Royals Authority

Deconstructing The Process

Through his first thirty-one games at the helm, Royals’ manager Ned Yost has had a pretty good ride.   His offense has scored five runs or more seventeen times, while his pitchers have allowed four runs or less the same number of games.   The Trey Hillman led Royals stranded double-digit runners on base on six different occasions, but Ned’s group has done so just three times.

The only real injuries with which Yost has had to deal with have been to Gil Meche and Rick Ankiel.   The organization’s long awaited awakening to the fact that Meche was not healthy at least left Yost knowing exactly where he stood with regard to Gil and was softened by the unexpectedly solid contributions by Bruce Chen.      With regard to Ankiel, all the lip service aside, the Royals are certainly no worse with Mitch Maier in center and probably better…certainly less annoying, anyway.

Now, however, with the injury to Luke Hochevar, and trade rumors swirling around his hottest hitter, David DeJesus, Ned gets to experience the real sensation of running the Kansas City Royals.

Yost now has a rotation that sends Chen and Anthony Lerew out on back to back days, which might well put a crimp in his neatly ordered bullpen roles.  By the way, was it really that simple?   Was all it took to cure the bullpen’s woes the callup of one rookie and the identification and actual implementation of a stable set of roles for all the relievers?  It sure looks like it, doesn’t it?

One night, Dayton Moore is likely to walk into Ned’s office and announce that DeJesus is gone, maybe Jose Guillen, too.   While that would likely signal the return of both Alex Gordon and Kila Kaaihue, it is still a rather sudden and dramatic change for a manager who quite obviously relishes stable lineups.   Another ‘by the way':  I took in a couple of Omaha Royals games before leaving on vacation last week.   While Alex Gordon produced good numbers in both games, I still saw a lot of the same tendencies at that plate that caused Alex to lead the league in ground-outs to second base.   For godssake’s Alex, half the field is to your left!  Use it.

Now, unlike other past manager’s, Ned is blessed that injuries and trades will not end up with having to write Ruben Mateo and Chip Ambres down on his line-up card and starting Anthony Lerew is way better than trotting out Brett Tomko or John Bale.   For all the deserved criticism we have given Dayton Moore, he has improved the organization at least to that extent.

This is, however, the Royals and my guess is that very few readers out there really believer that Hochevar is only going to miss two starts.    One more injured starter likely means we get to see Luis Mendoza pitch again, which just made my stomach hurt a little.

Despite the need to play Jason Kendall everyday and bat him second and the curious need to bench Mike Aviles twice a week while Jose Guillen and Yunieksy Betancourt can, must, will play every game, Ned has had a nice first month at the helm.   The team has responded to him, players have taken to their roles and things have quite simply, broken Yost’s way. 

Now, as he begins his thirty-second game as manager, Yost is going to get the true Royals’ experience.   If he can hold it together through the injuries that seem to come in bunches and the trade rumors/trades that are sure to come, then Dayton Moore might well have his ‘man’ to guide the team into contention in the next couple of years.

It’s not that often a used car salesman the commish makes his way around Kauffman Stadium.  Must be something special.  The press release only mentions a MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT.  David and Dan Glass will both be present.  When was the last time this dynamic duo was spotted around town?  Now we know it must be HUGE.

Ahhh… It’s actually an announcement of the worst kept secret (non-drug related) in baseball: The Kansas City Royals will host the 2012 All-Star Game.

It’s been awhile. The last time the Royals hosted the All-Star Game was back in 1973.  Chew on that for a moment.  Over the years, the All-Star Game has lost much of it’s luster.  Still, for sheer STAR power, you can’t beat the annual gathering of the greats.  The list of Hall of Famers from the last time the game was in KC is impressive:

Joe Morgan
Hank Aaron
Johnny Bench
Willie Mays
Willie Stargell
Tom Seaver
Don Sutton
Rod Carew
Reggie Jackson
Carlton Fisk
Brooks Robinson
Catfish Hunter
Nolan Ryan
Rollie Fingers
Carl Yastrzemski

That’s a list that could grow if Ron Santo and Bert Blyleven gain enshrinement.  That would make 18 total.

