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Tag:ALcides Escobar
Posted on: March 3, 2011 9:39 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 9:47 pm
 

Getting to know the Royals

EscobarBy Evan Brunell

MVP

There's not a lot to get excited about in regards to the Royals. All they're doing is just biding time for the influx of top prospects. But one player who is important to K.C.'s future is Alcides Escobar, expected to open the season at short.

Escobar was part of the return for Zack Greinke and is hoping to deliver on the promise that once made him a top prospect himself before falling flat on his face in his first full major league season. With a minor league reputation as being a good fielder and someone who can hit for average and get on base, the Royals need Escobar to show something this coming season. They do have Christian Colon, who was drafted in the first round of the 2010 draft, in the minors, but he's not expected to remain at short long-term. Escobar probably will get one more year after 2011 to prove himself should he fail, but it would do wonders for the team's developmental and mental needs if he can deliver on his promise.

PLAYER ORACLE: Lou Piniella to ... uhh ... Billy Butler:

  • Lou Piniella played with Otis Nixon for the 1983 New York Yankees
  • Otis Nixon played with Hideo Nomo for the 1997 Los Angeles Dodgers  
  • Hideo Nomo played with Billy Butler for the 2008 Kansas City Royals

POP CULTURE

George Brett, along with a host of other players, appeared in an episode of Fantasy Island in the tenth episode of the first season.

In the episode, Brett dropped a routine infield ball and struck out against a person on the island fulfilling his fantasy. (That person? Gary Burghoff, otherwise known as 'Radar' from M*A*S*H.) Brett later said that his brother Ken said George would be the perfect "fool" for those embarrassing moments.

But as the below teaser for the episode reveals, Brett faced pretty stiff competition from Radar, who unveiled a wicked pitch that defies all conventional pitch names, so let's just call it the mythical gyroball.

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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: December 19, 2010 11:46 am
Edited on: December 19, 2010 2:13 pm
 

Royals deepen club in Greinke haul

So, with Zack Greinke gone to Milwaukee, where does that leave the Royals?

For one, it leaves them in rough shape in the rotation as the team figures to roll out a Luke Hochevar-Kyle Davies-Vin Mazzaro-Sean O'Sullivan set along with presumably Bruce Chen if both sides can come to an agreement on the lefty resigning in town.

That's a rotation that will lose quite a few games, but the value in the Greinke deal is on the offensive side of the ball, plus the future of its pitching. The club is reportedly acquiring Greinke and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt for center fielder Lorenzo Cain, shortstop Alcides Escobar, pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi and a player to be named later, -- and its not Jeremy Jeffress, as the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 's Tom Haudricourt adds. The Royals are also sending along $2 million to Milwaukee for Betancourt's 2012 buyout, as the team will almost certainly not pick up the $6 million option as Haudricourt reveals. The much-maligned shortstop is due $4 million in 2011 and will step in as Milwaukee's starting shortstop.

Cain Cain (pictured) should slide into center field and give the team a much-needed young player as the deep minor-league system has no viable alternative.  The marks against Cain are that he will be 25 years old with only 43 games experience in the majors and 22 in Triple-A. However, Cain hit .306/.348/.415 for the Brew Crew in 158 plate appearances and overtook Carlos Gomez for the starting center-field job. Cain isn't exactly oozing with tools, but according to some in the know, could be a valuable commodity for a long time and one whose age shouldn't be held against him as Cain only started playing baseball as a sophomore in high school -- with zero experience. Peter Gammons tweeted that Jim Fregosi told the Royals "when you trade Greinke, the one player you'd better get is Cain."

Escobar is a talented young shortstop but collasped under the weight of expectations in 2010. Expected to be the starting shortstop for K.C., he hit just .235/.288/.326 in 552 plate appearances and just 10 stolen bases along with disappointing defense for someone who was so heralded in that area. The year before, however, the newly-turned 24-year-old hit .304/.333/.368 in 134 PA. Escobar is a good gamble for a team who has Christian Colon years away from the farm and in a position so thin on quality options. The Brewers, for one, feel that Escobar can and will develop into one of the best shortstops in the game.

Odorizzi ranks atop Baseball America 's Top 10 Brewers prospect list and robs the club of one of the majors' best pitchg prospects. Hey, at least Greinke's a pretty nice consolation prize. The 20-year-old posted a 3.43 ERA in 120 2/3 innings for Class A, punching out 135 and walking just 40. The right-hander's pitching coach in Class A compared Odorizzi to a certain someone when speaking to Rob Brainerd of FOXSportsWisconsin.com in July:

"I think he’s got four above average pitches," confirmed [Chris] Hook. "Does he need to improve his changeup? Yeah. But I think, and I hate to put a name with him, he’s like a Zack Greinke to me. That type of pitcher that can command the strike zone."

