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Old 12-11-2012, 09:59 AM  
duncan_idaho duncan_idaho is offline
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2013 Kansas City Royals Repository Thread

Proposed 2013 Slogan: Tigers: They're what's for dinner
Actual 2013 Slogan: Come to Play
A better, more accurate, or alternative slogan: All in, no panic, we promise.

Dayton Moore has pushed all his chips in and is riding on King/Jack suited, hoping it comes together, he gets some good luck, and he hits the nuts by the river card. There's potential, oh yes, there's potential. There's also risk.

At the midway point, Dayton is left counting on the river card. The flop and turn didn't help him, and he's looking at the Tigers holding a pair of Queens and the Indians holding a pair of 9s. His 2013 plan hasn't failed - yet - but the odds are not in his favor.

Burning questions updates below.

Burning Questions for 2013:

1) Will the improve rotation be improved enough? Does James Shields pitch like a fringe No. 1 away from Tampa Bay? Does Ervin Santana pitch to his highest upside in his walk year? Can Jeremy Guthrie build on his strong performance as a Royal in 2012? Can Wade Davis bring his new mentality- and velocity - back to the rotation?

Midseason check-in: Yes, the rotation is certainly improved enough. Shields has pitched like a fringe No. 1 and Santana is having his best season. Guthrie has horrible peripherals but has continued to perform well at his home park and eat innings on the road. Davis brought neither his kick-ass mentality or improved velocity back to the rotation and is in Luke Hochevar/Hiram Davies territory.

2) When will Luke Hochevar be shown the door?
Midseason check-in: It appears, never, at this point. Hochevar has been solid in non-leverage situations, though pretty much every time he has been used with men on base in an inning, it has been a disaster.

3) Does Hosmer bounce back?
Midseason check-in: It took some time, but Hosmer's performance from June 1 on is probably the most encouraging thing about the 2013 season so far.
4) Can Moustakas hit for a whole season like he did in the first half of 2012?
Midseason check-in: Nope. Moustakas was god-awful, then great for about 3 weeks, then god-awful again. He has been better since he started working with Brett and Grafol but still has a long way to go.
5) Who regresses?
Midseason check-in: Welp, Alicides Escobar is not a surprising name here (though Yost's stubborn insistence on hitting him second is ridiculous). Billy Butler is a surprise. He isn't having a terrible year - still contributing a lot to the offense - but he's not hitting for the average or power he has displayed over the past several years.
6) Who plays 2B?
Midseason check-in: A whole bunch of people, and not that great. Gio is at least getting a shot, though he once again is not doing much with it.
7) Can Jeff Francoeur be at least replacement level, rather than epic horrible level?
Midseason check-in: Hahahahahahahahahahaha
8) Will Dayton Moore survive to see 2014?
Midseason check-in: Outlook uncertain. Probably still around, unless the team completely tanks in the second half and he does something foolish. My guess - he sacrifices Ned Yost this offseason and gets one more shot with a new manager in 2014.
9) Will Danny Duffy come back healthy? And if he does, is he the same, better or worse?
Midseason check-in: Yes. Velocity looks the same, and it looks likely he is the same guy as before.
10) And the big one: Has KC added enough to run down the big-money Detroit Tigers?
Midseason check-in: Doesn't look like it, does it?

Last edited by duncan_idaho; 07-15-2013 at 10:01 AM..
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:46 AM   #7381
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Say you do sell. If you can secure a deal where Holland is the centerpiece for a middle of the order bat like Castellanos who will be MLB ready by next year at the break, you may even extend your window beyond the James Shields era.
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:48 AM   #7382
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Any of these other teams with equally unrealistic expectations are looking at their schedules, circling games against the Royals as opportunities to make up ground.
I'm sure they are. Thanks Pete.
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:51 AM   #7383
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I guess in that case we'll change the wording... the Royals do not have a road game against a team with a better record the rest of the season, except for the Tigers and Indians.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:31 AM   #7384
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Hey y'all,

Want to see something even more uncomfortable than watching the Royals play baseball?



My favorite comment on Deadspin: "It was originally four Royals, but the technology doesn't yet exist to sufficiently slow down Billy Butler's eating."
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:54 AM   #7385
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This is on the front page of ESPN today.

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/94...er-ready-shine

Quote:
Greg Holland ready to star
By "Dirty South" or any name, Royals' All-Star closer won't sneak up on anyone
Originally Published: July 22, 2013
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN.com

Kansas City's Greg Holland, the best closer that hardly anybody knows, is unflappable, unpretentious and a bit undersized at 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds. His hobbies include hunting and fishing, beard-growing, lighting up radar guns and shaking hands with catcher Salvador Perez after game-ending punchouts.

