Tag:Kila Ka'aihue
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What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional?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: May 5, 2011 5:56 pm
 

Hosmer gets call from the Royals

By Matt Snyder

Highly-touted Royals prospect Eric Hosmer isn't going to be destroying minor-league pitching any longer. Thursday afternoon, he was called up to the show (Mike Swanson on Twitter) -- less than a day after Danny Knobler noted he was on the fast track. As a corresponding move, Kila Ka'aihue was optioned to the minors.

Hosmer was a top 10 prospect in all of baseball on pretty much every list there was heading into this season and he's done nothing but increase his stock with what he's done in Triple-A this year. He's hitting .439 with five doubles, three home runs, 15 RBI, 21 runs and a 1.107 OPS in 26 games. He's gotten on base more than half the time as he's walked more times (19) than he's struck out (16). Last season he hit .338 with 20 home runs and 86 RBI in 137 games between Class A-Advanced and Double-A.

The Miami, Florida product is only 21 years old and has been in the Royals system since he was drafted third overall in the 2008 draft out of high school.

Ka'aihue was granted the job at first base for the Royals out of camp, but he's scuffled thus far, hitting just .195 with a .295 OBP and 26 stirkeouts in 82 at-bats.

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Posted on: April 19, 2011 10:20 am
 

Pepper: Super Sam

Sam Fuld
By C. Trent Rosecrans

One of the best parts of any new season is seeing players reach their potential -- or in Sam Fuld's case, exceed it.

With a 4-for-4 performance in Monday's win over the White Sox, Fuld is now the American League batting leader, hitting .396. And he made another fantastic catch, as you can see above.

Fuld was acquired in the deal that sent Matt Garza to the Cubs this offseason and learned a little bit about playing at Tropicana Field with his diving catch in the third inning on Tuesday.

"It felt like someone took a blow torch to [his left hand], and then I look at it and then there's nothing to show for it, no blood," Fuld told reporters, including the Tampa Tribune's Roger Mooney. "Now I know what turf burn is like."

Replays showed starter David Price screaming and clapping his hands after the play, which helped him win his first-ever victory over the White Sox.

The Rays are giving out a Sam Fuld cape later in the season, but it doesn't appear he needs one.

BASEBALL TODAY -- Lauren Shehadi and I talk about the Rockies pitching Cardinals offense.

FASTEST GUN IN THE MIDWEST -- There's little debate now, the gun at Great American Ball Park is juiced.

On Sunday, it had Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan throwing 102, while Pitch F/X had him hitting 98. On Monday, the scoreboard showed Aroldis Chapman hitting 106, when Pitch F/X showed his third pitch to Andrew McCutchen as "just" 102.4.

Last year I had scouts tell me the gun was pretty accurate, but apparently the excitement around Chapman got the Reds greedy, amping up the radar gun. If he does hit 105 mph again, will it say 110 on the scoreboard? Maybe the gun will make Bronson Arroyo feel better about his heater. [MLB.com]

GOOD SEATS -- Nate Schierholtz's brother was sitting 10 feet from where his mammoth shot landed in the third deck at Coors Field, and paid the guy who caught it $25 bucks to get the ball. [San Jose Mercury News]

STREET WATCH -- Rockies manager Jim Tracy is keeping a close eye on closer Huston Street, who hasn't pitched more than two days in a row this year, but has pitched in 10 of the team's first 15 games. [MLB.com]

AXFORD STRUGGLES -- Brewers closer John Axford had another bad outing on Monday, blowing a 3-2 lead in the ninth of an eventual 12-inning Milwaukee victory. The issues has been control, but manager Ron Roenicke said he's not concerned or thinking about any kind of change. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

AND I WANT TO BE COMMISSIONER -- Royals designated hitter Billy Butler said he still wants to play first base. Manager Ned Yost's response? " You know what, I'd like to be an astronaut -- and for some reason they just won't let me." With Kila Ka'aihue is manning the spot until Eric Hosmer comes in to take it for good. [Kansas City Star]

BRING AN UMBRELLA -- Weather has been bad all around baseball early this season, although attendance hasn't been hurt too much. [Associated Press]

GOOD JOBA -- Joba Chamberlain's velocity is down, but his results are up. His slider has become a good pitch, helping his results. [New York Daily News]

NICE SHOT -- Ryan Raburn's pop foul in the first inning on Monday was the first-ever ball to hit the roof at Safeco Field. [MLB.com]

PLENTY OF GOOD SEATS AVAILABLE -- The Mets' bad start is good if you're looking for bargain shopping on the highest-priced seats at Citi Field. [New York Times]

