Royals Authority

Deconstructing The Process

Browsing Posts tagged Felipe Paulino

I have been on vacation since June 3rd: out of the country kind of  vacation and hence quite removed from the Royals.   While managing to check the box scores late at night and marginally keep up with roster moves, it was all pretty superficial stuff.   The night before leaving and a full week before Mike Moustakas got the call, I wrote this, so my internet persona remained somewhat topical.

While Craig and Nick carried the load of the MLB Draft, Moustakas and a four game sweep at home to the Twins, I reemerge to a reality where the Kansas City Royals are only six and one-half games out of first place.   What would you have said back in March if told that the Royals would be in that position in the middle of June?   Due to how this situation has transpired, most of us have passed through the euphoria of contending and back into the status quo of wait until next year.

Think about it this way:  since calling up Eric Hosmer, the Royals have gone 12-23 yet lost only two games in the standings.   Those two games, however, have certainly turned the tide (probably correctly) from ‘hey, we can win this!’ to ‘let’s not worry about wins and losses and get set to be somebody next year’.   Listen, I don’t have any idea where this team is going this year, but I am certain that the call-up of Moustakas signals Dayton Moore’s intention to at least be in and stay in the conversation, not in 2013, but instead in 2012.

To Close Or Not to Close

In the span of ten days, Joakim Soria surrendered the closer role, got and back and then notched two saves (one pretty, one not).   In between, Soria pitched five perfect innings, albeit with just one strikeout, but perfect nonetheless.

Alas, Aaron Crow’s career as a Royals’ closer came and went without an opportunity, which was probably good considering he has allowed three runs and four walks in his last five plus innings.    Probably just a little case of rookieitis, but Crow could be possible use a couple of low leverage stints to right the ship.

Right now, is the best pitcher in the Royals’ bullpen Greg Holland?

Rotation, rotation, rotation

What happens this year, next year and the year after that really pretty much comes down to the starting rotation, doesn’t it?

I thought Craig had a very interesting piece on Danny Duffy last week and one has to wonder if maybe a sub-par outing on Tuesday versus a bad Oakland lineup might signal the southpaw’s return to Omaha for a little more work.   I don’t have a big problem with Duffy continuing to grind here in the majors, but could certainly see the logic in return him to AAA as well.    Doing so would also ‘game’ Duffy’s service time as well, but Dayton Moore does not seem to be running the organization with that as a primary concern this year.

The interesting pick-up in the rotation is Felipe Paulino, who was not particularly good over the weekend, but has been quite solid thus far.   In the past, Paulino has had stretches of starts like this, so any expectations for him going forward need to be tempered, but he certainly has done enough to warrant staying in the rotation when Bruce Chen and Kyle Davies return.

With Chen and Davies beginning their rehab assignments, what does this rotation look like in a couple of weeks?   Chen obviously gets back in, probably at the expense of Vin Mazzaro.   Despite seven shutout innings yesterday, Mazzaro’s zero strikeouts versus five walks and a hit batter probably will spell another trip up I-29 (assuming it’s not flooded).

How about Davies?   Does he get back in the rotation and, if so, at who’s expense?

Fun With OBP

We’ll finish up with some ‘did you know?’ on-base information (and yes, I realize most of you actually DO know):

  • Second best OBP of a regular on the Royals?   Matt Treanor’s .361, trailing only Billy Butler.
  • Chris Getz has a better OBP than Jeff Francouer and trails that of Melky Cabrera by one point.
  • In his first three games Mike Moustakas,  not know for taking a walk, has three of them.
  • Not really an OBP factoid, but Eric Hosmer has grounded into just one less double play than Billy Butler.

Tell the truth, how excited are you to have Moustakas and Hosmer at the corners for the remainder of 2011?

Is it possible that the most polished major league hitter in the Royals’ lineup is a 21 year old rookie who has played in just 24 career games?   Is that a plus for Eric Hosmer or an indictment of the rest of the Kansas City batting order?

I am in a glass half full sort of mood this morning.   The Royals have righted the ship by taking two straight from the Angels, Billy Butler hit a home run, Alex Gordon has rebounded, Alcides Escobar continues to make play after play…heck, even Chris Getz has not annoyed me for three or four days!    As such, I tend to believe that Hosmer is simply that good.

At last, perhaps, after suffering through the debuts of Kila Ka’aihue and Alex Gordon, to name just a couple, maybe the vision of a prospect coming up and, you know, actually hitting is so unique that it really, really stands out.   Enough so that I decided to see what some past homegrown Royals did in their first 25 games:

  • Eric Hosmer – .291/.327/.515/.842, 6 doubles, 5 homers, 17 RBI
  • Alex Gordon – .167/.314/.286/.599, 4 doubles, 2 homers, 5 RBI
  • Billy Butler – .286/.315/.452/.767, 5 doubles, 3 homers, 14 RBI
  • Carlos Beltran – .300/.325/.455/.779, 6 doubles, 3 homers, 16 RBI
  • Johnny Damon – .330/.391/.534/.925, 7 doubles, 2 homers, 15 RBI
  • Mike Sweeney – .250/.369/.353/.722, 4 doubles, 1 homer, 10 RBI
  • Bo Jackson – .207/.286/.329/.615, 2 doubles, 2 homers, 9 RBI
  • George Brett – .216/.244/.338/.581, 6 doubles, 1 homer, 9 RBI

I took some liberties with the above; ignoring the sporadic playing time of the September call-ups of Beltran, Sweeney and Brett in their actual major league debuts, but using Bo’s September as he played basically everyday in the fall of 1986.    Also worth noting is that Johnny Damon also smacked 4 triples in his first 25 games – not sure if you remember, but Damon could really play.

I thought about pulling up the numbers of some of the once ‘sure-things’ that parlayed a good start or even a good rookie season into dismal failure.   However, looking back at Bob Hamelin, Mark Quinn and Angel Berroa runs counter to the ‘glass half full’ frame of mind we are using today.

Twenty-five games does not a career or, even a season make.   That said, Eric Hosmer is off to a better start than most of the other big Royals’ prospects of the past.  Yes, Mike Sweeney was not a big prospect when he came up, but I thought it was relevant to include him.

Some other quick notes:

Felipe Paulino has been fantastic for the Royals in his first two outings (9.1 IP, 0 runs, 0 walks).  Keep in mind, for those of you who think Bob McClure may have made some magical tweak, that Paulino had a stretch of 36 innings where he allowed just 7 runs just one year ago.   Obviously, you have to like what you have seen thus far out of the newly acquired pitcher, but the jury is still out on whether the can maintain it.

Baseball America is projecting the Royals will pick UCLA pitcher Gerrit Cole with the number five pick on Monday.   I think that would be a great pick should he fall that far, with the theory being that Cole could make the majors as early as 2013.   While Bubba Starling would be a pick popular with the locals, he is three to four years away from the majors, the smart money would be to take the best college arm available…or Dylan Bundy.    Bundy is the high school pitcher from Oklahoma, who is more advanced than your usual high school arm.   Chances are that he will not even be there when the Royals’ turn comes, but he would also be fantastic pick.

In addition to a Homser coming up and having early success, something else new and unusual is happening for the Royals:  they have a prospect close to major league ready who is legitimatelyblocked by a player at the major league level.     We are all anticipating the arrival of Mike Moustakas, but what do you do with Wilson Betemit?  You know, the Betemit that is hitting .306/.370/.438.   The very same one who in 127 games with the Royals has a line of .300/.375/.484.    That is a nice problem to have and one that is unique in the recent history of Kansas City.

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