Blog Entry

Royals Report Card for the 2009 Season

Posted on: October 5, 2009 4:49 pm
Well, I did this at the 1/3 mark in the season, so here comes the final report card.   There are some honor roll players and of course a number that get a failing grade.   As far as the entire organization, I'll give them a D-.   The only thing that keeps the Royals from getting an F for failure is that I'm taking in account the injury factor.   True, every team suffers through injuries during the course of the season, but the Royals lost some very key players.   Starting shortstop, third baseman, centerfielder, right fielder, number 1 starter entering the season and our closer for a spell.   Mark Teahen filling in for Gordon at third was the only adequate replacement we got for any of these positions during the injury process, and to a smaller extent Mitch Maier in center.  

Without further ado, lets get to the players, then the pitchers...

Billy Butler  A-   Billy is our only Honor Roll offensive player.   .301, 21 HR, 93 RBI, 51 2Bs.   He got better as the season went on and once the Royals get some productive hitters in front of him and an adequate clean-up hitter behind him, the sky is the limit.   He clearly showed the best approach at the plate and usually punished pitchers who fell behind in the count to him.  His defense was a bit under league average for first baseman, but according to Baseball-Reference he had FAR BETTER RANGE than his peers.   This surprised me.  If you don't believe me, look it up.   

Alberto Callaspo  B.   As a hitter for a second baseman, he's probably an A-, but the player gets a B.  .300, 11 HR, 73 RBI, 41 2Bs, 8 3Bs.  The .300 average doesn't surprise me, but the 60 XBHs do.   Alberto was the Royals offensive MVP during the hot start of the season and through the first half.   What drops his grade to a B is his defense.  His decision making got better as the season progressed, but he still bobbled too many balls.   He'll have to improve his defensive game or he'll find himself as a utility player or a part time DH.   The bat is good though and if his offense doesn't tail off, it'll be hard to knock him off of second.

David DeJesus  B.   I was about ready to run him out of town at the 1/3 point in the season, but he improved as the season progressed.  .281, 13HR, 71 RBI, 9 triples.   He is still far from an ideal leadoff hitter, but for whatever reason, he hits well in the leadoff spot.   David still needs to get his hands on the manual "Baserunning For Idiots".   For an athlete who's fast and a fundamentally sound outfielder, his baserunning is an enigma.  David also posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 2009 and threw out double digit baserunners.   I may be in the minority here, but I feel he deserves a gold glove.

Mark Teahen  C.   .271, 12 HR, 50 RBI.  Was sizzling in Arizona in spring training, started the season strong then he tailed off as the season went along.   The most valuable thing Mark did this season was to hold down third base adequately while Alex was on the DL this year.  Hopefully the Royals will get good enough that Teahen will be a utility corner outfielder/infielder.   He just doesn't have the bat and clutchness you want in an everyday line-up.   I thought is was absurd batting him clean-up for as long as we did.  For a guy that hit 4-6 in the line-up all season, its sad he didn't post more than 50 RBI.   

Yuniesky Betancourt  D+.  .245, 6 HR, 49 RBI.  If you can't put up offensive numbers better than that, then you'ld better be an above average fielder.   Unfortunately Yuney is below average in the field as well.   Also unfortunate is the fact he's the best healthy shortstop in the organization right now.    Hopefully Mike Aviles will be healthy come February and challenge him for a starting spot.  Betancourt could be a useful 2B/SS reserve.  

Miguel Olivo  C.     .249, 23 HR, 65 RBI.   I love his power, but most of the rest of his game leaves a lot to be desired.   His plate discipline did appear to improve over the last 6 weeks of the season...he was no longer swinging at low flying aircraft and grasshoppers.  I think he did a pretty good job of calling a game.   Zack gave him a lot of credit for his success, but otherwise Olivo committed 10 passed balls, and the Royals staff far and away led the league in wild pitches.   Olivo's rate of throwing out base runners decreased from 42% in 2008 to 28% in 2009.   Miguel is on the wrong side of 30, so there probably isn't much improvement on the horizon, but...sigh... again, he's the best catcher we have.

Mitch Maier  C.   .243, 3HR, 31 RBI, 9 SB.  He played enough to be graded, yet I found him hard to grade.   His batting average and OBP are disappointing, but he does hit pretty well with men on base.   He also probably has 20 SB potential.    Offensively, he wasn't more of a D, but his defense was stellar.  Like DeJesus, Maier finished the season without an error and led all rookie outfielders with 11 assists.   If Maier can pick up the pace in power and OBP, he could have a future as a starter, but as of now, he's got fourth outfielder written all over him.

