With the start of spring training, it seems the beat writers for the Royals were antsy to get to writing. There’s a lot of information coming out from camp already and I’m here to pass along the good stuff and my take.
Nobody has been reported to be in the best shape of their life yet, but I’m sure that’s coming. My hunch is that Brayan Pena is the first such reference when it happens (and it always happens).
But that’s not important. Onto the news:
-Jason Kendall checked in with doctors in Los Angeles to follow up on his rotator cuff surgery from last summer. They’ve stated that he’s ahead of schedule and can begin a throwing program to not over-exert his shoulder. Bob Dutton reports that he’ll start with a 35-40 foot test (prompting our own Kevin Scobee to chime in with a winning zinger). Bob Fescoe reported that he aims to be ready by Opening Day, which seems optimistic. I wasn’t in favor of the Kendall signing in the first place and don’t think he should have played as much as he did last year, so while I hope he gets his health back, he can stay off the field as far as I’m concerned.
-When Wil Myers moved to the outfield, it made Salvador Perez the top catcher in the system and Ned Yost has a bit of a mancrush on him. Everything he’s seen so far as been “all positive” and Dick Kaegel notes that Perez might be closer to the big leagues than many think. Our prospect profile on Perez agrees with the assessment that he’s mature and has an advanced feel for the game. With a (possibly) returning Kendall, Brayan Pena, Luke May (who left practice early with a fever today) and Manuel Pina on the 40 man roster, the odds of Perez seeing big league time this year are slim, especially since he hasn’t played an inning past High A, but who knows, stranger things have happened.
-If you aren’t following Bob Fescoe on Twitter, now’s a good time to do it. He’s been on fire with updates from Surprise, Arizona. Earlier today he noted that Eric Hosmer homered during batting practice to right field, then center, then to left. Also, Texas League Triple Crown winner Clint Robinson hit a scoreboard 450 feet from home. It was on another field.
-Every time I look over potential Royals for 2011, I get stopped on the mass of bullpen arms available. So far in camp, Jeremy Jeffress, Louis Coleman and Patrick Keating have stood out from the pack. Yost is hesitant to start ranking people, but Coleman and Jeffress are locks to pitch in the majors this year at some point if not right away. Keating could be a fast riser too. The Royals bullpen could be filled with the following strikeout masters (all rates are minor league stats with one exception):
- Patrick Keating (12.8 K/9 in 104 IP)
- Greg Holland (9.6 K/9 in 229 IP)
- Louis Coleman (9.9 K/9 in 113.2 IP)
- Tim Collins (13.3 K/9 in 223 IP)
- Jeremy Jeffress (10.6 K/9 in 306.2 IP)
- Joakim Soria (9.9 K.9 in 255 MLB IP)
Will those minor league numbers translate to exactly equal major league numbers? Probably not – but they’ll still be very strong strikeout numbers some day, perhaps as soon as this summer.
-Bob Dutton also reported that the Royals might be interested in a minor league deal for former Orioles and Mets pitcher John Maine. The right-hander will be 30 years old on opening day and is coming off three years of right shoulder problems. When healthy, he’s just a league average guy, so he’d be more of an emergency option and Triple A rotation fodder, I’d have to guess if he does sign.