Royals Authority

Deconstructing The Process

After winning four straight games in their last at-bat, one had to figure the Royals might be due for a rather gut wrenching loss.   The predictable randomness of baseball almost demands that if you spend the better part of a week beating up on other teams’ relievers then some team is sure to beat the crap out of your own.

The Royals’ bullpen, after allowing just four runs over twenty-three innings was tagged for eight runs in just over five innings by the White Sox on what originally appeared to be the makings of an exceptional Wednesday afternoon.  

While that may have been coming, that it happened after a second straight masterful performance out of Jeff Francis and a solid offensive game handed a three run lead to Joakim Soria was the true shock.   Even more-so, Soria recorded the first two outs of the ninth inning before allowing three singles, a walk and a double to not only blow the save, but put his team behind.

Bullpen meltdowns happen, even to very good bullpens, but if you want to register some concern it might be in the rather unimpressive 19 strikeouts in 28 innings of relief work thus far in 2011.   Here is a number for you:  THREE.   That is the number of bullpen strikeouts registered by non-rookies this season.   Given that the two best relievers on the Royals roster, Joakim Soria and Robinson Tejeda, traditionally average a strikeout per inning one has to hope  that is simply a statistical anomaly of small sample sizes.

On the subject of small sample sizes, it has felt like the Royals have filled the bases with runners in their first six games and done a somewhat sketchy job of scoring said runners.  In fact, including Wednesday’s loss, Kansas City has put 94 runners on base and scored 35 of them.    That 37.2% of runners scored is well ahead of the club’s 2010 pace of 33.1% and the major league average from last season of 35.6%.  

Those numbers could certainly be dramatically effected by even skewed date from just one game, but if the Royals could hold this four percentage advantage over last year that would translate into upwards of 80 more runs scored over 2010.  That number assumes no increase in the number of baserunners or decrease in the number of outs made on the bases.   Bump up the gross number and drive them in at a higher percentage and well, obviously, the Royals could venture into a truly impactful run producing territory.   Enough runs to take some pressure off a shaky starting rotation and to, on occasion, overcome a bullpen implosion.

Truthfully, the last five games did put an incredible strain on the bullpen.   Twenty-five innings over five games (even with a day off) is asking a lot even from an eight man pen.   Heck, being perfect through five straight outings is actually quite a lot to ask even from Joakim Soria.   Of course, given that he went 24 straight appearances without allowing a run at one point last season, it is still unexpected when Soria is tagged.    In this case, he was blasted for more runs than in any other outing in his entire career.

Do not get too discouraged, however.  Mariano Rivera was tagged for four runs in on July 16th, 1999 and gave up ONE more run the entire rest of the 1999 season.   He gave up three runs on June 6, 2009 and then just FOUR more the rest of that season.   In fact, the number of three and four run innings allowed by Rivera throughout his illustrious career surprised me and pointed out just how absolutely consistent Soria has been and, even though he has just one strikeout thus far in 2011, likely will continue to be.

The Royals have lived in the realm of comebacks and extra innings thus far in 2011 and the truth is, we don’t have any idea what this team is or will be, other than extremely interesting.   That alone, makes 2011 a season worth watching.

I don’t plan on doing this all year, because quite frankly, it would be exhausting. But the fact the Kansas City Star is running the “Judging The Royals” blog again this summer begs at least a one-time rebuttal.

(Honestly, I wouldn’t even be aware they were doing this if it hadn’t been for a barrage of Tweets Nick unleashed a few days ago.)

For the uninitiated (consider yourselves lucky) this web feature from the Star has their political cartoonist (and avid baseball fan) Lee Judge watching every Royals game and subjectively grading what he sees. He assigns points based on things like a great catch or a home run or an RBI. In the old days – when newspapers were the primary source of news – this would have been a novel idea. However, in the years AJ (After James) there are a number of systems available to determine who had the greatest impact in a game. And none of them have to do with adding up points.

