Archive for September 2011

Just Fair 2011: Evan Longoria   3 comments

Rays Evan Longoria Just Fair 2011 custom cardIt turns out that Longoria’s extra innings home run was just fair so this seems appropriate. What a great moment. It was the perfect end to probably the best night of baseball I will ever see in my life.

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Royals Report Card: Part 2   Leave a comment

Here is the second half of my 2011 Royals report card (aka the pitchers) If you missed Part 1 here is the link. I will reiterate that these are my options I have drawn from watching games and following the team from the outside. I have the same or less access to the team than anyone reading this.

Luke Hochevar – Grade C+

The Royals “Ace” progressed this year. He is still not pitching like a #1 guy, probably more like a 3-4 in the rotation guy. He was finally more consistent. He stayed healthy all year but the Royals still need more out of him.

Jeff Francis – Grade D+

He was coming off a major injury but the expectations were still higher than what he gave. He led the team with 16! losses and opponents hit .301 against him.

Bruce Chen – Grade B

He led the team in wins again and was a solid arm every fifth day. He isn’t going to impose the other team much on the mound but remained solid all year.

Sean O’Sullivan – Grade D-

O’Sullivan showed that he is likely a 5th starter at best. It appears he might just be another Kyle Davies; if that is possible. His 7.25 ERA was not major league worthy.

Kyle Davies – Grade F-

I know F- doesn’t exist but the Royals may have employed one of the worst pitchers of all-time. Luckily the Harim Davies days are officially over.

Vin Mazzaro – Grade F

His ERA is inflated from being thrown to the wolves in Cleveland one game but he still was inconsistent and unimpressive. You can’t shake the feeling that if he wasn’t “who we got for Dejesus” he would be gone and a non-factor.

Felipe Paulino – Grade B

His numbers weren’t great but a 4.11 ERA on this staff is actually pretty good. Considering he was a gift from the Rockies; he was great. He showed signs of being a solid starting pitcher and has a good shot at the rotation in 2012.

Danny Duffy – Grade C

Duffy’s 5.64 ERA was high for how he pitched. He had a standard rookie start but showed progression in many games. His curveball is great and when he learns how to pitch a little more he should be a front of the rotation guy.

Everett Teaford – Grade B-

Teaford had a very good rookie year. Because he is left handed he should be a Royal in the future. He pitched strong in 2/3 starts he made in September but really looks to be more a bullpen guy to me where he was very solid in 2011.

Luis Mendoza – A-

Fantastic in 2 big league starts and was AAA Omaha pitcher of the year. Short look in Kansas City but has a good shot at the rotation next year.

Nate Adcock – Grade C-

Long relief guy made a couple starts. Never impressed too much and wouldn’t have remained with the club if he wasn’t a rule 5 guy. He has a sinker good enough to get ground balls and be a Jamey Wright type of pitcher.

Joakim Soria – Grade C+

Despite horrible early season struggles he managed to put together an average year for a reliever, not great for a closer though. He ended up 27/35 saves/opportunities and with a 4.03 ERA. Those aren’t great numbers but indicate it may have been just a down season.

Aaron Crow – Grade C

Crow was the Royals All-Star in 2011. You would never know it by his second half performance. He had a great first half and was dominant. He lost a “baulk off” in Chicago and wasn’t the same pitcher after that. He should get a shot at the rotation next year but is where he belongs in my opinion.

Tim Collins – Grade C

Collins was the lefty specialist for much of the year despite not being very good against lefties. He had a 3.68 ERA and .211 batting average against but walked way, way too many. If he cuts down on the walks he could be a big part of the 2012 bullpen.

Jeremy Jeffress – Grade C-

Jeffress is a fireballer. He showed spots in KC of being dominant but ultimately walked 11 batters in 14 appearances. He will get a rotation shot next year but once again I think he is better suited to be a setup man getting groomed for a closer spot.

Jesse Chavez – Grade F

The fact that Chavez wasn’t released after 2010 angers me still. He isn’t effective and needs released.

Blake Wood – Grade B

Wood was surprisingly good in his 54 games. He was a rare guy out of the pen the Royals could count on. If the Royals got the same season out of him next year they should be happy.

Greg Holland – Grade A-

The most surprising Royals pitcher of 2011. A sub 1.00 WHIP and under 2.00 ERA over 46 games was fantastic. He has potential to be a centerpiece of the middle relief for the team next year.

Robinson Tejada – Grade F

Tejada had big expectations after showing real flashes the last couple seasons. He and Soria were the only locks for the bullpen coming into 2011 and Tejada only pitched 9 games for the team. The Royals wanted to deal him at the deadline for somebody but he diminished his value so bad nobody wanted him.

Kanekoa Teixeira – Grade C+

Just another middle relief guy the team parted with. His ERA was under 3.00 but opponents hit over .400 against him.

