Friday, April 29, 2005

Jason White

Yeah. I saw that we are working him out. Note importantly though we haven't signed him to a contract. What I read was that everyone is scared off by his knees - "an injury settlement waiting to happen".

I think he's definitely worth a shot and am glad we invited him. I'll be eager to hear how the rookie minicamp went today and this weekend.

Hopefully some of the new free agents show too. I'd like to hear how Kendell Bell is moving.

8 in a row

Now it's 8 in a row the Royals have lost. Went a big O-fer on our six game homestand. And we lost six of those eight games by 1 run. I can't decide whether that's good or bad. I mean, we're not getting blown out and we're staying in each game till the very end (and a lot of times it's our bullpen giving up that one run in the late innings), but at the same time it makes it so frustrating!!

Anyways. Things to note: DeJesus is good. Granted, that's not saying much when lined up in our rag-tag AAAA bunch of hitters. But he's legit. Harvey finally got called back up. I'm not a big fan of Grimace - large hulking first baseman who spray singles everywhere aren't exactly something to jump up and down about. But at this point, if he can hit singles, he deserves to be in our lineup. Plus he was hitting .375 in Omaha. And of course, Grimace did what Grimace does best - went 2-5 with two singles in his first game back. Thank god they sent down Camp to make room for him. That man. I think two games ago summed up his season so far. He comes in and throws three pitches. He hits the first batter. Throws a wild pitch next. And then gives up a triple... and gets sent down to Omaha the next night. Berroa responded nicely to being dropped to ninth in the batting order last night though. I think he went 2-3 with a single, double, and got hit by two pitches. Nice. As good a way to get on base as any. Maybe he'll reverse the trend that Justin pointed out and start climbing back up in the order.

And Wally, did you see the Chiefs are working out Jason White? That seems interesting to me. I know there was concern in the NFL about his knee surgeries and his lack of arm strength, but he threw like 80 TD passes in the last two seasons, won the Heisman once, and finished 3rd last year in the voting!! And not a single team even used their last pick on him??? I would love for him to impress the Chiefs enough for us to sign him. I can see it now - the future QB of the Chiefs, an undrafted Heisman winner who was spurned by the rest of the NFL (cue dramatic pre-game CBS music now)...

Monday, April 25, 2005

While I'm not a big fan of Pena...

... at least he's a cut above Ozzie Guillen, the Chi Sox's second-year manager. Not as a tactician or a motivator or a baseball genius. But as a professional. I've heard managers express displeasure with former players before, but this is ridiculous. Here's what Ozzie Guillen had to say about Magglio Ordonez, who had accused Guillen earlier in the week of adversely affecting his contract negotiations with the Sox last winter:

"He's a piece of [bleep]," Guillen told reporters late last week. "He's another Venezuelan [bleep]. [Bleep] him. He thinks he's got an enemy? No, he's got a big one. He knows I can [bleep] him over in a lot of different ways. He better shut the [bleep] up and just play for the Detroit Tigers."

Wow. Blame Pena for whatever you like (and I do), but at least I think he's professional enough to not do that. That's just classless.

Defensive-minded...

Yes, the Chiefs have made a firm statement that they are defensive minded. And the Royals have just given indications of being absent-minded. Jose would fit right in with our OF crew.

Matt, I definitely agree the Chiefs have had a great off-season. Perhaps the best one since signing Priest as a free agent. I am eager to see how all the pieces for the Chiefs fit together, but I'll withhold judgement until then. You're also correct that this is our last shot for a while too.

One thing I am sure of though, is that Carl Peterson must go. This year should be his last too. His comment: “I haven't had any letters from outside of that — if you want to say — sphere of what I consider real Kansas City Chiefs fans,” Peterson said Wednesday, “because they step up each year and put their money down and say, ‘I'm here to see the Chiefs.' ” basically sums up that as long as Arrowhead stays full and the Chiefs make money, he considers himself to be doing a good job. He has gotten comfortable and arrogant in his power. He is content with packing the stands full of rabid fans. We need a young talent evaluator and administrator who bears none of the arrogance and complacency that Carl exhibits. Someone who views success as picking out stones in a Super Bowl ring.

