Royals Authority

Deconstructing The Process

Browsing Posts published by Clark Fosler

Pitching and defense wins championships?  Who knew?

There are a myriad, tangible and intangible, reasons why the Kansas City Royals are in the World Series for the first time in 29 years, but foremost among them is the fact that this team simply caught and converted into outs, well, basically everything that was put in play this post-season.  That may be an exaggeration, but not a huge one.

Defensive metrics are what they are:  way better than when all we had was errors and fielding percentage.  However, about the time we started to really believe in them, along came all the shifting and, at least in this small mind, skewed the numbers again. The metrics love Jarrod Dyson, Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon, they are not as kind to Alcides Escobar.  Take them for what they are worth and, sabremetricians cover your ears, you might have to just trust your eyes.

At least for a small sample size like the post-season, my eyes tell me that the Royals are playing as good a defense as I have seen a team play (and I’m old….and jaded…and pretty certain Cookie Rojas and Freddie Patek were gods).  The opposing batters have eyes, too, and likely not a lot of knowledge of UZR/150.  Are the Royals playing tremendous defense?  Ask Nick Markakis and Steve Pearce.

The second part (or first maybe) of the equation is pitching and, when it comes to the Royals specifically, relief pitching.  Kansas City is tailor made for playoff baseball with all it’s off-days and rest between series.  They can go to Herrera, Davis and Holland for nine outs on Tuesday and ELEVEN more on Wednesday.  They can, quite simply, give the opposing team 18 outs to score, while taking the full 27 to manufacture some runs themselves.  The Royals can do that without even having to use Brandon Finnegan, Jason Frasor and Danny Duffy.

In their eight post-season games, the Royals have gotten one, maybe two, really quality outings by their starting pitcher, but thanks to a dominant bullpen, have outpitched the opposing team.  You do that in the regular season and your bullpen will come apart after a couple of weeks.  You do that in the post-season and you start buying flagpoles.

Some other bits and pieces:

  • Zack Greinke has been part of seven post-season games since demanding a trade from Kansas City.  That’s one less than Alex Gordon.  Greinke has yet to be on a team that gets to the World Series.  Maybe he can demand a trade to a winner this off-season.
  • Darryl Motley was my favorite Royal the last time the team was in the World Series.  His game seven home run remains one of my most vivid Kansas City baseball memories.
  • Count me as one who is glad the Royals are playing the Giants and not the Cardinals.  I am from Nebraska (I have yet, by the way, noticed any difference between natives of Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa – I hate to break to you guys who are all about which state/region is better, but we’re all pretty much the same bunch) and don’t have that intense Kansas City versus St. Louis hatred.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I travel a lot and St. Louis is one of my least favorite cities, I mean it’s pretty freaking awful, but as an ‘outsider’ coming to the Series, I just don’t need the KC-St.Louis crap getting in the way of my drinking.
  • We will talk rosters over the weekend – I love to talk rosters – but just how healthy is Yordano Ventura and, more specifically, Danny Duffy?  If Ventura is good to go as a starter and the Royals think they can go to Danny Duffy for multiple innings more than once in a seven game set, they could well drop Tim Collins and add another position player. With National League rules looming in games three and four, Jayson Nix would seem to be far more useful than Collins, IF Duffy is really healthy.

Finally, I did not tweet, not even once during Game Four against the Orioles.  I was not in a great situation to utilize technology (driving a combine with scattered data coverage).  I listened to the game on the radio, just like in the olden days.  To be honest, it seemed right.  Everything seems right when you win.

The baseball world is becoming well acquainted with Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland and rightfully so.  Could those three be one of  the best back of the bullpen combination in history?  That will take more research than time allows today, but certainly in a post-season full of good bullpens (not you, Detroit), I don’t think many would trade those three for anyone else.

That said, last night, the sixth inning belonged to Jason Frasor.  Acquired in mid-July in a not very noteworthy move made at a time when many of us were demanding big moves, Frasor has been around.  Eleven full seasons of ‘being around’.

