Tomorrow we will continue the offseason series, but we are starting another one too here with the prospect rankings. We will start with the Kansas City Royals.
1. Eric Hosmer
2. Mike Moustakas
3. Mike Montgomery
4. Wil Myers
5. Danny Duffy
6. John Lamb
7. Christian Colon
8. Chris Dwyer
9. Aaron Crow
10. Chester Cuthbert
Pirates, Mariners, D-Backs, and Orioles down. Just 26 more to go, and let’s start in Kansas City.
The Royals were not expected to make the playoffs, but a lot of people had them finishing third in that division. The Royals could not and did not deliver, and that does not look to change anytime soon.
If you look at this roster, it is just awful. Their infield is Kila Ka’aihue, Mike Avalies, Yuinesky Betancourt, and Wilson Betemit. Ka’aihue was a KC top prospect, and they have been waiting for him to develop for years. He did not exactly break through, hitting .217 and hitting 8 home runs in 180 at bats. Mike Avilies did have a good year for himself, hitting .304 with 8 home runs, but only 32 RBIs. He beat out Chris Getz for the second base job midseason. Betancourt hit only .259, but did have 16 home runs. Wilso Betemit also had an OK year, hitting .297 is 276 at bats, but he is certainly not the third baseman they want going forward. The third baseman they really want is in left field.
Alex Gordon was going to be the next big thing in baseball. But after four years having a career batting average of .244, he was sent to triple A. He was called back up, but moved o left field. Gordon could still not get it done, and may now be considered one of the biggest busts in baseball.
The rest of the KC outfield is not so flashy. Gregor Blanco, who was acquired from Atlanta midseason, hit .283 with only 1 home run. And then Mitch Maier, who hit .263 with five home runs and 39 RBIs. But the Royals will get David DeJesus back for next season, so that should sure up a mediocre outfield.
Kansas City did make one good move last offseason, and that was acquiring Jason Kendell. He hit only .256 and slugged only .277, but he was an important backstop and veteran presence in Kansas City. He did not homer, but he was never really a home run guy. His stats may not show it, but Kendell was an important part of that team.
Now the pitching. In Kansas City, it’s Zack Greinke and everyone else. And this year Greinke had a 4.17 ERA, and made some interesting comments about the organization, saying he does not see them improving anytime soon.
The rest of the staff gets worse from there. Kyle Davies had an ERA over five, Bruce Chen identical to Greinke, Sean O’Sullivan at 5.49, and Bryan Bullington at 6.12. The rotation was one of the worst in baseball, and the bullpen ain’t better.
Blake Wood had an ERA of 5.07, Robinson Tejada had a WHIP of 1.33, Gil Meche had an ERA of 5.69, and Greg Holland had an ERA of 6.75. The only bright spots in the bullpen were Dusty Hughes and Joakim Soria.
What moves can Kansas City make to improve? Actually, not many. Kansas City has three top prospects, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Mike Montgomery, who could be ready in a few years. But what can bridge KC to those three? The Royals will probably re-sign Wilson betemit, to bridge to Moustakas. There is a possibility that KC may trade their DH Billy Butler to make room for Hosmer.
Bottom Line: Kansas City will not compete for a while. But it may be sooner than you think.
Here is this week’s league leaders in Total Bases :
1. Vernon Welss- Toronto- 47
2. Nelson Cruz-Texas- 41
2. Matt Kemp-Los Angeles- 41
4. Jose Gullien-Kansas City- 40
5. Albert Pujols-St.Louis- 39
5. Dustin Pedroia- Boston- 39
7. Alex Gonzalez-Toronto-38
7. Chase Utley-Philadelphia-38
9. Casey McGee-Milwakee-36
10. Jorge Cantu-Florida- 35
I made my before-Spring Training predictions, here are my Opening Day Season predictions. Plus, check out the player to watch feature which gives you a player to watch on each team during the reaguler season.
