When you stumble upon a chance to acquire a possible #2 or #3 pitcher with some upside and a young, raw, and smart strikeout arm, chances are you shouldn’t pass it up. Well Dayton Moore didn’t pass it up when he had the opportunity to acquire RHP Vin Mazzaro and Justin Marks in exchange for one year of David DeJesus.
I’ll tell you what; I like this deal for the Royals a lot. Of course you can look at Mazzaro’s season stats and criticize him for his 4.25 ERA or his low amount of strikeouts, but this is a durable young starter with potential to be a Chad Billingsley type of starter with a much more effortless delievery to go along with a 3 pitch mix including a fastball that ranges from 90-93 touching 94 and a slider that ranges from 82-85 and a decent change up.
Bottom line, these are the type of pitchers the Royals need to take a chance on. I mean, if he ends up sporting an 8.50 ERA and a WHIP over 1.40 in ’11, then it’s okay to criticize the move. But what happens if he breaks out (which I think he will) and puts up a 3.50 ERA to go along with 7 K/9?
Mazzaro is also a very good guy from my neck of the woods (New York/New Jersey). His simple delivery makes him even more fun to watch not to mention his often used fastball that sometimes has a bit of cut to it.
What do you think of this deal for the Royals? Will Mazzaro pan out? Will this deal favor the Royals in the future? Will Justin Marks be something special?
First and foremost, as most of you can imagine, right about now is the perfect time to be a fan of the Kansas City Royals. The picturesque Royal blue and gold logo is starting to look much more blue and plenty golder. Obviously, so is the future of the Kansas City Royals.
Being someone who can’t locally celebrate the debuts of Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, and Wil Myers (unless they are in debuting in NY), it’s just amazing to feel the fact that we are finally going to be relevant among those who only have bad things to say about the Royals who have obviously not been an exciting Major League team over the past 20 years. Now, can any of you think about 5 other Baseball topics that are more exciting than the Royals future?
In my opinion, the big trade of Yuniesky Betancourt over the weekend (joking, we will miss you Zack) added to the future. I’m not going to say that the 4 newest Royals youngsters are better than the Royals top 5, because they are not, but we’re looking at 4 tremendously exciting young players who will certainly have an impact on the potential winning teams of the future Royals. Not only that, but we got 4 great guys.
Again, as Greg pointed out on his radio show earlier, in which he did a great job doing, me being in NY I could obviously choose to like the Yankees who exemplify winning (not in the prettiest of ways) or even the Washington Nationals who showed some promise by signing a big time free agent this off-season. I could even like the Braves, Phillies, Red Sox, Tigers, or Mets; 5 teams with exciting players and are much more “local” than my favorite team of them all, the Kansas City Royals. And for that exact reason; It’s the love and hope of what will eventually come to be winning Baseball and much more than that at the very least.
Of course I get made fun and viewed strangely when stating my opinion on my favorite team, but to encourage and promise everyone that the Royals are and will be relevant is something I love to do! I was in school today, and my science class was watching Chicken Run. So while they were focused on that, I was putting together my Royals top 40 prospect list. When I came to 40, I said to myself: “wait a second, that can’t be right? I left off so many prospects. So then I expanded it to a top 50 and after that, I still forgot Elisaul Pimentel and other exciting young Royals who may definitely have a major impact on the Kansas City Royals future.
And even with the top 10 prospects. You hear everyone saying “oh well the Royals 2011 season is for not they aren’t going to do anything.” Well theres a chance the season doesn’t finish with the Royals over .500, but how great and exciting will it be to see the debuts of Mike Moustakas, Tim Collins, Danny Duffy, and possibly Eric Hosmer! It’s going to be amazing and I certainly can not wait!
My top 10:
By Dave Gershman
There has been a ton of talk about Greinke this off-season, and there has been even more talk about the kind of return he’d demand. Well a pitcher of Greinke’s caliber is likely to bring back several potential superstars in return. Personally, I think he’d bring back at least two top 50 prospects, and two more top 100 prospects. From talking to scouts, writers, and other experts, that is very in line with Dayton Moore’s fruitful beliefs in what he’d get from other teams for the young ace.
