Tag Archives: Kansas City Royals

World Series Game Seven: Fantasy Meets Reality In One At-Bat

The brave, injured warrior steps into the field of battle with everything on the line, and comes through and either secures the victory or sets things in motion for the victory.

This is one of the most beloved storylines in every sport, including baseball. Kirk Gibson, the bloody sock, etc. You know why it’s so beloved? BECAUSE IT’S SO UNFREAKIN’ LIKELY TO HAPPEN!

So when Ned Yost sent his injured catcher Salvador Perez, a guy who swings at pitches five feet outside of the plate when he’s healthy, to the plate with the game on the line, I pretty much knew the game was over.

The perfect narrative, which happens a microscopic amount of the time, met reality in the form of Madison Bumgarner and the game was over.

Now, I’m not trying to take anything away from the Giants, they played a great game, but Ned Yost, given an unexpected chance to tie things up when Alex Gordon got to third on a single and an error, gift wrapped the game to the Giants by sending Perez up to bat. Perez acquiesced by fouling out, and the Giants had their third championship in five years. yay.

I know the Royals backup catcher hadn’t played in eons and that would have been something to watch if the game went to extra innings, but you have to get there first!

In any other situation, Perez likely would have been replaced far earlier. Plus it’s not like he was setting the world on fire as he was 0 for 2 up to that point.

No, I don’t know which pinch hitter to use, I just know that Perez shouldn’t have been batting.

Ned Yost actually managed this series pretty decently, better than anyone expected. In this case however, Royals fans got Yosted.

As always, thanks for reading.

World Series Thoughts…

Just a few random thoughts as I watch this years World Series…

1) Which is better, quality or quantity?

Five of the six WS games played so far have been won by five or more runs, killing quite a bit of the drama. In some cases, I kept watching, like last night, but that was because I enjoy watching Ventura pitch. I stopped watching after he left. Plus, I didn’t really watch the Royals bat after Posey hit into his bases loaded double play. I knew the Giants were going to lose after that. If Ventura wasn’t pitching, I’d have switched over to Netflix or something else. I would’ve much rather had a four game sweep where the score in each game was 1 to 0 as that would’ve kept me glued to my seat each game.

2) If he stays on his career path, the Royals should keep Yordano Ventura.

The Royals once had a young ace (Zack Greinke)  who they traded rather than eventually pay his eventual ginormous salary. They netted two key peices of this years team in that trade in Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar, so when Ventura gets near free agency, I’m afraid Dayton Moore will develop an itchy trigger finger. If Ventura stays on his current path, doesn’t need five million Tommy John Surgeries (the dude is 5 ft 10 and skinny as a pole, yet his reaches 100 MPH every start. that’s gotta create quite a bit of stress on that arm) and one of my revolutions listed below doesn’t come to pass and teams still use standard starting pitchers, Ventura will be an ace. KC fans already love this kid, and if Dayton is smart, he’ll talk the owner into signing him for life when the time comes. Ventura could be a franchise icon if things break right. He’s certainly off to a good start.

3) Let the Two Renaissances Begin!

This years’ WS may inspire two movements, both directly inspired by the Royals.

Renaissance Number One: Walks are overrated.

I personally disagree with this one, but KC’s contact heavy approach got them to the WS, and many executives. may point to the Royals when they’re asked why they signed a contact heavy hitter who swings at pitches within a foot of the strike zone (Hello Salvador Perez!). Walks *are* valuable, in my opinion, because good pitchers can often take advantage of hitters’ aggresiveness. The Royals just got lucky and only really faced two true aces this entire post-season. One was cruising until he got tired in the seventh (Jon Lester, who had also lost his catcher who was good against the run in Geovany Soto) and the other, Madison Bumgarner, has absolutely owned the Royals in the World Series.

Rennaisance Number Two: The Second Inning Closer.

The Royals basically have three closers, one for each of the last three innings. Well, all it takes is one GM to take that innovation one step further, sign a bunch of power arms or pitchers with one clear wipeout pitch, and assign each one to an inning. Basically your pitching staff would consist of 12 relievers. Not only could it work, it would save your team some money. No more Kershaw/Zito type contracts. Plus, if one of your relievers gets greedy, it’s easier to find a guy who can pitch one inning than a guy who can pitch five to nine. You may laugh, but I think this could actually work. There’s plenty of failed starters like Wade Davis out there who can crank things up kowing they only have to pitch an inning.

