RC has seen enough of Joe Mays...
What else is there to say? Joe Mays was completely ineffective again tonight against a punchless Twins offense, and in his six starts thus far, he hasn't even come close to turning in a quality outing. His ERA after tonight's game stands at 10.27, and it actually improved after surrendering six runs (two earned) in 3.1 IP. There is simply no excuse for his continued presence in the rotation. RC doesn't even care who takes his place at this point, be it Mike Wood, Jimmy Gobble, or Denny Bautista -- who reportedly looked good today in a simulated game. Any one of those guys would at least give the Royals an occasional chance to win, and we simply can't say the same of Mays.
Bautista won't be available the next time Mays' spot in the rotation rolls around, so unfortunately, the chance remains that Mays will stay on at least until Bautista is ready to rejoin the club -- and it's somewhat telling that he threw his simulated game today, which puts Bautista on that throwing schedule. But if that's the case, there still doesn't appear to be any logical reason why Wood (or Gobble) and Mays can't flip roles in the meantime. We simply can't stand the prospect of another Mays start. It was a decent risk and a nice thought, but the Joe Mays reclamation project must end!
A few pitchers in the Royals minor league system are really standing out this season. Billy Buckner leads the way, and after his win on Tuesday, he owns a perfect 4-0 record and a 2.94 ERA in the hitter-friendly California League. Buckner is repeating High Desert to begin the year, and thus far he's been able to successfully keep the ball down while using his tremendous curveball as his out pitch.
His GB:FB ratio is stellar, and he's yet to allow a single home run while striking out 30 in over 33 innings pitched. RC Correspondent Jon Rosen reported on Buckner a couple of weeks ago, and since that time he's continued to impress us. It might not be long before Buckner moves up to Wichita, and he's beginning to make a strong case as the best pitching prospect in the organization.
In addition, Christensen has used his 12-to-6 curve to strike out 33 batters (against just five walks) in 29 innings pitched, and his ERA of 4.03 is very respectable for a High Desert pitcher. Christensen did very well last season for Burlington after missing nearly all of 2004 with Tommy John surgery. His progress this year has been remarkable, and he's also making a strong case to become a very legitimate pitching prospect.
Kniginyzky features a low-90s fastball and a hard curve, and he's used those to carve out a 2-1 record with a 3.16 ERA in a Midwest League-leading 37 innings pitched. He's struck out 30 batters while surrendering 32 hits and eight walks (1.08 WHIP), which are very good numbers for a player making his full season debut just 10 months after being drafted. Kniginyzky is already 23-years-old, so the Royals are moving him quickly, but right now he's the anchor of Burlington's staff.
Anyway, that's it for today. In the coming days, we'll point out our take on a few of the organization's position player prospects, such as Chris Lubanski, Chris McConnell, and Matt Tupman.