It's hard for a good old country boy in a small market to attract national attention, but Holland is starting to develop a following. A few devotees on Twitter have begun a campaign to christen him "Dirty South." The nickname has yet to catch on in the manner of teammate Billy Butler's "Country Breakfast" moniker, but some of Holland's fellow Royals think it has potential.

"It makes sense," left fielder Alex Gordon said. "He's a dirty pitcher and he's from the south. Put two and two together and you've got it."

Holland, 27, is putting up some hellacious numbers in his second season as Kansas City's closer. After a shaky start, he has converted 17 straight save opportunities -- including saves Friday and Saturday that allowed the Royals to make a small dent in Detroit's lead in the American League Central.

He's averaging 14.84 strikeouts per nine innings, and generating that same queasy feeling that Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman and -- of course -- Mariano Rivera elicit when they come out of the bullpen.

In 22 innings at Kauffman Stadium this year, Holland has allowed one run for an ERA of 0.41. Since May 12, he has given up nine hits in 25 innings and held opponents to a .108 batting average. And the Elias Sports Bureau notes that in a 5-1 win over the Yankees on July 8, he became the first pitcher to complete a save with three bases-loaded strikeouts since Baltimore's George Sherrill achieved the feat against the Cubs in 2008.

Even limited encounters with Holland leave an impression. Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis, who has been tearing it up against all kinds of pitching this season, is 1-for-5 with a strikeout in his career against Holland. Kipnis would prefer to save future encounters with Holland for special occasions -- like leap years or lunar eclipses.

"Not fun at all," Kipnis said. "We've talked about it. He told me he doesn't like to see me in the box, and I don't like to see him on the mound. I don't think his name gets thrown out as much as it should. People don't realize how hard he throws, or how good his other stuff is to complement it."

Improbable All-Star

Holland's exploits landed him a spot in the All-Star Game, where he spent several days stargazing and enjoying the opportunity to mingle with the game's elite. During a recent trip to Yankee Stadium, he got Rivera to sign a jersey for him. When Holland approached the Yankees great to say hello at Citi Field last weekend, he made sure to keep the conversation brief because he knew Rivera had a busy schedule.

Holland gives off a naturally humble vibe. A few hours before the All-Star Game, he stood in a corner of the visiting clubhouse and basked in the moment with a "what the heck am I doing here?" look on his face.

"It's been a rush," he said. "I'm just trying to slow this down a little bit and soak it in. You want to enjoy it and remember the experience, because it's hard to get here. To get one All-Star bid is awesome. You'll never know if you'll get another one."

Holland comes from Marion, N.C., a town of roughly 8,000 people with the motto, "Where Main Street Meets the Mountains." His father, Scott, installed windows for a living and played competitive softball on the weekends, and Greg and his brother, Chase, tagged along to watch.

Holland played at McDowell High School, in the same western North Carolina region that produced Cameron Maybin and Madison Bumgarner, and aspired to a career as a big league shortstop. He suffered a setback in his senior year when he was standing on first base and a pickoff throw from the catcher struck him in the face and broke his jaw.

With no interest from MLB teams in the draft and zero scholarship offers forthcoming, Holland walked on at Western Carolina University and settled in as a reliever with the Catamounts. He captured the attention of Steve Connelly, a former Royals scout who now works in the Toronto organization, and Kansas City chose him in the 10th round of the 2007 draft. Holland is the only player drafted and signed in that round who is currently in the majors.

It took faith and imagination for the Royals to project Holland as more than a setup man as he traversed the minor league chain. He threw hard, but had questionable command and needed to develop more consistency with his secondary pitches to keep hitters off his fastball -- which arrives at the plate on a relatively flat plane because of his vertically challenged stature.

"He was a down-the-line guy," said Mike Arbuckle, a senior adviser to Royals GM Dayton Moore. "All the ingredients made him a middle-round draft pick. He was only a reliever. He wasn't big. He wasn't a name guy. But that's where the scouts make a difference. We ought to know and be right on the first couple of picks. But it's those middle-round guys that your scouts push and say, 'We need to get this guy,' who make your organization."

The right temperament

Holland waited his turn behind Joakim Soria and Jonathan Broxton in Kansas City before embracing the opportunity to pitch in more high-leverage situations late last season. He finished the 2012 season with 16 saves and began this year as the Royals' closer. But he mixed in two clunkers in the first week, and some panic-stricken Royals watchers began advocating for manager Ned Yost to give Kelvin Herrera a shot.

