Royals Instructional League Primer (LHP)

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Not a lot has been written about the 56 players named to the Royals Instructional League roster, so here is a primer of sorts recapping each player’s 2009 season and prospect status as it stands today.  This is part 4 of 5 which covers the left handed pitchers on the roster.

I apologize for not getting this up yesterday.  The “project monster” at work got the best of me and I didn’t have time to write.  Thanks to tonight’s softball game I have opted to cover the 8 LHPs tonight and will examine the 21 RHPs in tomorrow’s post.

In case you missed the posts earlier this week:
Part 1: Catchers
Part 2: Infielders
Part 3: Outfielders

The roster I am working from is the one posted on www.kansascity.com back on September 5th.  Finding information about Instructional League has been surprisingly challenging so if any of the following content is incorrect, please comment to this post or contact me via email with any necessary corrections.

LHP-Brandon Sisk was originally assigned to the roster, but was reassigned to the Surprise Rafters in the Arizona Fall League.  RHP-Aaron Crow has taken his place as part of the Instructional League team.

Left Handed Pitchers:

George “Buddy” Baumann (12/9/1987)  Royals 2009 7th Round Pick  (S=0 / R=3)
2009 Burlington Royals:  5.0 IP, 1.80 ERA, 0.800 WHIP, 4 H, 0 BB, 5 SO
Baumann was placed on the 7-day DL on July 20th after making only 3 appearances. Although it is a very small sample size, it’s hard to argue with the results he turned in before getting hurt.  It would seem like a good sign that he was added to the Instructional League roster to get some innings.  That is, of course, assuming he’s healthy.

Starling De La Rosa (9/19/1987)  Signed out of the Dominican Republic 7/20/06  (S=0 / R=12)
2009 AZL Royals:  17.2 IP, 6.11 ERA, 1.415 WHIP, 17 H, 8 BB, 26 SO
After 3 years in the Dominican Summer League, Starling made it to the AZL Royals.  The ERA is a bit high, but he has improved his WHIP every year since he’s been in the organization.  He displayed a good SO/BB and his H/9 was pretty solid as well.  Just 21, he’s showing consistent improvement.  The adjustment of pitching in the Dominican to pitching in the states surely played a role in his 2009 performance as well.  With all that in mind, I will be keeping an eye on him in 2010.

Eric Diaz (10/4/1988)  Royals 2009 16th Round Pick  (S=3 / R=11)
2009 AZL Royals:  35.0 IP, 7.20 ERA, 1.914 WHIP, 44 H, 23 BB, 40 SO
Guess which role he’s more comfortable in?
As a starter; 12.0 IP, 4.50 ERA, 12 H, 7 BB, 11 SO.
As a reliever; 23.0 IP, 8.61 ERA, 32 H, 16 BB, 29 SO.
Either way Diaz needs to develop his control, but it is his first year.  He had a nice July with a 2.45 ERA, 16 SO, and only 8 BB in 14.2 IP so clearly he has some ability, but the wheels came off in August.  Since I don’t have first hand knowledge, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume fatigue played a part in his August stumbles.  That said, consistency can be quite a bear to wrestle with, just ask Luke Hochevar.

Chris Dwyer (4/10/1988)  Royals 2009 4th Round Pick  (S=4 / R=0)
2009 Idaho Falls Chukars:  8.2 IP, 4.15 ERA, 2.308 WHIP, 12 H, 8 BB, 15 SO
It is a very small sample size, thanks to Mr Selig’s mythical draft pick slotting system, but Dwyer still had time to flash his considerable talent striking out 15 in only 8.2 IP.  His numbers are skewed by his last 3.0 inning outing where he gave up 8 of the 12 hits and 3 of his 4 earned runs on the year.  No matter the results he has in his career, signing a pitcher with the talent and stuff that Dwyer possesses in the 4th round is something the Royals should be applauded for.

Blaine Hardy (3/14/1987)  Royals 2008 22nd Round Pick  (S=3 / R=33)
2009 Burlington Bees:  92.1 IP, 2.05 ERA, 0.953 WHIP, 71 H, 17 BB, 94 SO
In 2008 he pitched for Idaho Falls in rookie ball.  This year he moved up to low-A and improved his numbers across the board including WHIP, H/9, BB/9, BB/9, SO/9, and SO/BB.  He allowed just 3 HR in his 92.1 innings of work this year after giving up 5 HR in 34.2 IP during 2008.  With all of that in mind, it really comes as no surprise that he dropped his ERA from 4.15 last year to 2.05 this season.  On top of the impressive stat line, he finished 23 games and registered 9 saves.  In short, Hardy is someone to get excited about.

Brendan Lafferty (5/27/1986)  Royals 2009 18th Round Pick  (S=2 / R=13)
2009 Idaho Falls Chukars:  53.2 IP, 2.85 ERA, 1.398 WHIP, 60 H, 15 BB, 48 SO
The goal for most players in their first professional season is to survive and advance.  Lafferty accomplished that feat and did so with a solid SO/BB and decent control.

Brian Peacock (5/7/1990)  Royals 2009 31st Round Pick  (S=9 / R=2)
2009 AZL Royals:  38.1 IP, 4.93 ERA, 1.513 WHIP, 50 H, 8 BB, 34 SO
Like Lafferty, Peacock displayed a solid SO/BB and decent control.  Unlike Lafferty, Peacock was drafted out of high school and spent most of his time in the rotation.  Survive and advance?  Mission accomplished.

Crawford Simmons (??/??/????)  Royals 2009 14th Round Pick
Will be making his organizational debut in the Instructional League.

Thoughts:
This group definitely has a 2009 draft flavor as six of the eight lefties on the International League roster are from the most recent draft class.  Chris Dwyer as this year’s 4th round pick and recipient of a $1.45 million signing bonus will get a lot of the attention, but the debut of Crawford Simmons will also, hopefully, be noteworthy.  Blaine Hardy looks to be on the path to the Royals bullpen, but that path has consumed many a promising career.

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Blaine Hardy Brendan Lafferty Brian Peacock Chris Dwyer Crawford Simmons Eric Diaz George Baumann Instructional League Kansas City Royals KC MLB Royals Starling De La Rosa

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