For Opening Day, Judge, though the system devised by Ron Polk, deemed Jeff Francoeur the most valuable Royal of the day. If you just look at the box score, I can get that, I suppose. He hit a home run, drove in a run and gunned down a runner at home in the eighth. That’s a decent day.

If you watched the game, you probably would have drawn a different conclusion.

The Royals entered the eighth inning trailing by three runs. According to statistics (developed by guys who, you know, look at numbers) the Royals stood an 8.9% chance of winning the game at that point. When Aviles led off the inning with a home run, that cut the Angels lead to two and slightly increased the Royals chances of winning the game to 17%. At that point, it was kind of a one man rally.

Obviously, at any point in the game, one of two things can happen. A player can either help or hurt his teams chances of winning the game. It’s helpful to get on base (or hit a home run) and outs hurt. Of course, what stats like Win Probability and Leverage Index do is take into account the game situation. Under the Polk system that Judge uses, Francoeur’s home run in the seventh is worth the same as Aviles home run in the eighth. The great thing about WP and LI is you don’t need to know advanced mathematics to know that the assumption that both home runs are equal in value just isn’t true. Yes, they are both worth a single run, but there is a difference because one comes later in the game. Each team begins with an equal number of outs and as the outs become more scarce, the value of a run (in a tight game like the opener) becomes much greater. I’ve written this before, but it makes sense. A leadoff home run is nice because it gives your team the lead, but there are still 27 outs to go. A home run in the eighth that gives your team the lead carries more weight because there are only four to six outs to go.

The flip side is also true. If a player makes an out with the bases loaded in the first inning of a tie game, it’s not as harmful if that same event occurs in the eighth. Again, it all goes back to what I call the scarcity of outs.

That is exactly what Ron Polk’s system ignores.

The key play in the game last Thursday wasn’t even a hit. It was a walk.
After the Aviles home run, Melky Cabrera walked. That increased the Royals chances of a comeback to 24.9%. See how that works? Yes, the Aviles home run was important, but the Melk Man getting the free pass was almost equal in importance because it brought the tying run to the plate with six outs to go. After an Alex Gordon ground out (cutting the Royals chances to win to 19.8%), Billy Butler walks. With runners on first and second and one out, that bumps the Royals chances back to were it was previous to the Gordon groundout – 25.8%. And now, believe it or not, comes the most important plate appearance in the game for the Royals in that after it was over, it gave the Royals their best chance of winning the game all afternoon. Kila Ka’aihue walked to load the bases. In a game where the home side is trailing by two with one out and the bases drunk, the team (the Royals) held a 38% chance of emerging victorious. That base on balls by Kila was the closest the Royals got to winning the game since Torii Hunter uncorked his home run to give the Angels the advantage in the third.

That’s why that walk would be my Royals play of the game.

So who happens to come up with the bases loaded and with the Royals holding their best (and it turned out, last) chance to pick up the win? Jeff Francoeur… Judge’s player of the game.

With the game on the line, the ideal (and obvious) outcome would be for a base hit. A walk (yeah, right) would be fine. A fly ball would be OK. Even a ground ball could be productive if Frenchy could bust it down the line and beat a throw. The two worst outcomes for his plate appearance would be a double play (which would end the inning) or a strikeout (which would subtract an out from the Royals “bank” without advancing the runners.)

And Frenchy struck out.

Sorry, Lee… There’s just no way Francoeur can be the best player on the Royals that afternoon when he struck out with the game on the line in the late innings. No. Way.

Despite being on the wrong side of the POG debate, I don’t begrudge the Star or Mr. Judge to run the feature. I believe that baseball is a big tent of ideas… Stats and scouts… And we can – and should – coexist. Sometimes your eyes tell you something that stats can’t… And sometimes stats tell you Let them have their exercise. It just so happens that I disagree. That doesn’t make me right… But I do have this platform where I can refute and rebut. (In fact, Lee, if you’re reading this, we should go to a game together sometime. I imagine we would have a great time debating value of certain plays.)