My vote? Get someone from Baltimore or Arizona. Phil Savage has already been stolen from Baltimore, but maybe there is still someone worth hiring there. Balt always kicks butt in the draft. If not for TO's whining, Balt may have been a super bowl team last year. As for Arizona, Denny Green has had a couple great drafts, did wonders at Minn, and his team is up and coming. I'd love to pick off someone from this org.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Rising Chiefs, Sinking Royals

So I'm a happy Chiefs fan. This off-season has been better than I had hoped for. I thought Carl might make one, possibly two good moves. But we picked up three defensive stud veterans, grabbed a decent-but-possibly-good end from the Titans, and had what I consider to be a damn good draft. Not bad, Mr. Peterson. Not bad at all.

I thought Surtain was worth a 2nd round draft pick way back when we first started talking about the deal. Then when Buchanan went for a 2nd and 3rd round pick, I was worried b/c I thought Miami might ask for more. So when we pulled the trigger on the deal, I was thrilled. Then after watching the top three corners in the draft go in the top 10, I was even more thrilled. There's no way we could have gotten a corner who could contribute this year in the draft. Even if we had gotten one of those three, there' s no way they'd be at Surtain's level this year. And let's make no mistake, this year is it; our last chance for a little while, I think.

Luckily Shields is coming back this year, but I have a feeling this might be his last. Roaf too. Priest possibly. Green only has a few years left in him. Vermeil is probably retiring after this year too. Our team clearly revolves around our offense, and with all those key pieces leaving soon, we needed guys who could step up our defense this year. Even with Knight in at safety, a CB tandem of Warfield and Bartee/McCleon conjured up pictures of long bombs and 41-38 losses. But a tandem of Surtain and Warfield - now that sounds much, much better. In fact, that sounds - and I never thought I'd use this word to describe the Chiefs defense - but that sounds darn near good. With Johnson in at linebacker now too, we've got the makings to be a legit defense for quite a few years to come. That's an exciting thought.

I don't know much about the rest of our picks, except for the fact that our second pick was a punter. I did a double-take when I saw "PT" listed as his position. But I guess it's a glaring hole in our special teams, and he's the best punter out there. So hey, if he can help us out immediately, then more power to him. It just feels weird to use your second highest pick on a punter.

Speaking of people who drop the ball for a living (that's right, step aside Joe Posnanski! there's a new journalist in town!), let's look at those Royals. For every spot of brilliant potential we show, we make up for it with at least there bone-headed moves every game. Seriously - we have got to have the worst fundamentals of any team in the majors. Possibly of any AAA team. I couldn't find the stats on ESPN, but I'm quite sure we lead the league in errors. I'm not sure if we have a single player without an error. It's brutal. Our bullpen has also continued its amazing run to futility. Affeldt gets hurt so we replace him with MacDougal. Who immediately goes on to blow his first save opportunity against Minnesota by walking Torii Hunter (who happens to be leading the league in stolen bases) on 4 straight pitches. I think every Royals fan knew what was coming next. The next night (or was it two nights?), he immediately blew another game where we had just come back in the 8th. So our management responds by calling up Ambiorix Burgos, a starter-turned-closer with a 99mph fastball who has now been closing for a total of 7 games in AAA. He pitched a scoreless inning in his first game up, but I'm not sure he's ready to be here yet, let alone as the closer. He's had a history of control problems and while I love him and think he's going to be great, I'm not sure if his time is now. I'd hate to see him pull a Rick Ankiel and flame out on us.