RIOS AILING -- Alex Rios will be getting a break in the White Sox's series with the Rays to try to help his sore left toe fully heal. Rios said the toe has been hurting him for the last five years, so it's doubtful a simple day off will cure him. [Chicago Tribune]

AARDSMA TAKING THE HILL -- Mariners closer David Aardsma is expected to pitching tonight in Triple-A, his firs tame action since his hip labrum surgery in January. The Mariners will likely wait for him to throw three or four games in the minors before taking him off the disabled list. [MLB.com]

MORE SURGERY FOR ZUMAYA? -- The Tigers put Joel Zumaya on the 60-day disabled list and another surgery is possible on his right elbow. [Detroit Free Press]

NICE CATCH -- David Wright played catch with some young fans at Turner Field the other day. Pretty cool stuff. [Big League Stew]

NEW DUCKS UNIFORM -- The Oregon Ducks have added an orange jersey? Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie models the newest Oregon uniform combo. [WhoSay.com/JeremyGuthrie]

VIN SCULLY ON 42 -- Dodger Gene Hermanski had the idea of everyone wearing No. 42 way back in 1948, Vin Scully said. [Sons of Steve Garvey]

TROP VETERAN -- White Sox rookie Chris Sale recalled going to the first-ever Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays game in 1998 when he was 9. [Chicago Tribune]

NOTHING BREWING IN MINORS -- According to the latest Baseball America, the Brewers have the worst minor-league system in baseball. After trading away Brett Lawrie, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi this offseason, their top-ranked prospect is right-hander Mark Rogers -- the team's first-round pick in 2004. On Monday, Rogers lost to former Brewer starter Jeff Suppan in a Triple-A game. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

MINOR LEAGUER HIT IN HEAD -- Eric Hurley, a right-hander with the Rangers' Triple-A team, was hit in the right side of the head in a game against New Orleans on Monday. Hurley, 25, didn't lose consciousness and was taken to a nearby hospital. He left the field over his own power. [ESPNDallas.com]

THROWBACK THURSDAY -- Not only will the Dodgers be breaking out their new throwback uniforms against the Braves on Thursday, Atlanta will throw in throwback duds. No word yet on which Braves throwbacks we'll see. The Dodgers are wearing 1940s-era blue satin-like unis. To announce the promotion the Dodgers sent out a press release on Brooklyn Dodgers letterhead (or maybe the ownership ran out of their regular letterhead and had to find some at the back of the closet instead of ordering new stock.) [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

TODAY IN GLUTTONY -- The Akron Aeros have introduced a helmet sundae. No, not a mini-helmet sundae, a full-sized helmet sundae. [Akron Aeros]

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Posted on: April 6, 2011 10:24 am
Edited on: April 6, 2011 5:10 pm
 

Pepper: Royal excitement

Royals

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Are the Royals baseball's most exciting team?

Well, through five games they are, that's for sure. All four of the Royals' victories this season have come in their final at-bat. Tuesday's walk-off winner was Melky Cabrera's 12th-inning RBI single for a 7-6 victory over the White Sox.

In the team's lone loss, on opening day, the Royals' Alex Gordon was just feet short of a walk-off homer in a 4-2 loss to the Angels last Thursday.

"All of a sudden, you just expect us to win and that's it," Royals infielder Chris Getz told MLB.com . "There are plenty of doubters out there, no one's giving us much of a chance, but what do we have to lose? We've got that good feeling and we'll just ride it out."

The Royals have had a different hero each night. In their first win, Kila Ka'aihue led off the ninth inning with a homer to break a tie, the next day the Royals scored two in the eighth inning, capped by Getz's RBI single. The Royals then used a three-run walk-off homer by Matt Treanor (above) in the 13th to beat the Angels in the series finale.

With four victories in their final at-bat, the Royals may not be the best team in 2011, but they're worth sticking around to watch.

Last season the Braves lead the big leagues with 25 victories in their final at-bat.

SEARCHING FOR A WIN -- Another day, another Red Sox loss. Will the Red Sox go winless this season and will the Reds go undefeated? Eye on Baseball's Matt Snyder joins blog favorite Lauren Shehadi with the answers (which, well, are both 'no.')

