From the Fish Pond (2/13)


In this edition of From the Fish Pond; some Royals report early, Klima on Blake Wood and Danny Gutierrez, Sickels on Luke Hochevar, Mike Montgomery makes a list, Mike Jacobs is a Met, and Felipe Lopez fires his agent.

If you are looking for some postitive Royals related news, this article from Kansas City.com should do the trick.

It was labeled a voluntary camp and pitchers and catchers are not scheduled to report until Wednesday.  But Greinke’s attendance sent a message.  The Royals are trying to get a head start after finishing last in the American League Central for the fifth time in the past six seasons.

Greinke was not the only high profile Royal to show up.  Closer Joakim Soria, a 2008 All-Star who has logged 72 saves the past two seasons, and first baseman Billy Butler, who led the team with a .301 average, 51 doubles and 93 RBIs in 2009, also were in camp.

I don’t care how you slice it, the fact that the Royals three top players have reported early is a very good sign for the future.  It may not lead to more wins this season, but it’s a nice first step.  To change the culture of losing, your best players need to lead the way and it looks like Soria, Greinke, and Butler are trying to do just that.

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John Klima (Baseball Beginnings) posted some scouting thoughts on a few pitchers he saw in the AFL.

Blake Wood, RHP (Royals)
FB 91-92, CH 78-79, SL 74.  Slow arm speed, lumbering body, below-average FB command, inconsistent across the board.  Not ML starter for me; not enough power to be bullpen help.  Pro OFP: 45

This is not the best news on Blake, who was the Royals 3rd round pick in the 2006 draft, but it should come as no surprise since he has struggled mightily since reaching Double-A in 2008.  Over the last two seasons with NW Arkansas, Wood has a 5.55 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, and 2.08 SO/BB in 165.1 innings pitched.  I’d say the stats back up Klima’s assessment.

Also of note were his thoughts on recently suspended RHP-Danny Gutierrez who Klima considers to be a potential closer or set-up man in the majors.

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Speaking of the Royals 2006 draft class, John Sickels (Minor League Ball) recently published a “Not a Rookie” profile on former 1st overall pick, Luke Hochevar.

He would certainly benefit from a better defense behind him. If I were a real baseball team on the lookout for a pitcher to acquire low while his stock was down, I’d consider asking the Royals about Hochevar. I don’t expect him to develop into the ace originally envisioned, but with a better team behind him he could still develop into a workhorse inning-eater.

Hochevar’s evolution into a middle of the rotation innings-eater would work out very well for the Royals.  As disappointing as he’s been, he still has only 48 major league starts under his belt, so there is plenty of time for Luke to prove he belongs.  I still believe he can become a legitimate number 3 starter in a solid rotation.  With Zack at the top and Luke as a possible three, the Royals just need either Crow of Montgomery to live up to their potential as a two for the team to have an excellent, home grown, and downright salty rotation in 2012.

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USA Today published their list of 100 names you need to know.

These are the next wave of players heading into the major leagues who, in our view, could make the biggest impact in 2010.

These aren’t necessarily baseball’s 100 best prospects because many top prospects are too far down in the minor leagues to contribute in the majors this season. Others are stuck behind established major leaguers.

The first, and only, Royals player to show up on the list is Mike Montgomery at number 81.  Of all the arms expected to emerge in from the Kansas City system, Aaron Crow has to be considered the most likely to do so in 2010.  After all, Montgomery only has 152.2 professional innings under his belt and is just 20 years old.  Crow on the other hand is 23 with college and independent league experience.  My guess is that we’re going to see Crow in Kansas City by the end of the season, while Montgomery will spend all of 2010 with NW Arkansas.  I realize USA today is basically throwing darts to spark some debate, but this list is filled with plenty of other flaws.  For example, there are guys in the 60s; Drew Storen, Trevor Crowe, David Freese, and Chris Heisey to name a few that I believe should be toward the top of the list.

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Around the League:

Mike Jacobs recently signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets and will be “battling” with Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis for playing time at 1B.  If MJ makes the team he will make $900,000 with the possibility of another $1.15 million in performance bonuses.  It seems like a good fit for Jacobs since Murphy and Tatis are far from stiff competition and he figures to make the team and get a fair amount of playing time.  I can see the logic from the Mets perspective if they wanted him to come off the bench against RH pitching late in games, but as a potential starter at 1B?  I don’t see this ending well for the Mets.

Felipe Lopez has fired Scott Boras.  Regardless of the player involved this always makes me happy.  Along those lines, I’m shocked that the domain: firescottboras.com is available.

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(Wally Fish is the lead blogger for Kings of Kauffman and FanSided’s MLB Director.  Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)

Tags: Aaron Crow AL Central Baseball Billy Butler Blake Wood Danny Gutierrez Felipe Lopez Joakim Soria Kansas City Royals KC Luke Hochevar Mike Jacobs Mike Montgomery MLB Royals Zack Greinke