Personally, this is a big deal for me.  I was fortunate enough to witness several moments of Royal glory beginning in 1976, but I was too young to understand the greatness of the All-Star Game being played in Kansas City.  We all know that once upon a time the Royals were very close to the center of the baseball universe.  A great stadium, a successful teams, passionate fans and regular post-season baseball all contributed equally to the heyday of Kansas City baseball.  This really is a baseball town.  I was fortunate enough to be smack in the middle of everything, but I just missed the All-Star Game.  I remember as a kid looking at the list of cities that hosted the All-Star Game and wishing it would come back around.  By my simple mathematic skills accumulated in the first grade, I figured with 26 teams in the league, it would return to Kansas City sometime in the 1990s.

So, I was a little off.

Of course, the event is completely different today.  There’s the All-Star Weekend, the Futures Game, the State Farm Taco Bell Geiko Pepsi Allstate Celebrity Softball Game and everyone’s favorite, the Home Run Derby.  (By the way, don’t even bother trying to take my spot in front of the fountains in right-center on that Monday.  I’m going to head out there with a can of paint so I can mark my territory.)

The announcement that Kansas City will host the 2012 All-Star Game is like a shot of Vitamin C.  Is it possible things are looking up?  Every time I allow myself a miniature optimistic moment, I usually get slapped in the face and brought back to reality, so I’ll proceed with caution.  Still, you have to be pleased with Tuesday’s news that the Northwest Arkansas Naturals will send nine players to the Texas League All-Star Game and five of them (Johnny Giavotella, Mike Moustakas, Paulo Orlando, Clint Robinson, Derrick Robinson) will start.  There are small slivers of hope.

The dream is that Kansas City can regain it’s spot close to the center of the baseball universe.  That’s all folded into The Process.  Hosting an All-Star Game is kind of an artificial way to capture the game’s attention, but after being in the baseball hinterlands for the last 25 years, we will take the attention any way we can get it.

This is really a big deal.  A big deal.  Our city just doesn’t land these kind of events anymore.  We have no NBA. No NHL.  And neither of those leagues are coming here.  We aren’t getting a Super Bowl (nor should we) and the Final Four isn’t happening here either.  Post season for our professional teams?  Not happening any time soon.  The prime events just don’t come around these parts.  The All-Star Game is an event.  A happening.  Be there.

What the hell took baseball so long?  There will have been 38 All-Star Games since the classic last made its stop here.  (Thankfully, that’s not as long as St. Louis had to wait.  They went 42 years between games.  With the next three All-Star Games now claimed, the Mets are at 48 years and counting.  They are the favorites for 2013.)

Cities hosting the All-Star Game since Kansas City
Pittsburgh – 3
Chicago -3
Milwaukee – 2
Philadelphia – 2
New York – 2
San Diego – 2
Seattle – 2
Cleveland – 2
San Francisco – 2
Houston – 2
Los Angeles – 3*
Montreal – 1
Minnesota – 1
Oakland – 1
Cincinnati – 1
Toronto – 1
Baltimore – 1
Arlington – 1
Denver – 1
Boston – 1
Atlanta – 1
St. Louis – 1
Phoenix – 1**

*The Angels host the 2010 All-Star Game
**The Diamondbacks host the 2011 All-Star Game

Kendall is still hitting second and costing the Royals runs by hitting ahead of a red hot DeJesus, except the manager is blind.  Gordon and Ka’aihue are raking in Omaha and ignored by the front office.  And the Royals are entrenched in fourth place in a five team division.  There is still a ton of work to be done.  We all know that.

But hosting the All-Star Game will be a pleasant diversion on what we hope is the long, difficult road back to respectability.

Gates open at the K at 4:30 today for Bud’s announcement which begins at 5.

What makes baseball great is the fact that it is an unpredictable game, that is really why we watch the games isn’t it?  We don’t know what is going to happen, so we have to tune in or go to the ballpark to find out.  Prior to the season, had you asked anyone what the strength of the Royals would be and they would likely tell you “starting pitching”.  I know that is what I would have told you, it seemed obvious.  Even now I feel like starting pitching is a strength on this team, but the numbers don’t really prove that out.  On the other hand, if you asked someone what the weakness of the Royals was about one week into the season they no doubt would have said “relief pitching”, and they would have been right.  However a funny thing has happened since then: the bullpen has been pretty good and the rotation hasn’t.  As per usual, I will use a graph to tell the story.  Below is a graph of the relief ERA in red and the starting rotation ERA in blue.  Across the bottom is the game of the season and up the left side is ERA.  The big black X’s represent a blown save.