Just some food for thought. Al always, thanks for reading.

Pilfering World Series Players Part Two

Today’s Question: If I could steal one offensive player from each team, who would it be and why? Yesterday I did The Giants, today I’m doing the Royals.

Yesterday I tried to look at this realistically, well today, I’m going to have fun with it, and say, “well, that’d be cool!”

And yes, this idea might be very stupid, but so what, I’m just playing around and having fun. Still, you’ve been warned.

One rule, I can’t steal the same position from each team, Matt Adams can only have one platoon partner, after all, and I already stole Brandon Belt, so who are we going to steal from the Kansas City Royals?

Another rule, I have to be able to do something with the player or players replaced, so if I have an untradable player, then I can’t just outright replace that position.

To make my idea work, I’m going to need to steal not one, but two players.

You know how KC has the ulitmate defensive outfield, well I got to wondering, do we have two good defenders to add one of KC’s outfielders to? The answer is no. We do, however, have one, in Peter Bourjos.

So for my pipe dream outfield that won’t make sense in real life, I’m going to steal both Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson. We’ll trade off two of the Jay/Grichuk/Taveras contingent for an elite pitcher starter to make our rotation even deeper, or perhaps a flamethrowing reliever or two to make our pen a bit scarier.

The problem here is Matt Holliday. In theory, I’d start Cain, then sub Dyson in late, and taking out Holliday, giving the Cards three center fielders. But Holliday has a slightly better bat than Nori Aoki, as well as a bigger contract. Even if he was in decline, he probably wouldn’t agree to sit his butt down late in the game. Plus his contract isn’t tradable, otherwise I’d have traded him and put one of our youngsters in his place. (And yes, I know in KC, Cain slides over to left, but he’s good enough to slide over to right too)

Like I said, stupid, but man it’d be fun to watch an outfield of Cain, Bourjos and Dyson, which is the point.

As always, thanks for reading.

Ten Things To Watch For In The World Series

I thought I’d take a brief look at some things to watch for in the World Series.

1) The MadBum/Shields Death Matches

Madison Bumgarner and James Shields are the aces of their respective teams, so they’ll be squaring off multiple times in this series. Bumgarner is the NL’s overlooked ace, with other starters like Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright and Johnny Cueto, among others, dominating the NL spotlight. Bumgarner has been quietly steady though, and has shined in the postseason, leading SF to it’s third WS trip in five years.

Meanwhile, James Shields, who was acquired specifically to lead KC to the playoffs, has done that. His numbers aren’t as good as Bumgarner’s though, and seem to represent the stats of an above average starter than a true ace, but he has the ability to rise to the occasion, so it’s possible he’ll match Bumgarner blow for blow.

2) Yordano Ventura

Many would say that this 22 year old from the Dominican Republic is KC’s true ace, and there’s some merit to that argument. His regular season stats were only a tiny bit worse than Shields, and given that he’s only 22 and this was his first full season, there’s a chance he’s just getting started and in the ensuing years will emerge as a real ace for KC. If that does happen, it’ll be interesting to see if KC will be able to hang on to him once free agency rolls around. That’s a long time down the road though. For now, let’s enjoy his coming out on the national spotlight that is the World Series.

3) The Entire Kansas City Bullpen

There’s been plenty been written already about the trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland, so I won’t go into much detail about them here. They’ll be worth watching though, partly to see if Yost sticks to his regimented routine and only uses them in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings respectively, or if he adapts and is more flexible with them. In addition to those guys, Yost has other effective releivers to use, notably Brandon Finnegan, Jason Frasor and Tim Collins. Finnegan is a rookie lefthander who was promoted at the end of the season who has shined in the post-season. He’s a Sinker/Slider/Changeup pitcher with solid velocity.Frasor is a veteran releiver acquired by KC from the Rangers in July who has done a good job for the Royals since his acquisition. He’s a Four Seam/Slider/Splitter pitcher who generates quite a few groundball outs. Collins hasn’t seen much action in the playoffs, but he’s a solid option. He uses a solid Four Seam/Curve/Changeup combo. These are just three options, there are others, including whichever starters get assigned to the bullpen for the series. Yost has plenty of options beyond the Cerberus.