Oh, I'm also happy to see Matt Diaz up with us now. Though I'm not sure how much playing time he'll get in our crowded-yet-crappy outfield (I'd rate our outfield as the worst in the American League). But he has some serious numbers in the minors and was ripping the ball apart so far this season. The only downside is that Pick got sent down. Granted, he looked absolutely horrible so far this season, but he only had about 30 at-bats. Hard to judge a guy on just 30 at-bats. But I guess Baird and Pena saw something in his approach they didn't like.

Oh right, and Pena... I love his motivation and spirit. But good god, this guy does not know how to manage a baseball team. He has made some of the worst calls I've ever seen - bunting when you shouldn't bunt, letting guys steal when you clearly should not steal (2 outs, Berroa on second, 8th inning), and letting pitchers throw 110+ pitches when they've just come back from arm surgery and are throwing hanging curves because they're tired. Yeah, it's a rebuilding year and no one said it'd be pretty. But man, it's getting rough...

Derrick Johnson articles...

I'm still not sure who I wanted more, Thomas Davis (faster, big-time hitter) or Derrick Johnson, but I guess it doesn't matter.

Derrick Johnson (profile from nfl.com)

AGILITY
4.55 in the 40-yard dash … 345-pound bench press … 495-pound squat … 315-pound power clean … 32½-inch vertical jump … 9-foot-10 broad jump … 32-inch arms … 9½-inch hands.

ANALYSIS

Johnson is a natural leader with exceptional quickness and is regarded as one of the finest pass defenders to ever play linebacker in the collegiate ranks. He has good size, but needs to dedicate more hours to the weight room; he lacks strength on his lanky frame. This is Johnson's major weakness; he does not show enough power to shed blocks and gets washed out on plays when working in-line. He also needs to use his hands better; he leaves himself too exposed, resulting in the blockers getting into his chest to lock on and sustain. Johnson did add bulk before the 2004 season, but the added weight did not affect his exceptional quickness.

He is best when making plays on the move, but can get a little bit out of control, resulting in over-running plays. Still, he is a natural playmaker who can make plays anywhere on the field. Johnson has excellent instincts in pass coverage, coming out of his backpedal quickly to stay on the hip of the receiver. He gets excellent depth in his pass drops and sees the play develop quickly. Johnson has excellent hands for the interception and shows an explosive burst to elude. He has a very strong work ethic and a motor that never quits. Johnson excels at making proper reads and has that sudden burst to get to the play almost instantly. Johnson's ability to take proper angles to the ball cuts down on the route he must take to disrupt the play.

Johnson is more of a drag-down tackler than one who will collide on impact. He is very effective rerouting the tight ends in the short area and shows excellent avoidance skills when penetrating the backfield off the edge. Johnson has good hip snap and change-of-direction agility to pursue the action on the outside. He closes with a sudden burst and is very effective to wrap and drag down the ball carrier. He gets a good jump on the ball, easily recognizing formations and blocking schemes.

Despite his lack of ideal strength, Johnson is a good outside run defender who plays with leverage and speed to cut off the ball carrier. His lateral pursuit is evident; he consistently avoids trash and the cut block to make the tackle in space. His zone drops are excellent; he shows more than enough flexibility to gain position. While he will play the receiver mostly, Johnson also does well at reacting to the ball in flight. He has the foot speed to stay with most backs and receivers in long-passing situations and is very effective using his hands to reroute and control tight ends in the short area.

He shows a strong desire to get the sack and very good explosion shooting the gaps. Whether working in-line or outside the box, he shows above-average ability to break down and wrap, and a superb burst of speed coming off the edge as a pass rusher. Johnson will struggle with plays run directly at him; he lacks the lower-body power to face up, stack and control the bigger blockers. He loses leverage at the point of attack vs. the offensive guards working in-line, but has good rip, swim and club moves to get an edge on the shoulder of the offensive tackles coming from the outside.

Once he gets heavily involved in a good weight-training program, he will be a steady playmaker at the next level. With his instincts, pass-defense skills and quickness, he will be perfectly suited to roam the field as a weak-side outside linebacker. His ability to drop back and settle into the zone soon will see him rival Miami's Zach Thomas for the right to be called the best pass defender among linebackers at the NFL level.

