The end of the season is really sneaking up on me. There are only six games remaining for the Royals in the 2010 season. I admit, even for a Royals blogger it gets harder and harder to really watch a lot of Royals games at this point in the season. I tend to drift to some football games, some more important baseball games or a TV show like Mad Men to fill my time rather than a Royals game. I doubt I am alone in this, it’s only natural. The team is currently in line for the 4th overall draft pick (that’s my glass half full mindset), and while I thought that the teams coming into the K to end the season would be playing for something important, it seems that the playoff picture is nearly complete in the American League. However, there are still interesting things happening on the field and with the team.
Jarrod Dyson hit his first Major League homerun last night. It’s always a cool moment for a rookie to get that under his belt. However, it was extremely unlikely that it was going to happen for Jarrod Dyson last night. Why? Dyson hit one homerun in 1,245 plate appearances in the Minor Leagues. It didn’t happen until his 5th season when he was in AAA. He even had 315 plate appearances with AA Northwest Arkansas, where he played at one of the most homerun friendly parks in the Texas League, and had zero homeruns. I seriously doubt that Dyson has found his power stroke, and his limiting factor in being an everyday player for the Royals is his bat. However, stranger things have happened than a guy figuring out how to improve his hitting at the Major League level. I am a big Jarrod Dyson fan and I sincerly hope he figures it out.
I remember once-upon-a-time there was some chatter about how great Yuniesky Betancourt is, particularly compared to other shortstops. Oddly, that kind of talk has been quiet. It probably has to do with the fact that the only player that has played for the Royals this year with a lower OBP is rookie catcher Luke May. Or it possibly could be some of the following ranks he holds among qualified shortstops:
Batting Average: 15th of 22
On Base Percentage : 21st of 22
Slugging Percentage: 10th of 22
wOBA: 16th of 22
I know that you have to put someone at shortstop and there are possibly worse options than the Yunigma, but if you are going to feed me crap, just tell me it’s crap. Don’t cover it in flower and call it a donut.
Joakim Soria is the best reliever in baseball. He is better than Mariano Rivera, and I don’t even think its debateable. He notched his 42nd save last night to match a career high. The Royals as a team have won 64 games. A little quick math tells me that Soria has saved two thirds of the Royals wins this year. Two thirds, think about that. Soria needs three more saves to get into a tie for the Royals single-season lead. Here are the top 5 Royals seasons for saves:
1.(tie) Jeff Montgomery (1993) – 45
1.(tie) Dan Quisenberry (1983) – 45
3. Dan Quisenberry (1984) – 44
4.(tie) Joakim Soria (2008) – 42
4.(tie) Joakim Soria (2010) – 42
I think it would be really cool if Soria could end on 45 and the trio of great Royals closers could all share the single-season lead.
Billy Butler raised his batting average by a point last night to .321 by going 2-for-4. That ranks him 5th in the Major League. Yes, he isn’t a good defender and yes, he hits into a lot of double plays, but the kid can flat out hit the ball. It’s not just his ability to hit the ball either. Butler has been getting on base to the tune of a .390 OBP which ranks 6th in the American League. I hear a lot of people bemoan his lack of power, but from day one, I’ve been beating the drum that Billy Butler is a hitter, not a masher. I think he has the ability to become Tony Gwynn-esque, I don’t think anyone would quibble with that.
Kila Ka’aihue has struggled since being called up from the Minors, but there are indications he is starting to find his way. He has hits in 7 of his last 9 games. Since being called up, Kila has 2 more walks (19) than Mike Aviles (17) and is only two shy of the Yunigma (21). Ned Yost continues to give him time to get acclimated and I believe will do so throughout the 2011 season. Kila is a cheap player who has a great opportunity to produce in areas the Royals are sorely lacking, OBP and power. I don’t get it, but there is a segment of Royals fans who seem to get giddy when Kila struggles. I don’t know if it is some kind of odd desire to see Mike Jacobs come back, or if in Kila they have found some way to channel their anger at people who like the statistical side of baseball. Either way, it confuses the heck out of me.
Finally, I will continue sending out the Royals Organization Report throughout the Fall. I’ll be including the Arizona Fall League and the Pan Am Qualifying tournament, so drop me an email at brokenbatsingle at gmail dot com and I will add you to the list.
Contact Nick Scott via email at brokenbatsingle at gmail dot com, via Twitter @brokenbatsingle or via Facebook . If you would like to receive his daily Royals system boxscores via email, just drop an email and request it. He will be sending out boxscores for both the Pan Am Games and the Arizona Fall League.