4) That’s What Speed Do vs. Buster Posey

Buster Posey’s caught stealing percentage is one of the lowest of his career, at 30 percent. Given that KC is loaded with speedsters, it’ll be interesting to see if they test his arm. The Royals have three guys with 28 or more stolen bases in Jarrod Dyson, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. In addition, Alex Gordon has 12 stolen bases and Nori Aoki has 17. Then of course there’s designated pinch runner rookie Terrance Gore, who’s on the team strictly for his speed. KC’s speed will make this series much more interesting if Yost takes advantage of it often.

Another thing that’ll factor into this is how quick SF’s pitchers are in delivering the ball. A quick delivery will slow the KC running game a bit, and I know MadBum has a reputation for having a quick delivery, so watch that as well, for him, and the other SF starting pitchers too.

5) Joe Panik

Until Panik arrived, second base was pretty much a black hole for the Giants, to the point where they even tried out Dan Uggla. Afer that predictable failure, the rookie Panik arrived and stabilized the position by hitting .305 and providing at least average defense at the position. This is consistent with his minor league stats, which also suggest a guy who’ll get on at a good clip. Panik’s minor league OBP was typically 60 points higher than his batting average, which is pretty solid.

6) Bruce Bochy‘s Flexibility vs. Ned Yost‘s Routine

This has been covered a bit, so all I’ll say is it’ll be interesting to see if Yost realizes he’s going to have to adapt if he wants a shiny ring on his finger. He did in the ALCS, we’ll see if that continues in the WS.

7) Little Ball

Neither team is known as an offensive powerhouse, so it’ll be their ability to manufacture runs that will likely win the series. Bunting, taking the extra base, stolen bases and other small ball tactics. KC has the advantage here in regard to speed, but Bochy is the better tactician.

8) KC’s Other Defenders

Much has been made of KC’s outfield, but the rest of the team is pretty good with the glove too.Catcher Salvador Perez and Third Baseman Mike Moustakas are also Gold Glove winners and the rest of the infield (1B Eric Hosmer, 2B Omar Infante and SS Alcides Escobar) are also good fielders as well.

9 Yusmeiro Petit

The Giants also have their share of good relievers, one of which has been Petit. A swingman who’s alternated between the rotation and the bullpen, he’s been a key figure in SF’s playoff run, earning two wins in nine innings without allowing a run. His ability to pitch long stretches of effective relief while SF tries to make a comeback or take a lead in a tie game might be a big factor in SF winning the series.

10) Salvador Perez

Perez is perhaps the best catcher in the American League, combining solid offensive skills with a good arm. He led the AL with a 42 percent caught stealing rate. Posey may be the better offensive catcher, but Perez is perhaps the better all around catcher.

So there’s a few things to keep an eye on in what will be a very interesting World Series.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday Morning Musings…

First off, congratulations to the Kansas City Royals for their first World Series appearance since 1985. The Royals have steamrolled their way in, starting with a come from behind victory in the wild card game over the A’s and following that up by sweeping the Angels and Orioles, respectively. KC definitely deserves to be there, and will be a formidable opponent for whoever emerges from the national league.

Now, as to last night’s game between the Giants and the Cardinals, the less said, the better.

Still, some thoughts:

Why is it, when the Cards score four or more runs, our opponent always seems to score more, but when we score three or less, we get a pitching gem? Maybe that’s just the games I managed to catch, but it sure seems like the Cardinals tend to lose when the runs pile up.

Release the LOOGY as soon as the season is over! I don’t think Randy Choate is a bad guy, per se, but if we have him, Mike’ll use him, and probably beyond Choate’s defined role, which often leads to trouble.

Was it me, or were we giving all of San Fran’s players free passes to first base?

