Today the Royals reassigned RHP-Yasuhiko Yabuta, OF- Chris Lubanski, C-J.R. House, and RHP-Oscar Villarreal to minor league camp.
Yasuhiko Yabuta (6/9/73)
I will sleep a little better tonight knowing that Yabuta will not break camp with the major league team. In 6.33 IP this spring, Yabuta has an 8.53 ERA and a 2.69 WHIP. He is on the 2nd year of his 2 year $6 million contract. Now if only the news would come out that Tony Pena Jr & Ross Gload were cut or reassigned …
Chris Lubanski (3/24/85)
There is little shine to the prospect star that Lubanski once possessed. In 561 AAA at bats, he has a .232 batting average with 21 home runs. He hit .321/.345/.607 in 28 spring at bats with only 2 SO and definitely opened some eyes. He plays LF and hits left-handed, which are two things the Royals do not currently need. Of the 6 OF on the active roster right now, only Guillen hits exclusively right-handed. On a different roster his performance would certainly have earned him a longer look in major league camp. He is only 24 years old, and it is certainly possible that his spring performance is a sign that he has turned the corner. Lubanksi is definitely someone to watch in AAA this year.
J.R. House (11/11/79)
A non-roster invitee, House hit .071 in his 14 spring at bats. J.R. was a 5th round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1999 draft, and was once a top prospect in their organization. He has only managed to hit .167/.206/.367 in his 60 major league at bats. In 2,980 at bat over his 9 minor league seasons, House has hit .310/.372/.496. In 2008 he hit .306/.378/.480 for Houston’s AAA affiliate Round Rock Express. It looks like he will be forever cast as a 4A player stuck between AAA and the major leagues, but at 29 years old still has a chance to make a career for himself as a backup catcher. Barring injury it doesn’t look like it will be for the Royals.
Oscar Villarreal (11/22/81)
Villarreal is a 27 year old RHP with a career 3.86 ERA, 1.372 WHIP, and 236/135 SO/BB ratio. In his 6 years in the majors, he has pitched for Arizona, Atlanta, and Houston. He did not pitch at all this spring for the Royals due to a sore elbow.