As for the player to be named, popular sentiment had Jeremy Jeffress as part of the deal. Both sides continue to haggle over the PBTNL, but the 100-mph throwing Jeffress apparently will stay in Milwaukee and could be a big part of the Brewers's bullpen in 2011. Jeffress has a history of marijuana use that caused two suspensions.

So who could the PBTNL be? Assuming that it's another top prospects, options include third baseman Mat Gamel, catcher Jonathan LuCroy, outfielder Kentrail Davis, second baseman Scooter Gennett or pitchers Eric Arnett, Mark Rogers, Amaury Rivas, Cody Scarpetta, Zach Braddock and Kyle Heckathorn.

The Royals did well here to acquire players that fit with their timeline of contention, as their top prospects are going to be filtering into the majors over the next few years and will be able to play together with a strong core. Suddenly, the 2014 club in K.C. looks like it could be quite the threat.

UPDATE : Some conflicting reports on the why, but Baseball Prospects' Kevin Goldstein and Haudricourt both agree that Jeffress seems to indeed be the PTBNL. Goldstein says the hangup is on a non-drug related issue while Haudricourt says K.C. is reviewing Jeffress' drug history.

UPDATE : Jeffress is now a Royal, as Haudricourt says. This makes the deal better from K.C.'s perspective, but it lacks that top-quality, can't-miss prospect that tends to be (should?) part of a deal for a young Cy Young Award-winning pitcher with two years left on the deal.

-- Evan Brunell

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

Posted on: December 19, 2010 12:09 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:56 am
 

Brewers land Greinke

Zack Greinke Well, we call oursleves Facts & Rumors on this blog, and file this under the latter.

This rumor comes from a fan blog on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel site, and maybe there's something to it. I don't know, but even the author doesn't seem to stand by his own report with a huge disclaimer saying this is just a rumor, but a rumor he feels comfortable enough to publish -- even though I'm not so sure the editors at the Journal Sentinel would feel the same way.

With all that said, the Bernies Crew blog claims Zack Greinke's headed to Milwaukee. The disgruntled 2009 American League Cy Young winner is apparently tired of losing and Milwaukee is the place to cure that? Anyway, the deal, as reported, is Greinke and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt along with $2 million to Milwaukee in exchange for shortstop Alcides Escobar, center fielder Lorenzo Cain and right-hander Jeremy Jeffress.

The Royals system is loaded, but does lack an impact shortstop and center fielder, so it would make sense in that it would fill needs, but doesn't seem to be on par with the impact players that the team has said it would need in order to make a deal.

Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein tweets he's talked to the agent of both Jeffress and Cain, and neither of his clients have been contacted by either team. Jeffress has tested positive for marijuana twice and has served a 100-game suspension. With one more positive test, he'd face a lifetime suspension. He made his big-league debut this year, but still would be a risky venture for the Royals.

With Greinke and Shaun Marcum, the Brewers would be vastly improved over last season (even with the addition of Betancourt) and in the National League Central, just about any team has a chance at making a run to a division title.

In the end, though, I'm not sure this one passes the sniff test. I could be really wrong, but I'm not sure the Royals are this desperate yet.

UPDATE: OnMilwaukee.com is reporting this as well , adding that the Royal would also receive right-hander Jake Odorizzi, a first-rounder in the 2008 draft. Odorizzi was 7-3 with a 3.43 ERA at Class A Wisconsin of the Midwest League last season.  He struck out 135 in 120 2/3 innings. Odorizzi is not an insignificant add -- it makes the package look better and better. Although, the author of that report, Andrew Wagner, does not name Betancourt as going to Milwaukee, just a "major league" player. That would be debatable with Betancourt, but that he has drawn a big-league check, so he technically counts.

UPDATE: Journal Sentinel Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricourt checks in on Twitter :


UPDATE: Haudricourt tweets again, but has no confirmation of the deal:

UPDATE: Several outlets confirm the deal, including the Journal Sentinel 's Tom Haudricourt .

Give credit to Jim Breen over at Bernies Crew for the stories and my appoligies. You win the day and respect, while many ofthe rest of us eat crow. Good work, Jim, and my apologies.

This makes the National League Central a three-team race between the Brewers, Reds and Cardinals this season. The Brewers have an imposing top of the rotation with Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Yovani Gallardo.

