Friday, October 19, 2007

Royals Hire New Manager

Trey Hillman Named New Skipper of the Royals

The search for the newest manager for the Kansas City Royals officially came to an end today. Trey Hillman, former manager of the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan, was announced to take the reins of the Royals.

I won't lie to you I don't know very much about Hillman except what I've read over the past few days, but he sounds like a great fit.

The Nippon Ham Fighters are a small market baseball team in Japan that focused on bringing young talent up through the minors(sound familiar?). Hillman took over for the fighters 4 years ago and revived them into a winning franchise. Last year they won the equivalant of the World Series in Japan and are in the championship game again this year.

Hillman has been involved in several major league orgainazations before moving to Japan. The most notable was being a minor league coach for the Yankees for 12 years. He was interviewed last year for manager positions of both the Rangers and the Athletics.
So with as little as known about Hillman, he already sounds like a perfect fit for the Royals. Small market. Young players. Farm system. Proven winner.

Side Bar Thought: With the current phenomenon that is Japanese pitchers, maybe the Royals will have some insight into the pitchers. Yes, I know that it's a bid system, but unknown talent won't need Dice-K money. I think the Red Sox aquired Hideki Okajima for $15 million and he's been outstanding.

We'll see how this managerial hire works out, but right, now in October, it seems like a great move.

Other Links about the Trey Hillman Hire



Monday, September 24, 2007

I'm Neglectful

Sorry about the lack of posts recently, I've been keeping busy at work. Don't fret though, after the season ends I'll begin posting a post-season breakdown of each players stats and their grades. This losing September has really broken my back as far as posts go, just not much to say. So tune in the month of October and beyond for more Royals info. Until then, continue using the links to the right for your Royals info.

Until then...


Sunday, August 19, 2007

No Longer Cellar Dwellers

The Long Climb Out of the Basement

Ladies and Gentlemen. Royals Fans and my esteemed fellow bloggers. The moment has come... For the first time since 2003, the Royals no longer own the distinguished position of last place in the AL Central.

Its hard to describe the elation I feel of such a small victory. Actually, its not that small of a victory, its a large step in the upward swing in Royals baseball.

The best part about the climb out of the cellar, is that it wasn't done with old grizzled veterans, but young players brought through the system or acquired by Dayton Moore.

Just like with an acceptance speech there are some people I'd like to thank:

First, of Allard Baird. I know he wasn't given the all the tools that he might've need to make a quality team, but he did hit on his last few draft choices. Bullpen Zack Greinke, DH Billy Butler and third, not first baseman, Alex Gordon.
Those young players have really been stepped up and played well for this team. Remember Gordon and Butler still don't have a full season of ball combined between the two of them...future looking good.
Also Greinke has been nuts out of the pen. Unhittable. Which leads me to my second thanks.

I'd also like to thank the bullpen for being as good as its been the last 2 1/2 months. Without them, the Royals would be flailing and more then likely in last. It's nice to have a complete reversal of bullpens. From getting blown out, to blowing out. Nice John Bales in not very good.

The third group I'd like to thank is Dayton Moore and the family Glass. They stepped up this past off season and made a statement that the Royals would no longer be pushovers. See: Gil Meche and Michael Moustakas. Being a winner is about mentality and the Royals are earning it.

The final group I'd like to thank is Ozzie Guillen and the Chigaco White Sox. Thanks for having a great team on paper, but the consistency of flood water. Without your 7 game losing streak, it would've taken the Royals longer to achieve this monumental achievement. I implore you to continue to implode and boost my boys in blue to highs we haven't seen since the great season of '03. The Royals are coming to Chicago this week so this could be the battle for 5th in the Central. Please drop 2 or 3 to my team and continue on your downward slope. If not it was great being 4th for a while.

In closing how about world peace.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dayton Moore

An interview with GM Dayton Moore about Michael Moustakas and a bit about Kyle Davies


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

And Now Deep Thoughts...

Random Tidbits

Thought 1
Johan Santana is good. I went to the game Wednesday night and watching him pitch was something I hope the Royals pitchers took an interest in. He wasn't dominant 6IP W 2ER 6K, but he was flat out good. Watching him mix his fastball and changeup, keeping the Royals hitters flailing was a masterpiece. I hope all the Royals pitchers took their notebooks and learned something from that.

Thought 2
Esteban German should never, never, ever fill in for Alex Gordon or anyone else playing third for the Royals. I know the guy can hit, but watching him make poor fielding decisions, whether letting balls go by he should field or fielding balls he shouldn't leading to a 5 run inning. I know he can hit, but please leave him at second or as a DH...but what about Billy Butler?