Click on image to enlarge

As we all know, it was very ugly early in the season.  The bullpen couldn’t hold a lead and to make it worse the starting rotation was pitching pretty darn well.  However around game 36 or so, the relief ERA went lower than the starting rotation ERA and has held on pretty much since then only briefly going above the starting rotation ERA.  Neither the rotation nor the relief ERA is below league average however the bullpen as of late has been certainly getting the job done.

The bullpen is still tied for second in the majors with 11 blown saves, but few of those have come lately and the one that is most recent came in a game where the Royals still won the game.  The relief pitchers have also lowered their collective ERA to 4.38 which is better than eleven other major league bullpens.

Over the last 30 games, the Royals have a 16-14 record which for this team is a very respectable stretch.  Over 162 games that ends up being 86 wins, which is something I think we would all be happy with. Over those last 30 games the starting rotation has a 5.09 ERA and the bullpen has a 3.35 ERA. I think it is safe to say that in the run prevention department, the bullpen should get the lions share of the credit for this recent stretch of quality play.  Some of the ERA discrepancy can be attributed to some absolute blowups by the starting rotation, but those starts count too and it is hard for your team to comeback and win those kinds of games.

I still think that this team is a 75 win team, with the capability of winning as much as 85 games. However to get to 75 wins two of the three components of the team (rotation, offense, bullpen) have to be playing well like they are now (bullpen and offense).  In order to get to 85 wins, all three components need to be clicking at the same time so that the Royals can rattle off a big winning streak.

Early in the season, fans and media alike can blow a particular bad stretch out of proportion and forget that there is lots of time left in the season for the team to get better or address the problem areas.  The Royals have done an excellent job of addressing the bullpen issues from earlier in the season and it has helped them tremendously.  What remains to be seen, is if the offense can continue to hit well and the starting rotation can come around.  If all of that can happen, who knows what is possible?

Episode #022 – Nick discusses the MLB Draft, Inter-League play, bringing up players in waves, the All-Stare Game and a promotion he would really like to see.  All of that plus a review of the series with the Reds and a preview of the series with the Astros.

:http://www.livekc.com/podcasts/bbs022.mp3|titles=BBS

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It’s been so long since Zack Greinke recorded a win… Hell, it seems like it’s been forever when the Royals have scored a run while Greinke was in the game.  After Sunday’s tour de force, there will be an inclination to summarily declare, “He’s back!”

Is he?

I’m not going to declare him back to 2009 form, but his approach was certain from his Cy Young vintage.  Plus, it was certainly an impressive performance against a strong offense.

Last week, I broke down the reasons I felt Greinke was struggling and how he had been changing his approach to more reflect what he had done in 2009.  He continued that trend yesterday.

The slider was his money pitch on Sunday.  He threw 22 sliders, 18 of them for strikes.  Of those strikes, eight of them were swing and miss strikes.  That’s exceptional because of those pitches, only half were actually in the strikezone.  The Reds are actually a really strong offensive team this year.  They lead the NL in batting average, runs scored and OPS but on Sunday they went up there hacking.  Sometimes it works – Joey Votto saw a grand total of eight pitches in four plate appearances but parked two of them over the wall.  More often, it doesn’t – Jay Bruce saw 12 pitches in his four plate appearances and struck out twice.  His other two outs came when he put the first pitch in play.

The Bruce sequences highlight the problem batters had with Greinke last year.  Hitters went up there offering at pitches early in the count.  They had to, otherwise Greinke would jump ahead.  If that happened, the hitter was as good as out.  In Bruce’s second plate appearance, he was going to be patient.  He took strike one, then looked as Greinke went inside with the second pitch and then away on the third to fall behind 2-1.  Then Greinke spun in a tasty slider that Bruce couldn’t pull the trigger on for strike two.  A low slider finished him off.