That said, the team has given up its shortstop, center fielder and second baseman of the future, plus two of its best arms. Baseball America's upcoming Prospect Handbook had Odorizzi as the organization's top prospect and Jeffress third. It also means the Brewers are going for a title this season, and a trade of Prince Fielder is unlikely before the season.

Give Milwaukee credit, they're going for it -- much like they did when they acquired CC Sabathia in 2008. It will be a more interesting race in the National League Central, that's for sure.

UPDATE: Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated tweets Jeffress isn't part of the deal, instead, a player to be named is headed to Kansas City. Heyman also notes the Royals had a deal with the Nationals, but Greinke would not approve that deal.

UPDATE: CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler says the deal is all but done, with the two teams haggling over the last player, which is likely Jeffress.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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






Posted on: November 5, 2010 12:11 pm
Edited on: November 5, 2010 1:19 pm
 

Brewer calls ex-manager Macha 'racist'

Luis Cruz
Brewers infielder Luis Cruz told a reporter in Mexico that former manager Ken Macha was "a bit racist" and hinted that his being Latino was the reason he "wasn't given the opportunity" in Milwaukee last season.

“The truth is that he [Macha] is very dry, very lethargic, a bit racist…but that’s all passed,” Cruz told an editor for Puro Beisbol, according to the blog Baseball Mexico.

I don't know whether Macha is racist or not, but it certainly doesn't look like Cruz, whom the Brewers picked up off waivers from the Pirates last winter, was held back as some sort of discriminatory conspiracy. He spent most of the year at Triple-A, batting .281, and got a September call-up. He played in seven games, starting three, and batted .235.

Cruz's primary position is shortstop, where the Brewers' starter is Venezuelan Alcides Escobar and the backup is 15-year veteran Craig Counsell. He also plays second base, where the Brewers start African American Rickie Weeks.

Cruz has a .221 career average in three brief major-league stints, and at best he's a middling utility prospect. I'm not sure what he thinks Macha was supposed to have done for him, but if he just has a beef over playing time, calling the man a racist is a pretty serious charge.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 21, 2010 7:23 pm
 

Escobar must make mechanical changes

Alcides Escobar If Alcides Escobar wants to have a long major-league career, it's going to start with making adjustments at the plate.

Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum says that Escobar has a mechanical flaw in his swing he must fix if he wants to succeed, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel .

"He has to change his mechanics," said Sveum. "What he's doing won't hold up to big-league pitching on a consistent basis. He has a winter project to work on."

Escobar corralled a starting job near the end of the 2009 season, hitting .304/.333/.368 in 143 plate appearances and with a reputation for fantastic defense. That reputation has taken a bit of a knock, but even if it was superlative, it would be hard to cover up Escobar's .237/.288/.327 mark in 528 PA. He has no power to speak of despite lifting 34.2 percent of hits for fly balls, and that's where the problem lies according to Sveum.

Escobar gets out front, dipping his front shoulder as Sveum explains. This flaw forces Escobar to elevate his shoulder to swing at pitches, which gives his swing an uppercut, flyball tendency -- which doesn't jive with Escobar's lack of power and above-average speed. What Escobar should be doing instead is focusing on line drives and legging out groundballs.

"He's got to understand it's a game of adjustments," said Sveum. "It's very difficult, the way he hits, to use his God-given hand-eye coordination. He's so front-foot forward."

Sveum acknowledges that it may take time for the 23-year-old to change, as he's experienced success up until this season.

"Sometimes you hit rock bottom before you change," said Sveum. "It's a game of adjustments and he has to make some."

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 9, 2010 8:43 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2010 12:32 pm
 

Brewers running short on outfielders


Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun had his left wrist examined by team doctors on Monday and was out of the lineup for Monday's game against the Diamondbacks.

Braun hit his wrist against Houston first baseman Brett Wallace while beating out an infield single on Sunday. He stayed in the game, but went hitless in his last two at-bats.

When Braun got to the ballpark on Monday, he told manager Ken Macha he couldn't play, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt writes .

The team expects to hear a prognosis on Braun later tonight.

Milwaukee was also without right fielder Corey Hart, suffering from lower back stiffness. Hart left Sunday's game in the sixth inning.

"I probably shouldn't have tried to play yesterday," Hart told Haudricourt. "It was tight before the game, and I probably over-stretched trying to get it loose. That just made it worse."

The Brewers were also without Jim Edmonds, who was traded to Cincinnati and his replacement, Chris Dickerson, had missed his flight from Cincinnati and wasn't available at gamete. Shortstop Alcides Escobar started in right, with Craig Counsell at shortstop.

UPDATE: Good news for the Brewers, it's a wrist strain and contusion for Braun. His status is day to day .

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.


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