Thought 3
Do not worry about Michael Moustakas, at least in the signing aspect, as a player who knows. The gentlemen of Royals Authority put together an excellent column on what to expect. I had an interview with Dayton Moore earlier this KMBC 9 News in Kansas City, but what Dayton said is don't worry, he's not and he foresees Moustakas signing and starting in the fall instructional league.

Thought 4
Do begin wondering about Luke Hoechaver. So far in AAA 1-2 5GS 7.18 ERA 19K 14BB 7HR. I'm not sure why the Royals moved him from AA earlier this year because he was far from lights out in Wichita. Maybe they thought he would rise to the challenge, but so far he's just been beat like he stole something. Keep an eye on him, but hopefully Andrew Miller won't bite us in the ass.

Thought 5
Rowdy Hardy. Remember that name. Rowdy Hardy, not only is it a porn star name, but a pitcher in the Royals system currently pitching at High-A Wilmington. Hardy's numbers so far this season are 14-3 19GS 2.38ERA 79K 14BB 4HR 2CG. Hardy is not known as a stuff guy, but more like a Brian Bannister type. The best comparison right now to Hardy in the bigs is Kason Gabbard. Both are soft tossing leftys with big curves and excellent off-speed command. I'm sure everyone remembers what Gabbard did to the Royals earlier this season.
Editors Note: Rowdy Hardy was recognized as having the best control in Class A, Carolina League, by Baseball America's "best tools" survey.

Final Thought
Emil Brown's walkup music is the Dixie Chicks...WTF?


Saturday, August 4, 2007

Buddy Bell Resigns

Better late, then never...

I know I'm a bit behind the times, but lets talk a bit about the Royals head, er, former/current head coach deciding to step down.

First of all let me start with the fact that I believe Buddy. He is stepping down for family reasons. The main thing that I don't understand is his contract expires at the end of this season, so how do you resign when you don't have a contract?

I believe that Buddy knew or had a conversation with Dayton that basically led to the realization that he was not going to get a contract extension. After coming to terms with the decision Buddy decided it would be better to go out on his own terms and therefore resigned.

Buddy Bell was a manager, but he is not the anointed one to lead the Royals out of the depths of despair. He was a poor in-game manager, had a tendency to leave pitchers in to 1 inning to many, is too loyal to his favorites...Ross Gload, Emil Brown...and can't pick a consistent lineup to save his life. He is not a motivator, he was a rub some dirt on it leader. A tough baseball lifer, but just not a winning manager. His winning percentage with the Royals is a lowly .402.

Buddy wasn't given much to work with being the manager during the Wal-Mart era of Royals baseball, but that's no excuse. He should have won more games.

After looking back at what I've written so far I realized that Buddy needed to go at the end of this season. I liked Buddy Bell. He helped start what will hopefully become the revolution of the Royals. He kept the young players in the lineup, saw to the end of Angel Berroa era and showed the Royals what its like to be tough major league players, but that's not enough. I respect Buddy, but the Royals need more.

The Royals need an in-game manager. The Royals need a motivator. The Royals need to win and Buddy Bell wasn't that leader. Dayton Moore realized this and maybe Buddy did as well.

I hope Buddy enjoys the time with his family, but I'm sure we will see him again in the near future.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Bounce Back

This Isn't the Royals I Remember

The Royals had one of the toughest post all-star game schedules in all of baseball. They started off in Cleveland, then went to Boston and on to Detroit before coming home and facing the Yankees. The Royals went 5-4 on the road trip and had to be feeling good about themselves, until they came home for the 4 game set with the evil empire.

The Yankee Series
Game 1 KC 2-9 NYY
Game 2 KC 4-9 NYY
Game 3 KC 1-7 NYY
Game 4 KC 7-0 NYY

The Royals ended up dropping the first 3 of the series against the Yankees, before winning the final game to avoid the sweep. I wasn't to troubled with the outcome of the Yankee series. The Bronx Bombers came into the series with a red hot offense and they just kept scoring runs. The games were also closer then the outcome. In the 3 games the Yankees won, they scored 11 runs in the 7th inning or later, which I wouldn't consider as a meltdown by the Royals as much as it shows the disparity between who Buddy calls on from the bullpen when the Royals are down as opposed to a closer game. Also throw out game 2 of the series, that was the game Scott Elarton started so that was a no-brainer loss(Elarton has since been released!!).