Jose Guillen  D-.   .242, 9HR, 40 RBI.  He only played in half the games and I'm not trying to hold injuries against him.   He did manage 40 RBI which would be an 80 RBI pace, but still far below the investment and expectations.  His defense has been in decline starting in 2007, and his .21 fielding percentage below league average may have been the worst in the majors this year.   Like Olivo, Guillen is on the wrong side of 30 and I fear he's breaking down and declining fast.  Will likely be the Royals DH next season.

Josh Anderson  C-.   .240, 1 HR, 24 RBI, 25 SB.   Played left field mostly for the Tigers, played mostly CF for the Royals.   I'd put him as average as an outfielder.   He looks a bit overmatched at the plate at times.   If this guy could figure out how to get on base more, he could be a very valuable player.   If he can hit his way into the starting line-up, he's got 75 SB potential.   At this point, he's not much more than Joey Gathright.  

Willie Bloomquist  C+.   .265, 4HR, 29 RBI, 25 SB.    Without a doubt, the best aquisition Dayton Moore made prior to the 2009 season.  No, he's not a guy you want in your everyday line-up, but he deserves all the playing time he got.   Played in 125 games as a utilityman.   With all the injuries the Royals had this year, the Royals would have surpassed 100 losses without Willie.   

Alex Gordon  D-.   .232, 6 HR, 22 RBI.   The D- may be a bit unfair, but I'm judging his overall game when he was on the field this year and not taking into account the ramifications of his hip injury.   His fielding percentage was .38 under league average and the batting average speaks for itself.   He did manage to raise his average .040 after coming back from his injury and he was rather productive at the plate in the final two weeks of the season.   I'd like to see him get in a month of winter ball this off-season to get some atbats and fielding reps to restore his confidence.   The season was a loss, and I'll give him a mulligan for the hip injury.   Perhaps next year?

Coco Crisp   D+.   .228, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 13 SB.   Much like Gordon, this grade is for his on field production, not taking into account the injury.    His production had a major drop off both offensively and defensively when his sore shoulder was brought to light.   His fielding percentage was .16 below league average and everyone was running on his arm.   His OBP was fairly decent and he's quite a distraction on the basepaths, but other than that he's nowhere near being worth the option on his next contract.   

Mike Jacobs  F.   .228, 19 HR, 61 RBI.   He's such a bad fielder that we gave the first base job to Butler expecting him to be a less than average first baseman.   He struggled so badly against left handers that he was frequently pinch hit for late in the game and frequently left out of the line-up against left handed starters.  He probably had more RISP opportunities than any other Royals player, yet he only got 61 RBI and got only one sacrafice fly all season.   You may think I hate Jacobs because I've been bashing him all season, but thats quite contrary.   From everything I've read and heard about him, he's a wonderful man and teammate and I was really rooting for him, he just had a horrible season. 

I decided not to grade the other cast of characters such as John Buck, Mike Aviles, Brayan and Tony Pena, Luis Hernandez, and Tug Hulett.   Aviles is the only one worth a look at getting a starting job next year.   Buck will cost more than he'll be worth and should be released.   Brayan Pena could be an inexpensive back-up, but I'd like to see the Royals find a good defensive catcher for that role.   Hopefully TPJ finds his calling as a relief pitcher...we could use it.

Zack Greinke  A+.   16-8, 2.16 ERA, 242/51 K/BB, .230 BAA, 6 CG, 3 Shutouts, 229 innings.   If he posted a 2.16 ERA as a National League pitcher I'd have given him an A+, to do it in a DH league is mind numbing.  One of the 3 lowest ERAs in the post DH era.   He broke or tied club records in strikeouts in a game and consecutive scoreless innings and fell just 2 strikeouts short of Dennis Leonard's 244 in 1977.   All 4 of the Royals starting infielders were below major league average in fielding percentage and all but Butler are below average in range.   We were next to last in runs scored and Zack's run support was a major league worst.   Do I need to even mention how the bullpen pitches in the 7th and 8th innings?   If the Royals were just average at the above categories, Zack would have easily won 23 games and his ERA could have challenged breaking the 2.00 mark.   There was absolutely no weakness in Zack's game this season.   His fielding was also Gold Glove caliber.

