Matt Tupman launches key homer, scores winning run, and tries to kill RC...

RC's second day in Arizona was even better than the first. In the afternoon, we got a great look at some of baseball's best prospects, such as the Mets' Lastings Milledge and the Mariners' Jeff Clement, and in the evening we saw the Surprise Scorpions win a thriller in the bottom of the ninth inning.

When we arrived at the Royals' unbelievably beautiful spring training facility in Surprise, we quickly learned the Scorpions' lineup included both Billy Butler and Alex Gordon, and that they were hitting 3-4 in the order. Gordon played first base, and Butler was the DH. Neither had a tremendous game, as they went a combined 0-for-5 with three walks. Butler, who's been scuffling of late, was very patient at the plate while working several deep counts and walking twice. Gordon got one good swing, but lined out to left field. Here's the video:


To our surprise, the night's best performance came from catcher Matt Tupman. In the sixth inning, Tupman broke up Peoria's no-hitter and shutout with a game-tying line drive shot to right that carried the visitor's bullpen. We'll let the video speak for itself:


As you can see from the video, RC's delegation was firmly ensconced in the first row behind the Scorpion dugout. It was a seating arrangement that almost cost RC correspondent Chris Ray his life. In Tupman's next at bat, he rudely fouled off a one-hop screamer in RC's direction, and only Ray's camera bag -- which had been placed atop the dugout -- deflected what would have surely been a life-threatening injury to RC's most valuable source. The ball slammed into the bag, leaving a permanent mark while dislodging it from its comfortable perch, and then shot back several rows into the stands. Ray, somewhat dazed by both the sizzling line drive and this reporter's girlish scream-and-duck manuever, finally came to and asked what happened. The beauty of the whole thing was that Ray was filming the incident the whole time, so the video is clear right up to the moment that the ball whizzed by his ear. Unfortunately, the file is one that is not presently recognized by RC's official laptop, so you're out of luck for the time being.

In the end, RC's heart rate returned to its normal pace, and Tupman scored the game winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning on a Howie Kendrick single. The Scorpions ended the day with a 1.5 game lead over the hated Mesa Solar Sox, and they'll look to expand upon that lead tomorrow vs. the Grand Canyon Rafters. Of course, RC will be there with our camera in tote, and we'll continue to provide you with more great photos and video as they are obtained. In the meantime, here are some shots of today's action:

Butler and Gordon, back-to-back....Oh yes, this is what we're here for.

Gordon seemed to handle himself pretty well at first base today.

Scorpions win again! But RC is still waiting for Tupman's apology...


Without further delay, RC presents Billy Butler's HR swing...


Editor's note: The video works best using Microsoft Internet Explorer. Please report any technical problems to RC.


RC is in Arizona! And we have VIDEO of a Billy Butler three-run blast!

RC just got back from our first Arizona Fall League game, an 11-4 Scorpions rout over the pathetic Peoria Saguaros. We only have about 10 minutes before we have to head out for tonight's game between Mesa and Phoenix, but we've got some photos ready to share. We also captured some excellent video of a three-run Billy Butler homerun, but you'll have to wait until later tonight when we have an opportunity to send it to our server. In the meantime, these should hold you over:

Be sure to come back late tonight, or tomorrow morning, when we'll have our video and more great original RC photos.


RC reviews 2002 draft...and provides a few more Billy Butler photos...

By Craig Weddle

Editor's Note: This is the final in a series of Royals draft reviews that Craig has authored over the past couple months. Today he takes a look at the seven players taken in the 2002 draft who still have a shot at making it to Kansas City, or have already done so.

The best player taken by the Royals in the draft was Zack Greinke (1st round). Once considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball, Zack struggled with the Royals in 2005. If he hadn’t gone through the system so fast and was instead mowing ‘em down in AA or AAA, he would still be considered a top prospect. Next season is very important for Greinke. Will he become the top of the rotation starter we’ve been looking for, or will he be just another middle of the rotation kind of guy?

