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Old 12-11-2012, 08:59 AM  
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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?

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Old 04-22-2013, 07:13 AM   #3031
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Troy Caswell (@OldSoulTCas23): Is Hosmer the next James Loney?

A LOT of questions about Eric Hosmer this week. That will happen when you start the season hitting .242/.359/.273 after 12 games, after hitting .232/.304/.359 last season.


Loney is kind of a worst-case scenario for a first baseman who comes up and immediately rakes. In 2006 and 2007 Loney played in 144 games and hit .321/.372/.543. He then completely stagnated as a hitter, batting .281/.341/.411 over the next four years, and despite playing in at least 158 games each year, he never matched the 15 home runs he hit in just 96 games in 2007. He then completely collapsed in 2012, and is now a Tampa Bay Ray.


The Rays undoubtedly were willing to take a chance on Loney because they had already taken a chance on his doppleganger, Casey Kotchman, in 2011. Like Loney, Kotchman was a top first base prospect without huge power but with a sweet swing, and after some initial success (Kotchman hit .296/.372/.467 in 2007) had fallen apart (.254/.316/.378 from 2008 to 2010). With the Rays in 2011, Kotchman hit .306/.378/.422 while making peanuts. They let him go, Kotchman signed with the Indians last year, and he hit .229. And you wonder why I’m leery of dealing with the Rays…


I don’t think Hosmer is that comparable to Loney, for two reasons. One is that Hosmer was productive over nearly a full season at age 21, while Loney’s success came at ages 22-23. Even acknowledging Hosmer’s struggles last year, the ability to hit that well at age 21 is considerably more rare than the ability to do so even a year later.


But the other reason is that, from a scouting standpoint, they’re not that similar. Loney, like Kotchman, was considered to have an elite hit tool but only average power. Neither player hit more than 11 home runs in any minor league season. Hosmer was considered a step above both of them, as someone with elite hitting ability AND top-of-the-line power, which is why he was drafted #3 overall even as a first baseman. In his one healthy minor-league season, he hit 20 homers. Hosmer had 43 doubles and 9 triples that year, for 72 extra-base hits overall; Loney’s career-high in the minors was 44. Kotchman (who could never stay healthy) never had more than 41.


This is relevant because Loney’s success early in his career was highly dependent on his .321 batting average, and batting average is the most variable skill in a hitter’s arsenal. Hosmer’s skill set as a rookie was more diverse.


So no, I don’t think Hosmer is the next James Loney. His success came at a younger age, and he showed a more diverse and robust skill set. Also, it’s only been 12 games.


I’d sure like to see him pick it up, though.




Mouse in catspeak (@Meous): Is there any hope for Moose’s swing? Looks totally lost. Maybe an Omaha trip like it worked for Alex Gordon?

A LOT of questions about Mike Moustakas this week. That will happen when you start the season hitting .178/.245/.222 after 12 games, after hitting .211/.261/.325 after the All-Star Break last season.


Like Hosmer, in the long term I’m not really concerned about Moose. He’s young, and he was an above-average third baseman overall just last year. In the short term…um…I’m a little concerned.


Here’s why:


Year FB% IFFB% POP%

2010 41.2% 21.0% 8.7%2011 49.8% 17.6% 8.8%2012 60.5% 26.1% 15.8%

“FB%” refers to the percentage of balls that Moustakas puts in play (including home runs) that are fly balls. “IFFB%” is the percentage of those fly balls that are on the infield – a fancy way of saying “pop-ups”.


“POP%” is what happens when you combine the two – it’s the percentage of all balls in play that are pop-ups. As you can see, Moustakas has always been a flyball hitter, and he’s always been prone to pop-ups – about a fifth of the balls he puts in the air stay on the infield. Given that pop-ups – unlike outfield fly balls, ground balls, and line drives – are almost always turned into outs, minimizing pop-ups is a key to success a hitter.


This year, in an admittedly small sample size, Moustakas is hitting the ball in the air more than ever – and more of those fly balls than ever are on the infield. He’s popped up six times in just 45 at-bats. By comparison, Joey Votto has popped up four times since the start of the 2009 season.