Frasor debuted in the majors at age twenty-six way back in 2004.  Since then, Jason has made one trip to the minors: a pretty impressive feat for a non-closer type reliever.  He spent most of his eleven year career in Toronto, spread over two stints.  He was traded by the Blue Jays to the White Sox in a deal that involved Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen, then traded by the White Sox back to the Blue Jays a year later.

The right-hander has not been awarded a save since 2010.  He has never made more than $3.7 million in any one season.  He could sit down at the airport bar next to you and you would have no idea who he was.  Well, you might now, but you would not have a month ago.

Six hundred and forty-seven regular season appearances.

After facing 2,620 major league hitters and having struck out more of them than he allowed base hits to, Jason Frasor finally made his first post-season appearance in the Wild Card game against Oakland (a game in which he was awarded the win).   Eleven years and 619 innings worth of being ‘one of the other guys in the bullpen’ before pitching when it really, really mattered.

Now, cry not for Jason Frasor. That is a heck of a gig to be a reliever and made just one shuttle to the minor leagues in eleven years.  Few of us would turn down an 11 year run that yielded $17 million in total salary.  In the baseball world, however, Jason Frasor is just ‘one of the other guys’ and on the Royals he might well be the FIFTH best reliever in the bullpen.  There is a decent chance that somewhere in the excitement of the past month, you might well have forgotten – however momentarily – that Jason Frasor was a member of your Kansas City Royals.

Last night, however, in just the fourth post-season appearance of the 36 year old’s career, Jason Frasor came on in the sixth inning of a tie-game and mowed down the heart of the Oriole order as he bridged the gap between Jeremy Guthrie and the three-headed cyborg monster cerebus inadequately nick-named trio that dominates the later innings on behalf of the Kansas City Royals.

It was a big appearance when it really, really mattered.  A minor move by Dayton Moore back in July that paid off in October. Nice work, Dayton Moore.   Good for you, Jason Frasor, you earned it.

 

The Kansas City Royals have to be wondering what’s so hard about the playoffs?  Six games, six wins.  Nothing to it.

Yesterday was pretty much the Lorenzo Cain show as the centerfielder had four hits and a catch that entailed running basically across the entire outfield to make a tremendous catch.  I am an old guy.  I watched Amos Otis play center and then Willie Wilson and Brian McRae and Johnny Damon and Carlos Beltran and, my god, can Lorenzo Cain play the position!

Proof that the Royals just might be an actual team of destiny can be found in that Mike Moustakas, who spent the bulk of 2014 displaying no ability to hit baseballs whatesoever, has four home runs in six games.  I stole this from Sam Mellinger (and the world of data in general), but Moose has never hit four home runs in six games in the major leagues ever.  In the playoffs?  No problem.

Here stand your Kansas City Royals, two games up and coming home to play three. It’s been a long time since we have been in the playoffs, but I am pretty sure that is Position A.

The Royals have gotten to this position by routinely moving what may be the best defensive centerfielder in the game to rightfield in the final three innings of close games…and we all pretty much like it.  They have gotten there playing a second baseman who has not hit in half a season and, by most accounts, can barely throw a ball at this point.  They have won the first two games of this series even though the Royals’ two best starting pitchers have looked more like Odalis Perez (the version that pitched in Kansas City) than front of the rotation playoff starters.

Destiny? I don’t know if I truly believe in that, but this group has some sort of mojo.  That’s right: MOJO.

Now, a two games to none advantage going home is not a lock.  Your 1985 Royals were down two games to none, by the way.  However, winning two games out of the next five seems, dare we say, not that hard.

Rain is in the forecast for Monday.  A lot of rain..and wind..miserable conditions basically. While you want to keep the ball rolling, I don’t think a rainout slows this teams’ roll. In fact, I would not adverse at all. The big three relievers plus Finnegan have worked the last two days and worked hard. Sure, they would be ready to go with the off-day today, but they would be even more ready with two days off.