Here are a couple articles about him from nfl.com.

Little background story
http://www.nfl.com/draft/story/8379026

Interview after UT Pro Day
http://www.nfl.com/draft/story/8320534

Note, at the combines in 2000, Urlacher measured out at: At 6-3 3/4, 258 pounds, he ran about a 4.62 40-time. (4.48 at other locations.)

Oh yeah. In the 3rd round, I had hoped Blackstock would fall to us.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Thomas Davis...

Oh yeah. What do people think about taking Davis and moving him to linebacker? He did play some at Georgia.

Check out his bio: (from nfl.com)
1. Thomas Davis, Georgia (6-1, 230)
Played running back, quarterback, wide receiver, defensive end and returned kicks in high school, while also playing baseball and running track. Qualified for the state meet in the 100 meters. Redshirted in 2001 at Georgia and started four games in 2002 at both free safety and strongside linebacker. Started 14 games in 2003 at free safety. He worked as a linebacker in spring practice before returning to safety for the 2004 season and started 11 games, missing one with an injury. Led the team in tackles that year. He is a player that will punish people when making a tackle. Plays hard on every play no matter what the score is. A very good blitzer, very good against the run and can surprise people when covering tight ends. May lack great range for the safety position, which could make Davis a possible linebacker candidate for the NFL. He will be a very good player.

Pro Day results: Davis (6-0¾, 227) ran his 40s in 4.43 and 4.44. He had a 9-foot-10 long jump and 12 reps. Scouts worked him at safety and at linebacker, and the consensus is that he will remain at safety in the NFL.

Certain about Surtain?

Ok, so apologies as I've been trying firefight at work. I have quite a queue of comments, but the recent announcement of the Surtain trade was too hot not to comment on. I hate giving up our 2nd round pick, but after reviewing past Chiefs drafts with Monte and Matt, I am a fan of the deal. Carl has many flaws and has outstayed his welcome, but this is a good deal.

Surtain is certainly better than Phillip Buchanon (pbuck for you black hole residents) and I guess the price had been set. Now with him in the fold, the rest of the cornerback corp seems acceptable. I chomped at the bit when we didn't sign herndon, lucas or some of the other free agents, but holding out for a #1 corner rather than a #2 is the right move.

Heh. I guess I'll have to scrap my post about how I am hating being in Seattle and hearing how they keep signing guys as the Chiefs move slowly. I mean, with the Raiders and Broncos both making bold and smart moves, we were losing ground by standing still. (Carl, why weren't you calling Gibbs and Snyder?!!! The redskins 1st Rd pick for next year! That is very likely to be a high pick. Sigh.)

Anyway, at this point, I'm not sure what I want to see. If Johnson is there, we take him. I'm w/ Matt. A stud LB would be fantastic. But if not, I wouldn't mind trading back and picking up a 3rd or 4th rd pick. Given Carl's miss rate in the draft, especially first round picks, I'd rather give him a few more lottery tickets. The best option would to be trading one of our safeties for first-day picks.

Royals sidenote: WTF is up w/ Brian Anderson? I thought he was going to have a better year. He is killing his trade value. At least Sisco is pitching well. Note, he is definitely out-performing the guy AZ selected before him in the Rule 5 Draft.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Great little snippet from ESPN Page 2

Just had to share this from his rankings of MLB teams:

"21. Seattle Mariners: Jamie Moyer met the Devil at the crossroads. "What do you desire?" The Angel of Darkness inquired. "One more inexplicably effective season for a man my age," Moyer answered. "Then you shall have it," Satan said. "What will it cost me?" Moyer asked. "Just the bats of every player in your lineup ... except that limber one from Japan; I already have a standing deal with him," the Devil replied."

