Arizona Rookie League update
By Craig Weddle
Here's a brief look at how some of the Royals younger prospects have fared in their first two weeks of rookie ball '05. The Arizona rookie league is a hitters league intended for high school and young Latin American players.
One pitcher has stood out so far. Rayner Oliveras is 4th in the league with 13 strikeouts. He hasn't walked anyone and has a 1.50 ERA.
Brent Fisher is a lefty drafted in the 7th round this year and is 8th in the league with 11 K's. Although his ERA is rather high (8.31), he's only walked one.
In contrast with the pitching, the Royals have a lot of players in the top 10 of numerous offensive categories.
Jeff Bianchi (SS) has been the league's best player. The Royals 2nd round pick this year is first in average and slugging (.476/.952), is second in on-base, homers and RBI (.547/4/15) and is fifth in doubles with 4.
Joe Dickerson, a 4th round pick (OF) in this year's draft is second in doubles (5), sixth in average and slugging (.386/.636) and is tenth in on-base with a .451.
Josh Johnson a 3rd rounder (SS/2B) from last year is second in doubles (5) and sixth in RBI with 11.
Oscar Gonzales, a draft-and-follow (OF) signed just before this year's draft is sixth in on-base (.474) and tenth in average with a .375.
Alvi Morel (OF) has been the best of the Royals' Latin players. He is fourth in average (.393), seventh in on-base (.471) and ninth in slugging (.571).
Valentino Arse (the third SS on the team) is fourth in average and on-base (.393/.485).
Willie Matos (1B) is sixth in slugging (.606).
Felix Perolta (OF) is third in RBI (14) and fifth in doubles (4).
It's very early in these guys' professional careers, but the results thus far are promising. -CW
A second-round pick out of a Pennsylvania high school, one scout said that right now, Bianchi is every bit the hitter that No. 1 overall pick Justin Upton is. That scout looks prophetic right now, as Bianchi has gone 19-for-38 in his first 11 games with four doubles, two triples, four home runs and 15 RBIs.
Billy Butler checks in at number eight, as BA notes the following:
While we discuss all of the top prospects in the California League, it's actually Butler who leads the league in OPS (on-base plus slugging), with a mark of 1.102. Since moving to left field, the 2004 first-round pick is batting .370-4-14 in 11 games.
Of course, no post would be complete without the Butler Photo of the Day. Here's a different angle on his stance. Notice how it is slightly closed.