Off-day notes...The Daily Prospect Update returns!
After taking in Sunday's finale vs. the Chicago White Sox, RC returned to Headquarters in Virginia. Tonight, due to popular demand, we're proud to announce the return of RC's Daily Prospect Update. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Update, it's a free feature RC provides to our readers that tracks the daily progress of the Royals' top prospects in the minor leagues. Every night (most of the time very late), we scan through all the organization's box scores and compile stats and notes from the day's action. The content is then placed into an e-mail and sent to our subscribers' inboxes every morning.
No longer do you have to search like an animal through the Internet to see how your favorite Royals prospects are doing -- we do it all for you. And this season, we've expanded our list to include the Royals' top 40 prospects, so no significant player is left uncovered.
To sign up for this outstanding free feature, and to see a sample Daily Prospect Update from last season, simply go to this page and follow the instructions. It takes only a couple minutes to subscribe, and the time it promises to save you this season cannot even be calculated.
Offensively, the Royals struggled to string hits together, and the only run was scored on a solo blast by Reggie Sanders. It was Sanders' first dinger of the year, including spring training, and it came in the ninth inning off of Sox closer Bobby Jenks. It would have been a two-run shot had the umpiring crew not overuled a call by third base umpire Bruce Froemming, who initially ruled that Joe Crede dropped a scorching Mike Sweeney line drive in the previous at bat. The correct reversal prompted the afternoon's most entertaining moment, as Buddy Bell came screaming out of the dugout in protest. RC whipped out our official camera and documented the proceedings:
For more photos of the argument, click here, here, and here.
On Tuesday the Royals open a three-game set with the Yankees, who are off to a 2-4 start. Joe Mays takes the hill for the opener vs. Chien-Ming Wang, and if his stuff isn't right, it could be a long afternoon for the Royals -- seven Yankees are .300 or better career hitters vs. Mays. On Wednesday Jeremy Affeldt faces off against Shawn Chacon, and Thursday's finale pits Denny Bautista vs. Randy Johnson. The Royals rarely play the Yanks well in the Bronx, but hopefully they can steal a game or two before heading to Tampa Bay over the weekend.
Elvys was horrible on Sunday for Omaha.
If Hernandez doesn't get the call for this weekend, there are a few candidates who could make the start instead. Mike Wood or Elmer Dessens could make a spot start, or the Royals could call up J.P. Howell, who pitched brilliantly on Saturday. None is a very appealing option, but we suppose Wood is probably the best bet if the Royals determine Elvys needs more time. It would leave the bullpen a man short (assuming the Royals don't call Joel Peralta up on Friday), and Dessens has been so good out of the pen that we'd hate to see his rhythm disrupted. Furthermore, the organization has made it clear that they want Howell to get a good dose of AAA this season, and we'd prefer they not abandon that plan so early in the season.
Whatever happens, it will be a short-term solution, as Mark Redman's rehab is ahead of schedule, and it's been reported that Zack Greinke is close to returning to Arizona.
So how long will he be in Wichita? Probably not long.
Jackson estimates Gordon could move up to Kansas City in a month or two.
"It depends on Alex," said Jackson. "He's a guy who has terrific talent, and he had a great spring training. We obviously think he's going to be a fixture and a member of our organization for a long time.
"... We need a month or two before really being able to gauge if he's major-league ready."
That certainly comes as a big surprise to us. If Gordon is indeed "major-league ready," does that mean he'll be promoted to Kansas City? That's the way the Eagle interpreted that statement, and the Royals have always said that a player's readiness dictates his movement through the system. Of course, this raises a number of questions and concerns. Primarily, will Mark Teahen get another full season to prove he can hit Major League pitching, or is his leash actually shorter than we thought?
Could Gordon be in KC this summer?
Gordon's played exceptionally well throughout spring training and his first week in double-A, but the Royals had better be sure about both his Major League readiness and Teahen's ability before they start his service clock. Gordon is simply too valuable a commodity to rush, and we'd hate to see the Royals lose a year of his services before he's ready to contribute to a competitive Royals team. All told, it's too early to rush to judgement on the basis of one article, but it's definitely something to watch closely.
"There is not one particular player or pitcher that's standing out right now and stepping forward to say, 'I want to be the guy,'" said Ladnier.
Although Miller remains #1 on our list, there is now more uncertainty than ever about who the Royals will ultimately select. Of course, even when the Royals do identify who they plan to select, they're certainly not going to go public with that information. For all we know, they might even already have a good idea who they're going to draft. Regardless, the draft is just two months away, and we'll continue to track the progress of the nation's top collegiate talent.