A rainout would give Ned Yost the option of bringing Shields and Ventura back for games four and five at home, with the World Series on the line. Maybe, like me, you think James Shields looks like a tired pitcher, but I like him to have a good outing on the heels of three so-so ones.

Frankly, at this point, I am not sure it matters who starts, what the weather is or even if Ned finally benches Infante and plays me or Craig instead.

Party on, Ned.

All I write is 25 man roster stories anymore – or so it seems, anyway.  Here’s hoping that in a little over a week, I am going to write another one in preparation for the World Series.

Truthfully, there is little to analyze at this point:  both manager and general manager are – for maybe the first time in this duos’ combined tenure – actually comfortable with this unit.

Pitchers:

  • Shields, Ventura, Guthrie, Vargas, Duffy, Holland, Davis, Herrera, Finnegan, Frasor, Collins

Position Players:

  • Perez, Hosmer, Infante, Escobar, Moustakas, Gordon, Cain, Aoki, Butler, Dyson, Kratz, Colon, Gore, Willingham

Tim Collins’ is in italics as he is likely the only one that might not make the transition from ALDS roster to ALCS roster.  He was a surprise addition before the Angels’ series and surprised us further by appearing in a high leverage situation and, surprisingly, performing well in said situation.  I think he probably comes back again, but a move to a different lefty (Francisely Bueno or Scott Downs) is always a possibility.

A dark horse to the mix might be Liam Hendriks.  With rain sprinkled (get it?) throughout the forecast for this series, the scenario of playing a couple of innings, sitting for two hours and then resuming looms as a real possibility.  Your starter is burned and even if piece together the rest of the game using the bullpen, you might well have a game the next day. At some point, the Royals may opt for innings.   Plus, even in the playoffs, junk innings sometimes come up.  Up or down by eight runs in the seventh, do you really want Ned Yost sending out Finnegan or Herrera?

Now, the Royals like to think too much sometimes, and could bounce off enough walls to think they need TWELVE pitchers.  I doubt they will go there as that means dropping Terrance Gore, your pinch running weapon of choice, or Josh Willingham, the only guy you actually would use to pinch hit for anyone.

They could also consider going with just ten pitchers, given that one of the starters (likely Duffy) will be in the bullpen full-time, and take another bat into the ALCS.  That means, Raul Ibanez or Jayson Nix:  handy to have around if the game goes 13 innings, but only in the sense that someone has to stand in each of the nine positions on the diamond. That scenario also assumes that the Royals are 100% confident that both Duffy and Herrera are completely healthy.

In the end, I believe we will find ourselves with the 25 men listed above and, at this point, that seems just about right.  Yost is comfortable with that group and is almost on autopilot in how to use them – which is not a bad thing.

We know the nine starters and that Gore will pinch-run when the Royals trail or are tied late.  We know Dyson will come on at some point in the last three innings in place of Aoki and that Willingham might pinch hit against a left-handed reliever (or if Gore’s turn comes up in the order).

We know that Herrera might pitch in the sixth if needed and certainly the seventh if the Royals are ahead.  We know that Finnegan will pitch as often as the HDH combo – another good thing.  You can bet on Danny Duffy in extra innings.

Sure, Ned could surprise us and I almost never like Ned surprises, but you can likely guess 95% of every pitching and position player change that is going to be made and, at this point, with this roster, it is going to be hard to argue with very many of them.  It took a long time to get here, but this is a comfortable group being used in mostly logical fashion.

Feels like a real life baseball organization, doesn’t it?

 

I want to play craps with Ned Yost.  Right now, before his luck changes.

Yost went with Vargas too long….and it worked.  He went to a 21 year old rookie as an injury replacement (I would have too, by the way) and it worked.  He has a rightfielder who, best I can tell, has never gotten from point A to point B without a detour to point C (and sometimes D, E and F) and said rightfielder made two run saving catches.  He pitched Tim Collins in the ninth inning of a tied playoff game and it worked!  Hell, in a 2-2 game, Yost used six relievers before handing the ball to his All-Star closer…and it worked.

