This was supposed to be the Royals time. They were supposed to be turning the corner, finally capitialzing on their bounty of prospect riches and making a run in the American League Central. Running counter to their prospect hording pattern of recent years, the Royals rolled the dice and shipped out their top prospect in exchange for the top of the rotation ace they needed, James Shields.
That move has worked out about as well as Dayton Moore’s most lucid dreams. Shields has come exactly as billed, pitching a ton of innings while pitching at a high level (2.47 ERA/3.12 FIP). His strikeout rate sits at a career high and his walk rate is lower than it’s been since 2008.
But, sadly, they’re the Royals. Shields owns a 2-5 won/loss record because the Royals are not meant to have nice things.
Despite conventional wisdom dictating that position players are “easier” to develop than pitchers (position players have a much lower washout rate), the Royals are yet to yield much from their former top prospects.
Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas are two of the worst regular players in baseball, to say nothing of the ongoing Jeff Francoeur experiment. After last season’s promising growth at the plate, Alcides Escobar keeps reminding Royals fans that hitting is not something a player learns to do overnight.
The first few turns through the Royals revamped starting rotation went swimmingly but, here in May, reality set in. A staff FIP currently pushing 5.00 in May after April hovered well below 4.00 – Shields’ considerable contributions included.
The Royals are still the Royals – their vaunted talent pipeline is yet to yield more than Alex Gordon and Salvy Perez: two very good to excellent baseball players which any team would be proud to claim as graduates of their minor league system. More to the point, the team isn’t winning games. They were supposed to be a winning team by now and they just aren’t. They’re bad.
Maybe Hosmer and The Moose will flip the switch and be great one day and the Royals will challenge the Tigers at the top of the division. Or maybe the Royals will keep Royalling along, signing Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie in the hopes that suddenly home runs will no longer be bad things to surrender. The Royals – at least they keep you guessing.
Bees take over Kaufman Stadium as the locusts were rerouted due to confusion at the Missouri/Kansas border.
Oh, right. The ROYALS.
The Angels have won eight games in row, thanks in no small part to a weekend series in Kansas City. Despite their winning ways, there was still time for an epic SciosciaFace. I have a feeling we’ll see this one again later this week…
Game of the Weekend
Maybe this wasn’t the game of the weekend. It was certainly exciting, as watching poor Jim Johnson go to pieces might not be fun but it is certainly compelling.
This game gets the game of the weekend designation for what happened off the field and around it. From the in-game #AMPED insanity of Brett Lawrie getting told how the fuck things are by manager John Gibbons:
To the post-game interview gold that is Munenori Kawasaki. I AM JAPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENSE!
The best walkoff of the all time, this week.
Walkoff homer? Walkoff INSIDE THE PARK Homer, which is both the least “walkoffish” and yet the most exciting.
Lyle Overbay has played for five teams since the start of the 2010 season. He tried out for the Red Sox this spring but didn’t make the cut. The Yankees took him on at the last minute after a WBC injury to Mark Teixeira. It was a longshot at best. But they’re the Yankees so here we are today: Lyle Overbay is hitting walkoff homers of his own and fans and Yankees media are trying to shove him into the outfield. Here’s Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News on that very topic:
Saturday, I told Overbay that many fans on Twitter have been suggesting to me that the Yankees give him a try in right field, where Ichiro Suzuki is having an underwhelming season. Overbay’s reaction?
“Yeah, right!” he said, not hiding his laugh. “Can I play it with a first-base glove?”
During our morning session with Joe Girardi, I posed the same question to him. Again, the response was one of amusement.
“I don’t think he has in his career,” Girardi said. “But Vernon played third.”
That’s right. Vernon Wells played third base (and second base!) for the Yankees this season. Literally anything is possible.
Overbay did play some outfield in college and in the low minors, but that was the better part of a dozen years ago. Overbay has a terrific throwing arm but the idea of moving him to the outfield is far-fetched at best.
Which is to say, expect Overbay to start at least one playoff game in right field this season. It’s just the way this works now.
Support Are Troops
Lots of funky wardrobe changes on the horizon as Major League Baseball pays tribute to active military members and their families by donning digital cameflague hats and jerseys.
Which means they will wear things that look like this:
I guess tribute means different things to different people.