Holland, meanwhile, projected an air of calm and an admirable ability to take things in stride.

"He struggled, but you never would have known it," Gordon said. "Everybody knew he was upset when he blew a save, but from the way he came into the clubhouse, it didn't look like it affected him one bit. He was very professional. He answered all the questions just like a closer is supposed to do."

Holland has the stuff to hang around a while. He throws his fastball at an average speed of 95.6 mph, not far below Chapman (97.7) and Kimbrel (96.6), and his slider has developed into a wipeout pitch. He complements those two offerings with a splitter that he throws about 5 percent of the time. Since 2011, lefty hitters are batting .184 against him, while righties check in at .211.

Because of Holland's velocity, hitters have to start the bat early to catch up with his fastball and routinely leave themselves vulnerable against his secondary pitches. He generates lots of sorry emergency hacks and nervous looks once he's ahead in the count.

"You have to sell out to get ready for that 100 [mph]," Kipnis said. "He threw a slider that bounced maybe six feet in front of the plate, and I swung and it bounced and hit my bat and went for a foul ball. I was laughing in the box. I was like, 'Geez, I was so bad I was good on that one.'"

Few hitters who step to the plate against Holland these days have the luxury of laughing at any point in the encounter. Feel free to call him "Dirty South," the pride of McDowell County or Craig Kimbrel's American League bookend. The Royals keep calling him in the ninth, and the result is almost always the same: good morning, good afternoon and good night.
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:03 AM   #7386
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He is still no Jim Johnson.
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:11 AM   #7387
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:21 AM   #7388
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This is on the front page of ESPN today.
Cool. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:22 AM   #7389
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My hope for the week (I think):

1) Lose 3/4 to the O's (one win coming behind a STRONG start from Ervin Santana)
2) Begin shopping Ervin Santana
3) Work on a deal with Texas. I just talked about this on the scout board, but Santana's trade value is likely right around Matt Garza's. If they could get Mike Olt and Neil Ramirez from the Rangers for Santana, I think that's a move worth exploring.

Olt is struggling this year but is only 18 months removed from being a higher-regarded prospect than Jurickson Profar. He's a RH power bat who could be transitioned to RF as soon as they acquired. Potentially, he could start in RF for KC in 2014.

Ramirez has great stuff but hasn't put it all together yet. Near-MLB rotation depth.

High-risk, high-reward type deal. If it went RIGHT and Olt contends for AL RotY in 2014 (think Mark Trumbo - similar hitters) while Ramirez offers rotation help and upside, you're in pretty good shape on that deal.
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:27 AM   #7390
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The Royals traded for Gorkys Hernandez (assigned to Omaha), for some reason.
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:33 AM   #7391
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The Royals traded for Gorkys Hernandez (assigned to Omaha), for some reason.
I honestly read Gorky as Corky, and I was like, ****, isn't he already on the roster?
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:35 AM   #7392
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reaper16 View Post
The Royals traded for Gorkys Hernandez (assigned to Omaha), for some reason.
Former top 100 prospect. OF with speed (and little pop).

Just throwing a dart, I'd guess. This is probably why Alex McClure (son of former pitching coach and all-glove SS) is headed to the Miami system.
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:38 AM   #7393
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Dirty south eh? Not bad.
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:47 AM   #7394
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duncan_idaho View Post
Former top 100 prospect. OF with speed (and little pop).

Just throwing a dart, I'd guess. This is probably why Alex McClure (son of former pitching coach and all-glove SS) is headed to the Miami system.
Yeah, that's all it can be.

I remembered him being in the Futures Game a whopping three times. Only other person I could remember being on there 3 times was the esteemed Justin Huber. Which got me thinking: what is the track record for prospects who played in 3 different Futures Games (there's never been someone who played in 4)?

Merkin Valdez
Seung-Jun Song
Carlos Carrasco
Edwin Encarnacion
Shin-Soo Choo
Justin Huber
Gorkys Hernandez

Small list. Encarnacion and Shin-Soo Choo have the only notable careers.
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:02 PM   #7395
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Originally Posted by Reaper16 View Post
Yeah, that's all it can be.

I remembered him being in the Futures Game a whopping three times. Only other person I could remember being on there 3 times was the esteemed Justin Huber. Which got me thinking: what is the track record for prospects who played in 3 different Futures Games (there's never been someone who played in 4)?

Merkin Valdez
Seung-Jun Song
Carlos Carrasco
Edwin Encarnacion
Shin-Soo Choo
Justin Huber
Gorkys Hernandez

Small list. Encarnacion and Shin-Soo Choo have the only notable careers.
Merkin? How unfortunate.
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