a multi-year deal to anyone.

Moore told MLB.com's Dick Kaegel that he's only looking at starting pitching at this point in the offseason. There's little on the free-agent market, but the team could bring back Bruce Chen.

"We're still open-minded with that," Moore told Kaegel. "He performed very well with us last year and showed us what he had, and we've got a comfort level there."

Chen, 33, went 12-7 with a 4.17 ERA in 23 starts for the Royals last season. Chen is a Scott Boras client and has apparently been eyeing a multi-year deal following his good 2010, but his status as a free agent shows that nobody is biting, even in a pitching-poor market.

Or Kansas City could look to trade, although it's unlikely the team would give up too much for a short-term solution.

"It's something that we'll continue to look at, and it might be Spring Training or early next year," Moore said. "You're always looking to get better, so it's not out of the question we might make some kind of move and pitching is one of those areas where you can never have enough depth. And we don't want to be in a position where we're force-feeding some of those kids, either."

Still, some of those kids -- Aaron Crow, John Lamb and Danny Duffy -- could get an extended look during spring training.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.



Posted on: January 3, 2011 3:54 pm
 

Royals inviting top prospects to camp

Mike Moustakas The Royals you see in Surprise, Ariz., will almost certainly be more interesting than the ones you see at Kaufmann Stadium this summer.

The Royals announced today that several of their top prospects will be invited to spring training. First baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas (pictured), and left-handers Mike Montgomery, John Lamb, Danny Duffy and Chris Dwyer are all among Baseball America 's Top 10 prospects for the Royals and have been invited to camp.

The Royals have the highest-ranked farm system in baseball (and it's not close), and many have said it may be the best in recent history. That influx of talent is expected to get to Kansas City in 2012, with some trickling in later in 2011. The Royals don't have any of its current big league players under contract for 2012 (although it does hold club options through 2014 with closer Joakim Soria, as well as big-league contracts with Aaron Crow and Cuban lefty Noel Arguelles).

The 2011 Royals will feature the likes of Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera, but those are just placeholders while the crops mature on the farm. There is hope in Kansas City -- a ton of it really -- but it's just not for 2011, unless you count the Cactus League.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 15, 2010 11:59 am
 

Royals' system deep in talent

Dayton Moore took over the Royals more than four years ago, and the team's best showing under him was a 75-87 finish in 2008. But one thing he has done is rebuild the team's farm system.

The Royals have perhaps the deepest and best system in baseball, and Baseball America has released its Top 10 prospects from Kansas City's system .

It's telling that Mike Moustakas hit .322/.369/.630 last season with 36 home runs in Double-A and Trople-A and he's the team's No. 3 prospect. That's how loaded the team is on the minor league level. They also boast four left-handed arms among the Top 10.

First baseman Eric Hosmer (.338/.406/.571 with 20 home runs at Class A and Double-A) is ranked as the team's top prospect, followed by catcher Wil Myers (.315/.429/.506 with 14 homers).

The Royals should see some of their talented youngsters in Kansas City this season, but the wave will likely start in 2012, with what appears to be something of a future ahead for the organization.

Here's the full list of Kansas City's top prospects:

1. Eric Hosmer, 1b
2. Wil Myers, c
3. Mike Moustakas, 3b
4. John Lamb, lhp
5. Mike Montgomery, lhp
6. Christian Colon, ss
7. Danny Duffy, lhp
8. Chris Dwyer, lhp
9. Aaron Crow, rhp
10. Brett Eibner, of

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 11, 2010 6:31 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2010 10:33 am
 

R.I.P. Royals: Help is on the way

As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Today: The Kansas City Royals

Oh Royals, through the 70s and 80s, the team was the model franchise. Since the turn of the century, the team's only been a punchline. That wasn't much different in 2010.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Yuniesky Betancourt Ewing Kauffman died in 1993. That's been the reason for the last 17 years of failure.

Oh, on the field? This year? Beyond Yuniesky Betancourt (pictured) being the team's shortstop? OK, Zack Greinke took a step back from his Cy Young 2009. Worse, he looked like another guy in a Royals uniform -- and that's not a good thing. Greinke went 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

How about Bruce Chen? Chen was 12-7 with a 4.17 ERA (the same as Greinke) -- but if you're looking long-term success, you're not betting on Chen.

Other positives? Joakim Soria may have been the best closer in the game, even if he didn't have too many games to close. Soria finished with 43 saves, a 1.78 ERA and 71 strikeouts and 16 walks in 65 2/3 innings.

The team also got rid of overpaid veterans like Kyle Farnsworth, Jose Guillen, Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel.

HELP ON THE WAY

Oh, is there ever.

Mike Moustakas The Royals have the deepest minor league system in the majors. Of Baseball America's 15-man Minor League All-Star Team, a full third were Royals.

The Royals are deep in position players (first baseman Eric Hosmer, catcher Wil Myers and third baseman Mike Moustakas (pictured)) and pitchers (lefty starters John Lamb and Mike Montgomery, reliever Tim Collins).

That's the good news, the bad news is with all this talent, it's still not ready for the big leagues in 2011, maybe 2012.

EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

Same as they always are in Kansas City -- grim. As noted, there's help on the way and maybe some of those guys can make their debut late in the season, but this won't be the season for the Royals to make a move. There is a brighter days ahead, but they aren't in the 10-day forecast.

SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

Don't raise ticket prices, because it's going to be another long year.

Greinke has started griping about not wanting to wait around for the Royals to get better, but he's still under contract through 2012. There's no reason to trade him this offseason, his value is lower than it should be and the asking price will be better in 2011 -- either at the trade deadline or after the season.

The Royals have already picked up the $6 million club option for outfielder David DeJesus, and he'll certainly bring something at the trade deadline next year.

There will certainly be plenty of suitors trying to pick up Soria, who is under team control through 2014. Listen, but unless bowled over for a deal, he's too valuable and under control for too long to move.

No fan is going to want to hear that they need patience, but there is actually hope for the Royals after so long without it. If half their prospects turn out as expected, they'll be the new Rays.

2011 PREDICTION

Same as it ever was. The Royals will be out of the picture by the All-Star break, and Ned Yost may even worry about his job. The only drama in September will be whether this team loses 100 games. But this time next year, there may be some excitement for 2012.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com