Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Royals Roster Issue

This morning the Royals received about as good as news as they could have hoped for on the Omar Infante front. No fractures. No concussion. As a result, the Royals are going to attempt to avoid a DL stint for their shiny new $40 million second baseman.

Unfortunately, for the Royals there is no back up middle infielder on the roster. It now appears that the Royals are going to stick with the current roster for 2-3 days in the hopes of Infante being healthy enough to play by the weekend. What this means is that Danny Valencia will be manning second for at least today and tomorrow's contests.

Personally, I think this is a mistake. Even last night, we saw first hand how risky playing Valencia at second could be. When Valencia turned a potential double play into a throwing error, the Rays were given new life in the 9th inning. In fact, thanks to this play the Rays were able to get the tying run to the plate.

So what could the Royals do?

Well yesterday the Royals called up Donnie Joseph and Michael Mariott. The Royals also recently called up Aaron Brooks. Each of these three pitchers have options available. We also know that Louis Coleman is nearly ready to return to the team following a trip to the disabled list in spring training. Either way in a few days the Royals will need to option one of their relievers to AAA Omaha.

The Royals could speed up that process and option one of the relievers to Omaha now and bring up either Johnny Giavotella or Christian Colon. Another option could be Jason Donald, although he would need to be added to the 40 man roster. By bringing up one of these middle infielders now, the Royals could then have an actual second baseman for the next couple of games, instead of playing Valencia out of position.

If Infante is ready to return to the lineup by the weekend (something that I think is very unlikely), you simply send down the recently called up middle infielder and bring back Coleman off the disabled list, getting you back to a 12 man pitching staff. For the next two games, you'd have to have an 11 man staff, but every reliever should be available for tonight. If having an 11 man staff wasn't an issue a week ago then it shouldn't be now.

If Infante takes a week to return to the lineup, then that makes the call up of a middle infielder even more important. For a team on the borders of contention every game is of the utmost importance. They can't afford to be playing multiple games with players out of position. It is great that Valencia can fill in as an emergency second baseman in situations like last night, but there's no reason the Royals should enter a game with him as the only option.

There is a move that can be easily made and improve the team for tonight. There's no excuse for the Royals not to make it.

Follow me on Twitter @Landon_Adams!

Money to Spend on Amateur Talent

Last Wednesday, Baseball America brought us a few different articles breaking down the bonus pools by team for the 2014 amateur draft and international signing period. If you missed it, you can read the article here.

Once again, the Royals rank very highly in terms of total money available to spend on amateur talent for 2014. They rank 18th in baseball in terms of international budget at $2,136,800, but despite not selecting until the second half of the draft they rank 5th in draft bonus pool at $8,602,900. This is a result of the compensation pick that was received for Ervin Santana and the competitive balance pick they received for playing in one of the smallest markets in baseball.

Overall, the Royals rank 8th in total budget for 2014 at $10,739,700. The White Sox rank 3rd, the Twins 6th, the Indians 10th, and the Tigers 25th.

With what is rumored to be a deep draft in 2014, the Royals will have four selections in the first 56 (17, 28, 40, 56). This should again present the Royals with a prime opportunity to add to what figures to be one of the top farm systems in baseball heading into 2015.

Follow me on Twitter @Landon_Adams!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday Musings: April 7, 2014

A couple of the quickest things to normalize for hitters are their strikeout and walk rates. We're one week into the season and as a team the Royals have logged 185 plate appearances. It is still early, but there are good indications that the 2014 Royals approach could be much better than the 2013 version.

Last season, Royals hitters walked in just 6.7% of their plate appearances. A mark which ranked 27th in all of baseball. In fact, six of the top nine Royals in walk percentage from a season ago are no longer with the team (George Kottaras, Johnny Giavotella, Emilio Bonifacio, Jamey Carroll, Adam Moore, and Chris Getz). So far this season, the Royals are walking in 9.7% of their plate appearances, which is good for 6th in baseball. Last year's league leader walked 9.4% of the time.

On the strikeout side, after ranking second in the league last season, we knew that the Royals would be even better when they brought in Nori Aoki (struck out just 5.9% of the time in 2013) and Omar Infante (9.2% in 2013). So far this season, the Royals are leading the league in strikeout percentage at just 13.5%. Surprisingly, Aoki is has struck out in 15.8% of his plate appearances, while Infante has 13.6% of the time.

Obviously, we are just one week into the season, but this a team that does an excellent job of keeping the ball in play. The Royals have ranked in the top 3 in strikeout percentage in each of the last four seasons with 2010, being their best mark at just 14.6%. If they can keep the percentage under 14% over the entire season it will be the first time a team has done it since the Twins, Dodgers, and Mariners did it in 2007. If they can keep it at 13.5%, it will rank as the lowest number for a team since the Athletics only struck out 13.1% of the time in 2005.

