Baseball

“The Old Man” Jeff Francoeur

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On most teams the veterans are 35-38 years old, but for the Kansas City Royals, Jeff Francoeur at 28, is the leader of the clubhouse. Frenchy has the challenge of leading the youngest team in baseball to the playoffs. Dayton Moore and the Royals saw the excellent Francoeur did for the young squad last year and rewarded him to a 2-year deal worth $12.5 million. While this may be overpaying for the stats he may put up, his leadership abilities will be priceless when showing the “kids” how to go about doing their job of playing baseball at a championship level.

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When GM Dayton Moore signed Francoeur to a 1-year deal with the Royals, he had an idea of the productivity he might receive. Along with the Melky Cabrera signing, Moore cashed in with the two 1-year deals. While the Royals had an idea of what Francoeur could do on and off the field for the club, I don’t think anyone expected the stats Frenchy managed to put up. He managed to surprise almost everyone by hitting .285 with 20 homeruns and 87 runs batted in.

Leadership can be described in numerous ways and Francoeur would fit every mold of leadership. He demands respect of the young players and unlike some leaders who are hard on others, Francoeur is an easygoing guy who leads mostly by action. When watching Frenchy play you can’t help but notice the little kid in him. He is actually doing what he always dreamed of. How many people can say they are getting paid to do what they always dreamed of. With the pressure surrounding the prospects that the Royals have, Francoeur shows that it’s just a game and the young players need to stay loose but still play hard. Francoeur is a huge fan favorite because he is not flashy; he just gets the job done.

I expect Frenchy to duplicate numbers close to the ones showed earlier in his career. I see nearly everything staying the same except the outfield assists; teams won’t be likely to run on him again after this throw.

            When most fans think of key players for the Royals their first thought will be Eric Hosmer, but no fan will forget what Francoeur means to the success of players such as Hosmer and Moustakas. Fans have high expectations due to the weak central division the Royals are in. The addition of Prince Fielder clearly puts the  Detroit Tigers as the contender, I just hope the Royals do not fit the mold of a “playoff pretender”.

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The Lowest Payroll in Baseball

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Last year the Royals spent $36,126,400 on their payroll. (the least in the MLB) The Yankees spent roughly $200 million dollars. That is roughly 5.5 times the Royals payroll. This year the Royals are expected to add around $22 million to $58 million after Alex Gordon and the Royals agree on an amount. Currently the highest paid Royals is Billy Butler at $8 million. After reviewing the past of the Royals and other statistics, David Glass can surely reach a cap of $70 million. At the beginning of the 2010 season the payroll was set at $72 million. A perfect fit to meet the payroll would be either Edwin Jackson or Roy Oswalt. The team could still have wiggle room because the signing of either pitcher will not even reach $70 million. After looking at the list of teams that are not spending, I have come to conclusion that in today’s day and age, a team must be in the top third in spending to have a realistic chance to win.

Although the main reason for this years low payroll is the youth. For example, the team’s best player, Eric Hosmer, is making the league minimum ($414,000). While the Royals do not have to worry about locking up Hosmer or Moustakas for the future yet, they need to have a blueprint for the future WITH these cornerstones.

Expect to see this much more in 2012

I have great confidence in Dayton Moore because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can see the banners hanging. I can see the “K” filled with excitement. I can see the time when I can talk to my friends (even the ones that don’t like baseball) about the present Royals, not always having to look to the future but to be able to live in the present. The Chiefs and the Royals are the heart and soul of Kansas City.

While most fans have remained patient, some have broken that mold. Most fans are expecting this year to be the turn around year. I for one see this year being extremely promising but just another step on the stairs to greatness. With the division down as it is, I give the Tigers the edge over all contenders. Although Victor Martinez (the Tigers DH) will likely be out for the entire season, the Tigers have the experience and the talent to lock up the division.

All I am hoping for out of this season is to reach the next major checkpoint. The next checkpoint is to compete for the central division. I see that this young group of players can compete just as the Pittsburgh Pirates did last year. The greatest job Dayton Moore has done is creating competition among the team. For example, the bullpen could consist of a variety of faces. Also, Moore managed to keep the leadership that the team needed in Jeff Francoeur. The Royals have the youngest team in baseball. With the youth, KC fans can expect mistakes but also can expect the same feeling that came when Bo Jackson hit BOMB after BOMB into the fountains at Kauffman Stadium.