AL East Player to watch:
Boston Red Sox (Jacoby Ellsbury)
New York Yankees (Marcus Thames)
Tampa Bay Rays (Ben Zobrist)
Baltimore Orioles (Nolan Reimold)
Toronto Blue Jays (Adam Lind)
Minnesota Twins (Orlando Hudson)
Chicago White Sox (Jake Peavy)
Kansas City Royals (Rick Ankeil)
Detroit Tigers (Austin Jackson)
Cleveland Indians (Micheal Brantly)
Seattle Mariners (Chone Figgins)
Anaheim Angels (Kendry Morales)
Texas Rangers (Neftali Feliz)
Oakland Athletics (Brett Anderson)
Philadelphia Phillies (Jayson Werth)
Atlanta Braves (Jason Heyward)
Florida Marlins (Mike Stanton)
Washington Nationals (Nyjer Morgan)
New York Mets (Kiko Calero)
St.Louis Cardinals (Colby Rasmus)
Chicago Cubs (Randy Wells)
Cincinatti Reds (Aroldis Chapman)
Milwakee Brewers (Alcades Escobar)
Houston Astros (Hunter Pence)
Pittsburgh Pirates (Garrett Jones)
Colorado Rockies (Jason Hammel)
Los Angeles Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw)
San Fransisco Giants (Madison Bumgarner)
Arizona D-backs (Justin Upton)
San Diego Padres (Clayton Richard)
1. Evan Longoria
2. Joe Mauer
3. Kendry Morales
1. Albert Pujols
2. Chase Utley
3. Ryan Braun
AL Cy Young
1. Jon Lester
2. Cliff Lee
3. Zack Greinke
NL Cy Young
1. Roy Halladay
2. Chris Carpenter
3. Tim Lincecum
1. Brain Matusz
2. Austin Jackson
3. Desmond Jennings
1. Jason Heyward
2. Mike Stanton
3. Madison Bumgarner
1. Don Wakamtsu
2. Ron Gardenhire
3. Joe Maddon
1. Bobby Cox
2. Tony LaRusa
3. Freddi Gonzalez
AL Comeback Player
NL Comeback Player
Those are my predicitions. My Internationl League predictions will be sometime next week.
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
New York Mets
San Fransisco Giants
San Diego Padres
AL MVP Top 3:
Evan Longoria- Rays
Joe Mauer- Twins
Kendry Morales- Angels
Red Sox MVP:
AL Cy Young Top 3:
Jon Lester- Red Sox
Zack Greinke- Royals
Cliff Lee- Mariners
Red Sox Cy Young:
NL MVP Top 3:
Albert Pujols- Cardinals
Jayson Werth- Phillies
Ryan Braun- Brwers
NL CY Youn Top 3:
Josh Johnson- Marlins
Tim Lincecum- Giants
Carlos Zambrano- Cubs
Desmond Jennings- Rays
Jason Heyward- Braves
The Baltimore Orioles will compete with the Rays for the #3 spot in the AL East
The Royals will have a record around .500
Mike Cameron will hit 25 HRs
The Reds will finish over .500
The Blue Jays will have the second worst record in baseball, ahead of only the Mets
I will be right about at least one thing here(I told you, bold predictions)
This is a full evaluation of the 2010 Red Sox roster as it stands now. I will look at the lineup, defense, pitching, bench, bullpen, and minor leagues, and try to prove to you complainers that this is a good team.
Lineup: I really like the lineup. I’m not trying to be an optimist, I really like the lineup. I love the combination of speed and power. The bottom of the lineup impresses me with Drew-Cameron-Scutaro. I feel speed is going to come from Jacoby Ellsbury (duh) and Scutaro. Cameron can steal a few as can Pedroia. Don’t even say Drew, I believe he was 2-for-8 in the SB catagory.
On the power side, you got Ortiz, Youk, Beltre, Cameron, Drew, and Victor. Each one of them will hit from 15-30 HRs, maybe more for Beltre or Cameron at Fenway. I feel a big year coming from Youk, I really do.He was hurt a lot of last year, and I think it really affected him. The suspension did not help either.
I also liked the way the lineup is built. I thought last year Pedroia struggled leadoff beacuse he missed the presence of Jacoby Ellsbury. Since he is a base stealer, pitchers are going to throw more fastballs to the next batter in an attempt to pick him off. A fastball gets to the plate fatser, and the catcher can gun it down to second faster. I hope Francona keeps Ellsbury in the lead-off spot, that is where he is supposed to be.