Roll ‘em, Ned.  Let’s get rich.

Of course, not going to Holland until the Royals were in a save situation is not gambling to Ned.  It is by-the-book baseball 101. I don’t agree with it, because you run the risk of losing a game without using one of your best relievers.  Last night, the book served Yost well.  Damn if it wasn’t nice to have Holland go out and blow the Angels away for the save and a 1-0 series lead.

Even with the win, there is plenty to debate.  Would you have had Terrance Gore try to steal third?  I would have and would have been proved a genius if he had done so before Salvador Perez flied out to center.  Of course, I would have been a goat had Gore been thrown out at third.  I think the odds were in the Royals’ favor on that one, however, and Ned should have rolled the dice and given it a try.  I mean, why not?

Last night, the Royals went 16 straight hitters without getting a baserunner or, for that matter, even hitting a ball square.  They went six innings without a hit.  Their bullpen walked four batters, hit another and none of them scored. They did not bunt once (did they?) and won on a home run.

What the hell is going on here?  I don’t care, I love it.

Not all, of course, was sunshine and roses last night.

Kelvin Herrera left after facing one batter with forearm stiffness. It’s the Royals and we’re conditioned to think the worst and forearm stiffness is often the first indication of UCL issues.  How long can you wait before replacing the designated seventh inning guy on the roster?  Keeping in mind, of course, that if the Royals replace Herrera for this series, he is NOT eligible for the following series.

Does the Herrera injury make Danny Duffy a full-time reliever for this series and hence Jeremy Guthrie the Game Four starter? That would seem the likely plan of action.  After all, even if the Royals decide to replace Herrera on the roster, the pitcher they would call up is not a guy you want anywhere near a pressure situation.  A lot depends on just how bad the Royals believe Herrera is hurting, but this is going to be a tough string of decisions.

Also, let’s think about tonight and Yordano Ventura, who has pitched Sunday and Tuesday and not been very good in either outing. Can you bring back Duffy and Finnegan without any rest? If you have to get Ventura early, is Guthrie the call and sort out Monday’s starter later?  (The answer is likely yes on that last one, by the way).

This is playoff baseball.  It is agony and euphoria and tension and happiness all in one big hairy ball of crazy. For reasons unknown, Yost has guided his team through a landmine of debatable tactics to two wins.

Roll the dice, Ned.

The actual 25 man roster for the ALDS is out and, unlike I did earlier, the Royals did NOT forget to add Josh Willingham. Two players not on the active roster for the Oakland game, Jason Vargas and Tim Collins, are on with Jayson Nix and Raul Ibanez not being active for this series.

Vargas is a no-brainer, Collins is interesting. While I assumed that the Royals would go with six relievers, I have to tell you that Tiny Tim was not very high on my personal pecking order for that spot. Frankly, I might have gone with Louis Coleman, but then we are kind of splitting hairs on this one.

When your choices are Downs, Bueno, a couple of Colemans and Liam Hendriks, it is hard to be critical of taking Collins….or any of them. Listen, if this series goes right, we will never see Collins, nor have to debate whether he was the right choice.

Beyond that, I love that Colon is in over Nix and Gore is still active over Ibanez. It makes complete sense…..so what the heck is going on? World upside down!

We have waited 29 years to speculate on playoff rosters, so let’s do it twice in a week.

The Royals can revamp their 25 man roster for the series with the Angels and it really comes down to just a few questions at this point.  We know, for example, that all five starters will be on the roster – well, we think we know anyway.

Jason Vargas wills start Game One with Yordano Ventura and James Shields following.  The Game Four starter, if necessary, is undetermined at this point, but we do know that Danny Duffy will be available out of the pen in this series and is ‘in consideration’ to start a Game Four.  Now, if Duffy does make a relief appearance, the Royals might well opt to trot Jeremy Guthrie out to start the fourth game (the only other option would be Vargas on short rest). They will want to keep their options open and hence, all five starters will be on the twenty-five.

