Royals Farm Report
On the Farm: October is peak harvest time for a group of loyal Royals fans, the corn and soybean farmers here in the Midwest. The Royals’ farm is also busy this time of year as Assistant General Manager for Scouting/Player Development J.J. Picollo and his staff look to cultivate talent for the Major League team. Today we look at two of the fall proving grounds, the Arizona Instructional League and Hawaii Winter Baseball. (Yes, that was Hawaii followed by winter.)
Arizona Instructional League: Seeds of baseball knowledge are being planted in the impressionable minds of farmhands in the Arizona Instructional League. Participating players include 2008 draft picks Eric Hosmer (left), Johnny Giavotella, and Tim Melville as well as 2008 Burlington (IA) Player of the Year Mike Moustakas. Games started on September 22 and run through October 17. Players also take part in daily practice drills and listen to motivational talks from the likes of manager Trey Hillman and Royals Hall of Famer Frank White. We hope to have more insider updates on the instructional league in the near future.
Hawaii Winter Baseball: Aloha! Farther west, four Kansas City prospects are honing their baseball skills on the island of Oahu. Infielders Kyle Martin and Kurt Mertins, left-handed pitcher Ben Swaggerty and right-handed pitcher Jason Godin are members of the North Shore Honu. Martin played a key reserve role for the Midwest League-champion Burlington Bees in 2008. Mertins batted .282 and stole 28 bases as a member of Wilmington’s speedy Carolina League entry. Godin, a fifth-round selection in 2006, spent 2008 with Wilmington. Swaggerty signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2007. He split 2008 between the Burlington Bees and the Wilmington Blue Rocks. The teams continue play through November 16. Be sure to keep tabs on all of the action!
Central Focus: All eyes in baseball have been on the AL Central over the past few days. Our division finally has a champion, and it didn’t require a recount or hanging chads. Congratulations to the Chicago White Sox, who won their first division title since 2005. Last night’s thrilling game was a pitching duel from start to finish. Jim Thome provided all of the offense with a solo blast in the seventh.
The Royals play the Twins and White Sox 18 times apiece during the regular season, so we get to know their broadcasters, writers, and media relations staff quite well. (Be sure to check out our interviews with Chicago’s Ken Harrelson and Minnesota’s Jack Morris.) We can only imagine the press box conversations last night as the season came down to a final game.
Revving Up for Royals Charities: Royals Charities recently teamed with the Kansas City Zone Dodge Dealers to auction off a 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8. The car sold for $51,250, with proceeds going to Royals Charities. Thank you to Dodge for their support of Royals Charities!