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS -- Ubaldo Jimenez's thumb is better -- but may not be good enough to allow him to make his start Friday in Pittsburgh. The Rockies' right-hander is expected to throw a bullpen today to test the cuticle injury on his right thumb. If Jimenez can't start, Jorge De La Rosa would start in his spot. De La Rosa will be on regular rest following Sunday's snow-out. [MLB.com ]

SHIFT BE A-GONE -- Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said putting three men on the right side of the infield has never been an effective strategy against him. Last season he had more singles to left field than right. The Indians, though, had good luck with the shift on Tuesday. The Indians used the shift and Gonzalez was 0 for 4 with two groundouts to the right side. [WEEI.com ]

COSTLY ERROR -- Jayson Werth's error was one of several events that led to the Nationals' 3-2 loss to the Marlins on Tuesday. [CSNWashington.com ]

A TRADITION LIKE NO OTHER -- I absolutely love the baseball tradition of giving a guy the silent treatment after his first homer in the big leagues. Tuesday's victim was the Angels' Hank Conger. [Press-Enterprise ]

WELCOME HOME -- Padres starter Aaron Harang looked like his old self in a victory over the Giants on Tuesday. In his first season with his hometown Padres, Harang certainly looked comfortable at Petco Park. [San Diego Union-Tribune ]

CALLED SHOT -- Toronto's Yunel Escobar told teammates Carlos Villanueva and Edwin Encarnacion the team would come back to win, even though they were down 5-0 in the middle of Tuesday's game against the A's. After a four-run sixth inning to tie the game, Escobar delivered on his promise with a two-run homer in the 10th to give Toronto the win. [MLB.com ]

NO MINORS FOR LEAKE -- Reds manager Dusty Baker said sending starter Mike Leake was never an option, even though it appeared that Leake made the team out of spring only because of the injuries to Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey. Baker said Leake was overthrowing in the spring and looked like the guy who started the season 6-1 with a 3.53 ERA in Tuesday's win over the Astros. Leake, the Reds' first-round pick in 2009 made the big league rotation out of spring training last season, bypassing the minors altogether.  [Cincinnati Enquirer ]

BELT MAY BE DEMOTED -- When Cody Ross returns to the Giants' lineup, rookie first baseman Brandon Belt could be the odd man out in San Francisco. The Giants say they will base their decision on Belt's play, but sending Belt down would keep the status quo. With Ross back in right field, Aubrey Huff could move back to first. Or if the team decides to keep Belt, Huff would move to left and would make Pat Burrell a bench player. Also, putting Belt in the minors for more than 20 days would keep him from accruing a full year of service time and delay his free agency a year. [FOXSports.com ]

NO FEUD -- Former Met Pedro Feliciano said he was going to strike out Ike Davis when the Yankees face the Mets next month. Davis was uninterested in escalating the "feud."

Davis said it was Feliciano's job to strike him out, and well, last season he struck out 138 times, so "it's not that tough of a feat." [New York Post ]

BANDWAGON ROOM -- Attendance at Yankee Stadium through the first four games of the season is down about 8,000 fans per game. [ESPNNewYork.com ]

YANKS AREN'T ALONE -- As we mentioned the other day, it's not just Yankee Stadium that has its share of empty seats -- Wrigley Field has plenty of seats available, even for the seagulls. [Chicago Sun-Times ]

ON THE OTHER HAND -- Blue Jays fans are excited for their team in Toronto. [Slam! Sports ]

SUNSHINE BALL -- Is there any hope for baseball in Florida past March? [MASNSports.com ]

ROLAIDS ALERT -- The folks over at Big League Stew take a look at the top 10 new concessions at MLB parks this season. 

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Posted on: March 28, 2011 10:24 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/28: Orioles version

By Matt Snyder

3 UP

Luke Scott, Orioles. By the end of the second inning Scott had two home runs and seven RBI after a three-run bomb and a grand slam. Have a day, Luke!

Jake Fox, Orioles. He was outdone by Scott Monday, since Fox only mustered one home run and RBI -- but let's tip our collective hats to the spring Fox put together. He came in fighting for a roster spot, he left with 10 home runs in 73 at-bats, with a 1.137 OPS. Basically, he was the most feared slugger in the Grapefruit League.

Kila Ka'aihue, Royals. Though overshadowed by Fox, the Royals' first-sacker is having quite the spring of his own. Ka'aihue hit his seventh home run of the spring Monday and drove home three -- running that total to 20 RBI in 56 at-bats. He's hitting .411 with an amazing 1.351 OPS.

3 DOWN

Max Scherzer, Tigers. If the Orioles' hitters went that bonkers, someone had to bear the brunt of it, and it was Scherzer. He was dismantled. The ugly line: 2 1/3 innings, nine hits, 11 earned runs, three home runs (see above for the Baltimore culprits). He was already having a rough spring, but now the ERA sits at 10.38. On the bright side, last season Scherzer had a 6.23 ERA and he went on to put up a 3.50 ERA in the regular season.

Jake Westbrook, Cardinals. Only four guys crossed the plate, but Westbrook allowed 13 baserunners in 4 1/3 innings. That's a WHIP of 3.00 and he won't always be able to strand so many runners -- especially with zero strikeouts.

