Wednesday

Murphy and Ambres tell C.C., "Take THAT, you crooked hat-wearing clown!"

You couldn't have hoped for better debuts out of Donnie Murphy and Chip Ambres, as the Royals topped the Tribe, 5-3. Both rookies went 2-for-4, and Murphy had two RBIs, including his first Major League HR -- a solo shot just to the right of dead center off of C.C. Sabathia -- in his first at bat. Later, Murph drove in a big two-out run with a single to right, again off of Sabathia. For his efforts, we have crowned a new Official RC Beer:



Ambres (pronounced AM-bers, as we learned tonight) recorded his first Major League hit in his second at bat, a double off the left field wall. RC was pretty impressed in our first look at him. He layed off some close pitches and didn't look overwhelmed in any at bat. He's got a high leg kick that we weren't expecting, and we're convinced -- even after seeing him for just a few at bats -- that he's got very fast hands.

Both Ambres and Murphy had some trouble in the field -- Ambres on a throw to the cutoff man, and Murphy on the first Indians batter -- but that was probably just first game jitters. We know Murphy is money at second, and Ambres has the speed to cover some serious ground in left.

  • Of Murphy's promotion, Rotoworld.com wrote the following:
    Royals recalled infielder Donnie Murphy from Double-A Wichita.
    While he's no Justin Huber, Murphy was hitting .313/.362/.523 with 10 homers for Wichita. It seems like a bad idea for the Royals to have both Ruben Gotay and Murphy accumulating service time at such young ages, but that's why they're the Royals. Expect Murphy to take Tony Graffanino's at-bats.

    Now, we generally like Rotoworld, but this shows us how difficult it is for a publication to try to properly cover every Major League team. We usually appreciate Rotoworld's sarcasm, but today they really ticked us off. The fact is that Murphy's promotion was a no-brainer on several levels. First, Ruben Gotay is absolutely worthless (.216/.328/.255) against lefties. Second, Murphy can play every infield position, so getting Tony Graffanino's at bats and then some won't be any problem. Third, Murphy had very little left to prove in the minor leagues. Fourth, the Royals are in a massive youth movement, and it's important for them to learn right now who can play at the Major League level, and who cannot. Fifth, the Royals needed another versatile infielder on the roster, and among the four realistic candidates (Muphy, Mike Aviles, Denny Hocking, and Luis Ugueto), Murphy is not only the best player of the bunch, but also the one who best fits the organization's rebuilding movement.

    Service time? Completely insignificant. Murphy's call-up comes late enough in the season that there's no chance he becomes a "Super-Two," nor will it affect his free agency clock. As for Gotay, there's very little chance that he'll ever develop into the type of player who's going to cost the Royals big money down the road, so there's no reason to worry about his clock either.

    Anyway, we figured we'd address this, because we've been hearing similar mumblings from other corners of Royals Nation.


  • Jose Lima looked pretty darned effective tonight (6.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K). In fact, this was Lima's fourth effective start in a row. During that span, stretching back to July 2, Lima has a 3.86 ERA with only four walks and 10 Ks in 25.2 innings. No, he's still not a good pitcher, but he's been eating some innings lately, and the Royals may actually be able to trade him for something with a pulse.


  • In the minors today, Justin Huber continued to rekindle his power stroke, as he smashed his 13th HR of the season and second in as many days, going 2-for-4 in Wichita's 5-2 win. A loyal RC reader was planning to attend the game, so hopefully we'll get some photos from him of newly acquired Juan Cedeno, even though he didn't pitch tonight. Jeffrey Bianchi was absent from the Arizona Royals lineup for the second straight game, so we're a tad bit concerned he may have been injured. Hopefully we'll get some news for you, and you can bet we'll pass it along as soon as we hear anything.


  • In RC's first official poll, 52 percent of RC readers believe that Runelvys Hernandez will be suspended 10 games for his role in the brawl over the weekend with the Tigers. It's not too late to vote, so make sure your voice is heard on this matter by registering your vote on our sidebar poll.


  • Finally, does anyone else think that C.C. Sabathia looks like a clown with his crooked hat? We sure do:

  • 14 Comments:

    At 7/21/2005 12:36 AM, Blogger Craig Brown said...

    Any time a baseball website ends an article with the line, "Because they're the Royals." it's code for "We're too lazy to look up anything interesting about a last place team."

     
    At 7/21/2005 1:10 AM, Blogger Dave said...

    Good point. It gets pretty damned old.

     
    At 7/21/2005 10:03 AM, Blogger KO said...

    Wranglers photos on the way...check your gmail.

     
    At 7/21/2005 11:09 AM, Blogger COroyal said...

    Hilarious photo of C.C.

     
    At 7/21/2005 11:52 AM, Blogger Dave said...

    Great! Thanks, KO. I can't get to my gmail at work, but I'm looking forward to seeing them when I get home!

     
    At 7/21/2005 12:17 PM, Blogger KO said...