Yes, the slider was definitely working on Sunday.  It was brutal and efficient.

The other point I made last week was his curve hadn’t been as effective.  He only threw 11 curves on Sunday, but the Reds weren’t offering.  While eight of them were strikes, Cincinnati hitters only swung at three… And they put all three in play.  He got a fly out, a ground out and gave up a single on those balls.  A mixed bag, as it was.

It’s interesting how Greinke used his curve in that he didn’t feature it until the Reds came around the second time.  Since this is his least effective pitch, it makes perfect sense to keep it in the holster the first go around.  He went to it five times over the last three innings.

It’s fine the Reds weren’t swinging at the curve.  He was throwing it for a strike and that’s really what matters.  Since his curve is his least effective pitch, it’s probably better that the Reds weren’t offering.

As I wrote last week, Greinke had been forgoing his curve and seemed to be more in favor of his change-up early in the season.  Over his last couple of starts, he had decided to revert back to his 2009 sequences where he threw more curves and fewer changes.  He kept that pattern on Sunday, throwing only two change-ups all afternoon – both were well out of the strikezone.

Overall, Greinke threw 105 pitches, 77 of which were strikes.  Over 73% of his pitches were strikes, which far outpaces his rate of 64% for the season.  (Last year, he was at 63% of all pitches for strikes.)  Certainly, the Reds helped with that percentage as 23% of Greinke’s strikes were the swing and miss variety.  For the season, he’s at 12%.  Last year, he was getting a swing and miss on 17% of his strikes.

His final line was certainly reminiscent of 2009:  9 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, 12 SO

The only damage was done by those Bruce home runs.  That will happen in Cincinnati, especially in day games.

So while I’m not prepared to declare Greinke 100% back to form, this was certainly his best start since early May.  Then, he had a run of three starts where he was on top of his game.  Hopefully, he’s ready to go on another – this time more extended – run.

Perhaps more importantly, this was the first time all year, Greinke came out and just flat dominated.  He’s now made 14 starts in 2010 and he finally looked like the pitcher he was in 2009.  And that’s very encouraging news.

Well that was certainly interesting.

A lineup that not only features Jason Kendall hitting second… But Chris Getz, Yuniesky Betancourt and Wilson Betemit in the lower third.  Somehow, they scrape together nine runs.  Nine runs!

Then somehow, Bruce Chen kept the Royals in the game with a masterful six innings.  Somewhere Zack Greinke is asking his teammates why they can’t score eight runs while he’s on the mound.

Before the game, I thought that lineup was awful.  Literally the worst combination you could possibly arrive at given the players.  No Billy Butler?  No Mike Aviles?  While I’m certain if you handed in that lineup card 100 times, they would struggle to score more than five runs in 95 of those games, Ned Yost struck gold last night.

That’s why they play the game.

A couple of quick thoughts from the second craziest game of the year.

— Although my self-proclaimed Gauntlet of Suck (Getz, Betancourt, Podsednik and Kendall – number 8, 9, 1 & 2… get it?) was a combined 3-18 with two walks, they each scored a run, which was useful.

— Jose Guillen is still on his current tear… three hits, one of which was a triple.  Just be prepared for the upcoming Guillen Winter, which should start in about a week.

— This is not a team that will hit many back to back home runs.  The combination of Mitch Maier and Betemit isn’t even close to the most unlikely duo.  I’d go with Getz and Wee Willie.  Or Pods and Kendall.

—  What can you say about Betemit offensive performance last night.  Two home runs, the last of which was the difference in the game.  Plus, he drew a walk.  Overall, he saw a team high 30 pitches last night – no small feat against the Twins pitching staff.

— According to Brooks Baseball, Chen relied on his change-up and slider last night while mixing equal parts of a two seam and four seam fastball.  He was also dropping his arm angle from time to time, which made things extremely difficult for the Twins hitters.  His final line won’t look impressive, but if Yost had pulled him after six, it would have looked completely different.  It didn’t help that Robinson Tejeda gave up hits to his first two hitters he faced, which allowed both his inherited runners to score.