I hope his readers know that there are plenty of other options out there that measures value on a game by game basis. I hope they explore the interwebs to find a good alternative.

The Kansas City Royals rotation isn’t going to be great this year. That’s pretty much a given. It’s not, however going to be as bad as some hyperbolic fans and media would lead you to believe. If someone suggests this rotation is going to be historically bad, then that’s a good sign you should look elsewhere for well thought out baseball discussion. However, there is plenty of merit to the idea that the Rotation isn’t going to be the backbone of this year’s team.

The Kansas City Royals bullpen however, is looking like it’s going to be very good. Having the best relief pitcher in baseball alone is enough to ensure it won’t be a terrible pen. Beyond Joakim Soria, the Royals have a nice group of players including Robinson Tejeda, Tim Collins, Jeremy Jeffress and Aaron Crow. It’s not a stretch to say that the Royals have one of the best bullpens in the American League.

This raises an interesting question. Can a team have a decent pitching staff with a lights out bullpen and a poor rotation?

In 2010 the average American League team ERA was 4.14 and the average team pitched about 1,444 innings of which about two thirds were thrown by the starting rotation. Using those numbers, I constructed the following table. The left column represents various ERA’s for the starting pitchers. The right column is the corresponding ERA that the relievers would have to put up in order for the team to have an ERA of 4.14. As a note of reference, the average AL starting rotation had a 4.26 ERA last year, while the average bullpen had a 3.89.

SERA RERA
6.00 0.41
5.75 0.91
5.50 1.41
5.25 1.91
5.00 2.41
4.75 2.91
4.50 3.41
4.25 3.92
4.00 4.42
3.75 4.92
3.50 5.42

The bullpen has to be really, really good to make up for a poor starting rotation.  It takes a historically good bullpen to make up for a pretty bad rotation. So, in order to be competitive with a poor rotation, a team would have to have not only a good bullpen, but shift more innings to the bullpen. They could also have an offense good enough to overcome a below-average pitching staff, or some combination of those.

You can follow Nick Scott on Twitter @brokenbatsingle, on Facebook or reach him via email brokenbatsingle at gmail dot com. He also writes a weekly post at The Lawrence Journal-World.

Episode #48 – Nick reviews the series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, trying not to over-react, why he does the podcast and runs through some news. Also, included is a preview of the 2011 Chicago White Sox just in time for the next series.

:http://www.livekc.com/podcasts/bbs048.mp3|titles=BBS

Follow Nick on Twitter @brokenbatsingle or on Facebook

Music in this podcast:

Marc Ribot Y Los Cubanos Postizos – Aqui Como Alla

J.J. Cale – Lies

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I originally was going to start this column by pointing out that the 2004 Royals, fresh off their only run at contention in the 21st century, won on Opening Day and surged to a 4-2 record.   I was going to say that despite that, they were hopeless and starting Eduardo Villacis on May 1st.   I also thought about reminding everyone that the 2009 Coco Crisp-Mike Jacobs led Royals surged out to an 18-11 mark only to be out of the race before the end of June.

I am not going to, however.  

The 2011 Royals took three of four from the Angels to start the season.   They won a pitchers duel on Friday night, thanks to a Kila Ka’aihue walk off homer, and an extra inning slugfest on Sunday, thanks to a Matt Treanor walk-off dinger.   In between, Kansas City came from behind  to win on Saturday thanks to the relief performances of Aaron Crow and THAT MAN, Joakim Soria, and timely hits from Matt Treanor and Chris Getz.

Let’s just all savior the moment.   

The weather was tremendous this weekend and the crowds, while moderate, were enthusiastic.    It felt like contending baseball in Kaufmann this weekend.

Of course, after writing on Friday that the Opening Day loss was truthfully just one game, it would be wise for us to remember that this first series is, say it with me, just one series.   One series where a lot went right for the Royals.

