Archive for March 2011

2011 Topps Aaron Crow custom card   Leave a comment

Aaron Crow 2011 ToppsAaron Crow is a local guy for Kansas City. He grew up nearby and went to college nearby at Mizzou. Crow is one of eight bullpen guys left trying to get five spots. The eight players are Kanekoa Texeira, Luis Mendoza, Jeremy Jeffress, Robert Fish, Aaron Crow, Tim Collins, Louis Coleman and Nate Adcock.

I do not think Aaron Crow will make the team. He has pitched well this spring but still won’t make the opening day rosters. He will join fellow hopefuls Mike Montgomery, Everett Teaford, Danny Duffy and others in minor league camp soon. The only evidence I see to go against this is that Crow has now been stretched out to start games which is presumably what he would be doing if he were to go back to the minor leagues.

Of the eight players three will be out, I have singled Crow out as one of my predicted cuts. My other two projected cuts are Robert Fish and Louis Coleman. I think that Fish won’t make the cut because it would be difficult to have two Rule 5 bullpen guys on the same roster. A Rule 5 guy means that you have to keep them on the roster all year. The other Rule 5 pick is Nate Adcock who I believe will make the team and stay on the team. Louis Coleman won’t make the cut simply because he is young and there is no need to rush him to the big leagues.

Jeffress and Collins are locks along with Soria, Tejada and O’Sullivan. The other three predictions and just educated guesses for me. Adcock has been very impressive and will make it unless he takes a major turn for the worse in the next week. Mendoza and Texeira both pitched in Kansas City last year so I believe they will inherit a bullpen role in many ways until they prove they don’t belong there.

Posted March 22, 2011 by VocalsOnTop in 2011 Topps Royals

2011 Topps Greg Holland custom card   Leave a comment

Greg Holland 2011 ToppsGreg Holland was one of the many bullpen candidates. It looked like he was going to be in Kansas City but he was sent down after the rainout along with Montgomery, Pina and Blake Wood. The re-assignments of Holland and Wood are a bit of a surprise. The bullpen candidates are really starting to narrow down now. I will talk about this a little more with my upcoming Aaron Crow post.

Posted March 22, 2011 by VocalsOnTop in 2011 Topps Royals

2011 Topps Brayan Peña   Leave a comment

Brayan Pena 2011 ToppsI spoke a little about Brayan Peña in my Lucas May post yesterday. May and Peña should start the season in Kansas City but it will be decision time when Jason Kendall is ready to play. Peña can hit but hasn’t really impressed in the time he has spent at the major league level. Hopefully being the opening day starter and getting some consistent playing time will help him come out of his shell. I think he has the potential to be a very dangerous gap hitter. He could be a very good offensive catcher hitting in the bottom third of the lineup.

I was unhappy initially with the picture I found for this card. I usually don’t crop my pictures this tight. I think it may be one of my favorite cards from the set now, it has really grown on me. I especially like cards of catcher in their gear. Peña only has the mask on his head in this shot but it turned out to be a very nice card.

I have completed most of the set I am going to get I think. I believe I am currently at a 45 card set. I do have one glaring omission still. I have yet to make a Joakim Soria card. Soria would be one of the first couple cards you would think but I have had trouble finding a good spring training picture so far. The younger pictures have gotten most of the playing time so far but I’m sure the closer we get to opening day, the more Soria will pitch. Off the subject remark: his nickname will always be the Mexicutioner to me.

Posted March 20, 2011 by VocalsOnTop in 2011 Topps Royals

2011 Topps Lucas May   Leave a comment

2011 Topps Lucas May

Lucas May's actual 2011 topps card.

Lucas May 2011 Topps custom card

The Lucas May 2011 Topps custom card I made.

 

Lucas May should make the opening day roster. This became very clear yesterday when it was announced Jason Kendall would not be ready for the start of the season. It should be Lucas May and Brayan Pena. Pena should get the majority of the playing time. May and Pena can both hit so they have a small advantage over Jason Kendall but Kendall is much better defensively.

I have shown above two Lucas May cards, the one I made and the one Topps put out this year. I did this because they are so similar. It just worked out that way on my end. I found the picture of May I liked and used it. At least there will be no confusion since I put both cards on the site.