Amazingly, our Royals did not finish last in his ratings. Behind us were Colorado, the Marlins Team B (the team that shows up when one of their stud pitchers is on the mound and only averages 1.5 runs), and the Angels, who he has relegated to last until they change their name back.

Monday, April 18, 2005

What the Royals and I have in common

What we have in common is that we're both a couple years away from being competitive. Unfortunately, my finals are only two weeks away so I'm in the worse situation - which is why my posts have been so few and far between (i'm assuming Walt has been crazy busy as he usually is).

Anyways, a short study break for a quick post. Our starting pitching still impresses me (even though Greinke got hosed today). I think we're one or two years off from having a very, very good rotation. Our bullpen has been ugly though. I believe the number is something like 30 runs in 34 innings. Yikes. That's like Chan Ho level there (post-LA). It should be interesting to see what happens now that MacDougal has been moved back to closer since Affeldt has gone on the DL (again... that man gets as injured as often as I do). Glad to see we called up Kyle Snyder too. He had a phenomenal spring and continued to mow down hitters at Omaha. Hopefully, he'll give us some stability in that bullpen.

Our hitters, on the other hand. Wow. We are going to be hard-pressed to average three runs per game I think. Aside from Sweeney, we don't have anyone who I would characterize as a good hitter. DeJesus is still impressing me, and Berroa might be back to form, but they're still a bit off from being a good hitter in my opinion. Opposing pitchers must lick their lips everytime they see us on their schedule. We might single-handedly give the AL Central the best ERA of any division this year.

The Chiefs received their schedule last week too. I haven't had a chance to really look over it, but from what I remember from my quick glance, it looks like it's as bad as last year's was (and last year's was brutal). We better land a cornerback soon or it might be another long year. I'm still hoping we can swing that trade with Miami for Surtain, but it seems like they're not budging off that 2nd round draft pick demand. I'd love to see us put him with Warfield in the backfield, and then draft a stud linebacker in the first round. A defense with Surtain, Warfield at corner; Knight and Wesley/Woods at safety; Bell, Barber (if healthy)/Fujita (if healthy), Maslowski (if healthy)/stud 1st round pick; and Allen, Hall, Sims, Browning and whoever else we have on the line... that defense would be much, much improved. If we can't get Surtain though, perhaps Ty Law will have healed up in time. Either way - we need to get a Corner and a LB this year or it might be a three-peat for the worst defense in the NFL.

Random thought - Wesley is a hard hitter (or at least used to be till last year) and has some decent speed... I wonder if we could move him to LB. He'd be a bit undersized, and I have no idea how different the two positions are, but that would make things interesting if he could since we have so many safeties (Harts, who started for us two years ago when Woods broke his leg and did a decent job, is our 2nd backup now).

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Royals have the same record as Yankees...

Who would have guessed.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

We got some damn good pitchers

OK, I'll get to the Chiefs in a second, but first things first. WOW. Denny Bautista. Did you see his performance last night? The kid went out and put up 8 innings, gave up 1 earned run, struck out 8 and walked none. Unbelievable. And this wasn't some pushover team he was pitching against, either. It was the Angels, who host one of the better lineups in the American League.

I like Bautista (as evidenced by my picking him up in our Fantasy League last week!). He had a great spring training, and has always been big on potential since we got him, but had never quite put it together (by the way - this has to rank up there as possibly Allard Baird's best move as GM of the Royals; he gave up an aging, past-his-prime pitcher in Jason Grimsley to the Orioles and got Bautista). I was expecting to come home last night and see that he pitched maybe 6 innings, gave up 4 runs, walked 3 guys or so and struck out 5. But as much as I like him, I never imagined he'd pitch like he did yesterday.

My main concern with him, though, is that his problem has always been with control. He seems to have figured it out, but he might just be on a roll right now. Young power pitchers often take a long time to harness that control on a consistent basis. While we'll get performances like last night, I'm sure we'll get a bunch of starts where he chalks up more walks and runs than innings pitched. Between him and MacDougal, it might not be safe to sit behind home plate at a Royals game! Regardless though, last night was a monster of a start.

