The temperature reached the 60s on Friday afternoon in parts of Kansas which felt like spring was near. Spring equals spring training, which equals baseball. And if you’re like me, you’re more than ready for the fresh cut grass of the diamond and the crack of the bat (and if you’re on a baseball themed site in January, you must be eagerly awaiting the upcoming season.)
To pass the time until spring training starts, how about you fill up part of your day by checking out some Royals related links out in the wild blue yonder that is the internet…
- Here on Fansided, Nathaniel Stoltz is an iron man of sorts, writing on anything and everything baseball. Recently, he’s been doing a profile on every team’s minor league system at Call to the Pen and on Friday, the Royals turn came around. Nathaniel picked his favorite prospect at every position and filled out a pitching staff. I have to commend the boldness of placing Jake Odorizzi at the top of the rotation – I’ve yet to see anyone do that in prospect rankings. I’m pretty high on Odorizzi myself, though there are still some who see his upside as a #2 or #3 starter only.
- Also at Call to the Pen (which has relocated to ttp://fansided.com/baseball as the flagship baseball site on the Fansided network), my weekly column “Safety in Numbers” took a Royals-centric look at the use of closers in light of Ned Yost‘s comments at FanFest about seeing the merit of using Joakim Soria in more situations, but that he wasn’t going to go against the book.
- Kings of Kauffman was founded in early 2009 with Wally Fish at the helm as lead writer. He moved on to Call to the Pen as the lead writer before passing it on to Nathaniel. Wally now has taken on the lead writer role at Fansided’s Minnesota Twins blog Puckett’s Pond, formerly known as Twinkie Talk. Go take a look over there in the spirit of AL Central comraderie.
- In other Royals news, Royals Review has the first part of an interview with Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper. He gave some insight into the process of ranking farm systems for their annual Prospect Handbook and the Royals jump from #17 in 2010 to #1 this year is due to the immense depth and talent in the system, but also, interestingly, in how it’s distributed. The 2010 group was hardly in Double A, whereas now, many players are within a year of the majors.
- The Royals official blog on MLB.com has a nice video of Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez reading to some local Kansas City children. Apparently, Moustakas helps kids with reading as well as their math homework. It’s a pretty nice clip, and the players genuinely seem to be having a good time. It makes me think that the Royals have gotten players with immense talent into the system but many with good character and humility. I mean, they’re reading about penguins. Penguins!
Finally, Baseball America got some great information from Assistant GM J.J. Picollo, including a discussion of Wil Myers‘s move to the outfield and its being predicated on his hitting development. Picollo says that Myers should be in right field for Northwest Arkansas at the age of 20. A good year as an outfielder would cause the Royals to project him in the big leagues by 2012 or 2013, according to Picollo.
Also of note in Picollo’s comments: Noel Arguelles, a top international signing this time last year, probably won’t be ready for game action until after spring training. The Cuban left-hander has had shoulder troubles since signing a major league contract with the Royals and has yet to get into a game.
Also, Christian Colon will play his first full year in professional ball at shortstop despite the acquisition of Alcides Escobar. Picollo cites the lack of quality shortstops around the league as a reason and that Colon should have the opportunity to stick there if he can and a move to second base would follow if necessary at the big league level.
I think that makes a lot of sense – there’s no real reason to move Colon off shortstop yet. If he can play it (scouts and executives doubt he’ll maintain the range necessary for the position), then you have a bonus of a capable shortstop. If he can’t, it’ll be apparent by the end of the season. A shift to second will be much easier later than if Colon needed to relearn the shortstop position in a pinch down the line. It’s a sensible move but stands out because it’s been assumed he’d move to second base since the Zack Greinke trade.