RC really thought tonight was the night. After seeing a phenomenal play by Angel Berroa in the hole, a sweet running catch by David DeJesus, and a gutsy effort by D.J. Carrasco, we were pretty certain that the Royals would return to their occasionally-winning ways tonight. But alas, fate again intervened, and the Royals served up their second grand slam in as many nights. The Royals have now set a new club record for futility, dropping their 13th game in a row.

We should have seen it coming. With a 2-0 lead, the Royals failed to score a runner on third with less than one out in consecutive innings. The first goat was Mike Sweeney, who popped up to the second baseman on the first pitch he saw after Chip Ambres successfully sacrificed DeJesus (who hit a leadoff double) over to third base in the fifth inning. The next inning, Emil Brown led off with a triple, but the Royals failed to score him as well, thanks to a strikeout by Mark Teahen and a weak grounder back to the pitcher by Berroa.

At that point, we should have just turned the television off and gone about our business. As it turned out, those two scoring opportunities the Royals squandered were the difference in the game, which was merely a continuation of the misery that we have all endured for two full weeks.

Oh well. We could point out that the Royals' run differential was all the way down to -2 tonight, but that joke is already played out. Moving on to better things:

  • The Omaha Royals played an early game today, and the results couldn't have gone better for prospect mavens like us. J.P. Howell got the start and pitched well, going six strong innings while yielding only one run, five hits, three walks, and striking out seven. It was Howell's third straight solid outing, and as a result, you'll notice that Howell has now replaced Jeffrey Bianchi as RC's #4 Royals prospect. His numbers from his last three starts are stellar:

    17.2 IP, 15 H, 2 ER, 9 BB, 16 K, 0 HR, 1.01 ERA

    The nine free passes are the only thing to be concerned about, but Howell has countered that with a stellar 3.6 GB/FB ratio. A lot of people have pissed and moaned about the effect of Howell's quick promotion to KC, but it's pretty clear to us that Howell is right back on track. And there appear to be no apparent side-effects of his close proximity to Chris George, so that's yet another thing to be encouraged about.

    Howell pitched his way back onto RC's top five list

    Offensively, Justin Huber stole the show, going 3-for-4 with his first homerun, a walk-off job that won the game for the O-Royals. After a slow start in Omaha, Huber now has his batting average up to .271, and he's knocked in 11 runs in 11 games.

  • As we have repeatedly mentioned, RC's mission is to constantly look for ways to upgrade the quality of this site. Today, this pursuit took a big step forward at the recommendation of one of our loyal readers. We have decided to add a new feature, the Official Royals Corner Prospect Update, which will be offered to our readers via daily e-mail updates. We're still working out the details, but in the meantime you can subscribe to our new listserv by sending a blank e-mail to and following the instructions (Editor's note: you do NOT have to sign up for a yahoo ID). The daily updates won't begin until next week, but you don't want to miss any of our reports, so we strongly encourage all our readers to subscribe immediately.

    This feature will offer our readers daily updates on Royals prospects that won't be available on our main site, so make sure you sign up now!

  • As many of you surely know, RC will be in Kansas City this weekend for the 1985 festivities at Kauffman Stadium. We do have Internet access at RC's Western Command, so we'll do our best to provide our usual daily updates. However, the Western Command's facilities aren't quite up to par with our regular nerve center, so we can't promise the same quality you've grown accustomed to. Nevertheless, any slack this weekend will be picked up upon our return to RC's Official Headquarters (Eastern Command) on Sunday night, so don't fret.
  • Royals improve but still drop 12th straight...

    Improvement? Have we lost our mind?

    Oh yes, there was most definitely some improvement tonight, and RC has the statistics to back it up. After looking at the last four games, RC's crack team of mathematicians stumbled across what we believe to be an encouraging trend:

    DateOpponent's score Royals' Score Differential
    August 6




    August 7




    August 9




    August 10




    To the untrained eye, these four games may not seem significant. All were losses, after all, and the only thing that matters is winning. But take a closer look.

    What most people -- apparently also including the Royals -- don't seem to realize is that in order to win a baseball game, your team must actually score more runs than the other team. And while the Royals have not been fortunate enough to have this happen to them in the last two weeks, the statistics above clearly show that the Royals are getting closer.