— That ninth inning was a thrill ride, wasn’t it?  Mauer and Morneau are just awesome.  That’s all.  Swinging at the first pitch – because they know that’s how you attack Soria – and they both rap run scoring base hits.  Thankfully Cuddyer isn’t in the same class as his first pitch swing ended as a long fly ball out.

Whew.

Now the draft is complete, we can focus on the next date on the Royals calendar… The trade deadline.

My task for you is to rank the top three in order, from most likely to be traded to least likely.  Here are the candidates:

Jose Guillen

No one runs hotter or colder than Guillen.  He’s been decent of late, with a line of .246/.367/.523 over his last 19 games. Of course, that only means that starting about June 15 or so, he’s going to go into hibernation until the All-Star Break.

And whether you like it or not, Guillen is the premier power threat on this team.  He leads the Royals with a .229 ISO and his 13 home runs are almost double the second place hitter (Alberto Callaspo has seven.)

The Royals would have to eat the balance of his salary and would probably net a B-level prospect at best.  I don’t think GMDM has the stomach to get so little in return.

The downside to all of this is that under the current Elias rankings as provided by MLB Trade Rumors, the Royals wouldn’t get any compensation for Guillen when he departs as a free agent this winter.  Not that they would anyway… Even if Guillen were classified as a Type A or B, the Royals would have to offer arbitration.  And since there’s no way Guillen will top $10 million in salary next year, there’s no way he’d turn that down.  This is the ultimate lose-lose situation.

David DeJesus

The Royals hold the option on DeJesus next year at $6 million.  He’s already a two win above replacement (WAR) player this year, so at that price tag, if he can maintain his level of performance, he’s a bargain.

Here’s an interesting thought.  Currently, DeJesus is a Type B free agent.  Suppose he goes on a tear and pushes his ranking to a Type A.  Don’t you think it would be possible the Royals decline the option and offer him arbitration instead?  If DeJesus rejects arbitration, he becomes a free agent at a time his value really couldn’t be higher.  That would be the smart play for DeJesus… He could get a three year deal at $20 million, couldn’t he?  Then, the Royals could snag an extra first round pick in a draft that is supposed to be much, much deeper than the one just completed.

Hmmm…

Zack Greinke, Joakim Soria

I listed them together because I can just imagine the riots at the K if either one of them were dealt.  We’ve hashed this out before, but Soria has club options through 2014 so there’s absolutely no way the Royals are sending him anywhere.  2013 and 2014 are the new 2008 and 2009… Years when the team is supposed to contend.  As the only current member signed through those years, he’s going to stick around.

Rick Ankiel

Isn’t this always the way… Do Royal general managers walk around the Winter Meetings with a “kick me” sign taped to their back?  It’s like Reggie Sanders all over again… A “veteran” spare part with no value to a good team, signed to a deal in the hopes the team can spin him to a contender at the deadline, only to miss a huge chunk of the season with an injury.

Albatross.

Yuniesky Betancourt

I wish.  The only GM who thinks he’s any good already has him on his team.

Kyle Farnsworth

His name never comes up in these discussions.  Probably because we like to pretend he isn’t on the team.  I suppose he could net a C level prospect from a team desperate for relief pitching.

Prediction: Whoever trades for him won’t make the playoffs.

Brian Bannister, Kyle Davies

Both are coming up on their third year of arbitration eligibility.  Both are serviceable, back of the rotation starters.  Either one has some (limited) value.

However, I don’t think the Royals will deal either one.  When you have to bring Bruce Chen into your rotation when one of your starters goes down, that’s a serious indication you lack starting pitching depth.  Those guys will stay at least another year until the young arms are ready.  GMDM is keeping his fingers crossed this will be in 2012, because there doesn’t appear to be a backup plan in place.

Willie Bloomquist

Ha!

I left Billy Butler, Mike Aviles and Callaspo out on purpose.  These three aren’t going anywhere.  I could be wrong, so if you disagree, let me know why.

If you forced me to rank the top three, here’s my list:

Guillen
Farnsworth
???

Kind of lame, but I really have no idea.  That’s probably because I put the odds of the Royals making a deal at less than 25%.
Get to ranking.  I’m interested to see what everyone thinks.

Man, I wish I knew what was going on with Zack Greinke.