The Royals finished the series with a win and a shutout of that red hot offense. There were several nice things about that final game:
The Royals offense was carried by the youngins- RBI(s) from Butler, Gordon, DeJesus and Pena
Jorge De La Rosa threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings and with 5K
The bullpen combination of Greinke and Soria finished the shutout allowing 0 hits!

Even though the final win against the Yankees was nice, I was worried about the Rangers series. After being smacked around by the Yanks, I was afraid that the Royals would be feeling a bit blue and drop 2 or 3 to the Rangers....but that didn't happen.

The last several years the Royals of old would have been down on themselves and not showed up to play against the Rangers, but not these Royals. These Royals showed up and mowed down the Rangers. They swept the Rangers in convincing style not letting the discouragement of the letdown against the Yankees keep them from beating the Rangers.

That Rangers series in itself shows how different this years team is then those of the past.

The Royals are on the way up, my friends...they've had winning months in both June and July, they aren't laying down and going into long losing streaks, they cut Scott Elarton...progress!

We are witnessing the emergence of a young baseball team. The Royals are fun and entertaining to watch again and that alone makes the suffering of years past a bit easier to manage.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Giveaway Game

Scott Elarton Is Terrible

Tuesday nights game was the night of the giveaway. The Royals gave away 3 different items.

1. George Brett Pine Tar T-Shirt
2. Denny Matthews Hall of Fame Button
3. The Game

The first 2 giveaways were great...the third, not so much. The Royals gave away the game by sending Scott Elarton to the mound against the Bronx Bombers.

The game was over before it even started. There was no way that Elarton was going to keep the Yankees off the board and sure as shit, he left in the middle of the 2nd inning surrendering 7 runs.

Scott Elarton's Stats from Tuesday night: 1 2/3IP 7ER 0K 2BB thats a 37.80ERA 0HR

Scott Elarton's 2007 Season stats: 2-4 37IP 10.14ERA 36ER 13K 21BB 12HR

Scott Elarton's 2007 Stats from AAA: 2-3 44 1/3IP 6.70ERA 33ER 19K 14BB 13HR

Elarton can't get major leaguers or AAA ballplayers out and on the biggest night since Opening Day, 38,000 fans, the Royals just give the game away. Scratch that, on any given night why would the Royals just give away the game. Scott Elarton has lost whatever it is that makes people major league starters, oh yeah its called stuff. Elarton needs to go the way of the bald eagle and be released into the wild. The Royals need to cut ties and be done with him. I know that he and Buddy Bell go way back, but this isn't about filling a spot or being loyal anymore. The Royals have finally started winning games and becoming respectable and then this turd gets a start against the Yanks. L

Sure who else might the Royals start you might ask? How about Leo Nunez.

Leo Nunez 2007 Stats: 1GS 0-0 4IP 2.25ERA 1ER 3K 1BB against the Red Sox

Why didn't the Royals give Nunez the ball? He couldn't be any worse...seriously. Elarton is terrible, at least with Nunez there could have been a fleeting chance at a win

If the Royals want to be respectable they need to quit pulling this bullshit. Elarton is done and if I see him make another start I will seriously lose my cool and...?...type more mean stuff in my blog. I just really pisses me off. The Royals go 5-4 on the hardest road trip of the year, come back home and the Royals throw Elarton on the mound for a guaranteed loss.

Bush League


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mid Season Breakdown II

The Pitching

Aside from a few hiccups, Scott Elarton and the first month of the bullpen, Royals pitching has been good. Just typing that makes my fingers happy. It has been a long, long time since the Royals have hadany pitching that has kept them in and even given them a chance to win games.

The starting pitching has been decent, well maybe even good, but they're a bit inconsistent. They had a great April, a down May and have been good again in June. So far this season Royals starters have logged 39 quality starts and 25 wins. Last year for the whole season Royals starters only had 47 quality starts

What to say about the bullpen. Aside from a rough April they have been amazing:

Bullpen Win-Loss Record by month
April: 1-6
May: 7-3
June: 3-1

The bullpen has really been behind this winning resurgence from the Royals. You can see by the numbers the starters had a bit of a rough May, but the bullpen was there to pick them up. Lately if you get the ball to the Royals bullpen in the late innings, you can almost count on a win. They have become shutdown...they won't stay this good forever, but it good enough for some wins right now.
Stat Table: Win-Loss/Earned Run Average/Strikeouts/Walks
(...if you click on the table it will get larger)


Mid Season Awards

The Stopper: Gil Meche, Although Meche has struggled a bit in the last month, you couldn't tell just by looking at the numbers, but every time he takes the mound the Royals have a shot at victory. Also a 3.54 ERA is well worth $11 million, just ask the Dodgers and Jason Schmidt.