Something that many don’t realize, Zack Greinke had a fine season in 2010, despite a 10-14 record and an ERA over 4. Also keep in mind, that many internet junkies will suggest that Chris Narveson had a better season based on wins than the Greinkmeister, but not exactly. Zack was extremely unlucky this year. The Royals defense and offense on Greinke’s starts were horrid. He was 11th in MLB among pitchers in WAR this year (5.2) and was 20th among qualified pitchers in FIP (3.34). His slider and change up were also extremely effective in ’10.
So what will Zack Greinke bring back you ask? Well here’s what I expect. From looking at the returns of Roy Halladay and Adrian Gonzalez who were under contract for one season at the time of their trade, their respective teams acquired Kyle Drabek, Brett Wallace, and Travis D’Arnaud and Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo, and Reymond Fuentes. Both of those are somewhat even in my opinion. So would it make sense to say that a Zack Greinke return would require that, plus a prospect and a half in terms of value? Say Casey Kelly and co. were still on the Red Sox. I guess what I am refering to as equal value for Greinke would be the afformentioned A-Gon return, plus either Jacoby Ellsbury and Jason Rice or Jose Iglesias and Ryan Kalish. Again, just using that as an example. So what would that translate to?
Cubs: Andrew Cashner, Brett Jackson, Hak-Ju Lee, and Chris Archer
Dodgers: Dee Gordon, Trayvon Robinson, Allen Webster, and Kenley Jansen
Rangers: Derek Holland, Engel Beltre, and Jurrickson Profar
Some who I’ve approached about those potential offers have said the Royals would need more in return, and some have said that would be an overpayment. The former are the majority. I guess the big question is, with Greinke’s mental state, would a new team motivate him 80% more than the 2010 Royals did? I certainly think so. According to Rany Jazayerli, a Royals expert, In Greinke’s magical 2009 campaign, he got off to a great start large in part because of his fellow teamates, who were exceptional throughout the first month and a half of the season. Then the Royals started to play as well as an under-12 softball team, and Greinke was underperforming a great deal. And then in mid-august when he realized that he was in the Cy Young mix, he stepped it up enough to compile the best September ERA in Baseball. So I do think motivation plays a factor when it comes to teams banking on his mental state to be much better on a new team; I think he will perform fine and feel much more comfortable.
The rumors are still dwindling and Cliff Lee is still on the market. As long as he is still a free agent, Zack Greinke is still a Kansas City Royal. There are strong indications that Greinke will be traded very soon, thus to add to the flux of impressive minor league talent in the higher levels of the organization. No doubt about it, the ongoing Greinke rumors and potential trade of Zack, will be extremely exciting.
These are 20 facts that you didn’t know. Trust me, you definetly didn’t know. Not that these are in any order, but you can rank them for yourself. I think all are equally interesting. Enjoy!
Matt Kemp had a -0.24 UZR in 2010. Horrible season for Matt Kemp. I’m not going to say that Ned Colletti and the Dodgers management pressure didn’t have anything to do with this, but if he didn’t have that final week surge, he might be jealous of Melky Cabrera’s season.
Alexi Casilla has had the last AB of the regular season 2 out of the last 3 seasons. Good news is the one of those was a walk off that got his team, the Twins, in to the postseason, but the other was a game ending fly out that got the White Sox in to the postseason.
Ray King holds the record for most consecutive games without issuing an intentional walk. One of my favorite pitchers of all time. Not that this stat is found in record books or in the Hall of Fame, but I thought you’d be interested in knowing this.
Joe Inglett threw a knuckle ball at 54 MPH this season, and recorded an out. According to Fangraphs, this is true, but he can thank his incredible pitching staff for making that possible.
Darren Oliver was the first American league pitcher to pitch to a National league batter not including the world series or All-Star game. Ironically, this game was a matchup between the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants.