    RC has been busy crunching numbers on our gigantic calculator.

    Let us explain. Using the complex formula A-B=C, where 'A' is the Royals' score, 'B' is the opponent's score, and 'C' is the run differential, it is easy to see that over the last four games, the Royals are creeping toward a positive run differential and thus, a win. In fact, the improvement has been nothing short of remarkable! In the last three games alone, the Royals have gone from a differential of -15 to -5, which, according to RC's official calculator, is an improvement of roughly 300 percent! At this rate, it cannot be but another day or two before the Royals break back into the win column! It's a matter of simple math.

    Now, some may view our research with skepticism, labeling this undeniable trend as nothing but what stat geeks like to call a "statistical outlier," but pay them no mind. They have no idea what they're talking about, buncha jerks.

    So anyway, you heard it here first...Get ready for a Royals win!


    That's more like it!

    After 10 straight losses, the Royals finally got things back on track tonight with the help of Mike Wood and Mike Sweeney. Wood gave the R's just the start they needed, and Sweeney blasted a key three-run HR in his second at bat that propelled the Royals to a 4-0 lead.

    The Royals currently lead 7-2, and "Mac the Ninth" has entered the game, so we think we can put this one in the bag. RC is going to turn the game off now so we can go do some laundry or something, but we assume everything will go according to plan...


    Un-freaking-believable. RC is speechless, but we understand the team did pose for a photograph after the game:

    The Royals didn't lose tonight...

    With the Royals mercifully off tonight, we decided to spend a little time looking at the progression of Mark Teahen. And after some detailed analysis, we've concluded that while Teahen hasn't improved as quickly as we might have hoped, there is no doubt that he is getting better. Here's a look at his monthly progression:


    No, none of his months have been particularly good, and while it's too early to conclude anything about August, you can clearly see that Teahen has been steadily, albeit slowly, improving every month. RC noticed that for the last month or so, Teahen has appeared to be a much more patient hitter, working the counts much better while laying off more pitches out of the zone. Indeed, this observation was confirmed by Teahen's increase in walks in July. In fact, his 11 walks last month led the club, and while that probably says more about the lack of discipline throughout the roster, it's still significant. Even though he hasn't hit much so far this month, his plate discipline has continued to improve. If he can begin pulling the ball the way the Royals want him to, while continuing to improve his plate discipline, Teahen very well may become the type of hitter the Royals had in mind when they acquired him last year.

    Teahen could still hit a wall in his development, but his progression in plate discipline, as well as his steady rise in OPS, gives us all we need to remain cautiously optimistic about his future.

  • RC is pleased to announce our latest poll. We want to know which Royal on the current roster you would most like to see removed in order to give a younger player more playing time. We suspect we know what the consensus will be on this one, but we want to hear it from you. So tell us, who should the Royals get rid of immediately?

  • Once again, there's good news to report from the minors. Omaha was the victor in a slugfest, despite Kyle Snyder's rough outing (4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 1 HR). Matt Diaz went 1-for-5 but banged out his 11th homer of the season, and big Calvin Pickering hit homers number 16 and 17, including a two-run walkoff shot in the bottom of the tenth to secure the victory.

    Justin Huber is starting to heat up in Omaha.

    Most notable, however, was Justin Huber's second straight good night at the plate. Huber went 2-for-4 with a double and a triple, raising his batting average to .243. It looks like he may be adjusting to triple-A pitching after his slow start following his promotion.

    In Wichita, Billy Butler pretended as though he was still facing California League pitching, going 3-for-4 with a double and 3 RBIs. Butler hit everything hard tonight. The only time he was retired was on a line drive that he hit off the pitcher's leg, which then bounced right to the first baseman, who stepped on the bag to retire him. His double came with the bases loaded, and had it not bounced over the fence, Butler would have had a three-run triple.

    Ruben Gotay also had a nice night in his double-A debut, going 1-for-3 with a double and two walks. It will be interesting to see how his stats in Wichita compare with Donnie Murphy's.

