Buck You, Chief Wahoo!

John Buck did his best Andrew Jackson impersonation tonight.

Jeremy Affeldt tonight lasted only 1.2 innings, but the Royals backed him up in what might have been their most exciting game this season, prevailing over the Indians for the second straight night, 10-7. In relief of Affeldt, the Royals rolled out Jimmy Gobble, Joel Peralta, Andrew Sisco, and Elmer Dessens. Gobble and Peralta weren't great, as they both gave up a pair of runs, but they were good enough to keep the Royals in the game. Sisco put out a fire by recording the final out in the seventh inning, then tossed a scoreless eighth. After he surrendered a leadoff double to Eduardo Perez in the ninth, Dessens entered the game and recorded the final three outs, giving up only an RBI single to Aaron Boone.

The offense tonight was excellent, as we predicted it might be against Jason Johnson. Three times the Royals battled back from two-run deficits, finally taking control of the game in the sixth with a six-run outburst. John Buck was the hero for the second straight night, as it was his monster three-run HR that turned a 6-4 deficit into a 7-6 lead. On the night, Buck was a perfect 3-for-3 with a walk, and so far in the series he is 5-for-6 with two homers and 5 RBI.

Buck's swing lately has been much shorter to the ball, and he's had more excellent at bats in the last two games than he had in the previous two weeks. Even his walk was impressive, as he battled back from a 1-2 count while fouling off four pitches to draw the free pass. His average is now up to a season-high .254, and it will be interesting to see if Buddy Bell puts him in the lineup again tomorrow, despite the fact that he usually rests him on day games that follow night games. We're not counting on it, but we suppose it's a possibility with the way he's swinging the bat right now.

Mark Grudzielanek added four hits, raising his average to .315.

Of course, John Buck wasn't the only player who got in on the fun. Mark Grudzielanek had four hits, and he would have been 5-for-5 if the Indians hadn't wised up in the eighth inning by putting their second baseman in short right field. Aaron Guiel had a solo home run and a two-run single, and both Tony Graffanino and Kerry Robinson had three hits apiece.

The Royals go for the sweep tomorrow, and they might stand a good chance at pulling it off. Scott Elarton goes to the mound for KC, opposing Jake Westbrook, and the Royals will need Elarton to eat some innings after seeing the bullpen depleted the last two games. We'll probably get a somewhat funky lineup on the getaway day, but that also means we might actually see Justin Huber get into a game. The Royals have won four of the last six games, and their home record now stands at 7-8. Believe it or not, they're only four games behind the Twins, so with a few more wins the Royals might actually manage to climb out of the cellar.

  • Speaking of the Twins, we noticed we started getting some traffic from a Twins message board today, and we received some fairly agitated comments. We investigated further and learned that a Twins fan had uncovered a post of ours titled "Why we hate the Twins," which was written during the infancy stages of RC. The column was written a full ten months ago (before Kirby Puckett's death, mind you), but for some reason, Twins fans are a little bit slower than the average fan (how else can you explain the excitement they get from being circled by Bert Blyleven?). Anyway, we got a little bit of a chuckle, and we invite our readers to revisit the post and leave a comment of your own, if so compelled.

  • Today's as good a day as any for us to announce that you can now read RC's work on the Most Valuable Network. As you know, RC attends tons of minor league games each season, but we always try to limit the content on this site to that which is only Royals-related. On the Minor Details blog, RC (also known as Dave Sanford) will no longer have those limitations, and it will give us an opportunity to write about and publish photos of the dozens of great prospects we see throughout the year. Nothing here at RC will change, and we'll be sure to let those of you who are interested know about the columns that we publish on Minor Details throughout the season. We also have another project in the works, but it's progressing slower than anticipated, so we can't make the announcement just yet. Stay tuned.

  • Finally, we've published our latest Draft Prospect Update, as promised. There was no movement on our list this week, and Andrew Miller, whose Tar Heels were off last weekend, remains our # 1 prospect. A number of pitchers had excellent weekends, and there are some great matchups coming up this week, so be sure to read all about it.