Here’s a question for the bloggers with a taste for baseball history:

Has there been any manager who has been fired after making the playoffs? Offhand, I think it happened to Dusty Baker after he guided the Reds there, but I could be wrong. Anybody else?

I ask because, as the evidence mounts, it seems like the Card’s talent will get them to the playoffs, but Mike Matheny won’t be able to get them the World Series trophy unless everything breaks just right (like it has been for the Royals.) Short of a major comeback (and it has been done before, by the Giants two years ago, against the Cards, no less.) Matheny won’r do it this year.

Mike has made the playoffs three years in a row, including three straight NLCS appearances and (so far) one World Series appearance. How much of that is the team’s talent and willpower, and how much of that is Mike? The more I watch, the more I think we’re winning in spite of our manager, not because of him.

That doesn’t mean to say the Cards don’t have flaws. They could use a deeper bullpen, another solid starting pitcher, and more offensive punch. Overall though, the town of St. Louis has a verey talented baseball team, when managed well, is a legit World Series contender. Is it currently managed well though? Something to think about, and comment on if you feel like it,

As always, thanks for reading.

Five Things To Watch In The ALCS

Kansas City versus Baltimore. Let those four words float in your mind for a moment. Two teams who weren’t on anybody’s top five list to *make* the playoffs at the beginning of the season not only made it, they swept each of their respective division series.

1) The battle of the bullpens:

I know, I know, I use this one quite a bit, but given that these are two of the best bullpens in the game, this is something to keep an eye on. There’s a possible injury to one of KC’s bullpen beasts, Kelvin Herrera, but that’s ok, they’ll just slot a kid who was in the last College World Series into his spot.Finnegan’s ascendance means the Royals Cerberus is intact, meaning that they only need six innings from their starters, just like they have all year.

As for Baltimore’s ‘pen, it may not be as well known as KC’s, but it may be just as good, with their own trio to cover the back end. The emergence of Zach Britton as the closer when Tommy Hunter faltered, combined with the excellence of Darren O’Day and mid-season acquisition Andrew Miller, gives the Orioles a ‘pen to watch.

2) Battle of the no name rotations:

Quick, name a starter from either team other than James Shields! Times up! You probably got Chris Tillman, and maybe Yordano Ventura, but chances are, unless you’re a Royals or Orioles fan, or a baseball nut in general (raises hand. I mean, I asked someone about a GM on another team the other day, and he gave me a the equivalent of a blank look) you don’t know these rotations. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good, just not well known. Danny Duffy for example, may have had a losing record for the Royals, but he had an excellent ERA and WHIP at 2.53 and 1.112, respectively. He admittedly did this in 149 innings, the fewest of the rotation, about 30 less than Ventura. It was the most innings of his career though, and he’s still relatively young at 25, so this year could be the launching point of a solid career as a starter. The Orioles’ with Tillman and Kevin Gausman, have two young guns 26 or under to anchor their staff for years to come. Duffy and Gausman may not start during this series, but expect to see them in either long relief or other bullpen roles.

3) Power vs. Speed:

While the Royals showed off surprising power during the LDS, contact and speed was their calling card during the season and given Baltimore’s effective pitching staff, they need to continue to rely on it. It’ll be interesting to see how much they run on catcher Caleb Joseph, who’s got a good arm who caught 40 percent of runners that tried to steal on him. Plus, the Orioles pitchers as a whole are quick to the plate, making them harder to steal on.The Orioles, rely on the boomstick. Nelson Cruz is having a good post-season, and they have additional power in the form of Steve Pearce and Adam Jones. Jones’ patience will be key here as he only drew 19 walks all year, resulting in a low .311 OBP despite a solid .281 BA. He needs to be more patient and wait for his pitch, or his bat will be neutralized.

4) History:

Neither of these teams have been to the World Series in a long time. While the Orioles did make the playoffs 2 years ago, they lost in the LDS. Their last appearance in the LCS was in 1997, where they lost to Cleveland. Their last World Series appearance was in 1983, when they beat the Phillies.

The Orioles have nothing on the Royals though, as they haven’t even sniffed the playoffs since they won it all in 1985. They did have a 92 win season in 1989, but even then they finished seven games behind the A’s back in an era when there was no wild card.