Brian Bannister   C.   7-12, 4.73 ERA, 98/55 K/BB, 154 IP.   Sadly, these numbers represent our second best starter this season.   Pretty decent for a #4.   Again, Brian got off to a great start to the season and tailed off as the season progressed.   He pretty much did what I expected this season...better than 2008, worse than 2007.   Season ended prematurely to a sore shoulder.

Luke Hochevar  F.   7-13, 6.55 ERA, 106/46 K/BB, 143 IP, .290 BAA.   When he's on, he's great.   Unfortunately those times are far too infrequent.   He's got the talent to be a #2 or #3 starter, but his make-up sucks.   Just prone to the big innings.   Makes his mistakes with men on base.  He doesn't walk a whole lot of hitters, but when he does, it leads to trouble nearly every time.   He needs to commit himself to be a sinker ball pitcher.   When he gets in trouble he starts overthrowing.    If you watch Zack, when he gets in trouble, he tunes it down.   

Gil Meche  D+.   6-10, 5.09 ERA, 95/58 K/BB, 129 IP.  Definitely a down year for Gil and cut short due to injury.   Had trouble in most of his starts with pitch efficiency.   Ran his pitch count up too high and too soon.   Usually a work horse...the horse broke down.   Hopefully he'll be healthy in 2010.

Kyle Davies  D.   8-9, 5.27 ERA, 86/66 K/BB, 123 IP.  Kyle creates most of his problems.   He either gives hitters to much credit or doesn't trust his stuff enough.   If he had the mental make-up of Banny, Kyle would probably be a sub 4.00 ERA pitcher.   He nitpicks far too much which leads to his bad BB/IP ratio.   Just let the damn ball go, Kyle!

Jamey Wright  C.   3-5, 4.33 ERA, 50/44 K/BB, 79 IP.  Started out as the nicest surprise in the bullpen this season.   Over the entire course of the season, he probably was the second best reliever in the pen after Soria.   Towards the end of the season he started walking too many batters.   He's better suited as a long reliever, but with Cruz, Mahay and Bale all failing at short relief, Wright became Trey's choice by default to pitch in LIPS (late inning pressure situations).  I hope the Royals bring Jamey back, but ideally as a long reliever or a 6th inning guy.

Robinson Tejeda  B-.  4-2, 3.54 ERA, 87/50 K/BB, 73.2 IP.   Tejeda was heading for a C- until Trey gave him a shot at a starting role.   Good decision by Hillman.  Much like Davies, Tejeda needs to cut back on the walks.   Davies needs to tune it up, Tejeda needs to scale it back, especially if he gets auditioned for a starting spot for 2010.   Tejeda may have the best stuff on the Royals not named Greinke, he just needs to know how to control it more consistently.   If Tejeda can harness his control he'd make a good middle of rotation starter or a set-up man for Soria.

Bruce Chen  F.   1-6, 5.78 ERA, 45/25 K/BB, 62.1 IP.   Failed miserably as a starter and didn't have much success in the bullpen either.   I almost gave him a D-, but he disappointed me.   One of a number of Omaha farm hands who had a good season at AAA that couldn't do anything on the big stage.   See Hulett, DiNardo, Yabuta and Hochevar.  

Sidney Ponson   F.   1-7, 7.36, 32/25 K/BB, 58.2 IP.   Desperate move by Dayton to find an experienced starter.   Experiment failed, Ponson sucked, got released and his career is probably over.

Joakim Soria  A.  3-2, 2.21 ERA, 69/16 K/BB, 53 IP, 30/33 in save conversions.  Not up to his 2008 standards, but still great.   Had some shoulder discomfort that put him on the DL for about 3 weeks and made him unavailable at other times.   He was called on a handful of times for 2 inning saves which also made him unavailable for then next game or two.   He was the only dependable reliever in the bullpen for the bulk of the final 4 months of the season.   

Roman Colon  C-.   2-3, 4.83 ERA, 29/22 K/BB, 50.1 IP.  He did okay.   Pitching in the 8th innings in close games is over his head, but it appears it was for nearly every reliever this season.  He had a better season than Cruz or Bale....but is that really saying much?

Juan Cruz  F.   3-4, 5.62 ERA, 38/29 K/BB,  50.1 IP.   I thought he'ld be the best signing of the year, but he turned out to be a big disappointment.   He got off to a nice start for about 6 weeks and then hit a wall that he never got over.   We have him for one more season, hopefully he'll rebound.