It is quite possible that the two big hits Matt Treanor, a career .228/.313/.314 hitter,  had this weekend might be the only two he has all year.   It is also possible that no other bullpen the Royals face this year will issue EIGHT walks in one game as the Angels did on Sunday.   Yes, a lot went right and much of it may well be things we cannot count on happening very often.

Still, the Royals did some encouraging things in this opening four game set:

  • Walked 19 times
  • Stole 9 bases in 10 attempts
  • Hit 15 extra base hits, including 6 home runs
  • Got a tremendous start from Jeff Francis, a decent start from Luke Hochevar and a Kyle Davieish start from Kyle Davies
  • The bullpen allowed four runs in 17 innings of work, striking out 14 batters versus just 5 walks.
  • There were no wild pitches or passed balls committed by the Royals pitchers and catchers.

The Royals played decent baseball, got some breaks and came out with three wins.    There have been Kansas City teams in the past that played decent baseball, got some breaks and still could not win.    Even if this is just one series, that is good sign.

How good does it feel to be a Royals’ fan right now?   Well, I sat through three straight games and really never got agitated by Melky Cabrera, Jeff Francouer or Matt Treanor!   Heck, I even like Matt Treanor right now.

We can analyze and project and, frankly, know that the odds of the Kansas City Royals maintaining this kind of winning pace are remote.   We could do that, or we could just enjoy the wins.   I choose the latter.

We spend a lot of time discounting spring training results and, for those organizations that traditionally are out of it by then, we even view September statistics with a skeptical eye.   An 18-8 September?  Let’s not jump to conclusions.   A great spring?   So what.

Yet, come Opening Day, that one game out of 162 seems to be more than enough for many to draw immediate conclusions:

  • Alex Gordon went zero for five with three strikeouts – same ol’ Alex.
  • Mike Aviles had an error and another misplay at third – that’s going to be a problem, he’s all bat and no glove
  • Kila Ka’aihue didn’t have a hit – he might just have slider bat speed.
  • Aaron Crow struck out three of the four hitters he faced – he’s fantastic, best draft pick ever!

You get my point…or my sarcasm and many of you reading this site know better.   Still, there is that nagging thought in the back of many an astute minds (and my non-so-astute one) that this did feel a lot like the same old Royals.

Although the Royals scored on solo home runs in both the 7th and 8th innings, they also stranded seven runners over the last three frames.  Prior to that, Kansas City was simply throttled at the plate;  not getting a runner past second until the 7th inning.  They committed three errors and allowed the Angels to post their third and fourth runs after getting the first two batters out in the top of the sixth.   Yep, eerily similar to the teams of the past.

That said, it is important to remember that Jered Weaver is good and, against the Royals, he is really, really good.   Over his career, Weaver has a 2.64 earned run average over the 58 innings pitched against Kansas City.    Counting yesterday’s start, Weaver has allowed TWO runs to the Royals over his last 28 innings.   This was going to be a tough day at the plate that just so happened to be Opening Day.

Opening Day, for all it’s excitement and celebrations, is just one game.

Other observations from the Royals 4-2 loss, made with full knowledge that it is, say it with me, just one game:

  • Royals hitters walked six times and struck out ten, while Royals pitchers walked only one and struck out nine.   This team will strike out a lot, so it would be nice if the ability to take a walk also holds and those big strikeout numbers don’t hurt as bad if the hurlers are posting similar numbers on the opposite side of the ledger.
  • Melky Cabrera had three hits and looked (dare we say it?) fit.  Trade him now, his value will never be higher!  I kid…
  • Mike Aviles, a favorite of mine, did kind of do a Bizzaro-Callaspo at third base yesterday.   Let’s remember that Mike has not played a ton of third base – 14 games in the majors, 164 in the minors – and not panic.   Besides, we are just a Moustakas hot streak away from seeing Aviles back at second, anyway.
  • We pretty much knew what to expect from Jeff Francouer and we got it.   A big home run to get the Royals on the board and hideous bases loaded strikeout on a pitch well out of the zone.    We also saw him throw out Jeff Mathis at the plate after the Angels rather strangely challenged the one true plus-skill Francouer possesses.
  • Four hitters does not a career make, but it was fun to watch Aaron Crow slice and dice the Angels wasn’t it?
  • I thought Luke Hochevar had a solid start.   If, as is my hope, Luke is to turn into Gil Meche (the good one, not the wrecked version), then this is the kind of start he needs to post time after time.   He simply is not going to be the guy to stand toe to toe with a Weaver and win.  Hopefully as soon as next year that will not be his role.