The bottom line is both of these teams are playing for the chance to do something they haven’t done in a very long time: Appear in a World Series.That’ll heighten the tension, because neither team knows when they’ll be in this position again, especially with key players like James Shields and Nelson Cruz heading off into free agency after the season in search of megabucks.

5) The Rigidity of Ned Yost versus the Flexibility of Buck Showalter:

Remember KC’s bullpen cerberus I mentioned earlier. It’s that way because Yost is very rigid. Once you’re assigned a role, you stay there forever unless you’re injured. Admittedly many managers are pretty rigid these days, but nobody’s as inflexible as he is. Whenever his starters run into trouble in the sixth inning, I think Yost develops brain cramps, because it doesn’t seem like he knows what to do. Showalter, on the other hand, adapts. He asked for five outs from Miller in one of the LDS games and got them. He’s not afraid to adapt on the fly, especially with his bullpen.

One thing I forgot to mention: Defense. Both teams have good defenses and rely on them (with the Royals outfield being the best in the business) so don’t expect many errors or defensive lapses.

The pick:

I think it’ll come down to the managers, and Showalter has the clear advantage there. Orioles in 6.

As always, thanks for reading.

My American League Playoff Picks

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I had a busy weekend, and to be honest, wasn’t really in a blogging mood for a few days. It happens to all bloggers, I’m sure.

American League Picks:

First off, let me just say that, now that the entrants have been decided, all momentum is out the window. Whether a team stumbled to the finish doesn’t matter, they’re here. Now the slate gets wiped clean.

Wild Card: Oakland over Kansas City

I like this matchup (Jon Lester vs. James Shields) better for Oakland than I do KC. Lester’s not only an ace, he’s performed well in previous post-season performances, while Shields hasn’t. That said, both pitchers’ have been pitching in a high pressure environment of late, similar to the level of pressure they’ll face in the playoffs. Given that, what it really comes down to is who’s the better pitcher, and no offense to Shields, but that’s Lester. Both teams have good bullpens, with KC’s getting all the publicity but Oakland’s very good in it’s own right, so I don’t think we’ll see any leads blown here.

Division Series One: Baltimore over Detroit in five games.

Both of these teams have solid offenses, with the edge going to Detroit. Everyone will talk about Detroit’s rotation, but I think Baltimore’s starters are underrated. I think they’ll keep things close which, given the volatile nature of the Tigers’ bullpen, will allow the Orioles’ to seize the series from Detroit. Combine that rotation with Baltimore’s strong bullpen (and a manger who’s known for his bullpen management in Buck Showalter.) and Baltimore has a good chance. One thing that would help Baltimore is if they worked the pitch count a little more. Adam Jones, their best overall hitter, only had 19 walks in 644 AB’s, leading to a low .311 OBP. Combine that with 133 strikeouts, and he’s really been a hit or sit down type of hitter.

Division Series Two: Oakland over Los Angeles in five games.

Everyone’s going to talk about the Angels’ offense, and it’s a great offense, but it also has a glaring weakness: six starters have 90 or more strikeouts, and their two bench players with the most AB’s both have more than 55 K’s in 260 or less AB’s. Put a team that strikeout heavy against a team with a very deep rotation, and I think we’re talking upset here. If the Angels’ so-so rotation can keep it close, they have a deep bullpen at the ready. Oakland’s bullpen is pretty good though too, so the bullpens’ are a wash.

League Championship Series: Oakland over Baltimore in six games

The A’s have one advantage that Detroit doesn’t, which’ll allow them to conquer the Orioles: a good bullpen. They won’t give away leads like Detroit would if it had to rely heavily on its bullpen. Given that and the A’s excellent rotation, I feel comfortable picking the A’s to beat the Orioles in six, even with Baltimore having the better offense.

Now watch the Royals win it all…

As always, thanks for reading.

Three American League Players To Watch In The Playoffs

Figured I’d start doing a preview of sorts of the playoffs, since the entrants are pretty much set, what remains is mainly a battle to avoid being a wild card team. I hope the Cardinals pull that off, as I don’t want a one game playoff against San Francisco. Many bad memories linger from our last encounter, and while meeting them in the playoffs gives us the chance to exorcise those demons, I don’t like meeting *anyone* in a one game winner take all game, as there’s too much luck involved and not enough certainty.