Most Improved: Jorge De La Rosa, De La Rosa has great stuff and seems to be figuring out how to pitch. He struggled mightily in June, but before that was really putting up good numbers. His struggles may be because of the amount of innings pitched. Last season he pitched a career high 79 innings and already this season he is a 106. His BB/K ratio is improving lets see how he finishes the season.

Biggest Surprise: Brian Bannister, Scouts said this guy can pitch and he is certainly doing just that. His best month was June, where he was also elected AL Rookie of the Month. Lets see what happens the 2nd half of the season and if the league adjusts to him, but right now he looks like a Dayton Moore steal.

Biggest Disappointment: Zack Greinke, But only a disappointment as a starter. He has really flourished in the bullpen, but I think the Royals gave up on him a bit soon, but he has done so well in the pen, hopefully it gave him his confidence back.

The Bullpen

Mid Season Awards

Slams The Door: David Riske, Riske had a tough April, but after that he has damn near unhittable. His May ERA- 0.00. Consistency is what he has become and that's what he is.

Gives Me a Stroke: Octavio Dotel, I think we all can see he just isn't a closer. Teams just see the ball to well out of his hand and he almost never has a clean inning. I hope he gets traded and they let Greinke try his hand at closer

Biggest Surprise: Joakim Soria, The kid can pitch. He is under-utilized in relief, but don't forget he is still only a Rule V draft pick. His K/BB ratio is 3/1 and did an excellent job as fill in closer earlier this season.

Biggest Disappointment: None...yet

Most Under-Used: Joel Peralta, Peralta is quietly having an excellent season, but it seems like I only notice him when he gives up runs. He, like Soria has a 3K/1BB ratio and is pitching the best he's ever pitched.

The Only Lefty: Jimmy Gobble, I was going to criticize Buddy Bell for only using Gobble against lefties, but then I looked at the numbers. With roughly the same amount of at bats righties are hitting .370 against whereas lefties are hitting .238. Good job Buddy!

The Oddest Stat: Neil Musser, Look at his April line...

I should have split this into 2 sections...its a little long, my bad...Lets hope the Royals pitching keeps it going in the 2nd half.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mid Season Breakdown I

The Offence

Well here we are halfway through the 2007 season and the Royals are still sitting in the cellar of the AL Central, but since the beginning of the season this team has really improved. We all knew the Royals would struggle in the difficult AL Central and they have, but no Royals fan in their right mind expected a pennant run. To consider this season a success the Royals just need to get better...that's it, just get better. So far this season they Royals have done just that. Each month so far this year the team has improved.

Overall 38-50 .431
April 8-18 .307
May 11-17 .392
June 15-12 .555
July 4-3 .571 (inc.)

Each month of the season, the Royals have dramatically improved their winning percentage and are now on pace to win 72 games this season whereas at the end of April the Royals were on pace to lose 112 games. Let's hope they continue the winning trend, but it'll be tough with 14 different series against other AL Central teams, 3 series against the Yankees and 1 more against Boston.

Another big item for the Royals besides just winning some games was the improvement of the young generation of Royals...
Stat Table: Batting Average/On Base Percentage/Homeruns/RBI
...(if you click on the table it will get larger)

The overall improvement of the entire teams batting is remarkable from the beginning of the season to the mid-point.

Mid-Season Awards

Most Improved: Alex Gordon, struggled mightily in the beginning, but has started to find his stroke and has improved every month...especially June

Best Power: John Buck, but since he has started hitting more homeruns his batting average has gone way down

Most Consistent: Mark Teahen, still hitting .282 even though he has struck out an astounding 81 times this year. His power numbers are down, but still leads the team in RBI

The Catalyst: David DeJesus, this guy is a player. Look at his on base percentage, .365. Even though he doesn't steal enough bases to lead off, the Royals couldn't have a better leadoff hitter.

Biggest Surprise: Joey Gathright, has only been with the big league club for a month .353 BA and a .450 OBP, he deserves more playing time and is getting it.

Biggest Disappointment: Ryan Shealy. His numbers are paltry and is in danger of losing his job

Player to Watch: Billy Butler, the kid can hit. The ball off his bat, even on groundouts, just has the sound of thunder. He is starting to become comfortable and you can see the transformation. With Sweeney on the DL for the next 6 weeks, the kids going to get a chance and I don't think he will let us down.

The second half of the season should be fun to watch. Hopefully the young Royals continue to improve and will carry this upward trend into the second half and then on into next year...

On Thursday the mid-season pitchers report