    Also, RC's posting over the next several days will be lighter than normal, as we finish studying for our GMAT exam (which is on Thursday). There will be no Daily Prospect Update on Tuesday or Wednesday nights, and this weekend RC's official father comes to town for the Baltimore series. This is the fourth straight year he's made the trip for the series, and it's become something of a tradition that we both look forward to every year. We catch a couple games as we attempt to drink all of the beer in Baltimore. We've never quite succeeded, but we've both been training pretty hard, so this might be our year.

    At 5/10/2006 10:43 AM, Anonymous eric said...

    Everyone needs to bring out the brooms this afternoon for the sweep of the Indians!!! Elarton will get win number 1 on the season which is long overdue.

    Dave, I know you went and saw Andrew Miller pitch at least once this season and I am curious about your observations on his delivery. I have heard that he throws across his body which will create movement to his pitches but also stresses the arm quite a bit. This concerns me a lot because of what Kyle Sleeth is going through. As you probably know, Kyle was the number one pitcher in the draft 2 years ago from Wake Forest. Detriot drafted him at #3 overall and he was terrific his first season. Then he blew out his elbow in ST just as the coaches began to work with him to straighten up his delivery in order to prolong his health. So did you notice Miller throwing across his body? If so how extreme is it? I have heard about how much movement he gets on the slider and two-seamer, from afar it sounds as though he might be headed down the same unfortunate path. Thanks for your thoughts and congradulations on the writing opportunity at Minor Details. Keep up the outstanding Royals coverage.

    At 5/10/2006 12:18 PM, Blogger Max said...

    I am going to post this before and after every game Justin Huber sits.


    At 5/10/2006 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I read one guy on the baseballthinkfactory site who said the Royals should pass on Miller.

    He bascilly said that this coming draft is a pretty shallow one, and while Miller may be the best player in it, he'd be a 5-10 pick in a normal draft, and he'll probably ask for a $6m bonus and a mjaor league contract.

    Said it would be in the Royals best intrest to cut a predraft deal with a lowerratted guy, and use the $ they saved on their #2 pick and signing some guys who fall due to signability.

    At 5/10/2006 5:07 PM, Blogger PghChris said...

    I know it's been a long season already, but this feels good to say:


    At 5/10/2006 10:14 PM, Blogger PghChris said...

    By the way, anyone else hearing the name Steve Phillips in conjunction with the Royals GM job? I've heard it mentioned he may be a frontrunner. Very surprising if true.

    At 5/11/2006 12:04 AM, Anonymous Diesel said...

    Oh Lord, not Phillips. The guy ran the Mets franchise into the ground, and after hearing him try to explain the Rule 5 draft on ESPN, I hope he sticks with his sweet deal there and never ends up in a front office again.

    At 5/11/2006 9:50 AM, Blogger PghChris said...

    Apparently it's false. Just a rumor. Phillips is not a candidate for the position.

    At 5/11/2006 12:41 PM, Blogger Max said...

    He bascilly said that this coming draft is a pretty shallow one, and while Miller may be the best player in it, he'd be a 5-10 pick in a normal draft, and he'll probably ask for a $6m bonus and a mjaor league contract.

    Said it would be in the Royals best intrest to cut a predraft deal with a lowerratted guy, and use the $ they saved on their #2 pick and signing some guys who fall due to signability.

    I gotta admit, this isn't the worst idea in the world.


    At 5/11/2006 1:49 PM, Blogger Max said...

    Baseball Prospectus addresses the possibility of the Royals bypassing Miller for a pre-draft deal with Linecum

    At 5/11/2006 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


    At 5/11/2006 5:29 PM, Blogger PghChris said...

    Max, that's an interesting take.

    Dave, you've at least seen Miller pitch a couple of times. What do you think of that article? Is Miller clearly the top prospect, or do you agree with Ladnier that, while maybe Miller seems the top choice, there's not much separation between the top 3-5 players.

    That said, Lincecum's numbers are just flat hard to ignore, and the Pac 10/west coast does have some pretty good baseball.

    At 5/11/2006 7:39 PM, Blogger Dave said...

    I only saw Miller pitch once, against Seton Hall. He dominated them, but of course, so have many other pitchers (many of whom probably won't even be drafted), so it's hard to take anything from that. I saw him throw two quality pitches -- fastball and slider -- and his slider certainly was nasty. If this weekend wasn't the Baltimore series, you can bet I'd be in Charlottesville on Friday watching Miller pitch against a very good Virginia team (who are even better at home).

