Attention from the outsiders


One hundred and sixty two games in one season is a handful. In this game, when played professionally, you play more contests in one season than any other sport- a stretch from the end of March, gently into October if lucky. Although the Royals historically never reach October, it’s still the mandatory season timeline that is all too much to handle.

I see a lot more positivity in the streets than years past. I’m currently in a Borders in Saint Louis. I’m taking a break, drinking a coffee and writing this story. Next to me, on a magazine rack, is a USA Today “Sports Weekly” edition. On the front page is a baseball player photographed in live action, sliding feet first into home. He wears all white, with a blue helmet and stitching.

It’s Eric Hosmer. The headline reads, “Young Royals on the Move –KC’s wealth of talent starting to spill into majors.”

A promising title indeed. It’s not a regional cover either; it’s all national news over here. If it were regional, Albert Pujols would have surely filled the printer pixels… not a young Royals prospect.

Royals fans can no longer yearn for positive national exposure. We are getting it more now than we have it the last twenty years combined. Most of the positivity isn’t even a result of production. It’s not like the team is playing lights out, and plowing through the division with ease. The record still reeks. We still win one, and then lose four, seemingly every week. Nothing has changed on that waterfront.

At the start of this season, I was incredibly optimistic towards a lot of issues. I publicly debated many readers and writers on how the Royals needed to start the youth trend NOW, instead of 2012. The team started on a roll. Big, late inning wins and it really seemed as if the Royals could hold their own in the division. With a surprising continual climb in the standings, the front office made the move to bring in Eric Hosmer and Danny Duffy. Heck, Aaron Crow was a shock. For the first time in years, the Royals were making moves parallel with my nail biting, over the top, frustrated optimism. I bought in, and took the ticket.

The sunshine has dimmed though as the grueling length of the season has caught up with our inadequacies… lack of depth and poor pitching I assume. These are the two excuses for 2011. Each year has a different one.

Last night the Royals fell victim to the Blue Jays. Vin Mazarro got into trouble early, giving up three first inning runs. The loss isn’t what hurts, it’s the trend of how we lose and when we lose. That stings. There is a lock of hope in areas where we could possibly win six or seven straight games. You just can’t imagine it happening. Like I previously mentioned, the Royals are a team that wins one, and then loses four. There isn’t enough consistency threaded into this team to hash out a winning streak of four or fives games. A winning streak like that is the type of thing this team needs. But when all else fails and the hopes burn out, think about the future. It’s a refreshing drink.

Tired of thinking about Hosmer? Think of Moustakas. Tired of thinking about Duffy or Montgomery? Think of Colon or Myers…or even Bubba Starling.

Make no mistake, the Royals are futuristically LOADED.

If we step forward two, maybe three years from today…here is what an opening day Royals lineup COULD look like.

1) CF Bubba Starling/Jarrod Dyson (utility)

2) 2B Christian Colon/Johnny Giavotella

3) 1B Eric Hosmer

4) 3B Mike Moustakas

5) RF Wil Myers

6) DH Billy Butler/ Clint Robinson (where to put this guy?) batting .351 with 13 homers in AAA!

7) LF Lorenzo Cain/Brent Eibner/Alex Gordon (utility)

8.) C Salvador Perez/ Lucas May

9) SS Alcides Escobar/Jeff Bianchi

 

SP Aaron Crow

SP Mike Montgomery

SP Jake Odorzzi/Danny Duffy

SP Yordano Ventura/Luke Hochevar

SP John Lamb/ Tim Melville

RP Jeremy Jeffress

RP Yordano Ventura

RP Chris Dwyer

RP Tim Collins

RP Louis Coleman

CL Noel Arguelles

The USA TODAY article, which you can find here, illustrates how DEEP the Royals organization is going to be. We all know this, but man I love national publication and exposure!

Dayton Moore receives a lot of credit in this article as well, which we can take with a grain of salt until proven otherwise. They make him out to be a baseball scientist, who originally planned success in 2012 from day one. If this turns out to be true, then we have a big time story. You can forget about the book “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis. This is no Billy Beane tune. Nor is it a formulation of sabermetric analysis.

If the Royals wind up becoming what everyone hopes, this could be the greatest story in franchise rebuilding ever recorded- a monumental task that could easily put Dayton Moore among the best ever in baseball management. Of course you have to lose a lot to gain a lot, but still a motivating, motion picture worthy tale.

Otherwise…it could all be a giant waste of time and energy.

 

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  • Nathan

    Whatever the lineup looks like, Lucas May won’t hbe there. Traded to the D-Backs.

    • Mitch Hall

      Gordon is no different than Rocco Baldeli IMO. Other teams are smart enough to realize there are better ways to spend money.

  • Daniel

    Alex Gordon will not be a utility player. He will either be the starting LF or not on the team.

  • Gus

    I wonder how many in that lineup will be wearing a Yankees or Red Sox jersey in 5-7 years…

    • Daniel

      Gus, name the last player the Royals drafted that went immediately to the Yankees or Red Sox. That cliche is both tired and untrue.

      • Gus

        That’s fair. Perhaps I should have said “large market / high payroll team” instead.

        I’m an old Montreal Expos fans and it seems to me that teams like the Royals and Pirates are the new Montreal Expos. I’m well versed in watching young players develop and then having them snapped up by teams who can afford to pay them in their peak years (see Martinez, Pedro and Guerrero, Vladimir for two examples).

        Hopefully I’m wrong and the Royals can keep the talent in their system for the long term. Anyways, good blog. Keep up the good work, I enjoy reading…

  • jim fetterolf

    “There isn’t enough consistency threaded into this team to hash out a winning streak of four or fives games.”

    Sure there is. Royals’ problems are fairly easy to identify at the moment: Mike Aviles can’t hit righties; Billy Butler is an ineffectual hitter, good for OBP but neither scores nor drives in runs; Jack Soria blew five saves, four of which became losses; pitching has been inconsistent, as has the hitting, but close enough to be a .500 team this year.

    The fixes will start coming with the trades; Betemit needing to be moved to make space for Moooose, whose splits are getting better. Aviles probably DFA’ed as he has little value, which will make room for either Johnny Gio or for Irving Falu, who is hitting well and is a better fielder, being an SS, than Gio. Melky traded to open a spot for Lorenzo Cain, who is hitting well and is a superior defender, but strikes out too often to lead off. Bruce Chen, our ace, returning to the line up. Luke Hochever put on a shorter leash to avoid the sixth and seventh inning meltdowns. Most of this will happen and the wins will return by August.

    • Mitch Hall

      All great points. Betemit, is gonzo.

      • Kyle

        I really like the idea of Cain for Melky, Betemit Moustakas for Betemit, and Giavotella for Getz/Aviles. But I would consider keeping Betemit on the bench. He is a switch hitter that can play the corners. The Royals need to give him some chances in RF against righties.

        Monty is walking too many hitters, but I think he is still a better option than half the rotation. But there is no reason to rush him. Once Chen comes back, that should help.

        The Royals starters get no respect (which they probably don’t deserve anyways), but come on. That strikezone they get is a little ridiculous. They all get squeezed. And Hosmer strikezone has been so big. I almost wish they wouldn’t put up the pitch F/x b/c it just makes me angry.