So now that means we've got Greinke, our one bona fide budding superstar who luckily was not seriously hurt by that line drive off the forearm a couple days ago. Runelvys (which is actually pronounced run-elvis for you non-Royals fans) Hernandez, who was the best pitcher in the American League two years ago for the first six weeks before he blew out his elbow, seems like he might be on his way back to form after a year and a half off. And now Denny Bautista. That's three pitchers who could potentially be dominating in years to come, and most importantly for a small market club like the Royals (second lowest payroll in the Major Leagues), we have all three locked up until 2008! I know we haven' t even had one week of the season go by, but I'm thinking Kansas City might be taking on the mantle of The Big Three now that Oakland broke their's up.

And on a few other Royals notes, DeJesus continues to impress me with his plate discipline. He's patient at the plate and seems to have a good at bat every time up. Plus, just to answer Wally's criticism, he stole a base last night! After last year's horrible performance on the basepaths, that's a pleasant surprise. I think we'll still end up near the bottom of the league in base stealing again, but it just makes each success that much sweeter. Like you, I'm also impressed by Emil Brown. He looks like he's taking his great plate approach from spring training into the regular season too. Oh, and one last thing, in case you didn't notice, Pickering wasn't in the lineup the other day b/c he was with his pregnant wife. It was funny - there's a Royals' bulletin board I look at a lot, and everyone was screaming for Tony Pena's head b/c he didn't know how to platoon players correctly. Then when they found out the real reason why Pick wasn't in, they were all posting apologies. Ah, the view seems so simple from the cheap seats...

As for the Chiefs' recent acquisitions, I agree with your assessment for the most part. I'm particularly excited to see what Hall can do. Though you said he wasn't very productive with the Titans, he was actually a stud his rookie year, ringing up 8.5 sacks. They had high hopes for him, but for whatever reason, his performance dropped off since then. I'd like to see what Gunther can do with him.

Hill, I agree. Not too thrilled about this one. I'd rather us see what Samie Parker can do in a bigger role. Or of Boeritger can stay healthy. Looks like we're meeting with Kevin Johnson too. If we sign him, I guess Hill will be limited to special teams. Not sure if I like Johnson though. He's definitely had some solid (though not spectacular) years, but he's also had some off years, and for some reason, I seem to recall that he doesn't have a good reputation as a hard-worker or team-player.

Holcombe, same thing. Not so exciting. We've got plenty of runningbacks as it is. Harry had a good point in his comment, though. If he can fill the role of two players, then he does free up one more spot.

One last thing - I'm starting to wonder if Gunther Cunningham (Chiefs Defensive Coordinator) and Guy Hansen (Royals pitching coach) are actually the same person. Both have a definite flair for the dramatic when assessing their players. I remember Gun used to give these great descriptions of our players, replete with "best" this and "fastest" that. By the end of his quote, you'd be so excited to see them on the field even though it was only June. And Hansen is no stranger to hyperbole either - he called Mike Wood the second coming of Greg Maddux and has said that our pitching staff is the best collection of young arms he's ever been around (and that's a big claim seeing as he came from the Braves organization last year). It's entertaining to read, but I'm just not sure I trust their assessments now b/c it seems like everyone is the best player they've ever seen. Next, they'll be saying things like Greinke/Hernandez/Bautista are the next Big Three... oh wait a second...

Friday, April 08, 2005

Cynicism from the Northwest

So much to talk about, so little hope. ;)

There is much to talk about regarding the Royals, but let's take a brief moment to discuss Kansas City's favorite team, the Chiefs. It looks like Gunther is drawing upon his brief hiatus away from the red and gold to pull in some talent. Like Denver raiding the Browns, we appear to be raiding the cap-strapped Titans. The three signings are Carlos Hall, Darren Hill, and just today Robert Holcombe. It remains to be seen how these moves will work out, but let's make some early evaluations.

