Despite my stereo having no antenna and no streaming audio available (ironically, about the only thing you can’t find for free on the internet is baseball on the radio, which would otherwise be free), it’s good to get an honest to goodness spring training game in the books. The Royals beat the Rangers 4-2 yesterday in Surprise.
There isn’t a lot to extrapolate from one game, but hey, let’s give it a try anyway:
First, the lineup. The Royals led off Mike Aviles and batted Melky Cabrera second. With Billy Butler batting third, it paid off on Sunday. Aviles and Cabrera both singled, then moved to second and third on a fielder’s interference call. Butler singled right behind them and drove in the first two runs of the spring.
Then he stole second base. Apparently, the idea of increasing aggressiveness on the basepaths extends to Butler as well. At least in spring.
Jeff Francoeur homered to left field and Johnny Giavotella doubled. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas saw at bats, with Hosmer grounding out once and Moustakas grounding out twice. Tim Collins struck out two in one inning of work, but Louis Coleman gave up two runs. In two innings, Kyle Davies gave up an infield single, but that’s all. He struck out three.
Okay, so there’s not a lot to glean from one game, other than it’s possible Aviles will be the leadoff man on opening day and Melky is all but set to start in center field. Billy Butler started at first rather than DH, though I still expect Kila Ka’aihue to get the most time in the field once the season starts.
Back before I came to Kings of Kauffman, I lurked around Royalboard for a while and every spring a poster there would share video clips from Surprise. He’s at it again and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to subscribe to his video updates if you’re interested in seeing more than just a boxscore.
-Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus released his top 101 Prospects list, and the Royals landed ten (10) players in his rankings. This comes days after Baseball America’s top 100 listed nine Royals prospects.
Goldstein’s rankings named the usual suspects:
- Mike Moustakas (7)
- John Lamb (11)
- Eric Hosmer (12)
- Wil Myers (13)
- Mike Montgomery (21)
- Chris Dwyer (66)
- Danny Duffy (67)
- Jeremy Jeffress (76)
- Jake Odorizzi (77)
- Christian Colon (88)
With the exception of Jeffress, Goldstein’s list matches BA’s. Just another feather in the cap for the Royals farm system.
-Dayton Moore took time to talk with John Sickels and said a lot of the usual stuff we’ve heard from him (even the exact same phrases). He did offer a few things that were a little interesting, though not ground breaking.
- Moore mentioned that personality plays a role in evaluating players, especially high school hitters. He notes Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas as examples of players who were balanced and calm, which helped when they encountered failure in 2009. Both bounced back in a huge way in 2010.
- The feeling I get is that Moustakas still has some warts (pitch selection, hitting lefties, the outside pitch from lefties), but they have no concerns about Hosmer as a hitter. He also mentioned that Hosmer could play corner outfield, but could also be Gold Glove caliber at first base.
- He talked about Johnny Giavotella and Clint Robinson as quality depth guys to cover injuries or in trades. Sickels asked him specifically about these two, so I can’t read too much into it. If Sickels had asked about other prospects in general and Moore had mentioned these two voluntarily in the context of depth, then I’d see some hints.
- Moore thinks Christian Colon can stick at short and be an Orlando Cabrera type. If he does move to second, he’d fit the often-used Placido Polanco comparison.
- Mitch Webster lobbied for the selection of Brett Eibner. Webster grew up about an hour and a half from my home town which is the sole reason why I mention him. Eibner was a great call, though. Moore sees him as a strikeout-prone, but powerful and has those special intangibles. No word on if midichlorians are within that category or not.
- While the Royals have been aggressive in acquiring left-handed pitching, they don’t forsee going with a strict situational approach. “We want pitchers who can get anyone out.”
- Tim Collins is a pitcher “who can get anyone out.”
- If the Royals have a weakness in the system, it’s speed and athleticism. Right-handed power pitching would be useful too.
All in all, nothing too huge, but Sickels got some good commentary out of the Royals GM and it gives some insight into how the whole operation works and how they view progress so far. It’s a must read if you like paying attention to those sorts of things.