More about the lineup, I would like to see JD Drew bat eighth and Cameron bat seventh. Mostly beacuse it strenghens the bottom of the lineup. Here is the lineup I would like to see:
Pitching: No one can deny this staff. Even if I am wrong and the lineup does suck, the pitching will keep you in games. Defense wins(Look how far the Jets got!). Offense is nice, but defense and pitching is more important(Unless you have Teixeira. And A-rod. And Jeter. And Granderson…..). This is no doubt about it the best staff in the game. You can say Seattle with Cliff Lee and King Felix, and I’ll give you that as the top 1-2 punch in baseball. But Lester. Beckett. Lackey. Dice-k. Buchholz. Wake. They have so much depth! I know this happened last year, and everyone got hurt to the point we needed Paul Byrd, and at least two or three of those guys are going to have to stay healthy. Ok, Lackey, out a month. Fine, Lester and Beckett. Lester out a few weeks? That’s ok, Dice-k/Wake/Buchholz might be pitching good, and Lackey might be back soon. Just theories here.
And either way, I expect some sort of reclamation/Theo Epstein projects like an Erik Bedard or Ben Sheets coming.(John Smoltz!)
Every game we are going to get a six-to-seven inning perfomrance or a quality start. Yes, Lackey has had injury problems. So has Beckett, and Dice-k, and every other pitcher in baseball. You learn to deal with it.
Defense: Joe Maddon called Adrain Beltre the best defensive player he has ever seen, and Maddon knows a damn lot about baseball. He took that team to the world series, and I think we all know who that team is. I don’t get to watch Beltre often, as he played for Seattle, but I’ll take Joe’s word for it. So on the right side of your infeild you got “The best defensive player ever” (I thought that was Darrelle Revis?) and Marco Scutaro, who should have gotten the AL gold glove for shortstop. Then on the left side you have two gold glove winners in Pedroia and Youk. In the outfield is Ellsbury, Cameron, and Drew. Pretty sick. Tell me a better defensive outfield? I think the only team that is in the same class is KC(Gasp!) with Ankeil, Posednik, and DeJesus. Fast outfield. Anyways, we have a good defense basicly beacuse Theo could not find another excuse to have a lackluster offense.
Bench: Solid bench. You got Jeremy Hermida, Bill Hall, V-Tek, and either a guy like Josh Reddick, Angel Sanchez, Gil Velezquez, or Aaron Bates. That is, unless another Nick Green type magicaly appears again. Hermida is a decent offensive player. He has some wheels and could be a good pinch running guy. He has a little pop. He was a Marlins top prospect for a while but has not really panned ouy yet. Theo was just taking a chance on some player with potential. Hall is what he is. Good defensivly(Shocker) with no bat. You all know about V-Tek. Can’t hit in the second half. look for V-Tek to have a somewhat of a bounce-back year in a limited role. He has hit well in the first half the last two years. And he may have to be Beckett’s personal catcher.
Bullpen: Who is in this bullpen? Papelbon, Bard, Oki, Delcarmen, Rameriz, the other Rameriz, Shouse, Atchison, Dustin Richardson, Fernando Cabrera, Boof. Meh. I like the top three. That’s about it. I wanted to see the Sox go out and sign either Darren Oliver or Mike Gonzalez, but that never happened. I kinda like Richardson. He dominated the AFL this season. Strikeout lefty. Casey Kelly could be up this year, but I doubt he would be ready to contribute. Shouse is no good. I have no clue who Atchison is. Rameriz is what he is. Delcarmen sucks. I never thought Boof was anything. So yeah, maybe improve the pen a bit. And when I say improve I do not mean Mike Timlin, who is looking for a major league job still.