We also know that Greg Holland, Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera, Brandon Finnegan and Jason Frasor will hold down the first five  spots in the bullpen.  It would not surprise me if the Royals opt to carry just one more reliever, probably Scott Downs or Francisely Bueno.  I personally would roll with ten, knowing that Duffy and/or Guthrie would be available for at least the first two games of the series as well. Ned Yost, however, has always, always worried about running out of pitchers, so look for at least the big five plus one reliever to be on the roster.

Not only do you know what the lineup will be, you also know the order in which they will bat.  The starting nine will certainly be joined by Eric Kratz and Jarrod Dyson, giving the Royals 11 position players and 11 pitchers.  Should the premium be placed on being able to pinch run and pinch hit at will over having an extra relief arm, then it pretty easily becomes Christian Colon, Jayson Nix and Terrance Gore filling out the roster.

That group of twenty-five would seem to be the most likely.  It will be interesting to see what the brain trust in blue comes up with.

EDIT: In my haste to push something out this morning, I managed to forget Josh Willingham, who will and should be on the 25. In my world, Nix is out Willingham is in, but I fear that Yost/Moore may opt for Nix over Colon.  Also, they wouldn’t keep Ibanez over Terrance Gore…..would they?

Sensory overload – at least that’s what I’m calling this headache this morning.  It couldn’t be the six hours of drinking, could it?

If you are reading this, you were at or watched or read about last night.  I hope you saw it all, because it was one of the most entertaining baseball games in quite a long time.  Forget that it was our Kansas City Royals that were involved.  This was one great game: not greatly played or managed, mind you, just a tremendous spectacle to view.

You want a recap?  I can think of nothing better at this point than a simple presentation of Craig’s scorebook from last night:

Brown Scorebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s what a twelve inning playoff win looks like, boys and girls.

While I was all ready to transfer my 38 year hatred of Chris Chambliss onto that two home run hitting SOB named Brandon Moss, all is now forgiven. Bizarre baserunning in the first?  Forgiven.  Ventura instead of Herrera in the sixth?  It’s okay. Bunts, bunts and more bunts? All the bunts, it’s fine.

We move onto the Angels.  Last night was fun/thrilling/unbelievable, but the real playoffs start on Thursday (yes, that’s sarcasm). Momentum, they say, is only as good as the next game’s starting pitcher, so who do you go with on Thursday and Friday, knowing the Royals will have Shields ready for Sunday’s return to Kansas City?

Duffy, if healthy and despite his issues last weekend, would be my choice, but I can see a case for Vargas, as well.  Hell, after last night’s magic, I could tolerate Guthrie even, just because my heart is filled with freaking joy.

Bring on the Angels.  Analysis later, let’s bask in the magic of last night for a little while longer.

As reported often and most everywhere, the Royals set the 25 man roster for tonight’s game.

Once we heard yesterday that the Royals intended to have only nine pitchers on the roster, we pretty much knew that Christian Colon AND Jayson Nix AND Raul Ibanez were going to be active tonight.  The rest was all pretty much certain.  For the record, the eligible position players tonight:

  • Perez, Kratz, Butler, Hosmer, Willingham, Infante, Escobar, Colon, Nix, Moustakas, Gordon, Cain, Aoki, Ibanez, Dyson and Gore

Hell, with sixteen eligible spots, even I probably put Ibanez on the roster!

Now, the pitching staff contained the six guys everyone knew would be there: Shields, Herrera, Davis, Holland, Frasor and Finnegan.  It got a little funky when the final three spots went to starters Duffy, Ventura and Guthrie and not to more relievers and did not include Jason Vargas.