Finally, in the ‘who would have thought’ category, Ned Yost used two pinch runners, a pinch hitter and three starters ended the game at different defensive positions.   All that and Matt Treanor plays all nine innings.   Given that Treanor had a single and a walk, this really is not a criticism of Yost.   I am willing to bet, however, that if I gave you that scenario prior to the game, you would almost certainly have to assume that Treanor was the subject of one of those switches.   Baseball, as you may have heard, is a funny game.

Assuming you are not too crestfallen from yesterday, we get a look at Jeff Francis tonight against Dan Haren (who has a 1.99 ERA against the Royals in 50 innings of work).  If Kansas City is going to have something resembling a decent season, Francis being effective is a must.  

Remember, no matter what happens tonight, it is just TWO games out of 162.

Click the image to download the document

Today is Opening Day! Every team has hope, Kauffman stadium will be packed and a new season begins. It seemed like the winter would never end, and by the forecast it’s going to linger on as long as it possibly can.

Over the off season, I’ve been working with Clark and Craig and a few other fine folks to put together a 2011 Royals season preview. After a late night last night, it’s finally finished. There are essays on the likely starting lineup and rotation. There’s also a link to an audio clip on each player embedded within the document on the left side bar. The document is a .pdf so you’ll need Adobe reader in order to open and view the preview.

I hope you enjoy the fruits of our labor and hopefully 2011 ends up being a season we won’t ever forget.

I want to thank Minda Haas and Mitch Hall along with Craig Brown and Clark Fosler for their help on the book.

Click here or on the image above to download the 2011 Royals Preview.

You can follow Nick Scott on Twitter @brokenbatsingle, on Facebook or reach him via email brokenbatsingle at gmail dot com.

News out of the Royals camp has Ned Yost refiguring his lineup and moving Melky Cabrera and Alex Gordon to the second and third spots respectively.  I’m not thrilled with the Melk-Man hitting so high in the order – I don’t care how he was swinging the bat in Arizona.  Still, I’ve opined plenty of times in this space that the Royals lack a true number two type of bat.  (Along with myriad other deficiencies.)  So as much as I’d like to work up outrage over Cabrera hitting second, it’s a helluva lot better than Jason Kendall.  Besides, I’ll save it for when Cabrera is dragging down the Royals offense.

I’m a little more perturbed that Yost has pushed Gordon to the third spot, mainly for the fact that this shifts Billy Butler to the cleanup position.  I’m of the school where you don’t screw with two players at once when one of them has established a comfort zone.  Butler profiles as a number three hitter.  He just does.  He’s not a cleanup hitter by any stretch of the imagination.  That could be Kila Ka’aihue based on past performance in Omaha.  Why not shift Gordon to the fifth spot and leave your three and four alone?  Especially when you’re dealing with a guy like Gordon who hasn’t exactly done anything in his entire career to warrant such a move.  Hey, if he’s hitting the snot out of the ball on May 1, then go ahead and make the move.  Right now, it feels a little premature.

Here’s your Opening Day lineup:

Aviles
Cabrera
Gordon
Butler
Ka’aihue
Francoeur
Escobar
Treanor
Getz

I put Coach Treanor there because you just know the guy is the second coming of Kendall.  He’s going to get the majority of the time behind the plate.  Not 92% or whatever Kendall was getting last year prior to his injury, but I see him getting 60-70% of the innings.

