New KC Royals earn good grades, bad grades at one-third mark

Grading Kansas City's new players.
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Four KC Royals make up the middle

Garrett Hampson. Signed in late November for his versatility and big league experience, consider Hampson a nice addition to the roster. He's spelled Kyle Isbel in center 16 times, including Saturday when Isbel left KC's game against Tampa after taking a foul ball in the face, and Sunday when Isbel sat out. Hampson has also played left and every infield position. His OBP is a nice .373; he's hitting .310.

Hampson gets a B.

Will Smith. Smith's return to Kansas City, where his major league career began, has been disappointing. The club's presumptive closer as soon as he signed in December, Smith struggled and lost the role long before April ended.

Fortunately, he's getting better — he's been charged with runs only three times in his last 16 appearances, and his 4.60 ERA over that span is high primarily because he gave Baltimore four runs April 19. Should his improvement continue, he'll hopefully enhance his trade deadline value.

Because he seems to be coming around. we'll give Smith a C-.

Nick Anderson. Quatraro thrust Anderson, who came to the Royals via a November cash-for-player deal with Atlanta, into unfamiliar territory Saturday, handing him an 11th-inning save opportunity against Tampa. Although he hadn't been asked to save a game for Kansas City before, and despite being saddled with the extra-inning runner and walking Randy Arozarena to begin the inning, he came through by retiring the next three Rays.

The save may be the highlight of Anderson's otherwise mundane season: neither spectacular nor flashy, he isn't a high-leverage situation pitcher and had, before closing out Tampa, allowed both runners he'd previously inherited to score. His 3.93 ERA and 13.6 BB% suggest he gives up a few too many runs for a reliever and walks too many.

But Anderson also hasn't yielded a run in 15 of his 20 relief appearances and seems to be filling his role satisfactorily. We'll give him a B-.

Chris Stratton. Back on April 27, the Royals asked Stratton to protect a two-run seventh-inning lead against Baltimore. But the reliever the club signed in December failed miserably. The Orioles took a lead they never relinquished by rocking Stratton for three singles (including two that scored runs), a walk, and a three-run homer.

Take that one inning away, though, and Stratton's unsightly 5.06 ERA becomes a far more palatable 3.15. He's 2-2 in 20 games and only one of the 10 runners he's inherited has scored.

Stratton gets a C.

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