Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Name for the New Year

As always, I am boldly planning to increase my output in the new year.

To help encourage myself, I am renaming this blog and moving to a new address.

Royal Reactions by H.G. Miller can be found here:



Friday, October 31, 2008

Sports - Royals Trade Nunez for Jacobs

clipped from www.kansascity.com

“We need to get better now,” Moore said. “We can continue to develop at the major leagues, and we’re going to continue to get the same result we’ve been getting, and that’s not something we’re prepared to do anymore.”

This quote from Dayton Moore says it all. No more using the major league club as a place for figuring out if a player "gets it" or not.

I am fine with this trade. Moore has already shown a knack for putting together a fine relief corps, so Nunez is not great loss. The logjam at first base is really only in potential. What guys like Billy Butler, Kila Ka’aihue and Ryan Shealy "might" do.

Jacobs will not walk a lot, but he can hit the long ball. He's proven that. If Butler et al can prove they have the capabilities, then I am certain Moore will find a place for them.

In the meantime, I only hope a youngster like Butler is given time to prove he can do it ahead of somebody like Ross Gload, who has proven he can't.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sports - Royals Shopping Teahen

clipped from www.kansascity.com

The Royals are discussing a possible trade with the Cleveland Indians in which they would acquire an outfielder in exchange for Mark Teahen, according to sources with both teams.

Talks are believed to center on three possibilities for the Royals in the deal: Franklin Gutierrez, Ben Francisco and minor-leaguer Trevor Crowe.

The first major rumblings of the off season from the Royals camp. Teahen is now two years removed from his 2006 tear and it appears the team is ready to move on.

A quick look at the numbers makes this kind of a wash regardless of who the Royals end up with. Guitierrez is a year younger than Teahen, but other than that, they all put up similar stats last season:


Can you tell me who you'd rather have?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sports Guy Calls It

It's going to be a long year for the Chiefs. After a long summer for the Royals, I guess I can look forward to seeing how KU does without the hooligans who helped win the national title in March.

ESPN's Bill Simmons is not predicting good things for the Chiefs, as well. This quote from his season preview says it just about right:
clipped from sports.espn.go.com
I can't think of a better Week 1 opponent for the Pats than Kansas City, the team that recently launched a rebuilding effort by trading its 26-year-old stud defensive end for draft picks. And you thought the Royals were the worst-run team in town? Watch this!
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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Double Dip on Double-Digit Wins

I'm not a big fan of the whole Pitcher Wins statistic, but I think it says something when it's been NINE YEARS since two pitchers on a team have gotten ten or more wins in a season.

I will be using this statistic heavily when trying to write a positive preview of the Royals chances in 2009.
clipped from www.kansascity.com

Greinke allowed just one earned run in his three previous starts and still ended up with one loss and two no-decisions. His 10th victory extended his career high and matched Gil Meche for the club lead.

It also marked the first time since 1999 that two Royals reached double figures in victories. José Rosado and Jeff Suppan each won 10 that year.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Who are These Guys? - 2008 Royals Season Preview

A new job and extended jury duty have kept me from doing the kind of preview my five loyal readers are used to.

So, as the 2008 season begins, I’m going to do an abbreviated “Who are these guys?” preview, focusing on the players who are most-likely to contribute to the team on a daily basis, with a little love given to those who made the opening-day roster (sans catcher Matt Tupman, who we know is getting replaced by Miguel Olivo four games into the season when his suspension is done).

Each player will be followed by three sets of numbers – Batting Average/On-Base Percentage/Slugging Average for their career, the 2007 season and the Marcel projection for the 2008 season.

More info about the Marcel projections can be found here. Stats are from Baseball-Reference.com and projections are from FanGraphs.com.

Here we go.

John Buck
Car: 237/297/408 OPS+ 82
’07: 222/308/429 OPS+ 90
’08: 244/311/411

John’s career OPS by month:
Apr  732
May 715
Jun 794
Jul 579
Aug 635
Sep 803
If Buck can keep from stepping in that hole he seems to find every July and August, the Royals may have a legitimate big-league backstop this season.

Miguel Olivo
Car: 239/275/405 OPS+ 76
’07: 237/262/405 OPS+ 72
’08: 247/280/408

Miggy may get some time in the outfield this year, most likely against lefties, whom he hits to the tune of 291/319/524.

Billy Butler – 1B
Car: 292/347/447 OPS+ 105
’07: 292/347/447 OPS+ 105
’08: 298/361/465

Calling Butler an infielder is a bit of a stretch, but Buddy Bell (a six-time Gold Glover who should know) did say Billy had soft hands. The slugger from Florida will play a little first, but will most-likely end up as a full-time DH by the end of the season.

Mark Grudzielanek – 2B
Car: 289/331/395 OPS+ 90
’07: 302/346/426 OPS+ 100
’08: 285/327/403

Grudz returns for another season league-average performance. A solid second baseman, Grudzielanek won a gold glove in ’06 with the Royals. He should anchor a solid infield defense once again (at least on the days that Butler isn’t playing first) and will keep the position warm for prospect Alberto Callaspo.

Tony Pena Jr. – SS
Car: 264/282/354 OPS+ 65
’07: 267/284/356 OPS+ 66
’08: 270/303/379

The former manager’s son was a revelation at short after what I like to call “the Berroa years.” While hardly adequate at the plate in the age of A-Rods and Jeters, TPJ manages to put the ball in play often enough to make his spectacular play in the field enough to keep him right at replacement level value.