The 1990 Twins executed 2 triple plays in a game. If anybody was wondering, I don’t think Bengie Molina was on the opposing team. Perhaps the turf at the Metrodome helped the Twins fielders out.
Johnny Burnett, in 1932, got 9 hits in a game. Cesar Izturis should take note. Even though this game was 18 innings, 9 hits is nearly impossible. I guess they didn’t believe in intentional walks back then.
Zack Greinke in 2010 was 11th in WAR among qualified pitchers. His value is extremely high which is something people don’t realize. He is in line to bring at least 2 superstar players back to KC plus two other extremely good young players.
The only time in history that two sets of siblings played in the same infield in the same game were the Larkin’s and the Boone’s in the mid 90’s. On a side note, Al Leiter was once scheduled to face his brother on the Phillies, Marc, but a rainout thought differently
The Texas Rangers selected both Anthony Ranaudo and Drew Pomeranz in the 2007 draft, both of whom obviously did not sign. Most of that draft for the Rangers was used to acquire Cliff Lee, Christian Guzman, and Bengie Molina. I do have a feeling though that signing Pomeranz and Ranuado would have been a tad smart.
Before every game, umpires must rub around 6 dozen balls to get rid of the shine off the balls. This is obviously so Ken Macha wont march out of the dugout and ask the umpires, who are apparently shoe polish experts, to determine if there is polish on the ball, which isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Justin Upton, Ryan Zimmerman, Mark Reynolds B.J. Upton, and David Wright all played for the same high school team at the same time. That’s like 8474683 home runs every game right?
The Cleveland Indians’ 1999 draft produced only 3 players who have gone on to play Major League Baseball; Jeff Baker, Fernando Cabrera, and Ben Francisco. All of the others are what we call “duds” and this draft was widely considered the worst draft by a single team in MLB history.
B.J. Upton’s real name is “Melvin Emmanuel Upton.” This is just me, but M.E. Upton doesn’t exactly have that ring to it.
Kila Ka’aihue has a brother in the A’s organization, Kala Ka’aihue. Kala was a dominant minor league first baseman back in 2006 but everything went downhill from there
When Charlie Kerfeld, whose uniform number was 37, learned that Jim Deshaies had signed for $110,000 in 1987. He asked for and received $110,037.37 plus 37 boxes of orange Jell-O.
A “shuuto”, a Japanese gyroball type pitch, is a backward slider, which is horrible for the elbow but used prominently by japanese pitchers. Dice-K apparently throws one, as does Hisashi Iwakuma. Japanese pitchers though have 10 pitches in their arsenal though I wouldn’t be surprised to see even more have a history of throwing one.
As part of his contract, Tim Beckham had to personalize every Baseball that he signs. On the other hand, Hanley Ramirez is not allowed to sweetspot any ball he signs.
Ryan Ludwick and Cody Ross are the only two players in Major League Baseball who bat right and throws left. You would expect there to be more, but I bet there are more left handed batters who throw right.
Kauffman Stadium has the second largest jumbo-tron in sports. Which venue has the largest? Well your going to have to figure it out yourself, I don’t give answers away like that, but it rhymes with Schmallas Schmowboys Stadium.
Lots of talk has been centered around the Marlins bullpen. Personally, I think Leo Nunez has to go.
Some ideas that came to mind involve the Marlins shopping him for a young CF or 3B prospect with less upside than most but ceiling of a solid regular.
I first thought of Ryan Kalish and Ben Revere. Both of whom have their value high enough.
Kalish could be available due to the fact that he is blocked. He profiles as a potential 15 HR, 25 SB, .290/.360 type of guy.
Revere will hit less home runs but hit for a higher average and steal more bases.
Both players are solid defensively. Leo Nunez on the other hand is undervalued due to his horrid back to back Septembers. Not only is he a potential closer, but he has proven that until the aforementioned evil month, he can come out back to back nights and either close the game out or set up the closer while sitting at 95 MPH.
He is also under team control for several more years despite getting a raise which could total out to be $4.5MM.
