Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The Kansas City Royals are finally going to be good (not great). . .in a year or two. With the latest trade, the Royals added young speed, good defense, and two arms that could be thrown into the bullpen (Jeffress) and rotation (Odorizzi) down the road. Lets take a quick look at the young guys involved in the deal.
Alcides Escobar - While everyone is talking about Cain being the centerpiece of the deal, I see Alcides being the best part of the whole thing. His 2009 campaign in the big leagues was what the Brewers were hoping for as he batted .304 in 38 games. 2010 was awful as he hit .235 in 145 games. However, a great article on FanGraphs takes a look at how he can rebound in 2011. Escobar is a young speedy shortstop and should turn into an excellent 1 or 2 hitter for the Royals.
Lorenzo Cain - The same article on FanGraphs talks about the more than probable regression for Cain next year. His BA on line drive hits was higher than the league average, thus those are less likely to fall next year. In his 6 years in the minors he turned into a .300 hitting, 124 base stealing, 28 error committing prospect. Not a bad line, but next year could give us a better story on his ability at the highest level. He also projects as a 1 or 2 hitter for the future Royals.
Jeremy Jeffress - I actually don't know much about Jeffress. Read an article that projected him as a possible set up man for Soria if he can get his control issues corrected. His fastball touches 100 mph but his BB/9 was 5.4 in 10 games last year. He is only 22 and has a lot of time to fix those issues. Look for him to contribute soon for the Royals.
Jake Odorizzi - Spent all of 2010 in single A for the Brewers. Started 20 games and produced a 7-3 record with a 3.43 era. While he is young and is still a few years from the big leagues, 135 strikeouts in 120 innings is impressive.
So what does this all mean? The Royals have one of the deepest and best farm systems. . .EVER. Greinke couldn't wait and in the end I hope it f's him over. Maybe it's because he is mentally unstable and cries a lot that he couldn't take it, but Kansas City is only a few years away from competing in the AL central. They just acquired speedy and defensive players who are close to the major league level, and also have powerful prospects coming up from the minors. For fun, here is a projection of the 2013 Kansas City Royals lineup.
1. Alcides Escobar - SS
2. Lorenzo Cain - CF
3. Mike Moustakas - 3B
4. Billy Butler - DH
5. Eric Hosmer - 1B
6. Alex Gordon - LF
7. Mike Aviles - 2B
8. Wil Myers - C
9. Free Agent - RF*
*2012 Free Agents include Jose Bautista, the rally killer Carlos Beltran, Nick Swisher, the amazing Juan Pierre, and many more.
Moustakas, Hosmer, and Myers are all tearing up their respective levels of minor league ball. Two years might not be long enough for Myers to make it to the majors, but lets be optimistic. Providing all of the prospects pan out, the lineup is a mix of speed and power from various sides of the plate. If they see the talent work out as it should, adding a veteran free agent would be beneficial to such a young lineup.
The Royals rotation will be key in their success. With the departure of Greinke, their 2011 rotation is headlined by names such as Kyle Davies, Sean O'Sullivan, and Vin Mazzaro. . .However, there is some help coming up from the farm system. Danny Duffy is a lefty starter who has posted sub 3 era numbers for the last four years and now sits in AA. Another young arm in AA for the Royals is John Lamb, who went 10-7 with a 2.38 era last year as a 19 year old. A third lefty in the farm system with some promise for the Royals is Michael Montgomery. Blew through single A and A+ ball before coming back down to earth some in AA. All three of these young arms have shown promise and could land themselves a starting job down the road. Who knows, maybe Aaron Crow will get his head out of his ass and start throwing well.
The problem will be developing or signing an ace starter. The one issue with this trade is the damage that it has done to the Kansas City rotation, but there wasn't much of a rotation to begin with. Give the Royals another year of losing before they start to turn things around. They will be one offensive and one big name pitching free agent away from competing once again.