Carlos Hall: This is the most exciting of the three signings. We also gave up the most. For one of our 5th round picks, we got a young defensive lineman with 3 years of starting experience. However, he doesn't appear to have been very productive as a Titan. Given that the Broncos had to ante up Droughns, a proven running back in a depressed running back market, to get 1.5 youngish defensive linemen, i'm ok with this trade. We need to win now, and hopefully Hall is ready to break out. I'll trust that Gunther knows what he is getting. -- This is a solid move for the Titans. Parlaying a 2002 7th round pick into into a starting lineman for a few years and then getting a 5th round pick as the rookie's deal expires.

Darren Hill: Another '02 7th round pick by Tennessee, he appears to be a special teamer. Given that we have quite a few low round draft picks (2 5th, 2 6th, and 2 7th), I'm not sure about this signing. Unless he is a modern day equivalent to Steve Tasker, I am afraid that he may keep one of draft picks from making the team. Ideally, I'd like to see us pick wisely and turn these late round picks into higher round picks. Net, if he is slightly better than someone we draft and we have to cut them, bad signing. Otherwise, I'm ok but not thrilled.

Robert Holcombe: I have watched Holcombe since he was drafted by the Rams. Not much exciting here, as he's just a backup to TRich.

More on the Chiefs draft later, now back to the Royals.
After our terrible pasting by Detroit on Opening Day, we won yesterday and then came back to lose the series today. Notably, we didn't have Pickering in today. Unsurprisingly, our lineup of Sweeney and the 8 dwarfs lost handily. What was both surprising and alarming is that Greinke took a line drive off his forearm. Hopefully, he is ok.

What's more, TLong got caught stealing today. Yes, that means in 3 games, we have been caught stealing 3 times vs. 0 successes. Ouch. That's right, we aren't even good at small ball.

Yes Matt, we may be young. But that may be all we have going for us.

That said, I was pleasantly surprised to see Emil Brown had hit a home run. He was my favorite player in Spring Training this year. Like Pickering and Richie Thompson last year, I irrationally started liking him. In Emil's case, it was his stubborn approach that resulted in consistently good at bats and a home run vs. the Mariners. All the numbers state that he won't be much, but who knows, maybe he could surprise. We deserve some karma after gambling on Gonzo last year.

As Rob and Rany try and guess our win total for the end of the year (pythagorean method be damned), lets extrapolate out the number of times we are caught stealing. Currently on pace for 162 times caught stealing, we are leading the majors. Last year, we were caught stealing 48 times, 4th worst in the league. Notably however, our success rate for stealing (58.2%) was 2nd worst in the league. This was with Beltran and his amazing steal percentage. Given Colorado, the last place team, only got caught 33 times, and most teams had a success rate of over 70%, we were the worst running team last year, and look to be even worse this year. My prediction for this year: 68.
Stats from 2004.




























Team SB CS %
Colorado Rockies 44 33 57.14%
Kansas City Royals 67 48 58.26%
Chicago White Sox 78 51 60.47%
Pittsburgh Pirates 63 40 61.17%
Arizona Diamondbacks 53 32 62.35%
Cleveland Indians 94 55 63.09%
Detroit Tigers 86 50 63.24%
San Francisco Giants 43 23 65.15%
Toronto Blue Jays 58 31 65.17%
Texas Rangers 69 36 65.71%
San Diego Padres 52 25 67.53%
Oakland Athletics 47 22 68.12%
Florida Marlins 96 43 69.06%
Boston Red Sox 68 30 69.39%
Chicago Cubs 66 28 70.21%
St. Louis Cardinals 111 47 70.25%
Los Angeles Dodgers 102 41 71.33%
Minnesota Twins 116 46 71.60%
New York Yankees 84 33 71.79%
Seattle Mariners 110 42 72.37%
Atlanta Braves 86 32 72.88%
Montreal Expos 109 >38 74.15%
Houston Astros 89 30 74.79%
Cincinnati Reds 77 25 75.49%
Los Angeles Angels 143 46 75.66%
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 132 42 75.86%
Milwaukee Brewers 138 40 77.53%
Philadelphia Phillies 100 27 78.74%
New York Mets107 23 82.31%

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Opening Day and Roy

Well, let's get this badboy started, shall we?