Bud Norris, Astros. The Phillies -- sans Ryan Howard and, of course, Chase Utley -- had their way with Norris Monday. Six hits, four walks and a three-run Ben Francisco bomb doomed Norris, as he allowed six earned runs in five innings and saw the spring ERA balloon to 7.71. Much like Scherzer, however, Norris was brutal last spring and much better when the games actually mattered. Fortunately for the two, the slates wipe clean in just a few days. And fortunately for the rest of us, too, because we need some games that mean something.

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Posted on: March 24, 2011 3:34 pm
 

Ka'aihue to play first base more than Butler

Ka'aihue

By Evan Brunell

The Royals intend to play Kila Ka'aihue the majority of the time at first base after impressing manager Ned Yost with his range and agility.

"Kila has definitely done a better job at first base" than Billy Butler, Yost told the Kansas City Star. "So he’ll probably play there a little more. How much more? I don’t know, but it won’t be a 50-50 split."

The defensive numbers back up that assessment, with Ka'aihue grading out as an average fielder while Butler hurts the team with his fielding.

"Quite frankly, it’s just pure athleticism," Yost added. "Kila is just a little more athletic than Billy at times out there, but it’s not a heads-and-tails [difference]."

What does that athleticism provide K.C.?

"It frees [infielders] up mentally to make quicker, snappier throws, because they know they don’t have to be precisely on target," Yost revealed. "They know if they bounce the ball in the dirt, there’s a good chance it will be caught. They know if it’s thrown wide to the left or right, the first baseman is going to have enough agility to get off the bag and make the catch and make the tag. Or that if they make a high throw, the first baseman will have the ability to get off the ground, catch the ball and get back on the bag."

Yost did say that Butler has worked hard at staying solvent at first base and will draw a fair amount of starts at the position. If he had not put in the work, "that would relegate him to full-time DH mode if he ever shut down from working to get better," the skipper noted.

Butler and Ka'aihue aren't expected to be long-term solutions at first, so this is really only an issue for 2011. Top prospect Eric Hosmer looks like he could be a middle-of-the-order bat and draws strong reviews for his defense at first as well, with several predicting Gold Gloves in his future.

"He still has to come out and earn it," Yost said, "but his tools and his athleticism probably give you a pretty good clue" he is the first baseman of the future, Yost said.

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Posted on: August 10, 2010 4:38 pm
 

Dodgers interested in Guillen


Jose Guillen It looks like Jose Guillen's next move will be west as the Dodgers have interest in the former Royal outfielder, ESPN's Enrique Rojas tweets .

The Giants have also been rumored to have some interest in Guillen.

Guillen was designated for assignment by the Royals last Thursday. Kansas City has five more days to trade or release him. He is owed approximately $3.93 million for the rest of the season and is a free agent after the season.

The 34-year old outfielder led the Royals with 16 home runs and 62 RBI (and had a .255/.314/.429 slashline) when he was DFA'd, but the Royals decided to actually follow through with their youth movement and allow young players to play, including first baseman Kila Ka'aihue, who was one of the minor leagues' best hitters. Ka'aihue has played in seven games so far and has two hits in 20 at-bats since being called up.

Putting Ka'aihue in the lineup has had one other effect, moving Billy Butler from first base to designated hitter. Butler, 24, is the team's best offensive player (.311/.381/.463 with 10 home runs and 55 RBI), but isn't much of a defensive player. He has a career -5.8 UZR at first in his career. However, much like another first baseman for a 60-loss team , Butler doesn't want to be a DH.

"I'll keep doing early work at first base, keep working hard," Butler told the Kansas City Star 's Bob Dutton . "I'm going to do whatever it takes to be a first baseman. That's the way it is. I'm never going to accept being a DH."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: August 5, 2010 2:43 pm
Edited on: August 5, 2010 3:10 pm
 

Guillen DFA; trade probably in works


According to a Twitter post by Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, the Royals have designated Jose Guillen for assignment, which would indicate they have a trade in the works for the designated hitter/outfielder.

The DFA designation means the Royals have 10 days to trade or release Guillen, and there's no reason for the Royals to release him and eat the salary unless they're that committed to making a place for prospect Kila Ka'aihue to play the rest of the season. Guillen, an impending free agent, is owed more than $7 million for the rest of the season, and the Royals will probably have to send money to cover part of his salary in a trade, so he'll surely clear waivers.

Guillen is batting .255/.314/.429 with 16 homers and 62 RBI, so he could be a nice addition for someone. But it's going to be someone with some money and a legitimate shot at the playoffs. Obvious matches might include the White Sox and Giants, possibly the Rays or Braves. Guillen has bad knees, so it would be a risk for an NL team to count on him to play defense every day.

-- David Andriesen

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