Posted on: December 1, 2011 12:30 pm
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What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional?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.
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
1. Zack Greinke
2. Luke Hochevar
3. Aaron Crow
4. Danny Duffy
5. Chad Durbin
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
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 ...
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
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Aaron Crow, AL Central, Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Blake Wood, Carlos Beltran, Chad Durbin, Danny Duffy, David DeJesus, Eric Hosmer, Greg Holland, Homegrown, J.P. Howell, Jarrod Dyson, Jeremy Affeldt, John Lamb, Johnny Damon, Johnny Giavotella, Kila Ka'aihue, Luke Hochevar, Mark Ellis, Matt Snyder, Matt Treanor, Mike Aviles, Mike MacDougal, Mike Montgomery, Mike Moustakas, Mitch Maier, Royals, Salvador Perez, Tim Byrdak, Wil Myers, Zack Greinke
Posted on: September 26, 2011 4:55 pm
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.
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…
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.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Aaron Crow, Alcides Escobar, Alex Gordon, Bruce Chen, Bruce Chen, C. Trent Rosecrans, Chris Dwyer, Danny Duffy, Eric Hosmer, Felipe Paulino, Jason Kendall, Jeff Francis, Jeff Francoeur, Joakim Soria, John Lamb, Johnny Giavotella, Kyle Davies, Like Hochevar, Melky Cabrera, Mike Montgomery, Mike Moustakas, Ned Yost, R.I.P. Royals, Ricky Nolasco, Salvador Perez
Posted on: September 15, 2011 7:50 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
After throwing a career-high 198 innings, the Royals are shutting down starter Luke Hochevar. The former top overall pick of the draft went 11-11 with a 4.68 ERA in 2011, the most innings he's thrown in his professional career.
Last year he threw 108 innings -- 103 for the Royals -- after throwing 191 innings in 2009 between the Royals (143) and Triple-A Omaha (48).
Hochevar picked up his 11th victory of the season on Wednesday, throwing six innings in his 31st start of the season. The 28-year-old went 6-3 with a 3.52 ERA in 12 starts after the All-Star break.
"Could he finish the year? Yeah. He wants to," manager Ned Yost told reporters (via the Kansas City Star). "But for me, it just doesn't make any sense to continue to push his innings when he's in a good spot. It gives us an opportunity to look at somebody else."
Hochevar would have made two more starts, on Tuesday and on Sept. 25. The Star's Bob Dutton speculates right-hander Luis Mendoza could take Hochevar's spot if the Triple-A Storm Chasers finish out the Pacific Coast League playoffs in a timely fashion. Omaha currently leads Sacramento 2-0 in the best-of-five championship series. Omaha plays at Sacramento on Friday with heralded left-hander Mike Montgomery scheduled to pitch in what could be the clinching game. Mendoza isn't on the team's 40-man roster, but the Royals currently have an open spot. Right-handers Vin Mazzaro and Sean O'Sullivan are on the 40-man and could also get the call, with at least one of them likely to make a start for Kansas City before the end of the season, if not both.
Kansas City has already shut down lefty Danny Duffy. Duffy went 4-8 with a 5.64 ERA in 20 starts this season. Left-hander Jeff Francis will also be shut down after his start on Thursday against the White Sox. Francis entered the night 5-16 with a 4.88 ERA.@eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 18, 2011 5:17 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 5:19 pm
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)
BAD 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)For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 11, 2011 2:10 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2011 2:12 pm
By Matt Snyder
If you've been paying attention to any prospect talk since the beginning of spring training, odds are you've heard the Royals have a stacked system. The major-league group is playing above expectations to this point at 18-17 and is already pretty young with the nucleus of Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Jeff Francoeur, Melky Cabrera and nearly the entire bullpen -- including closer Joakim Soria -- being 27 years old or younger.
With last week's promotion of Eric Hosmer (who is hitting .250 with a .438 on-base percentage through four games), I started thinking ahead to how long it will be until the Royals gave another one of their promising youngsters a promotion to the bigs. After all, only Butler and Soria -- and maybe Gordon -- from the above group were supposed to be part of the nucleus in the next decade when most said the Royals would be a legitimate playoff team.
The three closest to major-league ready from the list of hyped prospects are Mike Moustakas, Danny Duffy and Mike Montgomery.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas is the best bat in the system now that Hosmer's up. He got off to a slow start, but has picked things up of late. He's hitting .333 with two home runs, eight RBI and a 1.002 OPS in nine May games for Triple-A Omaha. We know he can crush the ball, too, because last season between Double-A and Triple-A, he hit .322 with 36 home runs, 124 RBI, 94 runs, 41 doubles and a .999 OPS in 118 games.
He's a third baseman, though, and the Royals are getting good production right now from both Mike Aviles and Wilson Betemit. There's no reason to make the move now and start Moustakas' service-time clock with guys getting the job done, especially since he's only been hitting well for a few weeks. He's only 22, so there's no rush.
The one area where the Royals do have a concern in 2011, should they stay competitive in the AL Central or Wild Card races, is the starting rotation. Luke Hochevar isn't going anywhere, but Jeff Francis has been bad and Kyle Davies has been worse. Bruce Chen has been placed on the disabled list and Vin Mazzaro has gotten the call to take his spot. No, Mazzaro isn't one of the stable of ballyhooed prospects. He's a guy who went 10-17 with a 4.72 ERA in 41 games for the A's the past two seasons, though he's only 24 and hasn't been dreadful in the minors. He was chosen over Duff and Montgomery for the time being, but that's not a statement on the two young guns.
Montgomery, 21, has a 2.84 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 30 strikeouts in 38 Triple-A innings. The 6-foot-4 left-hander probably needs to cut down his walks (21) before the Royals are ready to give him the call. And, again, he's awfully young to be rushed to the majors and have that service clock get started.
Duffy, on the other hand, has a sparkling line in Triple-A. Through six starts, he sports a 2.25 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 41 strikeouts and just seven walks in 32 innings. He's similar to Montgomery in that he's a tall (6-foot-3) left-hander. Duffy's also doing the same thing this year he did last season once promoted to Double-A, which is mow down opposing hitters.
It probably won't be awfully soon, but your best bet for the next big-time Royals prospect to join the majors is Moustakas due to his immense upside. It might be several weeks or even months, because he would need a chain reaction of things to happen before the call is made. All Duffy needs is for someone in the organization to grow tired of seeing Davies and/or Francis running out there every fifth day and just decide to go with him, so he has a shot to beat the heavily-hyped slugger to Kansas City.
No matter who it is, it would certainly be an exciting time to be a Royals fan -- something that hasn't been said for a long time.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 2, 2011 5:55 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 8:27 pm
By 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:
SP Mike Montgomery
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.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
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
Posted on: November 15, 2010 11:59 am
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.