    High Desert won yet another slugfest tonight by a score of 14-7 over Island Empire, with Kila Kaaihue pacing the offense with a career night. Kaaihue went 4-for-5 with three doubles, a bases-loaded walk, and six RBIs. A streaky player by nature, Kila is heating up again, going 10-for-25 over his last six games.

  • Finally, we couldn't resist showing you the improved quality of RC's new official camera, which we had the opportunity to test for the first time tonight at the Carolina League game between the Potomac Nationals and the Frederick Keys. First, here's an example of what the rapid-fire feature will bring, a photo that we snapped on our first try:

    We have 15 other frames on this one swing alone, but this was the coolest.

    Beyond that, we also got an opportunity to see the difference in the zoom quality. Both pictures are of Nationals prospect Kory Casto, taken from the exact same spot in the stands. The first was taken with our old camera on Friday, and the second was taken tonight with our new beast. The difference is striking, and it should give you an excellent idea of what you can expect in the future.

    Yuck!!! This looks like what RC would see if he forgot to wear his contacts.


    OK, you're probably not terribly interested in hearing any more about RC's new official camera, so we promise not to spend any more time talking about it. It's just that we take great pride in the photos we present to you, and we are ecstatic that we'll now be able to offer professional-quality photos on our site on a regular basis. As we mentioned yesterday, it greatly improves the quality of our site, and that is, after all, our continuous pursuit.
  • Monday

    RC makes some changes...

    On the heels of yet another Royal drubbing at the hands of the ridiculously hot Athletics, RC is pleased to announce a couple changes that will enhance the quality of our site. First, as you may have noticed, the viewing area of the site is now significantly wider than before. This was a change we had planned for a while, but for various reasons (not the least of which was a fear that we'd screw up the site template), we held off on the shift.

    The biggest upshot of the wider screen is that we will now be able to publish images that are over 50 percent larger than the 400 pixel photos we've been using. Of course, as we're sure you noticed, RC's official camera really wasn't capable of handling photos any bigger than that. We've been using a cheap 4.0 megapixel camera, so most of our photos taken from any distance are quite blurry, such as yesterday's photos of Byron Gettis and Kory Casto. However, that too is about to change.

    Today, RC purchased this beast:

    RC's new tool, resting on RC's official Publishing Corner, in front of RC's official computer.

    This is an exciting day for not only RC, but also for all of you. The new camera will allow us to zoom in on the game action with incredible clarity. And perhaps the coolest thing about the camera is that it has a rapid-photo feature that will allow us to get even better photos of swings and pitching motions. What used to take us 10 swings to accomplish can now be done in one, with increased clarity to boot.

    OK, enough about the camera. You'll see its effect soon enough, as RC will be in Kansas City this weekend for the 20th anniversary of the 1985 Championship team.

  • While we're talking about the site, however, RC is also pleased to announce that early this weekend, visitor number 10,000 logged on to Royals Corner. In fact, number 10,000 logged in precisely on our two-month anniversary. RC has enjoyed bringing you the scoop on the Royals for the last two months, and we pledge to continue doing so for the next two and beyond. Thanks to all our loyal readers, and even to those of you who aren't very loyal.

  • There wasn't a whole lot of interesting action in the minors tonight. Luis Cota had a rough start, getting lit up for 8 ER in 6.1 IP in Burlington's loss. He was cruising along until the fifth inning, but then successive innings of allowing two, two, and three runs did him in.

    Gary Perez got a day off in Burlington's game, but in Idaho Falls, shortstop Chris McConnell had another fine game. McConnell collected four hits in six at bats, and in doing so raised his batting average to .356.

    Chris McConnell

    Justin Huber had a decent night, going 2-for-5 and raising his batting average above .200. It doesn't appear that Matt Stairs is going anywhere for the rest of the season, so it doesn't seem likely that Huber will be in KC before September. Hopefully he'll get hot and carry some momentum into his call-up, and then into the Arizona Fall League during the offseason.