Posted March 19, 2011 by VocalsOnTop in 2011 Topps Royals

2011 Topps Mike Montgomery   Leave a comment

Mike Montgomery 2011 ToppsMike Montgomery looks really good. He has performed very well this spring and will spend time in Kansas City this year. He won’t likely make the club out of the gate but he will be on the short list to be called up. I actually hope to see him pitch in the Kansas City futures game on April 2nd in Kauffman Stadium. The NW Arkansas Natural will play the Omaha Storm Chasers and it should be a great show. Three levels of the Royals system will be on the field that day in Kansas City. Montgomery will be involved that day one way or another. It will be a showcase of possibly the most talked about minor league system in baseball history.

Posted March 18, 2011 by VocalsOnTop in 2011 Topps Royals

2011 Topps Irving Falu, Lance Zawadzki and Jeff Bianchi   Leave a comment

Irving Falu 2011 ToppsIrving Falu is a longshot to spend much time on the Royals in 2011. That being said, the Royals don’t have solid depth behind starting shortstop Alcides Escobar. The depth chart seems to consist of Escobar, Lance Zawadzki and Irving Falu. Zawadzki is listed as a second baseman but has played shortstop this spring. I’m not sure who has more versatility defensively between the two backups but it just means that each guy is one injury away from the big leagues. Jeff Bianchi is also in the mix but seems like less of a candidate to me.

Lance Zawadzki 2011 ToppsJeff Bianchi 2011 Topps

Posted March 17, 2011 by VocalsOnTop in 2011 Topps Royals

Listen to Jason Collett   Leave a comment

This is the second entry into my “Listen To” posts, it focuses on Jason Collett.The only free music to get people to listen Collett that I know of is a very strong Daytrotter session featuring songs from 2010’s Rat A Tat Tat.

Jason Collett's daytrotter session

Click the picture to get to Jason Collett's daytrotter session

Jason Collett is a singer/songwriter from Canada. He is a one-time member of Canadian supergroup Broken Social Scene. His solo material is much different than his work with Broken Social Scene however. Collett is on the same record company as Broken Social Scene as well, Arts & Crafts. He is not “famous” and I doubt his record sales are all that impressive. He doesn’t tour much, I’m sure this has a lot to do with both his family and financial demands in touring. He rarely comes south of the border to the United States and has never played a venue close enough for me to attend.

His Career started with the 2003 release of Motor Motel Love Songs and has spanned a total of four proper albums of new material, one “stripped down” album of mostly old material and two eps. In 2010 he released two albums and one ep.

I must discuss how I came across Jason Collett’s music before I go into his albums. I was at a Cracker/Jason Isbell concert in Lawrence, Kansas back in 2007 when I first heard him. Of all places to hear new music it was the choice that night of the sound man to play Collett’s Idols of Exile for the bar while waiting for the bands to go on. I obviously didn’t know who it was but was impressed enough to ask the sound man and amazingly I retained the information. At first listen I actually thought it was Jeff Tweety of Wilco/UncleTupelo/Golden Smog fame. Collett’s music is similar to Tweety’s but looking back the connection is now hard to point out.

At the time I had not heard Tweety’s work with Golden Smog and thought that it may be that album that I was listening to. I then heard the lyric “I love it when my girlfriend calls me a cocksucking faggot…” at this point I ruled out Tweety and asked the sound man. I picked up that Collett album a few weeks later.

Now I will briefly run through Collett’s discography:

Motor Motel Love Songs:

Collett’s first release is a smooth listen and a good album but is overshadowed by every other record in his catalog. One song on the record, Blue Sky, was featured on “The L Word” soundtrack, gaining Collett some exposure. The albums better tracks are It Won’t Be Long, Blue Sky and Tiny Ocean of Tears.

Idols of Exile:

Collett’s first in a trio of fantastic albums. Features some of the strongest material in his catalog. The fantastic “Hangover Days” features vocals from fellow Broken Social Scene members Leslie Feist and Emily Haines who are each successful on their own with Feist’s solo career and Haines’ band Metric. In a perfect world this album would have had a ton of great singles on it. It features songs that will stick in your head all day and don’t get stale on repeated listens. The strongest songs on this record of strong songs are; Fire, Hangover Days, We All Lose One Another, I’ll Bring The Sun and These are the Days.

Prodigals EP:

This digital ep is a good listen but it nowhere near the quality of Collett’s other releases. It features older songs that should see the light of day but are not high quality enough for albums in most cases. The best song is the outright dirty Diggin’ In The Carpet.