Kyle Farnsworth  C-.    1-5, 4.58 ERA, 42/14 K/BB, 37.1 IP.  Considering the bloated contract awarded to Farnsworth, Dayton thought he had a set-up man.   What he got was an overpaid mop-up man.   I gave Kyle a C- to balance how he did in his two roles this season.   He was an A when the outcome wasn't in question and an F- when the game was on the line.  

John Bale  F.   0-1, 5.72 ERA, 24/18 K/BB, 28.1 IP.   He sucked.  I hope our contract obligation with him is over.   Thats all he merits me talking about him.   

No grades for guys under 25 innings pitched due to the small sample size.   They included Horacio Ramirez, Lenny DiNardo, Dusty Hughes, Yasihiko Yabuta, Jason Lerew, Victor Marte, Carlos Rosa and Doug Waechter.   Lerew and Rosa were the only two who gave me a positive impression with a chance of landing a roster spot on the 2010 team.   

As far as Dayton Moore and Trey Hillman being evaluated, I'm not going to go in depth.  I don't think either of them deserve better than a D.    Moore's negatives in 2009 were for trades that didn't work out, not all his fault, but they still didn't pan out.   I do feel he did well in the amateur draft.   Aaron Crow and Wil Myers are my #2 and #4 prospects in the Royals organization respectively.   In case you're wondering, I have Mike Montgomery as #1, Mike Moustakas as #3 and Eric Hosmer at #5.   As for Trey Hillman, by biggest indictment on him was for the poor defense and situational hitting that the Royals displayed this season.   I was expecting better fundamentals.   The team is lacking in talent, so the fundies need to be strong.   I give him props that this team never gives up.   The effort is there every game and you never hear one word uttered from a player questioning Trey.   I approve of Dayton giving him one more season.   Hopefully there will be more talent on the team to evaluate him fairly.  

Category: MLB

Since: Sep 14, 2008
Posted on: November 16, 2009 9:55 pm

Royals Report Card for the 2009 Season

As a former resident and attendee of many Royals games in the 70's and 80's ,
it's a shame what the organization has allowed to happen. Many fond memories of the past , i hope you guy's get to see that again.
The problem is payroll ..way to small to contend. I will grade the 09 Royals a D- , there were a couple of bright spots...I grade all you fans that still support the Royals A+ ...As usual good stuff Dude, good luck for 2010.

Since: Mar 19, 2008
Posted on: October 25, 2009 12:22 pm

Royals Report Card for the 2009 Season

Great report Dude.

The way the Chiefs are playing I will be ready for the baseball season to start.
Royals in 2010. Yeah baby.

Since: May 14, 2008
Posted on: October 9, 2009 9:32 pm

Royals Report Card for the 2009 Season

;     &nbs
p;     &nb
sp;     &n
bsp;   F

Since: Dec 4, 2007
Posted on: October 9, 2009 6:29 pm

Royals Report Card for the 2009 Season

For the most part, I would agree with you on the grades.  The only one I might take umbrage with is Gil Meche.  Yeah, his stats don't look all that great.  But, he was pitching really well up until Trey left him out there to throw 130+ pitches.  In today's day and age, pitchers are not used to doing that, and he ended up with a "dead arm."  Then, before he could even fully recover, Trey left him out there again to throw almost 130 pitches.  After that, his arm was pretty much shot for the rest of the year until they finally decided to just shut him down all together.  So, I might go more towards a C because really Trey ruined his season.  I can't help but think that he would have had a winning record, and at least a run lower ERA if Trey had more common sense.

Since: Feb 15, 2007
Posted on: October 8, 2009 12:53 pm

Royals Report Card for the 2009 Season

Not too bad. 

In defense for Juan Cruz though.  Yes he started out pretty good and then he couldn't even get an out.  But that was also during the period while Soria was on the DL so his role was in limbo---was he still a reliever?  was he now set up man?  closer?  Lots of flux there.
Plus it needs to be said that his wife was days from delivering a baby during this same stretch---which you may not seem like much, but my wife was due to deliver our baby just at the same time and I personally struggled concentrating at my own job, and thats not even close to being a major leaguer.

Supposedly he is a professional and things like this shouldn't matter so I can see how you would say 'no excuses'  but even these guys are human.