This is all just speculation but I’d be surprised if Nunez is with the Marlins come Spring Training.
However, I do expect them to pursue someone like Joe Beimel or Tim Byrdak. Both of whom are lefties who can mentor young southpaw, Michael Dunn, which is what the Marlins are hoping to get done, no pun intended.
Also keep in mind that Joe Beimel has been highly effective as a reliever in his career. Not once has he had a particularly bad season.
Let me know what you think!
This is an interview with Darian Sandford, a prospect in the Kansas City Royals organization. Last year, Darian played outstanding in his first season in pro ball. He is also a really good guy, someone who gives back and cares about his fans. He did a great job with this interview, so I hope you like the interview with my buddy, Darian Sandford.
Me: Talk to me about what it was like starting off your pro career with a very, very well.
Darian: Starting my career off pretty well makes me feel more confident but i am still disapponted in how i played overall because i have a lot to improve in to get to where i really want to be.
Me: What was it like to get drafted by your home town team and were you hoping the Royals would draft you all along? Also, did you expect to get taken in the 47th round? or higher?
Darian: It feels good to get drafted by the team in my state even though i grew up in st.louis and watched the cardinals i still supported the royals because they are not that far away. I was very excited the royals drafted but still kinda of upset i went so late but that just motivates me because i have always been the underdog being a small guy and coming from a small school.
Me: Talk to me about some of the people who have helped you be where you’re at right now.
Darian: I have had plenty of people help me out my parents have helped me the most because they supported me when i didnt have a job in the summers like my friends did in order to support my dream and also my college coaches who helped spread the word about my talents
Me: You were once telling me how watching video of yourself motivates you and improves your game. Have you seen any video of yourself from Surprise this past year?
Darian: I havent seen any game footage of myself yet but during instructs the hitting coaches vieo taped my swing and that helped me alot with studying to better my swing.
Me: Who are some of your favorite teamates at Park Ritter and are any of them currently in pro ball as well?
Darian: Some of my favorite teammates at Park were my teammates Mike and Gabe they arent currently in pro ball because they are still in college but they helped me when i wanted extra work those are my boys.
Me: In my opinion, your speed is the key to your success. What do you do that makes you such an awesome baserunner?
Darian: Besides being blessed by God with pretty good speed i try to learn pitchers tendencies and Rusty helped me alot in instructs because before i started learning pitchers and what are good counts to run on i jus took off the first pitch and let my speed get the bags but now putting my mind with my speed i think i can one day be the greatest baserunner in history. I want to be the most exciting and agressive baserunner in baseball for the fans to enjoy and look forward to coming to a ball game and watching me get on base
Me: You just got a really good job working with kids in KC, is the player-fan relationship something that means a lot to you and something that you will always have at a higher or the highest level?
Darian: I love kids and i believe that players should interact more with fans and the higher i go im going to try to be more out going with fans and go out in public and meet as many fans as possible because fans are your support and without the fans the game wouldnt be as awesome as it is today
Me: What do you think about Yordano Ventura?
Darian: Ventura will be a big leaguer soon to have the arm he has once he developes his other pitches he will be awesome im just glad he is on my team .
Me: What are your expectations for next season?
Darian: My expectations for next year are pretty simple if im in full season ball i want to hit over 300 have at least 100 bags and help win a championship
Darian: All my fans are my favorite fans including you Dave LOl
The three R’s. Well i’m certainly not talking about radishes, rhino’s, and rolex’s. I’m also not going to be discussing Ryne Sandberg, Ricky Weeks, and Ronny Paulino. We’re going to discuss the comparisons and parellels between the Royals, Rangers, and Rays over the past several and the next several seasons.
