It looks like the third base job is Alex Gordon’s for the taking. While Mark Teahan had a very good year in 2006, he appears willing to move to the outfield to make room for prospect phenom Alex Gordon.
It’s been a long time since Royal’s fans have had something to be excited about. Even if the Royals lose 100 games again this year, at least there’s some hope on the horizon with future stars like Alex Gordon testing their mettle in the major leagues.
This isn’t a huge surprise but Alex Gordon came in at number one on Kevin Goldstein’s list of the top 100 prospects. He came in just ahead of Phillip Hughes and Justin Upton. The Royals also have Billy Butler at 21, Luke Hochevar at 23 and Chris Lubanski as an honorable mention. That’s a pretty solid crop of prospects.
I’m a big Justin Huber fan and that’s why I think what happened to him last season was a waste. He was tearing up Triple A, got pulled up the big league team where he sat on the bench and got all of ten at bats. He then got sent back down and struggled. Now Huber is a man without a position. Ryan Shealy will probably the team’s starting first baseman and with Mike Sweeney still the team’s DH, Huber will once again be the a man without a position.
PECOTA still projects Huber as having a decent season despite the mediocre 2006 campaign. His weighted mean average has him at .272/.349/.454 with 16 homeruns but I think if given the chance, Huber would hit 20-25 homeruns and maybe even see his OBP up near .375. I guess we won’t get the chance, at least not this year unless someone gets hurt.
Right now, the Gil Meche’s contract with the Royals has been talked about as one of the worst of the hot stove league. Now with the spring season on the horizon, Meche gets to prove everyone wrong and hopefully he’ll live up to that deal. While I wouldn’t label him as an ace yet (I think that term gets thrown around too much and that not every team has an ace), he’s probably the best arm the Royals have right now.
Like most everyone else, PECOTA doesn’t think too highly of Meche. His weighted mean average has him notching a 1.56 WHIP with a 5.34 ERA. Even his 75th percentile puts him at only a 1.47 WHIP and a 4.65 ERA. So let’s not throw around that ace term yet.
Bobby Mueller recently took a look at how Gil Meche got to where he is in a solid article at the Hardball Times. You get everything from minor league stats to his time with the Mariners. I feel the same as Mueller does, and that is that the money we pay Meche won’t be comporable to what he does on the field. Then again, stranger things have happened so we’ll have to wait and see.
If Alex Gordan is the cornerstone of the Royals future offense, outfield prospect Billy Butler could also help provide a solid supporting cast. Apparantly, he’s not yet that ready because he’ll be starting the 2007 in the minors despite getting a spring training invite by the big league club.
Bulter tore up Double A last year and he did it as a 20 year old, which is no small task. He’s a converted third basemen so his fielding needs some work. John Sickels gave him an A- minus rating and expects him to compete for a big league job in 2008. I see him making the team in the middle of 2007.
Now all the Royals need are some pitching prospects to go along with their hitters. 2007 will be a tough year for Royals fans yet again, but at least kids like Butler give us some hope for the future.
The Royals avoided arbitration with relief pitcher Todd Wellemeyer when they signed him to a one year, $635,000 deal. Wellemeyer was picked up by the Royals when the Marlins waived him and he put together a decent stint for the Royals. Walks are a concern (he walked 37 and struck out 37) but he held hitters to a .235 batting average. Oddly, he was better against left handed hitting, who he held to a .208 batting average in 2006.
It’s hard to believe that the best player on a major league team is a guy who’s never even played above the Triple A level, but if Alex Gordan is as good as people thing he’s going to be, he could be the backbone of a Royals team that COULD build for the future and actually compete here in the next couple of years.
What’s expected of Alex Gordan? PECOTA has him at .282/.364/.511 with 26 homeruns and that’s just his weighted mean average. If he nails his 75th percentile, then he’s up to .301/.387/.558 with 29 homeruns. And this is all with above average defense at third base.
A healthy David DeJesus would go a long way as well as he’d provide a nice table setter for Gordan. Regardless, Gordan provides Royals fans with something to be excited about, and that’s something we haven’t had in a long time.
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