I also question the time periods between Gordon's hip injury and his actual placement on the DL as well as Crisp's.  With Gordon I feel like management may have wanted him to try to push through it but once he was struggling it was clear that Teahen was a better option at that time.  But with Crisp I wonder if he was forced to play injured a bit longer than normal because there was no capable option as an everyday centerfielder---hence the Ryan Freel experience (hey where is his grade Kid???)  It doesn't really have anything to do with their grades, just something I was pondering

I would like to see Jacobs for one more year as it seemed he was picking up steam later in the year- if nothing else he was hitting some amazing line outs to deep outfield. 

Since: Oct 5, 2007
Posted on: October 8, 2009 8:08 am

Royals Report Card for the 2009 Season

Good stuff bad the immediate future isn't for our Royals.  Dayton needs to make some solid moves in the offseason.  Calaspo needs to work on his defense.  Gordon needs to play winter ball.  We all need to pray that Aviles bounces back to his rookie season form.  Praise Billy Butler...he's worked hard and it is paying off!  Crisp is worth the risk since we don't have a legit leadoff hitter and center fielder.  Platoon Pena and Olivo at catcher and say so long to Buck.  Our middle relief pitching is a disaster.  Thanks to Greinke and Soria for All Star seasons...I am really hoping that Greinke is rewarded with the Cy Young award.  I still believe Meche and Hochevar can bounce back and be solid.  I think Hochevar is as good as the guys around him.  Tejeda finished strong so that leaves us looking for A LOT of pitching and someone to replace Jacobs.  We might as well hope that Guillen gets healthy in the offseason because we are paying him for two more years.  Lets hope for the best over the coming months. 

Since: Dec 7, 2007
Posted on: October 6, 2009 1:51 am

Royals Report Card for the 2009 Season

Good job Kid.  Cannot argue about any of those grade you gave the Royals.  After looking at the roster closely, I would be willing to keep Zack Greinke, Joakim Soria, Billy Butler, David DeJesus, Willie Bloomquist, Alberto Callaspo, Miguel Olivo, Robinson Tejeda, and the other four starters Gil Meche, Brian Bannister, Kyle Davies, and Luke Hochevar.  Maybe Juan Cruz.  Everyone else could disappear and be replaced.  I thinks the rotation has one more year to prove themselves.  If Coco Crisp is healthy, I would pick up that option for 2010.  The team did well when he was healthy (If he really was good from the beginning.  I think he hurt himself in the spring and never told anyone) and he is better for center field than anyone we have currently.

Let's hope next year's report card will grade out much better.  David Glass needs to boost the payroll to 85 Million.  Now that is easy to say since it isn't my money, but look what the Tigers owner has done in Detriot to get them in the winning side of the ledger again.  Illich shows that occasionally, you have to spend some wise money on the MLB payroll to make your team a winner financially and in the eyes of the community.

Thanks again for the work on your blog.  Go Royals in 2010.

Since: Apr 4, 2008
Posted on: October 5, 2009 8:11 pm

Royals Report Card for the 2009 Season

Moore probably could have gotten some good value in trades for both Bannister and Meche before the trading deadline as well as he could have gotten something for Mahay before the 2008 deadline.   Now Mahay is gone, Meche appears to be damaged goods and Banny is just a middle of the rotation starter and now has an injury history.    IMO, Dayton Moore may have had as bad of a season as any of the players did.

Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: October 5, 2009 5:51 pm

Royals Report Card for the 2009 Season

Nice work KidDude. I think almost all of your evaluations were all on point. The sad thing is that i see about 5 players total on the report card that should be starting on a major league roster. I know we say this every year but i think next year is the year Gordon breaks out and plays well. He showed good plate discipline this year and at the end of the year it looked like it was starting to come together for him. My expectations aren't nearly as high as they once were for him but i still see a potential .280, 22 HR, 90 RBI guy. Dejesus could be a decent 5 or 6 hitter on our team but no way should he be in the leadoff spot. Every other batter on our team can be released as far as i'm concerned As far as our pitchers go....... what the hell happened? Went from studs to duds after 1 month of baseball. I wonder if Moore is kicking himself for not unloading Bannister for a nice package before the deadline. He was obviously too greedy. Hochie has the physical stuff to succeed but he's a long way from perfecting the mental aspect of pitching. I think he needs to spend more time working with Greinke this offseason. Injuries or not this year, i still think we would've collapsed at the end of the year and finished 4th in the Central.  

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