By now I think we can all agree that it is safe to be excited about Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, and Mike Montgomery. I’m talking about both the present and future of all three, and in the case of Montgomery the past as well. Before I espouse happy thoughts, sunshine, roses and lollipops I wanted to take a step back and stress that it is going to take more than these three prospects reaching their potential for the Royals to make a move in the hierarchy of baseball powers. I know that is kind of a duh, but stay with me here I think I’m going somewhere with this. [...]
If the Kansas City Royals are going to reemerge as a contending team, let alone as a division power, they have to get better faster. Heading into this season, Baseball America ranked the Royals organization 16th out of the 30 major league teams. 16th is middle of the pack. In the AL Central they ranked 3rd out of the 5 teams. They fall well behind the Cleveland Indians (#3) and the Minnesota Twins (#6), but are well ahead of the Chicago White Sox (#23) and the Detroit Tigers (#27).
That’s not too shabby, but it’s not great either.
The Royals aren’t playing against themselves in the improvement game. They are also playing against the other teams in the American League, and more importantly the American League Central. It’s not enough for the Royals to improve themselves every year. They have to improve and do so at a faster rate than their division rivals to catch up and then to stay ahead. Fans often lose perspective on their team and lose sight of the fact that other teams aren’t suspended in stasis.
I know most of you are reading this still saying duh. Of course you are. If you are reading this, chances are you’re a Royals fan and our team is coming off a 10-year stretch where they have managed to win a measly 672 games. 67.2 wins per season. It’s hard to lose perspective when that stretch is staring you in the face every morning you get out of bed. It’s hard to lose perspective when a recent, Ned Yost inspired, “hot” streak lifts the team to a 21-29 record.
Ten years is a significant chunk of baseball history and that’s a deep hole to climb out of for any team.
For the Royals, with a questionable major league roster and a middling farm system there is a LOT of work to be done. Some players are emerging, and those are the ones we tend to focus on, but other players are struggling. Of course we also can’t lose sight of the fact that Danny Duffy (#8) walked away from baseball and Jeff Bianchi (#11) was lost for the season before it ever really started. Will the Royals farm system move up in the rankings heading into the 2011 season? Keep that question in mind for a second.
So there is a lot of work to be done, more than can possibly be done in one or even two seasons (barring a massive influx of cash to the major league payroll) and that’s why I get a little giddy when I come across things like this week’s Texas League notebook from MiLB.com.
Mike Moustakas also received some love from the latest edition of This Week In Prospects on Call to the Pen. Going to the other end of the spectrum, Willie Bloomquist was the Royals player selected for Nathaniel’s CttP article, Fun Facts of 2010 Batting, Brought to You by Pitch Type Linear Weights.
If you want to read more about the Royals farm system, you’re in luck. My above question, “will the Royals farm system move up in the rankings heading into the 2011 season” has inspired a new series over on Call to the Pen. With any luck it will debut this week and will examine each organization’s Top-30 prospect list one team at a time. Since I am a Royals fan first and foremost, the Kansas City Royals will be the first team I dig into. I also plan on writing the KoK Prospect #4 article so look for that this week as well.