Although Moore has whiffed miserably with signings such as Jose Guillen (3 years $36 million) or Gill Meche (5 years $55 million). I still have complete confidence in his ability because of the product that will be on the field for next year. With the All-Star Game in Kansas City, this summer gives the Royals the chance to create excitement for the amazing fans of Kansas City.

Statistics come from http://www.stevetheump.com/Payrolls.htm

Spencer

The Metro’s Trifecta

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Sporting Kansas City Super Draft

Another piece to the puzzle

For the third year in a row, Sporting Kansas City drafted a forward in the first round. Dom Dwyer, the Englishman, is a Generation adidas player and is thought to be one of the best forwards in this year’s draft. Dwyer has drawn comparisons to C.J. Sapong, last years draft pick. He only played one season with South Florida, but he was a two time All-American at the junior college level. Dwyer is a mix of speed and strength. Furthermore, he displayed quality finishing skills by scoring 16 goals in 21 games at South Florida. With a 4-3-3 system, Sporting can never have too many forwards. While they did not address the need in defense in the first round, Cyprian Hendrick was drafted in the second round. Hendrick was a center back for Coastal Carolina, where he was named the Big South Defensive Player of the Year. By drafting Dwyer, Sporting KC filled the final remaining international roster spot for the upcoming season.

Kansas City Royals

On Wednesday, the Kansas City Royals had their annual Awards Luncheon. Although, last year was not a great year, the luncheon brought light to the positives. The awards ranged from minor league players to the organizational personnel awards. Here is a list of what awards each player won.

Gordon looks to lead the Royals to more wins
  • Alex Gordon won the Les Milgram player of the year award.
  • Bruce Chen won the Pitcher of the year.
  • Eric Hosmer notched the Joe Burke Special Achievement Award.
  • Louis Lakey won the Dan Quisenberry Special Achievement Award (an outstanding member of the community).
  • Eric Edelstein snatched the Matt Minker Award (an outstanding Minor League affiliate employee).
  • Orlando Estevez won the Art Stewart Scout of the Year.
  • Tim Melville won the Mike Sweeney Award for the player who best represents the organization.
  • Anthony Seratelli won the Willie Wilson Baserunner of the Year Award.
  • Mike Jirschele won the Dick Howser Player Development Person of the Year.
  • Lorenzo Cain, the center fielder for next year, won the Frank White Defensive Player of the Year.
  • Kelvin Herrera won the Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year Award.
  • Johny Giavatella won the George Brett Hitter of the Year.

Campo gets complete control of Jayhawk’s D


The Kansas Jayhawks and Charlie Weis have added Veteran NFL and college coach Dave Campo less than a week after he left the Dallas Cowboys. Campo will also be in charge of coaching the Kansas defensive backs. Campo is most known for his time as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys (2000-02), he spent the past four seasons coaching the secondary in Dallas. Although the Cowboy’s secondary has been less than impressive this year, Campo has a resume that suggests he can have great success. He was also once a defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns. In addition to the Browns and Cowboys, Compo worked with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Campo spent the first 18 years of his coaching career at the college level, including two years under Jimmy Johnson at Miami where he won the national championship in 1987. He later followed Johnson to Dallas, where they teamed up to win six division titles and three Super Bowls.

As everyone knows, the Kansas Jayhawks were just 2-10 last season and 5-19 in the short Turner Gill era. Gill was fired after the season and replaced by Charlie Weis, who has had his fair share of success in the NFL.Weis made it clear during his introductory news conference that running backs coach, Reggie Mitchell, would have a job on his staff. He also kept Buddy Wyatt as defensive line coach. Charlie has remained solid to this decision. Weis has not wasted his time recruiting and hand picking his other assistant coaches. Ron Powlus, who served as his director of player development and later quarterbacks coach at Notre Dame. Powlus will be at the same position for Kansas.