Take a look at the Yankees organization. Great management, great fan attendance. The point is, the Yankees management is among the best in Baseball due to passion for keeping the game original and spending when they need to. They are not the only productive organization in Baseball, but the three that I am discussing today couldn’t be more different. Take a look at the Rays for example. They don’t have the money to go out and spend $181MM on Mark Teixeira or get in to a bidding war for Matt Holliday. The Rays have to draft, spend internationally, build from within, and maintain a team where you have little fan attendance and no payroll. The aformentioned ballclub has obviously been extremely successful lately thanks to Stuart Sternberg, Andrew Friedman, among others…But can a team succeed in the long run when they are in the dumps for such a long time? I say the answer is yes, and I think Nolan Ryan and the Texas Rangers fan base would agree. Obviously you look at some of the great moves that Jon Daniels has made recently. Now take a look at their 2007 draft, again, I used the “D” word. Most of the trades that they have made over the past year consist of letting go of players to whom they had drafted in ’07. Isn’t that all it is though? If you draft smart, spend money on amateurs including international amateurs, how far can that get you in the long run? Now take a look at the Royals. Not only the best farm system in Baseball but maybe the best farm system in Baseball History. I could spend hours just discussing and thinking about how scary their teams are and they are still underrated.
Now how do the Royals go about becoming a winning and successful franchise again such as the current Rays and Rangers? Well there are actually a lot of comparisons that need to be discussed.
According to Baseball America’s top 10 Rays prospects in 2007, (by the way, tell me this isn’t extremely awesome) from 1-10, Evan Longoria, David Price, Jake McGee, Wade Davis, Reid Brignac, Desmond Jennings, Jeff Neimann, Jeremy Hellickson, Ryan Royster, Chris Mason.
Obviously it’s about those two big names, Ryan Royster and Chris Mason. Seriously though, is that all it takes to be a winning team let alone successful franchise for years to come? Simplfying it, maybe. The Texas Rangers now, who actually had a little bit of a different road to glory, boasted the best Minor League System for a time before they had their pieces in place for this season. Now if you look at their roster, Elvis Andrus, Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz, Mitch Moreland, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, among others…All of whom are on that team due to Estaban Loaiza, Mark Teixeira, and good drafting. The Rangers also have two minor leaguers who I really like, both international signings, Martiz Perez and Jurrickson Profar.
So the point is, can the Royals, who currently boast a top 15, (my opinion) Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers, John Lamb, Mike Montgomery, Christian Colon, Chris Dwyer, Johnny Giavotella, Cheslor Cuthbert, Danny Duffy, Salvador Perez, Tim Collins, Brett Eibner, Derrick Robinson, and Crawford Simmons. Now there are many others who I can go crazy about (and trust me there are), but the question is, can these 15 translate in to a 2013 2008 Rays season? You look at the Rays and how their great drafts translated in to 3 consecutive winning seasons to say the least, the Rangers who will in my opinion have a winning team for many years to come, and the Royals, who in my opinion are extremely underrated and have a lot to be excited about.
The point is to focus more on the drafts, international scouting, player development and such, that to me is more important than signing player A for $10MM and player B for $15MM. Dayton Moore has done a fantastic job even after dealing Leo Nunez and Ramon Ramirez for pretty much nothing. Bottom line is, there is a lot to be excited for if you are a Royals fan, and even more to be excited about if you are a Rays and Rangers fan, who are two and three of the best managed teams in Baseball. The Rays, Rangers, and Royals…The REAL three “R’s”
The man who I am interviewing here is one of the most knowledgable people when it comes to the Kansas City Royals. His name is Greg Schaum and I encourage everyone to check out his blog @ www.RoyalsProspects.com. This interview is simply bases on many Royals fans excitement on the future of the organization. Check this out.
Me: Talk to me about where you think the Royals system ranks among the best in Baseball.
Greg: I think it has to be the number one system in baseball right now. The Braves, Rays, and Rangers have some studs but 1-6 on the Royals would be 1-2 on the majority of teams in baseball. (Hosmer, Moustakas, Myers, Montgomery, Lamb, and Duffy)
Me: Who are some sleepers in the Royals organization?