Here’s To Being Here:

Sometimes I am amazed how much an artist can say without actually saying a lot. This is what strikes me about Here’s To Being Here. Certain albums work really well as a whole and this is definitely an example. While Idols of Exile seemed to have the big choruses and radio friendly sounding songs, this record is a collection of songs that seem to fit together and form a fantastic album in the end. The songs don’t seem rushed, they play out as they should. The songs are not particularly slow or fast, it is a smooth mixture the begs for the repeat button to be pushed. The best songs are the Stones sounding Out of Time, the rocking Papercut Hearts and the fantastic duo at the end of the album, Nothing To Lose and Not Over You.

Rat A Tat Tat:

I recently listed this as my top album of 2010. While not as strong as Here’s To Being Here in my opinion, it is still another great listen and was obviously good enough to be my favorite album of 2010. It features another great radio quality song in Love Is A Dirty Word that should have been one of the best songs of the year. Love Is A Chain may be the best ’70s song not recorded in the ’70s. Other great songs on the record are Rave On Sad Songs and Cold Blue Halo. The album is best listened to with its companion ep, To Wit To Woo.

To Wit To Woo:

The songs on this ep are every bit as good as the songs on Rat A Tat Tat. They were presumably recorded in the same sessions and fit together very well with the album. It is a 6 song set that features two brilliant songs in my opinion Rainy Day Rain and Love Song To Canada.

Pony Tricks:

This one is tricky, no pun intended. It features 11 tracks, two of them new and 9 re-recorded, stripped down versions of their originals. A couple re-recorded songs are drastically different and very interesting listens although I don’t know if any top their original versions. The most interesting songs are Hangover Days and Papercut Hearts. The best track from the record is the newly recorded My Daddy Was A Rock N’ Roller.

 

There you go, now LISTEN TO JASON COLLETT.

Posted March 16, 2011 by VocalsOnTop in Uncategorized

2011 Topps Billy Butler custom card   Leave a comment

Billy Butler 2011 ToppsBilly Butler is as much “Mr. Royal” as anybody other than George Brett in my opinion.

Posted March 16, 2011 by VocalsOnTop in 2011 Topps Royals

2011 Topps Nate Adcock custom card   Leave a comment

Nathan Adcock 2011 ToppsI am posting Nate Adcock’s custom card today because I believe he made the team today. He was a rule 5 pick by the Royals meaning he has to be on the Royals roster all season or he will be offered back to his former team. Needing to know whether Adcock was worth the risk or not, the Royals started Adcock today. His line was extremely good. 3 innings, 3 hits, no walks, no strikeouts, no runs.

He has had the kind of spring the Royals had to be hoping for. He won’t be a vital part of the Royals but will fill an important early relief bullpen role and possibly be a swingman. I have a lot more hope for this rule 5 pick than the other rule 5 pick now trying to make the team. The Royals are trying left-handed relief pitcher Robert Fish, he is one of four or five lefties with a chance to make the team.

Posted March 15, 2011 by VocalsOnTop in 2011 Topps Royals

2011 Topps Eric Hosmer and Clint Robinson   2 comments

Eric Hosmer 2011 ToppsHere are a couple rookies that are hitting like they would really like to be on the Royals this year. The problem is that the Royals have two major league first basemen already. There is a lot of talk about Eric Hosmer but people tend to overlook Clint Robinson who just won the double-A triple crown in his league. Both guys have pounded the ball this spring and have looked great.

Clint Robinson is already assigned to the minors, chances are Hosmer’s fate will be the same. I think both could see Kansas City this year but it depends on a couple things. First, as I have said their is a logjam at first base and something has to give. One of three things need to happen; somebody gets traded, somebody gets hurt or somebody switches positions. The switch of positions is the most likely option within the Royals control. They don’t really want to trade any of these guys I feel.

Either way I want to see them play, all of them, somehow.

Another factor to consider here is defense. Butler has worked hard and is fair defensively but will likely spend a lot more time at designated hitter than anywhere else. Kila is better than Butler and should see the field a lot this year. Hosmer is very good and probably the best of the bunch. Clint Robinson sounds like he is the weakest of the group, he is also the second oldest in the group. He would be a candidate to move but what do you do with a guy who isn’t great defensively at first? That is usually where people get moved to not from.

 

Clint Robinson 2011 Topps

Could Hosmer be moved to the outfield? I don’t think so. I would say the most likely scenario is that Clint Robinson goes to the outfield I guess but that doesn’t seem like a great option at this point. I am anxious to see what happens here. I will predict two things though; Butler stays and Hosmer stays. Robinson and Kila could be traded, even if it isn’t likely they could.

 

Posted March 14, 2011 by VocalsOnTop in 2011 Topps Royals