I’m sitting there last night, watching the game, trying to figure out exactly what was happening.  What was different.

My conclusion:  Hell if I know.

Whatever is happening, I think we can all agree that the magic of 2009 is gone.  I realize I could get my internet baseball writing card pulled for this, but watching Greinke pitch this year feels different.  Last summer we all felt like there was a strong possibility we’d see something special.  A no-hitter.  A game with 15 strikeouts.  A shutout.  Something.  Because anything was possible.

Now we’re left hoping he can turn in a performance close to something from last year.  That’s kind of a big difference.

First, the good news:

–  Greinke seems to have rediscovered his slider. That was last year’s key pitch.  In his dominant April from 2009, he had hitters swinging at 64% of his sliders.  Of those swings, they missed 24% of the time and only put 11% in play.

Early in the season, hitters were laying off his slider, swinging just 48% of the time and missing on those swings, just 14% of the time.  Move forward to his two June starts, hitters are swinging at 56% of his sliders.  They miss on 23% of those swings.

Early in the season, I felt the key to Greinke rediscovering his dominance would come once he got hitters to chase that slider again.  It looks like he has that pitch working, but the results haven’t followed.

That leads us to the bad news:

His curveball has lost it’s effectiveness. In April of 2009, he would get a swing and a miss on 18% of his curves.  This month, he’s gotten a whiff on just 5% of his curves.  Even more troubling, a whopping 38% of all curves have been put in play.  And according to Fangraphs, the linear weight of Greinke’s curve is -2.9 meaning his curve is almost 3 runs worse than the average curve this year.  It’s a measure that basically says the curve is Greinke’s least effective pitch this year.

His curve has never been his strong suit, despite the wicked break and the crazy variations in velocity.  Last year, the linear weight of his curve was 0.5. The fastball/slider combo has always been his bread and butter.

Overall, he’s throwing fewer curves and is now mixing in more change-ups than before.  Last year, he threw a change just 6% of the time.  This year, he’s doubled up on that and is throwing a change 12% of all pitches.

Remember back in spring training, when Greinke said the change was the only pitch he was working on as he prepped for the season?  The dude loves to compete and has that perfectionist streak that drives him to get better.  Knowing this, it makes perfect sense that he would chose to attempt to develop his change since it was his least effective pitch last summer.  However, we all have limitations.  They say that you can’t taste success until you’ve tasted failure.  At the same time, you have to realize you can’t do everything.  His change is a decent pitch, but it will always be far from his best.

Lately, it seems Greinke has realized this and has reverted back to his sequences of 2009 – More sliders and fewer change-ups with a few curves sprinkled in to keep hitters on their toes.  He’s been doing this his last few starts.  The results haven’t been there, but given the fact he’s still tinkering with his approach at this point in the season, we need to have patience.

(I’m sure some of you will not be happy that we’re in June and Greinke is tinkering.  Relax. While I wish Greinke stuck with what works, he’s always going to be messing around, trying new things.  We know this.  It’s how he’s wired.  And if he’s going to play on your team, you have to accept this.)

So I’m not ready to flip the panic switch.  Yet.  Let Greinke get a couple more starts under his belt with a few 2009-like pitch sequences.  I think he’ll settle into the familiar groove and by the end of the month we’ll see some vintage Greinke.

At least I hope that will happen.

In lieu of my normal Tuesday article. I will be updating this post with the Royals draft picks from todays draft. Please post comments about what you know, like or dislike about any draft pick.

2nd Round – Brett Eibner – RHP/OF

The Royals selected RHP/OF Brett Eibner from the University of Arkansas. He says he wants to be a hitter in the pros. Most pre-draft projections had him going in the first round. It will be interesting to see if he continues as a pitcher with the Royals or if he becomes a hitter. He has lots of tools, and could be a boom/bust kind of guy. He hit 21 home runs in 205 at bats with the Razorbacks this season while hitting .337. He may be considered a two-way player, but he has skills at both positions. My guess is that the Royals let him hit until he proves he can’t.

3rd Round – Michael Antonio – SS

The third round pick for the Royals was Michael Antonio a shortstop from George Washington High School. Manny Ramirez also went to the same high school. He was a 2010 Louisville Slugger All-American and he committed to St. Johns. He is still young and could be a top of the order hitter.