Greg: The first name that comes to mind is a pitcher who pitched in the Arizona League this year named Yordano Ventura. The buzz on him grew as the season progressed and I think this would be a name to watch next season. His teammate Robinson Yambati is also quite the find for the Royals organization.
The Royals also have a young catcher named Salvador Perez that is a great catcher and his bat really emerged as the Wilmington season went on. He reminds me of Sandy Alomar JR.
Me: Talk about the progression of Some of the higher level Royals.
Greg: Wow, I do not think you can not talk about progression without mentioning the awesome seasons that Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer have had.
Mike Montgomery and John Lamb both came out of the gate fast in 2010 and even though they have slowed down in the last few weeks they both have had big years.
The return of Danny Duffy to the Royals has been big and he is a legit future big leaguer. I also really like Chris Dwyer and he might be the closest to the majors of all of the Royals lefties.
Wil Myers, though, might end up being the best of the entire group. He looks to be that franchise type of guy that is such a rarity in baseball.
Me: Give me your thoughts on some of our favorite Royals from Surprise: Yordano Ventura and Darian Sandford.
Greg: I talked about Ventura already but Sandford is a burner that was a late round draft pick. The odds are stacked against him but that does not mean he could not end up being a special player. But, I will wait to make a prediction on him after he has some full season ball under his belt (I do have a interview lined up with Darian this week so check that out)
Me: Who do you like among the Royals 2010 draftees?
Greg: I really liked Whit Merrifield and Kevin Chapman during the college season. I think Chapman could be a Norm Charlton type of reliever…The upside of Merrifield is becoming a type of player that always makes a club better but is not a regular player. Brett Eibner was a great pick in the 2nd round and even though I liked him better as a P he has that rare ability to provide power from the right side of the plate. He has a chance to be a special player with the bat and glove (he is a very good OF)
I like Christian Colon because he is a winner and will do whatever it takes to win games. The Royals have done a great job building a future team of winning type of players. He will be a perfect compliment to Moustakas.
The local kid the Royals drafted named Jason Adam has a chance to be a special pitcher. He is a RH and he has a ton of potential.
Me: Who are some future weapons out of the pen in the Royals organization?
Greg: Louis Coleman can throw every day and is very deceptive. Tim Collins is maybe 5’7 but the lefty has terrific stuff and knows how to pitch. I think Aaron Crow ends up as a reliever and he has 2 pitches that could make him a late inning guy in the future. I mentioned Chapman already and the Royals have another lefty named Blaine Hardy that could be a reliever in the big leagues (He will pitch in the big leagues but right now the Royals are trying him as a starter because he has command of four pitches)
Me: Do you think the Royals international signings are starting to pay off? Especially in the lower levels…
Greg: Yes, Cheslor Cuthbert is a young slugger in the mold of Gary Sheffield. He has a quick bat and is only 17 years old. He is the best of the group of international guys.
Me: Talk about the great season that the Northwest Arkansas Naturals have had, and the progression of Hosmer, Giavotella, D-Rob, and the lefties.
Greg: The Naturals are one of the best AA teams in recent memory. They have the right mix of speed, defense, power, and pitching. They have some greay character guys like Everett Teaford and Clint Robinson (who both have had excellent seasons) and were provided a spark in the first half from Moustakas and in the second half from Hosmer. Derrick Robinson is an exciting young player that has had a big rebound season. He still has some improvements that need to be made but he is as fast as anyone in the game.
Giavotella is a fine hitter with great bat control. He is a perfect #2 hitter and will knock the ball out of the park every so often. I would challenge anyone to find a better group of lefties than the Royals have in their system (all of them have pitched for AA at some point this season) at any one time in the last 30 years.
Me: Last one, Describe the expectations of Pat White and what kind of progression he is expected to make plus his ETA, this is all assuming he stays in Baseball.
Greg: From what I understand Pat White is just testing the water right now. It is not a fact that he will stick with baseball. But, if he does than you are talking about a potential 5 tool guy. He was a terrific high school star and has a great arm, can fly, and used to be a terrific hitter. This could end up bring a fantastic sign by the Royals organization.