    Also in Omaha's game, Matt Diaz continued his torrid pace, going 3-for-5 with yet another homer, while raising his batting average to .414. Diaz is an interesting player to watch, and only further evidence of why Terrence Long really shouldn't be on the KC roster any longer. It would make all the sense in the world to give Diaz a shot to show he belongs in KC before this offseason, so the Royals will know exactly what they have. Hopefully RC's Official Hero is listening.
  • Sunday

    Royals make some changes...

    Frustrated by the mounting losses, Allard Baird on Friday and Saturday made a series of roster moves:

    Mike Wood Kyle Snyder (to AAA)
    Denny Hocking Ruben Gotay (to AA)
    Jonah Bayliss Leo Nunez (to AA)
    Paul Phillips Alberto Castillo (released)

    First, we'd like to say that RC applauds each of these moves. Wood for Snyder is a no-brainer, as is Bayliss for Nunez. Both moves should easily be upgrades. The two most controversial roster moves are the promotions of both Hocking and Phillips.

    Not long ago, RC argued for exactly what the Royals had previously decided upon -- having Gotay and Murphy platoon in a pseudo-competition for the 2B job in 2006. Of course, we never really expected an actual competition, even when the Royals announced that a competition was exactly what they had in mind.

    We assumed it would be the same type of "competition" the Royals held in Spring Training between Ken Harvey and Calvin Pickering, even though we already thought the Royals were going to bring Pick north instead of Harvey. We figured then that the Royals already knew Pickering was a more productive player than Harvey, but announced the competition just to placate Harvey's fans in KC. Likewise, after watching both Gotay and Murphy in successive seasons at Wilmington, we knew that Murphy was the superior player, and we figured that if it was so easy for us to figure out, the Royals surely must also know it to be true.

    Ruben Gotay: Not as good as Murphy

    Well, they do know, and today's demotion of Gotay proves it. If it had been an actual competition, Murphy certainly wouldn't have won it after starting out 7-for-37 (.189). The fact is that Murphy is far better defensively (although we have no idea why he keeps making errors), and he's better offensively, in terms of both power and plate discipline.

    The reason we were happy to see both Gotay and Murphy on the roster at the time of Murphy's promotion was that we figured Murphy would inheret Tony Graffanino's at bats. In other words, we expected to see him start at 2B vs. lefties, but we also expected him to get some other occasional starts at 3B and SS. That didn't happen, but that's fine with us as long as the Royals view Murphy as their second baseman of the future.

    So why did the Royals call it a competition when Murphy was promoted back in July? We're not sure, but we have a theory: the Royals are simply terrible with public relations. Just horrid. It's not a big deal, because it has no practical effect on the game, but frankly, it probably wouldn't hurt if the Royals just stopped talking to the media altogether, or at least about roster decisions. When asked tonight about the sudden reversal regarding the "competition," manager Buddy Bell simply said "That was probably not the greatest approach on my part."

    Well, duh. If Murphy is only going to play second base, it doesn't make any sense to have both him and Gotay on the Major League roster. And therefore, it's a good move to send Gotay away to get regular playing time in the minors. We don't expect Gotay to ever be a quality starter in the big leagues, but it makes sense to have him get as much playing time as possible in the minors just to see if he improves.

    As for Hocking, his promotion is completely insignificant. He'll be the second utility player off the bench, behind Joe McEwing, so he'll be lucky to play once a week. Contrary to what's being said on the radio and the Internet, his promotion does NOT signal anything about a reversal of the Royals youth movement. Rather, it enhances it, as the Royals will now roll with Teahen at third and Murphy at second at least five out of every six games.

    Now, as for Castillo's release, it was inevitable, and it signals to us that Baird is thinking precisely as we are. Back in June, RC posted what we thought was a best-guess estimate of what the Royals will look like next year. We argued then that:

    "[We'd] like to see the Royals fill their backup catcher and utility infield spots with players from their minor league system...There's really no reason to keep a veteran like Castillo around when a younger, cheaper, better option is available within the system."

    At the time, we argued that Matt Tupman would be a good option for backup catcher in 2006. That may still happen, but it can't hurt to give Phillips a shot first, and we're happy to see the Royals trying to figure it out now, rather than next spring. Yes, it sucks for Castillo, who has done everything the Royals asked of him, but the Royals have to look ahead. We hope that Castillo can catch on somewhere else, but this is a good move.