Spencer

Eric Hosmer

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Eric Hosmer was drafted 3rd in 2008 for his rare combination of size and tools. He’s viewed primarily as a potential slugger, but his game offers much more than home runs. His swing is level and smooth, and he covers the plate well considering his size. He has power to all fields, and he is almost too willing to take outside fastballs to the opposite field rather than waiting for a pitch that he can pull over the right field fence. Last year, Hosmer displayed his ability to hit the other way with most of his 27 doubles going through the gap in left field.
His batting eye fits his size and swing perfectly, making him a complete power-hitter. While he has 30 home-runs potential, his strength rests in his well-rounded offensive abilities. Besides his potential plus-plus power, Hosmer will offer batting average, on-base skills, and is adept at racking up doubles to both gaps. I believe at this point of his career, Hosmer is more of a contact hitter then power hitter.
In addition to his bat, Hosmer has gained respect throughout the league because of his glove and arm. Hosmer in high school could throw 95 mph. While that doesn’t matter at first base much, it can still be useful when turning two. Furthermore, Hosmer has displayed his leather skills with numerous scoops. His long length helps him to be able to snag more balls then usual. He is no Big Poppa Fielder (Prince Fielder). He actually has movement to both his left and right.
As long as he develops as planned, Hosmer’s ability at the plate and in the field will make him a perennial All-Star. While he has plus-plus power potential, he has yet to consistently show his HR power. So far in his career he has mostly displayed his power for doubles. According to J.J. Cooper of Baseball America, many in the Royals organization see a likeness between Eric Hosmer and 1989 NLCS MVP, Will Clark. Will Clark was just on the ballot for the Hall of Fame.

Hosmer covers the strike zone very well, and he’s always been solid in the BB/K area although this year he struggled with (34/820) (Not great, but what is expected of a rookie). Hosmer also hits them where they are pitched spraying the ball all over the field. Hosmer has the rare ability to fight off pitches he really can’t handle allowing him to extend at-bats. To hear some scouts talk about how his approach and swing remind them of a combination of Joe Mauer and Joey Votto, is a promising sign for Hosmer and Royals fans alike.

Hosmer didn’t have a problem in hitting for a decent average right off the bat (Yes, I meant for that pun, and, yes, I’m witty). Given that he plays first base, patience could wear thin if he is does not hit 25 home runs. Of course, he is not where he will be in five years especially with his power.

Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer finished his rookie season with 19 homers, 11 base swipes, 78 RBIs, 66 runs scored and a .293 batting average. Hosmer has the most potential out of any player for the Royals. Keep in mind Hosmer was in contention for rookie of the year although he was called up on May 5th. I predict Hosmer will have a .301 batting average with 25 Home Runs. Hosmer will score 90 runs while driving in 100 RBI’s. He will snag 13 bases. Expect his slugging percentage to be around .500, and he will improve with his ability to see the plate as he will be walked 41 times. I predict him to strike out 84 times.

 Hosmer won’t be a free agent until after the 2017 season, and Royals fans should be extremely excited when thinking about the future mostly because of Hosmer. He is for sure the piece the Royals will be looking to build around.

Spencer

Kansas City Royals Bullpen

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As we continue to look at the Royals heading into Spring Training, this week we are taking a look at their bullpen. If you missed it, last week, we broke down the starting rotation. Although the starting rotation isn’t very strong, like last year, the bullpen should be one of the major strengths of the Royals. Usually the pitchers in the bullpen are the “unknowns” meaning most fans don’t really know who makes up the bullpen or what are each pitchers’ strengths and weaknesses.

However, this year will be different. We met most of the bullpen last year with guys like Tim Collins, Aaron Crow and Greg Holland. The bullpen even had a fan favorite, Tim Collins. Standing on the mound, Collins may be considered tall, but with a frame of 5’7” 170 lbs Collins appears to be in high school. The only All-Star from last year comes from the bullpen, and that all-star was Aaron Crow. The Royals bullpen was nearly untouchable last year. Aaron Crow, Greg Holland, and Louis Coleman led the dominate pen. In addition, there are three former all stars in the pen that Ned Yost can use when he is in a jam. These all-stars are Aaron Crow, Jonathan Broxton, and Joakim Soria.

Jonathan Broxton: Big Boy

Jonathan Broxton is the new addition from the Dodgers. Broxton weighs in at 300lbs. I’m assuming he has enjoyed the Kansas City barbecue (just look at him in the picture) . Last year Broxton was injured with a bruised elbow which held him out for nearly the whole year. Dayton Moore anticipated that Aaron Crow may earn himself a spot in the starting rotation subsequently he added the former all star in Broxton.