Of course, if we mention the Royals start in the K% and BB% we should also make a point about the lack of power displayed in the first week of the season. Currently, the Royals rank last in baseball in isolated power at 0.61 and 28th in slugging percentage at .305. Oh and by the way, the Royals are the only team in baseball that has yet to hit a home run in 2014. The Giants already have 11.

Follow me on Twitter @Landon_Adams! 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Lexington Legends Ballpark Preview


In the fourth and final full-season ballpark preview, Nicholas Ian Allen, formerly the Assistant General Manager of the Helena Brewers, offers insight, tips and tricks to make the most out of your experience when visiting a Minor League ballpark.

Ticket Information:

  • Diamond Club $24
  • Super Club $19
  • Club $15
  • Field Box $12
  • Box $10
  • Bleachers $6
  • Lawn $5
  • The Legends are hosting a Pitch, Hit and Run event at the ballpark 4/26, which gives kids an opportunity to show their skills in a competitive format. The best of the group will move to the next round and could be honored at the National Finals during the 2014 MLB All-Star Week.
  • Like the Blue Rocks, the Legends have a free kid’s club. The program could be the best in the system with free admission to all Sunday games as well as a monthly event for club members, in addition to a selection of free goodies.
  • The club hosts many different visitors throughout the season to give young fans a fresh and exciting visit to the ballpark. Several costumed characters will visit Lexington this summer including the popular ZOOperstars! on 3/31, Curious George 6/15 and the Fur Circus 8/8.
  • Fans in Lexington can double up on fireworks promotions, as the club offers them post game on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • The Legends offer $0.37 hot dogs on Tuesdays, which is a great promotion for fans, but a terrible one for food and beverage staff.
  • Some of the quirkier promotions in the Royals system can be found in Lexington, including Splash Day 7/11, Propane Night 8/11 and Create A Jersey Sat 8/9.
  • The club will end the season by inducting new members to the team’s Hall of Fame, as well as with a Jose Altuve (appropriate) mini-bobble head giveaway.

The Legends are one of the best looking teams in the Minor Leagues, and operate in Whitaker Bank Ballpark with a wide range of ticket options. With lawn seats the lowest in the system, you can enjoy a game in Lexington for just $5 per person. However, if you would like a premium experience, the Legends also offer the two most expensive single game ticket options among the affiliates with the $24 Diamond Club and $19 Super Club.

For the Kids: 

Best Bets:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lexington Legends 2014 Preview

LF - Fred Ford
CF - Dominique Taylor*
RF - Elier Hernandez*
3B - Michael Antonio
SS - Humberto Arteaga
2B - Ramon Torres
1B - Samir Duenez*
C - Jin Ho Shin

Jake Junis
Kevin McCarthy*
Cesar Ogando*
Luis Santos*
Matt Tenuta*

C - Chad Johnson, C - Frank Schwindel*, IF - Carlos Garcia*, IF - Mauricio Ramos*, OF - Alfredo Escalara-Maldonado

Matt Alvarez*, Alex Black*, Andrew Edwards*, Austin Fairchild*, Luke Farrell*, Kevin Perez*,  
Jose Miguel Rodriguez*, Luis Rico*

  • To open the 2014 season, Lexington will have 17 new faces putting on the 'Stachetastic' uniform, including 11 new pitchers.
  • Elier Hernandez, ranked as the Royals' #11 prospect in Baseball America, joins the Legends after a stellar performance with the Idaho Falls Chukars of the Pioneer League.  He posted an impressive line of .301/.350/.439 with 3 HR and 44 RBI.  Another stat worth mentioning is Elier's line drive rates.  In 66 games for the Chukars, his LD% was 25.8%, while the rest of the league hit on average 18.3%.  Plus, the fact that he's facing pitchers a few years older than him makes his 2013 season look just a little more superb.  Along with his strong arm and quickness in right field, Hernandez will be a fan favorite at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
  • This year's first baseman will not be familiar name to most, but soon will become one of the more popular names among Royals prospects.  At the young age of 17, Samir Duenez is ranked as the #17 prospect in the Royals' system and will be fun to keep an eye on.  Standing at 6'1", weighing 175 lbs, Samir has great bat speed and good strength for his age.  As a left-handed hitter, he has good power going to the opposite field and shows great discipline.  During his time with Rookie League Royals in Arizona last year, he hit .294/.337/.380 with 12 doubles, 19 RBI, and struck out only 27 times in 199 plate appearances.  For how young he is, Duenez has plenty of time to fill out and could make a possible switch to the outfield in the future, where he played a few games towards the end of last season.  
  • Fun Fact: Newcomer Luke Farrell, who pitched for Idaho Falls in 2013, is the son of Boston Red Sox Manager John Farrell.  Luke has 2 brothers involved in baseball, as well.  Shane, drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays, is now a member of the Chicago Cubs front office and Jeremy, who plays in the Chicago White Sox system.