The Royals announced a special future stars game that will pit Double A affiliate Northwest Arkansas against Triple A affiliate Omaha. The exhibition will take place on April 2 after the Royals take on the Angels at Kauffman Stadium.
I find this development satisfactory.
I’ve been writing on Kings of Kauffman since last March. Prior to that, I kept track of the team through various sites and through Twitter. I’d say it’s safe to say that I’ve followed the team – all the way down to the minor league levels – pretty heavily for the last five or six years (I had some lean years there for a while. Jeff Austin and Chris Lubanski will do that to a guy).
To me, I’ve read so much about Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas already that it’s like they’ve been in professional baseball for much longer than they actually have. But an event like this is a nice showcase for the casual fan.
I really don’t know how much the guy who tunes into the games starting in April and tunes out in September knows about someone like Derrick Robinson or Everett Teaford – guys who weren’t high profile draft picks. He might know the name Hosmer or Moustakas, but not know much else. Heck, I’ve seen national media still refer to Moustakas as a shortstop, when he hasn’t played there since 2008.
So to set up a game like this gives the Royals a great opportunity to give those more casual fans a chance to look at the minor league stars that the team has developed. It’s a chance to share the accolades that numerous prospect publications have heaped upon Dayton Moore and company for their minor league scouting.
In a year like 2011, with payroll as low as it’s been in years and no real sign of competition to come this season, it’s a great idea to start marketing some of the prospects early and get the fanbase excited for their imminent arrival. I haven’t had opportunity to get down to Springdale, Arkansas or up to Omaha, but I’d love to get a look at some of these blue chippers in action. This gives me and others an opportunity to do just that.
With Hosmer, Moustakas and others joining the Royals in spring training (at least until minor league camp opens on March 7), the Royals have another few chances to get those names out over the airwaves. It’s going to be tough to keep that casual fan tuned in, especially when they’ve heard it all before. Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye and Carlos Beltran comprised one of the most talented outfield trios in decades and the Royals have Chris Getz to show for it. Alex Gordon and Billy Butler were expected to usher in a new era of success as early as 2007 and while Butler is on the cusp of becoming one of the better overall hitters in the league, Gordon has bounced from Omaha to Kansas City and back and is going to need a solid 2011 to fend off the dreaded AAAA player label.
I’m optimistic about the group of prospects, just like many other Royals fans and baseball experts. It’s tougher for the casual fan, I imagine. They aren’t logging into Baseball America every day for a prospect report or checking Twitter for more from Kevin Goldstein. They might know the names, but as soon as the first series of the year in 2011, they’ll get to see the players, too.