Adam Donachie (2nd round) was drafted as a catcher with outstanding defensive skills and raw but “projectable power”. After not doing much offensively in rookie ball and Burlington, Donachie found his stroke at High Desert (.842 OPS). Since so many other players had good offensive seasons at High Desert, we still don’t know who the real Adam Donachie is. Presumably he will start next season at Wichita. He’s young (21) and is very good defensively. By the end of 2006 we should have a better idea as to whether Adam is destined to be a backup catcher, or if he's someone who might threaten to take John Buck’s job away.

Danny Christensen (4th round) is a young (21) lefty who finally started to realize a little potential this year. Although not a real hard thrower, Christensen put up good numbers in 2005 at Burlington. In 109.1 innings, his WHIP was 1.4, his K to BB ratio was 2:1, and he struck out a batter an inning. If he can survive High Desert next year, the organization and RC will start to take notice.

Donnie Murphy (5th round) is one of many good middle infielders in the Royals’ system. Unfortunately, none of the guys in the upper levels of the minors (and majors) is a stud. Murphy’s future with the organization is up in the air. He’s considered better offensively than Blanco, but worse than Gotay. At the same time he’s better defensively than Gotay, but worse than Blanco. All three guys are still young (Murphy and Gotay are 22, Blanco 21). Complicating matters further, the Royals are considering going after a veteran 2B this off-season.

Jonah Bayliss (7th round) converted to a reliever in 2005 with outstanding results. In 57 innings at Wichita, he had a WHIP of 1.2, K to BB ratio of 2.4:1, and he struck out over a man per inning (1.1 per IP). He even held his own in a brief stint with Kansas City. Bayliss is pitching this fall in Arizona and is definitely in the mix for the KC bullpen in 2006.

Matt Tupman (9th round) had a decent year in Wichita (.689 OPS) and shows good plate discipline. Although he will never be a big leaguer starter, I listed him here because he does have a shot at a backup role with the Royals.

Kila Kaaihue (15th round) has been a project since he was drafted. I’ve been intrigued by Kila since rookie ball because he shows good plate discipline, while exhibiting the potential for developing a power stroke. In 2005, while hitting an impressive .925 OPS, he had a 97:97 K to BB ratio. Compare that to Moye (97:20). In Burlington he seemed to lose his discipline, while not improving his power. Once again High Desert seems to have been the panacea for another player. Like Donachie, Lubanski, et al., Kila needs to show us that can continue his offensive improvement in 2006 at Wichita. His 19 errors at 1B are a concern. -CW

  • This is the week that RC heads to the fun and sun of Arizona, where we will catch six Arizona Fall League games, including three Surprise Scorpions games. We've got a lot of exciting new things planned, including oodles of new high quality original RC photos.

    For instance, we are pleased to announce that we will also unveil RC's NEWEST and MOST EXCITING FEATURE yet -- VIDEO!!! That's right, RC has worked out all the details, so on Thursday night, you'll be the first people outside of Arizona to see Alex Gordon swinging a bat in a Royals uniform. Of course, we'll also provide video of Billy Butler, and any other prospects of interest.

    We're also pleased to announce that we've been invited to write a guest blog on Jonathan Mayo's (from and Around the Minors Blog. If you're interested in hearing more about our trip to Arizona, as well as our take on some non-Royals prospects, be sure to check it out next weekend. We'll also provide a link here when the time comes.

  • Finally, we figured we'd make up for our lack of weekend posts by releasing our remaining Billy Butler photos for public consumption. Thanks again to RC Correspondents Jason DeHaai and Brooke Bennett for the great photos.

    Billy Butler just before hitting a three-run homer. Photo courtesty of Jason DeHaai.

    Photo courtesty of Brooke Bennett.

    Photo courtesty of Brooke Bennett.

    Photo courtesty of Brooke Bennett.