    I really don't know what to think about Miller. When looking at the numbers that guys like Lincecum and Morrow have put up against similarly good opponents, it's probably a lot closer than most people think. Miller's size is as big a factor in him having scouts all over his nuts as his performance is, and it's the key reason so many have him so far ahead of everyone else. But both Lincecum and Morrow (and Lincoln, too) actually throw harder than Miller, and from what I hear, both have breaking stuff that's every bit as lethal as Miller's slider.

    The problem is that everyone has warts. Lincecum and Lincoln are both small guys, and Morrow (who has ideal size) is a diabetic. Miller doesn't have any obvious warts, but his mechanics aren't exactly ideal and he's going to demand a lot more money than anyone else (and a ML contract). As far as I'm concerned, there's really no clear cut choice. Is Miller worth $2 million more than Lincecum and Morrow? I don't know, but I'll bet that's what the Royals are trying to decide right now.

    I'd be happy with any of those guys. In fact, I think I'm actually rooting for one of the west coast guys, just because I think the fallout would be funny. I'd like to see everyone who was up-in-arms over our pick have to shut up once our guy becomes a better pro than Miller.

    At 5/11/2006 8:13 PM, Blogger DL said...

    Miller has the least warts of all of the candidates for the pick, and he's the consensus #1 choice among most experts who follow amateur baseball. There isn't any good baseball reason not to draft him, even if he isn't as good as recent #1s.

    Miller may demand $6 million, and Linecum might demand $4 million. Can the Royals REALLY pass on Miller over $2 million? This is the same team that wastes millions of dollars on pitchers like Lima and Mays that EVERYONE knows are going to fail - the money is there. This is also an owner that also just received a huge financial windfall from the taxpayers of Jackson County.

    The Royals should be spending whatever it takes to draft the best players available in the 2006 draft. Period.

    At 5/12/2006 12:23 AM, Anonymous eric said...

    Andrew Miller definately has baseball warts. The biggest one as reported from several outlets is his delivery. He throws across his body. This is a serious red flag, it means his arm is a ticking timebomb to blow it is just a matter of time. If he cannot correct his mechanics he will get stuck as a closer. He would be the second coming of BJ Ryan, a tall powerful lefty with fastball/slider combo. That is not a bad downside. The other wart is he has no offspeed pitches. He might learn a change or a split who knows, but he will need at least one more average pitch to be a starter.

    Tim Lincecum on the other hand has already answered the questions due to his size as he does keep his high velocity and stuff after 120 pitches regularly and has the most durable arm due to a delivery that optimizes that. His only wart is his control. That is the downside to his delivery. Can he repeat this delivery consistently enough to get better control of his pitches? So far he has shown great improvement from last season to this one. Can this continue because his walk rate is still to high. Tim's downside is he will be a #3 starter or moved to a closer. He already has a plus-plus fastball and curve and is progressing with his change. It should be easy for him to learn a cut-fastball or two-seamer to give him more variety, this is something Miller did this year already.

    What I think is really interesting is the prospect of Luke Hochevar being back in the draft. His downside is Scott Boras. But he was the second best pitcher in last years draft and probably would rank number 1 this year if he was still in school. We know he wants more than $3mil to sign but is he really going to sit out another year and risk becoming another Matt Harrington? He gets his first start for the Ft. Worth Cats independent team Sat so we will begin to get reports on him soon.

    Here is what BA had on him for last year's draft,
    At his best, Hochevar has a fastball that sits in the 93-95 mph range with a mid-80s slider, but more often he pitches at 89-92 with his fastball and in the low-80s with the slider. He also throws a changeup and curveball for strikes, and both can be average pitches. He commands his pitches well thanks to an athletic frame and smooth delivery. His combination of stuff, his knack for pitching and a loose, long frame that offers hope of still more projection makes him one of the top two pitching prospects in the draft. A Scott Boras client, he’s a candidate to be the Diamondbacks’ selection with the No. 1 overall pick.