Yes, Escobar had a fine spring, but if he can’t keep that going, the bottom third of that lineup has serious black hole potential.

So the bullpen is finally set with Kaneoka Texeria and Jeremy Jeffress the last two in place.  They join the locks (Joakim Soria and Robinson Tejeda) the prospects (Aaron Crow and Tim Collins) and the whatevers (Sean O’Sullivan and Nate Adcock.)  I honestly thought Luis Mendoza would make the team ahead of Jeffress.  It’s nice that the Royals aren’t sticking with waiver retreads.

Plus, I’m glad they are using the bullpen as the first place to work in the young pitchers.  Many thought Crow was drafted to be a starter, but his strength projects him as a reliever.  Yeah, it’s not ideal, but he could transition into an above average set-up guy or even closer.

There’s been a bunch of internet chatter about the Royals keeping Jarrod Dyson and getting rid of Gregor Blanco.  I’m surprised given that Dyson has options and would benefit from playing every day.  With the Promised Two (Francoeur and Cabrera) along with the new number three hitter, Gordon, and the uber-backup in Mitch Maier, I don’t see where he’s going to get the at bats.  This just feels like one of those classic Royal moments where they’re setting their player up for failure… He won’t play enough to get into any kind of rhythm, he’ll hit poorly, get shipped to Omaha and we won’t hear from him again.  I just don’t get it.  Plus, I think over the entire season Blanco would contribute more than Cabrera.  This one is just a head-scratcher.

I hope the Royals are able to sneak Blanco through waivers, but I doubt that’s going to happen.

With T-minus one day to the Opener, it’s time for the annual exercise known as Calling Your Shot.  Time to get on the record with your predictions for the upcoming 2011 season.

Since this season is all about transition in The Process, I thought it would be interesting to add a little spice in the form of a few over/unders based on totals from the 2010 season.  It’s an interesting way to gauge expectations.

Here are the categories, presented with last year’s totals:

1) Wins – 67

2) Team OBP – .331

3) Team SLG – .399

4) Steals – 115

5) Team ERA – 4.97

6) Team BB/9 – 3.5

7) Team SO/9 – 6.5

Leave your predictions in the comment section.

Play ball.

It took me a few days to get the rest of my notes from Spring Training written up, but things have been busy around Royals Authority headquarters lately. Here are some things that I saw on 3-26:

Edgar Osuna – His fastball was sitting 86-87, it tails somewhat into the hands of a right handed batter. He threw a very nice curveball that was 70-71 and had a changeup in the 76-77 range. He didn’t miss very many bats and the hitters were squaring him up pretty good.

Eric Hosmer – What an absolutely impressive player. Even the least experienced baseball watcher can look at him compared to his peers and see that he’s different. His body type screams power but with athleticism, and that’s pretty much what you get. I asked a few scouts what they felt about his ability to play the outfield. Some say he could do it and it’d be worth a shot for the Royals, while others don’t see it at all. Personally, I’d like to see him try and play there and prove he can’t do it. He certainly has the arm to play out there, but while he’s athletic, he can be heavy-footed and not that fast.

Regardless of where he plays defense, his bat is special. He hit a monster homerun over right-center field that bounced off of the parking lot or sidewalk outside the stadium. My brother caught video of it and I put it up on youtube. Greg Schaum of Pine Tar Press got slow motion video of the same swing. His balance and transfer of power is just picture perfect. He’s without question the guy I’d rank as the best Royals prospect in the system. People tend to lump him together with Moustakas and Myers, but at this point I think he’s got them both beat solidly.

Mike Moustakas – It’s funny to see Moustakas and Hosmer together because they have very different builds. While Hosmer looks the part of a power hitting baseball player, Moustakas is shorter and a little thicker than Hosmer. He seems to have trimmed up a bit since last year, but he’s still got the same body type.