4th Round – Kevin Chapman – LHP

Chapman is described as a relief pitcher with a short route to the Major Leagues. He had Tommy John surgery in 2008. Chapman is the closer for the Florida Gators and has a changeup and slider to go with his fastball. The Royals have had some luck with college relievers lately in the minors and they get one of the top ranked college closers here. The Florida Gators are in the College World Series, so you can see Chapman live on ESPN this Friday at 6pm. Well, that is if there is a closer type situation in the game.

5th Round – Jason Adam – RHP

Adam is a local Kansas City prospect from Blue Valley Northwest High School. He is committed to the University of Missouri. He is listed at 6’4 and 225lbs with the frame to add more power to his delivery. His fastball is in the low 90’s but he can touch 94-96. He has an above-average curveball and a changeup. The question now is how strong his commitment to the University of Missouri is. My gut tells me the Royals really wanted local KC pitcher Ryne Stanek but weren’t ready to take him in the 2nd round. I hope the Royals can sign Jason Adam, having local guys to root for is cool. Here is a link to a video of Adam pitching.

6th Round – Scott Alexander – LHP

Alexander is a Left Handed Pitcher out of Sonoma State, which is a Division II college. He was drafted by the Reds in the 2007 draft but instead went to Pepperdine, before transferring to Sonoma State.

7th Round – Eric Cantrell – RHP

Cantrell is from George Washington University

8th Round – Michael Mariot – RHP

Mariot was a weekend pitcher for the University of Nebraska.  For those of you that don’t really follow college baseball, a pitcher who throws on the weekends is considered a top starter for that team.  The best starters for college teams throw on Friday through Sunday.  So saying that Mariot is a weekend pitcher just means he was a top rotation guy at Nebraska.

9th Round – Whitley Merrifield – RF

Whit Merrifield is a 6’0 – 165lb right fielder for the USC Gamecocks.

10th Round – Timothy Ferguson – CF

Ferguson is an Ole Miss product who is seen as a versatile guy with athletic talent and a chance to improve.

11th Round – Alex McClure – SS

McClure is a 6’0 170lb shortstop for Middle Tennessee. Here is a nice article about McClure.

12th Round – Daniel Hernandez – RHP

13th Round – Jonathan Gray – RHP

14th Round – Michael Giovenco – RHP

Giovenco was called by our resident mock draft expert Clark Fosler.  It’s like he can see the future.

15th Round – Jason Mitchell – RHP

16th Round – Charles Byrne – RHP

17th Round – Ryan Jenkins – C

18th Round – Scott Fletcher – LF

19th Round – Kevin David – C

20th Round – Cameron Conner – CF

21st Round – Michael Liberto – SS

Liberto played SS for the University of Missouri.

22nd Round – Tyler Graham – RHP

23rd Round – Steven Neff – LHP

24th Round – Brandon Glazer – SS

25th Round – Merritt Sosnoskie – LF

Merritt went to Virginia Tech and is the leader in the clubhouse for Best Name in the Royals Draft Award.

26th Round – Jonathan Dooley – RHP

27th Round – Jose Rodriquez – CF

28th Round – Murray Watts – 1B

29th Round – Alexander Marques – C

30th Round – Chad Blauer – RHP

With the 4th overall pick in the 2010 Draft the Royals select Christian Colon is a SS out of Cal State Fullerton.  He was the captain of Team USA and projects possibly as a 6 hitter.  He hit 16 homers in a park which saps home run power.  He walks as much as he strikes out and is a a good fielder.  He has a plus arm and a plus bat.  He is described as very close to major league ready.  To me this signifies that the Royals really believe in their guys in the high minors.  I would imagine they expect Colon to be the SS when Moustakas and Hosmer are in the big leagues.  If things go as planned, I would expect him at Kauffman stadium late 2013 or 2014.  However, that might be a tad aggressive. You can watch Colon play tonight (6/7) at 10pm Central on ESPNU in the College World Series.

Here is a scouting report from pnrscouting.com.

Greg Schaums thoughts from www.royalsprospects.com

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