    Try linking to my Yahoo briefcase:

    http://f2.pg.briefcase.yahoo.com/bc/jffl_monarchs/vwp2?.tok=bc_7j8CBY8zRuN8z&.dir=/Wranglers&.dnm=Wranglers.zip&.src=bc

     
    At 7/21/2005 12:20 PM, Blogger KO said...

    or send me an email at kent.ogle at gmail dot com, telling me what email you can use during the day, and I will mail you either the thumbnails, or send you the link to my briefcase...

     
    At 7/21/2005 1:15 PM, Anonymous Brendan said...

    Great post, Dave.

    Considering that the Royals have (finally) fully committed to the youth movement, I'd be interested in seeing more discussion of service time. I see a lot of offhand comments like "Murphy's call-up comes late enough in the season that there's no chance he becomes a 'Super-Two,' nor will it affect his free agency clock." and they're helpful, but I'd be really interested in a more comprehensive look at service time -- arbitration eligibility, free agency eligibility, how the clock works and where the current Royals players' clocks sit now. Is that something you'd be interested in doing?

     
    At 7/21/2005 1:35 PM, Anonymous Matt said...

    I really like seeing Ambres doing something productive for one of my teams (the Royals) since he ditched playing college football for Texas A&M (my other team) to play baseball.

    Good stuff.

     
    At 7/21/2005 2:18 PM, Blogger Dave said...

    KO, the photos look great! I was able to get them from your briefcase. I'll definitely post some of them tonight.

    Looks like you got some really awesome shots of Maier.

     
    At 7/21/2005 5:42 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

    With Murphy coming up, now it's only the matter of getting T.Long the heck off the roster in some way, shape, or form, so that the Royals can give the rest of the season to Matt Diaz so that his cycle of rip-minor-league-pitching/get-ripped-by-major-league-pitching can hopefully end, and he can give us something conclusive about his hitting abilities.

    It'd sure be nice if they ditched McEwing for Huber, too...but I know that's asking for too much

     
    At 7/21/2005 5:48 PM, Blogger Dave said...

    Brendan, that's a good idea, and I may explore it in the future. For now, I'll just give you a quick rundown.

    Every player who accumulates three years of service (YOS) time in the Major Leagues is eligible for salary arbitration. Some players with less than three but more than two, however, also become eligible -- they're called "Super Twos." Off the top of my head, I believe it is something like the top 17% of players, by service time, who have more than two YOS and less than three, who become "Super Twos".

    Therefore, a player who is promoted in April or May and sticks in the big leagues will stand a much better chance of accumulating enough service time to be in the top 17% of second-year players. A player like Murphy, who had only about two weeks of service before this season and was first promoted in mid-July this year, stands almost no chance of becoming a "Super Two," because assuming he sticks in the bigs, he'll only have about 2.5 YOS at the end of the 2007 season, which most likely won't be enough to fall in the top 17%.

    Moving beyond arbitration, every player is also eligible for Free Agency after six full YOS. As long as Murphy didn't break in with the Royals in the first couple weeks of this season (because of his prior ML service -- otherwise he would have had to break camp with the team), his free agent clock wasn't going to change, whether he was promoted in July, or in September for a cup of coffee. In other words, it doesn't matter what the Royals do, because no matter what, Murphy won't be eligible for FA until after the 2011 season.

    Hope that helps, and for anyone who wants to add anything, feel free to do so.

     
    At 7/22/2005 8:07 AM, Anonymous Brett said...

    I think the comment on being a bad idea to have both Gotay and Murphy up at the same time has nothing to do with service time clocks. (And as an aside, if the Royals start making personnel decisions based simply on service time clocks, I may have to focus my allegiances on another team.) I thin what Rotoworld was probably saying is that usually you want your prospects to get a chance to play every day and get some experience, at whatever level of the system it happens to be. So how I interpret their comment is that it seems like a bad idea to have two prospects at the same position on the major league roster at the same time, because one or both of them is not going to get to play every day. If Ruben Gotay is absolutely worthless against lefties, does that mean you think the Royals should plan on a second base platoon for as long as Gotay is on the team? Because if Gotay is supposed to be the second baseman of the future, he should be getting some at bats agianst lefties so he can improve and become an everyday second baseman. If Murphy is supposed to be the second baseman of the future, he should be playing every day at second base, be that in Witchita, Omaha, or Kansas City. Sure, Murphy may get some good at bats playing other positions, but is it more important to get him some at bats at the major league level by moving him around, or to keep him at second base and let him get more experience in the minors?

     
    At 7/22/2005 12:53 PM, Blogger Dave said...

    Brett, good post, but I've got a couple comments. First, I don't mind if during a rebuilding season, the Royals base personnel moves upon the service clock. For instance, even though he had to deny it (lest the players union set upon him), that is precisely what Baird intended to do with Teahen when he signed Truby. I didn't have a problem with that, because it was a shrewd move in what Baird already knew was going to be a rough season.

    Second, let's worry about Gotay learning how to hit righties before we worry about him getting at bats against lefties. In case you didn't notice, he's not exactly lighting RHP on fire either.

    Finally, Murphy can learn far more playing in the majors, even if that means playing three out of every five days. His defense is already there, so the main thing he needs to work on this season is learning how to adjust to MLB pitching.

    Anyway, thanks for the comments.

     

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