    So the reality of this draft is there is no clear number one prospect. As far as college pitchers go there are several that are ranked very close together all having warts of some variety and only time will tell who will end up the best. Those guys are Andrew Miller, Tim Lincecum, Brandon Morrow, Luke Hochevar, Brad Lincoln and Max Scherzer. All have a maximum downside as top closers so all should be safe picks and they likely won't become busts unless they have injury problems. There are also some great high school arms and the longterm best pitcher in the draft could be one of them. Those guys are Kyle Drabek, Clayton Kershaw, and Jeremy Jeffress. So who knows? I will be a happy fan with any of these picks but prefer the one of the college guys. My opinion is Lincecum, Scherzer, and Miller are the top three with Scherzer having the highest upside and Lincecum the lowest downside and Miller in the middle.

    At 5/12/2006 11:48 AM, Blogger Max said...

    I'm interested in Brad Lincoln of Houston. All I know about him is his stats, but to me they seem better than Linecum's or Miller's.

    Linecum's walks scare me. We have enough hard throwing pitchers in our pen with command issues. We don't need another one.

    Hochevar won't happen for obvious reasons - Boras. Scherzer has arm issues and isn't worth taking with the #1 pick. Morrow has enough warts not to take with the #1 pick.

    Miller would be the safe choice, and when you're in the dumps like we are, you need to make a series of safe choices to get out of the dumps and into mediocrity. Linecum is a risk and I'm through taking risks (Colt Griffin, Roscoe Crosby)

    At 5/12/2006 12:21 PM, Blogger DL said...

    The main point is that the Royals have no business avoiding certain players because they don't want to pay them.

    At 5/12/2006 1:11 PM, Anonymous eric said...

    I really don't think money will be an issue for the Royals. Their sticking point has always been that they will not give out any ML contracts. This is the same situation as we had last year with Alex Gordon. The Royals paid him the record bonus money but still signed him to a minor league contract. Therefore as long as they feel a Boras client will sign a minor league deal then they should have no worries about drafting one of them.

    BTW Brad Lincoln does have amazing stats, but he also plays in a conference with basicly one team worthy of playing in the PAC-10 or SEC and that is Rice. So his numbers come from inferior competition. Having said that lets see how he does this Friday pitching against Rice. There are other concerns with him too such as stamina/keeping his best stuff deep into games and his own manager said he thinks Lincoln could have a similar career to what ex-Couger Jesse Crain is having and that is as a closer with impressive power stuff.

    At 5/12/2006 1:13 PM, Blogger Dave said...

    dl, I really don't think that's the case at all. I think they're genuinely concerned about getting the best pitcher they can.

    Ask yourself, why do so many scouts like Miller better than Lincecum, Morrow, and Lincoln? Is it because he throws harder than the other guys? Nope. Is it because he has better stuff than the other guys? Nope. Is it because he has better stats than the other guys? Nope.

    It's because he's tall and left-handed, and scouts love tall lefties who can throw hard. And the funny thing is, Miller isn't even throwing that hard this year.

    I'm just not convinced that Miller is heads and shoulders (performance wise, heh) above the other guys. And I'm even less convinced that he's worth $2 million more than any of those other guys. I know that's at odds with the perceived consensus, and I know the Royals will take a PR hit if they draft anyone but Miller, but ask yourself this: If a team like the A's had the first pick in the draft, do you think they'd dismiss Lincecum, Morrow, and Lincoln simply because the scouting world consensus is that Miller should be # 1?

    At 5/12/2006 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Anyone else here this rumor that 3 assistant GMs have already turned the job down because they won't answer to Dan Glass?
    I don't know if it's the sweep, or what, but I'm beginning to think that Baird isn't the problem. We already know that Biard was forced to go after major league players when trading Dye and Damon, which essentially crippled those trades. And Glass is said to have nixed a Sweeney deal.
    Baird would never blame anyone but himself, but his drafts have been getting better (even while being under a tight budget), and who knows how many of his major trades have been sabotaged by the Glasses.
    Feel free to tell me how stupid I am, but I'm starting to think Baird isn't the problem.

    At 5/12/2006 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    At 5/12/2006 3:17 PM, Blogger PghChris said...

    Great discussion on these prospects, Dave and Eric. Thanks for the info.

    I would wholeheartedly agree that the issue with the Royals drafting Miller is not mainly a money issue but a major league contract issue. The Royals just can't afford to lose a year plus of a player's arbitration years playing in the minors.

