Random notes...

This has been a very good day for the Royals. It's amazing how much better a minor league system looks when you add the top collegiate player in the nation to its ranks. RC was the first major publication to break the news of Alex Gordon's signing this morning, and ever since, we've been salivating at the thought that there's a good chance that at some point in the coming spring training, we'll see a Royals lineup that includes David DeJesus, Mike Sweeney, Billy Butler, Justin Huber, and Gordon.

And just think about the infield we might see at High Desert to start next season: Gordon at third base, Jeff Bianchi at shortstop, and Gary Perez at second base. The future is quickly approaching, and we like what we see on the horizon.

  • Allard Baird also likes what he sees, and he gave an excellent interview today on 810 AM after the Gordon signing. The following is a list of Baird's key points, as compiled by RC correspondent Chris Ray:

    - Gordon will start as a third baseman, but has the athletic ability to play any position. Baird believes that Gordon would already be an above average defensive first baseman.

    - The Royals will again draft the best player available in the 2006 draft.

    - Baird feels that DeJesus is about a half season ahead of where they thought he'd be in his player development. Many teams were looking to acquire DeJesus at the trade deadline, but Baird just laughed. There is a very good chance that DeJesus will be offered a long term contract in the offseason.

    - Phase one of the youth movement is over. Phase two will include adding free agents. Baird is looking to add $20 million of payroll in the offseason. His targets will be a starting pitcher, a veteran relief pitcher, a veteran catcher and an offensive second baseman, in that order. The Royals will be very aggressive in the free agent market.

    - Baird is more confident now than ever that he can acquire a power-hitting corner outfielder through free agency or a trade, due to payroll flexibility.

    - Baird would like Butler to spend another full year in the outfield in the minor leagues before coming to the Major Leagues.

    - Chris Lubanski looks to play in AA in 2006, AAA in 2007 and reach Kansas City by 2008. Baird said he's the type of guy who must prove himself at every level to move up.

    - If Luis Cota improves his control, he could move quickly through the minor leagues.

    - Mitch Maier needs to establish his bat at Wichita before he can move up. Baird feels 2006 is VERY important for Maier, but he is surprised how well he has progressed defensively, to the point that Maier is already an above average CF.

    - Baird is pleased by the way John Buck and Mark Teahen are finishing the season.

    - Andres Blanco is already a gold glove caliber second baseman.

    - Baird said that he is willing to trade anyone on the roster.

    - Baird is disappointed with Angel Berroa's plate discipline, but believes Andre David can help him.

    - If Huber makes some strides defensively in the Arizona Fall League, then he could start 2006 in KC.

    - Baird believes Gobble's value will most likely be in the bullpen.

    - The only locks for the 2006 rotation are Zack Greinke and Runelvys Hernandez.

    - Contrary to media reports, the Royals were never close to trading Sweeney over the summer.

    - With the addition of a solid changeup, Jeremy Affeldt could be moved back to a starter in 2006.

  • In other news, Billy Butler was named by Baseball America as the California League's fifth-best prospect, and Chris Lubanski was number 20. On Butler, BA wrote the following:

    Other than below-average speed, which plays no role in his style of play, Butler has no offensive weaknesses. He controls the strike zone well, can hit for average and shows plus power to all fields

    “He’s Mike Sweeney Jr.,” a National League scout said. “He could be even better than Sweeney.”

    At first look, Lubanski appears to have been shafted by his ranking, but BA brings up several good points:

    Lubanski’s game has changed dramatically since he went fifth overall in the 2003 draft. He’s no longer the burner he was in high school, yet he's still a plus runner and his power has grown. He’s still overaggressive at the plate and needs to improve on working counts and closing the holes in his swing. His work ethic was universally praised.

    While his offense took a major step forward, Lubanski's play in center field has declined. A below-average arm, bad routes and his drop in speed has most projecting an eventual move to left, where some wonder if his bat will be enough to carry him.

    Kevin Goldstein of BA will conduct a live chat to discuss the list and the California League on Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. CST. If you have any questions for him, be sure to chime in by clicking on this link. Perhaps you'll want to ask him how in the hell Ian Stewart is rated higher than Butler...Perhaps...

  • Alas, the Royals avoided their 105th loss of the year tonight with an impressive offensive effort vs. the Minnesota Twins. Mike Wood was spotted a quick 5-0 lead, but he blew it in the fourth inning, but the Royals bounced back with the help of homers from Teahen, Buck, and Sweeney in the sixth inning to take a 10-6 lead.

    Sweeney paced the offense with five RBIs, and the bullpen contributed five scoreless innings from D.J. Carrasco, Gobble, Affeldt, and Mike MacDougal to nail down the win and secure the series split.

    Up next for the Royals is a three game set vs. the Toronto Blue Jays to finish off the season. The Royals must win all three games to avoid the worst record in franchise history, and Zack Greinke gets the first crack at it tomorrow vs. Josh Towers.


    At 9/30/2005 2:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I hope the royals keep Gordon at third, I had a chance to see him playthird in college over the past three years and while he's no Brooks Robinson, he could definanlty be a league average defensive thirdbaseman.