Anyhow, here’s three AL players to watch. I try to avoid big names and focus on up and coming stars or players who’re underrated. And yes, some may consider Mike Trout up and coming still as he probably hasn’t reached his max potential yet, which is scary, but he is definitely not underrated, so I’ll leave him off.

Yordano Ventura, Starting Pitcher, Kansas City Royals

Everyone is focusing on “Big Game James” when Ventura, one of the young guns that has excelled for KC this year, is going to be relied upon just as much, provided they make it out of the wild card. I could even make a case for the kid to start the wild card game over Shields, his stuff is that electric. Yost won’t do that though, he is pretty conventional. In fact, I bet if Yost had Trevor Rosenthal this year, he’d have closed all season for him as well.

Steve Pearce, Outfielder/First Baseman, Baltimore Orioles

Pearce was a journeyman bench player with good OBP skills who’d never gotten more than 165 AB’s in a season. Well this year, at 31 years old, thanks to various injuries and the suspension of Chris Davis, he got a big chance to be more than a bench player. He got a career high 327 AB’s and made the most of them too. He hit .297 with 20 home runs and a .376 OBP while slugging .557. Look for him to a be a key contributor in Baltimore’s playoff run.

Jeff Samardzija, Starting Pitcher, Oakland

John Lester was acquired to be the A’s ace down the stretch and into the playoffs. Before Lester, however, there was Samardzija. He’s performed solidly in Oakland, with an ERA of 2.92 and a 0.917 WHIP over 15 games. He also had two complete games for the A’s, as many as he had last year for the Cubs in 33 starts. If the A’s make it past the wild card, look for Jeff S. to play a key role in their playoff run.

These are three American League players to keep an eye on during the playoffs. In my next post I’ll pick three National League Players to watch.

Thanks for reading.

The 2014 Royals Vs. The 1991-2005 Braves

@drv421g @KeeneMLB Only thing is that during the middle of a pennant chase, it’s tough to write projection pieces because of relevancy.

— Matt Whitener (@CheapSeatFanSeptember 12, 2014

When Matt said this, it got me thinking, and eventually my mind took a major detour and I thought about teams who focus on the present while sacrificing the future, then dealing with the consequences in the offseason. Which would a fan rather have, a team that plans ahead, keeps its farms stocked  projecting the next year and maybe beyond while staying competitive, or a team that trades prized prospects for rentals, then watches the rentals go play somewhere else when free agency beckons.

Take the Royals, they traded their top prospect, Wil Myers, for two years of James Shields, who is a free agent at the end of this year. Well the Royals are in the playoff hunt, just one game behind the Tigers in the AL Central, and were in first place not that long ago. However, Shields, who is one of the catalysts behind the Royals run, is basically auditioning for big market teams right now as his price will likely be way too high for the Royals. Heck, the other player in that trade, Wade Davis, who has been a phenomenal setup man, is due seven million next year. The Royals, a historically thrifty organization, may hesitate to pay seven million for a setup man, no matter how good he is. While Myers has had his health issues, he’s hit when he’s been well.

Now, I know that two pitchers having good years do not a playoff team make. The Royals have some good players, and a possible future ace in Yordano Ventura, as well as a resurrected Danny Duffy. Plus, Jason Vargas has been good for them as well. There other starter, Jeremy Guthrie has been so-so, with a 4.35 ERA and the highest FIP (4.33) and WHIP (1.324) of the bunch. Still, he’ll work as a fifth starter. They’ll really miss Shields though. With him, they’re only a game up in the WC race. Hard to see where they’d be without him (And Davis for that matter.)  Add that their offense has had some troubles, to put it mildly, and that they rely on pitching speed and defense, and the losses of any valuable pitchers are more pronounced. Yet I’ve heard no rumors that Shields may be staying in KC. He seemingly is out the door as soon as free agency starts.