    At 5/12/2006 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Since the Royals have the first overall pick they should be able to negotiate the terms of their picks contract prior to making the selection, correct? If that's the case, the Royals are in a good situation and can pass on Miller or anyone else who demands a major league contract.

    At 5/12/2006 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    what about this ACC using higher seams on their baseballs issue?

    if true, that ould be a huge 'wart' on Miller, since it calls into question the effectiveness of his slider.

    At 5/12/2006 4:17 PM, Blogger Max said...

    If a team like the A's had the first pick in the draft, do you think they'd dismiss Lincecum, Morrow, and Lincoln simply because the scouting world consensus is that Miller should be # 1?

    No, but they've earned that benefit of the doubt.

    I would wholeheartedly agree that the issue with the Royals drafting Miller is not mainly a money issue but a major league contract issue. The Royals just can't afford to lose a year plus of a player's arbitration years playing in the minors.

    Whether or not a draftee gets a major league contract has nothing to do with his arbitration and free agent clock. That clock is wholly dependant on days spent on the active major league roster.

    The main sticking point with major league contracts, is that with a major league contract you must be paid the major league minimum - $330,000. If you sign a minor league contract you'll be paid the minor league salary, some $2,500 a month I think.

    At 5/12/2006 9:44 PM, Blogger PghChris said...

    Thanks for the clarification. I was thinking of the things being put on the 40 man roster starts, like your option years and things like that.

    At 5/13/2006 4:23 AM, Blogger Dave said...

    anonymous, I guess I never cleared that issue up, but I learned this season that ALL college baseballs have those fat, raised seams. It's up to the conference which balls it uses, of course, but I can tell you for certain that the Big 12 uses the exact same ball as the ACC. It's funny that nobody ever talks about them, because the effect they must have on breaking balls really shouldn't be ignored.

    At 5/13/2006 10:33 AM, Blogger Dave said...

    I'll be in Baltimore and away from a computer until Sunday night.

    At 5/13/2006 11:49 AM, Blogger royalsbeliever said...

    What does anyone think the chances of us taking Luke Hochevar with the 1st pick are?

    At 5/13/2006 11:57 AM, Anonymous eric said...

    They are probably slim as Hochevar has Boras as his representative. I am going to watch his start tonight with the Ft. Worth Cats of the independent league. I am curious to see if he still has an amazing fastball and slider and can also throw the change and curve for strikes. Hochevar was raised in Colorado and was almost selected by the Rockies last year, so I would not be surprised if the Rockies take him at #2 this year. The draft may fall, #1 Lincecum; #2 Hochevar; #3 Miller.

    At 5/13/2006 7:28 PM, Anonymous sweeping changes said...

    Nice pick up Allard. Booker looked great. I hope your "eagle eye" is still around for the draft.

    At 5/14/2006 9:32 PM, Blogger COroyal said...

    Dave - positive spin following this weekend? What a crappy series - at least I didn't have to pay like you did though.

    At 5/14/2006 10:21 PM, Blogger Dave said...

    UGH! The only positive spin I have is that the Royals played an ugly game today and didn't deserve to win anyway.

    I'm back home now, but I'm still unable to work for any amount of time on the site right now. Tomorrow evening, however, should be a different story. I'll definitely have something new tomorrow -- plus I got lots of photos today, so I've added to my stockpile.

    At 5/15/2006 12:08 AM, Blogger Max said...

    I don't know what I did in my past to piss Buddy Bell, but whatever it is, I am sorry Buddy. Please stop ruining my favorite baseball team. Thank you.

    At 5/15/2006 6:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hey Max,

    this just in----buddy bell only makes lineups, he does not have much to do with personnel, and has nothing to do with payroll.
    if you had any illusions this bunch could win even with miller huggins managing, please quit drinking

    At 5/15/2006 9:48 AM, Blogger Max said...

    My comments also apply to Allard. And drinking is quite necessary to watch this club.

    At 5/15/2006 11:01 AM, Blogger COroyal said...

    Good call Max. Hey anonymous - I have two options - stop watching the Royals or stop drinking. I've already demonstrated I can't do the former, so PBR me ASAP!

    At 5/15/2006 6:05 PM, Blogger COroyal said...

    John Sickels an RC devotee?


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