What he lacks in athletic build, he makes up for with bat speed. The word I heard the most often when discussing his bat speed, it’s “freaky”.  He uses that bat speed to put good wood on the ball in any number of locations and speeds. He’s an amazingly talented hitter. What I’m not so sure about is his ability to stick at third base.  It may not be an issue for the first few years of his career, but if he bulks up or gains wait, his already average range could get worse. It’s not a concern today, and I think he could play a passable if not average third for the Royals on Opening Day, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

Christian Colon – I hadn’t got a chance to see Christian Colon in person, so he was high on my list of targets in Spring Training. My first thoughts on seeing his build is that it’s “college shortstop” not Major League shortstop or prospect shortstop. Basically he’s kind of think for a shortstop. If you’ve seen Alcides Escobar yet, you can see what an ideal defensive shortstop would look like. He’s athletic, but thinner and looks like he can run like a gazelle. Colon doesn’t look like that. Watching him run the bases and timing some of his runs both agreed with the eye test that he isn’t a very fast runner either. So his body type doesn’t seem to be masking some athleticism. All of that to me, adds up to second baseman. People have been suggesting it, but I was uncertain until first hand experience. I’m on the second base boat now with Colon. I think it’s a good idea to keep him at SS until he absolutely has to move, but that day is coming.

Fortunately, Colon can hit the ball well. He roped a good number of the times he was at the plate while I was watching. I think his bat can play in the Majors and can do so in relatively short order. He was playing with the AAA team the entire time I was in camp, but I doubt he starts the season there. I wouldn’t be shocked if he ended up there. He’s not a bust as a pick, he was probably still the right call at the time.

Will Smith – He’s much bigger than I had thought and can be an imposing figure on the mound. His fastball was sitting 88-90 and he featured a sweeping curveball at 75 and a changeup in the 78-80 range. He gets guys out by pounding the strikezone and not issuing many walks.

Mario Lisson – He has a really solid build that in sort of Hosmer like but not as strong. He’s clearly out-grown shortstop and has been put on third. I didn’t see him make a whole lot of use of his body at the plate. He’s now 26 and hasn’t been able to prove he can hit well enough to move up the prospect rankings. He seems to be a case where the physical tools don’t coincide with the skills required to be a Major League baseball player.

Patrick Keating – He was throwing his fastball in the 90-92 range, which shocked Greg Schaum when I showed him the readings. He said that Keating was 96 in the past. Maybe he was working through something or just taking it easy, but that’s a significant drop in velocity that he hopefully fixes once he gets back into the season. He had a good breaking ball that he threw in around 76. He showed some frustration on the mound when one of his outfielders bobbled a ball. There’s a thin-line between being a fiery competitor and over-reacting. Getting upset during a Sprint Training exhibition game seems to be a little over the top. However, it was only one moment in one game. I don’t know the back story and I can’t make any judgments based on that. We’ve all had bad days and been frustrated, he could have just been having one of those days.

Wil Myers – One thing needs to be cleared up in regards to Wil Myers, he is absolutely 6’3″ or so.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these prospect notes. These are my first hand observations combined with direct discussions with scouts. I’m going to try and make it to some Minor League games this year to bring even more detailed information throughout the season.

You can follow Nick Scott on Twitter @brokenbatsingle, on Facebook or reach him via email brokenbatsingle at gmail dot com.

Episode #47 – In this last episode before Opening Day Nick runs through the flurry of Royals moves, talks about Aaron Crow in the bullpen and what he saw in Surprise. Adam Comstock stops by to make some preseason predictions. Nick also previews the Minnesota Twins 2011 season.

:http://www.livekc.com/podcasts/bbs047.mp3|titles=BBS

Follow Nick on Twitter @brokenbatsingle or on Facebook

Music in this podcast:

Talking Heads – The Big Country

Animal Collective – My Girls

James Brown – Sportin’ Life

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