Yesterday was a brutal day. Opening Day for our 2005 Kansas City Royals, picked by many pundits and experts to be the worst team in the majors. Amazingly enough, ESPN2 decided to broadcast the season opener against Detroit to a national audience. The result? A brutal 11-2 shellacking, the worst opening day loss in franchise history. Dmitri Young, the Detroit DH and one scary, scary dude, had the line of the night - 5 AB's, 3 HR's, 1 HBP, 1 single, 4 R, and 5 RBI.

Overall, very few good signs from this game. Lima lasted 3 long innings, and every one of our pitchers gave up at least 1 run. Our infield defense looked shoddy - Teahen looked sloppy in the field, though I'm chalking that up to nerves (what 23 year old wouldn't be nervous making his major league debut in front of 42,000 fans cheering against you?). TLong and Gotay both looked horrible at the plate. In fact, the only consistently good at-bats I saw were from Stairs and DeJesus.

But I can't help but talk about the few good signs. Pickering had a homerun, his third in a row counting the last two spring training games. (On a side note, he is one *massive* man. I think his thighs are thicker than my waste - and I'm actually being serious. I'd be willing to put money on his thighs being more than 30" around.) DeJesus, as I mentioned before, worked the count like a leadoff man should in the first inning. Buck, though he'll strike out more than his fair share, has a good-looking swing. Sisco, while not looking great, did look decent, especially for a kid making the jump from A ball. TLong had a nice sliding defensive stop in left that kept a double from being a triple.

But most importantly, the best sign from yesterday was the fact that our kids are playing. Seven or eight years ago, we were supposed to be in a youth movement with Damon, Dos Carlos (yeah, remember when Febles was a prospect?), Sweeney, Randa, Rosado, Orber Moreno, Glendon Rusch, Hamelin, and all those 1st round draft pick pitchers (Pittsley, Grainger...). Of course, we both know how well we stuck to that - enter Jeff King, Jay Bell, Chili Davis, Terry Pendleton, Dean Palmer, etc.

But finally - FINALLY - it looks like we're actually doing it. Our opening lineup had two players over 30 (Stairs and Sweeney), and off the top of my head, I think the only pitchers we have over 30 are Lima, Anderson, and Sullivan (on the DL) and all of those guys might be gone by the trade deadline. This year might - ok, will - be a brutal year, and we're sure to have more games like yesterday. But I'm still excited when I think about where this team might go. Whew, looks like the optimism is back!

And on a different note, the day got worse yesterday when North Carolina beat Illinois in the finals. Don't get me wrong, I love Roy Williams as much as any red-blooded male from Kansas. In fact, the only thing he could have done wrong in my head was leave us, which is of course exactly what he did. After a year of anger, spite and sadness, I'm finally able to be happy for him, and I am happy that he finally got that elusive title. He finally shed that "compliment" - the winningest coach in the NCAA to never win a championship. But I don't know... it's bittersweet. I mean, he had 15 years to do it in Kansas and couldn't get it done. To do it in just two years at UNC... couldn't you have waited just a little longer, Roy? For us?

Well, there it is. Let the witty banter begin!!

The two sides of Cedar Lane unite

I love it. Matt and Wally on the Royals. Though I have to say, even my eternal optimism has been taking a beating this year. I'm not sure how it'll handle this Royals season. But I guess we - and all of our ginormous readership - will see it rot away or stay true over the next 161 games. Go Royals!

Inaugural post

This is the inaugural post of Matt and Wally on the Royals. General venting about Kansas City athletics.