There was some talk on Twitter last night that moving players in and out of the 25 man post-season rosters was not quite as flexible as we were led to believe. One person stated that the Royals would actually have to DFA Guthrie if they wanted to NOT have him on the active twenty-five.  I have not been able to confirm that as I am not sure anyone knows the actual rules and, if they do, will not reveal all of their nuances.  That could well be untrue, by the way, as I didn’t spend my morning trying to ‘confirm’ any of this – sue me.

Anyway, roster rules of order aside, one could envision Danny Duffy coming on to get a lefty or two as he today or yesterday would have been his normal day to throw between starts.  Ventura, who struggled through four innings on Sunday, maybe an inning if this game goes into the 11th or 12th tonight?  While I would have thought Vargas would be the designated long man/multiple extra inning guy, the Royals instead opted for Guthrie, who would be available on three days rest.

Hey, I don’t hate it.  Did anyone really want to see Francisely Bueno, Scott Downs or Aaron Crow pitch in the biggest game of the last 29 years?  Bases loaded in the top of the 12th with Mike Trout hitting?  I’ll take a tired Ventura over one of those three.

Game on, boys.

 

Are you confused about who can and cannot be on the Royals’ 25 man roster for the post-season?  Welcome to the club, kids.  The rules have changed this year and made it quite a bit simpler from past seasons.  Perhaps the best summation I have found is this “if the player was anywhere in your organization prior as of midnight of August 31st, you can assume he is or can be made to be eligible for the post-season”.

Thanks to TheCubReport.com, I think this may be the actual current post season eligibility rules:

A club’s Active List (25-man roster) must be submitted to the MLB Commissioner prior to the start of each post-season series (LDS, LCS, and World Series). 

1. All players on a club’s MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) prior to midnight (Eastern) on August 31st are eligible to be included on a post-season Active List (25-man roster).

2. A player on an MLB club’s Disabled List (7-day, 15-day, or 60-day) or Restricted List (Prohibited Substance Suspension or extended Bereavement Leave only) is eligible to be included on a post-season Active List only after spending the minimum number of days required to be served by a player on that list.

3. Any player on the Disqualified List, Ineligible List, or Restricted List (for reasons other than extended Bereavement Leave or a Prohibited Substance Suspension) as of midnight August 31st is ineligible to be included on his club’s post-season Active List.  

4. A post-season eligible player who is placed on an MLB Disabled List, Bereavement List, Paternity Leave List, or Restricted List (Prohibited Substance Suspension or extended Bereavement Leave only) prior to the start of a post-season series can (with the approval of the MLB Commissioner) be replaced on his club’s LDS, LCS, or World Series Active List by a player who was on a Reserve List or Inactive List of a minor league affiliate from that organization prior to midnight August 31st. The minor league player must be added to his club’s MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) before he can be added to the club’s Active Roster.   

5. A player on a post-season Active List (25-man roster) who is injured or leaves his club on Bereavement Leave or Paternity Leave during a post-season series can (with the approval of the MLB Commissioner) be replaced on his club’s Active List prior to the conclusion of that series by another eligible player, or by a player who was on a Reserve List or Inactive List of a minor league affiliate from that organization prior to midnight August 31st. The minor league player must be added to his club’s MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) before he can be added to the club’s Active Roster. Also, a a pitcher must replace a pitcher and a position player must replace a position player. 

6. If an injured pitcher or position player is replaced during a post-season series, the injured pitcher or position player is ineligible to be reinstated to his club’s Active List (25-man roster) for the balance of that series and the next series (LCS or World Series). 

For added fun, a team can change the make-up of its 25 man roster before EVERY post-season series and, yes, the Wild Card game is considered a ‘series’.  As such, the Royals can designate 25 players to play tomorrow night against Oakland and WHEN they win, change that group of 25 for the series with the Angels.

From a practical standpoint, what does this mean?