I don’t think we’re anywhere close to a remedial course in Omaha. Moustakas is still contributing on defense, he’s a streaky hitter who could hit three home runs in the next week and calm everyone down. If you send him down, you’re looking at Elliot Johnson playing third base, or Miguel Tejada, or maybe Irving Falu. You could put up with that in order to help Moustakas out in the long run if you weren’t trying to win this year, but you are. The best thing to do is to just ride it out for now. Also, it’s only been 12 games.


I’d sure like to see him pick it up, though.
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Originally Posted by Cassel's Reckoning:

Matt once made a very nice play in Seattle where he spun away from a pass rusher and hit Bowe off his back foot for a first down.

One of the best plays Matt has ever made.
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:58 AM   #3032
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Watching Moose "try to figure it out" is painful to say the least. Is it time to let him take a trip to Omaha and swing the bat some yet?
This isn't a development year. If we're "all-in", then we have no choice but to keep running him out there.
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:58 AM   #3033
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General thoughts:

-- Back in first place is pretty cool...

-- I think this is a team that is much tougher/has much more swagger than teams in the past. That's what having some good, veteran starting pitching can do for you.

-- Speaking of good, veteran starting pitching... it was pretty clear Guthrie did not have his best stuff yesterday. Lot of hard-hit balls early. But he adjusted and got them through 6 IP with the team still in it.

--Nice power surge last night. Needs to continue.

-- Holland looks to have found himself. Focusing on strike 1 and trusting that his fastball (even at 95) is good enough to get by guys in the zone is a big step for him.

-- The longer they stay in it, the better the chance they make a move for ONE more bat, I think. I saw Rany mentioning Chase Utley the other day on his blog, and that's a name that makes a tremendous amount of sense to me.

Gordon
Cain
Utley
Butler
Perez
Hosmer
Francoeur
Moose
Escobar

So let's hope for the Phillies sucking exponentially down the stretch...
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:02 AM   #3034
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John Buck has 7 HRs.
And will probably finish the season with 15. He did this the year after the Royals let him go, too.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:06 AM   #3035
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I'd love to land Utley. Not sure what it would cost us, but the odds of the Phillies being out of it near the deadline are good with both the Braves and Nationals playing like they are.

I'd also like Kendrick from LAA, but doubt he's available. Upgrading the offense from 2B would be huge. Of course, upgrading RF would be as well.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:06 AM   #3036
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And here's the thing with Moose: Who else are you going to play at 3B? It's not like Anthony Rendon is sitting at Omaha, ready for his shot at the big leagues (side note: How awesome would it be to have Rendon there and available to play 2B/3B for KC this year?**)

Sending Moose down means you probably are playing either Elliott Johnson or Miguel Tejada every day at 3B. Johnson is probably as good defensively, but doesn't offer any real upside offensively. Tejada is worse defensively and offers little upside offensively, especially against RHP.

** The Royals could have drafted Rendon instead of Bubba Starling. Will be another interesting one to watch. Starling's bat showing some signs of life the past few days, though...
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:08 AM   #3037
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And will probably finish the season with 15. He did this the year after the Royals let him go, too.
Buck even did it a year with the Royals. Once pitchers remember that he can't hit anything besides the fastball, he'll go cold for the rest of the season.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:09 AM   #3038
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Our starting pitchers are just mentally tougher than in the past. Compare Wade Davis, James Shields, and Jeremy Guthrie when struggling to Kyle Davies, Luke Hochevar, and Jonathan Sanchez.

Wade Davis looked like shit against Minnesota and didn't give up a single run. These guys understand that sometimes you've got to keep it together with bailing wire and duct tape. We haven't had a guy like that since Meche.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:10 AM   #3039
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I understand the whole who are you going to play argument for sure. And I get that baseball is a long season and every player goes through their share of struggles. Moose has looked really lost at the plate. It's not just hitting the ball hard, but not finding a hole. He is going up there and giving three lost swings and walking back to the bench with a confused look on his face.