    While I'm thrilled the royals will add payroll, next year's free agent crop is looking, well, rather weak. I hope Baird doesn;t go out and overpay for some mid-level talent just for the sake of signing someone. Perhaps he could look into trading for somearb-elligble players other teams are looking to get rid of due to a salary increase.

    At 9/30/2005 2:16 PM, Blogger DL said...

    I'm pleased just to see Lubanski on the list. In the course of one season, he's transformed himself from a bust to a prospect again. That league is loaded, too.

    At 9/30/2005 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Anyone seen Lubanski play?

    I've read a lot of scouting reports that are EXTREAMLY down on him. Bad routes in the field, poor baseball instincts, sometimes looks very lost and guesses at the plate, that kind of stuff.

    He's on eprospect I wouldn;t mind seeing shipped out in a trade while his #'s are still good.

    At 9/30/2005 5:01 PM, Blogger Dave said...

    I've never seen him play, but I do know that most of the scouting reports (if not all) that I've read on him were written prior to his surge this season in the last few months.

    It's quite possible that he significantly improved offensively in that time. His numbers would certainly suggest he has, as he seriously cut down the Ks in the season's second half.

    Defensively, I've heard all about the poor routes and declining speed. But I'll bet he plays a
    lot better in a corner OF spot.

    He's still a very iffy prospect, so I definitely wouldn't object to trading him if the Royals can get a good deal for him. But I doubt any teams will want to take a big risk on him after what amounts to a solid half season in High Desert.

    At 9/30/2005 5:13 PM, Blogger royalsbeliever said...

    I'm glad to hear all of what Baird has said. DeJesus is definetly ahead of what anyone though he would be developmental wise, and the Gordon signing is awesome. He's like Glaus-Beltre-Hafner-Big Papi(Ortiz) type of power guy. Can't wait to see Gordon in a Royals uniform!!

    At 9/30/2005 5:25 PM, Blogger Dave said...

    Butler is more likely to be like the power guys you mentioned than Gordon. I see Gordon as being more like a Chipper Jones/George Brett type -- a line drive hitter with 25-30 HR power.

    At 9/30/2005 5:57 PM, Anonymous bda said...

    I loved Goldstein's response to your question about Butler "playing" Left field. I think many of us are too quick to pencil him into left in '07. He seemed emphatic that he would end up at 1B/DH.

    At 10/01/2005 3:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Butler will be a DH, I guess, but all that putting him down some notches because of defense when he's on an A.L. club is silly.

    Those BA people don't always acknowledge the real fact here... that it's the bat that makes you a star or a mediocre guy. And Butler has one of the 3 or 4 best bats in the minors. Manny Ramirez can't field a cold and he's a $20 MM per player.

    To a lesser extent, the same notion applies to Lubanski. And he'll be able to more than competently play the OF... because he always has played there, he works very hard at everything and he has speed.

    Jeesh, Butler will STILL just be 19 years olf while he's hitting homers in Wichita early next season.

    At 10/01/2005 11:24 AM, Blogger royalsbeliever said...

    What do you think he is, 32?

    At 10/01/2005 12:51 PM, Blogger Dave said...

    I honestly don't think anyone knows whether or not Butler will end up in LF. The only thing that matters in this case is if the Royals think his defense out there is acceptable.

    The anonymous comment above is correct. What do you think a scout would say about Manny Ramirez's skill in left field? Would it have any bearing whatsoever on whether or not the Red Sox keep him there?

    In short, I guess I'd say that I don't expect Butler to be very good in LF, but I do expect the Royals to keep him there. And I think he'll hit more than enough to justify his presence out there.

    At 10/01/2005 1:20 PM, Blogger Inside the Dugout said...

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    At 10/01/2005 1:52 PM, Blogger Inside the Dugout said...

    i enjoyed reading your blog , i was wondering if you can give me some of your thoughts on Royals prospects as i'm writing up a top 10 prospect list for my blog ,any help u can give me would be greatly appreciated.

    At 10/01/2005 2:51 PM, Blogger Dave said...

    I'm planning to have my new top 20 prospect list out early next week. You're welcome to use the top 10 if you'd like. I'm actually working on it right now.

    At 10/01/2005 11:37 PM, Blogger Inside the Dugout said...

    Thank you very much, it would be greatly appreciated.

    At 10/02/2005 4:19 PM, Blogger royalsbeliever said...

    Royals finish the season 56-106. 2005 season is now done.

    At 10/03/2005 9:37 PM, Blogger COroyal said...

    "Baird is disappointed with Angel Berroa's plate discipline, but believes Andre David can help him."

    Like an alcoholic - one must be willing to admit a problem before help can be had. Reading this type of crap makes me sick. How about sitting his a$$ down & telling him HE WILL improve his plate discipline or HE WILL be fielding ground balls in Wichita again. Sure, I've read all the commentary that says plate discipline is something that you have or don't - well, Berroa could at least fake it. Every interview he has he acts like the reporter is crazy even inquiring about his $hit on base percentage. "Oh no, I'm not even thinking about that, I just want to finish strong."

    You would think my venting would be over with the season wrapped up.


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