  • We were also pleased to learn that Billy Butler was finally promoted to Wichita. We listened to about half of the Wranglers' game tonight, and Butler hit a screamer off the third basmen's glove in his first at bat for his first AA hit. On the night, he went 1-for-4 with two strikouts in Wichita's 5-4 squeaker over the Tulsa Drillers.

    On a side note, this was the first Wichita broadcast we ever listened to, and we must say that Wichita's play-by-play man cannot hold a candle to High Desert's. That's a shame, but we'll manage.

  • There's really little reason to even listen to High Desert games any more, because most of the top prospects who started the year there have now moved on to bigger and better things. However, three interesting players still remain -- Kila Kaaihue, Chris Lubanski, and Chris Demaria.

    Kila Kaaihue: Lonely in High Desert

    Frankly, with the recent minor league reshuffling, we were expecting Kaaihue to get a promotion to Wichita by now. His power numbers aren't very impressive for the California League (14 HR, .485 SLG), but his on-base numbers deserve some serious attention. Kila is currently second in the league in both walks (75) and on-base percentage (.435). In fact, his OBP is even higher than Butler's, which is very surprising. It will be interesting to watch Kaaihue as his career progresses, because the 21-year-old shows some signs of becoming a very good ballplayer.

  • Some more good news from the minors: J.P. Howell made another nice start for the Omaha Royals tonight. Howell picked up the victory with a line of 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 3 BB, and 4 K. After a tough first start following his demotion, Howell has done a nice job showing that his close proximity to Chris George has not yet caused any of George's influence to rub off on him. That's good, because we were a little concerned. Hopefully Howell can finish the year off well in Omaha and vie for a spot in KC's rotation next season.

  • Finally, we are aware of the Royals' last two games vs. the A's. We'd just prefer not to talk about Jeremy Affeldt's meltdown on Friday, or the 16-1 drubbing KC took tonight. They're really not all that significant, and perhaps it's good that RC is insulated by over a thousand miles from the pissing and moaning in KC. It puts us in a position to remind everyone that every team loses 16-1 occasionally, and we urge Royals fans to keep in mind that neither of the pitchers against whom the majority of the damage was done tonight (Jose Lima and Jimmy Gobble) will be on the Royals' roster on October 3.

  • We haven't yet had a chance to watch this weekend's games, because we've been checking out prospects at a couple minor league games. Here's a few photos, in case you're interested. The first is a photo of Nationals prospect Kory Casto.

    Casto strokes an RBI triple on August 5, 2005

    Casto is a third baseman who we'd really like to have. He's currently blocked in the Nationals' system by 2005 first rounder Ryan Zimmerman, although if he continues hitting like this (.305/.398/.547/20 HR -- very impressive for the Carolina League), the Nats won't have any trouble finding him a place in the outfield.

    At tonight's game, we were particularly interested in checking out the potential Tiger SS of the future, Tony Giarratano. Coming into the season, Giarratano was ranked by Baseball America as the Tigers' sixth-best prospect, on the heels of a fine season in A-ball last year. This year, he's been a disappointment, hitting only .263/.332/.378 while playing his home games in a hitter's park.

    Giarratano signs for a fan before a game on August 6, 2005

    The 22-year-old SS is built very similar to Mendy Lopez, and in the game tonight, he looked just like him. Giarratano made a horrible error that led to two Baysox runs, and he looked pretty bad at the plate.

    Finally, RC saw an old friend tonight, although we did a double-take when we saw both him and his position for the evening.

    An old friend, a bit fatter than we remember...

    You could be forgiven if you didn't realize that the player in the photo above is none other than Byron Gettis, the 2003 Royals Minor League Player of the Year. It seems as though Gettis has added about 40 lbs. of fat since his KC days. But if that wasn't funny enough, the SeaWolves (Editor's note: What the hell is a SeaWolf?) had Gettis starting in center field tonight! RC is convinced that we've never seen a fatter center fielder in our life, but the joke was on us...Gettis made an amazing diving catch on a soft liner in the seventh inning. The earth literally shook...