Last year, the Royals had a heavy bullpen with eight pitchers. This year the bullpen will consist of seven pitchers. The players that have a spot locked in are Jonathan Broxton, Greg Holland, Aaron Crow, and Joakim Soria. The others that will be battling for the last four spots are Tim Collins, Blake Wood, Vin Mazzaro, Mike Montgomery, Kelvin Herrera, Louis Coleman, and Jose Mijares. While Aaron Crow is suppose to try to compete for the starting rotation, I predict he will end up staying where he has had success: the bullpen.

Greg Holland has the “stuff” to be the future closer for the Kansas City Royals. With an ERA of 1.8 Holland deserves the title of “lights out.” I am hoping that he will be given a shot to become the closer. I want Joakim Soria to be traded for a starting pitcher. According to sources, Joakim Soria quit on the Royals for the last three weeks of the season.  I would have liked to have seen a power thrower added to the bullpen. While Broxton has thrown in the upper 90’s, his velocity decreased last year. With a potential power thrower, Coach Yost would have another dynamic weapon to call upon in the later half of games.

While I do not expect the same lights out pitching we witnessed last year, I do expect pretty close dominance with the addition of Broxton and experience added to the young pitchers. If Broxton can remain healthy expect him to be the set up man for Soria. If Soria struggles like last year expect Holland, Crow, and Broxton to all receive their equal amount of chances to close games out.

Spencer Montgomery

Kansas City Royals Starting 5

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With the new year upon us, there is a lot to look forward to in 2012. Of course in the sports world, a new year means a soon to come National Championship college Football game, the NFL playoffs, and countless NBA games. But one thing we are excited for this year is the Royals. Although finishing the season 71-91, this year the young Royals look like they might just be able to compete… For once. We’ll give you the breakdown of why. Today we’re going to look at the Starting Rotation, one of the major weaknesses of last year’s team.

The Comedian, Bruce Chen

When we take a look back at the Royals 2011 season, the major struggle was with the starting rotation. Numerous analysts called the rotation the worst in baseball. The Royals managed to have a terrible ERA with a 4.44 which slotted at the 27th worst in the league. They are also ranked 27th in quality starts with only 75 (A quality start is at least 6 innings pitched and under a 3.0 ERA). The all important WHIP stat is not much better. They come in at 26th with a 1.41. The rotation looked like this, Luke Hochevar as the ace followed by Jeff Francis then Bruce Chen. The back end of the rotation consisted of Felipe Paulino and Danny Duffy. As the ace, Hochevar had a horrendous 4.68 ERA. While Duffy showed bright signs, most of his season consisted of rookie troubles.

Although the future may look bright, I still feel the Royals do not have a strong enough starting five. After losing Francis, Dayton Moore decided to trade Melky Cabrera for Jonathan Sanchez who adds a new dimension to the rotation. The thing Sanchez does best is striking out hitters.

I plan on seeing a great deal of improvement from Danny Duffy in his second year. Last years experience will pay huge dividends when Duffy is pitching against the same players he saw last year. On paper the starting five still may seem under par but in my opinion, they may just be good enough. Luke Hochevar, Bruce Chen, and Jonathan Sanchez currently look like the only locks. Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino would serve as the early front runners, and in this hypothetically, Aaron Crow and Mike Montgomery would be auditioning right along with them. The great thing about having so many young options is competition. These young guys will all be battling for most likely one spot.

I expect the spring training to have a huge effect on how the rotation shakes up. Last year Mike Montgomery almost pushed himself into the number five position, but he went down to AAA and struggled a great deal. I personally hope Danny Duffy or Mike Montgomery get the notch for the starting rotation mainly to keep Aaron Crow in the bullpen. In the minor leagues Crow struggled as a starter. Crow utilized his role in the rotation so well he was named an All Star. The look of the starting rotation will have a huge effect on who battles for a seat in the bullpen.

I would like Dayton Moore to sign either Edwin Jackson or Brandon Webb. By signing either player the Royals will get experience and quality pitching. Because Brandon Webb has had a history of being injured, he should go for cheap. I see this as a perfect chance Dayton Moore can take. By signing another pitcher, it creates more competition and if one of the young prospects are not ready they can mature in the minors. I expect the Royals to compete for some part of the year because of the weak division but not because of the starting rotation.