Baseball America took one last look at the Royals spring camp from a minor league perspective on the prospect blog. There’s a focus on Alex Gordon but Billy Butler and Joakim Soria also gets some love. They close with some bad news on Justin Huber (no where for him to go) and also talk about the Brian Bannister trade.
For Royals fans, there hasn’t been a lot of faith and there’s been even less hope for the team. Now Rany Jazayerli tries to paint as rosy of a picture as he can about the Royals upcoming season. At the very least, I think this will be one of the more fun seasons the Royals have had in a while. There’s some young talent and this will be a solid season to see what the team (which isn’t much) and what they have to (which is a lot).
He talks about everything from Gil Meche to Zach Greinke and then he kind of closes things up with the position players. Good stuff.
We’re still not 100% sure what happened to Zach Greinke last year, but it sure is nice to have him back. The right hander won a spot in the rotation after he spent most of 2006 in the minors. At one point, he almost retired but it looks like the Royals worked with him and now the phenom is back. It sure would be nice to see him put together a season close to what he did in 2004 when he finished with a 3.97 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Anyway, congrats to Greinke.
MiLB.com previewed the Royals minor league system yesterday. In the preview, there’s profiles for players at each stop in the Royals minor league system including the high end guys like Billy Butler and Luke Hochevar. There’s also a recap of the 2006 draft as well as a few players who are under the radar. It wraps up with who they think the cream of the crop will be (Chris Lubanski and Blade Wood).
Prospect guru John Sickels recently showed us what he thinks Royals fans have in store for us with Alex Gordan becoming the Royals starting thirdbaseman in a crystal ball column. If he does what’s projected, you’re talking about a Hall of Fame career which would put him into the top five (if not number one) third baseman of all time. I could live with that 2007 stat line for sure.
This shouldn’t be a huge surprise but it was finally made official yesterday. Everyone’s favorite to win the AL Rookie of the Year, Alex Gordon, will get the starting third base job without playing a single major league game. There’s no doubt that the kid is talented and just having him in there makes the team a little more likely to be noticed. In a lot of ways though, this is a no brainer and I just hope if he has a tough time out of the gate, Buddy Bell doesn’t ruin him like he did Justin Huber.
There’s no doubt that Zack Greinke has had a bizarre career. He broke out at the age of 20 back in 2004 but he was in the minors in 2006 as he dealt with some personal issues. Regardless, if the Royals are ever going to turn a corner, one of the guys who could help out immensely is Greinke. He was recently the spotlight of this MLB.com column, which is a solid read.
Bradford Doolittle recently answered the five key questions the Royals have going into the 2007 over at the Hardball Times. He touches on everything from the Gil Meche signing to the emergence of Alex Gordon to Buddy Bell’s managerial style. He closes with some choice comments on Angel Berroa. Good stuff.
With all of the eyes on Alex Gordan, it’s Billy Butler who’s turning some heads this spring for the Royals. Butler was recently highlighted in a recent Kevin Goldstein column regarding his red hot spring and while there’s no doubt Butler could probably hit at the big league level, he has no spot on the team with the DH spot being held by Mike Sweeney. It’ll be fun watching this guy at Triple A though as he should be able to rake those pitchers without much problem.
In one of the best summaries on option years I’ve read in a while, this KC Star column talks about how the players who end up on the Royals team may be the best, but may be the ones who are the best and no longer have options. Jorge de la Rosa is out of options so it probably means that Brian Bannister and Zach Greinke, both of whom have options remaining, are probably fighting for the fifth spot in the rotation. And Bannister has three option years remaining so that could play into things as well. You have a similar situation in the pen where you’ll probably have more decisions made not on how the player does this spring, but again, whether they’re out of options or not.
The spring season is in full swing and so far, the Royals are 3-3. Brian Bannister has looked solid in two starts and while Alex Gordon hasn’t done all that much, he hasn’t done poorly either. Probably the one guy to keep an eye on is David DeJesus, one of my favorite players on the team. I keep waiting for that batting title that I know is in him but he’s a paltry 0 for 12 with one walk in four spring games.
There is some good news if you’re a half glass full kind of a guy. The Royals have a good bench, at least according to Jeff Sackman at the Hardball Times. With a good pair of catchers and a pretty deep outfield, the Royals sport the third best bench according to the column. Although the fact that there’s not a huge difference between the team’s reserves and its starters is a little disconcerting.
This was one of those spring games that just got out of hand. The Angels broke a 2-2 tie with two runs in the bottom of the sixth and then things calmed down until a wild ninth inning. The Royals scored four to take a two run lead then in the bottom of the ninth, the Angels answered for three to walk away with a 7-6 win.
Brian Bannister threw two solid innings before yielding to Joakim Soria, who was just as good with two perfect innings. Ray and Bale were both roughed up for two runs a piece and then Wayne Franklin was the guy who got roughed up for three runs in the ninth.
On the hitting side, Alex Gordon walked, struck out and scored a run. Billy Butler drove in two runs and Shane Costa had two hits, a run and an RBI.
Tomorrow, the Royals will square up against the Rangers at 3:05.
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