Louis Coleman – Grade A-

Coleman pitched great out of the bullpen all year. In 48 games he limited teams from getting a big inning and posted a sub 3.00 ERA. He showed great poise in his rookie season and should be a valued member of the bullpen in 2012.

Kelvin Herrera – Grade D+

Herrera didn’t have a fair shot to prove himself only pitching 2 innings but showed good stuff despite getting roughed up in his debut.

Royals Report Card: Part 1   3 comments

So this is my Royals report card. I realize that this is nothing original, The Kansas City Star does it every year I believe. This will be my perspective and it would be cool to measure up my grading against theirs. This is strictly subjective and I took into account expectations, performance, stats and even attitudes that I have noticed from my limited perspective. I am going to do this in 2 parts; pitchers and hitters. I’ll start with the offensive side of things(also accounting for defense of course.)

Matt Treanor – Catcher: Grade B

The Royals bought Treanor from the Rangers and have since sold him back. All things considered, Treanor did exactly what the Royals wanted him to do, he was a veteran catcher and provided some experience to a really young team. His offense was alright, defense was great. I hope Brayan Pena was paying attention.

Brayan Pena – Catcher: Grade D

Pena wasn’t paying attention. Pena solidified the perception that he can never be a starting catcher in the major leagues this year. He is below average offensively and defensively in my opinion. He is a stop-gap backup catcher and he shouldn’t be on the team next year. Royals fans will always remember his falure to get tags down that directly cost the team a couple games this year.

Manuel Pina – Catcher: Grade B-

Pina was a spark when Treanor went on the DL. He got a very short look while the team waited on Salvador Perez. Pina did nothing wrong but didn’t wow fans the way Perez has. He should be a solid backup for Perez.

Salvador Perez – Catcher: Grade A

How can you complain about Salvador Perez? He has a cannon arm and has showed it. He is also hitting a not-so-modest .333 at this point. He has showed great power the other way and the ability to hit at the major league level. Expect a drop offensively next year but not defensively.

Kila Ka’aihue – 1st Base: Grade D

Kila just didn’t cut in KC. He only had 23 games to strut his stuff and had a big walk-off home run but only hit .195. He was surpassed by Eric Hosmer’s performance in every aspect.

Billy Butler – 1st Base/DH: Grade B+

#CountryBreakfast can flat out rake. He had a slow first half but really kicked it up after the break. He has pushed over 90 RBI now (career high) and had a power surge in the early second half. He was pushed to strictly the DH role by Hosmer and has now embraced it.

Eric Hosmer – 1st Base: Grade A

Eric Hosmer has been nothing short of spectacular in his rookie season. He has hit for power, average and been a very good at first base (no matter what certain stats say.) He is a very strong rookie of the year candidate and in less than one season has become the face of the franchise.

Chris Getz – 2nd Base: Grade C-

Chris Getz has a lot of haters. He doesn’t hit for a high average or extra base hits. He is good defensively and very good on the basepaths but these thing don’t redeem his insecurities at the plate. The team would likely be better off with Navarro as a utilityman than having Getz on the roster in 2012.

Johnny Giavotella – 2nd Base: Grade C+

Hasn’t been great defensively and has been average at the plate. He has had a typical half rookie season.

Alcides Escobar – Shortstop: Grade A-

Escobar is great in the field. He makes fantastic plays that most shortstops don’t. After a couple seasons of Yuni at short for the Royals, Escobar is a godsend. He is a .250 hitter and doesn’t really project to be a whole lot better. He doesn’t have much power but that should improve. With his defense he could hit .250 for the remainder of his career and remain a starter.

Mike Aviles – 3rd Base: Grade F

Aviles was the Royals starting third baseman on opening day. This is hard to believe now. He was terrible in the field and at the plate. He then proceeded to whine about playing time after Moustakas’ callup. He has been good for the Red Sox but contributed almost nothing to the Royals in 2011.

Wilson Betimit – 3rd Base: Grade C+

Betimit was trade bait from opening day on. His value never really got any higher than that day either. He had an average year and didn’t fetch much in a trade.

Yamaico Navarro – 3rd Base: Grade B-

In my opinion a fantastic trade. Aviles was dead weight and couldn’t play the field. Yamaico hasn’t played much for Kansas City. Navarro isn’t great but should be a solid utility infielder for the team in 2012.

Mike Moustakas – 3rd Base: Grade B-

He was no Hosmer in 2011 but still ended up having a respectable rookie campaign. He got hot at the end of the season and raised his average about 50 points. He started driving the ball and stopped popping out to 3rd base. He showed many encouraging signs for 2012.

Alex Gordon – Left Field: Grade A

After a few years of being a borderline major league player he lived up to his immense talent and had a just-off MVP type season. He was great in left field, had a ton of assists and has an outside shot at a gold glove. He showed good power and the ability to drive in runs which was my biggest concern in the past for him.

