A few random notes...and lots of photos

RC is well aware that the Royals after tonight's game have lost 12 of their last 13 games. That being the case, we really don't have any comment. This is certainly a tough stretch, but just as the Royals weren't as good as their record in the first two weeks of Buddy Bell's reign, they aren't this bad either. Things will even out eventually. In other words, we should keep our chins up.

So instead of picking on the Royals tonight, RC has decided to report on our scouting of Ryan Zimmerman, the fourth overall pick (by the Washington Nationals) in the 2005 draft. The Royals were reportedly interested in Zimmerman, but they opted for Nebraska 3B Alex Gordon instead. Tonight, RC saw Zimmerman in person for the first time, and after one game, we are convinced that the Royals made the right choice to pass.

We got our first look at Zimmerman as he was warming up down the third base line prior to the game, and first thing that caught our eye about him was his size. He truly is a big, athletic-looking kid, reportedly 6-3, 210. He looks very strong, so RC was puzzled that he only hit six HR in his senior season at the University of Virginia. Here's a good closeup:

At the plate, we saw Zimmerman go 1-for-4 with a soft line drive single to center, a ground out to short, a ground out to second, and a line out to first. Watching him hit, RC wasn't all that impressed. His bat speed looked slower than we expected. Of course, it didn't take too long for us to conjure up a theory about why he doesn't hit with more power. In fact, RC even captured this theory on film. As you can see from this first shot, Zimmerman holds his hands high in his stance. Here's a photo (forgive the poor quality -- the sun was in RC's face, so the photo was a bit overexposed):

Now, there's no one perfect stance, nor is there one perfect swing. Some good players hold their hands high, and other successful players hold their hands low. The only thing that matters is that the batter is able to get into a powerful, balanced position as he takes his hands through the hitting zone. However, our next photo shows why Zimmerman may have trouble doing this.

Notice that Zimmerman drops his hands as he goes into his leg kick. The problem with dropping your hands is that you must bring them back up before you can take them forward through the hitting zone. This takes time, and it makes it far more difficult to get around quickly enough to pull fastballs with authority. Guys with incredibly fast hands, like Gary Sheffield, can get away with dropping their hands in such an exaggerated timing mechanism. The question is whether or not Zimmerman also has hands fast enough to get away with it. It's impossible to tell after seeing him for only one game, but it would certainly explain why a guy as big as Zimmerman hasn't hit with more power.

For comparison's sake, take a look again at Billy Butler at the same point in the swing. Notice that Butler's hands remain up, even during his leg kick. This allows him to take his hands straight to the ball. This is the ideal hand position:

If Zimmerman has a problem, it's definitely one that can be fixed. But whenever you make big adjustments to a player's swing, you never know what the ultimate result will be. That sort of uncertainty is something the Royals managed to avoid by selecting Gordon instead of Zimmerman.

  • RC was also pleased to see a couple old friends at the game. See if you can figure out who this is:

    That's right. Dee Brown now plays for the Harrisburg Senators. And what has Mr. "I just need to play every day" done this season at AA? .210/.304/.387.

    We also saw Jason Grimsley throw his first rehab inning (one scoreless inning). However, we didn't get any photos of Grimsley because we were standing in line for an Official RC cheeseburger, and we didn't even realize he had pitched until we got home and saw the box score. Sorry folks.

  • Without further delay, here's today's Butler Photo of the Day. Pickings are getting slim, so we anticipate the quality of our Butler photos will steadily decrease from here on out until we cease this promotion. But today's is still pretty good, so please enjoy.

  • RC is pleased to announce that we've added a new logo to our Official Royals Corner Store. You can purchase this new logo on a long sleeve T-Shirt, a sweatshirt, or a trucker's hat. If interested, please buy your products quickly, because we cannot guarantee that these items will be available at such bargain prices for much longer!

    Pretty sharp, huh?

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