Alex Gordon – 3B
Car: 247/314/411 OPS+ 87
’07: 247/314/411 OPS+ 87
’08: 262/331/427

Considered the future at third base since he was drafted, Gordon overcame a difficult start to his big league career to post solid numbers in the second half last year.

A lot has been written about his current skills and potential, so I’ll just add this from my experiences seeing Gordon come to the plate in Anaheim and at spring training in Surprise: the dude looks severely stoned in his press photo. I mean it. The red eyes, shaggy hair and “are you taking my pictures for real” smile. Baked to the bone, I’m telling you.

Look, I’ve been to Nebraska. There’s not a lot to do there. I don’t blame him if he’s growing a little something in his apartment on the Plaza. Man, does he have a pretty swing, though.

Alberto Callaspo
Esteban German
Ross Gload

German has been the uber-utility man for a few years now and has a career on-base percentage of 373. Callaspo had some personal issues in Arizona, but hit like mad in the minors and is looking for a fresh start in KC. Gload is steady with the bat like Grudz, and will probably spend some time at first, outfield and designated hitter. Let’s just hope he stays out of the four hole this year.

David DeJesus
Car: 282/358/415 OPS+ 102
’07: 260/351/372 OPS+ 89
’08: 276/353/414

A lot of people (myself included) pegged DeJesus for a breakout season in ’07. Didn’t happen. He lost a little something, but did manage to play in 157 games, a career high. Let’s see if the center fielder can bring his production up and stay on the field this year.

Jose Guillen
Car: 274/325/447 OPS+ 101
’07: 290/353/460 OPS+ 116
’08: 272/333/448

The Mets go Carlos Santana. The Tigers got Miguel Cabrera. The Yankees re-signed Alex Rodriguez. Kansas City picked up Jose Guillen and quickly made Mike Sweeney only the third highest paid Royal ever.

Guillen is not a bad player, but he alone is not likely to be a savior for the team’s offensive woes any more than Emil Brown was. However, if Butler and Gordon continue to impress, Guillen should be a solid bat along with them in the line up.

Mark Teahen
Car: 274/340/429 OPS+ 100
’07: 285/353/410 OPS+ 98
’08: 282/350/439

Teahen’s numbers took a step back last season as he learned how to play a few outfield positions and a little first base. Considered one of the better base runners in baseball, Marky Mark also showed off a canon arm in right.

The canon has been moved to left, but Teahen will likely be jerked around from left to right to first to DH in order to keep his head spinning whilst he also attempts to pull the ball more at the plate.

Joey Gathright
Car: 266/333/314 OPS+ 71
’07: 307/371/342 OPS+ 88
’08: 273/342/352

Joey Gathright is fast and he can jump over cars and the occasional Japanese pitcher. His skills at getting on-base have been quite good for a while, and his goal this season is to steal 60 bases. A quick look at his minor league numbers shows that he was a much better thief there than in the majors.

Let’s see if new manager Trey Hillman gives him the green light more often that Buddy Bell did.

Starting Pitchers
Gil Meche
Zack Greinke
Brian Bannister
John Bale
Brett Tomko

Pitchers always seem to have more questions than answers going into the season.

Can Meche keep up his solid stuff? Can Grienke stay sane? Will Bannister stave off regression to the mean? Who is John Bale? Why is Brett Tomko being given $3 million to make my stomach churn every fifth day?

Relief Pitchers
Joakim Soria – Closer
Jimmy Gobble
Ron Mahay
Leo Nunez
Ramon Ramirez
Yasuhiko Yabuta

A few new faces in the bullpen this season. A few familiar culprits.

Soria looks like another Mariano Rivera in the making. Gobble should be a solid LOOGY again. Ron Mahay will be… let’s just say interesting. Nunez and Ramirez both bring the heat, and Yabuta is a Japanese import likely to fall somewhere between Dice-K and the crappy version of Hideo Nomo (who we happen to have on “the DL” right now… wink, wink-nudge, nudge).


I’ve seen 76 wins thrown about most often as the realistic best-case scenario for this year’s Royals squad. A definite improvement over last year. Still not quite ready to compete with the big boys in the division.

As I am an eternal optimist, I think I’ll push my predicted finish to 86 wins. In contention for a large part of the year, but falling just short of the postseason in a very competitive American League Central.

It’s easy to forget that the Royals played very competitive baseball for a long stretch last season. Using Poznanski-like math skills, I showed at the halfway point of the season how the team had a chance to win as many as 79 games.

Of course, the team faltered late in the year and finished five games off of their Pythagorean record of 74 wins. I say that if the team’s true talent level last year was that of a 74 win team, and the core players are back and almost all are expected to show improvement, then a .500 record is no great stretch of the imagination.

Let’s play ball!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sports - Buck the Starter

Before we get into the player previews (which will probably come before the season when the roster is more solid), let's look at some of the news as it comes along.

I like Trey Hillman already for how he is treating John Buck. The quote below says it all. If the backstop can recreate the first two months of last year, he's going to be the man behind the plate. If Johnny Boy posts another sub-.600 OPS, he'll be benched.

Let's hope Hillman treats all veterans this way. Performance matters.
clipped from www.kansascity.com

"Anything is possible, sure," Hillman said. "What I told John Buck is you have to maintain a certain level of performance to maintain your status as a starter. For me, that's a no-brainer. That's for everybody."

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