Then there’s the development aspect. Yes, some pitchers are starting to pan out, but the of the offensive players they’ve developed, only one has had a good season this year: Alex Gordon, and while his offensive numbers are solid, quite a bit of his value is derived from defense. Gordon signed a deal that now looks like a bargain. Four years for 37.5 Million, which expires at the end of 2015. If his next deal isn’t team friendly as well, there’s a decent chance he may be gone.

So by the end of 2015, they may have lost their best pitcher as well as their best overall player, with no stud position players coming up to replace Gordon. This partly explains why GM Dayton Moore made the trade. He had a small window, and knew the odds were short that he’d be able to expand it. Partly due to failed draft picks and partly due to the owner’s tight wallets, and partly due to a lack of long term planning. Why, for example, wasn’t Gordon signed to a seven or eight year deal, instead of a four year one? Yes, longer deals can be disastrous, but they also demonstrate to your fan base you’re willing to lock up your best players. Why not offer closer Greg Holland a long term deal *now*, even with free agency a few years off? He’s one of the best in the game. Lock him up. Think ahead Royals, or your window truly will be short.

Now compare the Royals to the 1991-2005 Braves. They won the division 14 out of 15 years. Yes they won only one World Series, but the point here is that there were in the playoffs every year with a chance to win a WS. Can’t say that for the Royals lately. How did the Braves do it?

Well they had a bit more success with the draft than the Royals have had. The team that started the run in 1991 had three homegrown stars, Ron Gant, David Justice and Tom Glavine, As well as Steve Avery, who gave then three very good years before flaming out. They also had prospects they traded for (John Smoltz) who panned out. They also had Chipper Jones, Ryan Klesko and Javy Lopez the system. Klesko and Lopez debuted in 1992, while Jones showed up in 1993. Drafting success continued as they drafted Andruw Jones in 1993. I’m sure I’m missing some players, but the point is they had success in the draft, both with position players and pitchers.

They also made trades and signed big free agents. For example, they traded for Fred McGriff and re-signed him when he entered free agency. Greg Maddux  signed as a free agent.

A key here is they always had a plan and were willing to do what it takes to acheive that plan, including spending money in free agency. Take power hitters, in every year of their run except 1995 and 1997 they had a 30 home run hitter, and in those two years they made up for that lack of a 30 home run hitter by having four 20 home run hitters. How did they acquire that power? By all three methods, drafting, trading, and signing.

Well since the Royals are last in home runs, let’s see if the Royals have any power on the horizon. Of the Royals top 10 prospects for 2014, six of the ten were pitchers. Of the other four only one was listed as a power prospect: Bubba Starling, and he hit .218 with 9 home runs in 482 AB’s at High A Wilmington. So there’s no power on the horizon. How about trades? Well seeing as how they tend to favor pitching and defense, I don’t see them trading any of their top pitching prospects, especially since with power decreasing overall in baseball, good power hitters are hard to find and won’t come cheap. Quite a few teams would ask for Yordano Ventura and wonder why the Royals are laughing so hard. Trading is out. What about free agents? I don’t remember the last time the Royals signed a high impact bat, but it’s been a while. They tend to focus on complementary pieces as ownership is hesitant to spend money on big name players. So chances are, unless several prospects suddenly become power hitters, the Royals are going to stay near or at the bottom of the league in power for a long time.

Basically, the Royals cashed in their one plus bat they had in the minors for a short term playoff hope, when keeping Myers may have been better for their long term goals, especially since ownership isn’t willing to spend any big bucks to bring some high impact players to Kansas City.

Basically the Royals only have one method to bring power to KC: Drafting, and they’re not doing a very good job of drafting high impact bats right now. Whether they need a new scouting director, a new GM or just better luck, something has to change or they stand a good chance of returning to their cellar dweller ways. The first step will be, in the future, to hold onto any impact bats they develop and keep the long term in mind. Yes, I realize the Royals have gone 28 years without a pennant, but a one and done approach isn’t the answer. They need to model themselves after the Braves and realize that drafting alone isn’t getting the job done. The big trades will only work if you re-sign the player(s) you acquire.

Thanks to C70 for editing this post.

As always, thanks for reading.