Very simply, Danny Duffy, Yordano Ventura and Jeremy Guthrie probably will not be on the 25 man roster for Tuesday’s game.  You could make a case for Jason Vargas not being necessary as well, but there is the chance that James Shields is struck by lightning twice (because once will not be enough to strike down James…and I’m only half-joking) and the Royals might need a guy to go multiple innings.  Also, these two teams could play to a 1-1 tie for 14 innings and it would be nice to have Vargas available instead of having to go with, say, Mike Moustakas on the mound for the 15th inning of the most important game in 29 years.

So, who will the Royals go with tomorrow?

Let’s break it down, starting with the pitchers:

  • DEFINITELY:  James Shields, Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland
  • ALMOST CERTAINLY: Jason Vargas, Brandon Finnegan, Jason Frasor
  • LIKELY: Francisely Bueno, Scott Downs and one of the Colemans.
  • MAYBE: Liam Henriks and Aaron Crow probably get discussed and I would not be totally shocked to see Duffy included with the idea of him coming in to get a big out or two in relief.  Guthrie possibly as well, because this organization loves them some veteran presence.

That is ten pitchers in my likely, almost certainly and definitely categories: which seems like a lot for one game.  It seems like a hell of a lot  when you consider that the HDH bullpen trio of destruction did not pitch on Sunday, has Monday off and will have Wednesday off as well if, WHEN, the Royals win, and as such Yost could and should plan on using Herrera and Davis for two inning a piece if the situation warrants.   Still, you don’t want to be in extra innings and start running short of pitchers.  You don’t want to have Scott Downs face any right-hander, including you, me, your mom or your little sister.  While this provides Ned Yost with plenty of opportunities to ‘manage’, which is sometimes not always a great idea, you pretty much have to roll with it now.

Besides, last year the Wild Card teams had 10 and 11 pitchers on their roster, I find it hard to believe the Royals are going to diverge much from ‘the book’.  Ten pitchers it is.

That leaves fifteen spots for the position players (I ran that through a spreadsheet, so I know it’s right):

  • DEFINITELY: Alcides Escobar, Nori Aoki, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez, Omar Infante, Mike Moustakas, Jarrod Dyson, Eric Kratz
    • That is the usual starting nine, plus Dyson and a backup catcher.
  • ALMOST CERTAINLY: Josh Willingham
    • I am pretty sure half the fanbase thinks that Willingham’s only at-bats of they year were the two strikeouts looking against Detroit. His body is breaking down on him, but I still like Josh coming off the bench with runners on-base.  Just having him on the roster will give Bob Melvin something to think about in the late innings.  The more a manager thinks, the more likely he is to over-think.
  • LIKELY: Terrance Gore, Raul Ibanez, Christian Colon or Jayson Nix
    • I know, I know – Raul Ibanez?!!  No, he is not on MY playoff roster, but I have a hard time believing he won’t be on Dayton Moore’s. He is the left-handed pinch-hitting complement to Josh Willingham.  Now, Raul really can’t hit anymore and Ned Yost is unlikely to actually pinch-hit for anyone, but….
    • I am not sure Gore makes it onto the ALDS 25 man roster, but with some extra spots to play with for one day, not only does he make it, but he is right behind Dyson as to ‘most likely to appear’.
    • The Royals have to carry a spare infielder and, hell, they might even start him over Moustakas against Jon Lester. Christian Colon played yesterday for the first time in three weeks and I still like him in this spot way better than Nix and Moustakas, for that matter.
  • MAYBE: Lane Adams, Carlos Peguero
    • It would make sense to not carry Ibanez and add one of these guys or even keep both Colon or Nix. In theory, Peguero is as likely to run into a pitch as Ibanez and Adams could also pinch-run or play defense in the outfield so Yost could use both Dyson and Gore to run in key situations without regard for defense the next inning.

Suffice to say, there are a lot of options for the Royals to consider as they create this one day 25 man roster.  It will be interesting to see what Moore and Yost come up with and even more interesting to see what they come up with for the Angels series.  That’s right:  THE ANGELS SERIES.  There are no critical spirits here at the Authority today!

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