Melky Cabrera – Center Field: Grade A

For what Melky was expected to do how could you possibly complain? 201 hits? Nobody would have guessed that, not even Melky. He hit for good power, stole bases, scored runs and was the exact type of player this team needed. I hated this signing but he proved me wrong.

Jarrod Dyson – Center Field: Grade C

Dyson is good and field and has amazing speed. He is a liability at the plate and until he can get on base consistently will contribute very little in the big leagues. He is super fast and is worth carrying as a pinch-runner but needs to hit.

Jeff Francouer – Right Feild: Grade A

Francoeur was another signing I didn’t like. He didn’t walk and would swing at anything. He resurrected his career this head and had an amazing season. He never failed to impress in right field and has a cannon. He didn’t swing at junk as much as the past and maintained a good average. He was a great clubhouse guy and showed he will be a great leader for this young team.

Mitch Maier – Outfield: Grade B-

Maier never got a lot of playing time because of A) no injuries and B) great outfielders ahead of him. When he got a spot start he did admirably but never really got a chance to impress this year.

Lorenzo Cain – Outfield: Grade B

Cain tore up AAA Omaha and never got to the Royals until the last week of the season. He is ready to go but has no place to play. He would be very good trade bait for a starting pitcher if packaged with another high-end prospect.

The timely exit of Kila Ka’aihue   Leave a comment

Kila Ka'aihue 1984 Donruss custom cardKila Ka’aihue was traded to the Oakland Athletics today. He will join David Dejesus and Coco Crisp who were Royals as recently as 2009.  Ka’aihue was esentially given the boot by the new face of the Royals, Eric Hosmer. Ka’aihue didn’t produce at the major league level despite killing it in AAA Omaha for about 3 years and Hosmer’s emergence sealed his fate with Billy Butler already in place as Kansas City’s DH.

What did the Royals get in return? It doesn’t matter. For the record it was a pitcher named Ethan Hollingsworth. The Royals basically needed him gone because there was nowhere for him to go (barring an injury) and the Kansas City fans had pretty much turned on him already. The question with Kila is; Did he get a fair chance in KC? He only played 26 games in 2011 for KC before getting sent down. 2011 brought his career total for games with the Royals to 87; hardy a great look for a prospect that tore up AAA. The clock was ticking on Kila however and he had his window; it was small but he had it. Good luck in Oakland Kila.

History of Joakim Soria: 1987 Topps   2 comments

History Of Joakim Soria 1987 ToppsI think that 1987 Topps has a lot of fanfare. I’m not really sure but I think a lot of people like it. It is very distinctive with it’s wood border and nice clean design. I think I am in the minority saying that I don’t like this set. I think it looks cheap and generic. It is iconic for the Bonds rookie and the classic Bo Jackson card but overall I think it is a miss by Topps.

For the wood border I had no choice but to use a nice clean jpg file and put my graphics around it as I did with 1990 Topps and will be doing with 1968 Topps when I get to it. The font on this card is sloppy. Both mine and the real one. The font I used is Marker Felt and it is close; I don’t think it is right but it is very close. On the bright side this was a very easy card to re-create. It is simple but doesn’t really impress me very much.

Custom Card of the Day: Jeff Francoeur Rifleman; 1991 Score   2 comments

Jeff Francoeur 1991 Score Rifleman custom cardThis is a card I have wanted to do for a while now. I actually had a really difficult time finding a picture of Francoeur throwing. He has been a consistent threat to throw baserunners out from right field all year and it made me think back to this ugly 1991 subset from score. It is a horrible design. First of all; I hate cards that cut out the background for no reason. It is just a cheesy looking card. Like many retro cards they were so ugly they are kind of cool in a ridiculous way; I’m looking at you 1991 Fleer. So I wanted to give this card a whirl and it turned out alright. The green stripes in the background are off but it is at least close enough that anyone who knows the set will recognize it. Of course Alex Gordon has more assists than Francoeur so I’d like to do one of him as well. Even Melky Cabrera has been in the top 10 in outfield assists much of this year so if I can find appropriate pictures I might do one of all of them.

Major League Debut: Kelvin Herrera custom card   Leave a comment

Major League Debut Kelvin Herrera custom cardHere is the 12th and final installment of the Major League Debut cards for 2011. Having 12 players make their major league debut is a pretty amazing statistic. The Royals are so young that this really wasn’t too surprising however. I plan to continue these cards next year with hopefully a few more(Mike Montgomery, Clint Robinson, David Lough, it is hard to tell.)

Kelvin Herrera has great stuff but his major league debut didn’t really reflect that fact. On his first major league pitch he hit a batter. Things didn’t get a whole lot better after that. His final line was 1 inning, 2 hits and 3 earned runs. He has the dreaded ERA of 27.00 for right now and received the loss in his very first game. Still a major milestone making it to the biggs for Herrera. Hopefully he will get opportunities to redeem himself in the bullpen in Kansas City next year.

Posted September 25, 2011 by VocalsOnTop in Royals Review

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