Triple A: The Pawsox may have better players than last year, where they where awful. The Pawsox finished in fourth in their divison and offered no real MLB ready players. That should change this year, as a lot of prospects shoukd be ready for triple A. Here are some: Micheal Bowdon, Angel Sanchez, Gil Velezquez, Josh Reddick, Travis Denker, Josh Reddick, Lars Anderson, Aaron Bates, Ramon A. Rameriz, Bubba Bell, Darnelle MacDonald, Jeff Natle, Mark Wagner, Zach Daeges, Randor Beird, TJ Large, Kason Gabbard. Decent triple A roster. Bowdon has seen the big leagues, I honestly don’t think he is anything special. Sanchez is a terrific defensive player. Velezquez is the last minute, desprate, there is absolutly no one else in the world who can help, utility player. I like Reddick, but he’s not major league ready. Denker is a career minor leaguer. Lars is the second most overrated prospect in the system to Bowdon. I have a stupid man-crush on Aaron Bates although he hit around the medoza line in triple A last year. I don’t know anything about the other Rameriz, Bubba Bell did well in triple A last year. MacDonald can run, but that’s it. Natle is a 1B-DH type. Wagner is a catcher who should be on the MLB roster beacuse he can throw out base runners. The only thing I know about Daeges is he killed the ball in Spring Training and I never heard of him again. We got Beird for David Pauly, enough said there. TJ Large had an ERA over 6.00 last year, and Gabbard saved us from trading Lester to Texas for Eric Gagne.
Lower-leval prospects: You probally know most of the names. Jose Iglesias, Casey Kelly, Alex Wilson, Reymond Fuentes, Ryan Westmorland, Ryan Kalish, and Dustin Richardson. Some of these guys may be September callups, the most likley being Kalish. I feel these are the players to watch in the minor leagues next year. Alex Wilson is not really known like Kelly or Kalish, but I feel he has a bright future in the majors. He is a righty, and was the Red sox second round pick last year. He is often compared to AL rookie of the eyar Andrew Bailey. His one down swing, he had tommy John surgery two years ago. Has a hard fastball and his out-pitch is his slider. He spent last year with Lowell and I would be surprised to see him with Salem or Greenville next year.
Here is every off-season transaction so far. I will update this for every transaction.
Traded Hunter Jones and Jose Alverez for Jeremy Hermida
Declined Alex Gonzalez’s option
Re-signed Tim Wakefield
Picked up Victor Martinez’s option
Declined Jason Varitek’s option
Signed Marco Scutaro
Re-signed Gabe Kapler
Traded Akonori Iwamora for Jessse Chavez
Picked up Carl Crawford’s option
Declined Gregg Zaun’s option
Declined Brian Shouse’s option
Traded for Kelly Shoppach
Aquired Jake Fox and Aaron Miles
Re-signed Bobby Abreu
Re-signed Geoff Blum
Declined Doug Brocial’s option
Claimed Jarret Hoffpauer off waivers
Claimed Sean Henn off waivers
Lost Joe Inglett to waivers
Signed Alex Gonzalez
Traded JJ Hardy for Carlos Gomez
Signed Greg Zaun
Signed Scott Procter
Extended Tim Hudson
Signed Billy Wagner
Signed Takashi Saito
Picked up Brandon Webb’s option
Declined Chad Tracey’s option
Declined Jon Garland’s option
Manny Rameriz picks up his player option
Re-signed Freddy Sanchez
Claimed Yusmiero Petitt off waivers
Extended Jack Wilson
Signed Chone Figgins
Traded Jeremy Hermida for Hunter Jones and Jose Alverez
Declined option on Ross Gload
Declined JJ Putz’s option
Claimed Doug Slaton off waivers
Declined option on Austin Kearns
Picked up Cliff Lee’s option
Decline Pedro Feliz’s option
Signed Placido Polonco
Traded Jesse Chavez for Akonori Iwamora
Released Jason Grilli
Claimed Joe Inglett off waivers
Re-signed Matt Belise and Randy Flores
Decline option on Yorvitt Torrealba
Decline option on Alan Embree
Traded Mark Teahen for Chris Getz and Josh Fields
Traded Carlos Gomez for JJ Hardy
Picked up Micheal Cuddeyer’s option
Traded Chris Getz and Josh Feilds for Mark Teahen
Declined Jermaine Dye’s option
Re-sgned Mark Kotsay