I was just asking at what point is leaving him up to struggle this badly a detriment to Moose and the team?
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:11 AM   #3040
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I'd love to land Utley. Not sure what it would cost us, but the odds of the Phillies being out of it near the deadline are good with both the Braves and Nationals playing like they are.

I'd also like Kendrick from LAA, but doubt he's available. Upgrading the offense from 2B would be huge. Of course, upgrading RF would be as well.
I've lost confidence in Utley's ability to last an entire year after his last three seasons.

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Old 04-22-2013, 08:36 AM   #3041
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duncan_idaho View Post
General thoughts:

-- Back in first place is pretty cool...

-- I think this is a team that is much tougher/has much more swagger than teams in the past. That's what having some good, veteran starting pitching can do for you.

-- Speaking of good, veteran starting pitching... it was pretty clear Guthrie did not have his best stuff yesterday. Lot of hard-hit balls early. But he adjusted and got them through 6 IP with the team still in it.

--Nice power surge last night. Needs to continue.

-- Holland looks to have found himself. Focusing on strike 1 and trusting that his fastball (even at 95) is good enough to get by guys in the zone is a big step for him.

-- The longer they stay in it, the better the chance they make a move for ONE more bat, I think. I saw Rany mentioning Chase Utley the other day on his blog, and that's a name that makes a tremendous amount of sense to me.

Gordon
Cain
Utley
Butler
Perez
Hosmer
Francoeur
Moose
Escobar

So let's hope for the Phillies sucking exponentially down the stretch...
Agree with all this. It feels great so far.

The main thing with the starting pitching is, even when they are not perfect, they are not giving up the big inning and letting the game get out of hand.


I looked up Utleys stats....why have his power numbers gone down the last few years? Anyone know?
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Originally Posted by Cassel's Reckoning:

Matt once made a very nice play in Seattle where he spun away from a pass rusher and hit Bowe off his back foot for a first down.

One of the best plays Matt has ever made.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:37 AM   #3042
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Originally Posted by CaliforniaChief View Post
I'd love to land Utley. Not sure what it would cost us, but the odds of the Phillies being out of it near the deadline are good with both the Braves and Nationals playing like they are.

I'd also like Kendrick from LAA, but doubt he's available. Upgrading the offense from 2B would be huge. Of course, upgrading RF would be as well.
Utley is my favorite target. I am thinking about it WAY too much for April. But oh well...

I don't think it would take a ton to land Utley. As mentioned, Utley is a severe injury risk. He looks healthy this year and for the first time in years wasn't in the middle of a long-term rehab that he rushed to get back when the season started.

He also is a pending FA and the Phils are unlikely to be in it this year, especially with how well the Nats and Braves are playing.

You would have to give up SOMETHING of value, but I don't think you're talking about top 100 prospects. This would be the perfect type of guy to use Orlando Calixte as the primary trade bait for, with a few throw-ins attached (perhaps Chris Dwyer and Sugar Ray Marimon?).

Utley would add a lot to this team. Dropping him in the 3-hole in the lineup instantly makes this group better (and if you swap Cain into the 2-spot, suddenly the 1-4 are very dangerous). He's a veteran who plays extremely hard and has experienced playoff success at the highest level, so that would be a nice presence to add.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:41 AM   #3043
Archie F. Swin Archie F. Swin is offline
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Originally Posted by duncan_idaho View Post
Utley would add a lot to this team.
At the very least, you're telling your fan base (and MLB) that you're serious about a playoff run.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:46 AM   #3044
Saul Good Saul Good is offline
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I looked up Utleys stats....why have his power numbers gone down the last few years? Anyone know?
It's because he hasn't hit as many home runs.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:47 AM   #3045
Prison Bitch Prison Bitch is offline
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This isn't a development year. If we're "all-in", then we have no choice but to keep running him out there.
Why? He is garbage. If we want to win, then we play someone who contributes today and not someone who is "building for tomorrow". Unless you think Moose turns it around in which case then of course he stays.


I'd ship him and Hos today to Omaha. And I'd tell them not to think MLB is a given right. You ahve to earn it. They've not just struggled this month - it's gone all the way back to last summer. It's been going on a full year almost now.
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